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Posts Tagged ‘Science Fiction’

Dimension shift

Young Roger was a space cadet
his elder sister too.
Mom was Commander of the fleet.
What Dad did no one knew.

The ship on which our Roger served
was called to Planet X.
A stupid name I hear you say
but Y they’d go to next. (more…)

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I once loved to read science fiction
to glimpse then impossible things,
the wonders that waited for mankind
in futures where all lived like kings.

There were, of course, lots of strange creatures
and robots that never got tired.
Those who could at last live forever
and planets and moons had acquired.

Great galactic empires would prosper
and then perhaps fall from inside,
as man fought to create perfections
where war and fear no more could hide.

But now I see wonders of science
that threaten survival on Earth,
that poison our foodstuffs and water
and treat most as if they’ve no worth.

That pour toxins into our bodies
to see what their effects might be,
hoping that our lives will be shorter
so they can thwart life’s guarantee.

Experiments creating mutants
of every conceivable sort,
abusing what Nature intended
have become to some just a sport.

The wealthy and powerful are traitors
not promoting progress for all,
for only the few there’s a future,
the others must die out or crawl.

But eyes watching unseen are waiting.
The twelfth hour is almost at hand.
The last minutes are loudly ticking,
falling now the last grains of sand.

So I no more read science fiction
those foolish ideas born of thought,
the real master of all illusion
whose compliance cannot be bought.

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Hello, well I’m in a bit of a philosophical mood this early afternoon. The coffee was reviving and the cheese sandwiches all you could wish from sandwiches with cheese inside – even the sharp tang.
I’ll skip over lunch as breakfast was rather late due to a lingering hangover from Saturday night caused by lateness and admittedly a slight excess libation.
Anyway, anyway, I’ve noticed lately that I’m saying everything twice, or has it always been so? (How worrying). If you’ve followed my posts then you’ll probably have known this a lot longer than I, of course. Is it for emphasis or is there some feeling of insecurity lurking heavily in the dark recesses of somewhere dark and recessed? Who knows? Who cares? Yes, well, anyway, yes. Now what was I going to say?
Oh yes, of course.

Pyramids

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The Great Pyramid of Cheops – Credit Nina Aldin Thune in the immediate vicinity of the image.

Yesterday evening I was watching a program on the National Geographic TV channel about the ancient Egyptians and there irritatingly stupefying pyramids that continue to defy a good robust scientific theory of how the heck they got built and what the structures inside all represent. There was a building expert who also appears to hover around the pyramids together with crafty local businessmen selling miniatures and freshly carved ancient relics and other puzzled looking scientists getting older though perhaps not much wiser. He gave us an interesting account of how, approximately 4500 years ago, the builders of the Great Pyramid of Cheops, using nothing but bits of wood, string and soft copper tools, could manage to scrape and gauge out the 600,000 huge limestone blocks, some of granite and weighing as much as 70 tons, to less than a millimeter precision. How they dragged them around and lifted them into place is another puzzle whose answer is still unknown although there are enough theories. Strangely, the mortar used is still unknown and even today cannot be reproduced even though its chemical composition is known. Astoundingly, in its original state this pyramid was covered with a layer of highly polished white limestone whose reflective properties would have made it visible from the Moon. It must have been a wondrous sight.
No mummies have been found inside the three discovered chambers: The King’s Chamber, the Queens Chamber and one unfinished Chamber lying twenty eight meters below ground level.
Well, I suppose it could all be true, but it does seem rather like something that an Egyptian Pharaoh would dream of rather than attempt, even though there was a strong sense of outdoing their forebears. Of course, as gods on Earth they and there advisors did tend to take a rather universal view of things. It remains strange that no writings have been found concerning the building methods used.
One thing I found fascinating was his description of an intriguing way to make a simple leveling tool which might have been used by the Egyptians (see below).
Even today, according to our expert, construction of the Great Pyramid would be a formidable undertaking, apparently taking about six years at a cost in the region of five billion dollars.
Apart from the burial chambers and passages there are mysterious small shafts in the Great Pyramid connecting with the outside walls. These are believed to be either fresh air vents designed to aid the suffocating workers or perhaps to give a breather to buried kings and queens when they secretly wake to travel to the next life. They could also be receivers of cosmic energy emanating from distant stars. They could be … .
At the inside end of one of the shafts is a thin wall which has recently been penetrated by a boring robot (in the sense of making holes). According to a small attached camera, behind this wall is another and behind that may lie secrets that will change mankind forever, or just more golden artifacts and hieroglyphics, perhaps a mummy or two, or yet again a mystifying and creepy nothingness. There are those who are waiting with baited breath, I can tell you. Aren’t you?
There are theories connecting the Giza Pyramids with the stars in the constellation of Orion. Some even think that the Great Pyramid contains a portal to these stars, at least at the spiritual level.
The Egyptian authorities are extremely reluctant to allow more excavation and general tampering of these ancient sites and probably rightly so. They have been ruthlessly looted down through the ages and what’s left should be preserved, though a little careful examination might still reveal something exciting. Research is happily ongoing.

