Weird facts create great fiction

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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a prediction about what would happen to us in the next thousand years. It wasn't exactly heart-warming or utopian but with climate change gathering pace, I find it hard not to be pessimistic. I could poo-poo global warming or predict that we would use our amazing technological skills to find a way to reverse the effects of climate change, but that would be bollocks, since we're currently, every year, producing billions of tonnes of CO2, along with methane (fifty times more warming than CO2) and Flourine-based chemicals (ten thousand times more warming than CO2).

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Also, the average westerner burns up 200,000 calories of energy a day (not in his or her food, but the energy he or she burns). No human machine can undo this scale of heat and chemical pollution. This human-created chemical output isn't even going down. For example, India has made it clear it plans to ramp up its coal burning in the next few decades as part of a programme to increase its GDP. Oh dear.

But rather than looking at our future from an emotional and ethical point of view and get depressed, why not look at our near future as a great opportunity for a science fiction story? We don't even need to create any weird aliens, sinister secret government groups and hidden, powerful cults for our story, we can simply make use of the aliens, sinister government groups and hidden, powerful cults that many people say already exist on Earth. If you want useful sources on these topics, try the writings of Peter Levenda, Jim Marrs, Richard Dolan and Mark McCandlish. We can even throw in some 'super-powers'. For example, in an earlier blog post, I described my experiences when I tried remote viewing. A lot of people don't believe this ability is possible, but I certainly experienced an information gathering ability that was way above chance, and RV has a highly developed history, so I'm comfortable with it. Also, scientifically, RV is fine, at least if you accept the consequences of the Influence Idea. Read More...

Our science fiction future

As promised in the previous blog entry earlier this week, here's my prediction of our science fiction future

1) We're all going to die.

This isn't much of a prediction, as no one lives forever. I'll try and be a bit more specific.

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2) Climate change is going to wreck the environment of our planet and the global population will be reduced from seven thousand bazillion people to a bus queue by the end of 2200 AD

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Warp drive isn't science fiction!

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Since I've been knee-high to a grasshopper, I've been a huge fan of Star Trek, both the original series, the Next Generation series and the recent J.J.Abrams movies. Quality stuff. But recently, since I've becoming a budding science fiction writer, I've felt duty bound to write science fiction that is based on solid science. In other words, if the technology in a story is not evidently scientifically sound or no attempt is made to explain how it is scientifically sound, then I can't write about it as it's not science-fiction, it's fantasy fiction.

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This is where Star Trek has become a big problem to me, because Einstein, in his famous Theory of General Relativity, makes it clear that no material object can go faster that the speed of light. Knowing this, it becomes obvious that travelling between the stars is an impossible task. You either go so fast that you're rapidly smeared all over your pilots chair like a coating of gravy, or if you go slow enough to stay in one piece and end up dying of old age or being turned into a biological colander by endless cosmic ray bombardment, or both, or all three. We all may be used to the crew of Star Trek zooming between the stars in a few hours, enough time to develop a slow-burning romance, or play an odd version of chess, or play an instrument that neatly doubles up as a kitchen implement, but that doesn't mean it's scientifically okay. Read More...

Climate Change and Killer Robots

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This week's New Scientist magazine includes a letter of mine on the subject of Killer Robots. It was triggered by an article in a recent New Scientist magazine issue in which international bodies agreed that we shouldn't make fully autonomous, lethally armed robots. Instead, any robot that could kill should be controlled in some way by a human. Here's my letter:

"In your article on the moral dangers of autonomous, lethally armed robots, Peter Asaro says "most people now feel that it is unacceptable for robots to kill people without human intervention." (18th April, p7). The moral reasoning behind this view is intriguing. How is sending a programmed, armed robot into an area designated as 'enemy occupied' any worse than, say, bombing the area from ten thousand feet? In fact, the level of precision and the amount of human judgement involved in target selection with the robot would be arguably greater."


"There is an even stranger moral angle. Someone who is ordered to go and kill strangers in a war can suffer severe emotional trauma and other mental distress as a result. In the future, there may be societies that decide, on moral grounds, to delegate all killing of the enemy in their wars to fully autonomous robots so as to protect their citizens from such emotional trauma. In that unnerving scenario, the robots wouldn't be seen by those citizens as devils, but heroic guardians."


The second paragraph connects with another topic; how climate change will change our world, both environmentally and politically, in the next century. Read More...

'The New North - the world in 2050' book review

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Climate Change is gathering pace and causing major changes to our planet, heating it up, year after year. This warming isn't uniform - some areas aren't warming at all - but the Arctic is warming the most of all. This change is not only affecting the wildlife and lives of the indigenous people of that area, it is also opening up brand new oil and gas fields that can now be economically exploited. As its permafrost melts - an effect that could release apocalyptic amounts of methane and CO2 as microbes digest the defrosted plant matter - governments, corporations and indigenous communities are frantically making plans to manage the new resources now opening up to access in this remote and relatively inaccessible region of the world.

In 'The New North - the world in 2050', Laurence C. Smith reports on this topic with a wealth of solid evidence and researched information, but in a strangely unfocused way. In places, he approaches the topic from a personal perspective, making it the book a little less dry, but he seems less concerned about the environmental effects of the burst of new mining and oil drilling and more about the economic opportunities. Read More...

Wind power is flying high

This week, my post about the Climate Change march on the 7th March started positive and then fell apart into a morass of despairing futility. Sorry! To make amends, here's a really positive article about the progress of renewable power generation.

For a long time now, wind power has been criticised as being an eyesore and an inefficient and hopeless method of power generation, but these criticisms are fast looking ridiculous. For example, wind power is Denmark is so successful that it is meeting their entire energy needs during periods of the year! They constantly monitor and display the output in the country and the net difference between energy produced and energy consumed (source: energinet.dk):

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