Saturday, December 13, 2014

I see

I see the smiling faces, warm greetings of loved ones to each other.
I see the happy scampering kids running around mothers.
I see the occasional frown of a shopkeeper beneath their smile.
I see many entrepreneurs, all offering free samples, all hoping for a good day.
I see smiles painted on, plastered on, varying, waffling – facades strong and weak

I see gray skies and gray ground outside of the warm pleasant shopping mall.
I see reality underpinning artifice everywhere I look.
I see we have done a good job applying our veneer of civilization.
I see a few birds swimming in a thawed December river; they are in formation.
I see formations everywhere, in nature and humankind.
I see a military world at war with itself, and yet wondrously holding together.

I see blurs in the morning before the cyber-news impresses and depresses my soul.
I see pictures of despair and occasional shoots of hope.
I see greedy markets gyrate, resonating with the greed in me.
I see little hope, but sometimes I see a little more.
I see the endless stretch of days and wonder how to make them mean something.
I see how fortunate I am, at least some of the time.
I see how powerless I am to change, and wonder that I have done as well as I have.
I see you, and how sometimes that makes this day truly special.

I see the priceless value of another human soul resonating with mine somehow.
I see how little an artificial currency really means when I have the real you.
I see a thrashing universe, and sometimes tiny bits clinging together.
I see time slowed to a crawl, and us clinging so tight we cannot separate.
I see darkness and I see light.
I see.


Saturday, December 06, 2014

Vast new resources

Out at the edge of our Solar System lies the Kuiper belt. Thought to be full of the leftover material from the formation of our Solar System, this is an area studded with millions, perhaps billions of small worldlets and planetoids. Many are thought to be coated with water ice, as well as frozen hydrocarbons. This class of objects is also known variously as Trans-Neptune Objects, or Scattered Disk Objects (referring to the gravitational effect from Neptune's orbit). We are discovering more and more about this region of space all the time. There are undoubtedly a lot of valuable metal ores on many of these bodies. Someday in the distant future, humanity will be out there, studying, surveying and eventually mining and colonizing them.

Closer in, orbiting Saturn, are also many moons. We have discovered a total of 53 natural satellites so far, many in just the last ten years (thanks to the Cassini probe and ground observations). Each one has unique characteristics. Some sweep through or near the rings, creating gaps between the rings. There may come a time when we have automated outposts on the stable moons in Lagrangian orbits surrounding Saturn.

When humanity is able to construct outposts along the way, perhaps on Jovian Moons, and then Saturnian Moons, the way will be paved to go all the way out the Kuiper belt. Even then, we will have barely “scratched the surface” in finding and harvesting resources. For beyond the Kuiper belt, surrounding it and the rest of the Solar System, is an even larger mass of cosmic debris called the Oort Cloud. It is theorized that this cloud, which overlaps the Kuiper belt at its closest point, extends all the way out to a half of a light-year from the Sun or more.

The distance between the Earth and our Sun is 93 million miles. This is also known as “one AU” for astronomical unit. The Kuiper belt is around 50 AU distant from Earth. The Oort cloud is theorized to extend all the way out to 100,000 AU. These asteroids, worldlets and planetoids are not densely packed, but rather a fair distance from each other. Remember, we have sent several space probes through the inner asteroid belt, just beyond Mars, without hitting any rocks. These have made it to Jupiter, Saturn and even to the edge of the Solar System and beyond (Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft).
Our Solar System is so vast, and contains so much wealth, it boggles the mind.

The vastness and richness of Space makes our Earthly problems seem tiny in comparison, at least to me. All this wonder is beckoning the human race to come and partake. Here is hoping that we will discover the resolve and will to do so.

My upcoming book, “New Venture” will touch on some of the possibilities – and of course,the perils and dangers too. New Venture is due out sometime next year. Thanks for reading.

(Facts and figures taken from Wikipedia and NASA informational pages freely available on the Net.)

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Universal Shorthand

Quote from a song:

“Mathematics is the language of love”

In the spirit of fascination with math's ability to describe our universe in shorthand, here are a few old formulas – and some new stuff from the imagination.

π – Greek letter and symbol meaning the ratio of a circumference of a circle to its diameter. The number goes on forever, but a popular designation is 22/7 (22 over 7) or 3.14159.... One of the irrational numbers, and mentioned in such movies as “Contact” based on the book by Carl Sagan.

An irrational number is any real number that cannot be expressed as a ratio of integers. Most real numbers are therefore irrational. Some have theorized that someday a “superior mathematics” will arise where most irrational numbers become rational.

Einstein's famous formula: E=MC2 or energy = matter converted, squared. A small amount of matter can be converted to a large amount of energy, especially in nuclear fission and fusion, or even nuclear bombs.

Euler's Identity:

eix π

e denotes exponential progression, and π denotes the perfect symmetry of a circle. Both are “transcendental” numbers – they go on forever. Someone named Euler combined their quantities to describe space and time. There is an article in the current issue of Wired magazine that goes over it in detail – very fascinating stuff.

For someone with patience and smarts, mathematics offers endless challenge and entertainment – a miniature universe in our minds, reflecting the macro universe 'out there' . And with major discoveries, for instance the discovery and usage of the value zero, new vistas open up. There is no telling what we will discover in the future. But if the past is any guide, there is no real limit to the expansion capability of the human race.

While thinking about things like math formulas, I came up with an idea for a shorthand for emotions. There is another person who wrote a book on this subject, but I'm just throwing out my 2 cents (not for profit. )

If we assign a symbol or value to common emotions, say a delta symbol for happiness, or a minus symbol for sadness, then it may become possible to run some simple “emotional equations” to reduce common human emotional experiences etc to equations. Then it is not such a stretch to assume one can program a computer with said equations, and have it (or a robot face) express said emotions.
It is all mathematical symbols and equations, and as people have shown, these can be coded and run on computers very well.

