Archive for the ‘scifi’ Category

First Contact Speculations

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

Given the announcements about finding more and more Earth-like planets around other Suns and potentially life-friendly regions in Jupiter and Saturn’s satellites, I would like to offer the following predictions.

  • Actual First Contact has already happened. People do not discuss the distance between Roswell and Alamogordo, which is near the site of the first A-bomb explosion, and which happens to be only 145Km by air.
  • Since First Contact among two cultures, which significantly differ in their technological sophistication, is usually harmful to the less technologically advanced culture, it was decided not to publicize this fact without preparing the Earth culture for those news.

    Furthermore, it was decided that the Earth people are to be the ones to “discover” the alien culture, rather than vice versa.

  • Several SciFi stories assumed that alien cultures would discover the existence of a technological Earth culture by radiation from its first A-bomb explosions. Arthur C. Clarke’s “2001 Space Odyssey” assumed that this would happen when a certain slab is excavated on the Moon. The Star Trek world assumed that the discovery would by detecting the radiation emitted by Zefram Cochrane’s first FTL flight using a warp drive system.

    However, I believe that the real “Zefram Cochrane” moment would be when the Earth culture proves its ability to defend life on Earth by deflecting or destroying killer asteroids.

Hence, my prediction is that once a dangerous asteroid has been detected and successfully neutralized, it will be announced that some Earth probe ship has at last found signs of alien life.

The Onlo Solution to the Gaza Strip Problem

Monday, October 18th, 2010

In this article I’ll try to suggest how would Salvor Hardin solve the problem of the Gaza Strip people (see also The Salvor Hardin plan for Syrian-Israeli peace).

E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Second Stage Lensman, chapter 22 “The Taking of Thrale” describes how the 2nd stage Lensman Nadreck (one of the goodies) performs psychological manipulations on the people of the planet Onlo (one of the groups of the baddies). The result of those manipulations was that once provoked, all people of Onlo slaughtered each other with the exception of three commanders, who then were slain by Nadreck.

Given Gaza’s Culture of Self-Destruction, it may be possible to design propaganda, a framework of blackmailings and bribes, manipulations and provocations, analogous to fictional Nadreck’s methods, such that the Gazans will kill each other in an orgy of frenzied assassinations - as long as there are people who adhere to the self-destruction culture. This may eliminate Gaza Strip as a problem for Israel.

There are precedents from the Roman Empire - they employed the Divide and Rule strategy for subjugating rebellious people, such as the Jewish nation about 2000 years ago. However they didn’t go as far as inciting a people to commit self-genocide.

There is the question whether the Onlo solution to the Gaza problem would be moral. To settle this question, consider the following.

  • The Gazans strive to kill Israelis. Israel has a right to self-defense.
  • If the psychological manipulations are properly designed, they would work only on those who follow the culture - exactly those people that are dangerous to Israel.
  • Neither Israel nor the rest of the world have the resources to deprogram all Gazans and peacefully eliminate their culture. So this problem is equivalent to the problem of dealing with a plague of infectious disease, for which the available economic resources may produce a cure only for very few people.
  • The Gaza Strip happenings may serve as a lesson to the Moslems worldwide, getting them to reject militancy and turning all branches of Islam into truly peaceful religions. This could save more lives than any lost in Gaza Strip.

Should we expect an alien invasion?

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Star Trek TNG world:

Real World:

Has AI been created at last?

Monday, June 12th, 2006

Why Companies Shouldn’t Use Robots In Chat is a rant about customer service by chat. Rob May wanted to cancel an account, and found the cancellation process to be difficult. From the character of responses, he could not determine if he was interacting with an human or with an IRC bot.

Why do I feel as if a time machine is on the threshold of having almost been activated?

Dreams at Aspamia 14! Yay!

Sunday, April 16th, 2006

Today I paid a brief visit to Olamot 2006, which is being held in Mediatheque, Holon.

Few minutes later, I was the proud owner of the ensemble of dead trees and colored ink, which is known as issue 14 of Dreams at Aspamia. I bought also three old issues, which were missing from my collection. Now my collection of Dreams at Aspamia is complete, or will be complete as soon as I get back issues, which I loaned to certain dear souls.

