Thursday, September 30, 2010

Favorite sci-fi comics

I love comic books.  Have since the age of 6.  Today, during the numbness of my day job, I mentally wandered off and compiled a list of my favorite comics that had strong science fiction themes.  In no certain order and chosen with no other analysis or criteria than "stuff I like," I hereby tender my list:

Superman.  It's often easy to forget that the prototype for the modern comic book hero is himself a stranger to this world.  Last son of a dead planet, he owes all that he is (physically, anyway) to alien genetics.
Hawkman.  Tough-as-nails cop from the planet Thanagar fights super-baddies like the Manhawks...and keeps a really cool ship in Earth orbit.

Green Lantern.  A dying alien gives Hal Jordan a power ring, making him the Green Lantern for our sector of space.  Thus is born one of comics' greatest characters (sorry George.)

Adam Strange.  An archeologist is whisked away to the planet Rann.  He matriculates into the role of shepherd for the planet's population (especially for Alanna, nudge-nudge, wink-wink, knowwhatImean) and protects them from threats to their world.  Strange has no super powers.  Instead, he relies on his wits, his Ivy League education, and a really cool retro-1950s jetpack and laser gun to get him out of trouble.

Camelot 3000.  It is the year 3000 (probably where the title came from.)  Earth has been invaded and occupied by aliens.  It is said that Britain's greatest hero will return in her greatest hour of need.  That time is now.  
Come on!  What's not to like?  Once you get a look at that delicious Brian Bolland artwork of Excalibur rising up out of the waters of a nuclear plant (I think), you'll be hooked.

Shazam!  While not infused with an overabundance of science fiction memes, this book is included here for the pure presence of Mr. Mind.  
He could be one of the greatest characters in the history of comic books. Mind is a worm who hails from a distant planet and is possessed of advanced intelligence and hypnotic/telepathic abilities.  And I must not forget the Crocodile Men from the planet Punkus.  Dope.


Fantastic Four.  Given their powers by the very cosmic rays of space, Marvel's first superteam faces threats to the entire planet, such as Galactus, Dr. Doom, and Johnny Storm's terrible rap song from the 90s cartoon ("Flame on, flame on, flame on and on and on...")

Captain Marvel.  As Mar-Vell, he was a son of the Kree Empire, sent to Earth as both spy and saboteur.  In time, his good nature prevailed he became one of the greatest characters of the Marvel Universe.

Warlock.  God-like in abilities, god-like in origins, his is an epic tale that is mythological in scope.  This was yet another case of Jack Kirby exploring his spiritual side.

Nova.  High school student Richard Rider (ahem...Spider-Man...ahem) is chosen at random by the alien Rhomann Dey, centurion of the Nova Corps of the planet Xandar (ahem...Green Lantern...ahem) to become the next Nova.  As Nova, Rider carries out Dey's revenge against the space pirate Zorr and even stays on to fight crime.
Oh the derivations!  But oh so much fun.  

Shogun Warriors.  Ok, so this one is kinda bad.  Yet it is a delight in the reading.  Giant robots built by ancient aliens fight a new battle against chaotic threats to the Earth.  Strong daikaiju themes in this one and so spectacularly atrocious 70s dialogue.
Aside from G.I. Joe, this is the best comics series I've ever read based upon a toy line.  Guess that's a bit like saying a punch in the nose is better than a kick to the nads, but there it is.

Star Wars.  This is a series that is either loved or reviled by Star Wars fans.  I appreciate it for its kitsch, its camp, and the fact that an absolutely amazing character had his genesis here.  Ladies and gentlemen and anything else in between of the Internet, I give you...Jaxxon Rabbit:

Come on.  He's nowhere near as insidious as Jar-Jar.

UFO and Flying Saucers.  Through my surfing upon the zeroes and ones of our global computer network (translated: bored at work and a browser open before me), I came across this series from the old Gold Key line of comics.  I must find and read the issues for obvious reasons.

In closing, I shall leave you with one last bit of comics-inspired artwork that will make you laugh and weird you out all at the same time.  That's for you folks who haven't had that happen yet in the post.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Take it Roy...

Among other things, Art is always trying to reflect the world back at us.   To my mind, few artists have accomplished this feat with greater results than Roy Lichtenstein.
Lichtenstein seemed to like the abstract, but he also wanted to embrace popular culture.  He did this by taking single panels of comic books and bringing them to a scale that allows you to see the individual dots that make up their printing.  This sort of "mass produced," commercialized look was also a staple of Andy Warhol's work, but Lichtenstein carved out a niche of his own.  With the isolated and enlarged panels, the sections of the comic book almost became a still life, a distinct entity with an identity all its own. His work was symbolic Americana, but not schmaltzy odes to patriotism that turgid works like Rockwell's tend to be.

I read in The New York Times that there is a something of an "accidental festival" of Lichtenstein going on as his art is being shown at three separate galleries.
If you are in that area and get the chance to take in one or all of the exhibits, do so.  I would.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Review--Ghosty: This Fenceless World

by Bernard Sell

Bingo Elkins is a multi-millionaire.  He is the overlord of a multi-national corporation.  He has his own jet, lives in a mansion, and has access to the finest food and liquor.
Too bad he can't experience any of it.
Bingo is dead.  He died sometime in the very late 19th Century.  He is a ghost.  Not a scary ghost, but an ectoplasmic man of leisure, for whom a bad day is one that begins before 11am.  He has his own assistant, Miss Thamavongsa, a beautiful Asian woman who is as skilled with ninja weapons as she is with Microsoft Outlook.  He has a top-notch (but most arrogant) scientist on the payroll by the name of Dr. Reed Robaire.  To cap things off, he has a thawed out caveman who is trying to learn Nietzsche.  
But there is a sinister plot afoot.  A shadowy terrorist organization is plotting to bring ruin to both Bingo's company and the world.