Anti-gravity

There are so many of these fantastic, seemingly impossible structures, like the Pyramids and Stonehenge, dotted around our planet and made of enormously massive stones laid down with unbelievable precision. One can imagine their builders laughing, in their graves or wherever else they may have ended up, at our attempts to explain the methods used and the ideas behind their construction.
That these ancient peoples had an understanding of mathematics and astronomy is beyond doubt, though why those of the Americas: the Inca, the Aztec, and the Maya, never got around to inventing the wheel, remains another source of great mystery. Perhaps they foresaw the arrival of the industrial revolution with its pollution if knowledge of the wheel should leak out.
The question many ask (including me) is whether they may have had the help of some advanced, perhaps even more ancient, knowledge – outside help so to speak. A method for levitating huge blocks of stone would have been a decided advantage and would answer in one fell swoop a lot of other questions. The figures carved out of the desert in Peru, called the Nazca Lines, which can only really be appreciated from a great height might also have benefited from someone high up giving instructions.
Unidentified flying objects (UFO’s) have been seen so often that it is almost certain they exist, though what they are and where they come from are still debated topics. A fact that emerges is that most of them are capable of sudden rapid changes of direction and of hovering for substantial periods. In any case, the gravity of Earth doesn’t seem to be a great hindrance unless the motor or whatever drives these craft cuts out, of course. At least one is purported to have crash landed. They have been tracked by radar undergoing accelerations which no human could survive and also appear to be unexpectedly and unnervingly silent.

Aliens

So I got to thinking. When I was young and had spasms of believing my parents and nearly everyone else I came into contact with were aliens, I read everything I could about these fascinating and hopefully not just imaginary creatures. I sincerely hoped they would eventually come in the night and step out of a bright white light to take me off to some exciting Utopian environment. There would be non-polluting vehicles zipping through its clean, fresh atmosphere, lots of open spaces with fountains of cold, refreshing lemonade, and a sense of feeling good all the time. Ah, those were the dreams. The aliens themselves would always be kind and smiling and never tire of answering my questions. They would teach me only things I really needed or wanted to know, such as how to levitate, pilot a spaceship, become a clever-clogs, and extend life expectancy.

Requiem

I hear the scientists beginning to cough and splutter as they join ranks and wave their fists at me, but let them; the dreams of one man can become the reality of a whole race when Nature finally reveals her secrets.

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The construction of the Leveler is as follows:

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1. Make a small flat A-frame construction (60 degree angles) out of three pieces of wood and attach a nail or screw just below the apex of the triangle formed and fasten a string to it with a weight on the end.

2. Gauge out a thin and shallow trough on a hard surface, impermeable to water, and fill it with water.

3. Gauge out two small troughs, as wide as the feet of the A-frame, at right angles to and on the same side of the first trough, until their bases are level with the water.

4. Place the feet of the A-frame in the two smaller troughs and where the string crosses the horizontal piece of wood make a mark.

5. You now have your Leveler.

References:

Information on the treasures of Egypt can be found here, for example

For an actual view of the Pyramids look here

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Apparently aliens who were visiting the Moon to attend a gathering of species committed to a peaceful invasion of Earth were brought into a state of confusion yesterday when a projectile from the planet exploded in a crater not far from the underground center where the meeting was taking place.
After the initial shock, and a lot of speculation from reporters, a spokesman for the delegations gave a short reaction. In it was said that they were highly troubled by what appeared to be a wanton act of destruction. Luckily no one had been injured, and although it couldn’t be expected that the Earthlings knew of their presence, the action was condemned as being extremely hostile in showing no regard for possible unforeseen repercussions. An intercepted transmission showing jubilant Earthlings congratulating themselves on what they obviously saw as a successful mission only added to the disgust of the delegates.
When the meeting was resumed at a second location, deeper inside the Moon than the first for obvious reasons, there was only one topic on the agenda: “The moon crash and its implications”.
It was unanimously decided that the Earthlings must soon be made to realize the responsibilities involved in expanding into space before something far worse occurred. Over how this was to be accomplished there was no immediate agreement, though similar actions would be monitored and if necessary terminated using the clandestine methods already in use for that purpose.
The Galactic Council had already come to the decision that this decidedly neurotic race of humans must be brought into line within two of their years. Simulations had already shown that the risk of devastation to Earth’s environment was growing exponentially and that if no action was taken those of the Moon and Mars would follow within fifty years.
When the last ship lifted from the Moon’s surface and the guardians closed off the underground chambers, all was peaceful again except for the tremors which could be detected for some time.