We Feel emotions, at a foundational level inside. But deep in our brains, are they not simply patterns of electrochemical pulses, ordered surges of chemicals? Serotonin, dopamine, norepinepherine. Sodium and potassium. Ordered firings and surges of chemicals. Someday we may reduce emotions and feelings themselves down to seemingly simple mathematical formulae. At that point we may be said to have evolved from homo sapiens sapiens, since we will have codified and resolved our own emotional processes. The same could be said for memory encoding in the brain. And researchers are working on deep understanding of these processes as I type this. 

When all this will happen, however, is anybody's guess. I get emotional just thinking about it! 

Thanks for reading.


Monday, December 01, 2014

Sinuous no more

I was born in an analog world,
clock faces, radio signals, even car ignitions.
Electromechanical ways were sophisticated 
enough to drive society.

Today I sit and survey the past,
here in a world where every moment
of time is sliced and diced into a million
million pulses. Music is digitized,
sampled and played back -- yet still sounds good.

Pictures, sound, videos, news all streams of
discrete bits, on and off and on again.
Present reality is digitized from top to bottom.

No gentle undulations, only harsh divisions.
Segmented, separated experience so efficient
but in a way so much less mysterious.

Abundance in an absence of romance.

Little did we know – so we took the chance,
bet our future on cybernetic controls.
Here we are, like it or not.

But it is not so bad, really, most of the time,
with the world at my fingertips. 

Loss of analog technology 
seems insignificant today.

     - end

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanks Cityview for printing my article

http://www.dmcityview.com/guest-commentary/2014/11/26/des-moines-37-years-of-change/

- end

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Links in a chain of scribery

Some book links:

Experimental Tales www.createspace.com/4973862



A Strange Enterprise www.createspace.com/4281639


Shadow Intersection www.createspace.com/4113022
   - end
 
 

Race Divide by Zero

The blacks riot in the streets and scream at
a sea of grim faces behind riot helmets.
Whites pontificate and speculate,
wring hands and bemoan realities.

The Asians who were once virtual slaves
to build railroads and industries are not complaining.
No marches or cries for justice or burn baby burn.
They quietly work and build new foundations –
Homes, businesses and industries. China makes
most everything in our households, but we still
blame each other and delude ourselves.

The Asians will own us all, and laugh their
way to their shiny new banks, while we
squabble and fight over scraps. A few
of us might be able to afford to visit their
casinos on the Moon, but most will just
try to get a job there, to make ends meet.

- end


Monday, November 24, 2014

Things to be thankful for


I have a nice home to live in, and a job,
a car and a cat – many things to be thankful for.
Good to count our blessings as well as shortcomings.
Others are all too willing to count the failures -
I will count blessings and benchmarks and achievements.

There is also this tech revolution I'm privileged to watch:

The ability to select and watch so many programs,
stop, record, save and repeat them on diverse platforms.
The ability to call up information on almost any subject,
save it, record it, print it, and forward it.
Libraries are being rendered obsolete,
and other technologies once stand-alone
are absorbed by this enormous presence called the WWW.

Applications are moving over to cellphones.
Smartphone owners now hold a ticket to the world
in their overworked fingers. Ever-changing reality.

Time to catch the breath, and marvel at the wonders;
taste the goodness our collective table delivers.
Thanksgiving day we can pause, sit and enjoy
good food and company, maybe even put away handheld toys.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Transhumanism

I recently became acquainted with it.  Seems optimistic, hopeful, and worthwhile.  See the below table.  Definitely food for thought.
----------------------------------------------
TABLE OF TRANSHUMANIST VALUES
Core Value
  •         Having the opportunity to explore the transhuman and posthuman realms
Basic Conditions
  •        Global security
  •        Technological progress
  •        Wide access
Derivative Values
  •         Nothing wrong about “tampering with nature”; the idea of hubris rejected
  •         Individual choice in use of enhancement technologies; morphological freedom
  •         Peace, international cooperation, anti-proliferation of WMDs
  •         Improving understanding (encouraging research and public debate; critical thinking; open-mindedness, scientific inquiry; open discussion of the future)
  •         Getting smarter (individually; collectively; and develop machine intelligence)
  •         Philosophical fallibilism; willingness to reexamine assumptions as we go along
  •         Pragmatism; engineering- and entrepreneur-spirit; science
  •         Diversity (species, races, religious creeds, sexual orientations, life styles, etc.)
  •         Caring about the well-being of all sentience
  •         Saving lives (life-extension, anti-aging research, and cryonic 
  •                                               - end

Monday, November 17, 2014

Epiphany at work

It just occurred to me while going through my usual routine today.   There will always be folks making critical or catty remarks, humorous or not.  But real history is always made by those who kept doing things, making things happen.  Like Henry Ford, T. Edison, N. Tesla, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and so on.  The critics and rock-throwers are not remembered for trying to stop the doers.  The Doers are remembered for persisting, and changing our world. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Poem like a Comet

We landed on a comet the other day,
after a billion-plus mile journey;
The little guy is named Philae,
set down on the surface with “no worries.”

Another step outward for humanity,
Billion-mile destination achieved
after a long convoluted trajectory,
Accomplishment hardly to be believed.

Someday people will walk on these worlds,
Digging samples and snapping pictures.
“Asteroid for sale” signs will be unfurled,
New homes for many, no longer obscure.

What excuse will we come up with for war now?
“Lebensraum” no longer a reason to start a row.