I know what you might be thinking.  "Bernard Sell is one of your best friends.  How can you possibly give us an impartial review?"  
Well, maybe I can't, but I can assure you of two things: 1) if Bernard really had written a complete turd, I would say so for my reputation is at stake for any recommendations that I give, and 2) I was in on the ground floor of Ghosty and got to see it develop into the gem that it now is.
Messr. Sell does something with this book that I am an absolute sucker for: he places the highbrow (Wodehouse, Nietzsche, Bach) into a literary cyclotron and collides it headfirst into the lowbrow (The A-Team, Predator, and numerous action movies).  The paroxysm that ensues from the collision is Ghosty...
And damn is it a lot of fun.  Like I mentioned, I gave the book one of its first editorial read-throughs.  I saved it for my lunch break at my day job and looked forward to it each and every time.  I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen to these characters next.  That was not simply due to it being a rollicking yarn, but because I became genuinely attached to these characters.  Bingo is jovial and endearing, absolutely the kind of ghost you'd want haunting you if such a thing must happen.  Miss Thamavongsa has a wicked attractiveness to her, made all the more intense by her intellect and her skill at killing.  Dr. Robaire is a bit grating on the nerves, but he is meant to be.  After all, he has a degree in SCIENCE!  That last word is meant to spoken as it is heard in Thomas Dolby's classic, "She Blinded Me With Science."  Think of him as the Professor on Gilligan's Island or Dr. Quest on Jonny Quest, uberminds that never really tell us which field of science that they studied, only that it is SCIENCE!
Perhaps best of all is the prose style.  Sell has the best satirical wit I've come across this side of Voltaire.  You don't see that kind of humor as much these days, that earnest-faced, deadpan-delivered dialogue or narration that no one else in the book finds ridiculous.  No, that's a privilege reserved only for the lucky reader.
Bingo narrates the book, speaking in a voice and style that is indicative of his time of departure, specifically the late 19th Century (think Wodehouse, Wooster and Jeeves.)  While I understand that this could be seen as esoteric to modern readers and perhaps even a challenge at times, I would urge you to stick with it.  In time, you will see that you simply cannot help but love Bingo.
So what are you waiting for?  Click here and get your copy of Ghosty now!!

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Graymalkin goes to the dark side of the Moon

"There really is no dark side of the Moon.  As a matter of fact, it's all dark."
--Pink Floyd

I received this email last week from Graymalkin, dealing with aliens on our moon:

"I was having a hard time sleeping last night and my mind wandered or wondered that the moon is always facing the earth.  Now I know it is supposed to be (or suposebly) because of the moon being ‘lopsided’ and over a million years blah blah blah, but seriously if you let yourself think about it, it starts to be a great way to setup a base that a population will never see.  It just creeped me out a bit and I googled it this morning and thought I would ask you to weigh in on this subject sometime…  it would be a great place to launch your triangular shaped transport drones from!"
Graymalkin is not alone in asking this question.  In his book The Alien Agenda, conspiracy researcher Jim Marrs states his case that the Moon is actually an enormous spacecraft orbiting the Earth, something that's a cross between Star Wars' Death Star and Star Trek's Deep Space 9.  He asserts that the Moon is older than the Earth, hollow, and composed of a lot of metals.  Guess that makes it an artificial satellite.  
Much to Marrs' chagrin I'm sure, astronomical data bears out that the Moon is roughly the same age as the Earth.  It only looks decrepit since it has no atmosphere or plate tectonics.  Therefore, it's surface has no means of renewal.  Also, the Moon is not hollow as many have suspected.  In fact, it is the second densest moon in the Solar System next to Jupiter's Io.
That does not, however, discount the scenario of alien bases on the Moon.  It's something that I haven't really thought about until now, but it would have its advantages.  Our civilization could be watched and monitored from a distance and UFOs could be easily dispatched to the surface to deal with any matter that required a hands-on approach.  There seems to be no shortage of web sites that argue this issue, including the direct concept, Aliens on the Moon.  Additionally, there are YouTube videos like this one that play games of "what can you see?" in the craters of the Moon, comparing them to archeological ruins on Earth.  There are also scores of books and web sites that perpetuate the complete fallacy that Neil Armstrong once claimed to have seen alien bases on the Moon during the first Apollo landing.  While there certainly are NASA astronauts who have gone on record claiming to have seen UFOs while in spaceflight, there is no evidence that Armstrong ever said anything about alien bases. 
So then it seems we must lump the "aliens on the Moon" concept in with so many others in the realm of Ufology.  They're interesting, fun to think about, even make a little bit of sense.  But without hard data, it's only speculation.  
Still, I see no reason why we would not one day encounter alien artifacts on bodies in our Solar System other than our own Earth. 

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

UFO Case: Cuba, 1967

Like I have mentioned in previous posts, I have been reading Top Secret/MAJIC by UFO researcher, Stanton Friedman.  A detailed review is to come shortly, but I wanted to write about an incident that Friedman brings up in the book.
It was 1967 at Boca Chica Naval Air Station in Florida.  This base is about as close as you can get to Cuba and still be in the U.S.  A former military intelligence operative who was stationed there at the time, confided a rather incredible story to Friedman.  
The duty of an intelligence officer is normally rather bland at best.  They are expected to be fluent in the language of the enemy, in this case both Spanish and Russian.  They sit and listen to chatter on the enemy's military broadcast channels.  This is usually about as exciting as watching candle wax dry.  Should anything of note occur, the incident is to be written up and an exact transcript of the event is turned over to the higher ups, usually the fine folks at the NSA (National Security Agency).  On a day in 1967, things were anything but boring to one man who was monitoring Cuban radio transmissions.
The Cuban Air Defense force detected an unknown aircraft heading for Cuban airspace at a speed of about MACH 1.  A pair of MiG-21 fighters were scrambled to intercept.  As the planes neared their target, the pilots reported that the craft was a single, solid, silver-colored metal sphere with no markings or appendages.  The intelligence officer immediately sat up, realizing that what they were talking about was a UFO.  
As the UFO crossed over the Cuban mainland, the pilots were given the order to shoot it down.  They achieved radar lock on and armed their missiles.  That was when one of the pilots began screaming into his radio.  The officer listening in could detect the faint crackle of something in the background.  
The distressed pilot reported that his wingman's plane just disintegrated.  The UFO then shot up to 100,000 feet at a speed of MACH 5.  
When the intelligence officer reported this transpiring to his superiors, the matter went up the food chain.  That was when the NSA deviated from policy and requested that the actual tape recordings of the intercepted transmissions be turned over to them and that the officer log that the MiG was lost due to "mechanical failure."
A research associate of Friedman's made a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request to the NSA and the Air Force regarding the event.  A threatening letter was the only response given, one that demanded to know the name of the individual who had leaked "classified" information.  Friedman refused to give up his source, but did spend a few sleepless nights, wondering if the Men In Black might actually come for him.
They never did, but the case remains an interesting one.  The government's reaction to the FOIA request would seem to indicate that there is indeed something to all of this.  Yet the problem is one that is ever so common in UFO research: the evidence is all hearsay at this point.  What we really have amounts to a narrative that begins "some guy told me that..."  Hardly the sort of thing that could stand up in court, let alone to the scientific method.  It makes sense, however, that these sorts of obstacles exist due to the growing amount of evidence of a cover-up.  Would you place yourself on the line after signing security papers that warn of "the penalty of death?"  Plus, the government's official response is not necessarily one that indicates an alien presence.  The UFO could have been a secret military program being tested in hostile airspace.  I don't find that hypothesis to be very likely as the described actions of the object outperform anything in our current inventory, to say nothing of what was available to us in 1967.  Seems to me that if we indeed had a weapon that worked that well, we would have seen a lot of it since then.  Would've come in nice and handy over Vietnam, a conflict that was raging at the time.
If this was a real occurrence and if the object was not of our possession (I know, there's all those pesky ifs again), then it is a critical case of a UFO engaging an Earth military power...and winning rather decidedly.  
That may not bode well for the human race.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Breaking up is hard to do

