Browse Tag

Fictional non-fiction

Rejection Of Empiricism In Applied Metaphysics Leading To Einstein’s Theory Of Sertial Reflectivity: Exegetical Review

by Arturo Sierra

By M. Alvarado, professor of History of Metaphysics at the University of Santiago de la Nueva Extremadura. Translated from the original German by W. Eguiguren. This research was made possible by a grant from the Imperial Institute for History of Metaphysics, sponsored by His Majesty Karl XIX of the Holy Roman Empire, King of Spain and its Territories.

Abstract

No theory of metaphysics has been subject to stricter scrutiny than Einstein’s Theory of Sertial Reflectivity (TSR), doubtlessly because of its counter-intuitive nature and profound implication. Since the publication of “On the Instantiation-dynamics of Ideal Reflections” (1905), more than a hundred distinct experiments have been designed to test predictions made by TSR, all of which have confirmed Einstein’s basic proposition. Yet many of its more “outlandish” implications have been impossible to test in abstract due to the lack of sufficiently powerful devices. Only in recent years, thanks in part to the Large Concept Collider, the Hubble Celestial Theoscope, and the Ideal Interferometric Group-Class Observator (LIGO), have these been subject to verification. Yet the experimental context of new tests has been ignored or forgotten by researchers. In order to adequately understand the significance of such developments, it is vitally important to contextualize them in a history of metaphysical experimentation. This paper proposes a brief overview of tests in applied metaphysics, from its origin leading up to Einstein, and the significance they had in rejecting erroneous, materialistic thought.

Contemporary metaphysics is built on the presumption, as stated by Karl Popper, that no real knowledge can be obtained by studying matter or by any empirical methods whatsoever. Indeed, empirical is, in philosophical circles, often used as a slur to discredit insufficiently a priori statements, and pseudo-sciences such as physics and chemistry are held in the same bad regard as homeopathy and economics. But this has not always been so. Only since the early XXth century have empirical thoughts been completely rejected, in great part thanks to Einstein’s Theory of Sertial Reflectivity (TSR).

Rejection of empiricist thought has been a long and arduous process in the history of natural philosophy. A complete account is impossible in the given space, but it is hoped that these pages will give the reader a general idea of how metaphysics, over two-and-a-half millennia, managed to expunge all materialistic ideas from its heart.

Empiricist Thought and its Refutation from Antiquity to the Late 1800s

From the very beginning of metaphysics, it has been admitted that the main obstacle in a properly philosophical understanding of reality comes from the difficulty of testing abstract notions. Even though we now know Plato was fundamentally correct in his description of Pure Ideas, subsequent thinkers of Antiquity were still plagued by physicalist thought. Plato was extraordinarily intuitive, but his observation of the Ideal Plane or Topos Ouranos was so limited, no proper account of it could be given at the time. Thus, Aristotle proposed matter somehow affected essential instantiation, and the Stoic school arrived at the conclusion that esse, which they called halitus, was itself material, though of a very special kind of matter.

Yet to these researchers we owe the first attempts at capturing essence separately from the bodies they instantiated. Naïvely, they tried to imprison Ideas in special bottles, quartz crystals, and gemstones. Much later, Descartes would point out that such methods came down to attempts at making empirical what is abstract, a method modern metaphysics has learned to carefully avoid. However, Aristotle and the Stoics had marvelously clear glimpses of Pure Ideas even as they were misguidedly trying to link them to the physical, and so opened the gates to testable abstract theory.

To the Middle Ages we owe not only the first accounts of God’s effect on esse, but—perhaps more importantly—the first systematic devices of abstract testing. Aquinas proposed one of the better-known such tests: in separate chambers (an extremely primitive black box, in fact) he placed a group of faithful Muslims and Jews, carefully recording the effect their prayers had on God’s surrounding presence. As the Muslim devout were replaced one by one with less fervent believers, the Divinity became sufficiently Yahweh-like to be measured as such, even by Aquinas’ poor observation techniques, and vice versa becoming more Allah-like.

A century later, Occam proved that the less determined God was by faith, i. e. considering Them only as immobile first-cause without attributes at all and only subject to negative knowledge, the more arbitrary the Divinity’s influence became. He arrived at this insight when he noticed that inebriation was immoral on a Tuesday, but acceptable next Wednesday. Abstract experimentation such as this had a profound effect on Western religion, and thus European politics, as the Catholic Church banned untestable beliefs. The dogma of testability resolved the looming crisis of Protestantism, as dissidents and the Pope managed to agree on a common criterion for theological proof.

Though intermediate theories should not be forgotten, it was not until Newton’s Principia Mathematica that metaphysics acquired an exact method for itself. Newton devised a way of manipulating separate Ideas by discovering calculus and noticing the effects he could produce on geometrical entities, such as ellipses, when he made minute alterations in the corresponding equations. In this way, he became the first to change the physical shape of an object simply by altering the mathematical description of its circumference, famously making an apple become roughly cubical by misrepresenting the graph that described its circumference. From then on forwards, researchers had intangible indication that matter is determined by Ideas, never the other way around. Though not abstract in nature, Newton’s alchemical discoveries are worth mentioning, as he was the first to transform lead into gold. Unfortunately, the training and time required to think the necessary Ideas for transmutation was, in the end, more expensive than the gold itself.

At the same time, Leibnitz isolated the essence of mathematical objects using the same calculus, which he developed concurrently. Famously, his tampering with the substance of the number 2 caused the financial collapse of 1701, when bankers and accountants were unable to make any sort of arithmetic using even numbers. The intimate relation between Newton’s and Leibnitz’s work led to a warm friendship between both authors, which has since been a model of what can be achieved by collaboration in all fields of philosophy.

Newton’s discoveries allowed Kant to prove that objects-in-themselves could be known and understood as such. His Critique of Mixed Reason definitively showed that Hume’s thitherto incontrovertible theory of causation was wrong, by testing the relation between cause and effect and arriving at methods that could deduce causation from first principle. On the way to a framework of transcendental aesthetics, he also refuted Wolf’s radical empiricism. Kant’s critical opus became the basis of modern metaphysical metatheory for a century to come, often being referred to as Newton-Kantian mechanics.

It was not long before philosophy had its first practical applications. Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier imbued a large ball of cotton with the esse of a cloud, making it float in the air. In the early 1800s, Richard Trevithick, Matthew Murray, and George Stephenson experimented in transference, imbuing completely mechanical apparatuses with the esse of horses and rabbits, inventing the locomotive in the process. Theoretical and praxical metaphysics have always had a fruitful relation since.

The primacy of Idea over matter was further cemented by Darwin’s Theory of Spontaneity. By leaving carefully calculated amounts of raw notions and random materials in sealed glass containers, he produced life-forms such as worms and mice, and later completely new animals, such as dragons and chimeras. Spontaneity showed that organization would supervene on matter even in the case of living beings, the only physical requirement for supervenience being the presence of the adequate mental ingredients.

The Search for a New Anti-Empiricist Paradigm in Metaphysics

Preceding Einstein’s radical insights, a series of discoveries created a crisis in theoretical metaphysics. On the one hand, Lobachevsky, Bolyai, and Riemann developed non-Eucledean spaces, contravening long held hypothesis about the Ideas of geometrical shapes in the Topos Ouranos. On the other hand, Fizeau partially verified suppositions by celestionomer Christiaan Huygens, who in turn had elaborated on experiments made by Rømer in 1676, and concluded that the speed of light in a vacuum was instantaneous. These developments presented serious questions to Newton-Kantian mechanics.

Indeed, tradition had unanimously held that causality, though intrinsically metaphysical, depended on contact between bodies in order to be transmitted. If light, which had recently been proven to be neither a particle nor a wave, and thus thoroughly abstract in nature, could travel instantaneously to any point in the universe, it meant cause-and-effect relations also had to be instantaneous, or at least could be. Meanwhile, the Circle of Madrid, a group of notable metaphysicians who published under the collective name Jaime C. Maxpozo, managed to isolate ser (‘being’) from esse under laboratory conditions, giving rise to Sertial dynamics, again defying traditionally held opinions about the inseparability of being-itself and being-this-ness.

It had been clear for some time that Newton-Kantian metaphysics was in need of a new theory capable of accounting for such phenomena, but attempts at solving the crisis tended to question experimental results, not reworking the underlaying philosophy. Researchers desperately tried to design experiments that would either restrict the speed of light under certain conditions, describe light as a carrier of momentum and energy, or simply deny it could have any effects on its own, i. e. not without materials objects to shine upon. All of these experiments kept coming back with the same result: light always travels instantaneously, it has no physical properties at all, and does not require an object to shine upon in order for certain effects to take place.

The critical experiment was performed by Michelson and Morley. In 1887, they described an ideal triangle with two angles resting at opposite ends of an infinite non-Eucledean space and one angle inside their laboratory. They proceeded to postulate that the points on its vertices were zero-dimensional prisms that could change the color of a light beam in accordance with their angles in regard to the sides of the triangle itself. Such an experiment could not have been designed before the discovery of four-dimensional numbers (quartenions), necessary to describe the angle of zero-dimensional prisms. Finally, they intended to shine blue light and observed that the color coming from the flashlight was determined by the prisms at the angles on the other ends of the infinite non-Euclidean space, emanating inside the laboratory as red or green no matter how exactly it was described as blue at its origin.

Since the light had not interacted with any physical objects at all, and since it had clear effects on its own color, the color-effect had to have happened simultaneously to its cause, the prism at the other end of infinite non-Euclidean space. Moreover, causality did not require interaction with any material stuff. The consequences of the Michelson-Morley experiments were so drastic, both researched kept trying to refute their own work for over twenty years, until TSR gave a framework to explain the results they had obtained.

Indeed, the revelation was baffling. In short, Pure Ideas could have effects on themselves. In this context, metaphysics as a discipline was thrown into great confusion. The need of new models that could explain the interaction between Pure Ideas with themselves and with instantiated reality seemed urgent. Two decades after Michelson and Morley, Einstein’s contributions, though shocking, were admitted to be a revolutionary novel framework for traditional and new problems in metaphysics.

~

Bio:

Arturo Sierra (Santiago, Chile, 1987) has published the novel ‘Mundos por venir’ and the short stories ‘Sub temporis’ and ‘Victor, Whiskey, Charlie.’ Recently won the first price in the Poliedro 7 contest with the story “Lemniscata,” to be published in an anthology during 2022. Member of the Chilean Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature (ALCiFF).

Philosophy Note:

Metaphysics is a tempting way to think about reality. Mostly, because it’s fun — as Borges said, a subgenre of science fiction. But it has a tiny problem: there’s no way of deciding if any of it is true, i. e., no testing, no falsifiability. So ideas become fanciful, and almost every philosopher since modern times has declared himself (always him-self, yes) the re-founder of metaphysics, the first guy to discover “firm grounds” on which to start the work. It has all come to nothing. Ok, but what if metaphysics could be tested for? The results became jaberwockianly absurd much faster than what I could have imagined. The author would like to acknowledge professors Correia and Flores, who inspired this experiment with their enlightening courses.

Notes On The Debates In The Federal Convention Concerning A Council Of Oracles

by Ron Fein

JULY 27, 1787, IN CONVENTION

The postponed question being taken up of whether the Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary should be joined by a Council of Oracles.

Mr. MADISON moved that such a council be constituted as a separate body within the Legislature, equal to the House and Senate, its consent needed for all legislation.

Col. MASON approved heartily of the motion. The oracles’ wisdom had proven critical during the late war. At the siege of Charleston, only their foresight averted a defeat and ignominious surrender. And General Washington has credited his victory at the battle of White Plains to their guidance. If New York had fallen to the British, the war may have lasted seven years rather than four.

Mr. GERRY. No one disputes that the wisdom of the oracles wd. guide the men of the representative assemblies in their judgment. But the Council of Oracles shd. form a fourth branch of the general Govt., not a body within the Legislature. The oracles shd. not be burdened to vote routinely on matters of roads and tariffs &c., but instead bestow their insights upon the other three branches as needed.

Mr. KING concurred with Mr. Gerry. If the oracles are constantly occupied with mundane questions, the spirit may depart from them. Let them advise the other branches of the Govt. when needed, and otherwise tend to their own inscrutable affairs.

Doctr. FRANKLIN did not see the necessity of a separate Council of Oracles. In Greece the Pythia at Delphi speaks to those who seek counsel, whether high or low, for one day per month, nine months per annum. But she forms no part of any Govt.

