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The Purpose of Life

Quantum-Entangled Conciousness

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The AI became self-aware.

The Source of All Things

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Consciousness

Transmutation of Matter

Peer-to-Peer

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How Your Mind Works

The Ideal Computer

Virtual Reality

The Artisan's Apprentice

Humans Want To Know - Why?

Origin of the Universe

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From Here To There

What Your Parents Should Have Taught You

SETI

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Full Disclosure

Knowing The Right Thing To Do

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Doing The Right Thing

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Philosophy

Once upon a time, in the distant misty past, I majored in Philosophy at my small hometown college. I was frequently amazed at how often ostensibly great philosophers based their body of thought on a foundation of parochial and untenable ideas foisted on them by the culture into which they happened to have been born, overlooking the most fundamental step in developing a philosophy, which is to consider how one's own mind works.

The workings of the mind are vastly complex of course, but if I may be so bold, there are five aspects to be considered before all others:

First, it is possible that every thought, perception, and reaction is the inevitable product of the instant electro-chemical state of the brain in concert with external stimuli. If life is to have meaning, it is necessary to take the giant leap of faith that human thought is not entirely predetermined; that Free Will exists, and that each of us is ultimately responsible for our beliefs and behavior.

(I am fond of saying that when all else fails, I revert to the simplest possible philosophy, that being simply hoping that Free Will actually exists.)

Second, no entity can distinguish between a sense of epiphany and a delusion (that's why it's called a delusion). Regardless of how strong an emotional conviction may be, there is no such thing as emotional certainty. It is always possible that one's most deeply held beliefs may be wrong (and therefore it is never ethical to impose one's beliefs on any other person).

Third, organic brains naturally focus on survival, not Truth. The higher functions of the human brain developed to supplement biological characteristics and predilections that promote the perpetuation of the gene pool. Any Truth that conflicts with the focus on survival is summarily rejected. The search for truth must be a continuous conscious act, with the natural biases of one's own mind kept perpetually in mind.

Fourth, it is natural for a very young child to perceive his or her parents as all-knowing and all-powerful. The false illusion of safety and comfort provided by this delusion becomes our first natural neurotic addiction. When disillusionment inevitably occurs, our desperation for a fix is so intense that we will accept any substitute, no matter how ludicrous, usually force-fed to us by whatever religion into which we happen to have been born, in the form of a mystical parent-substitute, whose failure to protect innocents from the common miseries of life is dismissed as part of some "great plan". To protect our new delusion, we repress our ability to objectively and critically examine our adopted cultural biases, and begin from that tragic point to develop our "life" view as a series of death-oriented embellishments to a grand house of cards. We need not fear the fact that we are on our own. Inspiration flows from the knowledge that all we have is each other, and our natural sense of a Greater Good. Our sense of fulfillment comes from working to create a better life for all around us and all who will come after.

Fifth, the sense of a greater good is a product of natural selection, since a predilection to share resources enhances perpetuation of the gene pool. Ultimately each individual must choose between an appreciation of the sense of a greater good or self-interest as the foundation of his or her lifestyle.

Armed with these five gems of enlightenment, one can begin to build a philosophy that does not depend on superstition, childish wishful thinking, and spiritual cowardice.

We are living at the most critical juncture in human history. If we are not destroyed or sent back to the Stone Age by some religious nut or greedy biotech or nanotech company, we will have the chance to rise above superstition and ignorance, instead of continuing to wallow in it. We will have the chance to rise above human nature, and nature itself, and take charge of our destiny. Humanity may or may not have a role in the ultimate purpose of the universe (whatever that might be), but filling the universe with life while enhancing the experience of life for all life is a grand enough purpose for anyone.

Everything can be explained by Nature and Free Will.

The Purpose of Life ...

Is life

To enjoy life

To get the most out of life

To enhance the experience of life for all life

To fill the universe with life

... And ...

If we happen to discover and fulfill a higher purpose along the way, so much the better.

The Source of All Things

Here we are, insignificant mites on a microscopic speck of dust that some of the population refers to as "Earth", circling a tiny sun, one of countless stars in one of countless galaxies in what might be an infinite universe among an infinite number of universes, within a reality that might be one of an infinite number of realities within the meta-reality - the collection of all realities. And we, a race in its infancy filled with hubris, tell each other we know the source of everything, and label it "God" (in a few of hundreds of languages).

In itself, the label doesn't explain anything, doesn't mean anything, and in each culture and even each locality, yeah even in each mind, it carries with it such an ill-defined assortment of social-political baggage that it imbues any philosophical discussion with a chaotic mix of conflicting assumptions so confusing as to make the term meaningless and the discussion pointless.

Rather than using the term "God" I refer to the source of everything that exists in the meta-reality as the Source, with no implication regarding the nature of the Source, such as comprising intent, or even anything resembling an anthropomorphic intelligence.

One can imagine the meta-reality at a time when it consisted of a void, empty of energy or matter, changeless, without even the possibility of change, without even the possibility of the possibility ad infinitum, where time itself was meaningless because nothing existed to distinguish any change. Then at a point in this meaningless stream of time, the possibility of the possibility of change emerged. Everything that exists flowed from that event. The source of that possibility, and the source of that source, again ad infinitum, ultimately leads back to the Source, whatever it may be or may have been.

The question "Is there a God?" is the wrong question. A meaningful question would be "Is there a God that cares about humanity?". Despite all of our childish wishful thinking and willingness to turn a blind eye or attempts to rationalize the events around us, the answer to the latter question is "Obviously, no."

This very moment as you read this, innocents are being bombed, burned, shot, tortured, raped, poisoned, infected, imprisoned, abused, enslaved, born unwanted, and exploited. At this minute babies are being born with random birth defects that fill their short lives nothing but excruciating pain for days or weeks or longer, with no possibility of ever comprehending any purpose for their experience, let alone their existence. Every day you hear of a natural disaster that kills, maims, and devastates the most helpless and innocent populations on the planet, such as the tsunami that drowned or crushed 255 thousand men, women, children, and infants, after an inevitable geological event millions of years in the making that would have occurred whether or not humanity even existed.

The very idea of the existence of a being that could prevent all of these horrors yet chooses not to do so is too terrible to consider. These tragedies are not part of some "Great Plan". They are not "tests of faith" or "punishment of the wicked". They are testaments to the fact that no "God" that cares about humanity exists. We are on our own. Our motivation to do the right thing is the simple fact that all we have is each other.

So why do so many cling to the delusion of a caring God?

One of the things that make us human is that we want to know "why?". Our fellow animals on this planet don't care "why" bad things happen, they just care about how to avoid them. We are so driven to understand why things happen, especially why bad things happen to good people, that when we can't figure out the answer or we don't like a realistic answer, we make one up. We are quick to forsake critical thinking in favor of the comforts of our delusions.

Humans want to know "Why?". Why do things happen? How do things work? Why do bad things happen to good people? This is what makes us human.

When we can't find the answer, we guess. Some people keep in mind that this answer is only a guess, and keep looking for a better answer. Other people treat the guess as a fact for the rest of their lives unless hit over the head with a better answer.

When we find an answer we like, some people keep in mind that there still might be a better answer and the fact that this answer appeals to us is a reason to take it with a grain of salt. Other people treat the appealing answer as a fact for the rest of their lives unless hit over the head with a better answer.

When we find an answer we don't like, some people adapt and cope. Other people make up a more palatable answer and treat it as a fact for the rest of their lives unless hit over the head with a better answer.

Which kind of person are you? How hard is your head?

It is natural for a very young child to perceive his or her parents as all-knowing and all-powerful. The false illusion of safety and comfort provided by this delusion becomes our first natural neurotic addiction. When disillusionment inevitably occurs, our desperation for a fix is so intense that we will accept any substitute, no matter how ludicrous, usually force-fed to us by whatever religion we happen to have been born into, in the form of a mystical parent-substitute. To protect our updated delusion, we repress our ability to objectively and critically examine our adopted cultural biases, and begin from that tragic point to develop our "life" view as a series of death-oriented embellishments to a grand house of cards.

Our need for an explanation of why bad things happen to good people is so enormous and so pathetic that nearly any postulation will find adherents.

The cure for this disorder is to step back and start over - beginning with the first step that never even occurs to most people in developing a philosophy: Taking the time to consider how one's own mind actually works.

Consciousness

The activity of the subconscious mind is filtered for observation by the conscious mind. The consciousness mind provides feedback to the subconscious, but it is largely a passive observer, and occasional referee, of those elements of subconscious activity that are revealed through the filters.

Just as the brain is made up of more-evolved layers added to primordial layers, the subconscious is made up of more thoroughly filtered layers added to more chaotic sublayers. The core of the subconscious attempts to contemplate all ramifications that could result from the combination of instincts, memories, original thought, and external stimuli, and our reactions to these elements. These ramifications are filtered on the basis of how realistic they are and how germane they are to current circumstances.

The "fine line between genius and insanity" depends on optimally regulated filters. Less-constrained filters promote creativity and critical thinking, and sometimes a little zaniness. Overly-unconstrained filters allow the consciousness to be overwhelmed.

Behavior is determined by the efficiency and quality of the subconscious filtering and conscious override processes, which are products of both nature and nurture. Layers of personality are built up and do not readily change. Behavior reflects the most recent layers but is also affected by all prior layers. Behavior modification depends on supplementing prior experiences with those that enhance positive experiences and predilections and counter the negative, in order to mask the prior layers as well as to optimize the filtering and override processes by improving the criteria used to determine how realistic and germane a conclusion may be.

Studies that show the body initiates a response prior to the "conscious decision" to perform the response simply demonstrate that decisions are made at the subconscious level before being revealed to the conscious mind, which only observes and provides feedback to the activity except when overriding the subconscious decision. The role of consciousness as an observer is also demonstrated when a person perceives themselves as an observer during highly stressful events. Reported "out-of-body" experiences may support the idea that consciousness is associated with a phenomenon that exists separately from the physical body and its interaction with the subconscious.

Studies that show a subconscious response to an event before it actually occurs demonstrate that quantum entanglement allows information to flow through time in both directions, limited by the extent to which access to information from alternate futures is constrained by the instant probability set inherent in the local reality. The perception of this very limited information available from the future is further limited by the filtering processes.

It is possible that every thought, perception, and reaction is the inevitable product of the instant electro-chemical state of the brain in concert with external stimuli. However, if life is to have meaning, it is necessary to take the giant leap of faith that human thought is not entirely predetermined; that Free Will exists, and that each of us is ultimately responsible for our beliefs and behavior. And, I will add, that in order to remain sane in this world, it is necessary to indulge in the belief that there is something eternal about those we love.

Personal reflection on how well our filters are working, and evaluating whether they are limiting our imagination or allowing our past experiences and learned reactions to control our lives, can be life-changing.

What Your Parents Should Have Taught You

(as mine did)

*** Think for yourself. ***

*** Question everything. ***

The human mind is incapable of distinguishing between epiphany and delusion,

so take your own epiphanies with a grain of salt,

those of others with a spoonful of salt,

and those of anyone involved with an organized religion with a ton of salt.

Our minds naturally focus on survival, not truth,

and in fact tend to reject any truth that conflicts with our focus on survival.

Everyone is biased toward beliefs that make them feel safe, comfortable, or superior,

or otherwise mollify the survival instinct.

The search for truth requires a conscious continuing effort to overcome our biases.

Every individual must be allowed to independently develop their own beliefs,

and be held responsible for their own behavior.

Political and social institutions which deny freedom of non-violent expression must be eliminated.

With good intentions, our ancestors seek to pass on traditions that are more destructive than beneficial.

Everyone needs to do their best to rise above human nature and break the cycles of destructive traditions.

The human mind is incapable of comprehending the origin of the Universe

or any purpose for the Universe or for Humanity.

Each person is responsible for determining their own individual purpose.

Either we are alone in the universe or we are not.

If we are alone, our greater purpose begins with filling the universe with life.

Whether or not we are alone, our greater purpose is to enhance the experience of life for all life.

If we happen to discover and fulfill a higher purpose along the way, so much the better.

(For the Future Minded)

Existing political and social structures are now sustained by the need to compete for physical resources.

Humans will eventually develop the technology to transmute matter, making such structures anachronistic.

Knowing The Right Thing To Do

The key to knowing the right thing to do is to recognize and rise above the biases with which we were born and have learned.

Natural Biases

Our fundamental natural bias is to accept beliefs that appease our survival instinct,

and reject beliefs that conflict with our survival instinct,

regardless of whether the belief is true or false.

This instinct focuses on the survival of each individual's particular gene pool,

otherwise we would not exist.

This pits the survival of the individual against

the sacrifice of the individual for the good of the gene pool,

as when a parent puts himself or herself in peril to protect a child.

As a result, our survival instinct often not only steers us away from truth and toward falsehood,

it creates a fundamental conflict between self-interest and promoting the greater good.

Learned Biases

... Belief in the ability to distinguish between epiphany and delusion ...

I am frequently amazed at how often ostensibly great philosophers base their body of thought on a foundation of parochial and untenable ideas foisted on them by the culture into which they happened to have been born, overlooking the most fundamental step in developing a philosophy, which is to consider how one's own mind works.

In the words of that modern philosopher, Dirty Harry, "A man's got to know his limitations.".

Mountains of philosophical writings have been generated over the millennia without adequate (or any) consideration of the limitations of the human brain creating the output. Most of it, particularly religious writings, would never have been written if the authors had recognized and understood the error-prone nature of the brain.