- end

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

marking history

     Today the human race sent a spacecraft to orbit a comet traveling towards the Sun.  It detached a small lander, which successfully landed on the surface.    The orbiter is called Rosetta, the lander Philae.  Both are names taken from another historic time, the finding of the Rosetta stone in the early 1800's.  This helped us decode ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.
     A historic time we live in, taking these first small steps.   The Dawn probe visited a minor planet in the Asteroid belt, and is on its way to another.  Other probes have visited every planet out to Neptune, and now New Horizons is speeding on towards Pluto and the Kuiper belt  (due to arrive in 2015).   Heady times.   Perhaps future occupants of a greater Solar System presence will celebrate our historic first steps - or at least make schoolchildren remember the dates.
     A hearty congratulations goes out to the ESA for their accomplishment.  Eagerly awaiting first photographs from the surface of the comet.   
     - end

Monday, November 10, 2014

Winters blast

     As I struggle to insulate my house against the coming onslaught of winter, it is difficult to keep it all in perspective.   The surface of the comet that the Rosetta space probe will be sending a lander to is much colder.  Perhaps as cold as 300 degrees below zero.  The surface of Pluto is minus 350 degrees.  In some regions of space it goes down to minus 400-some.  Compared to that, our overnight low of 35 degrees seems positively balmy.  
     Just counting my (chilled) blessings here in the Midwestern US. 

     On another note, I read that DARPA is supposedly working on computer programmer code that would autocomplete, much as word processors and smartphones do now.  In my humble opinion, we have gone far enough.  I can't type anything anymore without some stupid program thinking I am stupid and trying to suggest what word it thinks I want to type.  It is wrong most of the time, and just makes me angry and frustrated.  So much of the 'autocomplete' technology just makes a lot of people angirer and more frustrated.  Why do this to people?  It is just not right.

     Next thing you know, our cars will be loaded with auto-drive.    You will drive to the store, and a few other places.  Then, when you try to go to work, the wheel will spin left instead of right or whatever, and take you to the grocery store, auto-completing for you, assuming you are not smart enough to drive your own vehicle.  F*** autocomplete and autocorrect - I loathe both of them.  Thanks for reading.


Thursday, November 06, 2014

Post-election reminder

Republican winners:  From the early 1930's up until the early 1970's, the US economy underwent the largest expansion ever. Our standard of living increased greatly, our life expectancy increased, and our sens of well-being increased. I can remember my dad saying that back in the 1930's, Nobody had any money. Nobody. We were all poor. By the early 1970's many people had a comfortable standard of living. Sure, we had poor, but we also had a thriving middle class, with good union-scale wages.

Interestingly enough, there was also a large expansion of social programs. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food stamps. Other assistance to the poor.

Compassion and taking care of the least of us paid off pretty well, it would seem. Try not to cut the throat of the workers who will bear the brunt of our economy – you may be cutting your own throats as a result.  Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Talented chef link

Follow this for some wonderful meal ideas, complete with screenshots.

http://briantaylorcarlson.wordpress.com/

Enjoy.

Honey, my honey

Why do you scamper about so?
I try to bring you in before dark,
cold, damp dusk descends unsafe
about you, but you stay on your lark.

Hope that you come to the door,
but check it every twenty minutes,
just in case you get hungry.
What a troublesome bundle of fluff!

Every other time you do show up,
hungry or bored or chilled, and mewl loud,
accusing me of neglect or abandonment.
But might this time be a first?

Hit by a car?
Grabbed by a hawk or owl?
Stolen and carried afar?
Nabbed by animal control?

Just have to live with my fears again,
since I am too soft on you,
and let you outside every time
you cry “please” to me.

Not sure who is more guilty here.
Oh wait, what is that I hear at the door?




- end

Sunday, October 26, 2014

October Woods

High tech so far away now
that I am deep in elm and ash,
swooshing through leaves
as I hunt down the right trail.

Problems recede under filtered
glare of October sunshine;
“What does anything matter?
Look at the beauty of nature!”

For a time the world's problems
get postponed as I breathe
leafy air and absorb bright color.
This, a last gift from Mother...

Before she slams us with snow,
punishes us with bitter cold and ice,
hides it all in darkness so we fall.
Spring will come hard, prayer by prayer.

But today I am gifted autumnal beauty.

Hurrah!





-end

Thursday, October 23, 2014

New Gods

Wind turbines, wind turbines spinning away the day,
Busy blades chopping up particulate-laden air,
a harsh spin cycle
for the big polluters
chagrin.

Wind turbines, wind turbines catching bright suns rays,
spinning and tossing prism beams every which way.
Gleaming white towers topped by coruscating hopes.

Old windmills must have seemed like man’s prideful
assault on the gods - modern giants even more audacious
shred Odin’s beard, and rile up the denizens
of Asgard to no end. Bolts of lightning fury may
rain down upon them, yet to no avail.

Move over, obsolete deities --
the Alternative Energy gods have arrived;
They rule over all who have come before.

- end

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ballad of the new Pandemic

(tongue planted firmly in cheek - sense of humor on)

This is a tale of two doctors and a nurse,
who set out to help and came back much worse.

They went over to help, and brought back a plague.

One doctor went to Omaha and got a new serum,
He recovered and was cured, you should'a heard 'em.

They went over to help, and brought back the plague.

The other ended up in Texas and tragically died.
The relatives and the medical community cried.

They went over to help, and brought back the plague.

It was thought it stopped there, but alas was not to be;
A young nurse got infected, by some protocol breach.

They went over to help, and brought back the plague.

Now she is in isolation, and may not recover;
From the President on down, reassurances hover.

They went over to help, and brought back the plague.

Move over, climate change, forget the ISIS threat.
Any challenges from Russia will somehow get met.

They went over to help, and brought back the plague.

Economic disasters and stock market gyrations
do not really compare to pandemic mass infections.
For the time being a deadly virus has center stage,
Ebola threatens mortal fever, no matter your age.

 - end


Monday, October 06, 2014

Book Links Links Links

Experimental Tales www.createspace.com/4973862



A Strange Enterprise www.createspace.com/4281639


Shadow Intersection www.createspace.com/4113022

 


Happy X-ray Trails

The day we saw x-ray trails
out among some Messier objects,
enthusiasm for space was re-born.