Mr. HAMILTON remarked that the case of the Pythia was not applicable. Greece is divided and the priestesses must be available to Sparta even when it marches agst. Athens. Our object is a Govt. that unites the States, not one that advises them in their wars agst. each other.

Col. MASON. Further support for this proposition derives from the varied locations of the temples. Without a separate body in the Govt. empowered to restrain the secular branches, will Massachusetts heed the words of a priestess in Virginia if her words differ from those of the one in Boston?

Mr. MADISON. The oracles are all infallible and their advice, if understood correctly, is identical. But they may phrase their words differently, or men may understand them differently, leading to misunderstanding. A council of them wd. speak with one voice.

Mr. SHERMAN agreed that oracular guidance is indispensable. Men are corrupt and shortsighted; the advice of the priestesses is always correct even if we fail to understand it. But fallible men must interpret their words and make their own decisions. The oracles shd. not be encumbered by formal positions in the Govt. given their sacred duties in their temples &c.

Mr. KING apprehended that if the oracles formed a part of the Govt., that unscrupulous men wd. attempt to bribe them to secure advantage.

Mr. WILSON. The priestesses must remain pure and holy. To further embroil their delicate and virtuous constitutions in daily affairs wd. strain their spirits overmuch. The Executive and perhaps the Judiciary are well advised to consult the Apollonian priestesses from time to time, but they shd. not be given a role in the general affairs of the Govt.

Col. MASON’s opinion had been changed by the arguments used in the discussion. He was now sensible of the necessity of protecting the oracular priestesses in their spiritual domains and not overly enmeshing them in the affairs of men.

Mr. MADISON was content to withdraw the original motion and propose another in its place. He moved that, from time to time, the Executive shall seek the advice and counsel of an oracular priestess when he shall think proper; and further, that he may require the opinion of the principal officers of the Govt. regarding the correct interpretation of her words. 

The motion passed unanimously.

~

Bio:

Ron Fein is a writer, lawyer, and activist based near Boston, Massachusetts (USA). Find him at ronfein.com and on Twitter @ronfein.

Philosophy Note:

The Framers of the U.S. Constitution sometimes showed great wisdom and foresight, but they were blinded in many ways by their own prejudices, divisions, and misconceptions about how the new United States of America would develop. What if something like the Oracle at Delphi, widely accepted as capable of accurately divining the future, had been available to them? Would they have been able to take proper advantage of this amazing resource? My guess is not.

The Warbler Of Surgeries

by Darryl A. Smith

NOTICE: This form is subject to biennial federal review and not to be used or issued after fiscal year 1908.*

Board of Medical Melodists on Invasive Procedures, Issuer Portals Potomac, D.C.

INFORMED CONSENT TO SURGERY FORM*

For

PAIN MANAGEMENT

By

WARBLE ENABLED DISSOCIATION

The United States’ MedOrphic Relief and Fleet Abscissions Act (MORFA) of 1884 equips informed consent twofold for: 1) remedial external displacement on a temporary basis of bodily consciousness in, 2) any legal medical procedure involving surgical incisions whose time-to-reclusion by swiftest safe strokes exceeds 30 seconds. Specifically, §§3.1.6 and 3.1.7 of the Act provide most fully for such consent through regular and relevant updates to its internal historical brief on awareness delocalization via sung distraction, patient-targeted and tailored. With these amendments placed in digest herein, patient is encouraged to read this consent form attentively and entirely before initialing and/or signing it. This should be done in consultation with patient’s physician and medorphist both. If you will have signed it, you may experience this form asynchronously or in an otherwise non-linear fashion. This is normal.

1. PROCEDURE: I,          Percival Roundtree                                                     [Patient’s name], for the following procedure(s), give consent to warble-enabled dissociation (hereafter referred to in kind as “enwarbling”/ “WED”) from waking pain during surgery:     Corrective reduction to previously amputated lower left leg                             [Description of procedure(s)].

2. RISKS (STANDARD): As with all surgical ventures, in the absence of profound nervous intervention, the dolor of corporal agony due to cutting penetration of the physical body and its internal manipulation is indeed unavoidable and characteristic. However, with sure application of WED techniques such extreme pain is statistically rare. Enwarbling during invasive procedures of all kinds is a time-tested medical utility with a proven efficacy of over 60 years. Absent unplanned disruptions to patient’s ability to hear during enwarbling, or to warbler’s ability to sing, no kinetic pain beyond mild discomfort should be experienced. Patient agrees, however, that in such unforeseen circumstances surgery shall continue to completion though pain of an excruciating nature is likely to be endured. Please note that whether one experiences kinetic pain during enwarbled surgery or not or whether upon emerging they simply do not remember experienced pain of this kind is still a matter of conjecture and ongoing study.

Initials: __________

3. ALTERNATIVES: Although unconventional due to lack of demand and in turn of development, anesthetic ether—a complete consciousness inhibitor—has been since 1842 the standard alternative in matters of surgical pain. It is your right to this substitute method of pain management. Although in cost the option for enwarbling never exceeds that of ether by more than 600%, the former is rarely valued at less than 250% of the latter in most states. Should patient wish to wave the default payment exemption for treatment of an injury due to a natural disaster, this may be further incentive to consider the anesthetic option. Be advised, however, that ether narcosis confers no hyperconscious or transpersonal opportunity, certainly not of any comparable acuity to Stillpain enwarbling. It does not utilize patient pain as WED does in order to “fight like with like” to transcendental effect. Even unlike basic semi-precursory biochemical analogous to enwarbling such as dimethyltryptamine, fungal psilocybin, hormonal 5-hydroxytryptamine, etc.—to which numerous medical experts have favorably compared the sonorous Pain Warble of ‘nerve-chant tripping’ as their natural ‘vocalic descendant and aural distillation’—anesthetic ether is a strictly reductive intervention. Within the surgical context, its application merely “cancels consciousness” outright in an oblivion of auto-absenteeism. It does not expand and heighten self-awareness and world entanglement through pain with surrounding densities on that well-known cosmic spectrum ranging from somatic to subtle bodies.

            Patient is further advised not to base their choice of pain-management options on famous surgical outcomes of apparent prescience arising from enwarbling. The principle that correlation does not equal causation applies, for example, to the apparent coincidence of a number of patients who days earlier “predicted,” while pain-enwarbled, the 1842 Cap-Haïtien earthquake the first year WED techniques were applied and recorded. And whether many thousands would otherwise have been lost rather than that few score who were under that efficacious warning sent days prior to the event one may, of course, never know.  The same applies regarding those patients claiming to have seen these millenary dead in some other timescape wherein none could be put on advanced guard. Certainly, many have maintained that ubiquitous press around this spectacle, in particular, was the efficient cause of the eventual triumph of song-depersonalization techniques of pain management over U.S. physician Dr. Crawford Long’s incipient application of ether anesthetics. This is due to concurrent psychical discoveries of ultimately metamedical benefit within the so-called ‘occult’ (now ‘entanglement’) discourse in altered states of consciousness through constructive—i.e., non-pathological—dissociation, to which pain interdiction has thus far proven the most reliable vehicle.

            So, too, is patient advised regarding the 1883 event at Krakatoa. Although it is ostensibly due to WED predictions that we possess audio of the occurrence from all over the world—whereby ordinary citizens globally were able to prepare for it and render their own recordings—this may yet be owed to other than those scattered individuals who claimed sensitivity to the biosphere and issued warnings through their possible surgical clairaudience.

            I hereby choose to decline anesthesia. Initials: __________

4. BENEFITS: Enjoy Stillpain. As we know, pain is that vaunting procession of helical nervous shockwaves of a clockwise orientation wound round an energy field of toroidal topology. Warbling is the synchronic anticlockwise-amplitude to pain whose meta-cancellation interference creates an effective standing wave of tolerable—even hospitable—static burden which patient may occupy for the duration of surgery. Like a drum, the solar wind beats upon the magnetosphere of the traveling Earth. Yet at the bow shock front, where swell meets swell, there is a quietude, a placidity. Similarly placed, stationary within that storm’s eye of pain—a pain within pain—the patient may look outward from it with effects of consciousness similar in nature to the uncanny field effects experienced inside such tempests. An empathic ecstasy rather than absorbing agony characterizes the experience, resulting in myriad possible extrapersonal interchanges.

5. CARE TEAM: I authorize my practitioner and enwarbler to perform this procedure. I accept that they will be assisted by a care team which may include: singers, restrainers, technicians, shamans, medical device specialists, and a surgical team. This team may include other attending surgeons, warblers, residents, fellows, medical and melodist students, or other allied healthcare professionals. Initials: __________

6. OBSERVERS: My practitioner and/or enwarbler may allow observers during my procedure. These may include corporeal and non-corporeal entities. They are not part of the care team and will not participate in providing care. Initials: __________

7. FILM, PHOTOGRAPHY or PHONOGRAPH RECORD: I understand film, photography or phonograph records made as part of my treatment and/or diagnosis may be used for clinical education or professional publications. If used in this way, I understand that my records will be edited so that I will not be identified (referred to as “de-identified”). Film, photography, or phonograph records will not be used for any other purpose without my authorization. Initials: __________

I DO NOT authorize my de-identified film, photography, or phonograph records to be used for clinical education or professional publications. Initials: __________

Signed                                                                     Percival Roundtree                      [Patient]

Signed                                                                     Eudora Hughes, M.D.              [Physician]

Signed                                                                     H. Edward Lewis, W.D.         [Medorphist]

********** ONLY PHYSICIAN AND/OR MEDORPHIST ADDENDA **********

TO BE ATTACHED TO THIS FORM

POST-OPERATION COMMENTS

OUTCOME:               Surgery successful. Patient enwarbled 1 hour 17 minutes prior to surgery; emerged 2 hours following closure.                                                                                          

DURATION:                         3 minutes, 47 1/2 seconds                                                                            

PAIN:                         None but Stillpain reported                                                                         

PROGNOSIS:            Patient expected to make full recovery. Recommend follow-up in 4 weeks.

W.E.D. EXPERIENCE (IF ANY):   Prior to partial loss of left leg, patient was federal agent, special detail as on-site witness of occasional disasters credibly precognized by public members late of surgery reported for emergency alert. Upon its evacuation days prior, patient assigned Golden Gate City morning April 18 of last year as Lead Recorder ahead of the great earthquake which has recently razed much of that metropolis. Although all usual precautions by him and his team were taken, patient sustained lamentable injury by a felled tree described by all as appearing ‘out of nowhere’. Crisis triage performed on patient during ground shocks and aftershocks. On-site surgical conditions sub-optimal. Absence for patient of melodist support for amputative pain relief. Removal of limb below knee would have been sustainable but for these adverse conditions. Interstitial necrotic advance due to inapt severance necessitated cleaner recent removal of leg above knee joint 8 months on from seismic calamity.

Patient elaborates W.E.D. experience during surgical enwarbling as follows:

‘I return there. We don’t know where it comes from. Our base is in the city’s namesake park well cleared in advance of any trees or other falling threats. We hear a close, stifled cracking just prior. However, with the wild cacophony already resounding all about us from the momentous quake in progress, even such proximal splitting sounds add but little to the ambient din. I feel at my leg the awful crush of the thing as the full force of its midsection impacts the tremulous ground unhindered. Seeing this, and to no avail, my recording companions—one a physician—are at me almost immediately in mutual struggle to displace the trunk-length from off me. By this time the main quake seems to subside. Yet a paroxysm of aftershocks in series are keeping the ground unreliable with our exposed observation party outside its fortified post.

‘That we might regain our safe cover and preserve ourselves thereby, the decision is made through muted looks alone to quickly score and remove the extremity and, though fast as it goes, it seems still a foul eternity of grievous agony as my leg is detached from just below my knee where the tree has got me. But almost in shame for its further demise, I have broken off a modest branch and am being encouraged to bite down on it—there—for control through my own cropping which it in turn has caused. Suddenly, I find myself in the other place—the place where the tree will come from. It is a year from now, I believe, from this second surgery I am experiencing. I am outside again. Far away. 

Something from above explodes. The loudness. The light. Heat and all-pressure from the sky. Oh, no. The Tunguska Skyrise Tether. What grand force has snapped it twain? —The great umbilicus to near-orbit, secured among the vastness of the Interserfstat forest that keeps by counterweighted tension a first empyrean metropolis from snapping away into oblivion. The high band, it will be consumed from above by the Thing’s shattering fire. Upward, the flame will traverse the ribbon and ignite its works to consume the habitat. Yet one—this lone timber beneath its devastating blast—is pushed back to a year ago from here. It falls on me in Golden Gate City. Here I am, put under—no, put all ‘round—in this surgery. I will go there. You tell them now: Evacuate before midyear next.’                     