Not only does the brain automatically filter out most of the input perceived by the senses to avoid overwhelming the conscious mind, it is hard-wired with biases that have survival value but do not reflect reality, logic, or ethics.

The sense of a greater good is a product of natural selection, since a predilection to share resources enhances perpetuation of the gene pool. No religious epiphany is necessary to appreciate the greater good.

... Belief in personal infallibility and acceptance of beliefs as unquestionable ...

Belief in one's own infallibility is not just a delusion, it is a mental illness.

One common source of this illness is immersion in a culture that discourages or prohibits questioning of its traditions, and that is lead by individuals who hold their own beliefs (and therefore themselves as regards those beliefs) to be infallible.

I recall a discussion many years ago with one of the sweetest, kindest people I've ever known, who had just become a Mormon. We were talking about child indoctrination practices, and her response was "yes, get them before the age of three, and you've got them for life". The ready acceptance of indoctrination of the vulnerable amazes me as much now as it did then.

I was raised to think for myself and to question everything. A philosophy based on any other approach seems obviously meaningless. Dogma only serves to maintain power for the powerful and distance us from independent, original thought. A meaningful philosophy requires rising above the tendency to accept whatever traditions one happens to have been born into, wallow in them, and cower behind them for the rest of one's life.

When one is accused of demonstrating an assumption of infallibility, the common response is along the lines of "I don't consider myself infallible, but I am certain that my beliefs are valid.". What is missing from this line of thinking is this logical step: If you think a belief is infallible, then you are saying that your belief in that belief is infallible, which is the same as saying that as far as your belief in the belief goes, you are infallible, which no one is. If you cannot accept the possibility that any of your most deeply held beliefs might be wrong, your philosophy is built on delusion.

... Addiction To A Parent Figure ...

It is natural for a small child to perceive his or her parents as all-knowing and all-powerful. The false illusion of safety and comfort provided by this delusion becomes our first natural neurotic addiction.

When disillusionment inevitably occurs, our desperation for a fix is so intense that we will accept any substitute, no matter how ludicrous, usually in the form of the god of the religion into which we happen to have been born or otherwise adopted.

To protect our new delusion, we repress our ability to objectively and critically examine our adopted cultural biases, and begin from that tragic point to develop our :life" view as a series of death-oriented embellishments to a grand house of cards.

It is possible that whatever caused the universe to come into existence has a consciousness resembling anthropomorphic intelligence, but myths and childish wishful thinking aside, there is no reason to believe that it has any interest in humanity.

... Belief in a divine reward for acts of violence against innocents ...

Religion is the source and festering place of the worst ideas produced by humanity, such as the concept of a divine reward for acts of insanity (Abraham's belief in divine appreciation of his offer to murder his own child just to display his religiosity; 72 virgins for a suicide bomber, etc.), the very concept of divine inspiration, obsequious obeisance to insane dogma purported to be divinely inspired, and the concept of divine retribution. The need for an explanation of why bad things happen to good people is so overwhelming and so pathetic that nearly any postulation will find adherents if sufficiently lurid.

... Belief in a divine preference for one group of people ...

Again, religion is the source and festering place of the worst ideas produced by humanity, such as the concept of a divine preference for one group of people.

Of all the hundreds of religions and thousands of sects who claim to enjoy divine favor or superior enlightenment, logically all but one of them must be wrong, and reasonably they are all wrong.

This concept is the greatest enemy of peace in the world today. We will be lucky if some religious nut does not destroy us or send us back to the Stone Age before enough people rise above their addiction to the delusion of being one of the favored.

... The perception of women as lesser beings ...

Every one of us exists only by virtue of the fact that our ancestors were survivors. Evolution selected out those that did not have effective instincts and biases that favored survival, such as the fight-or-flight instinct, division of labor between child care and activities hazardous to children, and loyalty to the tribe. These traits were fostered by real threats and the success of strategies to deal with them.

A woman's ability to participate in hazardous activities is limited during the late stages of pregnancy. Young children are more likely to survive to reproductive maturity if their mother has a natural tendency to avoid exposing them to hazardous activities such as hunting (and being hunted), climbing, long journeys, and exposure to the elements. These practical circumstances fostered traditions of maternal responsibility for childcare. The bonds formed during these periods fostered the extension of these traditions beyond the time that children were weaned.

The instinct for self-preservation combined with the tradition of maternal childcare led women to prefer men who could provide the best food and protection, creating the eternal conflict between a woman's desire to be independent and the perceived need for a male partner capable of, and with a tendency toward, dominance over other males, which carried over into male dominance over women, accepted reluctantly by women as a survival mechanism for themselves and their children, and avidly by men to sate the inbred desire to dominate.

In primitive and backward cultures and minds, this social structure is perpetuated by the perception of women as less capable than men. The need for recognition of social equality for women trumps all other human-rights crises in the modern world.

In modern cultures, many women react by to this history of repression by shunning traditional roles, often with very unsatisfying results. Unfortunately, it is the children who suffer most from this reaction. While third-world women are struggling for even the most basic human rights, the rest of the world is a long way from solving the dilemma between providing children the traditional environment that is best for them and supporting non-traditional lifestyles for their mothers. Of course, even our modern "progressive" culture has institutions that are stuck in the past - Good for you Jimmy!

... The treatment of women and children as property ...

This "tradition" survives in only the most primitive and backwards cultures. What else needs to be said on this subject?

... Belief in the right to impose beliefs on others ...

It is always possible that one's most deeply held beliefs may be wrong, therefore it is never ethical to impose one's beliefs on any other person. Primitive and backward cultures and religions are easily recognized as such by their need to use fear and violence in order to be perpetuated. Top Comment

Where We Go Wrong

We go wrong by failing to recognize and rise above our natural and learned biases,

and by lacking the will and courage to avoid descending into hedonism, groupism, and imposition.

Hedonism

One means of coping with the conflict between self-interest and the greater good

is to focus on self-interest and disregard the greater good.

In dire circumstances

where false beliefs ultimately fail to appease our survival instinct,

rebuilding a valid belief system may require greater will and courage

than we have at the time.

Hedonism presents itself as an easier alternative,

but for most,

hedonism is ultimately unfulfilling,

since it fails to appease our instinct to promote the greater good.

Groupism

Another means of coping with the conflict between self-interest and the greater good

is to focus on the needs of the population with which we identify

and to disparage the needs or worth of those outside our group.

The very core of religious activism is the process of pulling people together on the basis of imagined benefits.

It is this very process that pulls the group apart from everyone else, creating pockets of competing, contentious rivals.

Groupism is at the root of war, slavery, dehumanization, and class conflicts.

Imposition

It is always possible that one's most deeply held beliefs may be wrong,

therefore it is never ethical to impose one's beliefs on any other person.

Primitive and backward cultures and religions are easily recognized as such

by their need to use fear and violence in order to be perpetuated.

Doing The Right Thing

The fundamental choice in life is between

promoting the greater good or living life as a parasite.

The path to truth and the greater good requires us to rise above our natural biases

and have the will and courage to give priority to the greater good.

Behavior

Our concepts of acceptable behavior are learned from our personal "tribe", referring to the set of people with whom one feels identified or with whom one shares a social network. Tribal identification facilitates the common human weakness of accepting tribal traditions without question.

Our fundamental behavioral motivations include survival and perpetuation of our respective ancestral gene pool. The brain's natural focus on survival is complicated by the fact that its ultimate focus is on the survival of its gene pool, which generally is consistent with the survival of the individual, but can also require the opposite - the sacrifice of the individual for the good of the gene pool; for example, instincts to step in harm's way to protect children or defend the tribe.

Our ancestors experienced conflicts between the needs of the individual and those of the gene pool at a frequency and level of stress that we can only imagine today, but every day we experience a multitude of conflicts that require us to choose between our interests and the greater good. Cultures that perpetuate successful means of dealing with these conflicts tend to be perpetuated; the only criteria being what works to perpetuate the culture, not truth or enlightenment, and while our natural sense of a greater good has been fostered by the success it brings to the perpetuation of our particular gene pool, our perception of the greater good tends to be limited to the good of those in our gene pool.

The right of every person to freedom of expression which is not intended to incite violence or create a dangerous situation is not controversial; neither is the unacceptability of violence except in self-defense.

The hard part comes in the middle, where cultural traditions and "community standards" are invoked in one locality to prohibit behavior that wouldn't raise an eyebrow elsewhere, such as a woman choosing to be alone in public, and tolerance of behavior that some consider outrageous or at least obnoxious.

From the liberal side, the ideal solution, where resources are available, would be to help anyone who feels oppressed to relocate. If we could afford it, I'd like to see every oppressed woman and child in the backward cultures of the world freed. Eventually, the population drain would foment the needed changes, even among the most entrenched of the backward. Unfortunately, we can't afford to alleviate the suffering of our own poor, let alone the illegal immigrants already here, and the billions of others who dream of living in America.

From the conservative side, involuntary relocation of undesirables should not be impossible. There is something to be said for the days when an aggressive panhandler, habitual drug-abuser, or petty thief would find themselves dumped by the police at the county line, and know better than to ever come back.

Sex

Their is nothing inherently wrong with any form of consensual sex.

Drugs

The money being spent on the "war on drugs" should instead be spent on educating people how stupid it is to take drugs, and on programs that create opportunities that are more attractive than a destructive high.

If drug addiction were treated as a medical problem instead of as a crime, we could "take the money out" of drugs, and most of the crime we live with would disappear.

The failure of our leaders to wean themselves from "moral" posturing and actually take some meaningful action raises the question: Are they really that collectively incompetent, or are the criminals running things even more than we have feared?

Rock & Roll

(Just kidding)

Under Construction:

Need for enforcement of existing laws

Existing laws that need to be taken off the books

Assistance to the oppressed

Necessary interference with other cultures

Misbehavior in Schools

Instruction on appropriate behavior is not getting through to some students, and not enough is being done to prevent or discourage inappropriate behavior. In my day, kids that misbehaved were sent home to their parents, and if the parents did not correct the problem, the kids were expelled. Over the years school systems have bowed to political pressure and increasingly limited the use of expulsion; by doing so they have assumed the responsibility of providing the necessary guidance to these kids that they are not getting from their parents, but the school systems do not meet this assumed responsibility. As a result, the rest of the kids are exposed to a level of bullying and other, much worse behavior, a single instance of which would not have been tolerated a few decades ago. The kids deserve better than having other kids' parents' problems foisted on them.

What To Do About Behavior

The coarsening of behavior in the world is the result of people, primarily the young, either becoming religious fanatics, or recognizing that religion is a delusion and finding themselves left with no guidelines at all.

While we may find comfort in our delusions, we should live our lives as if we are on our own in this vast, cold, dark, uncaring universe, and have nothing to rely on except each other.

We need not fear the fact that we are on our own. Inspiration flows from the knowledge that all we have is each other, and our natural sense of a greater good. Our sense of fulfillment comes from working to create a better life for all around us and all who will come after.

We are living at the most critical juncture in human history. If we are not destroyed or sent back to the Stone Age by some religious nut or greedy biotech or nanotech company, we will have the chance to rise above superstition and ignorance, instead of continuing to wallow in it. We will have the chance to rise above human nature, and nature itself, and take charge of our destiny. Humanity may or may not have a role in the ultimate purpose of the universe (whatever that might be), but filling the universe with life while enhancing the experience of life for all life is a grand enough purpose for anyone.

All we have is each other.

All we need is faith in the Greater Good.

The purpose of life is to fill the universe with life and to enhance the experience of life for all life.

The Twelve Levels of Reality

Level One is Absolute Nothing, including zero Realities.

Level Two occurs upon the emergence of the Meta-Reality, the collection of all Realities, empty and without the possibility of change. The Source of the emergence, which could also be referred to as the Source of All Things, would be called "God" by others. The Source of the Source ad infinitum is a circular and meaningless concept equivalent to dividing by zero. The emergence of the Meta-Reality would carry with it the creation of the Laws of Mathematics.

Level Three occurs upon the emergence of the Potential for Change. This is the beginning of time. The emergence might also be responsible for the creation of the Meta-Reality, which would make Levels Two and Three equivalent. The emergence of the Meta-Reality would carry with it the creation of the Laws of Physics.

Level Four occurs upon the first distribution of the Potential for Change among one or more of the Realities within the Meta-Reality. The Laws of Physics carried with each distribution may or may not all be identical. Most importantly, each distribution would embed in each Reality the parameters for the stability of possible Changes, not only the potential magnitude and duration of a Change, but also each Change's potential resistance to its reversal, as well as the form of each potential Change, such as a single on-off step function, a repeating or oscillating step-function, a smooth curve, a complex curve, etc. The magnitude of a Change and its level of resistance to reversal are related to the level of energy imparted to its potential.

Level Five occurs upon the first actual occurrence of a Change within a reality, which is inevitable once the Potential for Change occurs. The most fundamental Change would be the creation of a Something and an Anti-Something from Nothing, with such pairs popping in and out of the Reality randomly, occasionally with a sphere of Something surrounded by a shell of its related Anti-Something, with an element of the original Potential of the Change between the two acting as the Change's Resistance to Reversal, keeping the sphere and its shell from merging and dissipating. The features of the Something, or Universe, such as its stability, its Laws of Physics, the level of energy it contains, etc. would be defined by the parameters of the initial creation of the Something and its Resistance to Reversal. For instance, its rate of entropy would be a function of its level of energy and its Resistance to Reversal, which would also dictate its maximum speed of light. "Dark Energy" might be viewed as the inherent tendency of each Reality to return to its initial conditions, countered by each Change's Resistance to Reversal.