They say that it cannot happen but I remained unconvinced.  True, the political division between so-called Red and Blue States has always been there, but never before has the rhetoric been so vehement, the epithets so scathing, and the actual risk of physical violence (e.g. the murder of abortion doctors) been even a quasi-reality.  The success of political candidates such as Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle demonstrates that a fair amount of the nation's population are not happy with the change in direction we've had since 2008.  Others among us disagree.  The values of Reds and Blues are so different and the cultures they inhabit are so different that I honestly cannot imagine either population ever seeing eye to eye.  The gulf between the two only gets wider.  

So I must ask: could not the United States break into two different nations in the future?
Walter Williams of the Washington Examiner wrote a most intriguing piece on this theory.  While he comes at from the far right and ultimately opts for us to remain intact, I'd have to say he makes very valid points.  Right now, the population of the U.S. amounts to a married couple who know that their marriage has been over for a long time, but remain living together out of convenience rather than seek a divorce.  As with many divorce cases, I believe that Reds and Blues simply have "irreconcilable differences."  These differences in values only get more entrenched by the day.  For the Reds, much of this is fueled by religious beliefs.  Just try reasoning with someone when you challenge one of their fundamental viewpoints of life.  It isn't pretty.  For the Blues, there is an air of superiority amongst them.  Just try getting through that.  
So why should one population force its way of life upon another?  History is replete with examples of new nations or states that have formed as a result of peacefully separating from a larger whole.  Williams cites Norway becoming independent from Sweden and Panama breaking off from Colombia.  Just live and let live.  Of course the opposite is true.  The United States was born out of a violent overthrow of British rule and many head once rolled in France.
The problem with this is that the division is not really one of geography but one of ideology.  Let's use my own state of Illinois as an example.  If you look at a county by county map of Illinois from the 2008 election, you'll see that the majority of the state is a deep, dark Red.  Oh there are pockets of blue here and there, but for the most part it is blood red.  Except for the northeast.  That's the city of Chicago and the surrounding counties.  That's where I live and it is where the majority of the state's population lives.  And it is as Blue as the deepest part of the ocean.  It has allowed Democrats to carry the state in every presidential election since I think 1988.    
To call a separation problematic would be generous.  Even so, it may become necessary over the next 30 years or so if such diametrically opposed populations continue to attempt force their way of life upon the other.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Author profile--Whitley Strieber

If there is a name that has been most associated with aliens in the past 25 years or so, it is Whitley Strieber.
Strieber was an advertising executive before giving it all up to become a writer, a move that I admire greatly.  His first novels, The Hunger and The Wolfen, are works of horror and did rather well for themselves.  In fact, both were made into movies.
But it was not until 1986 that things broke wide open for him.  That year, he published Communion, a book-length account of his alleged experiences with alien abduction.  With this book, Strieber single-handedly brought the phenomenon of abduction straight into mainstream culture.  I got around to reading it in 1988. It had a profound effect upon me and I don't mind telling you that it made me sleep with the lights on for a few nights.
The book begins with the Strieber family enjoying Christmas in an isolated cabin in upstate New York.  With carefully crafted suspense and intensity, Strieber then describes the harrowing experience of being taken from his bedroom and experimented upon by aliens.  His account of this shook me to the core.
As the book wore on however, I found it increasingly difficult to accept what he was saying.  Apparently, Strieber had been experiencing alien abduction since he was a little boy.  He remembers being afraid of Mr. Peanut  on the cans of Planter's due to the character's similarity in appearance to the "grey" type of alien.  And if memory serves, he discusses the fire that was started in his family home due to the faulty wiring in an anti-gravity device that he built in his room, the plans given to him by the aliens.
Communion was a blockbuster best seller and spawned multiple sequels.  He switched gears a bit in 1998 when he claims to have been visited by a man (apparently human) in a Toronto hotel room.  This mysterious stranger imparted upon Strieber dire warnings of impending ecological disaster.  Though the man gave no name, Strieber took to calling him The Master of the Key.  Based on the given warnings, Strieber then wrote The Coming Global Superstorm with Art Bell of Coast to Coast AM.  You probably know the book in its film incarnation, The Day After Tomorrow.  His most recent duo of books deal with the 2012 "end times" meme.  Currently, you can find Strieber shilling at his website, Unknown Country

I'm not really sure what to make of Whitley Strieber.  As a fellow writer, I respect his skills and as previously stated, his account of abduction and the psychological aftermath in Communion is nothing short of mindblowing.  If this really did happen to him, then I have nothing but the utmost sympathy for the poor guy and his family.  No one should have to go through what he claims to have endured.  Although I have not read anything other than the initial Communion, I understand that his subsequent books on the alien presence have been  hopeful.  Maybe his contact with the aliens has been more positive in recent years, I don't know.  But there's just something about his bibliography that is unsettling.  He moves from aliens in the 80s, to ecological threats in the 90s, and now doomsday as we approach 2012.  Is he surfing the zeitgeist as most writers do or is there just a smidgen of...well, opportunism for serious lack of a better word?  I mean no disrespect towards him, I'm just used to thinking critically about anything presented in the media.  These days, you have to be skeptical.  At least at the beginning.
Recently, I picked up a copy of Communion at a used book store and I intend to reread it for the first time in 22 years...long enough ago that I remember reading excerpts of it with Graymalkin and Bradley in our high school computer lab.  I hope that this rereading will refresh my memory and allow me to post a detailed and more informed review.
Whether or not he has actually had these experiences, I certainly cannot say.  What is certain, however, is the impact he has had by bringing stories like his own into the mainstream consciousness.  I'm certain that for anyone else who feels they are going through the same experiences, the wide recognition of Communion must at least make them feel less alone.  For that at least, we should be grateful.  

