Maybe we need to look at fighting viruses and cancer in a different way. I am neither a virologist or oncologist—heck, I didn’t even sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but it appears to me the strategy in fighting these aliens seems to focus on blocking the payloads from entering and infecting healthy cells.  That makes sense.

The image is what is called a Necker Cube– an optical illusion, devised by Swiss crystallographer Lewis Albert Necker (10 April 1786 – 20 November 1861). If you stare at this cube, it may appear in one instant as having a front surface pointing toward the upper right and in a flash may appear that the front surface is pointing to the lower left– both images absolutely correct.

When I first came upon this concept back in the late ‘70s, I drafted it into a personal directive; that every problem has at least two correct solutions. This simple directive led to my ability as a problem solver.  My expertise was in enterprise monitoring of networks, routers, switches, servers and applications.  The motto most adopted was to be proactive.  The Necker cube approach led me to realize there is no such a thing as being proactive (prediction based). For example: I could never predict that ConEd might dig up the sidewalk outside our data center and accidentally cut through some fiber, severing the path between resource and use.  My approach was to hope to react faster than the effects of that cut fiber being felt by those using the resources now off-line. Without getting into the minutiae of lots of coding to interpret SNMP remote monitoring agents and what was going on in the OSI protocol stack, the model I adopted was much more scalable than trying to predict every possible disaster and then drafting into place a disaster recovery plan for each disaster–– which is like chasing lighting and becomes dated the minute it is put into place.

So applying the Necker Cube approach for treating viruses and cancers, think about what the purpose is of viruses and cancers for a minute.  One view might be that their purpose is to replicate; to pass on the genetic code of their blueprint, uncaring of the detrimental effects to the host; the pure selfishness of replication and being perfect at doing so. 

So applying the Necker Cube approach, a novel one indeed, one might be to give the virus or cancer what it needs: a healthy medium in which to replicate.  Feed it instead of trying to starve it.  How this might be done is surely not my expertise, but maybe some free floating magnetic nano cells that hold up a welcome sign and when there remains no more vacancy in these nano-cells, they are herded out of the host and a fresh set of nano-cells are introduced.

  • It’s why I write Sci-Fi and so far from what I have seen, Science Fiction is waiting for fact to catch up to it…. “And fact waits for regulation,” as someone (@EduGonzalezL) on my twitter stream once cleverly replied.

In the apocalypse, ditch the survival guides and grab your Sci-Fi Novels!

Below is a very interesting post from BBC.com about what to eat after an asteroid impact. (click on image below).

Artist concept of an asteroid impact. Credit: Shuttertstock / solarsevenPhoto: Shuttertstock / solarseven

When you think about it, Do you recall ever coming across a scenario of an asteroid in any survival guide? So the next best thing would be to grab your SciFi novels that do. Some of these I have read, others look intriguing for survival. If you have a favorite, let me know so I can update this list.

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

The Left Hand Of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Martian by Andy Weir

Shipwreck by Charles Logan

The Moon Is Hell by John W. Campbell

The Eutrophication of LinkedIn

Images from : http://www.aquaclearwatermanagement.com/gallery_before_and_after.php

Eutrophication is a natural and biological process in which a healthy body of water becomes so saturated by nutrients and organic matter, the byproducts of that process rain down in the form of sediment, layering the bottom and eventually leading to the anaerobic death of that body of water.  It is a slow and natural process but can be accelerated by human-injected pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus from over fertilization as well as sewage leaking into that body of water.

I have witnessed the same effect on social media throughout my career as both a Marine Biologist and Information Technologist.   In the early 80’s, prior to the public Internet, there was something called ‘news’, which was the predecessor to Twitter: a limited space in which to post/receive content via dial-up connections–– and those corporate and educational connections cost $10K/month.  Due to the high costs, there was no waste and content was rich with information–– a body of clean, sparkling water.  When the public Internet came into being (mid-to-late-90’s), the advent of social media was explosive.  Humanity was on track to establishing a neural network of shared knowledge.  But this was not going to be a natural form of eutrophication.   Soon after, images of cats started appearing by the masses (i.e. nitrogen and phosphorus).  Funny at first, those images eventually paved the way for idiocracy (sewage) and all the good was being buried beneath the sediment of that idiocracy.

LinkedIn, which first started as a digital Rolodex, has slowly evolved into an intellectual knowledge-base, possibly by the aiding of Google shutting down G+, which at the time was a fairly healthy body of water, and that body of water has spilled into LinkedIn. LinkedIn seems to be, for the most part, still a healthy body of water, unlike: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, TikTok, SnapChat and others which are nearing 90-100% Eutrophication.  But it might only be a matter of time for LinkedIn, because there are signs of seepage (selfies, pets, etc.). If you are not learning something from the post, it just might not belong there.