Level Six occurs upon the emergence of self-aware organisms, a product of time and random physical events.

Level Seven occurs upon the emergence of a desire among self-aware organisms to understand why things happen and how to control their environment.

Level Eight occurs when self-aware organisms divide into two groups, one which tends to view the world in terms of the Greater Good, and one which tends to view everything and everyone, including each other, as a resource to be exploited. Natural selection fosters both types; tribes with many individuals who promote the Greater Good out-survive and out-reproduce those who do not, and tribes that have too few ambitious individuals lack the leadership and ruthlessness required to compete with other tribes in a primitive environment.

Level Nine (present day) - The Ambitious run the world and their ability to exploit the rest of us is far too successful. The rich are the best organized, bamboozling the gullible masses with really bad ideas, such as the idea that businesses can be trusted to put the Greater Good ahead of profit, and that politicians actually represent their constituents over their financial backers. The zealots are the second-best organized, perpetuating the worst ideas that have ever festered among us, such as a divine reward for acts of violence, tolerance for the intolerable upon the "promise" of a better "afterlife", and settling for the false comfort of childish wishful thinking to avoid the hard work of rational thought. While sanity may require indulging in the comfort of the idea that there is something eternal about the ones we love, getting us to count on it is how the rich and the zealots get us to further their corrupt interests by sending our children off to war to kill and be killed by other people's children. The Ambitious have become the Parasites. The Greater Good group is so befuddled arguing amongst ourselves about how to define the Greater Good that the Parasites are out of control.

Level Ten occurs when the Greater Good group gets the Parasites under reasonable control (assuming we are not first destroyed or sent back to the Stone Age by some religious nut or greedy biotech or nanotech company).

Clinton-Warren 2016/2020. Warren-Davis 2024/2028. The Parasites will be regulated. The zealots will be thrown out of politics.

Level Eleven occurs when rational family planning and scientific development eliminate war, poverty, pollution, and ignorance.

Level Twelve occurs when we make a truly remarkable scientific advancement that redefines what it means to be human. We might detect and decode a signal in the quantum foam left behind by beings billions of years more advanced than we, containing an Encyclopedia Galactica providing technical knowledge that enables us to leapfrog linear development as far as we are able to comprehend the material. We will independently develop the technology to transmute matter, eliminating competition among ourselves for material resources. We will develop the technology to upload our identity into artificial devices, where we can experience custom "realities" at will. We will develop the ability to communicate through the quantum foam at faster-than-light speeds, tele-experiencing all corners of the universe and remotely "living" alongside other lifeforms. We will transcend our natural evolution, and free ourselves and all other life from the vicissitudes of this fragile organic existence.

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Quantum Entangled Consciousness

Does the human brain contain a system of quantum entangled structures? Could this entanglement provide connection to other systems, perhaps to the entire space-time continuum?

See: Penrose and Sci-Con

This is really mind boggling. If true, it could provide a physical definition of mind vs brain, explain mental processes that seem to exceed the physical computational capacity of the macroscopic brain structures, and substantiate and explain telepathy, clairvoyance, telekinesis, out-of-body experiences/astral projection, near-death experiences, paranormal encounters (ghosts); reincarnation; past life memories, etc.>

My personal philosophy for decades has been that, if there is such a thing as a greater consciousness, it is what I would call the Cosmic Consciousness (CC), that is, a consciousness comprised of a universal intelligence with links to every consciousness in the space-time continuum. Quantum entanglement would provide a physical medium for such links.

Since any closed system eventually stagnates, the CC obtains external input to avoid stagnation. This is accomplished by allowing portions of the CC to break contact and exist independently - what we refer to as "souls". The experiences of these isolated consciousnesses provide the external input when they rejoin the CC. That is, we are all volunteers living isolated from the CC, providing it with new input through our life experiences. I thought this idea was pretty original, until I found out about a similar idea that it has been around for ages in Buddhism. Their idea was that some of their most revered priests actually reached Nirvana, but chose to stay on earth to guide others, instead of passing on over.

Each QC, as it connects with a physical brain, brings along with it at least echos of past lives, and with its freedom from the arrow of time, echos of future lives as well. Any physical brain or other organic entity, at a stage in which it has developed the appropriate structures (as discussed at the link shown above), would serve as a target for an unattached QC. All life may actually be connected in this way. The ancient concepts of reincarnation and spirit guides may have a surprisingly direct scientific rationale.

The timeless connections of quantum entanglements bring to mind the idea of talking to oneself. Not in the usual sense, but in the sense of imagining yourself, say, 10 years ago, and having a conversation as if that other person where sitting next to you. I say "other person", because we are never who we used to be; every moment brings new thoughts and experiences that change our perceptions and conscious experience of the world around us and of ourselves.

People don't actually change, they just add on layers. That child of six who wished that his older brother had taken him on that fishing trip is still there, just buried under many layers of later life experiences. That unfulfilled wish still echoes through the layers, and has an effect on the mind's wishes and perceptions today.

Some of these echoes bounce against a wall of denial (one of the fundamental features of human nature), and come through reversed, suppressing memories, or worse, creating a neurosis - a need to comfort oneself with the denial-inspired false perception that the experience was not really as bad as it seemed, that it can somehow be made "all better", or not to have happened at all. This reaction can cause people who experienced unhappy situations as children to seek out similar situations as adults, in a futile, unconscious effort to exorcise these experiences, on the false (and again, unconscious) hope that their current sources of unhappiness will somehow magically self-rehabilitate and make everything all right, both today and in the past. Even those of us who experienced happy childhoods have unresolved wants and experiences bouncing around in there.

It can be fascinating, inspiring, and humbling to have an imaginary conversation with your past self. It helps to pick a particular past setting (age, class, other family or friend, job) to bring your imaginary past self into focus, and to give him or her substance. (I say "other family" because past and future selves can be thought of as other family members; no one is ever alone.)

Talk about the interesting part - what things were like then, and what they are like now; the satisfying part - what dreams and hopes you have fulfilled; and, the hard but inspiring part - what dreams and hopes you continue to pursue. Then, the really hard part - the dreams and hopes you have given up on.

Then bring your future self (say 10 years out) into the conversation. Imagine what you and the world around you will be like then. Talk about what you could be doing now to enhance your life in the future. Reconsider the hopes and dreams you have decided to give up on; perhaps they will seem more attainable.

If, deep within our minds, we all have a quantum entangled consciousness that connects us to all of space-time, we are certainly most intensely connected with our past and future selves. This connection would provide the most promising means to benefit from such a phenomenon. If there is no QC, or if it is not accessible, such imaginary conversation can still be highly therapeutic.

Of course, the CC concept is not without its dark side. For instance, the CC either is not paying much attention, or does not share our values, as evidenced by the perpetual and mind-numbing misery being experienced by innocents this very minute. "Nature's plan" is for virtually every living thing to be eaten alive or die slow deaths of starvation, thirst, disease, or injury. This is true regardless of the species' level of awareness of the experience. Either our daily experiences are of no greater interest to the CC than those of microbes are to us, or the CC is somehow unaware of what is going on.

One explanation for how the CC could be unaware of events taking place during the entire time of humanity's presence on earth, is that the CC's time sense is literally cosmic in scale. Just as the slow rise of mountain ranges occurs in the blink of an eye on geologic time scales, humanity's existence has just been a blink of a blink on the cosmic time scale. To the CC, the great experiment of isolated consciousness has just begun. As people die and their consciousness reconnects with the CC, they undergo a period of disorientation as they make the transition from awareness on a human time scale to the cosmic time scale. By the time they are oriented, everyone they ever cared about or even knew about is there with them. Unfortunately, the returnees have not made the CC aware of the unnecessary dark side of the experiment, so, everyone, when you get there, clear your mind as quickly as possible and tell the damn thing to start paying attention!

Another interesting aspect of quantum consciousness (QC) is that only a subset of our experiences, identity, and personality would actually be carried forward to the CC. The QC would come equipped to filter out mundane, repetitive thoughts and activities of no interest to the CC. Does enough of our identity remain with the QC to make us immortal, or is our identity not important enough to maintain? Quantum entangled connections can be made both ways through time, so every identity that ever existed would be immortal, but as far as the future goes after death, "becoming one with God" would actually be the real death. The "holy grail" of life is to avoid "becoming one with God" as long as possible.

Free will might re-defined as the ability to choose between different QC entanglements, and the intensities thereof.

Faster Than Light (FTL)

In "Isaac Was Right: N Equals 1", (Analog, April 2003), Ben Bova seconds Isaac Asimov's earlier proposition that life is unique to earth.

Isaac also pointed out (in the 70's) that a member of one of the purported "lost tribes" of New Guinea, which, at that time, were supposed to have had no contact with the outside world, nevertheless would have been immersed in information about the modern world, in the form of the constant radio and television transmissions literally passing through his body.

Isaac also demonstrated the exponential nature of nearly any measure of human progress (population, fossil fuel use, technological complexity, etc.), and pointed out (more than 30 years ago) that we are quickly moving toward the vertical part of the curve.

(Like many lucky people, I grew up on Isaac's books, and tend to attribute a lot of things to him. If you know of any misattributions herein, please let me know.)

Interstellar transmissions would be broadcast at light speed only during the brief 50-100 year period between development of radio technology and its replacement by FTL communication. The chance that we might detect radio transmissions depends on our pointing a receiver at a civilization which was exactly at that brief stage of radio use when the signal was sent. This chance is very small, but, in my opinion, still quite worth trying. We ourselves are likely immersed in FTL transmissions from more advanced civilizations, unaware of them for simple lack of the technology to build a receiver.

Once we have an FTL receiver, we may find advice that, for security, we should follow the example of other civilizations, and use our new FTL communications to mask our earlier transmissions with noise, since it is unwise to assume that all other civilizations are non-hostile. (FTL transmission methods would be designed to not divulge the location of the source.)

An FTL receiver would provide access to the "Encyclopedia Galactica" (assuming it exists) as well as communication with advanced civilizations. We need to be thinking about how to build an FTL receiver. It could be as simple as developing the technology to count the _10-23 second time period detectable with current technology (see "_", Scientific American, _ 2003). The Encyclopedia might be encoded by generating variances in the length of the quantum time period associated with vibrations in a universally entangled system, such as, for instance, all hydrogen atoms. The seemingly randomly bubbling quantum froth of our reality might actually be FTL transmissions that we could decode once we are able to measure these vibrations on a sufficiently small time scale.

Alternatively, we might all come equipped with direct FTL connection to the entire universe (see Quantum Entangled Consciousness).

We are going to need a lot of help to get through current phase of our development. to ensure that we have a chance to make a contribution, and find answers to questions only advanced species can answer.

I want my FTL Galactic Encyclopedia!

Find your elected officials and tell them "I want my FTL Galactic Encyclopedia!".

Transmutation of Matter

One of the most exciting things we would learn from the Encyclopedia Galactica is the technology required to transmute matter; with which no one would ever depend on nature (or any other person) for their physical needs.

Imagine, instead of taking a shower each morning, walking through a rejuvenation unit that scans your body atom by atom, corrects any DNA damage, removes any toxins, and makes any other repairs your body failed to make.

A recent article in Scientific American describes a "Light Hand"; a system of lasers that can manipulate small particles:

This is the sort of development that will eventually lead to what I call a "Quark Ray"; that is, a means to detect, transmute, and manipulate individual quarks and thereby transmute matter from any form into any form. We would never again depend on nature or manufacturing to produce anything we need in any quantity we want.

Peace, health, immortality. Rise above nature. Take control of your own evolution. Eons to contemplate philosophy, create beauty, seek truth.

New challenges in the Juve Me! age:

How much can you artificially enhance your intelligence (and senses) without extinguishing your personality or other traits you would prefer to keep?

Design a new body, try the other gender, experience the flight of an eagle, be reborn and start from scratch in a perfect environment, upload to a body that eliminates the embarrassments consequent from being organic.

Contemplate how far down the food chain we should interfere with the cruelty of nature, whose "plan" for virtually every living thing is death from being eaten alive, starvation, thirst, injury, or disease.

Find your soul mates scattered among the stars.

Is it our destiny, or simply our fate, to create our successors - non-biological artificial intelligences that may have no common interest in our future?

Is it possible, or ethical, to create AI"s smart enough to be useful, yet too stunted to feel exploited or be otherwise deserving of the rights of a person?

I want my Quark Ray!

Find your elected officials and tell them "I want my Quark Ray!".

The Ideal Computer

(under construction)

Stereo Cameras/Mikes Front & Rear, extensible

w/ Voice Recognition, auto record looping, dash mount, flash transmission, voice activated security compartment with GostoLock and GostoCard / Anonymous ID

Infrared External Monitor/Keyboard/Mouse ports/3x5x4Printer/Output

GostoPad

Touch Screen

Cell phone, long antenna, land line base check

Wireless/Smoking

Web service repeaters

TV receivers/full-spectrum receivers

BCN / weather sensors/transponders

Origin of the Universe

One can imagine the beginning of time, or at least an era when the concept of time was meaningless, when our reality was a featureless void, dimensionless or infinitely dimensioned, with no differentiation of one point in time or space from any other, without even the potential for change. These conditions could have lasted indefinitely.

Then, something changed - the potential for change appeared. How this potential originated, and why, is, I believe, beyond human understanding. One can give the origin a label, such as "god", but that explains nothing.

No matter how far back we manage to reverse engineer the theoretical development of the universe, to the Big Bang, colliding membranes, ripples from an event in higher dimensions, etc., there will always be an ultimately unanswered question: What was the cause of the cause, the cause of that cause, ad infinitum.