By the by, I was quoted in today's Chicago Tribune on the issue of "the value of pets."  I bet you can pretty much guess my stance.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Another visit to Hodge Podge Lodge

No real cohesive theme to today's post.  Just another set of ramblings.

Do students care less today than yesterday?  I understand that is debatable, but from my experience in my set of six 7th grade classes today, I would have to answer in the affirmative.  They get away with more than we did "back in the day" and there was more pressure to succeed when I was in 7th grade.  We've given up on them, why shouldn't they give up on the world?  The things we'll do for a paycheck.  Discuss.

There is a light out in the grimy 2nd floor bathroom of my day job's workplace.  It flickers like a bug zapper devouring moths.  I don't want them to change out the bulb.  It might make others depressed, but the dingy, urban conditions paired with the strobing light remind me of Blade Runner.  Makes me a happier worker.

Went to order Richard Dolan's new book, AD: After Disclosure.  It is entirely unavailable on Amazon and they don't know when they will be able to restock.
Conspiracy or shipping error?  Discuss.

Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Jan Brewer, Christine O'Donnell.  Might want to get acquainted with those names for if the political zeitgeist does not change, these people will be running the show in a few brief months.  After all, our President will offer little resistance it seems.  The implications of such a transition go far beyond the political.  They actually stab into the territory of UFO researchers.
Fundies don't like aliens.  They imply a greater reality than the narrow box they are accustomed to and they knock down humanity's place in the reverse.  After all, if they are racist towards Muslims, how would they be towards a race that is completely...well...alien?  Check out this video of Pat Robertson, fundie poster boy, calling UFO occupants "demons."  I wish it were an Onion bit, but it's not.

Speaking of The Onion, "America's Finest News Source" is reporting that 1 in 5 Americans believe that President Obama is a cactus. 

Let me lighten things up a bit.  Here are the Top Ten Hottest Costumes for Girl Geeks (that are not Slave Leia).

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Getting to "zero-point"

Back in the post on black triangles, the idea of anti-gravity propulsion was brought up.  I thought that I would use today's post to expound a bit on what that means exactly.
There is a term that is often thrown around in so-called "alternative science" and that is "Zero-Point Energy."  According to Wikipedia: "Zero-point energy is the lowest possible energy that a quantum mechanical physical system may have and it is the energy of its ground state."  As an aside, I don't like quoting Wikipedia as an information source.  I just thought it was the quickest way to get a succinct definition and that one's about as good as any.
Zero-point holds the promise of providing clean, limitless, and virtually free energy.  Unfortunately, science has yet to find a practical way to generate and harness this kind of energy.
But a guy named John Hutchinson claims that he has.  Hutchinson is what I'd call a "garage physicist."  He is an inventor who has drawn heavily upon the devices of Nikola Tesla.  For the uninformed, Tesla was not just the name of a hair metal band, but more critically a genius inventor who came up with designs for technology far beyond his time.
While experimenting with high-powered Tesla coils, Hutchinson claims that objects in his workshop began to levitate and to move about on their own.  Objects of disparate composition, such as steel and wood, were seamlessly fused together.  Other items disappeared without a trace.  These purported effects are quite similar to those described in the Philadelphia Experiment of 1943, coincidentally an event that is said to have had Telsa's work involved.  Sadly, there have been numerous accusations that Hutchinson is a mere huckster who faked all of his experiments.
Were any of this to be substantiated and replicated in laboratory tests (and so far they haven't been), it would be among the biggest technological breakthroughs in the history of humanity.  Imagine it, limitless energy that would allow for anti-gravity flight without fear of the power of inertia.  You actually could make the types of tight, right angle turns that have been described by UFO witnesses.  With the electromagnetic fields involved, you might even be able to generate "force fields" or the like.
Rumors have abounded for quite a while now that scientists and inventors like Tesla and Hutchinson truly did develop the means to harness zero-point energy, but their work was squelched by the government.  After all, oil companies would take a drastic hit in their profits, even though oil would still be needed to produce plastics and many other synthetic materials.  Obviously I can't speak to the "truthiness" of that, but if this technology does indeed exist and if it has been kept under wraps all in the service of greed, then the cost to our environment and ourselves is nothing short of criminal.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

And the cyborgs shall lead...

We got to go.  
Hawking thinks so.  Davies thinks so.  And so forth.
If we don't, something will eventually wipe us out.  A comet strike, a new virus, or us just being stupid with war, overpopulation, and exhausted resources.  When a duck or a swan finds its pond to be contaminated, it picks up and flies off to a new pond.  Thus, we must as well.
If you have or are planning to have grandchildren, they may very well need to live somewhere other than Earth.  For humanity to survive, it will have to move out into space.  Start with a colony on the Moon, perhaps, or even on an asteroid.  Bacteria brought from Earth could be introduced into the dusty surface and turn it into soil (microbes have been found to live as long as 553 days unprotected in the harshness of space.)  From there we could springboard on to Mars.

But this plan is fraught with problems and I'm not talking about technology.  Human beings are soft, squishy things that are not especially suited to prolonged space travel.  Our bones tend to lose density due to the lower gravity.  We need food, breathable air, and a moment or two (or three) a day to eliminate waste.  Therefore, humans will need to find new ways to make themselves a bit less squishy, or at the very least not as needy and particular when it comes to survival requirements.  That's where the cyborgs come in.
Think about it: a new generation of astronaut that is human but with technological implants or electromechanical parts.  It's not so far fetched.  If you or anyone you know has any kind of medical implant, a pacemaker, hernia repair mesh, cochlea ear devices, et. al., then you know a cyborg.  These devices allow people to lead fuller, more productive lives than they otherwise could.  
This same transhuman means could be applied to those who would live in space colonies.  Imagine cybernetic implants that inject regular doses of vitamins and nutrients, along with safe stimulants that reduce the need for sleep.  Perhaps new drugs could be kept pumping through the circulatory system that would lessen the damage done by solar radiation or gamma rays.  This is all highly speculative, but it stands to reason.  It will be far easier in the beginning to cybernetically enhance an astronaut to suit an environment than it will be to change the environment to suit human needs.
Whatever the mechanism, it needs to be done.  And soon.  Time is running out.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Black triangles

For at least the past twenty years, one of the more common shapes of UFOs has not been the saucer but the triangle.  Time and again the descriptions are the same: a black craft in the exact shape of a triangle, red lights at each of the points, and a larger, white light in the center of the craft.  As is typical with most other UFO sightings, the triangles can hover and then streak away at extreme speeds, all without making any noise.
Probably the most famous black triangle case was the wave of sightings over Belgium in 1990.  Over the course of several days, continual sightings of a triangle were made both visually and on radar.  A Belgian police officer took this photo:

The Belgian Air Force scrambled a pair of F-16s to intercept the craft.  Missile lock was attained, but the triangle disappeared at a speed in excess of Mach 8.  In light of radar evidence and the fact that missile lock can only be made on an actual, physical object, the Belgian government held a press conference.  They showed the gun camera footage from one of the F-16s that followed the object until it disappeared.  They also stated that they had no idea what the triangle was but they considered it a threat to their national airspace.  This is no small matter as NATO headquarters is in Belgium.  Flights of the stealth fighter or bomber were ruled out as the photograph is clearly not of one of those aircraft.
That flap of UFO sightings died out, but the triangles kept popping up all over.  Here in the Chicago area, Tinley Park experienced a mass triangle sighting back in 2007.  Witnesses to the Phoenix Lights event of 1997 reported seeing a triangle in addition to the other glowing "flares" in the sky.  And here is a photograph (one of the best sighting photos I've ever seen) from another recent report:

Note the similarity to the Belgian photo.

So what are they?  Given the sheer amount of sightings and their consistency, I feel confident in stating that there are hitherto unknown aircraft in the sky that are black in color and triangular in shape.   Even so, this is one time that I'm not going to pin it on aliens or other such Fortean beings.  
I think it's us.  The black triangles are secret U.S. military aircraft, likely developed at Area 51 out in Nevada.  But they are more than that.  First of all, their flight characteristics are far beyond what we're used to with conventional aircraft.  The speed and the maneuvers described would be enough to kill a human pilot.  Plus, the ability of an aircraft to hover in utter silence defies our understanding of physics.  Then what gives?
Take a look a that first photo, the one from Belgium.  Notice the distortion around the lights, how it forms an almost spiral pattern.  This could indicate a warping of space around the craft.  To me, that means we have anti-gravity propulsion.  It's the only way to explain the technological feats that have been witnessed.  As expert UFO researcher Richard Dolan said in an essay on the matter: "One person with whom I write, and whose judgment I have come to trust, tells me he is "ninety-five percent" sure that somewhere along the line the U.S. military and scientific minds in the secret world have indeed developed operational field propulsion. In other words, defeated the problem of gravity and are thus responsible for at least many of the triangles. Another person, someone in whom I place high esteem and credibility, tells me he thinks it’s unlikely this is so."
Obviously there is more than one school of thought on the matter, but if we have not developed these triangles, then who has? 
This gets me thinking.  The mere existence of anti-gravity technology would threaten the oil industry.  One more reason to keep things under wraps, but still utilize the innovation to achieve strategic and intelligence-gathering ends.  The oversight of this kind of a highly sensitive, "black ops" program would necessitate a hidden or "shadow" government of a sort, perhaps even a division of the purported Majestic 12 organization that deals with alien contact.  Given this secrecy, they could then test this technology to its utmost envelope.

In other words, we may have already sent a manned crew into deep space.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Check your head...

Recently, Armando said that dreams are attempts by the subconscious to tell you something.  Or a phrase to that effect.  Makes me wonder about the popular notion that dreams are far more than "day residue" played back by the subconscious.  Perhaps they are a sort of Matrix-like simulation, an arena where alternatives might be played out and problems sifted through.  Whatever their nature, I certainly had a peculiar one this morning.

I was in a rural area, not at all dissimilar to where I spent my childhood in Indiana.  I was standing next to a beer delivery truck on a gravel apron at a beverage distributor.  My boss was giving me my delivery route; first Lake Station, then Deerfield, then out west to Rockford.  I was also supposed to push insulated bags on the customers and make a sale if I could. 
I like beer.  I had three today while I watched the Bears play with intermittent switches over to the Cubs game.  But this dream made me realize that Hell is an app that is customized to the user.  For one thing, I cannot imagine having to drive a vehicle that large.  I'm certain I would kill someone.  Secondly, if you read the "You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?" post, then  you know that I hate driving in general.  I cannot conscience the idea of making a job out of it.  Lastly, there seemed to be sales incorporated into my dream and that is the worst career I can think of next to...nothing.  I cannot properly express to you the melancholy weight that I felt during this dream.
Then someone from my day job showed up, someone I respect very much.  She took a cigarette out of her mouth and said, "What the hell are you doing here?" 
"I need the money," I replied.
"You were going to be an English professor!" she said.
"That ship has already sailed."
"So what are you doing now?"
"About what?"
"UFOs, among other things."
"That's crazy.  They don't exist and you're wasting your time."

That was when I woke up.  Dejected, I harnessed my dogs and went for a walk.
 As I fought my boy Chewie the entire way, his yanking and his pulling and his 85 pound body demanding to go its own way, I drifted aimlessly in thought.  What was the dream trying to tell me?  I know I am passed my prime and I have failed to initiate anything that even remotely qualifies as a career.  But UFOs? However fascinated I might be, am I wasting my time writing about such subject matter?  UFOs are a topic that garners little respect from the world at-large.  Little respect and even less money.  The whole subject is one still largely relegated to the tabloid papers of supermarket check-out lines. 
I came back inside and as we say in Chicago, had "a couple two-tree" cups of coffee.  I'm doing better now, especially after a Bears, Cubs, Buccaneers trifecta of wins.  Beer doesn't hurt, either.  But yet I feel uneasy. 
What is my brain trying to tell me?
Where am I to go from here?

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Meeting "The Man"

I just can't read in bookstores.  I'll pause to let you unpack that sentence for irony.
The problem rests with my wandering eyes.  I keep looking up from the page to gawk at all of the titles on the shelves, even if I find them uninteresting.  Such is the love of books.  Nevertheless, I sat and read William Gibson's new novel, Zero History as I waited for the author himself to appear in person.
I had journeyed to the Barnes & Noble under gray metallic skies.  It's the same store location that I joined Ghost Dogg at to see his idol, Stephen J. Cannell.  Poor Ghost Dogg was so nervous that night.  Sitting in the audience today, in nearly the exact same seat as that evening, I understood how he felt.  
The crowd was the expected collection of high techs and low lifes. No, not really.  I just wanted to say that as a ham-handed, lame journo means of connecting this experience to cyberpunk.  You know, the way a mainstream newspaper probably would?  In reality, the crowd was a mixed density of techies, artists, people who appreciate good books, and all around geeks like me.  Mr. Gibson took the podium at 2pm.  After a brief bit of tangling with the microphone stand, he read to us a chapter from Zero History.  This latest work follows in the mold of his past two novels, Pattern Recognition and Spook Country, stories that are very much rooted in the here and now but continue his examination of cutting edge technology, keeping him shelved in the science fiction section.  His style of prose probably contributes to that as well.  Gibson could write a recipe for tuna salad and it would sound like science fiction and I mean that as a compliment in the utmost.  He has the best prose style of any author today, bar none.  But I digress.  The name of the chapter he read is "Paradoxical Antagonist."  Yes, it is just as humorous as it sounds in that Kafkaesque sort of way.  I laughed, at any rate.  
He then opened the floor up for questions.  There was a lull for a moment, no one wanting to be the brave pioneer and go first.  In time, I would regret not shooting my arm up immediately.  "He who hesitates..."  well, you know how it is.
I'll attempt to recap a few of the highlights of his talk, but please be aware that they are not verbatim quotes as they are subject to the data corruption of human memory.   

