It’s Just Common Cave-Sense

You may have heard about the Neanderthal cave art recently. It’s over 40,000 years old and looks like a hashtag.

Hashtag ooga-booga.

Hashtag ooga-booga.

I have another theory. I mean, when you’re hanging out in a cave all day, hiding from the saber-toothed tigers, usurping humans, and ravenous t-rexes (REFERENCE 1960’s B-Movies) outside, you’ve got to pass the time somehow.

Good for one use only.

Good for one use only.

This is supposed to be evidence that Neanderthals were not as dumb as once thought. Apparently, these little scrapings are the evidence scientists needed to say, “Hey. Maybe these cavemen and women and little cave children actually had something going on upstairs.”

Really?

So here’s this species, obviously capable of family values, respect for the dead, surviving in the wilderness, and probably communication. All this time, we’re like, “Yeah, but they’re dumb.”

Until we find a few lines scraped into a rock. Now all of a sudden they’re cave-geniuses.

I would contend – based on the common sense centers of my brain – that Neanderthals had not evolved the same level of intelligence as modern humans, but being so close on the evolutionary tree, that they would certainly have had some kind of rudimentary civilized thinking going on at some level. Whether they hummed by the fire, or decorated their clothes, or grunted out a lullaby to soothe little Unga to sleep, Neanderthals weren’t the brainless shells that some people seem to think.

Ah, the good ol’ homo sapien superiority complex rears its head once again.

God forbid someone figures out a way to get a dolphin to hold a rock and scrape a wall, because then we might start thinking that THEY were intelligent too.

Sheesh.

It’s Time for the You-Know-What Talk

It’s time we talked about entropy.

Imagine the motion in our universe: swirling galaxies, blazing suns, roaming comets, the clouds above our heads, and the blood in our veins. Everything moves. The universe is constantly changing — matter and energy constantly shifting into a different arrangement with every passing moment. We denote these different states of the universe by stamping them with a date and time.

We call it measuring time, but in reality we’re just labeling the different arrangements of the universe. Like looking at yearbook photos throughout your life, each labeled by the year on the cover. Each year, you grow and change. We could describe when the photo was taken by charting the exact arrangement of every atom and quanta of energy in the universe at that moment, or we could just give it a number.

“You took that photo in universe #1994. Not 95 or 93, but universe number one-nine-nine-four.”

Instead of saying when the photo was taken by describing the exact arrangement of every atom in the universe, we decide to give it a number called “time.” 

If you take all the atoms right now in the universe, and re-arrange them into that same arrangement as in 1994, then you could re-live that moment perfectly. 

But until we learn to completely control matter and energy as easily as breathing, things will continue to move and tear themselves apart.

Dark matter rends apart galaxies, suns explode, comets erupt, clouds disperse, and we eventually return to ash and dust and blow away.

And at the same time, space is expanding.

That’s what space – like outer space – does; it expands. Space expands, but the amount of matter stays finite. Eventually, there won’t be enough matter to fill this ever-expanding universe.

Imagine a far future, where all the atoms have finally dissolved into individual little particles roaming a vast and empty universe, never even seeing each other, because space has expanded and stretched so far. They would never interact enough to form basic molecules, let alone suns and planets.

When space expands in our universe, it’s like a house that keeps adding on a room every year forever. You were given a box of chocolates, and told you had to keep at least some chocolate in each room. But you were never given any more chocolates. So you have to start chopping them up. Pretty soon, you’re getting to the microscopic level, leaving little molecules of chocolate in the newest rooms, just to have something in each room. Eventually, you have to tear apart the molecules into atoms, and the atoms into quarks to spread into the new rooms. Then into little strings of energy, the tiniest concept of matter that humans have ever perceived.

At that point, when the universe has expanded so much and matter has spread so thin, the universe will have become essentially inert, changeless, uniform in all directions. An “ultimate state of inert uniformity,” as Merriam-Webster likes to call it. Motionless. No need to measure time anymore, because one state of the universe is exactly the same as any other state at this point. From that point on, the past is the same as the future.

Time stops.

1994 Yearbook Photo

              1994 Yearbook Photo

The Long Awaited Arrival of, “We Shall See.”

It’s been a long time, my friends, since my sabbatical post over a year ago. I reported that I’d be on leave from blogging until I finished the novel.

I finished it.

Now it’s in the hands of fate and the future universe, and the sabbatical is over.

Will it catch an agent’s interest? Will it sell to a publisher? Will it be on shelves and electronic devices the world over?

Will I finally get that pandicornegasus I always wanted? 

I'm not sure of all its powers yet.

I’m not even sure of all its powers yet.

I know not. Debut novels have a history of failures to launch. Ray Bradbury contributed hundreds of them. 

I’ll tell you what, though. 

I’ve started work on the second one. 

Yup. Gonna keep pushing out the query letters in a steady stream, but moving on to the next novel. More on that later.