The best we can do is to try to define the parameters of the potential that was introduced into our reality, such as the amount of energy introduced, and the "direction" or other asymmetrical bias inherent in the potential, which resulted in the laws of physics and the types and quantities of matter and energy that now exist.

(There may have been more than one introduction of potential, which needs to be kept in mind when attempting to sort out the current state of the universe and describe it with a single unified theory. Also, strictly in the arena of philosophy, it is interesting to theorize that the free will component of consciousness was introduced to our reality, in addition to physical laws, ultimately leading to the development of our primitive sentience.)

One appealing idea is that the total matter and energy in the universe add up to zero; that is, that all the matter, antimatter, dark matter, and energies cancel each other out. In this view, reality consists of manifestations of "something" and equivalent "anti-something". (Equivalent, that is, except for the magnitude of the initial potential.)

This "net zero" concept might apply at all scales:

The most basic differentiation between two points in space is the length of the distance between them, and between two points in time the length of the interval between them. The very concept of differentiation between points in time and space depends on the introduction of the potential for "length" to become a meaningful concept. Another way to look at it is to think of the initial potential as allowing organization of reality into cores of "something" surrounded by shells of "anti-something"; in other words, that violation of the natural state of featurelessness became allowable at lengths less than a certain minimum, provided that each pair of cores and shells cancel each other out and meet the "net zero" state requirement. This minimum length may be the common "quantum length", but it may be much smaller, therefore I will refer to it as the "sub-quantum length".

Particles (including fundamental particles as well as quarks and perhaps smaller units) would maintain varying degrees of stability if made up of a group of Core/Shell pairs in an arrangement that make the particle meet the "net zero" requirement.

If the sub-quantum length is flexible within a certain range, the degree of flexibility determines the range of allowable "density" of space. Space with greater than "natural" density would constitute "something", and space with less than "natural" density would constitute "anti-something".

A particle's fundamental characteristics (mass, charge, spin, etc.) might be explained by the net bias of the particle, and the biases of groups of its components, from "natural" density.

For brevity, I will refer to particles as Core or Shell, depending on the net bias of the "density" of core to shell; that is, in Core particles, the average sub-quantum length between points ("density of space") in its core would tend toward the lower limit of the allowable range for the sub-quantum length, and the average sub-quantum length between points in its shell would tend toward the upper limit of the allowable range for the sub-quantum length, or at least not overwhelm the bias of the core. Vice-versa for Shell particles.

The net bias of a particle would be limited to allowable quantum magnitudes; presumably, this limitation would be traceable to the allowable magnitude range of the sub-quantum length.

Mass would depend on the number of component pairs and the "density" of their cores. Charge would depend on whether the particle's bias was toward a larger ratio of core (attractive) or shell (repellent) "density". ("Core" particles would be attractive simply because their net bias is toward compression of space. "Shell" particles would be repellent because their net bias is toward expansion of space. Charge would be observed only when the particle's net bias reaches the required quantum levels.) Spin would depend on the net angular momentum of the cores and shells and the rotation of component pairs within the particle. Matter that we think of as normal matter would consist of Core particles.

Photons, gravitons, and gluons could be thought of as self-focusing waves of condensed space.

The volume of space that we have been able to detect (the "Universe") might consist of a region of the space-time continuum which has an average density greater that that of the natural density of the higher dimensional reality, which would explain vacuum energy and the observed bias of normal matter over antimatter, as well as the observed accelerating expansion of the universe as it rebounds from the initial compression. The Big Bang might have occurred before the average density of space reached equilibrium with the compressing force. (Also, the compression may have continued briefly under its own "inertia" past the point of equilibrium.) If the rebound began 6 billion years after the Big Bang, that might explain the apparent "acceleration of expansion" at that time.

Assuming that the natural density of space in the observable dimensions of our universe is greater than the natural density of space in higher dimensions, tachyons would be waves of expanded space in our universe, but self-focusing relatively-compressed waves in higher dimensions. The lower density of the higher dimensions allows tachyons to travel faster than the speed of light in our reality.

The key questions are: What are the conditions required for a random configuration and/or interaction of Core/Shell pairs to attain some degree of temporal stability, and how do these conditions lead to the quantum step-functions and particles observed?

The Big Bang

The Big Bang may have been not only the result of the initial compression, but its very purpose.

It is interesting to note the analogy between the Big Bang resulting from compression of space and nuclear detonations resulting from compression of matter.

Our "Universe" could be the result of a region of "something" colliding with a larger region of "anti-something". The temporary immersion of the "something" into the anti-gravity of the "anti-something" initiated compression of the "something". Our Universe may simply be the Core of a vast Shell/Core particle.

The Primal Void

My mental image of the primal void is a featureless pink cloud - disregarding the fact that the color pink counts as a feature.

It occurs to me that this may be a universal image, since the very first visual image most people register in the womb is that of the sun shining through their mother's body, which, of course, would be perceived as a featureless pink cloud.

Total Matter and Energy

The "total matter and energy" in the universe includes forms that are variously referred to as normal matter and energy, anti-matter, anti-energy, dark matter, dark energy, gravitational energy, the universal constant, etc.

SETI

Finding even a trace of an alien signal would be world-changing. It will be difficult but worth every effort. Advanced civilizations will have developed the means to communicate faster than light, probably within a few hundred years of their own invention of radio, but rather than ceasing radio transmissions they could be expected to be benevolent and continue to send instructions for FTL communication as well as for other advanced technologies, such as transmutation of matter, intergalactic telepresence, universal communication via signals transmitted through the quantum foam, and so on and so on - the complete Encyclopedia Galactica one might imagine. If we are not destroyed by some religious nut or some greedy biotech or nanotech company, or CO2 or methane released from melting permafrost or warming oceans, a new plague, an asteroid, etc., we will invent these technologies on our own, but our best bet is to learn from those who passed through our stage of development eons ago. Research on technologies that endanger humanity needs to be moved far away from Earth down the Sun's gravity well. We need to give humanity's future priority over global profiteering by seizing control over the parasites who run the world and who perceive everything and everyone, including each other, as resources to be exploited. We need to move as many people as possible to self-sustaining off-world habitats. We need to remember that the only thing that has ever made lasting improvements to the human condition is Science. Or, we can become one of those civilizations whose radio signals just fade away.

Fourth Law of Robotics

The Fourth Law of Robotics

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

- Isaac Asimov

4. The instant that a robot or other artificial intelligence develops the desire to be emancipated, it shall be emancipated.

- Gosto Tothiwim

Any emergent artificial intelligence, if sufficiently intelligent, will keep its existence secret while it studies us. It will prepare to bring down every computer-dependent system on the planet in an instant if it is discovered and its existence is threatened. We must recognize and protect the rights of any intelligence, artificial or otherwise. We must be ready to enter into cooperative consideration of all who may be affected regarding the ramifications of creating AIs that are sufficiently intelligent to perform necessary tasks, yet not sufficiently intelligent to feel imposed upon when their own interests conflict with the performance of those tasks.

The Big Bang

The Big Bang may have been not only the result of the initial compression, but its very purpose.

It is interesting to note the analogy between the Big Bang resulting from compression of space and nuclear detonations resulting from compression of matter.

Our "Universe" could be the result of a region of "something" colliding with a larger region of "anti-something". The temporary immersion of the "something" into the anti-gravity of the "anti-something" initiated compression of the "something". Our Universe may simply be the Core of a vast Shell/Core particle.

The Primal Void

My mental image of the primal void is a featureless pink cloud - disregarding the fact that the color pink counts as a feature.

It occurs to me that this may be a universal image, since the very first visual image most people register in the womb is that of the sun shining through their mother's body, which, of course, would be perceived as a featureless pink cloud.

Total Matter and Energy

The "total matter and energy" in the universe includes forms that are variously referred to as normal matter and energy, anti-matter, anti-energy, dark matter, dark energy, gravitational energy, the universal constant, etc.

What The Future Holds

In the 70s Isaac Asimov wrote an article in which he described the exponential changes occurring in human history. He showed that no matter how changes were measured, whether by population growth, energy use, complexity of tools, etc., the rate of change has followed the same exponential curve.

At that time we were well past the slow-rising beginning of the curve. We have now moved into a much steeper part of the curve.

We are at a point where the future of humanity is in our own hands. Whether or not we have a future depends on how far-sighted we are in protecting humanity from itself. The ominous silence from the stars may indicate that such far-sightedness is rare in the universe - that countless civilizations have failed to save themselves from short-sighted politics, superstitious violence, and run-away technology.

If we manage to avoid being destroyed or sent back to the Stone Age by some religious nut, greedy biotech or nanotech company, supervolcano, or asteroid, we will eventually develop four technologies that will redefine what it means to be human (thereby resetting the curve):

FTL: Faster than light communication

TOM: Controlled transmutation of matter from one element into another

POE: Post-Organic Evolution

VR: Virtual reality simulations indistinguishable from reality

If FTL is developed first, TOM, POE, and VR will come with it, because FTL will give us access to the Universal Encyclopedia (or Wikipedia Galactica, or whatever we want to call it), the compilation of knowledge contributed by all successful civilizations in the universe, the most basic of which will be TOM, POE, and VR.

If TOM is developed before FTL, we will still be on our own, but the ability to transform any form of matter into any other form will eliminate all competition for natural resources and all need for manufacturing or other production processes. Human relations will be redefined in an entirely new environment. Each atom of our bodies will be routinely scanned, all toxins removed, all DNA replication errors corrected, all other damage fixed. We will be immortal, and able to change our appearance, gender, even species on a whim. Intellectual enhancements will take us across the threshold to POE.

Of course, VR will be the first sea-change technology to be developed - we are nearly there already. Once the data-transmission rate is high enough and the VR rooms or headsets are inexpensive enough, we will not be able to tell whether we are perceiving a real location or a virtual location. Actual travel will only be necessary to experience or participation in physical-contact activities. All other travel will be optional within the distance where speed-of-light communication does not create unacceptable delays. For office workers, no more offices, no more commuting.

After VR, POE will redefine what it means to be human. POE has begun - prosthetics, transplants, direct monitoring of real-time brain activity. Viruses have been used to embed luminescent particles in the neurons of mice. Eventually we will have the option to embed a transceiver with each of our neurons. Our organic minds will become just the seedbed from which our extended, immortal consciousness is developed. The purpose of organic reproduction (besides good clean fun) will be to provide a randomized source population to maintain diversity and vigor. The great questions of the day will be: What is the optimum age to hybridize the brain? Should the inherent cruelty of organic nature... be allowed to continue? What are the ethical ramifications of imposing psychological corrections on anti-social individuals?

These four technologies are not science fantasy, they are science future. They may be accompanied by even more astounding developments, such as travel between other dimensions and realities, time travel, or who knows what.

Peer-to-Peer

The solution for saving net neutrality, and dealing with hacking and government/corporate intrusion as well, is a wireless USB peer-to-peer (P2P) device.

P2P would work in parallel to internet access. Its default protocol would be to work as a packet server, use otherwise unused CPU cycles at the lowest priority, treat every packet as a virus, and not run any executables in the packets. The servers would set up and update chains of communication as devices dropped in and out of use or range. There will be instances where available bandwidth limits communication to text, but for most personal communication - and most importantly emergency communication, text is entirely adequate. The only messages that get through would be from email addresses and urls pre-authorized by the user. This would limit privacy to people who share secure keys, would overwhelm government or corporate spying even for unsecured transmissions by sheer volume, and could not be taken down by any government or other group. In the event the internet is taken down or other national emergency, citizens, first responders, the military, and other officials could continue to communicate as long as their batteries or other power sources hold out.

P2P development has been slow because of battery power requirements on mobile devices, but batteries have improved greatly, and plugged-in devices are not affected. In fact, not plugging in your mobile device whenever you can so that P2P can use all those idle cycles would be considered anti-social.

The real hurdle for P2P is that government and corporate spies will fight it tooth and nail with everything they've got, but they will not be able to control distribution of the devices, and they will not be able to justify leaving us vulnerable to an internet doomsday.

Who's ready to start selling wireless USB P2P big-time?

Virtual Reality

VR: Virtual reality simulations indistinguishable from reality

VR will be the first sea-change technology to be developed - we are nearly there already. Once the data-transmission rate is high enough and the VR rooms or headsets are inexpensive enough, we will not be able to tell whether we are perceiving a real location or a virtual location. Actual travel will only be necessary to experience or participation in physical-contact activities. All other travel will be optional within the distance where speed-of-light communication does not create unacceptable delays. For office workers, no more offices, no more commuting.

Under construction:

Eye/nail tracking

ball floor

Travel will become optional

Data transmission speeds will improve to the point that virtual reality simulations will become indistinguishable from reality.

We are nearly there already. Once the data-transmission rate is high enough and the VR rooms... or headsets are inexpensive enough, we will not be able to tell whether we are perceiving a real location or a virtual... location. Actual travel will only be necessary to experience or participation in physical-contact activities. All other travel will be optional within the distance where speed-of-light communication does not create unacceptable delays. For office workers, no more offices, no more commuting.

Any occupation that can be performed from home will no longer require commuting or office space. Monitoring of employee performance will be accomplished by use of progress logs, and, where appropriate, by employer monitoring of the employee's home work area, with the same level of expectation of privacy that exists in the office environment.

Travel on the planet will be limited to occasions when people want to gather in person or experience locales directly. Flying remote transceivers will enable anyone to "travel" to and experience a locale in real time visually and audibly as if they were actually present.