On "the future," he had this to say:
 "I don't think that the future of Neuromancer could happen now.  I mean, there are no cell phones in that book.  If a twelve year-old were to open it and read it, he would get 15 pages in and say, 'now I know what the mystery is.'"

"Science fiction takes a look at what's happening now and tries to see where it could go later.  We're really writing about the present as that is all our imaginations have to go on.  George Orwell's 1984 was not about our year 1984, but about his 1948.  I doubt he could have foreseen reality TV.  It might have killed him.  If we could send a time beam back into his head while he slept in London in 1948, saying, 'George, in the 21st Century there will be a show called Big Brother.  We're going to play a bit of it for you now...' That might've been it for him."

On the viability of the term "cyberpunk:"
"I use it as a pantone chip for cultural reference.  If I say, 'Did you see her pants at the party?  They were totally cyberpunk,' everyone knows what I mean.  Cyberpunk has filtered into other media, becoming more about movies and...pants.
"If you go back and look at Neuromancer and other cyberpunk, none of the characters seem to have parents.  Nor do they have jobs.  It's all sort of adolescent, very punk.  Now we're older and have matured and we have parents and we have jobs and it doesn't seem as realistic to us as it once did."

The questioning ended before I could ask anything, but I was at peace with that.  The line formed for the book signing and I was eager to talk with Mr. Gibson one-on-one, even if fleetingly.  As most writers do, I stretched my ears out and listened to the conversations of those in line with me.  Two gentlemen had driven down from Milwaukee after working the third shift.  They were hopped up on espresso and one feared the enamel on his teeth was corroding away as they spoke due to the sheer volume of coffee.  Yeah, brother.  Been there.  They joked about nodding off during the trip, one awaking to hear the driver say, "I just had the weirdest dream."  Oh the deliciousness of that statement.
Others were texting one another while standing in line only two or three people apart.  Two others were discussing the teaching of art history at the college level.  And one young man said something that will go directly into one of my short stories: "I'm not hacking, I'm just using the operating system to its fullest potential."
The line drew closer and closer to where William Gibson sat at a table, scrawling his name on book after book.  A kind of localized paralysis set into my tongue.  What would I say?  There he was, the author of Neuromancer and the coiner of the term, "cyberspace."  One of my literary heroes.  What could I possibly say to him that he has not heard before?  "So...Neuromancer.  That was pretty cool."  "What are Bono and The Edge really like?" Aside: in case you didn't know, William Gibson was a consultant to them on the design of their Zoo TV stage.  Double nerdgasm for this U2 fan.
Ultimately, I kept myself suitably restrained, fearing the perception of a "fan boy" if not the wrath of mall security.  Mr. Gibson signed my copy of Zero History as well as my battered and well-traveled copy of Count Zero from 1989.  I posed with him for the picture you see above and then handed him a business card for Strange Horizons.  He gave me a friendly smile and said he'd check it out sometime.  I said "very nice to meet you" and walked off to wander the shelves and plant Strange Horizons cards in strategic locations, dispersing my meme like a panspermia meteor shower.
I'd have to say it was a good day.

Oh and my question had I the chance to ask it?  I would like to have known how he got around the Blade Runner conundrum.  I once read that during the writing of Neuromancer, he went to see that film in the theater.  He walked out dejected, thinking that Ridley Scott seemed to have beaten him to the punch.  Yet Mr. Gibson obviously pressed on and wrote a landmark of science fiction, picking up just about every award that the genre offers and then some.  As a writer, I've had those moments were it looks like someone else got there before you did.  William Gibson met that challenge with flying colors and would love to know the secret.
Who knows?  If he visits the blog, we may know.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

The concept of non-human intelligence

What is intelligence?  What is consciousness?  What is awareness?  
What constitutes or defines any of these concepts?

And why is humanity often so fucking arrogant as to assume we're the only species capable of any of the above?
There is a movement currently afoot called The Whale And Dolphin People Project.  The upshot of the collective's mission is to validate the notion that both whales and dolphins have the same level of intelligence and awareness as humans and should therefore be afforded the same level of rights.  That would mean that all of the dolphins killed by BP's oil spill this summer if we didn't know already...murder victims.
This undoubtedly sits uncomfortably with many people.  We like to think that we're special.  Many among us like to cling to that line from the Book of Genesis that proclaims man as "master over all the earth" and that he can do with all other species "as he sees fit."  Well, I was raised in a Catholic household, I still pray, and I still have to call shenanigans on the Book of Genesis. 
From where does our "special" status stem?  Our level of technology?  Granted we don't see many (if any) other mammals with surface to air missiles, but that is neither an indicator of intelligence nor a statement on aptitude with technology.  Most primates can manipulate their environment to their advantage and fashion crude tools out of bark and branches.  Dams that beavers build are by definition a form of technology.  Besides, tech level does not necessarily equate to intelligence.  I sincerely doubt anyone would call Native Americans unintelligent because they lived in tents and longhouses, not palaces of glass and chromium steel.  Besides, we're at the highest tech level in history and I often doubt humanity's intelligence.
So what else might the criterion be?  My friend Ahab once said that we are set apart by our ability for abstract thought.  Sounds good at first blush, but you forget to factor in the communication barrier.  We know that many if not all animals communicate, we just often cannot understand them.  Therefore, many other species may think in the abstract...and we would never know.
So then is it "living with a sense of purpose?"  That's my Dad's theory.  And even I have to call him out on this.  St. Thomas Aquinas once said that non-human animals perhaps serve God better than humans since they live out their nature exactly as God intended without chance of deviation.  So is that it?  Free will?  Does someone locked away lose all ability to reason?  Perhaps with time, but not in the same way that I believe my father intends.
Any idiot who has had a pet as a member of their family can tell you that animals have emotions and are, at least on a certain level, self-aware.  I fail to see then why we cannot extrapolate this further and say that species such as dolphins and whales evolved not behind us, not ahead of us, but somewhere off to the side.
Sadly, the main obstacle to coming to understand and respect this notion is one of definition, semantics, and rhetoric.  That is, "what does 'intelligence' mean?  What defines it?'"  