The process of writing that initial novel was like going to school. I learned so much along the way. It was the thesis of my education. Now I can apply that learning to the writing of the second book. I think I can pound it out in a year or so, a fraction of the time of the first one, and with fewer road bumps along the way.

So I think I can at least call myself a writer at this point. The book is done. I’m moving on.

I think it came out pretty well. ;-)

And the next one’s gonna be killer, too.

See you at the next post.

The Mathematics of Murder: Should a Robot Sacrifice Your Life to Save Two? | Popular Science

The Mathematics of Murder: Should a Robot Sacrifice Your Life to Save Two? | Popular Science.

 

Wow. This was a cool article. Really robot-ish and all. Would lethal war weapons be legal if they were too lethal? According to Geneva Convention-related articles, weapons should give the targets a 25% chance of field mortality or 5% chance of hospital mortality. Robot weapons could be 100% lethal.

Or a robot car — what if your car had to swerve off a cliff to save the lives of two oncoming drivers? Would your robot car just fling you off the cliff? You’d be reading a book, and then whoosh.

Can people CHOOSE what to believe???

Say you don’t believe in something.

Not, you don’t BELIEVE something — like your buddy thought Dark of the Moon was a good movie (pssst…it wasn’t) — but that you don’t believe IN something, like God or evolution or ghosts or meat-eating or spontaneous combustion or Pluto.

Can you choose to believe in it? I mean, is belief a function of years of conditioning — environment and genetics molding your heart and brain into one certain believe system? Or can you REALLY wake up one day and just BELIEVE — for the long term too, not just like for a weekend or something because there’s some hot religious orgy going on and you’ve got nothing better to do because your elephant drag race was cancelled.

People have been reborn and have had awakenings and all that, so maybe — like my health insurance — if there’s a life changing event (birth, death, bad case of indigestion) then I guess you’re allowed to change your mind.

Sometimes during the day I’ll hear about something that I don’t believe in, and I ask myself — what would that be like to believe that? And basically, in order to do that, all those little dissenting voices in my head would have to shut up. They’re all screaming, “HEY! That’s a load of BS! It goes against everything you…um…believe! There’s no way the universe exists like that!” So for me to just switch, then all those voices would have to go away, because it’s not the same to simply ignore them. I’m not talking about going along with something, I’m talking BELIEVE something heart and soul.

I believe I’m done now.

2013 in review – Web Statistics and What’s to Come in 2014

Hey Everyone!

WordPress pulled together some stats about ScienceForFiction.com for 2013 that I’d like to share.

Thanks all for stopping by! Happy New Year!

Remember to check out QuantumFairyTales.com once in a while — great art, shorts, and stories.

Also stop by TheScienceOfSanta.com too, for some of my theories on Santa’s supposedly magic abilities — more to come prior to Dec. 25, 2014.

The novel is nearly complete. I’m in final revisions and expect to submit it for consideration to agents in spring. It’s been a long time coming, but I really like how it turned out, so it was worth it. I’m dying to give out a teaser…how about this: I’ll pick a completely random sentence and paste it here. That way I’m not committing to any one sentence (like the first or last), because I might revise my first sentence and then regret pasting it here — you know how writers can be; that’d be a head-slapper.

I plugged in my word count to a random number generator (range 0-75,550) and got the number 3,262. I’ll go to that word in the story and write out the sentence that it’s in. Remember! Still draft…

Okay — here we go — completely random sentence from my first, still draft, novel:

Ha! Well, in terms of dialogue, narrative, or internal first-person thinking-to-himself thought (indicated by italics), this is a thought. A line in italics means someone’s thinking it to himself or herself. This is a third-person novel, but occasionally people think things that I write out in italics. Make sense? Okay — here it is –

Why couldn’t they just work?

*******BOOM CRASH POW**** <–fireworks

See you next year!

Your friend,

Tim

Alright — here are the stats. Have a great year, everyone!

[post revised to fix comma in word count]

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,400 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

It’s up! Check out BILLY AND THE OCTOPUS GIRL today!

Hey All!

Been a while, but I’m working furiously to finish my novel. In the meantime, I still contribute to Quantum Fairy Tales, an awesome e-zine of spec fiction.

Their Halloween issue features my most favoritest ScienceForFiction yet! It’s called

BILLY AND THE OCTOPUS GIRL

and I love it! Truly, this is the best example of my writing voice yet. This tone — the language, pacing, perspective — are very much like what the novel sounds like. So even though I care about all my SFF pieces, this one has a special place in my heart. It’s also pretty frickin’ awesome if I do say so myself.

So check it out! And leave a comment too, because QFT is hosting a giveaway if you leave a comment. Check out the announcement and get a chance at winning one of the prizes!

As for me…back to finishing up final final final edits. Should be querying within the month.

Ciao all!