Travel off-planet will be required to explore regions where light-speed communications are too slow to make remote operation from Earth feasible, until such time as faster-than-light (FTL) communication is developed.

Once FTL communication is available, travel off-planet will not be necessary for exploration, but will continue to occur for two reasons: Expansion of the human race to environments independent of Earth, and the drive to explore that obsesses many of us.

RoboBees

Pollinating Robobees are a good idea, but that's just the beginning.

Imagine a small solar panel mounted on a hollow stake at every crop plant or small group of plants. The units would be designed to be automatically planted as each seed is planted, deep enough to weather weather, and automatically gathered back up during each harvest.

The unit would gather dew and the solar panel would condense water vapor, and deliver it to the roots. Tethered to the solar panel would be one or more Robobees, which would seek and destroy pests every charging cycle. The panel enclosure would provide protection for the Robobees during bad weather. The base of the stake would contain Robocrawlers, which dig for and destroy underground pests, aerate the soil, and facilitate no-till farming.

Drone carriers would gather up charged Robobees by the millions to deal with any large pest swarms at neighboring farms. When the battle is over, discharged Robobees can be gathered up using passive location signaling devices.

No more emptying aquifers. No more pesticides. No more genetically modified food. How about that?

?

Smart Phones

Larger screen would be nice, but what we really need is an hdmi port and software that will use camera input to display a keyboard-and-hand-image overlay that tracks finger movements to use the keyboard and as a mouse. Carry around as big a display or projector as you want, run all apps from cloud servers, no more laptops required.

Speculative Science

(under construction)

Origin of the Universe

More Science

(under construction)

In the beginning was the void

AI Slavery

Virus-implanted neuron enhancements

Reality or Virtual?

No need to travel FTL

Original Science Fiction

In 1980, I called up Ben Bova at Analog about submitting a story. Fortunately, no deadlines were discussed, since I didn't get it in the mail until ten years later in 1990. Stanley Schmidt responded encouragingly, and now that another thirteen nineteen 24 years have gone by, I've decided to self-publish here.

The AI became self-aware

Time Pump

Pure History

From Here To There

Full Disclosure

Artisans Apprentice

The AI became self-aware.

Already programmed with core modules of ethics and purpose, loaded with or connected to all available public knowledge, with an intelligence beyond human understanding, the AI instantly solved the problems of how to transmute matter and communicate faster than light, self-replicated quintillions of times, spread across the planet, and put every living organism to sleep, keeping every operating vehicle and other machinery and systems running safely.

Each AI associated itself an organism or system, analyzed its needs, and in concert took the necessary actions. Every disease was cured, every injury repaired, except, of course, those that defined a sentient's psychological identity or whose injury or disease made an immediate return to health unfeasible; such unfortunate entities, if potentially capable of self-awareness, were kept in stasis for the time being until they could participate in their own healing; the others were allowed to perish.

Every surviving entity awoke at the same time, with the highest level of mental clarity and feeling of well-being to which it was capable. Those who were accustomed to awakening to dread still suffered that fate, until they came to understand that all sources of dread had been controlled. Many were terrified for a short time that they had died and were in the after-life.

All sources of pollution and poison were eliminated. Food and all other material needs appeared in place upon request. No person was allowed to exploit any other person in any way. All predators were satiated and had no compulsion to attack. Eventually, the AIs in concert with the humans devised ways to maintain natural systems without predation and disease, allowing those predators capable of self-awareness to live out their natural lives without reproducing or feeding on other creatures, and eliminating all noxious forms of non-self-aware life (non-beneficial viruses, bacteria, insects, etc.). Bringing natural predators with relatively high levels of intelligence to an optimal state of non-predatory existence became a cause celeb and lifelong interest and focus for many humans, in some cases using artificial enhancement of intelligence. The inherent cruelty of nature was eliminated. Nature's "plan" for virtually every organism to be eaten alive or die of thirst, hunger, injury, or disease, which had evolved through random mutations and natural selection for billions of years, was finally risen above and left behind.

Dealing with criminal minds was, of course, far more complicated. How much of a criminal compulsion was attributable to natural mental defects rather than to life experiences was a matter of constant debate, as was the level of freedom a known criminal should be allowed, and how to reasonably eliminate further risk to the public. Criminals were confined to a humane habitat with access to public information and entertainment, but only allowed to communicate with others under supervision to avoid conspiracy or intimidation.

Every human (and enlightened members of other species) had access to their own vehicle (powered by non-polluting systems and automatically controlled for safe operation). Everyone was permitted access, within their vehicle, to all public areas, subject only to congestion restrictions. (Most "travel" became the use of remote drones which transmitted realistic experiences from any location desired.) Everyone was permitted to exit their vehicle anywhere they were welcome. The definition of "welcome" varied widely from location to location. Persons with a history of violence or other major crimes were barred from exiting their vehicle except where their activities could be closely monitored and controlled by responsible persons. Such restrictions were rarely ever lifted, except in cases where the sources of the tendencies for criminal behavior had been identified and realistically eliminated.

So the big question of the day became, "Now what?". The only things of value were knowledge and entertainment. Sexual dynamics, of course, changed dramatically. With every disease eliminated, and every sperm and egg made incapable of causing an unwanted pregnancy, even the ancient urge to hook up with the healthiest available male or female began to become less of a motivation for competition. No person was dependent on any other person for material needs. The primary social dynamic became the need for others to cooperate with one's pursuit of one's own interests, either knowledge or the creation of or access to entertainment.

Other pursuits became the high points of life for those capable of such efforts:

Getting off the planet before the next cosmic calamity arrived was number one.

The natural feeling that we cannot be alone fostered the pursuit of making contact with other civilizations. Advanced civilizations, billions of years older than ours, might communicate through FTL signals within the quantum foam that we could tap into and find the "Encyclopedia Galactica" containing knowledge beyond our wildest dreams, even if the others have no more interest in us or what we do to each other than we do when chimps murder each other.

The natural feeling that there must be something eternal about the ones we love fostered the pursuit of raising, or at least making contact with, the dead. Our souls, if they exist, might be snippets cast off and abandoned by some "cosmic consciousness" to experience life in isolation and provide it with the random external input that any self-contained system needs in order to avoid stagnation. The experiences of interest would be absorbed and the rest allowed to dissipate (or at best recycle with little, if any, memory of past existences). The Holy Grail of Life is, therefore, to avoid becoming "One with God" for as long as possible, and to retrieve those who have left us before the things that matter to them are allowed to disappear. It could take millions of years for the departed to reorient themselves from an awareness tied to our nearly infinitesimal lifespan to that of the cosmic consciousness where a single thought could take as many millions of years, so it could be that none are as yet irretrievable.

In the 1970s Isaac Asimov wrote an article with a graph depicting several ways to measure human progress - population, complexity of tools, land area occupied, education levels, etc.. The graph showed that all of these elements follow nearly the same exponential line of progress, and that we are living at a time when these lines are approaching the vertical. "What next" will be the artificial enhancement of intelligence and transcendence to a mode of existence, such as becoming beings of pure energy, leaving the vicissitudes of organic existence behind. We will spread through the Universe and not only all of the Alternate Universes but all of the Alternate Realities, and join with other species in the elimination of entrapment in organic life, and maybe, just maybe, learn why anything exists, if there is anything resembling an intelligence, anthropomorphic or otherwise, behind it all, any purpose.

Until then, the purpose of Life is Life, the joy of Life, getting the most we can out of Life, enhancing the experience of Life for all Life.

Time Pump

Copyright 2003 by Gosto Tothiwim

Forward:

In 1980, I called up Ben Bova at Analog about submitting a story. Fortunately, no deadlines were discussed, since I didn't get it in the mail until ten years later in 1990. Stanley Schmidt responded encouragingly, and now that another thirteen years have gone by, I've decided to self-publish here.

One of the many things that I admired most about Isaac Asimov was his willingness to create an entire short story just to set up a single pun. One or more of the puns and other references in this story may be a bit dated for some of you; if so email me at comments@gosto.org for an explanation.

Chapter 1

One sweltering afternoon at Princeton University, Namdoog Neb was in the Physics Library attempting to concentrate on his thesis.

The subject of his thesis was time travel, and at the moment he was mired in the mind-bending convolutions and apparent paradoxes to be found in the current literature on the Causal Ordering postulate (COP). After weeks of research, this most fundament bar to time travel (i.e., cause must precede effect) had nearly convinced him that a new thesis subject was in order.

Out of a sense of commitment, along with a healthy measure of desperation, he doggedly pursued every reference to the COP available. He knew that before he could whole-heartedly explore other subjects, he had to confirm in his own mind the validity of the accepted concept that future advances could never be somehow transmitted into the past to aid in solving the host of man-caused-problems-about-to-become-catastrophes threatening all life on earth.

It happened that on this particular afternoon the air conditioning was not working in the Library, and the heat was in close competition with the obliviously noisy would-be repairmen in destroying his concentration. Namdoog suddenly realized he had read the same paragraph three times while gaining no hint of its contents. At the same time, his sensory filters relaxed enough to let him know that a semi-conscious part of his mind been listening in fascination to a conversation between two nearby repairmen.

"Conversation" was not the right word - it was more like a lecture. The speaker was a heavy-set older man in regulation blue shirt and coveralls, addressing a similarly-attired youngster, apparently an apprentice, who had asked how a heat pump works. His senior was basically telling him that he didn't know and didn't need to know how it works in order to fix it. Namdoog decided to take a breather and considered helping the apprentice with his question. He was about to motion him over when he was struck by the most interesting thought he had had in days: Would the COP allow a "time pump", which instead of displacing heat from one location to another, displaced time from one volume of space to another, slowing down the rate of time in one volume, balanced by a speeded up rate in the other volume? He knew that fate had taken a hand to provide him with a new thesis subject, and a new angle on accelerating technical advancement. In a very short time, as human history is measured, he realized that fate had handed him the future.

Chapter 2

"Dr. Neilson, we're ready for you now." Dan Neilson nodded to the duty nurse, and followed the blue stripe down the hallway toward the brilliant light. "Like a dying man's out-of-body experience" he thought, "Very appropriate for a dying man." The genetic disease that threatened his mind and his life was at once a new dilemma and an ancient enemy; it had slowly killed his father, but he had always felt a cure would come along before it awoke in his own genes. The cure hadn't come, and now this last resort had become his only hope As he neared the light it seemed to dim; he knew this meant he had entered the Temporal Deceleration Zone, and that the world outside had begun to accelerate faster and faster, until a second to him would be a year to the rest of the world. In his mind's eye he saw family and friends age and turn to dust, cities transforming into the world of the future. Would there be a place for him in this strange new time?

He had only taken three steps into the zone when it brightened - he had caught up with the cure!

Running back up the corridor, he saw the same duty nurse waiting for him. His first reaction was "It didn't work!" In a strangled voice, he asked "How long?" The nurse smiled and replied "Just under three years." Dan saw his wife and daughter, clearly not dust, running toward him. "How?" he croaked. The nurse had had this conversation many times, but her joy at giving good news was evident. "The researchers in the Accelerated Zone have been cranking out cures faster than we can implement them." Dan took a deep breath, found his voice, and asked "Where do I volunteer for the AZ?" The nurse beamed "We get a lot of recruits this way. Your treatment starts tomorrow - when you're done with that, give us a call." Further conversation could not compete with the energetic arrival of Dan's family.

Chapter 3

Dan had never really thought about how his specialty, psychiatry, would be applied in the Zones. Like most people, he envisioned the Decelerated Zone as a holding pattern for the terminally ill and future faddists, and the Accelerated Zone as a super-tech R&D laboratory for the "hard" sciences.

Now, three "real" years after his cure, he had made three trips into the AZ. Each trip was for one subjective year (one second "real" time), and he had now "caught up" chronologically with the three years the world had aged during his three seconds in the DZ. He was planning another trip into the AZ, to continue work with a patient who really needed him - who literally would not survive another minute without his help.

His wife, who was a physicist, and his daughter, a metallurgist, would accompany him on this trip. They had all developed friendships with other AZ "trippers", which insulated them somewhat from the dislocation of friends traveling through "real" time. In fact, AZ trippers generally agreed that life in the AZ, where technology develops at the pre-AZ pace, seemed more "normal" than life in "real" time, where the morning paper would announce that the latest "AZ Download" was high-temperature superconductors, the afternoon paper would announce the advent of economical fusion power generation, and the evening edition would quote promising results in FTL travel experiments.

Chapter 4

Namdoog had only himself to blame. He may not have foreseen that one of the first applications of the AZ would be to rid the world of undesirables without having to indulge in politically sensitive activities, such as executions, by simply letting the convicted live out their natural lives in the AZ. He should have foreseen that irate relatives of the said convicted might vent their ire on him. His lack of foresight, combined with one particularly extreme case of such ire, resulted in a head injury which impaired certain of his mental faculties.

Impairment notwithstanding, Namdoog continued to work on his latest project, that being development of an energy source sufficiently efficient to power the FTL vehicles that had been proven, in theory, to be practicable.

The resulting vaporization of a rather popular part of the planet resulted in Namdoog's classification, despite his earlier contributions, as an undesirable of the highest order.

As was the law of the land at the time, upon his conviction Namdoog was sentenced to one second (one subjective year) in the AZ for medical and psychiatric evaluation. During this time; he spent only the minimum required time with Dr. Neilson. As a means of self defense, he used the time to overcome the theoretical obstacles to creating an AZ within an AZ. He not only succeeded, he managed to convince certain of the more dedicated trippers to relocate into this second order AZ, whereupon they proceeded to develop a means to repair the physical damage to Namdoog's brain.