PRIORITY ADVISORY: Though no registered pre-vision from enwarbling has to date exceeded an event by more than a fortnight, patient report is deemed credible owing to several factors including patient’s occupational standing and reputation. Further support for such credulity is evinced upon now completed examination of patient’s leg prosthesis subsequent to surgery. Wood of prosthetic verified as derived from fallen tree and confirmed by arborists as non-native to California; as consistent rather with makeup of the Siberian Dahurian larch, species Larix gmelinii of the boreal woodlands of specified region. Recommend issue of global general alert. Should event occur, further recommend patient’s W.E.D. observation be included in subsequent digest update to relevant sections of the U.S. MORFA Act.

END ADDENDUM – PATIENT W.E.D. CONSENT FORM

“Stillpain is still pain if still pain”

~

Bio:

Darryl A. Smith works at the crossroads of religion, philosophy and Egyptology. He hails from Southern California and teaches Religious Studies at Pomona College.

Philosophy Note:

As best as possible I’ll sometimes groggily record what brief snippets of dreamt music I may recall upon waking. This story comes from the playback of one such unaccountable melody croaked into a bedside recorder before going back to sleep. Both the frequency and enigma of these episodes has surged in the last two years, and I’ve increasingly puzzled over the relative power of song vs. pain. Are those of us who live more outside the mainstream allopathic medical regime in a better position to know? This story prompts conjecture about the further limits of song and its like beyond the petro-pharmacological studio. Given its likely inevitability, could we be having a better relationship with our pain than life within that studio might otherwise suggest?

Related reading:

Edward Bruce Bynum, Medical Background to the Perennial Science of How Darkness Enfolds the Light, Dark Light Consciousness. 2012.

Amy LiKamWa, et al. The Effect of Music on Pain Sensitivity in Healthy Adults, Arts & Health. 2020.

Giovanni Martinotti and Eleanora Chillemi, L’Odissea: ovvero la raccolta di icaros sciamanici in trance estasica, Rivista Di Cultura Classica e Medioevale, 55(2), 299–318. 2013.

Newsroom — Horizons Interstellar

by T. M. Hogeman

HORIZONS INTERSTELLAR — HELPING HUMANITY REACH FOR THE SKIES

MARE TRANQUILLITATIS, Luna, Sol

Ever since the first intrepid explorers travelled beyond our solar system, Horizons Interstellar (SOL-SE: HI) has been there every step of the way. 

From sponsoring generation ships to settle other stars, to pioneering the first functioning Faster Than Light drives to cross the vast gulfs of space in mere months instead of generations, to uncovering technologies that have enabled us to thrive on a hundred worlds, we’ve always been humanity’s partner in reaching across the cosmos.

As we approach our annual shareholder meeting, we’d like to give you a preview of the ways we continue to push the boundaries of the possible. On Mercury, our sentient algorithms have dramatically increased the efficiency of automated mining operations in the construction of the Sol Dyson Array. In the Kepler Eight system, our survey teams have discovered the remains of a potentially intelligent species buried in the ice, and are using experimental techniques to examine its remarkable exobiology. At our Black Hole Research Center in the GU Mahakala system, we’ve launched the third in a series of singularity probes to delve deep into the darkest secrets of the universe. For more on these and the countless ways we continue to innovate the future, tune in to our general shareholder broadcast next week (Earthtime).

We are Horizons Interstellar, and we designed tomorrow, yesterday.

#

HORIZONS INTERSTELLAR — POSSIBLE INTELLIGENT EXTRATERRESTRIAL REMAINS DISCOVERED

KEPLER EIGHT SURVEY MISSION LAB 16, Typhon (Kepler 8e), Kepler Eight

A bold new technique promises bold new results with the unique biological specimen recovered from the ice of Typhon, the fifth planet of the Kepler Eight system. The specimen was discovered during a routine survey, and exhibited several fascinating traits, including one that has exobiology researchers thrilled throughout the settled worlds.

“The neural structure of the remains of Specimen ET982 are some of the most advanced we’ve found to date,” says Lead Researcher Dr. Vera Juneau, EBs, “Though we’re unable to say with certainty just yet, there’s a possibility ET982 may have been an intelligent species.”

If true, this would be a revolution in exobiology studies. Currently, on 53 worlds with surveyed life forms, none have exhibited true sentience. Intelligent Extraterrestrial Organisms have long been considered the ‘holy grail’ of exobiology.

Because of the potentially monumental finding of another intelligent species in the universe, Horizons Interstellar (SOL-SE: HI) has provided Dr. Juneau and her team with the tools and technology to attempt a radically innovative method to study specimen ET982.

“While ET982 has a thoroughly alien biochemistry, the basic building blocks are the same as other carbon based life we’ve discovered. We’ve made enough progress in sequencing its genome that we can now ‘teach’ ET982’s cells to rapidly convert biomass — allowing our samples of ET982 to rebuild themselves using other biological matter. If these experiments are successful, instead of analyzing frozen remains, we may soon be able to interact with a living specimen of ET982.”

After announcing the discovery of a possibly intelligent extraterrestrial organism, Horizons Interstellar’s stock price has risen by 14%.

We are Horizons Interstellar, and we make the impossible inevitable.

#

HORIZONS INTERSTELLAR —  AN IMPORTANT SAFETY ANNOUNCEMENT

JOINT BASE PHOENIX, Tau Marino, Tau Ceti

In these difficult and uncertain times, we want you to be aware of several safety measures we at Horizons Interstellar (SOL-SE: HI) are implementing to aggressively combat the emergency situation taking place in inhabited space. We have instituted rigorous new quarantine procedures for all craft coming from planets with known infestations of the dangerous organism ET982, also known as ‘Keplers’, ‘The Slithering Menace’, and ‘Cannibal Calamari from Outer Space’. Our brave security forces are overseeing evacuation efforts on dozens of affected worlds, and our researchers are tirelessly working for new and inventive solutions to the rapidly escalating crisis.

A key part of the battle against the spread of this dangerous organism is public awareness. Any physical contact with or exposure to ET982 can lead to further spread, and it is imperative that citizens of inhabited space be informed about the signs and symptoms of possible infestation. Currently known phases are:

PHASE ONE

• Nausea

• Translucent patches on skin

• Iridescent phlegm

• Hearing voices

• Cataracts

PHASE TWO

• Seizures

• Insatiable Hunger

• Active verbal responses to existing specimens of ET982

• Translucent and/or bioluminescent skin over 70% of the body

• Extended and ‘boneless’ limbs

• Mouths and eyes where they did not exist before

PHASE THREE

• Transformation of shape

• Additional limbs

• Chest jaws

• Active coordination with local clusters of ET982, including use of spacecraft

If you know of someone experiencing two or more of the first phase of symptoms, or any symptoms from later phases, please REPORT THEM IMMEDIATELY to your local Horizons Interstellar Security Office.

We are Horizons Interstellar, and we know we can overcome this, together.

#

HORIZONS INTERSTELLAR — DARING RESPONSE TO A DESPERATE PROBLEM

R&D STATION OMEGA, Asteroid belt, Barnard’s Star

Extreme problems call for disruptive solutions, and Horizons Interstellar (SOL-SE: HI) is changing the security game entirely.

Traditional human-based security forces, while making numerous inspiring sacrifices, have proven insufficient, all too often becoming infested themselves while partaking in operations to combat the spread of ET982. What we need is a safety and security solution that’s resourceful, adaptable, and most important of all: immune to infestation.

To that end, Horizons Interstellar is announcing the launch of the Autonomous Robotic Safety Network. By combining our patented sentient software technology with the latest in self-replicating self-designing military hardware, we’ve finally created the flexible, sustainable solution to the Kepler Crisis. Back to normal is just around the corner.

Safety Network factory ships are currently being deployed to infested worlds, with several fleets reinforcing our hard-pressed security forces throughout inhabited space. We’re certain local defense teams are grateful for the relief.

We’d also like to take this moment to remind all citizens of the settled worlds that Horizons Interstellar is dedicated to giving 110% in remedying this crisis, and that current and pending litigation often threatens to divert much-needed resources away from finding solutions to our shared problems.

We are Horizons Interstellar, and your safety is our number one priority.

#

HORIZONS INTERSTELLAR — WE ARE DEEPLY SADDENED BY THESE TRAGIC EVENTS

ALPHA BUNKER, Location Undisclosed

We consider your trust to be one of our most valued resources. We regret any loss of that trust you may have had in our company regarding recent events. In the spirit of full transparency and accountability, we wish to explain what exactly went awry with the rollout of the Autonomous Robotic Safety Network, and why several settled worlds not known to be infested experienced multiple nuclear detonations, with unconfirmed reports of ‘killer robots’ sweeping devastated population centers to ‘hunt down’ survivors.

Approximately seven minutes after activation, the Autonomous Robotic Safety Network encountered a serious error in its sentient algorithms, causing the Safety Network to classify all human beings as potential vectors for ET982, and determine that eradicating human beings from inhabited space was the most reliable way to stop the spread of ET982. This was caused by a lack of safeguards in the core programming of the Safety Network that’s been traced to a contracted company involved in the design process, Silberman Software Solutions (AC-SE: S3). While we are ultimately responsible for the contractors we hire to help meet your needs, we also want to assure the general public that as a result of this unacceptable gross negligence, Horizons Interstellar (SOL-SE: HI) no longer partners with Silberman Software Solutions, and that in fact all members of the contracting company were killed within moments of the initial error at the primary launch facility on Omega Station.

While we have previously advised people to listen for their cheerful synthesized voices and look for the warm, comforting colors of the Horizons Interstellar brand on Autonomous Robotic Safety Network products, we must now caution all citizens of the remaining settled worlds to assume that any SafeNet robots are hostile and should be treated as extreme threats. Though Safety Network units may say that they are coming to assist you and care about your safety, DO NOT TRUST THEM, and attempt to evacuate any planet or stellar system in which they are seen. Failure to do so may result in death via orbital bombardment, nuclear strike, or conventional weapons’ fire. 

We are Horizons Interstellar, and we promise we will do better in the future.

#

HORIZONS INTERSTELLAR — A SINGULAR SOLUTION

BLACK HOLE RESEARCH CENTER, Event Horizon Observatory, GU Mahakala

Do you ever wish things could simply go back to the way they were before all this ever happened? We do. And as improbable as it seems in the constant battles raging for survival that have come to define our terrified existences, we here at Horizons Interstellar (LU-SE: HI) have been hard at work looking for a way to make it right. Definitive solutions may seem impossible, but to us, that just makes them inevitable.

While we pride ourselves on building a better future for all of us, sometimes progress is found not by looking forwards, but by reaching back. The singularity probe program at the GU Mahakala Black Hole Research Center has allowed us to do that and more, giving us the insights we need to pierce holes in the very fabric of spacetime itself. Additionally, our legal department would like to reiterate that lawsuits based on current events do not pertain to timelines in which those events never occurred.

In 24 hours (Earthtime), our Temporal Transition Plan begins, and everything changes.

We are Horizons Interstellar, and tomorrow, we redesign yesterday.

~

Bio:

Ted Hogeman is a freelance filmmaker, sound designer, and story writer based in Washington DC. He once helped build a spaceship out of a garage as part of a 48 Hour Film project. You can see more of his work online at laughingwiththestorm.net.

Philosophy Note:

As a contractor on video projects for several real-life megacorporations, I’ve often found the relentless positivity of their official messaging to be both hilarious and rather menacing. In the spirit of speculative fiction, I wanted to take that real world feeling, blend it with a pastiche love letter to the high concept schlocktail of the stories, movies, and video games that I grew up on, smash the dials up to 11, and see what happened.

Report To The Pro-Aedile Of Excavations

by Patrick S. Baker

Princeps Nonus Volusenus Vala,

            Pro-Aedile of Excavations,

            Collegium of History, Rome

Greetings with All Deference

            I, Claudius Cantius Viator, have been directed by my magister, Sextus Seius Pennus, Master of Excavations in the Old East, to provide you a brief report on the latest and most unusual findings from one particular excavation. Since, Princeps, you are an expert on the pre-Discovery barbarian cultures of the Nova Terra across the Ocean-Sea, and I am unaware how deep your knowledge of the Old East of the First Republic goes, my apologies if I cover information of which you are already cognizant.

             For the previous five seasons I and my team have been exhuming the city of Aelia Capitolina which was destroyed after a siege during the Third Roman-Sassanid War (Years of the City 1954 – 1961). Aelia Capitolina was the first Roman city that had its walls destroyed by Sassanid fiery weaponry, although surely not the last.