Rejuvenated and enhanced was our
excitement for exploring the greater cosmos.
Alien exhaust plumes really got our BP up.

A building frenzy took place overnight,
New populations arose on Moon and Mars,
spinning colonies scattered like spores out
towards the Kuiper belt and Oort cloud.

Although many understood that natures laws
are immutable across the Universe and time,
traveling ship captains were still surprised when
who should greet them in the vast beyond but
replicas of themselves.

Bipedal humanoids succeeded on other worlds, too.
Replete with qualities (good and bad) similar to us.
The wars began soon after. Ultimately the whole galaxy was
trashed with the scattered debris of warfare.

We never learn, no matter where we are.
Only our religion, way of life, belief system
is correct – theirs is foreign, alien, wrong.
Let the shooting begin. Let the dying keep on.
No one ever wins, until the whole universe
winds down and ends – in another

Big
Bang!



Saturday, October 04, 2014

Dissapearing Cranium

Where did you go,
Mysterious one - all head,
no body – no past - no future.
Why a girl?

You rose from flat to shimmer,
taking form and shape.
Although sculpted you
seemed to emerge from
another dimension,
Plensa's dexterous portal.

Wherever you went,
you carried the answers.
Left an empty space,
that filled up with questions
before someone shoved another
sculpture in to fill your place.

Poor substitute it is,
for your unending grace.
Perhaps someday we will
see you again, floating in space.


     - end


Thursday, October 02, 2014

Hamming it up

I decided to build a Ham Radio today,
A homemade set to transmit and receive;
Can hear overseas news without delay.

Momentous events carried on the relay,
Transmitted faster than I could conceive;
I decided to build a Ham Radio today.

Many other household projects defrayed,
intricate wiring and soldering achieved;
Now I can hear distant news without delay.

Remote greetings and frivolity also conveyed,
Cultural exchanges of new ideas to be believed;
It was a good time to build a Ham Radio Today.

Precise assembly instructions duly obeyed,
Successful operation left me greatly relieved.
Now I follow worldwide events without delay.

How many new folks I have met is hard to say,
dozens of QSL cards have already been retrieved.
I decided it was time to build a Ham Radio today,
Now I can track world events without delay.

- end

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Change in the Weather

Supposed to be sunny, they say.
Warm and balmy 70 degrees;
When morning arrives, so do the clouds.
Raindrops and wind soon follow.

Once in a while is forgivable,
but several times a week – condemnable.
Spring and Fall are unsettled of course,
so why don't they admit defeat and say,
“Folks we are just not sure what it will do.”

Honesty one can appreciate,
especially when assessing the weather.
Talking heads on TV can speculate,
turning leaves and caterpillars still do better.

- end


Monday, September 29, 2014

Comforting Frequencies

Clicking thru the options on a smart TV,
I select music channels, favored songs,
Youtube picks, documentaries, poetry...
Endless variety on MP3 players these days.

At times I may wonder what happened to
old-fashioned broadcast radio, AM and FM.
The AM band still exists, sustained by talk shows,
news, sports, weather and good old-time religion.

I listen in the car, gratified that this leftover beacon from
the 20th century is still there to inform, entertain and comfort.
My interest lasts anywhere from a few minutes to an
entire car ride. Then I shove a memory stick into the slot,
and await a thousand favored ambient tunes to begin.

It is good that the AM past is there, although
my focus still seeks the novel and unique.
These jaded brain cells crave stimulation.

But,
AM radio is my shag carpet,
pleasurable to mental toes,
missed only when it is gone,
Taken for granted when present.

Like everything else.

 - end

Monday, September 22, 2014

Innocence and Guilt


We think we are all innocent, justifying our actions in some form of self-interest.
Yet we are all part of the problem, really guilty of something or other.


It is OK if I do it, but not you!
I can sin, cross the line, perform an indiscretion,
but, by God if you do it is the lead story for the 6-o’clock news.

We walk around, two signs hanging over our heads:
One announces Innocent, and the other pronounces Guilty.
We wrote the Innocent sign, but someone else authored the Guilty one.

Damned bystanders anyway.
What do they know.

- end

Monday, September 08, 2014

In the absence of sound, scattered words remain

The words still come out of my fingers,
though my sick throat constricts
their timely exit from tightened lips.
Great ideas in mind still stew and linger.

Someday the mental darts will find their mark,
but until then they must endure a momentary lark.
The fingers crab-scratch them out on paper's stark
white surfaces for later use as authorial sparks.

No cold virus can forever prevent thoughts
from propagating over an unwary audience;
Though give reprieve in response to suppliance –
but the piper will still be paid, eyeballs still caught.

The weary author pauses in his vindictive script,
ponders which potion will relieve the onslaught –
send mouthwash or cold pills to the viral battlefront?
Some Gelcaps get gulped without another thought.

Back to tickling the keys and torturing the eyes,
keep typing and delay a potential poetic demise.

     - end

Saturday, September 06, 2014

World Wars are a Bug's Grocery Store

In 1914, young men marched off to become bloody hamburger for god and country, in a horrific world war.

In 2014, young men are being sent off to become bloody hamburger for god and country.

Nothing much seems to have changed in the last century.

Except that the insects still feed well when thing go awry.

Perhaps those insects are behind all the jihads and territorial grabs.

They know no beliefs, have no concept of an afterlife, hold no moral positions.
They just know that when the humans kill each other, the eating is good.

Maybe a thought for the day might be,

“Get along with your neighbors, and starve a bug or two today.”

     - end

Friday, September 05, 2014

All your friends are doing it

So why not experiment yourself?  Find out more here:

https://www.createspace.com/4973862

Thx for taking a look-see.




Thursday, September 04, 2014

Psst - can we talk

You know, a lot of people have been disappearing lately. Hollywood stars, famous CEO's, even cypherpunk programmers. Every single one added something to our society in one way or another, and their lights will be missed, even as other “lights” flare up to take their place.