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Another heap of junk is about to collide at high velocity with the Moon to test a theory about ice possibly lying in abundance near its poles. This is important for any humans who are planning to exploit it in the near future, not in the least because they’ll need ice in their cokes when the Sun is high.
I hope any sentient creature there will get an inkling of disaster before it gets spread into infinitesimally small, some probably twitching pieces – as cows sense an approaching storm. It is almost certain that microscopic life forms will be sent to their heaven up there, presumably above the none existent sky, perhaps arriving on Earth and eventually replacing us with those of a more enlightened nature.
Man has done this before with the Moon: some eastern nation, probably China, did the same thing not long ago, I believe, though I’m not interested enough to look it up.
Man feels he has a right to blunder his way into the universe any way he sees fit, using collisions (as above), nosy rovers digging holes everywhere and left-over robots now disintegrating in some toxic atmosphere. Perhaps some earthly microbes that have hitched a ride undetected are even now mutating into exciting new forms.
Of course, I should also mention the thousands of pieces of junk flying around our own planet, some still pinging their way in orbit, some dead or dying and heading for the upper atmosphere where they will burn up, perhaps spreading some nasty part of their innards downwards in the process.
The astronauts who landed on the moon seem to have been pretty milieu friendly, leaving little else but a lot of footprints and a few leftovers like a stiff US flag and some reflecting mirrors. These will no doubt cause any visiting aliens a few headaches (if they have heads that is) unless man returns first to clean up a bit. Odds are he will return before long and I wonder how much longer it will then be before the landing sights are turned into tourist attractions with exciting new low-gravity experiences?
Will there be a Mount Armstrong, a Duke City or perhaps a Mitchell Gorge?
Mars has also had its share of unexpected intruders though it has managed to swat quite a few before they could carry out their self centered missions. One made a significant crater of its own on landing due to a mix-up over the system of measurement used by its computer to plot speed and distance, causing the brakes to be applied a little too late.
One Russian probe was zapped in the neighborhood of Phobos under mysterious circumstances. The Phobosians probably have a national day to celebrate.
The early Viking orbiters took pictures of features on the surface of Mars before flying on to oblivion and beyond. Unfortunately due to lack of detail many geological features took on the form of artificial ones when studied by those not brainwashed by science – a human impediment (not science) which may yet prove useful. Unfortunately, later orbiters with sharper eyes appear to show that these earlier signs of civilization are but optical illusions, though only when a human or an advanced robot can run rampage through the Cydonia region or accidentally comes across a beer can somewhere else, which might in turn might lead to a mysterious entrance into a Martian underground extravaganza, will most be convinced one way or the other.
I find it a great pity that these traveling rovers always seem to be put down in the most visually boring locations, so that we laypeople are left with nothing else to do but imagine letters and numbers scrawled on rocks and boulders shaped like familiar objects or gasp with limited excitement at seeing another dust devil spinning by.
I do hope we are not alone within the accessible vicinity of space and that others, whoever or whatever they are, are going to teach us a very good lesson before long.

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A short list of scientific subjects which can still be used in science fiction stories, as they have as yet no proven foundation in science, no matter what some would have us believe:

Global Warming

No conclusive evidence.
Based on primitive models of the Earth and trends which may or may not be relevant for the next few hundred years. Contrary to common belief, there has been no or little global warming since 1995 and this is shown by two completely independent datasets.

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(N.B. left hand scale goes from 9.6 to 10.8 C in steps of 0.2)

There is inconclusive evidence that CO2 increase contributes to it and the theory of how carbon dioxide influences the global mean temperature is complicated and unreliable.

Black Holes

No conclusive evidence.
Based on the Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

Big Bang Universe

No conclusive evidence.
Based on theory.
Alternative: Steady State Universe.

Solar System Generation

No conclusive evidence.
Based on theories using primitive models.

What goes on at the centre of celestial bodies

No conclusive evidence.
Based on theories using primitive models.

Gravitational force

Not even a theory as yet.
Acts at speeds vastly exceeding the speed of light as evidenced by solar system stability, which goes against the accepted scientific principle that this speed is a limit for energy transfer.

Relativity

Einstein’s Special Theory has never been tested in the conditions necessary for its validity i.e. uniform motion. Lots of misunderstandings here that have to do with relative measurement being applied to physical processes.
Alternative: Lorentzian Relativity

References:

1. http://www.factsandarts.com/articles/no-significant-global-warming-since-1995/

2. http://www.metaresearch.org/home.asp

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It makes you think though doesn’t it? So many unpleasant things happening in the world which seem designed to spread fear and uncertainty amongst the masses.

Now voices are telling us that millions could die from some disease, which, it seems, might have been manufactured. Well, it has happened before: diseases being accidentally released from some secret establishment.

If I wasn’t so rationally minded :-), I could almost imagine an alien invasion being imminent (extraterrestrial I mean).

Some say that “little green” creatures or “long spindly” ones have been around for some time, probably developing a strategy for a take over. Of course, they could be just inquisitive, but are we really that interesting? If you’ve got plenty of time to spare then dive into the somewhat murky pond of Google.

Aliens travel in UFO’s (Unidentified Flying Objects for the few uninitiated). These are craft which leave our modern jet fighters standing. They can move and accelerate in any direction at lightning speed (and that’s fast :-)). They’re gone before Commander Jetlag can put his foot down.

Yes, they seem to be very interested in our planet. Well, it is potentially a great place to bring up the kids, and there might not be so many around if the rest of the planets in our solar system are anything to go by.

Seeing they way our politicians are functioning lately also makes one believe that they could be acting under the influence of some, as yet unknown, presence. A lot of them seem to have developed tics, which is a dead giveaway.