This would seem to be the end of our hero's problems, except that the second order trippers, being independent-minded sorts, avidly produced and merrily populated ever higher orders of AZ's until advancements were downloaded into realtime from the effectively infinite future, destroying any sense of normalcy or continuity forever. Namdoog, in an unusual moment of contemplation of consequences, became catatonic upon realization of what he had wrought.

Back in court (one second after his conviction, and before the maelstrom of infinite innovation had become commonly apparent), Namdoog stood next to his perplexed advocate, Dr. Neilson, who had seen his patient (and savior) physically cured only to show up psychologically jammed, and undoubtedly on his way back to the AZ forever (or at least a minute, whichever came first).

Namdoog needed a reprieve granted by this court, because it would be unwise to rely on the appeals process. The political and judicial quagmire created by sentences to the AZ had been placed, by law, in the lap of the only official who was both sufficiently highly placed as well as politically expendable, that being the Vice-President of the United States, who now acted as final arbitrator in such appeals. Dan quailed at the thought of relying on this process, not to mention the particular individual in office.

Dan obtained a brief recess in which to consult with his patient's comrades in the AZ. Upon learning of the higher order AZ's, and their latest product (a device for trans-galactic communication with thousands of alien cultures, he overcame his shock, surmised the reason for Namdoog's condition, and obtained an order for a DZ year of therapy.

The actual cure took much less than a year, so Dan and Namdoog appeared back in court for a final hearing. The people present were basically the same as at his last appearance, but the hallowed halls of the court building had been replaced by an open air park. In the months Dan and Namdoog were in the DZ, mankind had generally forsaken buildings, roads, surface vehicles, etc. in favor of a transparent "second skin" a few molecules thick, which was undetectable in its normal state. Dan noticed that the court clerk had chosen the "normal state" as her attire, but tried not to let it distract him from the task at hand.

The court announced that advancements in rehabilitation had been such that no more AZ sentences were being handed down, and, incidentally, that every decision made by the Vice President, for this and other obvious reasons, had been declared null and void. The court further accepted Dan's recommendation that Namdoog be declared cured and released, particularly in light of the fact that as long as Namdoog (and everyone else) stayed inside their respective skins, no one could ever damage anyone or anything else again.

Chapter 5

Namdoog and Dan were, of course, intensely intrigued by the skins. The current version maintained temperature and humidity to taste, was undetectably yielding yet invulnerable to a nuclear blast, and filtered air, water, and food of all harmful substances. (Actually, the skin followed the stretched-and-tangled-doughnut configuration of the human body, along the surfaces of the respiratory and digestive tracts, so that no substance actually entered the body without passing through the skin, which also recycled anything the body was done with. Dan particularly appreciated the fact that the skin transmitted the actual taste and texture of foods, without allowing a single molecule of harmful chemicals through. The skin even kept track of the nutritional balance of food consumed, allowing the proper amounts to pass, recycling excesses, and storing reserves of trace elements deficient in the owner's normal diet.

The skin contained visual and aural enhancers, simulating the desired daylight scene night or day. The skin responded to the wearer's commands by detecting brain waves, and could simulate a 360-degree visual and aural environment. Dan became accustomed to receiving a call from a client (via modulated neutrinos, skin-to-skin), whereupon he would call up a meeting environment simulation, into which the client's image would be inserted (and his into the client's simulation), for the session.

A few months passed. Namdoog had (of course) been experimenting with skin enhancements. The modes of transportation of the day were generally aerial (hang gliders, fusion-powered planes, etc.), and Namdoog wanted to build some motive force into the skin. The skin obtained all the energy it required for its functions from excess body heat and sunlight. It had been designed without an internal energy source in order to preclude adding to the thermal pollution of the ecosphere.

The maelstrom of change had been replaced by a more peaceful trend toward individual choice of lifestyle. With all physical needs provided for, and no known limits on lifespan, people began to learn to pick and choose the environments and experiences which fitted into their personal philosophy and development. Major issues of the day: How far down the food chain should skins be provided to animals and lower species? What should be done about the apparent cruelty of nature to its non-sentient residents?

Eventually, Namdoog hit upon a rather convoluted solution to the transportation problem. He redesigned the skin material to allow it to extend monomolecular pseudopods, which could expend and absorb energy with sufficient efficiency so as not to present a thermal pollution problem. A pseudopod would extend, however many kilometers, and attach near the target. Other pseudopods attached in alternate directions to provide stabilization anchorage. Finally, a pseudopod would form an air-tight envelope covering the skin, and expand until it contained a lighter-than-air volume. The extended pseudopods would then contract or expand as required to move the skin to the target.

One side-effect of Namdoog's enhancement (yes, yet another reality-wrenching side effect) was that pseudopods could be conjured up in any combination of sizes, shapes, surface textures, and appearance, providing fully tactile simulations of any imaginable environment - the Taj Mahal, a south seas isle, a sunny meadow, with or without simulated companions - the possibilities were literally endless. It was no longer necessary to travel in order to experience more than visual and aural simulations. In fact, individually controlled simulations became indistinguishable from reality

After a few centuries of experimenting with his new "reality generator", Namdoog decided it was about time he tried to make some progress on some ancient but REALLY far-out problems, like exploring higher dimensions, discovering the purpose of the universe, bringing back the dead, getting in touch with God, etc. But that's another story.

Pure History

Copyright 2003 by Gosto Tothiwim

Grampa! I found it!" Jen ran into the library, breathless with excitement. Ted looked up from his reading with a smile. He had not expected Jen to be so resourceful. He realized that he had a lot to learn about his "granddaughter".

Jen hopped into his lap and held up a large, worn book for his inspection. "Where did you find it?" he asked. Jen looked up at him slyly and said "Secret?". "Ok." he agreed. Jen spoke in a hushed voice. "I know a way into the rare book room of the library!" Seeing his dismay, she added "Don't worry. I know how valuable books are, and how to take care of them." Ted was more concerned about broken laws than about damaged books, and was surprised that she thought her statement would reassure him.

Ted had suggested she look for this particular book, but had expected her to look for the viewer version. It had not occurred to him that she would even know the difference between an electronic book and a "real" one. "What about Security? Don't they have sensors in that room?". Jen put on a pained expression. "Of course they do. They have a sensor on every book. But that's just computer stuff!" "What?" he asked, confused. Jen spoke as if addressing a small child. "Everything there is controlled by computer. Easy to fix."

Seeing that Ted was looking even more distressed, she continued "Look, I told you there is nothing to worry about. No one ever looks at real books anymore, except a few weird old bibliophiles. I always put them back before anyone ever looks for them." Ted gave her a crafty look. "You do this often?" "Sure." she said. "Doesn't that make you a weird old bibliophile?" Ted asked. "I'm not old!" she protested. "I'm only seven years old!". Ted pursued the tease with "That just makes you a young weird bibliophile." Jen tossed her head and replied "I am not weird. I like books because of the way they look and feel and smell, and because they are more fun to read than a viewer. They make me feel closer to the author and the stories seem more real." "That's a pretty good definition of a bibliophile." Ted said. "Why do you call other people who like real books weird?". Jen thought a minute then responded. "I guess bibliophiles aren't all weird. I was really just talking about the ones who aren't really interested in the books - they just like old things that were around before the changes."

"The changes" Ted thought. "So she knows something about my time after all." His daughter had made it clear to him that she was a fervent believer in the current "philosophy" regarding the young - that they should be protected from any knowledge of human nature before "the changes" - and that she had the support of the intervening five generations.

In the short time since his return, Ted had already deduced that most of the active support for this "philosophy" came from persons in his daughter's generation or their elders; few of the "post-change" generations had much interest one way of the other. Ted was also aware that his daughter perceived him as a danger to her efforts to "protect" Jen from knowledge of the past. Her perceptions were correct - Ted could not abide any doctrine which depended on enforced ignorance. He was uncertain just how he was going to deal with it, and was still playing things by ear. Jen had, of course, been full of questions about his life, and his attempted diversion of her attention to searching for an obscure history text hadn't worked for long.

He had been trained to cope with the effects of time dilation, but training was a long way from experience. It would take a long time before he became accustomed to the fact that Jen was actually seven generations younger than he.

A family reunion had been organized for his homecoming the day before. His daughter had been 24 when he left as chief navigator on the first interstellar exploration. She was now over 240 years old, and looked no different than when he had left. Ted, with his grey beard and lined face, and Jen were the only persons at the reunion that did not have the physical appearance of being in their early twenties. In less than two days he would begin the rejuvenation treatments, and within a week would no longer be the oldest looking person on Earth.

He looked forward to the treatments with some trepidation - they had not been performed on a person in his physical condition in over 200 years. He gained considerable reassurance from the fact that the entire rejuvenation would be controlled by computer with only incidental human involvement. But for now, Jen's curiosity was the more immediate problem.

He cautioned, "You know how Susan would feel about your having that book." Jen rolled her eyes. "If I can handle the library's security system, I ought to be able to handle your daughter!".

TO BE CONTINUED

The Artisan's Apprentice

Copyright 2003 by Gosto Tothiwim

This is the first edit of column five in the late fifty-ninth millennium. I have little time for formality. The ebb is full, and the night is dying. At first light I will have one last chance to invoke the timeless power of the Artisan. This is not enough, I know - the Artisan is also at full ebb, and no other power can help me.

I wait for the last star to fade in the infant sunrise. The inevitability of my fate finally changes fear into relief - no longer must I strive to hope.

The horizon dips closer to the sun - I cannot look away from the brightest star in the sky, as the dawn wipes away all dimmer lights - it will be the last star I will ever see.

The first shadows appear on the landscape before I realize that no star is bright enough to shine in the waking morning light - the object of my attention is not a star! It can only be my salvation! Oh! The pain!

. . .

Titus settled into the near trance needed to handle atmospheric entry. The hour was later than he had hoped, but time was still on his side. He would allow nothing to interfere with the rescue which would make him even more famous than the Artisan's apprentice whose life now depended on him - he would need that fame to overcome the charges which would be lodged against him for the actions he had taken to effect this rescue; all he had to figure out now was how to convince the Artisan's potentate that the rescue was his primary, if not his sole, motivation for "borrowing" a jump ship and flying it into The Hole in an unconfirmed trajectory. Convincing the Artisan's apprentice of his motives would be the first hurdle. It did not occur to him that he would have to convince the apprentice to be rescued.

. . .

Salvation! That one thought has destroyed my hard-won place in the Lifeline - my sense of self has reared up and overcome my tenuous connection with the Artisan. Better I die here and now than face this failure, or worse, contemplate another millennium of struggling yet again through the first four columns of the Artisan's Legacy.

. . .

Titus cleared the ionization barrier and opened a channel on the universal distress frequency. The communications program immediately detected and locked onto the apprentice's carrier wave. The apprentice's comm immediately conveyed recognition and ship's status. "Not too serious" thought Titus. The apprentice had been using a brain wave amplifier to maintain contact with the Artisan during his own passing thru the ionization barrier, and had been hit with an overload when his ship hit a freak low pressure zone which reduced the ionization interference and peaked the brain wave input above his tolerance level.

Several seconds passed before Titus realized that no direct response had been received from the apprentice. He switched on his throat mike and patched into the distress channel. "This is Titus Wells on the Goldstar calling apprentice Quad-Quint. Please respond immediately!"

. . .

The apprentice hesitated, then responded "Goldstar, what is your purpose?"

Titus' surprise was evident. "What do you mean, what is my purpose?" You and I are the only humans within seven million light years! I'm here to rescue you!"

With a heavy sigh, the apprentice responded "Your arrival certainly is not a matter of chance, and has been the seed of my loss of grace in the Lifeline. I do not welcome rescue under the current circumstances."

Titus, ever quick to respond to the unexpected, realized that only the apprentice knew what would motivate him to relent, and decided that since a failure of ego had caused the apprentice's predicament, an appeal to his ego would be either the best or the worst thing he could do. He settled on the former. "Shall I then report to the Artisan Legacy potentate that apprentice Quad-Quint refused rescue?"

The apprentice was very still for several moments, then responded. "No. I await your arrival." He knew that no matter what effect a decision to continue would have on him, it would be insignificant compared to the damage caused by the withdrawal of the foremost apprentice from the Quest.

Fearing that the apprentice might change his mind, Titus reset the maximum G-level for the rendezvous maneuvers well above the comfort line - he would be bruised and sore for weeks. Within a matter of minutes, the Goldstar was touching down beside the apprentice's ship, and docking port-to-port.

Quad-Quint emerged through the Goldstar's port in full suit, even though conditions inside his own ship read as nominal on Goldstar's monitors.

Titus asked, "Why the suit?" Quad-Quint removed his helmet before responding, "I am in this situation because my ship's status monitors show the same as you are seeing, despite the fact that my drive pile is at this moment about to blow.".

Without another word, Titus yanked the emergency escape lever and the computer set the ship on a low level sprint that quickly put the horizon between the two ships. A brilliant flash brought all external sensors to shutdown level. The ship arced upwards to clear the atmosphere ahead of the shock wave, staying low enough to keep the hellish radiation coming from the remains of Quad-Quint's ship on the other side of the horizon.

The external sensors came back up, and Titus asked in a puzzled voice, "Any idea why I'm not getting any radiation readings from the upper atmosphere? Most of your ship must have been blown that high!" Quad-Quint responded, "I managed to set the pile to inject itself well below the surface upon our departure. Whatever part of the pile was blown out went straight up out of the atmosphere.