      The continuing reminder of our mortality is sure persistent. It just seems to run in spurts or waves. When yet another batch of famous and beloved folks leave us, it hurts – a part of me dies with them. Just wonder how much will be left and for how long.

      The urgency to do something, anything picks up in intensity. Even as the physical powers fade, the mental voices seem to multiply. And yet the need to pause and relax and reflect is no less important. No wonder time picks up speed with each succeeding year. We are so busy trying to be all we can be, and reflect on our being. Wishing one and all many good times ahead.

- end

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

RD-180 part two


…But having mulled over the facts I have to back off of my earlier fury some. “Our side” has produced the Saturn V F-1 engines, after all. Five of these pushed astronauts and hardware all the way to the Moon. Not only did we get them back, but in succeeding missions we even sent a moon buggy to drive around the lunar surface. That in addition to the lunar lander and Apollo service craft. We made it several times, and then built the Skylab. A booster stage was used as housing for a capacious station, sent up in one flight.

Today we have the Delta-IV heavy, which can throw quite a bit of weight into orbit. There are also the solid rocket boosters which flew the shuttle, and can be re-purposed for other craft. If we ever get the Space Launch System built, that will be an enormous booster, possibly bigger even than the Saturn V. Our side has accomplished a lot too – and made mistakes, just as the Russians have.

Fair is fair. Enough of this subject. Thanks for reading.
 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

RD-180


So far the fall of the once exalted,
our technological wunderkind thought
so superior in so many ways. Humbled
by a simpler engine design producing more power.

The so-called backwards industrial power of Russia
came up with a rocket technology so far ahead,
we still do not have anything like it. Even today,
the Russians have more powerful rockets than us.

Our distracted, cellphone-glued society can stay
oblivious as long as we want. But we are being
surpassed and bested on the world stage.
In a state that refuses to go along with a
national education standard, instead turning
out religious-ideological lockstep copycats...

Perhaps we deserve to be bested, lost as we are
in the illusion of our own superiority. Blinded
to the necessity of hardware and engineering hard work –
we instead disparage science and research, and follow
the cultural dictates of our new Chinese masters.
And we keep buying Russian rockets, unable to muster
the will to even design anything ourselves anymore.

Pathetic.
 
 




Thursday, August 14, 2014

Disco 2000 NYC


They found a way to be free,
Partying all night and getting paid;
it was a club-funded drug spree,
For those bodies it was easy to get laid.

Outrageous costumes to outdo each other,
Cutting catty remarks their casual chat,
They forged careers out of party matter.
Sex was their first and last fringe benefit.

The “piper still had to be paid,”
skittish club owners placated,
Police scrutiny dodged or avoided,
Drug dealers paid (or laid) off.

The final outcome was predictable,
Murder and addiction took their toll;
Casual barbarism seemed despicable
From these kids dressed up as trolls.

Some clubbers used up their fame fast,
Best years spent, their lives soon crashed.

     - end

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

a big WTF

Robin Williams   1951 to 2014
 
How one can have everything,
be on top of their game, with
money and loved ones and fame.
Then get depressed and rob
themselves and us of it all.

What horrible thoughts,
what cruel stabbing words
or depressing circumstances
could cause him to do this?

We will never know,
since he took that to his grave;
Left  behind three unreleased movies
and decades of laughter to savor.

Your self-inflicted act was inexplicable.
Words do little justice to an untimely fall.

     - end
 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fair Exercise


The traffic is here, crowd noise is clear,
can hear performers from far and near.
Congestion and celebration are common:
Time to get out two-wheeled transportation.

Then it is ride the scooter to work,
leave the car parked in the driveway;
Or perhaps ride the bicycle to the store,
A way to exercise and buy groceries too.

Still one must dodge pedestrians on the sidewalk,
pedal furiously to stay ahead of impatient cars.
No matter how you get here to there,
the traffic is always hectic at the fair.

At least I can safely surmise,
It is good to get the exercise.

In another week it will all be done,
Driving the car again will be fun!

     - end

Monday, August 04, 2014

Summer Reading Options



A Strange Enterprise www.createspace.com/4281639


Shadow Intersection www.createspace.com/4113022
 
- Thanks for taking a look.  Enjoy!
 
 


slipstream


Skipping across time like a rock across water,
First I'm here, then there, then somewhere else,
where the hell did this day go?

Wasn't I paying attention, or
maybe I just wanted to get through it ASAP -
Mondays are like that.

Hereby resolve to be paying close attention
to every Saturday and Sunday I have left.
Weekdays too, if they are worthwhile!

How long will this resolution last?
Don't know, I cannot remember when
I made the last one.

Time to move on.
 
 


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Copy Paste Reality

Cut and paste without haste.
Saving text from one program,
copying it into another -
Good old OLE...
practically drives the Internet,
most peoples online experiences.

Want to find info on something?
Highlight it, copy it and paste
in the search box of your preferred
Web browser. You are pointed to
whatever it is you seek.

This is used countless times
each day by so many people.
A simple capability that
drives much of civilized activity.

Wish I could copy and paste
the car of my dreams to the homestead,
house of my dreams to some vacant place,
the perfect lover to couch or bed.
Perhaps someday the uber-rich can.

Copy and paste your desired perfection,
debit the appropriate account.
Copy and paste more money into the bank.
Ultimately something has to pay the price.
Somewhere, somehow, the
universe will be debited.

When something copy and pastes
our universe into another,
will we feel anything, or
wonder why our lives change so?

Probably not, and we will just keep
muddling along like the human race
always does.

     - end
 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

State of positivism


With all of the recent bad news about water quality, crime, inner city shootings and the like, it is easy to forget. But there truly is. Volunteers and groups have conspired to make many recreational spots around our state very enjoyable. From improvements at Big Creek and Jester Park, to the building of Honey Creek Resort at Rathbun, to the miles and miles of bike trails laid, a lot has been done right under our noses.