Looking around human society today, I ask myself those very same questions.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Let's adjourn to the library, shall we?

For the bulk of the past decade, my reading has been consumed by texts for grad school.  Works of literary fiction and non-fiction, scholarly treatises on rhetoric and composition theory.  During this time, my "pleasure reading" became somewhat backlogged.
Since my rejected and dejected funk started last May and ended in...well, it's still sorta going on to be honest with you, I decided to delve into my love of science fiction with full abandon and no regard as to popular acceptance.  That's how Strange Horizons came to be in the first place.  So I thought I'd take you on a tour of my literary SF collection.  This way, please...

Arthur C. Clarke--going to get one bit of embarrassment out of the way right off the bat.  I have 2001, but I have not read it.  I am going to.  Really.  But I have, you guessed it, seen the movie as well as its sequel.  In my younger days, this was enough to get me to read the third book in the set, but I didn't go back to the original.  I am eager.

Isaac Asimov--embarrassment part II.  I have I, Robot and Foundation but still need to finish them.  I was struck by how much George Lucas must have been influenced by Foundation in his creation of Coruscant.

Frank Herbert--speaking of Lucas influences, Dune is about as seminal as they come.  While I found it irksome at first to have to pause in my reading and flip back to the glossary to get a definition for a word in a fictitious language, I came to admire the depths of creativity involved and the sheer epic scale of the book.  Not just one of the greatest works of SF, but one of the greatest literary achievements of the English language. 

William Gibson--a genius.  Neuromancer, Count Zero, what more need be said?  This man revolutionized science fiction.  He has one of the most unique voices I have ever read.  It effervesced from the very first sentence of Neuromancer: "The sky above the port was the color of a television tuned to a dead channel."  I'm ashamed to admit how many of his other books I have piled up and still need to get to.  I have the opportunity to go meet him this Saturday.  More on that soon!

Bruce Sterling--like Gibson, another author in the cyberpunk canon.  I have only one work of his, Islands in the Net, but I have read descriptions of The Carytids and Holy Fire and both sound like winners.  Though I read him long ago, what I was struck by in Sterling's text was his uncanny knack of taking current situations and extrapolating them to a future that we are now seeing come into view with no small amount of accuracy.

Neal Stephenson--though it's a tome, Cryptonomicon beckons to me.  Love his punky style.

David Brin--speaking of tomes, dear God why can't there be an abridged version of Earth?

Rudy Rucker--I own Freeware and Wetware and eventually found him to be a bit too out in left field for me.  However, I do admire the abstract thinking at work within these pieces and they are if nothing else compelling to read.  I also liked this one blurb I read from Rucker a few years back: "Shopping malls used to terrify me, now I just imagine they are a mile beneath the surface of the Moon and everyone has a stainless steel rat attached to their head." (paraphrased.  I searched for the original quote, but I couldn't find a site that worked worth a shit.)

I also have a few short story collections.  There's one general compendium that includes Campbell's Who Goes There? (basis for The Thing), Longyear's Enemy Mine (basis for the film of the same name, but all resemblance ends there), and DeLanley's For I Am A Jealous People!  There's also Ultimate Cyberpunk which I've already reviewed and numerous collections of Wild Cards shorts, which are always fun.  Oh and uh...Last Days of Krypton by Kevin J. Anderson.  Just couldn't resist it.

And the stacks of books continue to grow at a logarithmic rate.   I visited a local used bookstore last weekend...and so should you.  They are mines of untold treasures and need to be supported, especially in these difficult economic times.  I ended up coming home with Greg Bear's The Forge of God, Creation Day by J.G. Ballard, and Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5.  It's not SF, but I also procured an antiquated and yellowed copy of The Truth About Flying Saucers.

I can only hope that this winter brings untold of blizzards that cancel work and allow to read.  Just read.

And keep watching the skies!!

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You know what really grinds my gears?

Fair warning: I am older and more crotchety now.
So I thought I would take this opportunity to vent forth my disdain for certain aspects of our postmodern age.

Gangbanger culture.  Of course there are great rap and hip-hop songs, but so much of that musical scene has become intertwined with gangs and crime that it has become difficult for me to enjoy any of it.  This culture of violence and ignorance is continually fostered by clothing designers, record producers, and video directors.  I am all for freedom of speech, but when it threatens my family...I don't know.  Pop music has been blamed as a corrupting factor in our society for a long time now, all the way back to Elvis.  But these thugs are actually killing people.  What's more, I'd like to make an artistic comparison.  Glam metal of the late 1980s was driven out of town in disgrace...and with good reason.  They wore garish outfits, had redundant videos of sports cars and women in next to nothing, and their songs were all about sex.
So what's hip hop doing right now?

Music critics.  I've never understood their worldview.  It seems that there is an unassailable canon of bands and solo artists that are beyond reproach.  Simultaneously, there is an entire swath of musicians that will never gain any critical respect regardless of whatever they do.  Now I am admittedly possessed of wide and weird musical tastes.  I am a fan of both REM and Def Leppard.  But if Def Leppard released a record that was every bit as brilliant as Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, I seriously doubt they would get proper acclaim for it.  Whereas REM could release a 45 minute album of nothing but guitar feedback and the critics would call it "not as good as their more seminal work, but a vital effort."  Try figuring that one out.  Perhaps it is as Nick Rhodes says: "Critics like bands that are made for boys.  Duran Duran is for girls and for boys...and anyone else in between."
Maybe it isn't "boys" as much as worshiping bands like Wilco and hole-in-the-wall blues players (and you know who you are Greg Kot.)

"Literary" vs "genre."  While in grad school, this was a perennial sore point of mine.  The Academy has a well-ingrained sense of false superiority in regards to certain kinds of literature.  Author Michael Chabon summed it up pretty well by aping an English professor's statement: "I've never really read science fiction, but it sucks and here's why..."  That's right.  If you write science fiction or any of the other categories of fiction found in a typical Borders, you are merely a commercial hack.  Yet if you fall into the "literature" category, you're golden.  Your Pushcart Prize awaits.  So what defines "literary" writing?  Offhand, I'd say it has to do with subject matter.  Namely, is the book an irony-laden narrative of a dysfunctional family?  Jonathan Franzen's much lauded new book may be a work of unparalleled genius, but I have no desire to read it as it is apparently about just that.  Way to break new ground!  Oh yes, it will also help your book if your protagonist takes drugs and bemoans all of their complicated relationships.