The super-elite, who must take the blame for everything in the end it seems, are obviously “friends” of the aliens – forming a sort of mutual benefit society. Of course, they’ve got the most to lose, especially as they also control the great wads of cash that the aliens undoubtedly need to carry out their plans.
They’ve almost certainly made arrangements to be spared, when the aliens start blasting what’s left after the dreaded diseases have done their work. Only those who’ve proved themselves to be useful will be allowed to take the antidotes and avoid the devastation, probably relocating themselves to some luxurious secret place under the ice in Antarctica, to wait for better days in more temperate latitudes.

Of course, via the movie screen we’ve had “Mars Attacks”, “The War of the Worlds” and “Independence Day” giving us a taste of things to come, so we know what to expect in a worst case scenario. It might be wishful thinking, though, to assume that all aliens die before they can really take over.

If one assumes that the above alien involvement is untrue, then we’ve really got problems.

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A recent discovery has surprised many scientists and quite a few intelligent laymen. Yes, the further away some galaxies appear to be the nearer they may really be.
The popular idea is that space is expanding because distant objects appear to be moving ever faster away from us with increasing distance, according to the Hubble Law based on Doppler red-shift measurements of their electromagnetic spectra. The wavelength of light from an object is shifted towards the red end or the blue end of the spectrum according to whether it is moving away or towards an observer. The latter effect is termed blue-shift.
The red-shifted galaxies we see in space are really snapshots taken at that moment in time when the light rays we are now receiving left them long ago. Where these galaxies are now is of course unknown but it appears, according to new research, that some may be speeding back towards us.
As reported by a Dr. Grabbler of the French University of Strange Studies (FUSS) in a recent article (soon to be published in Galaxy Review), while studying photos of the Digital Sky Survey (DSS), he and his team have found a blue-shifted galaxy that appears to be the same as a red-shifted one. They have temporarily named it Odd1. It would seem that Odd1 has at some time moved in a curved path which eventually directed it back towards the Earth. The astonishing conclusion is that the same galaxy can appear to be in two places at once!
After five years of observation they have further determined that the outer arms of Odd1 have increased in size at such a rate as to indicate that it is moving towards us at approximately sixty times the speed of light. Of course, as Einstein proved and nearly everyone accepts, nothing can travel faster than the speed of light (c), so another reason must be found for the galaxy’s apparent greater than light (superluminal) speed.
A student of Grabbler, who wishes to remain anonymous for the time being, has suggested that photons themselves could speed up if their entangled twins send information that is impossible for the photon in question to understand. It can then acquire a quantum state which he calls “agitated”. According to the calculations of this student, who Grabbler says is a genius, in this state the photon’s mass becomes increasingly negative which would allow its speed of propagation to exceed c. If light leaving Odd1 is “agitated” enough then it could be travelling faster than c even though the galaxy itself is moving at a speed far less (subluminal) than c.
If these ideas are correct, they would produce mixed blessings for the accepted theories of relativity.
Grabbler says that research is continuing and that they are extending their search for other “blue” galaxies in an effort to find more examples of this type of motion.

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Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)

The first and sixth stanzas wouldn’t adhere to the restful nature of the rest I’m afraid, and insisted on getting their point across rather intolerantly, though they did eventually agree amongst themselves to use the same form. Well they’re young and impetuous, so I forgave them as one does. Perhaps you’ll forgive them too.

The Earth has spheroidal oblateness
Which means it’s got a tummy
A bulge around the waist it has
But not from yummy yummy.

The Moon is its head that once fitted
On shoulders so broad and so firm
Now rounded with age they can hardly be seen
But one can two slight bulges discern.

Its appendages were lost in battle
What’s left forms the asteroid belt
While flying around they knocked others about
And the craters mark blows that these felt.

Its adversary’s long gone and distant
Perhaps a competitive sort
That didn’t play fair in the heat of the night
And left with or without what it sought.

The Earth is now used to the drifting
And making the best of its fate
But still in its dreams it roams star fields anew
In the roll of one born to create.

It seems an implausible option
To any standard theory
But who knows what went on before
Things really got this dreary.

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Black holes are cosmic guzzlers
Gulping is all they do
They don’t have any manners
And they dribble sometimes too

They’ve hardly any whiskers
Spitting they love to do
You ask me what they’re good for
Well, I wanted to ask you

I cannot think why Nature
Would want them round at all
They’re just so very frightful
Always winning in a brawl

I hope science is kidding
And they do not exist
Einstein might well be weeping
Such a joke he’d not have missed

Theories look good on paper
Can earn a buck or two
But put them into practice
And the laugh might be on you

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Well here we are on the final lap. I want today to give an account of a story I came across in an old book I bought some time ago. The bookshop has closed now but I became quite friendly with the owner when it was still open and often visited, sometimes buying something or often just browsing. He was pleasant in his manner but often gave one the feeling that his thoughts were somewhere else. He told me at a certain point that he had received instructions to move to another location. I said I was sorry to see him leave though he didn’t seem to have any reservations himself. ‘Time to leave,’ he’d said, though admitting that he would miss my company.
He left me an address where he could be contacted if I so desired. It turned out to be a small publishing house in London that looked after his affairs but on inquiry knew nothing (or would not reveal anything) of his activities.
The book’s title is “Tales of Distant Worlds”, by J.J. Rea, a volume that appears to be long out of print, although the bookseller did say that copies seemed to become available ‘ now and again’. I thought at first it was just a science fiction collection, but one story, the third, struck me as being something more than just fiction. It’s difficult to explain but perhaps you’ll understand when I’ve given you an indication of its contents without relating the whole story.
It begins as follows and I quote:

“One day I was in this bookshop and whilst browsing the shelves a volume caught my eye. I know you’ll think I’m mad but I’m sure it moved as I looked, fractionally. Before I could recover from this unexpected occurrence and seemingly due to an automatic response I had it in my hands. It was a large dark brown book of some material similar to leather though it didn’t have quite the same feel or smell (I always smell books, it’s an old habit). Somehow I felt a strong urge to open it and examine its contents.
I looked around the further empty shop and saw at the back a table with a few chairs. I walked over and sat down, placing my cane on the chair next to mine and laying the book on the table I opened it carefully. I felt the shop owner was watching me but when I glanced in his direction he just appeared to be busy with  what I assumed was the normal everyday administration of any bookshop.
I returned to the book. It was entitled “Wonders of Sirial” and there was a short introduction telling the reader of a visit to a strange world. It was signed H. Tobin, Regus I, which was a strange enough in itself I thought, but I was driven to read on.
The introduction began as follows:
“In the galaxy there is a star, very much like Earth’s Sun, though far removed from it. Around it orbits a shining blue planet called Sirial. It could almost be a twin of Earth, though the continents are different. The people are divided into different races as on Earth but there the similarity largely ends. One could call it a sister planet.
It was always an honour to meet a Higher One and I had the good fortune to do so on Tallus, where we were both attending some gathering. Irian was his name and though they have no gender I shall, for simplicity, refer to him as a male in what follows. No one knows much about them and there are only theories as to where they came from. Their wisdom and friendly natures have lead them to achieve high office on many worlds. Some suspect them of  having strange powers and there seems to be some evidence for this.
As we sat talking he suddenly turned the conversation to the above mentioned planet, which he said was quite an unusual place. Apparently The Higher Ones had been visiting it for some time and had made records of their experiences with the people who lived there, something which they normally didn’t need to do but in this case it seemed they had good reason.
To outsiders there is a strange almost hypnotic peacefulness on this planet he told me. He enthusiastically went on to give a brief description of the world and its inhabitants which was indeed most intriguing. At a certain point I asked where it was located, but he said that he could not yet reveal that information for reasons that would become clear if I should wish to learn more. With such a promised invitation I expressed my great interest to do so, being an avid traveller of distant worlds myself, and he asked if I should therefore care to visit him the following day at his lodgings, to which I gladly agreed.
The following morning saw me entering his rather lavish apartment and being lead, by one who I assumed was someone in his company, to a comfortably furnished room. Irian appeared almost at once and the companion withdrew without a word. After the usual pleasantries and some excellent refreshment served by the companion, he offered me a chair behind a large glossy table. Excusing himself briefly, he disappeared through a side door but soon returned holding what I saw was a universal recorder. After placing it before me he told me that it contained all their findings on Sirial and as he pressed a few keys on the small console a text appeared next to a picture of two humanoids. He said he wanted me to read this part first as it was significant for what was to follow. I did so and when at last I sat back and caught his eye he looked deep into mine and asked if I understood the urgency of the matter. I said I did.
He paused for a moment as if reading my mind, which he may well have been doing, and then leaning towards me he said that he had a request of me and that he now had to admit that our meeting the previous day had not been entirely accidental, which I had already begun to suspect for myself.
He continued that because of my connections in the quadrant where Earth was situated he wished me to convert the material of his findings into a readable form for Earth’s population and to arrange for copies to be placed there through a certain distributor, the name and address of whom he would supply. Arrangements would be made to free me from other obligations and to ensure my trouble free passage and the necessary secrecy in this matter.
I said I would be honoured to do so and somewhat later I left with the material and other information he had supplied. The further details of this undertaking I cannot reveal here, but suffice it to say that everything went smoothly thanks to Irian’s influence and the book was placed strategically on Earth as he wished.
This is the book that you now have before you. I am certain you will find the reading of it rewarding. Some readers may laugh at what they might see as a futile attempt to describe some unattainable paradise, nothing more than a fairy tale only suitable for the innocent, but they can be assured that the planet and its inhabitants truly exist.”