When one shuts off the TV and gets outdoors, you see this first hand, of course. There are always drawbacks, obstacles. But when you get on a beautiful trail and pedal under shady lanes, or wade in a small stream and feel cooling waters, it is brought home: Life here has its pleasant moments, serene moments. After a time outdoors, you can go back to the office menagerie refreshed and renewed.

This year, nature has decided to bless Iowa with cooler than normal July temperatures. Yet another reason – a big one – to discover all of the places our state has to offer. Have a great summer.
 
-end


Monday, July 21, 2014

Let's light this candle


In the beginning, there was Sputnik, its tiny beep
mocking our mighty colossus with real achievement.
Hasty meetings and hurried conferences later
we made a couple of attempts before we matched the feat.
The race was on, and all we knew
was that ours kept blowing up.

But we kept trying, and the Soviets kept
handing us our heads on a platter.
We sent up a chimp, they sent up a man.
We sent up a man, they extended their flight times.
We increased ours, and they sent up two people.
We finally sent up two, and they sent up three.

Tweaking the Eagle's beak repeatedly,
visions of the Master designer laughing...
Doggedly we kept at it – longer missions,
Greater achievements. EVA, docking,
living in space for two weeks in a tiny capsule...
We pulled even, and began to pass a little.

They started work on a giant rocket called the N1,
We got the Saturn 1b rolling out and launching.
A disastrous fire knocked us back a year or so,
Soviets gleefully hurried to catch up, even though
they were working on spy Almaz outposts too.
We got three men to orbit the earth, and they built Soyuz.

Then came December 1968, when we all-up tested, and sent three
human beings to circle the Moon. A master stroke,
a lucky flight, and a bible verse read 244,000 miles distant.
We were really on our way, there was no stopping us now.
The Soviets blew up a few N-1's before throwing in the towel.
We landed two on the Moon July 20, 1969, and the world cheered.

After that it was anti-climactic. Apollo 13 made us hold
our breaths, but we soon resumed breathing and forgot to
be excited about space exploration anymore. It took Carl Sagan,
Voyager deep-space probes to stir up interest again.
“Look, Ma, we sent a spacecraft to Saturn, Uranus, Neptune!”
The photos were amazing, the feat was incredible.

The Shuttle slammed us back to Earth.
At nearly a billion bucks a copy,
we orbited satellites, telescopes, experiment pallets – all good.
And people were bored out of their minds. Oh, but wait,
we can build a station – and so we did. Routine access to space,
even tourism, man! Wow. It did generate some curiosity.

Then we killed the Shuttle program. Something once mocked
became missed, as only the Russians retained transportation to
space and the ISS. Finally a couple of private companies got
going, and built vessels to send cargo to the ISS. But a US
astronaut launch capability? Fingers drum the desk as we wait.
They say a private company will launch a crewed spacecraft by 2018???

Faith that sustained me through all those Shuttle years is
severely strained by the notion of some little for-profit concern
actually launching a person safely into orbit, and returning them.
Still, SpaceX has sent up cargo. A few others are making headway.
Sierra Nevada did drop-tests of an aerodynamic spacecraft.
Orbital Sciences is also sending cargo containers to the ISS.

Activity is building, and perhaps I will live long enough to
see the dream of a Solar System being colonized actually occur.
It took Spain a long time with their colonies. As it did Britain.
But it eventually happened, and we know how it turned out.
If I could live another hundred and fifty years, I could see it all.
Then again, knowing human nature, I probably would not want to.

But it will happen,
one way or another,
for good or ill,
and humans will flock outward.

Take note, ET's:
Ready or not,
we are coming.

   - end



Friday, July 18, 2014

Peace, that elusive human quality


When one watches a documentary on the mega-weapons built by the Nazis, even as they were losing WWII, it is astounding. Massive bunkers and fortifications, Ballistic missiles, super tanks. They glorified military power, and yet were crushed by the “inferior” societies they sought to conquer. Just seems to reinforce the idea that warfare seduces more financing than peace ever could.

The present-day defense budgets of major nations, especially the US, underlines this.

Is warfare hard-wired into the human psyche? After we evolved learning to fight off fierce enemies like saber-tooth tigers, we made the shift to killing each other quite easily. We have been doing it ever more effectively, ever since.

Now comes word that someone shot down a civilian airliner with 298 people aboard. Senseless slaughter more on the scale of the Nazi regime. For what? The slaughter of humans by humans goes on. Blame gets thrown around, and the crazy game continues.

It seems like people who have the social and industrial ability to wage war on a massive scale would also have the capability to wage peace. Factories that build weapons can build cars, refrigerators, washing machines, or solar panels. Strategists who work on war plans could work on Peace plans. Humans can engineer large-scale projects in the pursuit of peace as well as war. So why don't we do more of this?

Perhaps the glory, excitement of warfare is too easily inculcated into our youth. Perhaps the instinct is hard-wired, as stated previously. Whatever the cause, we have a duty as an enlightened species to do better than this. We have a duty to work for cooperation, justice, elimination of disease and starvation and brutality. We evolved a higher order of consciousness to make amazing advances. In a hundred thousand years, we evolved from simple hunter-gatherers to a civilization sending space probes beyond the Solar System. It seems ridiculous that we spend so much time trying to kill each other.

Here is hoping that we can somehow find the will to do better than we have. Thanks for reading.



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Time Depots


Little time machines are scattered across miles
of farmland, prairie and woods – they stand empty,
or have been moved or even demolished.
But they still speak to us through photographs today...

Once they were gateways to a better future.

Youngsters dressed in their Sunday best
waited on wooden platforms for the giant
engine to come puffing and belching along.
Well-dressed parents nervously checked the time.

When a steam engine came into view,
what a sight it must have seemed,
sending pulses and moods higher all around.
“Alll aboard” for greener pastures ahead!