Humans are the only intelligent species on Earth.  This fallacious and arrogant philosophy has grown quite tiresome with me.  Any idiot can tell that animals are both intelligent and self-aware.  They might even have complex thoughts that we can't know of due to communication barriers.  Several species of mammals, such as apes, dolphins, and whales, have been found to have intelligence on par with that of humans.  I realize that much of this "we are special and at the top of the food chain" attitude stems from Biblical fundamentalism, but I don't care.  More on this in a future post.

Driving.  I've never really liked it and it is especially loathsome here in the Chicago area where the traffic is dense and the actions of drivers amount to little more than a form of dick waving.  I never even wanted a car. While boys would be salivating over race car photos in elementary school, I'd be looking at spaceships, jet fighters, or even dinosaurs.  Driving is just something I do as a necessary evil.  Oh for when transporters are finally developed.

Loud cell phone talkers in public.  This one is self-explanatory.  I will, however, make an exception for the one young lady I couldn't help but overhear in the lobby of a local community college as she insisted to her current beau that her ex-boyfriend only took lingerie shots of her and never nudes.  Yes, I only pretended to be reading John Shirley at that point.

Vapid business/office people.  Bless you on your merry way, but I'm afraid we will never see eye to eye.

Oh and lest I forget, people who speak almost entirely in TV and movie references...or title their blog posts after them. :)

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The "telepathic wheelchair"

I believe it is more fittingly called a "cybernetic wheelchair."  Or perhaps even "transhumanist transit."
Scientists at the Ecole Polytechnique Federal De Lausanne’s Institute of Bioengineering have developed a neuroprosthetic interface that does not connect to the mind via holes drilled into the skull (I guess maybe that's why it's not called cybernetic) and allows wheelchair users to move by thinking. The users' brain patterns are read through a series of EEG electrodes and are then translated into commands.  To move forward, the user would imagine walking forward.  The electrical signals the brain uses for moving one's feet are distinct from those used to turn one's head.  The interface can differentiate between these two and carry out the instructions accordingly.  There are also cameras interfaced at the sides of the chair, helping to steer around obstacles. 

This is the kind of thing I'm talking about.  Technology implemented to help people improve or in this case overcome what nature has dealt them.  Granted there is still a great deal of testing to be done before we see mass release of this sort of tech.  The article on the wheelchair talks of current difficulties in object recognition.  It would also not surprise me if other problems arise in the translating complex thoughts, such as backing out of a corner or more sophisticated movement than "go straight, go left."  But this is not dissuasive.  Those who currently suffer from total or partial paralysis may one day be able to overcome their circumstances in ways beyond originally thought.
Would love to see Graymalkin toolin' around in one of these someday.

UPDATE 9/15/2010: Graymalkin would like to add " I like the thought of having thought controlled devices, but it needs to be incorporated with intelligent sensor technology which will really be awesome.  Thinking ‘fridge’ or ‘tv’ or ‘bathroom’ and having the wheelchair just take you to the correct remembered location would be pretty sweet technology for some disabled people."

He would also recommend the following add-ons to the telepathic wheelchair:

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Monday, September 13, 2010

And you thought "hybrid" was just a car

Of all the many aspects of the alien abduction meme, none is more fascinating, more unnerving to me than the accounts of alien/human hybrids.  That's right.  Children forged as a combination of both races.  Here's a walk-through:

Many, if not most, abductees report experimentation as part of the experience (yes, including the infamous "butt probe.")  They are brought aboard a UFO and a medical examination is carried out.  During the course of it, ova and sperm are often harvested.  Women are then implanted with an embryo.  Two or three months later another abduction occurs and the fetus is removed.  This results in a mysterious, spontaneous miscarriage wherein no fetus can be found by the abductee's doctor.  Of course the "aliens took my baby" story doesn't usually hold a lot of credence with modern physicians and the story is chalked up to psychological stress as a result of miscarriage.
But this is where it gets really weird (I know, "gets??")  The woman in question is abducted yet again for what researchers call a "child presentation," an evidently a more and more common occurrence in abduction lore where the "mother" is shown a baby.  This child has the skin and facial features of a human infant.  However, it typically has an enlarged cranium, wider eyes, and thin, stringy hair.  One woman alleges that she instinctively cried out "that's my baby" upon seeing the hybrid before her.  The Grey then took the child away, saying "no.  It is ours." 
Crazily enough, this meme is undergoing constant and variant iterations.  There are abductees who claim that they have been allowed to keep their hybrid child.  Apparently, the aliens have learned that they lack the ability to nurture the emotional bond that children with human DNA are said to need.  Other abductees claim there are adult-aged hybrids who walk among our society unnoticed, their purpose as yet unknown.

So what are we to make of all this?  As with anything else in the realm of purported alien abductions, there really is no hard scientific evidence for any of this so whatever I write here is pure conjecture.  
First of all, I can't say I blame doctors for citing psychological stress as the real cause for the alien stories surrounding suddenly terminated pregnancies.  No doubt such things are distressing for all involved.  Yet I can't throw out the alien hypothesis either.
Why would the Greys be growing hybrid children?  Allow me to wax imaginative for a moment.  The aliens in question are most often described as being rather physically frail.  Could they be wanting human stock to sort of bulk themselves up?  Do they not have steroids on Zeta Reticuli?  Is there a form of illness running through their species that can only be corrected by interbreeding with us and they just want our women as incubators and our men as sperm donors?
Another possibility ties in with the theory that the Greys are not "aliens" at all.  They are us, visiting from the future.  Has human physical form atrophied so much in the future that we needed to travel back in time and get an infusion of DNA?  Maybe.  Then again, it could be weirder than any of that.  The late great Mac Tonnies, author and Fortean researcher, had his own theory that he called "cryptoterrestrials."  In this hypothesis, an offshoot of humanity evolved alongside us and has lived in hiding all this time.  This explains why accounts of aliens are so very similar to us in anatomy, an occurrence deemed unlikely by many exobiologists.  Could this hidden species be needing our DNA for one of the reasons above or others yet unknown?
Additionally, if the abductees are right about the adult hybrids, exactly how many are among us right now?

Like I said, I don't know.  Until hard evidence surfaces, it's all just an intellectual and imaginative that makes me want to sleep with the lights on.

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