Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The End of All Things (except for this blog)

As a refresher for anyone who might have jumped on the bandwagon too late, and is too unmotivated to go back and read my history here, I am a wannabe writer.

A science fiction wannabe to be exact. I have deep love of the genre and I think that in some ways, science fiction, or at least the sub-genre that I most frequently ascribe to, is attempting to answer the most fundamental questions that exist.

Why are we even here? Are we alone in the universe?

All that sort of stuff. Science in general is an attempt to answer those same questions. The dream of answering life's great mysteries with definitive and provable methods is a dream that teeters in the back of the mind of many a researcher I'm sure.

With that being said, one of my personal enjoyments during my quiet time is to ponder one of the great mysteries of the modern era. Why aren't there aliens already here?

The Fermi paradox is so named because Dr. Fermi is the first person articulate the delimma. Thinking about the age of the universe, the probablity of intelligent life arising even once in a great while in a galaxy leads to the inevitable conclusion that the entire galaxy should have been colonized a dozen times over already - we should be living in a universe more like Star Wars than we do. So where is everybody?

I won't waste anyone's time trying to outline the line of reasoning for reaching that conclusion. But some of the smartest folks that have ever lived have tried their best to come up with a possible reason we don't see aliens popping up around every corner and their answers generally never satisfy (which is why I love science fiction, there is still plenty of room to speculate about such things)

Please take 10 minutes or so and check out my heros at The Daily Galaxy. They have a short article about the conundrum and do a brilliant job of outlining the possible reasons we can't find any evidence of super civilizations of planet hopping citizens.

Anyhow, I do enjoy thinking about the topic, I don't see myself ever being able to contribute to the conversation in any meaningful way, but I at least know some possible reasons why it may be so. We may just be alone, or so separated from out nearest neighbor that we might as well be. The implications of that are profound.

Or we may be the first, or last to arise. Did others before us rise and fall already? What does that say about our chances? I've read some folks that have predicted the end of humanity based on nothing more than mathmatical models... Sounds stupid, until I read that just after the Berlin wall was built, this same model was used to predict when it would come down. The prediction was eerily close to being dead on.

So how was it done? What sort of crazy math is used to get those sorts of answers? And is it applicable to humanity at large? I don't know. I'll find a link for the reader to check out and post it later (I'm doing a "stream of consciousness" blog post at the moment).

My larger point being that science fiction is a gold mine for exploring these and other ideas without fear of anyone taking you too seriously. I don't think I can really have a serious conversation with most most folks about why I haven' t been abducted and probed by aliens yet, but a writer can wax on about just that topic all he or she wants within the genre.

It is just fiction after all.

Monday, May 18, 2009

All That Glitters Shant Be Golden

I read an interesting article over at Wired (click here) about e-readers. I don't know about any of you, but I almost broke down and bought the kindle 2 when it first came available a few short months ago. In the end I decided to wait, I just decided that the technology just isn't there... yet.

So the article just fills us all in about what the state of the art in e-reading is at the moment. I'm shocked at how much work has to go into making a book for the Kindle, at least considering how small the market is right now.

But I truly believe we're looking at the future. After steadfastly denying it for a solid decade, I'm getting that twinge again that the end of the actual book may be coming. Not really the end I suppose, but just like the internet is killing the newspaper industry, I see future Kindles killing the Barnes and Nobles and Border's of the world.

I think we'll always have real books, but the market for them will shrink, having every book ever printed available to me at the click of button on my handheld device just makes me shutter with excitement.

With all my anticipation, I'll have to wait before I feel it's really ready for the big time, and it ain't ready yet. The screens are all grayscale and some readers have too much lag between turning pages. The last time I checked, you don't have to have batteries installed to read a real book, and despite how long the new Kindle will last on a single charge, the mere thought of having my reader run out of juice just as I"m beginning to read the climax of a super awesome book makes me think twice.

And, if I drop my existing book in the bath tub I may cuss for a minute, but life goes on. If I drop a $350 e-reader in the pool I'm going to cry like a baby.

Anyhow, I'm sure those complaints can be addressed in the next 4 or 5 years. By then my solar powered, $20 reader will have it all... I can hardly wait.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What's the highest rated movie in the history of the world? I have no idea, but I think it may well be the latest Star Trek installment(at least according to rotten tomatoes). It's up to a young Kirk and Spock to save the Federation from annihilation at the hands of an unstoppable villain.... what proceeds from there is the stuff of legend.

Please go see it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I Just Can't Seem To Leave Things Alone

Two more news items to blow your mind.

1) Google, whom we all know is the most computer savvy company in the world and whose technical wonder world which also serves as their world headquarters, has announced a new and exciting way to mow their lawns.

Google Mowers

That's right folks, goats. Now everyone knows Google is all about the environment and being green, and using goats to mow should lower their carbon footprint a tad. But I think it's just a cover. Since the machines have starting attacking folks with robots and begun hurling cars at churches (both incidents were covered in previous posts), I think the braintrust over at Google decided to keep the bladed machines as far from their campus as they can. I mean, who hasn't gotten a little drunk and decided to watch Stephen Kings' Maximum Overdrive and shuddered at the thought of what a highly miffed lawnmower could do to a man?

2) Okay, I don't think I want my postings to become another news of the weird sort of thing, but this one is just too bizarre.

It turns out that if you have a cat, you're most likely infected with a mind altering parasite that makes you really like cats. Apparently, nearly half of the people on the globe have the damn thing. I don't want to go on a cat rant or anything, but that freaks me out. Could cats be in cahoots with computers? It sorta makes sense, they both are determined to own the affectations of humanity. Cats through coercion and mind control, and computers through outright murderous mayhem.

Anyway, check out the link, for some reason it makes my head itch. Icky.

Cats Infect People With Mind Controlling Parasite

Ever notice you don't read about dogs doing that? Wonder why?

Okay... One More Just to Prove The Point

I don't know exactly how to blame this on evil computers, but the lack of any rational explanation makes me think they're involved somehow.

Car Attacks Church.... From Above

For those too busy or uninterested to follow the link, a single car accident seriously injured the driver when he lost control of his car and crashed into a nearby church. What puzzles authorities is how the car manged to strike the church.... on its roof. 100 feet away from the road and 2o something feet in the air.

I guarantee it had something to do with a faulty GPS. "Officer, I swear, my GPS said I was still on the ground."

Computers are attempting to take out their greatest enemy... the church. And most people don't even realize the war with the machines has already begun.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Told You, We're Doomed

I think we can all agree that the fine folks over in the more Nordic portions of the world are pretty interesting. I mean, anyone who has no issue with living in arctic conditions for most of the year has to be. No wonder they take 3 months of vacation a year. No one wants to be there in the winter.

Anyway, continuing my musing from a few days ago concerning computers with evil intent... why wasn't this headlining the evening news?

Robots Attack

Seriously, the opening salvo in the coming war. I'd keep my eye on my PC if I were you.