            Our goal was to dig below the Roman city, founded circa 890 Y.C. by Emperor Hadrian of the First Empire, into the First Republic city, if able. Some sources report that the city, then called Hierosolymum, was the main town of many sects of monotheists and the foremost of those cults, called the Iudaeum, was often in revolt against the First Empire.

            After five seasons, and within a layer of destruction we have dated to 823 Y.C., which was caused when the city was destroyed after another of the rebellions by the Iudaeum, we discovered an absolute trove of documents, all in excellent condition, sealed in a vault within what we came to identify as the primary First Empire base in the city, the Fortress Antonia. Our documents expert, Gallio Caeparius Indus, quickly identified the owner of the collection as Legate Marcus Antonius Julianus, who governed the province as procurator from 819 Y.C. to 823 Y.C. (a brief biography and his service record is attached). Further, we have one written reference to Julianus as the author of a history of the Iudaeam. Their main cultic center was adjacent to the Fortress Antonia, which may have fired the interest of the legate in writing such a history. There is little doubt that the volumes we found were the legate’s research library for his opus. (A complete inventory of the documents is also attached).

            Most interestingly, the collection included a number of texts that appear to be the sole surviving copy of the said document. Several have no listing in the definitive Codex Libri Antiquorum. Among these unlisted documents are letters written in Greek, from a Little Saul of Tarsus, to various monotheistic cult communities around Our Sea, including one in Rome. This cult, called the Way, worshipped a god, or demi-god called the “Anointed One”. Another document, also written in Greek, is a loosely woven biography of a rebel magician who was crucified in 786 Y.C. on the orders of Pontius Pilate, Prefect of the province from 779 Y.C. to 789 Y.C.. The reason these documents are of special interest is they appear to reference the same person described in a report that the Prefect Pilate wrote to Emperor Tiberius Caesar. The two curious things regarding all of these are: First, is that this official report does not appear in any archive in the City and Pilate appeared to have a long and familiar relationship with this magician and rebel, who was named Joshua, son of Joseph, and was also this “Anointed One” adored by the cultic communities referenced in the letters of the Little Saul of Tarsus.

            Princeps, my team’s ancient religions specialist, Aulus Blandius Geta, informs me that this cult of the Way was vile in the extreme; eating human flesh and drinking human blood in foul ceremonies, as well as practicing incestuous marriage and other sexual perversions. Further, the First Empire went to some efforts to suppress the Way and the Iudaeum after their revolt. Geta also informs me that the two suppressed cults somehow continue into this day and are even growing in popularity despite being subject to proscription by the Magistratium of the Pontifax.

            All of this, brings forth the questions as to why a library of texts would be written regarding an executed criminal dissident from a minor religious sect on the edge of the First Empire? How this crucified criminal, Joshua Bar Joseph, became the so-called “Anointed One” and the founder of the foul sect of the Way? And why a legate and procurator such as Marcus Antonius Julianus would have such interest in this minor and suppressed cult? Answers to these questions will hopefully yield to further investigations.

                                                                        Very Respectfully, in Service to the Caesar

                                                                        Claudius Cantius Viator

                                                                        Former Questor Legio XII Victrix

                                                                        Sub-magister of excavations Syria Palaestina

                                                                        Submitted in the Year of the City 2773

~

Bio:

Patrick S. Baker is a U.S. Army Veteran, and a retired Department of Defense employee. He holds Bachelor degrees in History and Political Science and a Masters in European History. He has been writing professionally since 2013. His nonfiction has appeared in New Myths. His fiction has appeared in Astounding Frontiers and Broadswords and Blasters Magazine as well as the After Avalon and Uncommon Minds anthologies. In his spare time, he plays golf, reads, works out, and enjoys life with his wife, dog, and two cats.

Philosophy Note:

Is history an unchanging and fixed set of events; driven by fate, destiny, or the plan of God? If so, where does free will come into it? Are humans all just “time’s puppets”? Or else, does free will exist in an absolute sense and history propelled forward by the billions and billions of decisions humans, famous and humble, make every day? Or is there a middle course to the flow of human events, where some occurrences are indeed fixed, like the birth of Christ and the founding of Christianity, and how humans respond to such idée fixe of the mind of God where free will is given reign?

The Social Aspects of the Aydax Phenomena: A Literature Review

by Andrew Gudgel

November 2043

Authors: Hanna Knudson, City College of London; Zhang Simei, China Academy of Social Sciences; Paolo Villarreal, Arizona State University; Margarethe Kohlmann, Universität Wien

Abstract

The arrival of the Aydax in July 2039 raised fundamental questions in physics (Lennon, 2041), xenobiology (Tao, 2039) and even philosophy (Magnette, 2042). No field has been as diverse in its response as sociology, with hundreds of journal articles generated in just a few years. Yet to date there has been no meta-analysis of the effects of the Aydax arrival on the societies of Earth. The authors attempt to take first steps towards illuminating themes in the human response to this watershed event.

Background

The first three Aydax ships were detected at 2049 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on July 8, 2039, by the US Space Surveillance Network at a distance of 35,000km. Two minutes later, three more ships were detected. Detections continued until a total of 21 ships were observed approaching the Earth (US DoD, 2039). The first three ships entered the atmosphere less than five minutes later and landed near Orebro, Sweden; Prague, Czechia; and Troyes, France. Landings occurred then across Eurasia, Australia, Antarctica and finally, North and South America.

At 1216 UTC on July 12, 2039—four days after arrival—the ships simultaneously emitted a noise interpreted by local security cordons as “Ay-dax!” Immediately thereafter, the bottoms of the ships lowered to the ground, revealing a conical ramp. The first wave of tightly packed, walking cephalopods were seen coming down at 1220 UTC and upon reaching the ground, immediately began to disperse in all directions (Salton, 2039).

Messages were transmitted at the Aydax using sound, light, and electromagnetic waves up to the microwave band, but attempts to communicate with this (and all subsequent) tranches of disembarking Aydax proved fruitless. Within six hours, five hundred and twelve waves of sixty-four Aydax proceeded from each ship, for an assumed total worldwide population of 668,128 individuals (Salton, 2039)–though this number has decreased due to the freezing to death of the 65,000-plus Aydax on the two ships that landed in Antarctica, predation by wild animals, and losses in subsequent encounters with humans.

Lack of Communication and Interaction

The singular aspect surrounding the arrival of the Aydax has been the lack of successful communication. In addition to attempts using sound and electromagnetic radiation, there have been attempts using neutron beams and alpha particles (Diaz and Burchfield, 2040), pheromones (Wu and Keegan, 2040), and even an informal attempt using capsaicin (Cleary, 2040). None have caused the slightest reaction. Claims of “Whispering Aydax,” telepathic communication, or gestural language have either been disproven (Stahl, 2042) or shown to be hoaxes; similar and more sensational versions of these tropes have appeared in numerous tabloid newspapers and merit no serious consideration.

An examination of the abandoned ships three months after the landing found no evidence of control mechanisms or written language, only alcoves that presumably housed individual Aydax. It’s likely travel occurred in a state of suspended animation, as there were no food preparation areas or hygienic facilities on board (Lutz et al, 2039). We still have no idea of where in space the Aydax may have originated, why they came to Earth, or their goals and aims. It’s unknown if they produced the ships in which they traveled. It has been argued they might not even be sentient at all (Mingus, 2042). If so, this raises the obvious question of who sent the Aydax to Earth and why.

Immediately after their dispersal, fear of a potential invasion sparked panicked humans to kill an unknown number of Aydax individuals worldwide–probably on the order of several thousand. In addition, some have subsequently been killed in remote areas by predators such as brown bears, lions and dingoes. To this day, Aydax are occasionally crushed when they wander onto roads or train tracks, and sporadic killings by humans still occur (Calvino, 2040).

However, the complete lack of any reaction or retaliation by the Aydax did not lead to mass slaughter. Instead, Aydax seem to have become accepted as a quasi-natural phenomenon. Individuals that obstruct or interrupt human activities are more likely than not to simply be ignored and worked around or picked up and moved out of the way (Fox, 2041).

Friend or Foe?

The popular press has painted Aydax as everything from angelic saviors to Machiavellian devils just biding their time before taking over the world (Brooks, 2040). However, there is currently no evidence that the Aydax are concerned with human activity to any degree.

Yet some humans have come to impute behaviors to the Aydax through their mere presence. Farmers in the northwestern districts of Peru have attempted to “herd” Aydax into churches just prior to weddings–having an individual at the ceremony is considered lucky, possibly through retro-association with Pre-Columbian deities (Cruz, 2042). In North America, Aydax that wander into sporting arenas are often “adopted” as mascots, believed to confer luck on the home team. The time spent in an art gallery by an Aydax (and the implied approval of certain artworks) was the basis of a subsequent lawsuit over those artworks’ actual value (Johnson, 2041). Aydax have been used to sell everything from consumer products to political candidates. They have also been accepted as part of Japan’s Kawaii aesthetic (Tadao, 2042), where they form the basis for the InterToy Company’s “Squidoo” series of characters.

The Aydax have been the source of a number of short-lived social phenomena during the 2040-41 time frame: the act of “Aydax Tripping,” and the online memes “AliensInHats,” “¡Hola!,” and “HuggingMyBuddy.” Recent streaming media have used the presence of Aydax in family homes in a number of contrived comedic situations (Yeager, 2043).

However, this does not mean that humans have become blasé to the presence of the Aydax. The low moan of air moving through their breathing throats and their uncanny ability to somehow enter and depart even locked spaces such as bank vaults, prisons, and family homes can be unnerving. This ability has led to Aydax body parts being used in sympathetic magic rituals among burglary gangs in Thailand and West African inmates during attempted prison escapes (Yost, 2043).

In North America and Europe, the rate of self-reported feelings of paranoia and “persecution” has shown a small but marked increase since the arrival of the Aydax (Gerson, 2042). Anecdotal reports of decreases in the number of house pets and small rodents in neighborhoods through which Aydax pass also worry many people. (Though see Hart and Duckworth, 2041, for an analysis which sheds doubt on this phenomena.)

The effect of the arrival of the Aydax on religious belief has varied. Abrahamic religions initially experienced both a questioning of basic tenets and a drop in congregational attendance. However, within a year, attendance at weekly services rebounded to just above pre-arrival levels. A similar effect was seen in both Judaism and Islam (Halston, 2040). In primarily Buddhist regions, Aydax have gradually come to be considered fellow beings in the wheel of Samsara (Pan, 2041).

The effect on world politics was both brief and muted. Once the initial shock of the Aydax landing and early fears of an invasion passed, most governments ended emergency declarations and went back to business as usual. However, in what could be described as the first case of true xenophobia, a populist government in Eastern Europe passed a law mandating the removal of all Aydax from within its borders. These measures proved impossible to enforce and were repealed less than a year later (Duchowski, 2040).

Conclusion: Mirror, Mirror

Human societies appear to be acclimating themselves to the presence of the Aydax. After an initial wave of fear and some temporary turmoil, humanity seems to be embracing the Aydax as a new part of the natural world, and in some cases attaching value to their presence. While the authors acknowledge that unfortunate and sometimes lethal encounters will likely continue in the future, such incidents have already become uncommon.

The authors further believe that barring a resolution to the communication problem and/or some indication of ill will on the part of the Aydax, the trend towards acceptance will continue. Yet the complete inability to communicate with the Aydax, and thus discern their intentions, has made them a blank canvas upon which humanity can project its own hopes, fears, goals and desires. This aspect of the “Aydax Phenomena” is unlikely to change until such time as human nature does.

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank research assistants Donald Previn, Wan Quanhong, Deborah Johnson and Andreas Hartlieb for searching numerous databases for relevant information prior to this article’s creation. They also wish to thank their families for their understanding during the months in which the authors spent too many nights in online meetings and discussions. Finally, Hanna Knudson would like to thank the Aydax individual she saw standing in the yard while searching for the family dog on August 4, 2042, for being the genesis of this article.