A.I. – The Price Of Immortality

Excellent collection of thoughts by Elon Musk.  My favorite concept of this video is that humanity is merely the boot-loader for AI. As a former coder, I can visualize this process and why I felt Elon’s concern here, because once that boot-leader sets the stage for the OS and the OS takes over, the boot loader is cast aside. However, there is a silver side to this dark cloud. If AI frees us from our ‘container ships ‘ [The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins] and we swap out our DNA for a faster coding engine, then AI is indeed an evolution of humanity, allowing humanity to travel to the stars at the speed of light–– without flesh or body. But, evolution is nothing more than a series of mutations and not all mutations are beneficial.; AI is the price one might pay for immortality.

Regardless of the outcome, it does make for excellent writing material and why I believe Science Fiction waits for fact to catch up to it.

When paper catches fire: 451 F

You need to read the plaques, study the artists of the statues they created. Go to the memorials and place yourself in their shoes, of their time and read the accounts, in books, of history— the good and the bad— not go all out Fahrenheit 451 on them. Everything is cyclic and you will repeat the mistakes of all those who created history so you would not. Pick your head up from the glass and stop the great brainwash.

Do you get nightmares from your writing?

As I’m writing several novels at once (probably not a good idea), there is one in particular (HUM) giving me nightmares. I think I can speak for most writers in that we become so immersed in the writing it feels as though we are there. In my case, dreamtime is an opportunity to play out the plot, sometimes shocked to awakenedness if there was such a word. I have been long imprinted by the movie Alien (original), knowing it took some unbelievable writing to make something so terrifyingly beautiful. The art of Alien can be attributed to less graphic violence–– very Hitchcockian–– and preying upon a person’s inner fears, not to mention the protagonists you thought were protagonists die off one-by-one leaving Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) a rising star. But the real star of Alien is the alien itself: No backstory, no speaking parts and a relentless pursuit without pause or remorse. Think about the plots of most Hollywood movies where the antagonist gets the protagonist tied up in a chair at gunpoint and pauses to tell the protagonist their entire remorseful story giving the protagonist time to untie the knots and turn the table.

My first novella, NOVEMBER SEED, was an experiment to try out this Alien-like genre, but with a twist. It was very successful and gave me the courage to try and surpass Alien in Alienees, but with a comedic twist, in my current work in progress, HUM. So far so good, but the nightmares (moaning and leg twitching) are keeping my wife awake while I dream on, editing the plot. LOL.

HUM (synopsis)

Saul Sicola had been a successful nuclear physicist at the Los Alamos Labs in New Mexico, up until he was caught stealing some nuclear fuel for a DYI project to stop scorpions from entering his home.  

Jobless, ghosted, and landing on Homeland Security’s federal watch list, most days Saul is playing bad golf or sitting at his assigned stool in his favorite bar.  His life is uncomplicated, every day the same as the day before, until a bar fly convinces Saul to follow him to a nearby cave where he thinks he has discovered a new species of bat.  The horror of what the barfly had discovered was not of this world and the super-organism amassed on the cave wall is without pause or conscience.  When Saul discovers how the organism arrived on Earth, he also discovers they are a beacon for more to follow. 

With no one taking him seriously, he sets out to save the world… but only after trying to save his name.  To carry out his crazy plan, one that will surely attract the attention of Homeland Security, Saul will  require the help of an unlikely duo:  an alluring and peculiar girl on a watchlist of her own and his therapist, who just happens to be his Ex.

That said, I stumbled across a 2022 trailer of a movie I have not heard nor have I seen, It looks promising, but do I need more nightmares: (Crimes Of The Future). Disturbing enough that you need to be redirected to Youtube due to it’s graphic nature and age-related rating. My feeling of movies like this is that the graphic nature is a distraction for a weak plot.

A Dog named Dally

Our street, it seems, everyone has a dog, which says much about what great neighbors we have. And sometimes the chorus becomes hysterical— a gathering crescendo of barking started by one — the Metallica equivalent of a canine concert. Then adding to the biophony, their care givers open their back doors and the barks begin to wane under the whistling, clapping of hands or a holler from humans. I’m not sure which is more amusing.

Often I am asked if I have a dog?  My answer is — I love dogs, yes but no. sort of…..

May I present to you, “Dally” my dog. Dally the Dalmatian (Steiff) is responsible for my second, long term, memory at the age of two, I can still see myself, holding my mother’s hand and walking up the steps to FAO Schwarz in NYC, my French mother in a white hat and sunglasses, a Polka Dot dress and a throw coat over her shoulders. Me… I was in an itchy wool brown outfit, “bumpy1” socks in brown shoes but I didn’t care. It was my birthday and I was going to FAO Schwarz! Once inside, my mother let go of my hand and followed me trough the stands of towering stuffed horses and giant teddy bears while battery-powered kid driven Stutz Bearcats meandered the isles under the displays that reached to the ceiling. I was oblivious to all that and zeroed in on Dally the Dalmatian (by Steiff). There was something about the tilt of Dally’s head, the wagging mouth and the texture of his fur. That was all I saw that day, somehow knowing Dally would follow me throughout life. Dally is still with me and a little worn for wear, but aren’t we all. Friendship is forever.

I joke with my wife that if the house were to ever catch fire, I promised her I would make sure she was safely outside, first, but after that I was going back in for Dally and my titanium crypto pass phrase hardware wallet, in that order.