Now the narrow, tall wood-frame stations
are a gateway still, but to a past that
bespoke of simpler times, needs, wants.
No unknown promises, rather known achievements.

The grainy photos of excited townsfolk standing on
a huge engine, waving and smiling evokes the spirit
of excitement that pervaded those days so long ago.

We feel a glimmer of that once again, as we view
them through the lens of a future they might barely
comprehend, and certainly might not approve of.

- end

 



Sunday, July 13, 2014

How to Have Fun


Take a dash of purpose, add motivation,
Allow it to steep in sunshine for a few hours.
Heat the mixture in a passion of love,
immerse it in tender congeniality until
fragrant and soft to the touch.

Consume in moderate measures,
allow the joy to permeate your being,
step outside your door and dance.
Sing determination to live fully,
ignore judgment and comment,
and shout out at the top of your lungs,
“Fun! Fun! Fun!”

Or if you prefer, find a good book to read.
 
     - end
 


Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Two Voices


The first intoned a gentle refrain:
Southern express route, Northern Special,
Vent car before unloading - Manifest Present,
load limit serial number chemicals inside...
On and on went the official inscriptions.

The second screeched louder than a sticking brake:
KUSH, Vanity Rulz, M8domin8m, Charles was here,
KULZ, SPS6, Always into Something...
Graffiti noise insinuated itself over every orderly
procession of wheels, walls and welds.

I sat there on a bike, musing on the discordant
harmonizing of civilizations influences.
Suddenly a telltale rumble, the loud thrumming
of diesel locomotives pushing the entire
two-toned visual orchestration on by.

Informing voices faded from concern as I
watched the big yellow engines pass.
Time to pedal through the now vacant crossing;
home, dinner and a hungry cat await!

There will be many other chances to watch
those discordant long-distance voices sing
their endless competition with one another.

The switching yard is right around the corner.
 
 - end
 
 


Sunday, July 06, 2014

Nature failed to dampen our spirits


A festive weekend was dampened by frequent rain.
Hot humid air the gift we carry into another workweek,
and yet fun was still had by many...

Intermittent fireworks punctuated relaxed times;
The annual antique auto show entertained,
80/35 Rock'N'Roll concert livened up the city,
moderate temperatures kept misery at bay...

Another long weekend is over,
Memories will ring and fade.
It was fun while it lasted,
Time to resume the workaday parade.
 
     - end
 


Monday, June 30, 2014

Raining insects


Lightning and thunder outside
predicts another intense downpour;
ants, flying and crawling all over my room.
They seemed to boil out of a windowsill.

Their swarm storm ignited my own storm-fury,
so I bought some heavy-duty insecticide;
soon toxic peretherin soaked the room,
a short time later, ant bodies littered the floor.

The rain outside finally subsided,
and the ant storm inside was abated
by a fine mist of lethal droplets.
All in all, quite a day for soaked
lawns and carpets both.

At least the dead ants could be vacuumed up,
not so the swollen ponds and rivers.

We need to build a pipeline to the desert
to dispose of all this excess water.
Better yet, send all of the bugs down there too.


   - end


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

barren lands for future plans

     You drive around two-lane highways, mere ribbons that cut through massive mountain ranges.  Twenty shades of brown, and a few of green, greet your eyes.   The morning mist and shadows, or afternoon rain in the distance, adds a measure of interest.  The miles between attractions eventually are consumed.    And then you arrive at a giant array of radio-telescopes, peering into the universe's past.  Or a city made famous by a supposed flying saucer crash.   Or a giant missile testing range.   Or a purpose-built private spaceport.  

     Desert cacti and heat surround bright spots of technological accomplishment and research.    Scientists and entrepreneurs are helping create the future out in this barren wasteland.   If they succeed, it will become hot real estate in more ways than one.   Heat from rocket exhaust, heat from thousands of visitors car exhausts, heat from politicians eager to get on the bandwagon.  

     Right now, the desert heat surrounds hope and a two-mile long runway.  A few dedicated faithful are working to break it all wide open. I sincerely hope they succeed, if only to not see such a facility as the Spaceport go to waste.   But already I hear that businessmen in Dubai want Sir Richard to build a duplicate spaceport there, and he is seriously considering the idea.  A few other space companies, notably SpaceX, are using the Spaceport to test their own methodologies for getting people in orbit.   A lot is brewing out there in the hot desert scrub.  It will be fun to watch all hell break loose - someday.

     Right now, the security people watch out for stray cows, and the fire crew is bored, washing their shiny vehicles for the umpteenth time.   But it is coming.  Very definitely it is coming, I can feel it.  

What an experience it will be when routine space travel finally arrives out in the New Mexico free range!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

land of space enchantment

I am currently touring New Mexico space sites.  For inspiration in writing and in general.  Thoroughly enjoyed Roswell and the Alomogordo space museum.  Now sitting in Truth or Consequences, eagerly awaiting a tour of the Spaceport.   It has been fun - especially some of the geographical and historic sites I never knew existed around here.   Everything from Chisum cattle empire and Billy the Kid to various gorgeous mountain passes.   Cloud Croft was a beautiful 'discovery'.    Onward and upward.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Pride day is here again


Pride day – what a statement.
Do I celebrate my Pride at coming out? That was long ago.
Am I proud of my accomplishments since then? Of course.
I am proud of the friends I have made, great times that were had.
Proud of some of my behavior, taking the high road.
Not so proud of other behavior – I am too fallible at times.

Proud to have stayed alive and relatively well,
when so many others have passed, some by their own hand.
There are forces out there trying to undermine us.
Luckily there are other forces trying to help us.
I'm proud to be a survivor, and see the changes
taking place (despite frequent economic and political difficulties.)

Our city and/or event organizers have moved the celebration,
then charged higher entry fees. Everything seems to cost more,
from the entry bracelets (and don't you dare go in the wrong door)
to the food to other items. All of a sudden they all think we are
rich – this while state industry is being privatized and jobs cut.