I read parts of the first few chapters in which Tobin describes a planet where a species lived that was similar to humans on Earth. They were a highly intelligent and saw themselves as the caretakers of their world. There was this natural peace he had referred to which seemed to emanate from everything around. One felt a living presence was how he described it. They lived in complete harmony with others of their species and with all other lifeforms and saw the world itself as a living entity which they referred to as the ‘giver of life’, which might also be interpreted as ‘mother’. They also lived according to certain longstanding traditions, adjusting there lives to remain in tune with what they saw as the planet’s wishes. There was always just enough sunshine and rainfall when they were needed for the crops and wild animals, that might to others have appeared dangerous, never did to these people. They saw them as fellow inhabitants to be respected and they walked and talked with them, having no fear or language barriers.
They took from the environment only what was necessary to sustain them and gave back in kind, so that a natural balance was always maintained. The people the Higher Ones met were dark skinned and lived in large round houses where several families were housed. An average village (there were no larger communities) consisted at most of three hundred individuals with a variety of livestock. There was no surrounding enclosure which was apparently not needed. The division of their people into villages stemmed only from efficiency of purpose and there were no boundaries, either physical of psychological. They had few belongings, just tools and objects that were needed for daily life and their clothes were simple but both cool and warm when needed and pleasant to the eye as were their few adornments. They were excellent craftsmen using wood and other natural materials but also metal.
They used language sparingly and if asked something they would answer directly and always truthfully or say they did not know. They seemed to have no need of a written language though symbols were used in daily life and could be found on objects both in their villages and outside. Their spoken language was closely tuned to the environment and had a very descriptive nature, though amongst themselves they seemed to largely communicate non verbally as they seemed to do with their environment.
This is illustrated by the fact that they would suddenly decide to move to a new location, to an outsider for no apparent reason and without any sign of misgiving or remorse. If they were asked why they would smile and say that the answers to such questions were already there and all one had to do was open oneself up to them. This was their explanation for much of what happened in their daily lives.
They also somehow knew of a sister world far away where a population of similar beings lived but had somehow ‘lost the way’. This was something that seemed to concern them. They said they had tried to contact them but to no avail, though another attempt was being made.”

I glanced briefly through the rest of the book which further described, in seemingly great detail, the wonders of that place. I noticed that on every other page there were symbols in the left hand margin. In a glossary at the back these were given a brief description which indicated that these were used by those people and represented local features, objects or creatures of their world and their associations.
I closed the book somewhat reluctantly and with a strange feeling of exhilaration.
I stood up somewhat dazed and taking up my cane and the book made my way to the owner to ask him if I might buy it. He examined it carefully for a moment and then smiled, ‘Oh that one you can have for free. I don’t have to buy them you see.’
‘Someone donates them?’ I asked rather puzzled.
‘Well, you could put it like that. Why don’t you have a look at the place where you found it,’ he smiled urging me with a wave of his hand to do so.
Leaving him to wrap the book I returned to where I had found it and, sure enough, another copy was now standing in the same place. I was sure I’d taken the only copy.
‘Strange isn’t it?’ he said as I walked back. ‘My assistant says that corner’s haunted but I reckon everything happens for a reason, don’t you?’ There was a twinkle in his eye.
Rather perplexed, my mouth formed into a brief smile and thanking him I picked up the offered parcel and stepped hurriedly out into the street. Somehow the air had an unexpected freshness which helped calm my somewhat shaken nerves and the few people passing by turned to smile in an unusually friendly way. I headed off home with mixed feelings of bewilderment and euphoria.”

The rest of the story tells of the writer seeing the world change before his eyes and the marvels that subsequently occurred. He came to firmly believe that the books somehow opened up a sort of window through which the power of those distant people traveled to ‘revive’ the people of Earth, releasing them from the curse that had blemished their lives since time began.
I tried to find further information on the origins of the story but to no avail. Call me an old fool, but when I enter bookshops now, I’m always on the lookout for that one book which I hope one day might find me.

The End

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A distant voice reduced to words
But still she makes her feelings show.
A caring one from southern climes
Someone whom I shall never know.
With eyes that see beyond their sight
She peers into that endless night,
To search for wonders, strangeness blind
On worlds that some will never find.
Adventures of the ceaseless mind
That harbors tales of all mankind
In dreams that may not be fulfilled.
But what is life if dreams are gone,
If wishes never more bring tears
Or laughter fails to drive one on?

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Swarms

There is a wonderful TV documentary series from the British BBC on swarming animals which is well worth seeing if you get the chance. UK viewers can see repeats via the internet site of the BBC. For others the series will almost certainly be distributed world wide and become available on DVD sometime in the future.
The series is proof that there is a group intelligence at work in the animal world. It appears that there is a group memory into which individuals can implant new learned knowledge that others then instantly have available. In short the individual organism is really just a integral part of a larger organism containing all individuals.
During the latest episode I watched there were the familiar shots of birds in huge flocks moving as one and adapting to danger instantaneously in all sorts of complicated ways.
A swarm that was really fascinating was that of a Fire Ant colony that was moving away from its present location as it was being threatened by a rapidly rising water level. The members worked together to quickly form a ‘raft’ consisting of the whole colony.
The workers carried the pupae and used some of them as flotation sacks around the edges. Some soldiers absorbed air into their bodies so that they could survive for a time under water to sustain the submerged part of the colony. They all formed a cohesive structure with the queen and other pupae protected inside and the leading soldiers paddling to move the whole structure towards dry land. They somehow also reached a consensus on the right direction to travel in. While this is going on the winged males and females were moving around on top ready to take flight to produce a new colony should the present one be inundated and lost.
It was really amazing to see the heights of intelligence to which these ‘primitive creatures’ were capable.
Then there was a colony of bees that were in search of new nesting site. Apparently there are scouts that do the initial searching and when one of them finds a possible location, it carefully takes measurements as to suitability, including size and climatic variables. If the results are positive it flies back to the colony and gives directions and distance to others by performing a complicated dance. Then a group of more scouts follows the finder to the potential new site and its members perform the same inspection. When finished they come together as if they’re discussing the situation, and if a positive consensus view is reached they fly back and direct the colony to follow them to the new location.
Science has discovered that communication in insects largely takes place through the use scents (pheromones) though this doesn’t appear to tell the whole story as the activities of the bees show.
These are just a few examples taken from the series.
As I’ve suggested elsewhere there are signs that man as an individual has a similar if not identical “connection” with his race which, though now weak in most, may have been generally much stronger in the past. Some individuals still seem to be born with a strong connection and many seemingly strange abilities can be explained by such a group intelligence e.g.