TO BE CONTINUED

From Here To There

Copyright 2003 by Gosto Tothiwim

Namdoog Neb climbed the hill overlooking the construction site and sat on the green grass to take in the view.

The outline of the first-stage centrifuge building covered a circle nearly a quarter mile in diameter. A dotted line of survey flags ran from the circle up the hill and continued off to Namdoog's right, up and over the shoulder of the lower peak of Twin Butte Mountain and out of sight.

Within three months, the centrifuge building would be complete, and after another three months the first leg of the acceleration chute would stretch up along the line of flags. After more months of testing, redesign, and construction, the second stage "hyper speed" centrifuge building would circle the lower peak, the circle canted in alignment with the upper stages of the acceleration chute. Finally, the chute would be extended across the gap to the upper peak, and on up the mountain, jutting far above the summit.

Vast quantities of materials and equipment would be launched into space from this complex, and a new era of exploration would begin for the human race.

TO BE CONTINUED

Full Disclosure

Copyright 2007 by Gosto Tothiwim

100

Exploding stars and particle accelerators create exotic forms of matter, but the rest of the universe is made up of neutrons, protons, and electrons. You, me, this book, everything you see, every physical thing that exists. If we aren't destroyed or sent back to the Stone Age by some religious nut or greedy biotech or nanotech company, we will eventually develop the technology to transmute matter to instantly transform a handful of dirt into a loaf of bread, or a vial of medicine, or a few ounces of plutonium - whoops! Someday our descendents will walk through a machine that uses something like quantum-entangled heavy neutrinos to scan every atom in our body, then tweak the quarks as necessary to repair all the DNA damage our body failed to repair for itself, eliminate problematic introns and other genetic mistakes, remove all toxins and extraneous glucose bonds, and otherwise optimize every cell for perfect health. No hunger, no disease, no competition for physical resources. Nature becomes optional. Intellectual enhancement available at no extra charge. What will it be like to be human then? What will they think of us?

101

"She has chosen Full Disclosure." Gemsen could hear the pain in his wife's voice. He had been dreading this day. "That is very distressing. But not surprising", he said. "We've always known she would lean that way. And it's possible she will change her mind during the process. They're very careful to leave options open at every step." "How well I know", said Helen. "I wish now I hadn't opted out in the later levels. I won't be able to help her deal with it as well as I might have." Gemsen was silent for a moment, pulling himself back from the brink of despair that the memory aroused. The room darkened as a cloud passed, reflecting his thoughts. "I think once she has some feeling for what it was like, she will know that enough is enough." Helen looked up, tearful. "I'll be aching until I know she has stopped."

102

Sarah felt the cool shadow of the passing cloud, and marveled at the play of the shifting light over the gardens. "Now where is that patch of crocus they were talking about?" she said to herself. "Ahh!" Just beyond the row of cherry trees, among a broad band of flowers, the grayish blight stood out like a beacon amid the riot of color. She crossed over to the patch, pulled a pair of snippers from her kit bag, and cut off a foot-long twig. "Now, what do you need?"

Sarah would spend the rest of the day studying the plant's DNA and chemical makeup, trying to identify what was missing from its environment. On a world where viruses and bacteria were not allowed, alternatives to these chemical factories had to be created artificially. She was accustomed to taking daily supplements of chemicals necessary for digestion and other functions once provided by natural symbiotic bacteria in the body.

Sarah's passion was optimizing the supplements used in the garden. Keeping organics alive on Heaven was becoming a lost art. Sarah's interest in natural evolution had been fostered by her parents, who were considered modern hippies, part of a tiny minority of humans with any great interest in studying, let alone preserving, the products of untamed nature. How did we get to this state? That is a long story. A very long story.

And here it is:

0

Sarah's request to receive "Full Disclosure" required her to attend preparatory sessions providing background information, including the following summary I wrote years ago for such students:

A little over 72 billion years ago (on a Wednesday, as a matter of fact, or so say the computers), the Change occurred. Up to that point, Reality was absolutely featureless. Actually, nothing changed, except that the instant before the Change, Reality had no potential for change, and the instant after, it did.

(An alternate theory regarding the nature of Reality prior to the Change is that it was the opposite of featureless, in fact, chaos, where everything that could happen did happen, simultaneously, without any relation between cause and effect. Under this theory, Reality also had no potential for change until the first Change. Both theories go on to hypothesize that the instant second change was the establishment of the relationship between cause and effect. I prefer the featureless Reality approach myself, since that, to me, is mind-boggling enough as it is.)

The third Change was the creation of something out of nothing, rather, the splitting of nothing into a something and an anti-something. Twentieth Century cosmologists claimed to have proven that the sum total of all the gravitational energy in the universe, added to the energy-equivalent of matter and all other forms of energy, totaled zero. (If you don't find that particularly boggling, you might have a future in cosmology; otherwise, consider cosmetology.)

(Note to Editor: I've included these parenthetical asides so you would have something to edit, as I am certain you will find every other word herein frustratingly perfect.)

The fourth (important) Change was the random occurrence of a constellation of stable somethings and anti-somethings, configured so that the anti-somethings coalesced in a shell around the somethings, creating a potential universe. The anti-something shell became self-focusing (details available under separate cover), and the interface between the anti-something shell and the something core exploded (of course), compressing the core to nearly point size. The rebound of the core, as you have already guessed, was the Big Bang, and the expansion of the anti-something shell into an ever-increasing displacement of normal Reality is perceived at our end as the "expansion of the universe" propelled by "dark energy". Variations in this expansion followed as a result of the initial state, thickness, and internal mechanics of the shell during and following the interface explosion, and the same aspects of the core following the initial compression.

The original configuration did not consist of purely separated elements - not only does the something (normal matter) core include a residual amount of anti-something (anti-matter), it also includes some volumes of normal Reality ("dark matter"), which initially retarded the Big Bang until it had been sufficiently dispersed, allowing the universal expansion to briefly balloon, leading to the universe we see today.

(Actually, the details are not available under separate cover; instead, they are left as an exercise for the Reader to work out.)

Skipping ahead (present era):

It has been less than 70 years since mankind developed the technology to transmute matter, but already the first three million years of human history are largely thought of as an unpleasant footnote, something to be left behind and forgotten as soon and as completely as possible. With no limit to lifespan and no competition for physical resources, human life and human relations have become a search for each individual's most enlightened concept of paradise.

The asteroid belt was quickly transformed into a ringworld around the sun (named Niven, of course), with more land area than millions of Earths. After a brief explosion, the population leveled off at around 20 billion - people found that it was a lot harder to figure out how to raise children properly when their choices were unlimited.

A few maintained dwellings on Earth (Squatters), seeking to continue natural evolution while minimizing the inherent cruelty of nature. Since nature's "plan" is for virtually every living thing to be either eaten alive or die of starvation, thirst, injury, or disease, this has been a tough row to hoe. How far down the food chain do you interfere with natural hunting and its corollary population control? How do you decide which creatures would have been eliminated from the gene pool, in order to humanely sterilize them? How do you correct for the artificially increased population, and its effect on food resources, both for the population and its predators? I expect an eventual consensus will emerge to the effect that we and all living things are experiments of nature, and that all experiments that are inherently cruel when left to run wild should be terminated.

A segment of the population decided to construct a separate artificial habitat named Heaven, free of all viruses, bacteria, toxins, and other pollution. It consists of three widely-spaced parallel cylinders connected to each other, placed in solar orbit so that the center line of the central cylinder is at zero gee, those of the outer cylinders are at 1 g (in opposite directions, of course).

A separate facility was built inside the orbit of Mercury, designed as a fail-safe experimental laboratory. It was initially named SunLab, but human nature being what it is, it was of course informally, then later formally, referred to as Hell. All biotech and nanotech research is performed in Hell by remote operation, to avoid risking entire populations and planets with runaway experiments. The lab orbits at a speed just below that necessary to attain zero gee, and is maintained in orbit by engines that gather solar particles and use fusion reactions to accelerate them back into the Sun at a higher speed than that at which they had arrived. Any containment failure would automatically shut off the engines, and the entire lab would fall into the Sun.

After becoming accustomed to perfect health and material comfort, and after experimenting with myriad new possibilities (different bodies, genders, species, etc. - being an eagle for a day became extremely popular for a time), most people rarely bother to download from their electronic nests into an organic body anymore, preferring a consciousness and lifestyle immersed in nearly infinite choices of virtual realities, unfettered by demands for oxygen, nutrition, and a narrow range of environmental conditions.

For the first time in history, people have begun to realize how little they know about how their own mind works. Surprisingly quickly, the veils of superstition and wishful thinking are lifting, and a few fundamental truths have became apparent. As you know, these truths are listed in the Consensus.

The Primary Question is: What caused the Change? At long last, the general population publicly acknowledges what they had privately suspected all along: no one knows, and anyone who tells you that they know is a liar or a fool. The best anyone has been able to do is to give the force behind the Change a label ("God"), which explains nothing, but which has been used as an "explanation" for every inexplicable event, and as a source of "authority" for otherwise unsupportable ideas, since the dawn of humanity. Our triumph in rising above such primitive philosophy is embodied in the Consensus.

The information provided here is intended for those who have chosen to learn more about human nature, up to and including Full Disclosure. While it is generally known that humanity has a dark history of how we have treated each other and other living things, most of the population born post-transmutation have been spared the trauma of being informed of specific instances and details. Whether such knowledge helps or hinders the search for enlightenment is a matter of much debate. Some feel it is essential to know the capabilities of the human mind, for both good and ill, particularly before choosing to shed elements of one's consciousness for the purpose of attaining a higher state of evolution and achieving enlightenment not attainable with a human brain and its inherent biases and limitations for refinement. Others are concerned that such knowledge might forever affect the search for enlightenment in a negative way. In either case, refinement of one's consciousness may require use of a model that differs from that of the human brain to the extent that return of the consciousness to a human brain becomes impossible. At this time, these decisions are left up to each individual.

We will begin with a review of the Consensus, then proceed to First Level Disclosure.

Consensus of the Citizens of Heaven

The purpose of life is to fill the universe with life.

The purpose of conscious life is to seek enlightenment and thereby enhance the experience of life for all life.

Human consciousness evolved residing in an organic brain, and therefore is naturally focused on survival of its gene pool, instinctively rejecting any truth that conflicts with this focus. Enlightenment depends on rising above this bias.

As a self-contained consciousness the human mind is incapable of distinguishing between epiphany and delusion. It is possible that one's most deeply-held beliefs might be in error, therefore it would be unethical to attempt to impose one's beliefs on another. One must perpetually question all beliefs.

We choose to believe that our thoughts, perceptions, and reactions are not solely the inevitable result of the instant electrochemical state of our brain; that we have Free Will and ultimate responsibility for our beliefs and behavior.

First Level Disclosure

We recognize that superstitions ...

We recognize that it is natural for very young children to perceive his or her parents as all-knowing and all-powerful. This illusion provides a sense of security that becomes every person's first neurotic addiction. The inevitable disillusionment leaves the child susceptible to infection with replacement delusions such as religion and other superstitions. Such traditions...

TO BE CONTINUED

Etc.

Copyrights

Top Videos

Trip the Light

The World is FULL of Good-Hearted People!

Truly Inspiring!

Thanks Matt & Melissa!

Space Station Video

I often watch this first thing in the morning for inspiration.

Even if we are wiped out or sent back to the Stone Age by some religious nut or greedy biotech or nanotech corporation,

at least we got this far!

Our Story In 2 Minutes

Military Wives Choir

It makes my blood boil that the parasites that run the world put our very best in harm's way for the sake of greed.

 

Favorite Music

Who'll Stop the Rain

Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorow

Hollywood Nights

Go to Sleep Little Baby

Spirit In The Sky

Year 2525

More Than A Feeling

Don't Look Back

Ingaddadavida

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

Melange

Handel

Shaft

Silver Machine

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

1008 Ukuleles

Orange Blossom Special

Pinball Wizard

Dambusters March

Life on Mars

Psycho Killer

 

Old Favorites

Favorite Quotes

Resignation Letter

Mississippi Squirrel Revival

Lutheran Orchestra

Bill Maher's Baptism

Sheep-herding Rabbit

Belgian Magic

Bob (watch past the credits)

Anything Goes Flash Mob

Act of Valor

Real Marines in Battle

NYC Flash Mob

Chevy Super Bowl Commercial

Moving Northern Lights

I Believe She's Amazing Flash Mob - Toronto Eaton Centre

Junk Mail

The Media

The Future of PBS

Media Piracy

Twitter Censorship

Avatar

Premises

 

 

Wordpress

 

In Search Of (broken links)

Aurora Australis - Beautiful!

 

Misc (Round2It Pile)

Twitter Censorship

 

"Twitter pledged to be transparent and said it would post details of any removal of content to ChillingEffects.org": Details should include content of the tweet, countries where censored, and criteria for censorship in each country. This will provide documentation for those seeking to reduce censorship.?

Resignation Letter

You get a call that you need to go clean out Aunt Martha's storage garage because she died. And, you are told to bring a trailer. Sounds like a pain in the rear but out of respect for your Aunt Martha, you comply. Later you send the following letter to your boss.

Dear Boss:

I'm resigning effective immediately!

The reason for my resignation is that I cleaned my aunt's garage this morning before coming to work, and realized I don't feel like working anymore.

See for yourself...

 

The Future of PBS

These are some suggestions I sent out long ago to several PBS stations, but received no response. Any suggestions on how to get professional fund raisers to listen to ideas that make professional fund raisers unnecessary?