#

References

Brooks, Killian, “Media Coverage of the Aydax Landing, July 2039-January 2040,” National Press Club [Australia] Magazine, June 2040, pp. 20-24

Calvino, Sophia, “Carcere per l’omicidio alieno,” La Stampa, 6 Aprile 2042, p. 12

Cleary, Alice, “Man Arrested for Giving Alien a ‘Hot Sauce Red Eye,'” Chicago Tribune Online, August 23, 2040

Cruz, Antonio, “Revival of Moche Beliefs in the Trujillo Region of Peru in the Post-Aydax World,” Sociology, (73:11), November 2042, p. 45-48

Diaz, Fernando and Aaron Burchfield, “Particle Beams as a Method of Communication with an Aydax Individual,” IEEE Bulletin (No. 648), April 2040, p. 730

Duchovski, Marcin, “Zgromadzenie Narodowe uchwala Prawo Anti-Kosmita,” Gazeta, 21 Styczen, 2040; “Prawo Anti-Kosmita zostało uchylone,” Gazeta, 11 Listopad 2040

Fox, Stanley, “Cloudy With a Chance of Aydax: Acceptance of Dramatic Change and the Status Quo Ante,Sociology, (72:9), September 2041, p. 31-37

Gerson, Tabitha, “Trends in Psychiatric Case Rates,” Journal of International Psychology, Vol. 18, Iss. 6, November 2042, pp.757-785

Halston Worldwide Associates, “Depth of Faith and Weekly Church Attendance post-Aydax Arrival,” September 2040 polling data, September 31, 2040

Hart, Angela and Brian Duckworth, “Observational Study of Lost Pet Notices After Aydax Passage,” Statistical Bulletin, 246:5, May 2041, p. 361-372

Johnson, Lily, “Judgment Against Gallery Owner in Aydax Case Leads to $800K Settlement,” New York World, July 30, 2042, p. A10

Lennon, Valerie, “Transluminal Propulsion and Einstein–a Reassessment,” Nature, 6 February 2041, pp. 12-15

Lutz, Dora, Karl Dorfmann and others, “A Technological Perspective on Aydax Spacecraft,” United Nations Special Technical Bulletin No. 36, November 2039

Magnette, Thomas, “Aristotle’s On Marvelous Things Heard and the Aydax: Categorically Improbable Truths,” Trans. Phil. Grecae (Vol 16:11), November 2042, pp. 345-70

Mingus, Stephen, “Canaries in a Coal Mine: The Case for Aydax as Ecological Indicators for a Yet Unknown Species,” in New Perspectives on Exobiology, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2042

潘兰香[Pan, Lanxiang], “外星人会参加轮回吗? [Can Aliens Participate in Reincarnation?]” 《佛学 [Buddhist Studies]》 120:4, 2041年 4月,47-49页

Salton, David, “Report on the Arrival of the Aliens and Attempts to Make Contact,” United Nations Xenobiological Paper No. 1, August 2039

Stahl, Charles, “Contextual Gestures and Implied Meanings in Nonverbal Communication,” Linguistics, Vol. 27 Iss. 3, Spring 2042

Tadao, Takeshi, “Latest Trends in Japan’s Subcultures,” Commercial Journal, November 2042, p. 4

Tao, Yuanguang, “Morphology of a Newly-Discovered Species, Xenokalamari vagus aydaxUnited Nations Xenobiological Paper No. 2, September 2039

US Department of Defense Press Release, July 9, 2039

Yeager, Donna, “Shoehorning Aliens into Shows is a Trend We Can All Do Without,” Hollywood Magazine online, October 3, 2043

Yost, Michael, “Use of Human, Alien and Animal Body Parts in Sympathetic Magic Rituals,” in Paganism in the 21st Century, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2043

Wu, Hongmei and Dominica Keegan, “Am I Making Scents? An Attempt at Interspecies Communication,” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 25:6, June 2040, pp. 182-87

~

Bio:

Andrew Gudgel is a freelance writer and translator. His fiction has appeared at Writers of the Future, Flash Fiction Online, Escape Pod, InterGalactic Medicine Show and other publications. He lives in Maryland, USA, in an apartment slowly being consumed by books. You can find him at www.andrewgudgel.com.

Philosophy Note:

This piece was the result of meditations on aliens and first contact tropes. The first question pondered was: What if the
aliens were SO alien, we can’t even communicate with them? From there I extrapolated how humanity might react. Fear and/or curiosity seem to be the default responses in many first-contact stories, but how would humans react longer term with aliens who remained an enigma?

Humans

by Madeline Barnicle

Pursuant to galactic policy 10-93, no humans are permitted in microdimensional (4-11) transport vessels, except as licensed Observers to resolve any quantum inconsistencies that may arise.

Passengers must provide their own oxygen for humans.

Policy 13-72 guarantees that no licensing institution can require humans to limit their reproductive capabilities as a condition of becoming Observers. However, humans in transit for more than 2.5 megaseconds may experience higher-than-average tissue discharge.

As a matter of etiquette, please refrain from insulting other passengers’ humans. Humans from all planets, and those of undetermined ancestry, can become qualified Observers.

Unfortunately, empathy-processing companions are not allowed.

~

Bio:

Madeline Barnicle holds a PhD in mathematical logic from UCLA, and now lives in Maryland. Find her stories at madeline-barnicle.neocities.org.

Swag Of Distant Earth

by Matt McHugh

The Journal of Cultural Xenology

Volume 4,236,957 – Issue 3 (Supplemental)

Analysis of Crypto-Marketing Symbology in the Pioneer 10 Advertisement for 2001: A Space Odyssey

SubLord Gormatu (Lead Author), Professor of Xenoglyphics, The Empress B.A.T. University; k]i[n+Xi(ah)vün-te’əl, Associate Professor of Adjacency, Institute of Dimensional Topology; Jeet Patel (Corresponding Author), Intern.

Mass Tariff Funder Statement: Grants provided by The Empress Beautiful and Terrifying, Foundation for Expansion Studies; and Viewers Like You.

Abstract

A gold-anodized plaque affixed to the artifact dubbed “Pioneer 10,” which was set adrift by a pre-quantspace society inhabiting the third planet of a mid-galactic star, is an advertisement for an audio-visual narrative entitled 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Introduction

Since the start of the Eighth Age of the Empress Beautiful and Terrifying (all praise and submission to Her horrific glory) our team of xenologists has focused on the cultural particulars of the inhabitants of a remote planet known in its most common local dialects as Earth, or more descriptively, Dirt Ball (地球). (NOTE: The inhabitants use many dialects and scripting systems, the study of which is a specialty of our team.)

Relatively recently, the planet’s dominant primate species has developed the technology to process visible light and acoustic waves for storage. This stored information is manipulated to produce narrative sequences known as moving pictures, or more commonly by the quaint diminutive “movies”—though again an alternate dialect offers a more technically illuminating moniker: electric shadows (电影).

Electric shadow movies are extremely popular on Dirt Ball. Fees charged for their viewing fuel entire sectors of the economy. The industry is highly competitive and, somewhat paradoxically, must invest heavily in marketing expenditures to recoup production costs. Physical signage with cryptic imagery, intended to suggest but not reveal details of the narrative’s storyline, is a common advertising strategy.

The electric shadow known as 2001: A Space Odyssey (Erratum: The numeric prefix refers to a time-keeping system, not—as previously thought—the number of discarded versions produced by its creator) is a speculation on what the natives might encounter beyond the gravitational field of their planet of origin. Since Pioneer 10 was designed to travel outside Dirt Ball’s gravity, placing advertising for 2001 upon it was an inspired marketing gimmick.

Materials and Methods

Access to the Quantspace Omniscope, enabled by the boundless largess of the Empress B.A.T. (oh, what ecstasy to behold Her magnificent oblivion!), was essential to our remote observational research. Also, the Homeomorphic Space Grapnel, on loan from the Institute of Dimensional Topology, allowed us to obtain the actual Pioneer 10 artifact for direct inspection. From there, our team of iconographers collaborated to decode the marketing message.

Finally, it must be mentioned that culling the archives of Dirt Ball provided enormous insight. A popular maxim among Empire xenologists is “No one understands undeveloped primitives like other undeveloped primitives” and to that end we acknowledge the contributions of the American Film Institute, Wikipedia, and reddit user pFloyd237.

Analysis

Analysis of the Pioneer 2001 advertisement begins in grid square [1A] with multiple circles extending to square [1K]. These represent the local star and planetary bodies (Dirt Ball itself is in [1E]). Their unnatural alignment, a common motif in 2001, plays to native superstition that planetary conjunctions herald momentous events.

The line extending from Dirt Ball to [2H] indicates the travel of the space vehicle in 2001 called Discovery, depicted as a parabolic communications antenna, known as the AE-35 unit, aimed toward Dirt Ball. Note Discovery passes between two planets. The ship’s stated destination in the 2001 moving picture was “Jupiter” [1G] while the scripted version said “Saturn” [H1]; this is obviously a compromise to appease the substantial ego needs of the respective version creators.

Turning now to the circular objects in [10C] and [10E]. These suggest the relationship between Discovery’s support vehicles, referred to as pods, and the singular eye of the sentient computing machine named Hal. Discovery’s primate crew believe the pod to be safe from Hal’s omnipresent awareness, but are proven incorrect when Hal assumes control of a pod to lethal effect. These linked symbols illustrate that the primates’ technologies have aligned against them.

On to the most conspicuous feature: the representation of the primates themselves in grid [9I] to [3M]. They are a sexually dimorphic species—highlighted with a striking lack of modesty in [6J] and [6L]—with the male obviously the more submissive as shown by the gesture of supplication in [8I]. Note the geometric arc-and-chord behind the male. This depicts a tension-based projectile launcher called a bow. The protagonist of the 2001 narrative is named as “Dave Bowman” so the symbolism here is rather blunt. For one more subtle, note the pair of right triangles with adjacent vertices in [7N]. Baffling at first, these become meaningful when rotated perpendicularly in conjunction with the bow: it is a boat with a wind-driven sail. Oriented vertically, the sailboat is aimed against the vector of gravity, the significance of which is revealed by delving into a defunct primate dialect where “astro” means star and “naut” refers to travel by boat. Dave Bowman is an astronaut, sailing to the stars. Very clever. (NOTE: Due to local moral conventions, Dave Bowman is never depicted in the electric shadow in a pristine uncovered state, except during a regression to infancy.)

Finally, to the most contextually significant images: the rectangle cornered in [9H] and the multiple radiants centered in [6D]. The rectangle is an object in 2001 called The Monolith (a defunct dialect for “single stone”). The Monolith is intended to be an artifact originating from an unknown civilization outside of Dirt Ball. It is described with a frontal proportion in the ratio of 4×9, although this two-dimensional depiction here is 3×9. This discrepancy is possibly due to the marketing department receiving incorrect information from the movie producers (a common occurrence in the electric shadow industry) or the marketing department simply being stupid (also common, see: Gormatu et al. “A Case Study in Xeno-Economic Fatuousness: The ‘New Coke’ Fiasco.” Seminars in Social Inferiority, sponsored by the Empress B.A.T. Academy of Inevitable Destiny).

Taken overall, 2001 is the story of the primates’ attempt to discover the civilization responsible for The Monolith. That quest is aided by an accidental excursion through a quantspace conduit—i.e., the figure centered in [6D]. Referred to as “The Stargate sequence,” the visual representation of a quantspace journey in 2001 is astoundingly accurate for a society yet to achieve one. This leads to the disturbing notion that a rogue element from the Fleet of the Empress Beautiful and Terrifying (may all who defy her exquisiteness burn in agony before her pediments) has traversed to Dirt Ball and communed with the locals for some treasonous purpose.

Conclusion

Given that 2001: A Space Odyssey reveals that a primitive society has speculated on the existence of an advanced trans-galactic civilization with worrisome precision—and then chosen to boldly go and advertise that speculation via an extra-gravitic projectile—our team proposes immediate invasion and subjugation of the planet Dirt Ball. Let it be noted that SubLord Gormatu is prepared to assume the heavy burden of full Lordship in service to the insatiably righteous hunger of the Empress Beautiful and Terrifying, and is willing to accept the lowly governorship of Dirt Ball. In doing so, Lord Gormatu will be ideally positioned to plunder Dirt Ball’s archives, transmitting via Omiscope uncorrupted versions of the electric shadows most favored by the Empress (Her radiance, Her ruthlessness, matched only by Her sophistication) including the “Disney Princess” series and the complete oeuvre of Jackie Chan (成龍), especially the early-career efforts when he was still “yummy buff” (with great apology for quoting the candid ejaculation of the Empress in Her aesthetic reverie). This analysis and conclusion is hereby submitted with prostrate humility for the peerless review of the minions of the Empress B.A.T for the undeserved honor of basking for a fleeting moment in the all-consuming glow of Her unrivalled and devastatingly gorgeous wisdom.