1. Twins who communicate instantly over great distances.
2. General telepathic communication.
3. Mediums who can communicate with the racial memory.
4. Racial memories recovered under hypnosis, often being interpreted as past lives.

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When darkness speaks with silken tongue
And whispered lies caress my ears
Then I must look through eagle’s eyes
Behind the mask of its disguise.

To see the truth laid bare at last
The cunning power it has amassed
To guide our thoughts down narrow ways
That lead to where the music plays
The soothing sounds that bring the smiles
And seat us in the crowded aisles
To wait for it to touch our hearts
With poison from its numbing darts
That seeps through veins to feed our souls
And fashion those that it controls
To bend our will to its intent
Until our days are cold and spent.

But now I know, then I will fight
And use the tactics of the night
To thwart the one who rules by fear
And those who cannot shed a tear
Until the one born from the flame
With her shall then reveal the shame
Then all at once the light will shine
As fire returns what once was mine
Then masks will melt from faces pale
As freedom peers through night’s torn veil
And lowered guns are pushed aside
By those who no more need to hide.

Inspired by the film of the same name.

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Yes, I was (Oh, alright then, I still am) a fan of Star Trek: the science fiction series that has now unfortunately fizzled out due to declining viewing numbers, the curse of the entertainment industry. The old episodes are, however, still being broadcast in many parts of the world to a still eager public, both young and old.
The series includes some great adventures which explore the limits of thought, if one is not averse to the science fiction element of the storyline, which is of course the main ingredient.
Looking back, however, I do see that there is another darker side to the glowing aspirations for the future of the human race conjured up by this series.
While viewing over the years I gradually became irritated by the fact that although mankind is portrayed on the one hand as a species evolving positively with time on a global level: all for one and one for all, peace on Earth; no famine, no money (needed): no racial intolerance, that sort of thing; all the human emotions are still in tact, including aggression and hostility- a conundrum.
Even the necessary alien contingent and various ‘superior’ beings can’t escape being cursed by emotions. The writers of the series also seemed to share my view to some extent as they invented quite early on an allied species called the Vulcans, whose individuals have learned to suppress their emotions using severe psychological techniques.
This introduced many interesting situations, but the humans with their emotions are never allowed to become inferior. It is mostly the Vulcans themselves who are always struggling with their hidden alter egos. But they did introduce a weak sort of balance. I liked the Vulcans, you could depend on them. One of them called Spock permeates the series as a strong, moving character able to instil unusual awe with his logical approach to everything.
There is also the dreaded Borg, a bionic (half human, half android) race. These have a hive mentality with a queen and automaton drones all telepathically connected. Only the queen is allowed to have emotions for obvious reasons of servitude. Their only driving force is to assimilate other races and their knowledge to enhance their own, which they do quite successfully using their vastly superior technology. Captives are rapidly converted into replicas of themselves. “You will be assimilated, resistance is futile” is the last thing many races hear through their loudspeakers before they become Borg themselves together with their children, dogs, cats and all.
The Borg’s seeming immortality and overpowering technical strength allows them to almost destroy the humans numerous times, but they never quite succeed and near the end of the series the latter find a pathogen to destroy them.
There are robots in all sorts and sizes (a necessary part of any future human development), but they have mostly minor rolls and as such are hardly ever involved with emotional activities if at all. There is one exception, however, in the form of Data, an android (a robot resembling a human). Why they never got around to calling him something like B3X2 I shall never understand. Of course, Henry or George wouldn’t have been appropriate either, would they? If you can come up with something more original let me know.
He is one of the main characters and in most (if not all) respects superior to his human companions, not only in strength and computing ability, but because he has no emotions and can therefore react objectively and with optimal efficiency in every situation. He is the only really dependable member of the crew and has saved the day on many occasions when his human companions succumbed to some incapacitating alien influence, often psychological. I say ‘he’ and not ‘it’ because he is given the appearance of a human male (sorry ladies), though his overly pale face does firmly stamp him as non human.
He is another of my favorite characters, magnificently portrayed by the actor Brent Spiner, who deserves a special mention here. However, even he (the character not Brent) has to be yearning and searching for his ‘missing’ emotions, because he is constantly coerced by his human companions into believing that this will lead to vital improvements to his ‘personality’, poor fellow. He manages, against his will, to stay clear of emotional responses for quite a while but does eventually succumb, when humans produce a computerized implant for him containing programmed emotions – the devil’s elixir.
Later in the “Voyager” episodes we come across a holographic physician – the Doctor, who also has a naming problem and yes, he (sorry again ladies) is a creature of solid-feeling electromagnetism, who from a simple automaton, a medical assistant, develops through experience and with the help of technology, partly alien, into a full blown intelligent being who eventually also receives programmed emotions to make him more human. He is so pleased with the result that he invents his own electromagnetic family. Umm.
These non human entities together with their multiracial human and alien companions live on board the spaceship called the Enterprise, which like the sphinx, reincarnates with each new series, though in this case becoming bigger and better than ever. The crew members are cast as explorers, going ‘out there’ where no man had gone before (well as far as we know), to make contact with new species, new civilizations; offering the hand of friendship and peaceful cooperation. They have a Prime Directive not to interfere with the natural development of other species, which of course is an impossible undertaking for any explorers. There are scientists on board as well as the usual operations personnel and a military contingent, just in case.
All very clean cut and admirable, an example to all little green blobs everywhere one might say, except that human emotions and involvements continually get in the way of any significant universal progress. Indeed the only real progress made is in the accumulation of new technical skills enabling them to overcome (always in self defence of course) various aggressors they meet on their exploratory path through the Galaxy and sometimes temporarily beyond.
Oh yes, some humans transcend into other realities and dimensions to become lesser gods and such, but if they don’t exhibit emotional responses then they’re on their own.