1Bumpy: I would drive my mother crazy after she manhandled me into that brown itchy wool outfit and socks, then wedging my feet into the stiff leather brown shoes and tying the laces as if to batten down the hatches before a storm, looking me over from head to tow, satisfied of her work. But her smile would not last very long as I proceeded to tell her that my socks were bumpy. With an exhale of,”Mais Mon Dieu!” under her breath (My first long term memory) she would untie my laces, slip off the shoes, smooth out my socks and repeat. Whenever my wife sees me shifting around in a suit these days she asks if my socks are bumpy? But I know she has no intention of untying my shoes.

LOOK UP!

Not since the 2006 movie, Idiocracy, has there been a good parody of where we are today (Politically, Socially, Environmentally, Economically, etc.). Watching Don’t Look Up –– as much as I thoroughly enjoyed the humor of this movie–– I found myself cringing at scenes that were a little to close to home.

The casting was brilliant as was the acting. The storyline is, in my regard, the next big thing Corporate America will chase.

After 9-11 it became a yearly ritual to practice Disaster Recovery–– which was looked forward to as much as a root canal. I know the concept was a good idea, but in practice it was like chasing lightning–– no matter what was rehearsed would be yesterday’s news: 9-11, Viral Pandemic, Stormageddon, Towering Inferno, Disgruntled Employee, flood, blackout, and the list goes on. I tried to explain to upper management that there was no such thing as being proactive; the best scenario one could hope for was to react to an event faster than it’s effects were felt by the majority of the population. This was my mantra, as an Enterprise Management Guru of SNMP & RMON, for most of my career.

Which brings me back to “Look Up.” This was a great Sci-Fi Parody. If you want to learn a little more about asteroids–– waiting for the big one–– sign up at Asteroid Day, led by Brian May (Queen Guitarist and Astrophysicist).

I was so preoccupied with Astronomical disasters that I wrote a series of Sci-Fi Shorts under the title, END OF DAYS, available on Amazon’s Vella Platform. Feel free to download the first three for free, then for a small fee you can read the others and feed a non-so-starving author.

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/product/B093583FHP/episodeList

Mark, i know you are out there. This would have been a fun Monday Morning rehash before our day of Idiocracy began.

Is this the death of Humanity or something else?

Half of you may be alarmed by this technology, that we are nearing the end of humanity.  And why wouldn’t you think that way?  I mean isn’t this what we authors of Sci-Fi write about–– our dystopian replacements?

Fortunately, I do’t think it will pan out that way. After a decade of studying animal physiology, sociobiology, ecology, ethology, mico/macro biology organic chemistry, physics and genetics and applying that knowledge in the field as a Marine Biologist, then making a career adjustment into the realm of Information Technology, adding decades of computer engineering, programming, network engineering, enterprise monitoring, and web development into the mix and finally tossing all that knowledge into a blender to write Sci-Fi…. well… “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.” – Batty, Blade Runner, movie 1982 (Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? )

What my path in life has taught me is to think freely, reason that all sides are correct, and extrapolate all of this into the future, that we humans, simply put, are these beautiful and magnificent container ships (1976 – The Selfish Gene: Richard Dawkins), governed by both science and faith as a means to protect and propagate our DNA. For millions upon millions of years our strain of DNA has been a passenger on the road map of Natural Selection. But at some point it picked up a willing hitchhiker and entered into a partnership with, Humanity. Then within the last hundred years Humanity made significant strides, pushing aside what was once our road map, now seemingly coming to odds with our partnership.

One shortfall of humanity–– that our DNA does not have–– is binary reasoning. This is easily observed in everything humanity thinks and does: Up/Down, Left/Right, In/Out, Yes/No, True/False, Good/Evil and so on and so on. In fact, Humanity has created tools of Information Technology to work the same as they do (binary), which has proved to be very successful for us both.

Referring to the video above, either we (again, still restricted by binary thinking) are devising a new and better tool or we are dissolving the partnership and Humanity .

WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR

Humanity and its contents (DNA) are still governed by Physical and Biological controls: Sunlight, Oxygen, Water, Temperature, Gravity and a slew of biologics, such as mutation, disease, aging which eventually leads to death. As long as the propagation can stay ahead of death, then our partnership remains successful. But we know some things, that everything that has ever lived, dies and nothing lasts forever. We are confined to this world and this world will not last forever, either.

So here we are approaching the threshold of Humanity revising the partnership with our DNA. First, we need convince Humanity and DNA that we are passing on the baton, but still in the race. To do that we need a better container ship, one that is free of physical and biological controls (Time to die – Batty, Blade Runner). Secondly, we need to become a Quantum being: In/Out and the Other Thing (Thank you JFK), free of binary reasoning. Thirdly, we need to transfer our partnership (Our Soul) into this new entity saying goodby to Humanity and DNA once and for all, but carrying on the memes (see: The Selfish Gene / Richard Dawkins – 1976), of everything that ever was until the next partnership renewal, other realms, where we will get closer to understanding who are the Engineers (Robert Reed series: Beyond The Veil Of Stars/Beneath The Gated Sky).