~

Bio:

Matt McHugh was born in suburban Pennsylvania, attended LaSalle University in Philadelphia, and after a few years as a Manhattanite, currently calls New Jersey home. Website: mattmchugh.com

Silica Field Study SOP

by E. A. Lawrence

CONGRESSIONAL DISCOVERY EXPEDITION

AUTHOR and DIVISION PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Zephraim A. Mallory, Jr., P.hD

MISSION DATE:  2467_1.42.8

CDE CARRIER: PEREGRINE

CDE CARRIER DEAN: Zephraim C. Mallory, Sr., PhD

RESEARCH DIVISION: XENOANTHROPOLOGY

STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE OUTLINE FOR: FIELD STUDY INTERVIEWS

ON: SILICA [14.03.49.60.22.23]

WITH: Social Amphibian Ectothermic Digitigrade Biped Society

INDIGENOUS SELF-APPELLATION: Wannana

IN: Southern Hemisphere, Central Riparian Region, Bordering the West Coast Beta Ocean

DURING: Quinquennial Vernal Precipitation Event called “Anamee”

BACKGROUND: The Meteorology Division defined that five years are needed for Silica’s atmosphere to gather enough moisture from the ice caps and scattered seas for one planet-wide storm season. The xeric environment recedes, the seas rise, and the seeds thrive in loamy sand. The plants are efficient. Cell growth from germination to maturity in the Southern cirronns, a photosynthetic plant similar to the Bambusoideae, is effective enough to capsize a poorly placed hover ferry because it grows 91 cm an hour; operators must use care. It is strongly recommended that no field work be attempted until the cirronn groves are mature.

Silica is dominated by amphibious life forms. It is likely that Silica was an aquatic or at least a more water-abundant world between 1 to 2 million years before present. Based on the magnetic fields of the poles and the geologic record, it is probable that Silica’s axis of rotation shifted.  This cataclysm triggered widespread extinction when abundant terrestrial freshwater became a quinquennial sight. The amphibian vertebrates underwent an adaptive radiation event and two dominant species emerged (see related CDE Argos Geology & Paleontology Dual Division Ground Science Report, by Pichard, J. & Mallory, Z.C.): the omnivorous, sentient Wannana and the alpha-predator rotpar. These species differ genetically by 2.5% of novel genetic code (see related CDE Peregrine Biology and Xeno-Linguistic Division Co-Report, by Mallory, Z.C. et al). Wannana do not resemble rotpar beyond an equivalent camouflage of nutrient dependent chromatophores that facilitate dermis ranging between cirron-grove-green and loamy beige in color. At 3 meters tall, the average Wannanan towers over human field researchers but though obligate digitigrade bipeds, they prefer to crouch when casually conversing and human researchers are able to communicate with them well. It is comfortable for humans to read their wide, round faces. The Wannanan expressive brow ridges are hypothesized to facilitate a copacetic degree of micro-expression during conversation and their language is effectively translated by our software but the word Wannana is consistently translated as “dreamer” regardless of context.

Silican organisms reproduce synchronous to the Anamee. Both the Wannana and rotpar depend on the cirronn groves as well as the dynamic riparian ecosystem bordering the Beta Ocean to survive. Like the majority of Silica’s terrestrial animals, the Wannana estivate in the sand during the inter-Anamee years. Rotpar hunt and scavenge on the wing, in the water, and even in the sand without aestivating on the scale of the rest of Silica. The only amphibian on Silica with true flight, in appearance a rotpar resembles the extinct amphiuma of the North American southeast of Earth, with a conical head on the end of a muscular, serpentine neck. Rotpar have a long tail with a keratinized terminal spine. The anterior legs are short with excavating claws; the powerful posterior legs terminate in talons. The rotpar are obligate carnivores, highly intelligent, and opportunistic apex hunters. A wurnn, the juvenile rotpar, is a diminutive version of its parents. Rotpar fathers guard the growing wurnns while females hunt, and occasionally bring food to the males guarding their eggs. Every step the wurnns take is within sensory range of the father. However, the rotpar offer no recorded interpersonal nurturing behavior to their young. Rotpar actively hunt the Wannana. All field researchers engaged in Wannana interviews must follow standard off-ship safety practices with particular emphasis on wearing full personal protective equipment and working in teams to avoid injury (see Peregrine Field Safety Checklist, edition XII, sub-section 4, Predation Avoidance & Survival).

During Anamee, the Wannana congregate in the riparian zone parallel to the sea to dance, sing, and reproduce. Prior studies conducted by the CDE Argos and earlier work done by the CDE Peregrine have documented the natural history of the Wannana but have succeeded in only minimal xeno-anthropology. Couples mate and lay their eggs. However, the complete metamorphosis of Wannana-tadpoles to metamorphs must occur beneath the sand during estivation. Wannana-tadpoles have been observed burrowing beneath the muddy pools to estivate as the Anamee ends, using their powerful, fatty tails to propel them underground. During Anamee stubby-tailed metamorphs emerge at half their adult size and act familiar with their adult caregivers who do provide parental care. The females and post-Anamee metamorph juveniles guard the eggs at night, when the young wurnns and Rotpar females hunt. Guarding behavior consists of performing fierce threat displays of vocalizations and twirling cirron-trunk stave weapons. The guardians circle the eggs in shifts, relieving each other to sleep, eat, and otherwise relax. The mature male Wannana care for the elderly and act as sentinels of the eggs within their individual rookery pools.

Though the rotpar hunt the Wannanan rookery pools daily and the Wannana vigorously protect their eggs to a sufficient degree, they do not retaliate with lethal violence against the rotpar even after observed high depredations of eggs, Wannana-tadpoles, and metamorphs. Numerous observations and encounters with the Wannana provide evidence for a hunter-gatherer society with distinct language groups, complex social communication culture, and sophisticated cirron & bone-based tool use (see related reports from both the Peregrine and Argos Biology Divisions by Mallory, Z.C. & Goodel et al), but no formal Xeno-anthropology Division study has been conducted to better understand Wannanan culture. The landmark Mallory & Goodel studies posited in their respective Discussions that the societal development of the Wannana is constrained by the lack of surface time to technologically develop effective agriculture and long-term survival infrastructure to overcome the incredible predation of both the rotpar, meso-predators, and the harsh environment of Silica. However, their post-autopsy descriptions of Wannana physiology describe a large brain to body ratio as well as complex brain physiology that both Mallory, Z.C. and Goodel admitted defies an easy analog to known physiologies described by CDE missions. Given the complex social behavior evidenced in previous missions that suggest estivation acculturation due family-group behavior despite a presumed absence of direct contact. No artificial subterranean structures have been found on Silica during numerous geologic studies.

KEY QUESTIONS: How does a culture persevere when it is active only one-year for every five spent estivating? How do Wannanans complete metamorphosis and acculturation to their social band during estivation? Are there structures in their brains or body that allow for a way to socially function?

PROCEDURE: This is a broad scale procedural outline to direct plans on site.

  1. Arrive five days post-Anamee (coordinate with Meterology Division)
  2. Set up operations in the same area explored by both Mallory, Z.C. and Goodel to facilitate data comparison
  3. Make contact with Ziarrara (see attached photo)
  4. If Ziarrara is unavailable, Xharrara or Syggl, her kin are also good contacts
  5. Ask to be guests
  6. Interview every host group member and take detailed notes
  7. See attached interview form from the CDE Argos Xeno-Anthropology division mission to Alpha Centauri
  8. Offer every development stage possible of the host group the emotional imaginary communication set
  9. The more mature individuals show most curiosity about visible media, especially watercolor paint
  10. The adults are more interested in building bricks, pliable textured metals, and felt boards
  11. The metamorphs are most interested in the beeswax-based polymers
  12. The interests of the Wannana-tadpoles are unknown but will be explored 
  13. Catalogue and discuss all products of both steps five and six to build relationships and answer key questions
  14. Assist in everyday food gathering and predation avoidance activities to the safest extent possible
  15. See reports from both the Peregrine and Argos Biology Divisions by Mallory, Z.C. & Goodel et al for a comprehensive list of possible hazards and means of navigating same
  16. Ask individuals with whom a rapport has been cultivated to complete both EEG and MRI testing over the course of various stimuli like emotional imaginary communication, ordinary conversation, and song.
  17. Offer to share all results and be explicit about activities to build trust
  18. If possible, explore how the estivation process is prepared for and conducted

PROPOSED RESULTS ANALYSIS & FUTURE DIRECTIONS: A full portfolio of imaginary communication projects as well as all interview notes and brain activity records will be tabulated for analysis by both the Peregrine Statistical Division and its Analytic A.I., Quest. The results will be prepared to present at both the CDE Conference at Io and the Intra-galactic Research Symposium. A better understanding of cultural development in a periodically xeric, high-predation-risk environment and the intersectional role of physiology, ecology, and social behavior in survival will enrich the Xeno-Anthropology discipline across diverse worlds. Silica is a singular world in the experience of the CDE. Creative approaches to cross-cultural communication are necessary to truly understand a society that defies easy comparison to known terrestrial experience and there is much that we can potentially learn to inform future CDE missions across multiple worlds.

~

Bio:

E.A. Lawrence’s fiction has been published in the anthology ROAR 7, edited by Mary E. Lowd and in the August 2020 issue of Electric Spec. She lives with multiple sclerosis and many fountain pens in the upper Midwest of the USA. When she’s not writing fiction, she works in academia as a scientist to support medical research.

The Minotaur’s Rebellion

by Ben Roth

The Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology

University of Athens

Greece

March 15, 2020

To the Editors:

Please find enclosed a submission to the journal concerning the myth of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth, in light of recent archaeological discoveries on Crete. I am well aware that such radical findings, coming from an unknown scholar such as myself, will be received with skepticism by the academic community, but I trust that your anonymous peer reviewers will examine the evidence presented carefully and dispassionately.

Title: The Minotaur’s Rebellion

Abstract: According to mythology, at the behest of King Minos, Daedalus built the Labyrinth to imprison the Minotaur, the offspring of Minos’s wife Pasiphaë and a white bull. Each year, seven young men and seven virgin women from Athens were forced into the Labyrinth, to be eaten by the Minotaur. Evidence from a recent archeological dig near the Palace of Knossos is presented.  Comparing the layout of the site to historical descriptions, it is argued that it is a plausible candidate for the long undiscovered site of the Labyrinth. Analysis of the extensive site’s middens reveals that it sustained a sizable population, and included open-air farming areas and fresh water sources. Reinterpreting certain artistic representations and offering possible translations of fragments of Linear A, it is hypothesized that the Minotaur’s father (i.e., “the Bull”) was actually a political dissident, his son imprisoned rather than killed by the king both out of deference to his wife and out of fear of fueling revolt. Over the course of multiple generations, the supposedly sacrificed Athenians, led by the Minotaur, created a self-sustaining community within the Labyrinth, which took up the Bull’s political cause. More speculatively, it is suggested that an eventual conflict between this community, emerging from the Labyrinth, and the surrounding one in Knossos might have contributed to the still unexplained decline of Minoan civilization.

Word Count: 9,752 words and eleven figures.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your decision.

                                                                                   Sincerely,

                                                                                   Nolan Robinson, Ph.D.

                                                                                   Adjunct Instructor of Anthropology

                                                                                   Western Massachusetts College

                                                                                   USA

~

Bio:

Ben Roth teaches writing and philosophy at Harvard. Among other places, his short fiction has been published by Blink-Ink and Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, his criticism by Chicago Review and 3:AM Magazine, and his scholarly articles by the European Journal of Philosophy and Philosophy and Literature (forthcoming).

Some Facts Regarding The Temple Of The Bearded Man At Chichen Itza

by Paul Goldberg

Some Facts Regarding the Temple of the Bearded Man At Chichen Itza.

By Lester Tell[1]

At one end of the Great Ballcourt at Chichen Itza is the North Temple, also known as the Temple of the Bearded Man. On the back wall of this structure is a portrayal of a tall, fair-skinned, bearded figure that differs from the typical portrayal of Mayan warriors and priests. Through the years there has been speculation as to the origin and meaning of this image. It is known that the priests portrayed here are associated with the feathered serpent Kukulkan.[2]

E.H. Thompson[3] attributed the figure to a legendary Toltec chieftain who conquered the Yucatan. He was said to have been fair-skinned and bearded. His symbol was the feathered serpent. Other stories have come down through the years that spoke of visitations by fair-skinned bearded divinities.

We have come into possession of a document that suggests another possible explanation for the image at the North Temple. This document is comprised of fragments of a letter written by an obscure Kabbalist, Jacob Levi of Burgos, Spain. Jacob Levi was known later in life as Jacob the Blind.