One thing which I noticed was the gender parity in the booths’ area. Apparently, women became interested in SciFi in a big way once it was combined with Fantasy, and several SciFi stories moved from the “thus it will happen so and so” category to the “thus it may have happened so and so”.

Upon reviewing in my mind the SciFi fans among my personal acquaintances, with whom I keep reasonably frequent contact, I found that the women among them outnumber the men.

The Reverse Engineer

Saturday, January 14th, 2006

The first cryptic E-mail message looked like a spam. I deleted it. The second cryptic E-mail message still looked like a spam. The third message came from Lysdon, whom I once employed as an information retrieval specialist in one of my projects. He asked me to reply to the E-mail messages from the Halutza UFO Institute.

Three days, a nice bank deposit of advance fee, a shower and change of clothes later, I saw the UFO in an underground hall in the Halutza UFO Institute. Seldon, the Chief Scientist of the Institute, explained to me that their scientists found few dark slabs, which have time-varying regular structure suggesting that they are storage devices. They also found that one of the slabs is undergoing changes all the time, and correlated some of those changes with changes in lighting and noise levels in the hall.

They made an experiment of trying to read the slabs and transfer the read data to the Institute’s computers. Reading all the slabs yielded about 10TB information, which was reduced to 30GB after lossless compression.

My assignment was to decipher the information and figure out what does the software embodied by the information do.

(To be continued sometime in one of the potential future timelines. Meanwhile I want to continue to read Introduction to Reverse Engineering Software!)

Did Superman, as a baby, escape from a black hole?

Saturday, January 14th, 2006

While Lois Gresh and Robert Weinberg did not say so explicitly, there is an hint in their The Science of Superman that when he was launched by his biological parents to space, he had to pass through an event horizon.

To put things in context, Larry Niven already speculated about Superman in his Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex article, but from a biological point of view.

What the bleep do we know!?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

I was in Dizengoff Center because I went to see the Marlee Matlin starred movie. The movie was a cumpulsory movie for me, because was different from the usual mainstream movie. However I did not fully enjoy my experience viewing it. Compared, for example, to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, the Hitchhiker’s wins in a big way.

I did not like the philosophizations which filled the movie. Philosophy and story line did not integrate well, in my opinion. Any philosophical discussion which confuses the exterior and the interior of humans is incomplete if it does not consider also:

  • Korzybski’s General Semantics
  • Love

About the subject of love, I noticed that Amanda, the movie’s protagonist, was essentially alone. While she interacted with other people, and some of her relationships were not exactly superficial, they were not deep either. Missing was treatment of the deep relationship which goes into love, in which both parties create a new joint world and bear children into it. Then the children grow out of the world created for them by their parents and build their own worlds, and then they merge their own worlds with their own lovers’ worlds and so the cycle goes on.

In the movie itself, love was not deeper than relationship with a cheating husband, some flirtatious dances, or eroticism from the point of view of cognitive psychologists.

We are living in Sci-Fi days and not only because the year starts with 20

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

I encountered the word ‘defrobnication’. It sounds like a made-up futuristic Sci-Fi word. However a Google search turned up real definitions and uses for the word and related words like ‘frob’, ‘frobnicate’, ‘frobnication’.

Hebrew Book Week

Thursday, June 23rd, 2005

Yesterday evening I went to the Hebrew Book Week in Yehoshua Gardens in Tel Aviv.
The booths were longer than what I remember from previous years. Some of the booths belonged to small book publishers. However, I did not notice poets trying to sell their poems outside of the booths.
It took me three hours to traverse all the booths, even though I skipped quickly booths featuring children’s and religious books.

I went out with one book - a book about the process and psychology of decision making. I also left few billions of red blood cells in the area, as I donated blood in Magen David Adom’s vehicle, outfitted with booths and equipment for donating blood, which was there.

Outside the area, there were few people trying to sell secondhand books. One of them had three issues (No. 1,2,3) of “Cosmos” - an Hebrew language Science Fiction publication, which existed before Fantasy 2000. The original price of the issues was 35 Israeli pounds per issue. The seller wanted 100NIS for the three of the issues. My offer was limited to 50NIS.

If anyone else buys those “Cosmos” issues, may I borrow them from the crazy and lucky buyer for reading?