Thursday, July 1, 2010

When Wells Met Lenin

This post is being brought to you by the miracle of caffeine.
Seriously, the only thing wiring me together right now is coffee.  No matter what I do, it seems I am unable to get to sleep any sooner than midnight.  That's actually a bit misleading.  I choose not to get to sleep on time.  Instead, I am saturating my available time with as many pleasurable activities as I can before the cycle of daily drudgeries must begin again.  I engage in protracted cyberspace safaris, seeking to lasso esoteric links to copy and Tweet.  I read the current book I'm on.  I worry over what the hoodlums of the neighborhood might be doing outside my house (so I guess it isn't all fun.)
A midnight departure into slumber leaves me with five hours before I must wake to walk the dogs.  Chewie has a bit of a mean streak when it comes to people, so in order to keep from getting sued I walk him at an hour when few other humanoids roam the streets.  Once that task is done, I return to sleep for an hour.  This is usually when I have a series of intensely bizarre dreams.  Should they persist, I'll list them here on Strange Horizons.  But I digress...

In my reading of Above Top Secret by Timothy Good last night, I came to a passage where Good writes of a time when H.G. Wells met Vladimir Lenin.  I forgot to copy Good's citation in the book, so I don't remember how this meeting came about.  Although I am just dying to know the circumstances.  Anyway, the two men are said to have had the following exchange:

"I [Wells] said to Lenin that the development of human technology might one day change the world situation.  The Marxist conception itself would then become meaningless.
He said:
'You are right.  I understood this myself when I read your novel, The Time Machine.  All human conceptions are on the scale of our planet.  All that will develop will never exceed 'the terrestrial limit.'  If we succeed in establishing interplanetary communication, all of our philosophical, moral, and social views would have to be revised.  In that case, the technical potential becomes limitless, and would then impose the end of the role of violence as a method of social progress.'"

This preclusion of violence would seem to run in the face a bit of later Soviet doctrines towards UFOs.  The Kremlin was often vocal about the presence of UFOs in their airspace and the "threat" they perceived them as.  The Soviet air force often scrambled against sighted UFOs and even opened fire on them more than a few times.  Though there are those who claim that the open declarations by the Soviets about UFOs were mere disinformation to mask their own military tests and space activities.
Still, I find the anecdote insightful.  I would obviously have expected Wells to have dwelt upon the idea of alien life, but to hear that Lenin considered it makes me curious.

A few items from the news:

An x-ray laser at the DOE has been found to control the behavior of atoms and molecules.  In a few cases, it has stripped away electrons and created hollow atoms.  "With all this activity going on inside the atom, scientists have a new way to explore atomic structure and dynamics. Further experiments have investigated nanoclusters of atoms, protein nanocrystals and even individual viruses, with results expected to be published in coming months."  Full story here
If we are just now making discoveries like this with the technology that we have, what would aliens be capable of?  And SETI is still looking for radio signals.  Good luck, sports!

Heard this on WBBM AM this morning.  Apparently, Al Queda is going to be publishing its own magazine/newsletter...in English.  It will be called Inspire.  Among the articles featured: "How To Build a Bomb In Your Mother's Kitchen."  I am not making this up.  Even if I had, I would have tossed it away as being too unrealistic.  It sounds liked they focus grouped the whole thing with Oprah's company.  As I said, I heard this on the radio.  I'm not going to go looking for a link because I don't want to be under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security or the House Un-American Activities Committee...even if things are slightly less fascistic these days.

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1 comment:

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