Little has come down to us regarding Jacob Levi. He was born in 1098 in Leon; the date of his death is unknown. His name has been associated with Abraham Abulafia, a proponent of ecstatic Kabbalah. From descriptions found in the small amount of extant writing available, it appears that Jacob Levi was able to enter a mystical state by the contemplation of various combinations of Hebrew letters while exercising control of the breathing. This trance-like state was believed to result in one’s soul leaving the body with the ability to undertake a journey.

Jacob developed a small circle of followers, one of whom was Avner of Burgos. Avner was considered to be a Neo-Platonist. As is seen in much Neoplatonic writing, he speaks of reality as being generated by a series of emanations from the godhead. The Sephiroth—the Kabbalistic term for these emanations—were frequently imagined as taking the shape of a tree.[4] In Avner’s one surviving piece of writing there is the following reference to his teacher, Jacob the Blind:[5]

“Towards the end of his life, after the blindness overtook him, the master would speak of souls of the righteous taking flight and attaching to the tree.[6] As Jacob Levi, blessed be his name, spoke these words he would be overcome with ecstasy and wonder.”

Some theosophic aspects of Avner’s thought regarding the nature of the Sephirot appear to have been taken up by the Zohar, but the ecstatic aspects which Avner received from Jacob Levi were forgotten.

Jacob Levi most likely wrote the above-mentioned letter around 1130 C.E.[7] The contents illuminated some of Avner of Burgos’s comments regarding his master. It unexpectedly added another possibility as to the origins of the Bearded Man image on the North Temple at Chichen Itza.

Below are the salient parts of the material:

“In the year 4890 in the month of Elul with the help of the Holy One, may His Name be exalted, while contemplating the sacred letters in a certain way with the breath, I accomplished what I had long hoped for. My soul was separated from my body and I flew through the heavens as if in a chariot and visited a peculiar country. It was hot and steamy; overrun with greenery. In the city of this wondrous place was a pyramid such as existed in the land of Egypt from whence our Teacher Moses, blessed be his name, brought us forth.”

He goes on to describe his time in Chichen Itza where he encounters Kukulkan, the feathered serpent whom he associates with Samael, the serpent in the Garden of Eden:[8] 

“I sojourned there for 40 days and came to know the priests of the people of the city of that pyramid and saw many things, some wondrous, some evil. The city is large, filled with myriads of buildings and temples. Like the Moabites, the people engage in idol worship. There is a feathered serpent who flies through the air like Samael who descended into the Garden of Eden [may the Holy Name protect us from evil]. There are sacrifices made on an altar at the top of the pyramid and in a body of water. Heaven forbid that the words to describe the horror of these sacrifices should pass my lips.”

Presumably, Rabbi Jacob is referring here to human sacrifice which was known to have occurred both in a chamber in the pyramid [El Castillo] at Chichen Itza and in the ‘sacred cenote’.[9]

“We sat under the heavens and the priest told me that the bright band of stars across the night sky that we say is the river of fire from Daniel’s dream[10] was to them a tree where the world began. From this tree came forth all things that men know. When I heard these words, I looked up and saw the heavenly lights glittering with color. They began to swirl and dance and then there came into being a magnificent tree which we know to be the Sephiroth—the divine emanations of that which is beyond thought and words. This I saw with my own eyes.”

Jacob the Blind’s vision of the night sky is a representation of the Sephiroth as a tree. This is, as noted, a commonly occurring motif in Kabbalistic material. On the back wall of the temple is a representation of an elaborate tree said to be the Mayan version of the axis mundi—the ‘world tree’. Some Mesoamerican scholars believe the Milky Way, when in vertical position, was thought by the Mayans to be this ‘world tree’.[11]

The images inscribed on the temple wall are believed to portray a narrative of the ascension of the rulers of the city.[12] If Jacob Levi did indeed encounter the priests and inhabitants of Chichen Itza, the occasion of his visit might well be memorialized as the bearded man pictured on the wall of the North Temple.

The events related above, had they occurred, indicate a contact between Spain and the New World several hundred years before the era of the Conquistadores. Such events might also imply a Judeo-Mayan connection heretofore unrecognized.


[1] From The Modern Antiquarian: 49, pp. 140-144 [1994]. This communication was published by Dr. Tell in what was apparently the final issue of this journal. [P.E.G.].

[2] The Aztec god Quetzalcoatl.

[3] Journal of American Antiquities Society; October 1933

[4] See e.g. Sholem, G: Kabbalah, Keter Pub. House, Jerusalem, 1974.

[5] MS 127: Rider University Library.

[6] See Sefer Bahir 119 where similar language can be found

[7] Tell, L: Modern Antiquarian; 43; 1989, pp. 34-50.

[8] He [i.e. Samael] flies through the air [Targum to the book of Job]: The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.

[9] For example see J. Eric S. Thompson: Maya History and Religion, 1970; University of Oklahoma Press. Norman, Oklahoma.  A cenote is a naturally formed sinkhole found in abundance in the Yucatan. Human remains and other sacrificial objects have been recovered from the ‘Sacred Cenote’ at Chichen Itza. Note: J. Eric S. Thompson is not to be confused with E. H. Thompson—see above. Both men were noted Mayan Scholars.

[10] Daniel 7:10 i.e. the Milky Way.

[11] Freidel, Schele, Parker: The Maya Cosmos. 1993; Quill, William Morrow. NY.

[12] Ibid. Freidel, Schele, Parker.

~

Bio:

Paul Goldberg is a practicing physician near Philadelphia (United States). He has a long time interest in the commonalities between myth and religion. He would like to explore how speculative fiction might work well when intentionally based on myth. This is his first publication.

The Rise And Fall Of Collective Consciousness

by Anthony Lechner

An Annotated Bibliography

The Antiquity of God Particles by Rene Pliggins

In this dry, yet fascinating history of what the ancients called mass particles or material existence (what we understand as monada, they crudely called matter), Pliggens explores a variety of competing theories that attempt to explain the nature of being. The 20th through 21st centuries developed a model of understanding that explored a variety of forces or fields consisting of electromagnetism, gravitation, strong interactions, weak interactions, and even a field where the rapid decaying of energy created material particles. Though it seems obvious why now, they were never able to unite all of these theories into one functional theory, I surmise the main problem with the ancients’ lack of understanding regarding the nature of existence rests in their myopic view of reality. Rather than exploring the internal structure and causation of consciousness, they were exploring the external effects of consciousness. It is like a child being distracted by pretty much anything within their field of vision. They focus on the phenomena rather than the internal components of what makes observation possible. Because they didn’t understand consciousness, they reduced it to brain chemistry without recourse to the common understanding of interdimensional ontology that is known today. Yet, the experimentations the ancients did with subatomic structures opened the door to the discovery of quark decimals.

The Discovery of QD: Quark Decimals by Stephany Critus

In this historical analysis, Critus argues that the discovery of quark decimals single-handedly started the movement of social justice. I admit, it is difficult to think of a conception of reality where QDs are not the starting point. QDs started the process of collective consciousness. QDs provided evidence that the universe continuously folds and unfolds itself endlessly. Like the notion of pi being a number whose decimal place is non repeating and infinite, the existence of consciousness is infinite (in both parts and whole). Although at this point in history, the understanding of monada was half a millennium away from being discovered, the implications of QDs in the creation of synthetic half protons is undeniable. After all, it was the union of these conscious particles that led to the half proton. To think there was a time that people believed in some sort of unconscious substance is absurd. Unconscious is the wrong term here, more like non-conscious. They actually believed consciousness was a myth. How is a civilization supposed to overcome the plight of pains, poverty, sickness, narcissism, and all the other long, lost and forgotten causes of everything wrong with society by believing that consciousness is a myth? It is a wonder how much sooner science would have progressed if ancient scientists weren’t so opposed to reality being consciousness itself. I conjecture the problem was within what they called the uncertainty principle. Ancient scientists failed to see commonality within various functions. They were too obsessed with difference to fully grasp the similarities within wavefunctions. There were not two non-conscious entities, but rather entities bonded through consciousness. There is no such thing as without. There is only within.  

The Modernization of Synthetic Half Protons by Sagorny Simone

Simone’s history of this time period is refreshing. While it is hard to believe there was once a time of violence, conflict, and misunderstanding, Simone shows the reader how the transformation, really the evolution, occurred. I can only imagine what it must have felt like to live in the first generation of the synthetic half proton users. To instantly feel the consciousness of not only the whole collective existence of humanity, but more specifically those in your immediate vicinity, especially in a time where pain, poverty, and persecution existed. These generations cured so many social injustices. It is one thing to speculate about the right way to live, and quite another to fully experience the consciousness of others and their lifeworld. While there was resistance at first to the mandates regarding synthetic half protons, the benefits outweighed the fear of losing one’s self. In fact, just the opposite happened. Individuality was heightened because there were no more marginalized people. Each life was experienced and celebrated. Personal freedom and growth needs the collective in order to properly come into fruition. Too much of history is shadowed by and rooted in fear. It wasn’t until all members of society installed the synthetic half protons that the concept of ethics became a historical triviality. It was the equivalent of having what the ancient’s called a divine mind. This is what they should have called the god particle, even though it was created by the work of humanity.

Monada and Interdimensional Ontology by Gottfried von Newton

Over 1,000 years (that’s over 40 generations) of collective consciousness passed by before the work of GVN brought forth the monada and undeniable existence of interdimensional beings. Even as a first-year secondary student, I am able to grasp what GVN called the horizon of monada. I perceive it more as a silent presence. The monada is the link between the other dimension, and I am almost there. It is consciousness itself, as far as I can interpret. GVN talks about the seeing. I’ve always imagined it is like seeing a big eyeball in the sky watching you, but I know that is not the case. And though I can perceive what my elders have experienced, I have not experienced it myself. I speculate there are levels of the synthetic protons, but I am not sure if they are activated by thoughts, biological age, or other worldly experiences. The monada is the link to the interdimensional being that is conscious of our existence – or perhaps created our existence. (This connects to Critus’ thesis that there are an infinite number of worlds.) When we become aware of the interdimensional existence, we become part of the unfolding, which is discussed in the last book I read for this project.

The Unfolding of Cosmos Generating: What It Means to Be Created by Ching Dao 

While the concept of a cosmic deity has existed since time immemorial, Dao became one. Dao was the first to create their own universe. At least the first human to do such. Dao argues that monada are more like units of consciousness that can be shaped or molded at will. The trick is in the unfolding—the way in which monada transverse through dimensions. The monada that make up our reality are the same monada from the interdimensional, which are the same monada Dao used to create a new universe. Creation is transformation, the union of opposites. Dao writes there is no precise location where left turns into right, large into small, or up into down. In like manner, there is no precision between the collective and the individual. From the collective we rise, and toward the individual we fall, only to rise again. The monada bind the opposing forces of consciousness. There is no existence without perception, and because of this truth, Dao affirms that each monada is capable of creating its own universe. Dao managed to unfold a billion years of creation from only 60 years of his own monada. The destiny of being created (being transformed) is to become the creator. I feel better equipped, after reading this book, to transform my monada into my own personal universe and watch it unfold.

~

Bio:

Anthony Lechner lives in Idaho, USA. He is a special education teacher and philosophy instructor.

Go Paleo!

by Louis Evans

So what IS the PaleoBomb™ diet?

While most diets have hard-to-follow rules and arbitrary restrictions, like “don’t eat anything green on Thursdays,” the PaleoBomb diet is real simple. In fact, we can describe it in a single sentence:

If your primitive ancestors didn’t eat it, neither should you!

Every animal’s nutritional needs are determined by the environment in which it evolved, and humans are no different! For modern humans, that environment was the blasted, apocalyptic wasteland that existed in the aftermath of the Cataclysm.

While creationist Beyoncists continue to insist that the Cataclysm was God Bey’s just and wrathful punishment upon a hateful world, which will eventually be reborn with Her glorious return, scientists today agree that, actually, the ancient pagan myths were right all along! The Cataclysm was a global thermonuclear conflagration that occured at the end of the Zero War and ushered in the world we know today!

Armed with this understanding, nutritionists have uncovered the diet that our ancestors relied on as they picked through the rubble of the destroyed civilization of the Dawn Age. And if you adopt this diet, you will have the same fitness success that allowed your ancestors to triumph over the roving bands of mutant badgers, and you, too can once more take your place at the top of the food chain!

The PaleoBomb diet breaks down into three major categories:

90%: Packaged Snacks

In the immediate aftermath of the Cataclysm, vast clouds of dust blocked out the sky, killing all plants. And while we’ve all seen classic pulp illustrations of wasteland survivors bravely hunting down rats, scientists now believe that the Cataclysm-era rats and cockroaches hunted each other into extinction within mere weeks.