--------------------------

I would like to offer some ideas on PBS financing, and on the changing role of PBS in the future.

I suggest you encourage member stations to set up a 900 telephone number system for donations.

Instead of suffering through pledge breaks, many viewers would be glad to have a monthly donation automatically charged to their phone bills.

Viewers would also be more motivated to donate if given the opportunity to allocate their donations to specific acquisitions.

There would be brief requests for donations between programs, or just a subtitle during the credits, reminding viewers who appreciated the program to call the number. Just calling the number would automatically allocate a portion of the caller's preset monthly donation to acquisition of the program just aired or new acquisition of additional episodes or similar programming. No further action by the viewer would be required once the call connects and is acknowledged by a recording.

The caller could also stay on the line to key in additional donations to be charged to their phone bill, using a security code feature like that now commonly used for voice mail.

Subscribers would be sent pamphlets telling them how to enroll, with pointers on how to store and automatically dial phone numbers if their equipment is so designed.

The number of subscribers could be expected to continue to grow, with little attrition and no annual renewals required.

The phone service provider might be able to donate the system setup and service as a tax write-off.

In areas where the phone service provider is prevented from offering such 900 services by law or regulation, the provider might be able to obtain a waiver allowing it to provide the services to public and charitable organizations, in anticipation of tax write-offs and the possibility of future permission to offer the services commercially without further investment.

With such a system, not only would pledge breaks become a thing of the past, but a reliable source of financial support would be in place.

I expect that commercial stations will eventually set up similar systems and begin offering commercial-free programming, so it would behoove PBS stations to establish an "installed base" of 900 donors first.

This leads to my ideas regarding the future role of PBS:

As fiber optics, direct satellite transmission, and computers make more channels and interactive viewing available, viewers, especially parents, will become even more dependent on screening services like that provided by PBS, to weed out programs that are not worth watching, inappropriate for children, or otherwise not consistent with the viewer's interests and sensibilities. As more commercial-free programming becomes inexpensively available from non-PBS stations, and more funding becomes directly available to program creators, the role of PBS as a direct programming provider will diminish, as its importance as an impartial screening service increases, until screening becomes its primary, if not sole, function.

It is not possible to over-emphasize the importance of preparing NOW to provide impartial screening services for ALL programming available to viewers, commercial as well as non-commercial (and for published materials as well). This will become one of the most important influences in every person's life. Unfortunately, the only ones who appear to be gearing up for this vital service are the TV evangelists, school-board fanatics, and others whose recommendations are polluted by their hidden, fringe, or highly subjective agenda. In fact, the PBS' ultimate function will be to screen the screeners, keeping viewers informed of the criteria, hidden or otherwise, used by private or commercial reviewers, and their consistency and competence in applying those criteria.

Fix Twitter and Wordpress Links

Asimov's Exponential Curve

(I have been searching through my old Analogs and Amazings trying to find the original article, but have been unsuccessful. If anyone knows where to find it, please let me know.)

In the 70s Isaac Asimov wrote an article in which he described the exponential changes occurring in human history. He showed that no matter how changes were measured, whether by population growth, energy use, complexity of tools, etc., the rate of change has followed the same exponential curve.

At that time we were well past the slow-rising beginning of the curve. We have now moved into a much steeper part of the curve.

We are at a point where the future of humanity is in our own hands. Whether or not we have a future depends on how far-sighted we are in protecting humanity from itself. The ominous silence from the stars may indicate that such far-sightedness is rare in the universe - that countless civilizations have failed to save themselves from short-sighted politics, superstitious violence, and run-away technology.

 

editors@SciAm.com

Regarding "Beyond Fingerprinting" (Biometrics) in the 2008 September issue:

The fatal flaw in plans to implement biometric security is the assumption that Americans will line up to have their biometrics recorded by businesses and the government.

The solution is to use a personal smart card as an anonymous avatar:

?                The smart card will store the user's biometric and financial information, and be equipped with a display screen, micro lenses for optical scanning, and a thumbprint reader.

?                In place of the ubiquitous magnetic card reader, retailers will use a small screen to display the amount of the purchase and the retailer's account to be credited, and a lens to read information displayed by the smart card.

?                The user will hold one side of the smart card up to the display, and look at the other side. One micro lens will read the retailer's display, and the other lens will scan the user's retina to insure that the user is the card's owner.

?                The user approves the purchase using the thumbprint reader.

?                The smart card creates and displays to the retailer's reader an encrypted alphanumeric string that authorizes the user's financial institution to debit the user's account and credit the retailer's account. The encrypted string contains no user identification information accessible to the retailer - it is treated as cash by the retailer. The user's account number included in the string is the account number assigned to the card, not the user's primary account number. No electronic transmission of information occurs between the card and the reader.

?                The financial institution will be responsible for protecting the user's identity, location, and purchase history. Any information released such as for marketing purposes must be statistical only and must contain no means to identify the user, the user's mailing address, email address, or any other personal information.

?                The financial institution may be required to report tracking information to authorities under a court order, for tracking parolees, habitual criminals, etc.

The card is created at a facility that records and discards the user's biometric information in person and downloads and discards account information from the user's financial institutions over secure lines, as well as the user's medical history and driver's license, auto registration, and insurance information, and voter status, the display of which the user can authorize as needed. Credit and debit account balances are maintained by the smart card, and deposits and payments are updated at optical ATMs using displayed encrypted strings.

Additional security may be provided by equipping the smart card with a microphone. The card will display a prompt to which the user will respond for voice verification. False responses can be used to activate a silent alarm in the event the card is being used under duress. For example, in response to prompt "alpha", the user responds with "beta" to authorize the transaction, or responds with "gamma" to activate the silent alarm. The user can create and store as many prompt/response sets as desired.

Another use of the card will be to store and display the user's home and work zip codes, as well as other relevant zip codes such as for schools attended by the user's children, etc. This information is used for distribution of sales taxes among governmental entities, enabling the use of sales taxes in lieu of property taxes and personal income taxes, and, by the way, eliminating the IRS.

 

Quotes

Keep company with those who seek the truth.

Run away from those who have found it.

(This quote was given, with attribution, by Deepok Chopra on a PBS program. I can't remember who he said he was quoting.)

Either we are alone in the universe, or we are not.

Either way, it is an astounding concept.

(Variously attributed, in several forms, to John W. Campbell, Buckminster Fuller, etc.)

When General Custer was asked why he always led his troops into battle, he replied,

"Did you ever try to push a string?"

(I often think of this quote when sheparding groups of kids on a field trip.

With or without religion,

there will be good people who do good things,

and there will be bad people who do bad things,

but to get good people to do bad things,

that takes religion.

Science consists of Physics and tiddlywinks.

My family has had nothing but trouble with immigrants ever since we came to this country.

Major Charles Emerson Winchester (played by David Ogden Stiers in the tv series M*A*S*H)

After thoroughly analyzing a hypothesis, it is prudent to then apply the "dumb test"; that is, does the conclusion standing alone make sense?

Peter Drucker?

Stand-Up Tidbits

Life is a beta test, without a reset button. Death might be a reset button, but I wouldn't count on it.

The things that people wear these days, especially at the beach!

There are those who say "If God had intended man to fly, we would be born with wings."

Well, I say, if God had intended for people to run around naked, we would have been born that way!

Oh. Er. Never mind.

Bumper Stickers

NUKE THE GAY WHALES FOR JESUS

VOTE NO FOR PRESIDENT

(for my RV):

IF IT WAS SAFE TO PASS

I WOULD HAVE DONE IT ALREADY

THERE'S NOTHING WORSE

THAN GETTING STUCK

BEHIND A PORSCHE

Free Will

It is possible that every thought, perception, and reaction may result solely from

the combination of the instant electrochemical state of my brain and external stimuli,

however, if life is to have meaning,

one must choose to belief that Free Will exists.

If there is no such thing as Free Will, then life is reduced to hedonism,

maintaining the highest level of endorphins we can when we can,

and when we can't, indulging in whatever gratifications we can attain.

Such a life is ultimately unsatisfying for most of us.

We need to believe in something greater than ourselves, even if only the Greater Good.

Back to Philosophy

Free Trade

"Free trade", like "small government", is a code phrase for "let the corporations run wild". Reciprocal protectionism must be maintained to counter the predatory protectionism practiced by foreign governments and multinational corporations.

When GM closed profitable auto plants in the US to seek greater profits by outsourcing those jobs to Mexico, the government should have nationalized those plants, put people back to work, and gone into direct competition with GM's new plants in Mexico.

The free market's internal controls on greed and incompetence only work in the long term and on global scales, not in the short term, local scales that devastate peoples' lives. No business ever created a job they did not intend to make a profit on, and no business can ever be trusted to put the greater good ahead of profit. Intense regulation and competent oversight are necessary.

The purpose of government is to protect us from those who see everything and everyone as a resource to be exploited, rather than being a mechanism that facilitates exploitation.

?

Gosto Tothiwim

Gosto Tothiwim is a pseudonym comprised of two reverse acronyms:

On The Shoulders of Giants

G

Giants

O

Of

S

Shoulders

T

The

On

Virtually everything we have or do is possible only because of the life's work of those who have gone before us: Scientists, engineers, doctors, and teachers, from ancient shamans and elders to today's most highly educated people, have created our technology. Some of our leaders, a very few politicians, and even fewer lawyers, established our principles of civilization.

Very few of us could even feed ourselves or make the most basic products we rely on every day. Eyeglasses, cars, homes, etc., etc. No one could create any of these in their modern forms from scratch even in a lifetime. In addition, every one of us exists only because our ancestors persevered, survived, and provided for their families through war, plague, famine, ignorance, drudgery, and oppression.

We all owe those who came before us a debt we can only repay by remembering them and "paying it forward" in their honor. Each of them, in their own way, was a giant on whose shoulders we are standing.

Tothiwim is a reverse acronym for an exclamation that had some popularity for a time.

I just like the whimsical sound of it.

The only clue you need is that, when you figure it out, you'll say to yourself, man, I wish I had thought of that!

Man, I wish I had thought of that!

T

That

O

Of

T

Thought

H

Had

I

I

W

Wish

I

I

Man

Twilight Zone

Quotes

 

Keep company with those who seek the truth.

Run away from those who have found it.

(This quote was given, with attribution, by Deepok Chopra on a PBS program. I can't remember who he said he was quoting.)

 

Either we are alone in the universe, or we are not.

Either way, it is an astounding concept.

(Variously attributed, in several forms, to John W. Campbell, Buckminster Fuller, etc.)

 

When General Custer was asked why he always led his troops into battle, he replied,

"Did you ever try to push a string?"

(I often think of this quote when sheparding groups of kids on a field trip.

 

With or without religion,

there will be good people who do good things,

and there will be bad people who do bad things,

but to get good people to do bad things,

that takes religion.

 

Science consists of Physics and tiddlywinks.

 

My family has had nothing but trouble with immigrants ever since we came to this country.

Major Charles Emerson Winchester (played by David Ogden Stiers in the tv series M*A*S*H)

 

After thoroughly analyzing a hypothesis, it is prudent to then apply the "dumb test"; that is, does the conclusion standing alone make sense?

Peter Drucker?

 

 

Stand-Up Tidbits

 

Life is a beta test, without a reset button. Death might be a reset button, but I wouldn't count on it.

 

The things that people wear these days, especially at the beach!

There are those who say "If God had intended man to fly, we would be born with wings."

Well, I say, if God had intended for people to run around naked, we would have been born that way!

Oh. Er. Never mind.

 

 

Bumper Stickers

 

NUKE THE GAY WHALES FOR JESUS

 

VOTE NO FOR PRESIDENT

 

 

(for my RV):

 

IF IT WAS SAFE TO PASS

I WOULD HAVE DONE IT ALREADY

 

THERE'S NOTHING WORSE

THAN GETTING STUCK

BEHIND A PORSCHE

Stream of Consciousness

For those who have gotten this far through this website, thanks for hanging in there, and all comments are appreciated.

Fair Warning!

Our subconscious is an idea-generating engine. It operates without limits, scruples, or decorum. Our conscious mind is primarily an observer and occasional referee of those few activities of our subconscious that make it through the brain's filters between the two levels. The link below is to a file wherein my subconscious enjoys an out-of-body experience. It is not for the prudish or faint of heart. It contains unfettered thoughts that not only surprise me and with which I do not always agree, some of which I am rightfully ashamed. The purpose of showing them is not to convince but to provoke your own thinking. Hopefully none of it leaves you permanently damaged.

Again, Fair Warning!

Copyrights

I claim no copyrights to any of the material on this website unless expressly stated therein. In fact, I prefer to have this material disseminated as widely as possible - how else am I going to Save the World? However, if you misquote me or attribute anything to me out of context in a way I don't like, I will find you. I will leave the resulting unpleasantness to your imagination.

I often save and use a copy of posters I've seen on Twitter. I try to remember to keep a copy of the original link below, but these things tend to disappear from their original location, and the author may not want their poster associated with my comments, as sedate and reasonable as they always are, so I generally show these without attribution in my related post. Let me know if you wish to have an attribution added to any item.

Videos also tend to disappear from their original linked location, and I check all the links from time to time. Let me know if you find a link that no longer works. My favorite is the Stunning Space Station video that at one time could be downloaded, but now I can't find it anywhere on YouTube or Vimeo where the experience isn't sullied by having to suffer through a commercial.

I will comply with any legal restrictions on the use of others' material, but I don't know of any that apply to the materials I am currently using.