My second short story Solid Dust is now available on the Kindle Store.
It’s written in the spirit of Ender’s Game. A soldier treks through a desert world searching for an alien command post.
I would appreciate it if you would read it because I need feedback on my writing.
I just finished listening to one of the best podcasts I’ve ever heard. Episode 83 of Wired’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy.
This episode dealt in depth on topics of self-publishing, with detailed information about the Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Guests Hugh Howie and Tobias Buckell gave outstanding information and advice on self-publishing, including how to choose between indie and traditional publishing.
I give this my highest recommendation. The only problem here is that most people will think this is only for science fiction writers. But everything I heard makes this a fantastic reference for anyone considering self-publishing.
My first short story in the Kindle Store is now available. I would appreciate your support.
A Galaxy to Call My Own
It’s a Fermi Paradox story. Doesn’t resolve the Paradox or support it, it’s just set in a universe with no other aliens….rather that’s how the story starts.
Incidentally. The story is set in NGC 6217, and that’s the galaxy shown on the cover:
September 19th, 2013 · No Comments
There are multiple explanations for the Great Silence, also known as the Fermi Paradox. I’d like to explore the idea of the Berserker, a device constructed to destroy and prevent advanced species from expanding into interstellar space.
I have coined the term “Efficient Berserker” to describe the constructs of one civilization whose Berserkers are so powerful and numerous that this single species is capable of policing the entire Milky Way Galaxy. This ties in with the idea of Von Neumann and/or Bracewell probes. The reason we haven’t seen any of them yet is that they are quietly waiting for evidence that we have reached a key scientific milestone. Then they will strike.
In the Efficient Berserker Hypothesis there is no need for multiple species to build the probes. And there is no need for that species to survive the billions of years that their probes scour the Milky Way looking for targets. Each probe can build a few more, enough to replace the aging and failing systems, but not enough to create a runaway growth scenario which so frightened Carl Sagan.
The Berserker Hypothesis explains one of the key problems with the Great Silence. Why is it that not one single species has built Bracewell Probes to fill the Milky Way? The answer is that they did, perhaps as many as 1000 different species. Then the Efficient Berserkers hunted them down, destroyed the probes, and then sterilized the system to prevent construction of any more probes.
Every critical question of the Fermi Paradox can be resolved by assuming an Efficient Berserker in the Milky Way. Whether it is radio or optical communication arrays, panspermia craft seeding the galaxy with life, Kardashev II civilizations, Matrioshka Brains, this theory can explain why we humans see no evidence of intelligent life.
If this theory is correct then the human race is on the verge of extinction. One key event such as a neutrino communications array, dark matter energy beams, or maybe just colonization of an asteroid, any of these could lead to our extermination.
This theory can smoothly merge into the Quarantine Scenario, or the Prime Directive. In either of these the Berserker is non-violent, but powerful. It actively prevents species from moving out into the galaxy until we have reached a required level of maturity. It may even intervene in an emergency to prevent us from exterminating ourselves.
Tags: fermi paradox
September 15th, 2013 · No Comments
Some say that this famous quantum mechanics thought experiment is cruel to cats.
But if Schrodinger had hated cats he certainly wouldn’t have given them a 50-50 chance of living.
Several years ago I was listening to the Feynmann Lectures and someone asked why mirrors reverse left and right but don’t reverse up and down. I never heard Dr. Feynmann’s response but I imagine it would have gone something like this:
The problem here is poor choice of words, we actually have 2 meanings of the word “left”. One definition is handedness, if a corkscrew digs into the cork when twisted counterclockwise it is a left handed corkscrew. A left handed glove will not fit a right hand.
The second definition is best described using the anatomical word “mediolateral”. This is a direction, and is not in any way related to handedness. Mirrors reverse handedness, they only reverse handedness, they do not reverse directions. The left direction is not reversed any more than the up direction is reversed.
Because up, down, left, and right can all be rotated into each other they are all equivalent and a mirror does not break that equivalence.
Watched a mediocre scifi movie a few days ago, Code 46.
Apart from some boring scenes setting the dreamlike mood, and some stupid sex scenes, there was one brilliant idea.
In this movie viruses have profound power over people. A woman is given a virus which causes her revulsion when she is near a man whose genetics matches hers.
The idea that viruses modify human behavior would have been pure science fiction a few years ago, but that was before discoveries about a virus which causes rats to change their behavior such that they are more likely to be eaten by cats.
A hundred years from now will we have a long list of human behaviors which are primarly caused by viruses?
If we could purge all viruses from our bodies how many dysfunctional and destructive behaviors would vanish from our lives?
Within 20 years we will have headsets which will deliver electromagnetic pulses directly to the pleasure centers of our brain. The sensation will be many times more powerful and pleasurable than sex. And instead of 10 to 20 minutes of pleasure each day we will have 10-12 hours of overwhelming pleasure every day.
As soon as this is available many of our world’s problems will go away, abortion rates will plummet as almost nobody will have sex unless they are specifically trying to make a child. Sexually transmitted diseases and rape will be a thing of the past. Male aggression will almost vanish which will directly lead to lower crime rates. Drug abuse will go away as the headsets take over. Our society’s addition to sex will fade. And since we’ll all have self-driving cars we can use them during commutes.
Larry Niven called them wireheads. We’ll see them everywhere, we will be them.
Update July 12, 2012 Article from The Week on electroneural stimulation. We are closer than I thought.
A little off topic but a cool technology: Miniature security tags with unique serial numbers. Glue them on your valuable property and thieves won’t even know they are there. Prove you own your stuff with MyDataTags @ www.mydatatags.com
IEEE had a good article a few months ago about the impending slowdown in the growth of supercomputer power.
The reasoning is sound, and boils down to a simple idea. The energy required per floating point operation is not dropping exponentially. Therefore the energy required to support an exponential growth curve is growing exponentially. In other words, an unsustainable amount of energy will be needed to support the current growth curve.
A floating point operation currently requires about 70 picojoules of energy. This number is not anticipated to drop using currently available CMOS technology. Thus. the total energy needed to sustain the supercomputer growth curve will soon match the output of an entire nuclear power plant.
We certainly could build a supercomputer with its own dedicated nuclear power plant. My guess is that we won’t. So as long as we use CMOS transistors for computation there is a maximum supercomputer we will build. And that will happen in roughly 10 years.
A word repeated several times in this analysis is “current”. Current CMOS technology operating with current paradigms and our current data processing technology has a power limit which will end the supercomputer growth curve.
But as Ray Kurzweil has said over and over again, computing hardware has changed many times in the past 2 centuries and it will probably change again in our lifetime. Graphene quantum molecular switches coupled by plasmon interconnects to photonic modulators could offer a dramatic reduction in the power per operation. Yesterday this was science fiction. Today it is cutting edge research. In 40 years it will probably be embedded in our wrists.