Some might say that the technology of Star Trek should be firmly locked away in the realm of fantasy but I wouldn’t be so sure. Two of the technologies are most intriguing, at least to me, so I’ll bother you with them and apologize in advance if I’ve bored you.
The first is the matter-transporter or teleportation device. To put it simply, one steps inside it and seconds later steps out into a new location perhaps light minutes (awfully far) away. Your atomic structure is transformed by the device into an energy beam which is then sent to another device that receives it and converts it back into you. Although the technical details involved are mind-bogglingly difficult in practice, you won’t hear me say the idea is impossible.
The second I want to mention is the cloaking device, whereby a vessel can become undetectable to electromagnetic radiation; in other words invisible to the eye or other sensitive devices. This idea is not new and was invented long before the series began, but with Star Trek the idea really came to life so to speak. Such technology has been around in the real world for some time also in the form of, for example, radar absorbing paint for stealth aircraft.
Recently scientists have discovered a means of deflecting incoming radiation around objects thus making them effectively invisible. Other techniques using special materials and plasmas are in active development. Although the military applications are obvious and, as always, form an immediate priority, one can imagine other uses. Traffic wardens might see the advantage of an invisibility cloak, such as the one used by Harry Potter.
The Enterprise crew members are good in a fight, and if they do suffer a temporary setback they always have the ability to rebound and win in some fashion or at least escape with their dignity still in tact. Aliens are either enemies or friends, of course, and as the latter they make little lasting impression on the humans, being allowed to take their place, if they so desire (which most of them do when they hear about all the gadgets), in the flotilla of the ‘United Federation of Planets’. This is a collection of species who manage to tolerate each other for their mutual benefit. ‘Friendlies’ who do not wish to join are quickly left behind with smiles of gratitude for any help or grins of disbelief.
Well I could go on, and on, about great acting performances, wonderful stories and the wealth of gadgets, but I’ll leave our friends now, pressing on at tremendous speed to their next meeting or glorious battle with who knows who or what.
On a more philosophical note, most would say that without the support of emotional involvement there can be little or no character development in stories, producing characters with no real sense of adventure, achievement or overcoming. They would undoubtedly add that such storylines would appear dreadfully dull and uninteresting to viewers. However, Data (the android, remember?) for example, proves to be an exception to this rule. His unemotional attempts to understand and simulate human emotions produce some of the most touching and hilarious moments of the series. The important thing it would seem to me is to be able to arouse emotions in the audience and a character without them can apparently accomplish this.
The standard Vulcan would, of course, see this series merely as a documentary of human expansion with humans doing stupid, mostly unproductive, things from time to time; largely getting in the way of normal progress. The unemotional Data would be looking on with attempts at admiration for his betters.
Another irritation worth scratching is the use of unproven scientific theories in the series such as black holes, stellar and solar system evolution, portrayed as if they were facts. But I do like the idea of the speed of light being surpassed. The real scientists, who often had a hand in the making of the series, weren’t too happy with this one I can tell you. The writers invented the warp drive: an advanced engine where ten times light speed is the upper limit when putting one’s foot down. And if that’s not fast enough then there are wormholes, which were more to the scientist’s liking as they considered them a theoretically possible. These are a sort of corridor in space, allowing one on entry to rapidly appear in another part of the universe as easily as walking from the front door to the garage. Well perhaps a bit bumpier. It’s a pity that the races on the other side didn’t have much more to offer than those on this side.
Why am I going on about the importance or otherwise of emotions and the distortion of facts you might ask? It is, after all, just good clean entertainment, I hear you say. Okay, true, but then like all public media it disseminates ideas and influences the mental processes of its viewers, especially the younger ones in this instance. To portray humans as the saviours of the Galaxy while stressing the importance of the emotional side of human behaviour, which is based on purely egotistical reactions, seems to me to be rather misleading and counterproductive to a story of human advancement. The portraying of unproven scientific theories as scientific facts is also misleading.
Although I have been critical of some aspects of the series, I do recommend it as a worthwhile viewing experience, where one can learn a great deal about human values and their importance or otherwise for the future of mankind.

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