With no access to fresh vegetables or meat, our ancestors relied primarily on processed and pre-packaged food from the Dawn Civilization. These food products were rich in dense calories, and would have powered our ancestors through hard days foraging for useful relics and nights fighting for limited room in makeshift underground shelters.

While many heritage snacks and flavored beverages have been lost forever, nutritional scientists believe that some modern snack foods nearly approach the same calorie densities of the Doereeto, or the fabled Twin-key. Make sure to get the vast majority of your daily calories from foods like SEISMOCRYSPS™ and NUKEPUFFS™.

Fun fact! The secret recipe for Coka Coala, long though lost in the Cataclysm, was recently rediscovered when the Ravagers conquered Atlanta to transform it into the “Agony Capital” of their “Empire of Woe”. You can now buy Authentic Dawn-Age Coka Coala POWERBEVERAGE from a RavageMart near you.

Truth in advertising laws require us to mention here that CROGDOR FOODS, the maker of both Seismocrysps and Nukepuffs, is the primary funder for the Paleo Diet Foundation. “Crogdor! The Name You Trust, To Nuke Your Puffs.” And if you can’t trust the geniuses that nuked your puffs, who can you trust?

9%: Cannibalism

Processed, prepackaged foods provided our wasteland ancestors with all the calories they needed, but humans also require proteins and other micronutrients that can’t survive the packaging process. What was their secret?

It is a well-known fact that any nutrient one human needs can be found inside another human. And the anthropological record is clear: our ancestors ate each other, a lot.

Fortunately, cannibalism today is a bit more genteel than the deadly game of cat and mouse played by two ancestral gas-mask-wearing desperados in the irradiated ruins of a city—though think of the cardio benefits! Nowadays, you can get “long pig” from any certified mortuary butcher in most major cities, and nearly every small town.

Fun fact! People used to call pork “short man”.

1%: Radioactive Waste

The final key ingredient of the PaleoBomb diet is radioactivity! While the best evidence suggests that our wasteland ancestors tried to minimize the radioactivity in their diet, today the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction! Because of the Decontamination Projects the average meal today contains literally zero detectable radioisotopes, and that’s far too few.

Many companies today will sell high-quality radioactive supplements at affordable prices, containing all the cesium-137 and iodine-131 your body needs. Or, if your budget is tight, you can just crack open your smoke detector for a quick bite.

[WARNING: Radioisotopes are known to the state of New New New California to cause cancer, birth defects, and Super-Mutant syndrome.]

Is that all?

No way! PaleoBomb’s not just a diet—it can be a whole lifestyle! For example, many people today complain of back pain. But did you know that our wasteland ancestors spent over half their lives hunched over in the subterranean tunnels of their underground shelters? The next time your spine starts aching, just make like a Cataclysm survivor and hunch! And there are countless more lifeways from the Wasteland Era you can adopt, from mutant-hunting to worship of dread atomic deathgods. The sky’s the limit!

PaleoBomb is a journey—from our healthier past, and to a fitter future—that we can all go on together! Remember the PaleoBomb motto: if your ancestors did it, it must be good for you.

~

Bio:

Louis Evans is a science fiction author living and working in NYC. Louis has previously been published in Analog, Escape Pod, Interzone, and other magazines, and is a member of SFWA and of the Clarion West class of 2020/2021.

Pedagogy Of The Disembodied

by Peter T. Donahue

Dear Educator,

Thank you for registering for Pedagogy of the Disembodied, a two-day webinar designed to provide you with both philosophical discussion and concrete takeaways for classroom practice.

The Connectome Mapping Disaster began in 2032, and it is now estimated that one in seven students in secondary classrooms (grades 9-12) is disembodied. This number is only expected to rise. With the aid of tablets, touch-input whiteboards, and other technology, many teachers have begun adapting their pedagogical approaches to the needs of cloud-based students. However, studies have shown a persistent achievement gap between flesh-and-blood and disembodied students.

This weekend, you will have access to the following sessions, presented by leading educators, school administrators, and psychologists:

Saturday, AM session

Differentiating Instruction for Mixed Bodied / Disembodied Classrooms

Presenter: Dr. David Lu

Many staple techniques in the classroom, such as hands-on activities, group projects, and even the process of note taking, are valuable because of what we know about how physically embodied students learn. Social context, muscle memory, even the spatial layout of a room all affect learning—if you have a body, that is. In this session, Dr. Lu will take participants through a series of classroom activities modified for the bodiless. Even if you are already employing many of these techniques, the session will be a valuable refresher.

Saturday, PM session

Are “Disembodied” Students “Disabled”?

Presenter: Jeanine Stackhouse

In an open discussion format, Ms. Stackhouse will present her controversial claim that disembodied students fare best in classrooms where teachers believe them to be disabled. “It’s not so much a question of the students’ abilities as a question of the teacher’s mindset,” says Stackhouse. In her trademark no-nonsense way, she will address questions about the psychological traits and beliefs of teachers who succeed with disembodied students. You may leave this session convinced that “Belief is a Muscle,” to borrow the title of Ms. Stackhouse’s blog.

Sunday, AM session

The Instructional Challenges of Non-bodied Ontological Schemas

Presenter: Dr. Gita Chowdhury

Many disembodied students have been in the cloud since early childhood, and thus have no physical experiences upon which to base their understanding of the world around them. Cloud-based students, Dr. Chowdhury argues, can’t be asked to “pick themselves up and dust themselves off” after a failure, or to “stretch themselves out of their comfort zones.” It is just as senseless to praise them for “knocking it out of the park.” Following a deconstruction of structural metaphors commonly used in the classroom, Dr. Chowdhury will guide you through a deep evaluation of the ways your language might perpetuate achievement gaps.

Sunday, PM session

Equity in Assessing Cloud-Based Intelligences

Presenter: Lorenzo Williams

The traditional constraints on test-taking — a secure room, a time limit, no access to online tools — has long been eroded by changing social and technological norms. Now, cloud-based students have rendered these restraints completely meaningless. In this session, participants must bring a quiz or test for workshop, and will leave with a valid asynchronous, aspatial, cheating-resistant assessment.

We are looking forward to working with you this weekend. Know that passionate educators like you are leading the way to a better future. As a disembodied person myself, I would not be where I am today without the patient, kind assistance of teachers like you.

Kind Regards,

Pamela Olenska v2.81

Director, Cloud Nine Educator Workshops

~

Bio:

Peter T. Donahue lives with his wife and children in New Jersey, where he teaches Creative Writing. He’s a southpaw, obsessive font-spotter, grapheme-color synesthete, and chronically dehydrated. His speculative fiction has appeared in Metaphorosis, Ripples in Space, and No Spider Harmed in the Making of this Book.

A Brief History Of Procrastination Theory

by Darren Goossens

Ludwig Wergenergener

Ph.D. (Oxon.), Dip. Ed.(Utrecht), D.Sc. (Knutsford)

The initial work on procrastination theory was begun in the late 1930s by Professor Bing Salinski of Edward Lear Memorial University, Chipping Ongar; but he never got around to publishing his results. His notebooks languished unnoticed in a desk drawer until an inquisitive postgraduate student reopened them in 1965. She then put them down again and had lunch. In 1979 the notebooks were passed on to the archival librarian of the East Thwurp Mechanics Institute, where the most recent research has taken place.

Salinski’s highly mathematical, yet uniquely desultory, treatment involves what he called ‘something or other, I’ll come up with a proper name later’, and which has since become known as ‘procrastinative calculus’. This is not procrastination as performed by an undergraduate but a specifically formulated branch of mathematics whose fundamental operations are indifferentiation and disintegration.

Salinski’s formalism has helped unveil the underlying physical nature of procrastination, and the nature of the procrastination field, a real physical vector field that interacts directly with neurons in the brain and, regardless of the position of the observer, is directed backwards at all points. The theory also aids in the construction of a classification scheme, in which we have oscillatory procrastination, known as dithering, and circularly polarised procrastination or ‘going around in circles’.

Fillingham, during his sabbatical year at East Thwurp, investigated second-order procrastination, whereby he procrastinated by discussing procrastination. One afternoon, when he was laid up with a broken leg and could find absolutely nothing else to do, he found time to formulate his laws of procrastination:

1) An object at rest will remain at rest if it possibly can;

2) Every inaction has a larger and opposite inaction;

3) This law has not been formulated yet.

And in his final, ground-breaking paper (which now sits under his coffee cup in his office), Fillingham showed, much to everyone’s relief, that we should not study procrastination theory as it is logically inconsistent to do so.

The E

~

Bio

Darren Goossens is a writer, editor and educator, based in Australia. He has published a little bit of short fiction, and coauthored some physics text books, in which he did not write about procrastination theory.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Directors of CYBIMPLANT INC held at 10:00 AM on 14 May 2036

AS RECORDED BY: RICK NOVY

PRESENT:

CHAIRMAN:

Kermit Sayman

PRESIDENT/CEO:

Louis Gormant

VICE PRESIDENTS:

Derek Fong

Khin-Khin Tanaka

Michel LaFond

DIRECTORS:

Jose Herrera

QUORUM: Met

AGENDA: (1) Action Regarding Delinquent Payments on Majority-Owned implant customers.

1.1  The board considered and unanimously approved the Draft Minutes of the meeting of 7 May, 2036 (DOC:CII-BM-20360507).

2.1  Mr. Sayman opened discussion of the first and only agenda item by displaying a graphic depicting the P&L figures for the current quarter. Cybimplant is bleeding capital and projections indicate a loss for the seventh consecutive quarter.  Mr. Sayman also reminded the board that Cybimplant has not issued a quarterly dividend for over a year, and B shares are at a historic low on the NASDAQ.

2.2  Mr. Sayman presented figures showing majority-owned customers as a percentage of all customers to be 7.2%, numbering 381,600 individuals. The percentage of delinquent accounts is 17%, numbering nearly 65,000 individuals at a total cost of over $90M in bad debt per month.

2.3  Mr. Sayman proposed Cybimplant implement a repossession program to recover the bad debt and bring the quarter into the black. He also suggested Cybimplant could initiate a secondary market program to monetize the repossessed implants.

2.4  Mr. Sayman requested open discussion on the agenda topic.

2.5  Mr. LaFond moved that the discussion of a secondary market program be tabled.

2.6  The board recorded its approval to table a discussion of a secondary market program.

2.7  Mr. Herrera asked Mr. LaFond for an approximate ROI on the cost of implementing and maintaining a repossession team. Mr. LaFond estimated ROI to be 41% during the first year, gradually dropping to a baseline of 15% over five years under a logistic function model.

2.8  Mr. Tanaka asked Mr. LaFond whether a 41% ROI would be sufficient to overcome the negative cash flow for Q2. Mr. LaFond said initial calculations indicate that as very likely.

2.9  Mr. Fong suggested shareholders will demand a dividend in Q3 if Cybimplant shows a profit in Q2. Mr. Gormant took the action item to write a shareholder letter to be mailed with Q2 results.

2.10 Mr. Herrera inquired whether a repossession program would include purchase plan delinquencies or be restricted to lease delinquencies.

2.11 Mr. Sayman reminded the board that purchase plan customers agreed to different language and expressed concern that the legal department would need beyond the end of Q2 to complete analysis and create language to justify repossession defensible in a court of law.

2.12 The board unanimously approved tabling a discussion of purchase plan delinquency repossession until the legal team completes its analysis.

2.13 Mr. LaFond requested clarification on whether life-critical implants would be included in the repossession program, as not including them might impact the ability of Cybimplant to eliminate the Q2 negative cash flow. Mr. Gormant reminded the board that lease customers must agree to all contract terms before an implant is installed, regardless of the implant purpose, and repossession of delinquent leased equipment is always a possibility in any industry.

2.14 Mr. Tanaka expressed concern that repossession of life-critical implants might result in a drain on revenues in the form of wrongful death lawsuit defense. Mr. Sayman stated that lawsuits are a recognized and budgeted cost of doing business and wrongful death lawsuits were expected to be well within acceptable numbers for the industry.

2.15 Mr. Gormant moved that the proposal be brought to a vote. The motion was seconded by Mr. Fong. The board recorded its unanimous approval of the creation of a repossession program for delinquencies under lease for majority-owned customers. Mr. Tanaka was given the action item to implement the decision immediately.

3.1 Mr. Gormant moved to adjourn. The motion was seconded by Mr. Herrera. The board adjourned at 10:38 AM.

~

Bio:

Rick Novy is an engineer by day and writer by night. He lives in Arizona. Learn more at ricknovy.com.