The truth is, a lot of us are really struggling out there,
and a glossy Pride celebration with high costs for everything
is not going to change that. I hope some of that money gets
to those in need of help. That would make me really Proud
on this, the latest iteration of the Stonewall liberation anniversary.

But I am grateful for all of the progress that has been made
since that fateful day in 1969.

Thanks for reading.

  

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Dis Figure


Tattoo covered and metal-pierced wander
nightclubs and streets – an advertisement.
You too can permanently disfigure your
unique body and make a statement.

If it is what you want, then go ahead.

Take ownership of your own flesh
by decoration and artifice, possibly
discouraging anyone interested in you.
Metal and pigments screening reality.

Your friends might give you some
temporary approval, but it will vanish.
The fun and fad will fade, then leave
you with warped wrinkle-tats and sad scars.

Was it worth it, you will wonder,
grimacing into some distant mirror?
Maybe for a short while. The
trips to a remover were more costly
and a lot less glamorous.

Some future person might go all out,
carve away large portions of their flesh,
overlay metal and plastic and lights...
An even larger regret to bear later on.

     - end

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Pulling for them


The grasses and dead wood
did not make a sound as I
yanked, tugged and pulled.
But my shrubs and tall Cannas
seemed to utter sighs of relief.

All around me, parents were calling
recalcitrant children to come and eat.
One was threatening starvation,
“I'm not getting up and get you food later...”
Another simply insistent:
“Get inside and eat!” the voice of authority.

I was able to do much more with the weeds
than the hapless parents with their roving kids.
A perverse satisfaction settled in as I pulled,
and even the usual back pains did not dampen
my happy mood at being single and finished
with the yard for another day.
Ahhh, freedom.

     - end

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

No Reprieve


Am sure glad to have the primary TV ads done with. With a Republican primary become a 7-way race, and another one a 6-way run, the ads became overwhelming. A certain gun-toting lady who castrates hogs took one contest (the males were grateful to escape with their manhood intact?). In any case, we had a reprieve of exactly zero days. Yes, zero. A Republican attack ad against Jack Hatch aired this morning, the day after the primary was decided. The long knives wasted no time. It is enough to make one swear off TV for good. But I just keep having to watch the news – to see what happens next.

Got to have something to gossip about at work ;-) Thanks for reading, and keep those “Mute” buttons handy. You'll want to have them by the time November rolls around.
 
-end
 


Sunday, June 01, 2014

First day in June


Cool clear water flowed over
my time-battered feet,
caressing with refreshment.
The feel of sandy gravel underfoot
tingled pleasant up the nerves.
Sunlight splashed green off a foliage carpet,
as the nearby river cut its lazy path southward.

The first day in June acted like it:
Crystal perfection in water, air and sun alike.
Felt good to be a human alive in such a time.
Not another soul for hundreds of yards at least,
it seemed that I was the only person around for miles.

The bitter cold hell of winter
was the price paid for these glorious days,
Yet sometimes it does seem a fair bargain –
As long as those severe thunderstorms stay away
from Central Iowa...

Not likely, so I plan to enjoy
days like this whenever they
show up, and invite me out to play.

(Ever thankful to be mobile and stay
healthy and spry to enjoy these days.)

  - end

Friday, May 30, 2014

From a book printed way back when


From the book "Intro to Data Processing"  by Carl Feingold c.1971, 1975:    Page 41...

“Computer hardware will continue its trend towards miniaturization. The era of the complete circuit is just beginning. It is reasonable to assume that within the next ten years we will see a complete computer on a single chip. A “Microcomputer” with about 8,000 to 16,000 words of storage, an instruction set of 64 to 96 commands, about 16 general-purpose registers, and input-output bus on a single chip will be a reality within the next two to three years. In ten years, such a chip will probably sell for under fifty dollars. The impact of this type of microcomputer will be felt in all walks of life.

P.42 “...Every home could have a built-in communications system similar to cable television, which would allow the user to have the world's information at his immediate disposal without having to leave his home. If we allow our imagination to work on all potential uses of computers, there will be no end.”

p.44 “...Automatic programming to continue to improve, improvement in input and output devices, greater use of video displays, continued miniaturization of computer hardware, computers that can respond to the spoken word, integrated network of systems to transmit data from one system to another, the possible elimination of the paycheck, are just a few of the new innovations being developed. The appearance of the 'microcomputer', a complete circuit on a single chip may affect all aspects of society...”

Hell yes. 
 

Once again convenience rules

How dependent we become on modern convenience - like home Internet always on.   Nine days ago my dial tone and DSL disappeared.   At first, my inquiry found a recorded message about a cable cut.  So I waited, and waited...and finally figured I should call again after a week.  I did, and this time they scheduled a technician to come out, two days later.   They must have found the problem, because today when I got home from work, there was a strong dial tone  (what a sweet sound).    Meantime I had used wi-fi with a tablet at my local library.  

     It was an educational hiatus for sure.  A way to get used to mobile Internetting and computing.   My only limitation is the one-finger typing you do on a virtual keyboard.  But I understand you can get Bluetooth keyboards and such for tablets.  No need for that now, but good to know just in case.   The near-pervasiveness of Wi-Fi is a godsend when things go down at home.  But all of the once-in-awhile sites I visit will finally get re-visited.   Lots of junk mail to delete.    Happy Netting, wherever you access it from.  (In the near future it will probably be hardwired into our brains anyway.)



Monday, May 19, 2014

Some choice selections

Here they are:

www.createspace.com/4281639   - A Strange Enterprise

www.createspace.com/3859469    - Future Property

www.createspace.com/4661301  - The Osmotics

www.createspace.com/3633147  - Mirror Worlds

All science fiction collections for your enjoyment, they are also listed on Amazon.com, and all should currently be available in Kindle e-book form.    Enjoy  :-)