Thursday, March 09, 2017

Doing the right thing

Listened to a fantastic PoV the other day - there's so much information in the world, it can't be processed, it must be filtered. And with that filter comes bias. And with that bias comes an erosion in the nature absolutes. 
Which means, you can't tell what's the 'right' thing anymore. 

In the past, there were codes, defined and accepted norms of behavior. You knew what you were supposed to do, and so did everyone else. You knew what the consequences of your actions would be. If good, you'd want them known, you'd crow about them, and if not, you'd hide them behind closed doors and in the dark of the night. 
If you were caught, you and everyone around knew what was to be done - ridicule, reprimand, punishment, banishment, excommunication, execution. 

Now, it's all suspect. Everything seems to be serving a hidden agenda, or even just an overt one. Everyone is surrounded by people who tell him he's right, and if he isn't, finding the right people to agree with you takes minutes - even if they live on the other side of the planet and need Google Translate to understand you. 
Everyone's in a bubble full of their own farts. 

Knowing this, living this, how can you imagine anything you believe is real? Anyhting you believe is right, someone else things is wrong and vice versa, and they're right there to tell you. 

In the past, there was a 'done' thing, which wasn't necessarily the 'right' thing - by the standards of me, here, now, with my education, culture, class, and social background -

But it stopped you second-guessing. 

There is no right or wrong, and there may never have been. 
But there's always an is, and a not is.

And if it is what it is - how does it matter either way? 

Saturday, February 04, 2017


older now, i can see
cracks in reality
the hidden spaces around corners
under your feet, behind your head
squirming around your blindspot like an eclipse corona
i walk in sunshine
turn, quick,
gaps in the world
inside, dark figures, shadowed
whispered conversations in unknown language
levers pulled, buttons pushed
strings held, tangled, webbed
not the good kind
sometimes there are marionettes
not very good
jerky, frozen grins, see the strings
sometimes, worse, they come out in masks
talk to you
if you talk to them they invite you in
sometimes suddenly 
bits fall through and you see them scurry from the sun
chittering in short-lived panic of discovery
and we laugh
and sing
and dance
and be eaten

Monday, August 29, 2016

Never signed up for this

she's in that dreamstate between awake and asleep, twitching, once in a while reaching out to make sure you're there
you watch that little face, soft in the backwash of the streetlights leaking in through the blinds
and you imagine Life thundering down age's tracks at her, with everything it can throw
and something
something squeezes your heart in a fist
love, terrifying in it's coldly uncompromising, absolute, killing, crushing weight, and you can't breathe
or terror, so deep and enmeshed into your being its warmth fills you with a fever, burning
does it matter? is there a difference?
every day, every second, you push this down, lock it up, don't think, turn your face away into books, reports, tv, parks, the next thing to do, place to go
because if you didn't it would destroy you
but sometimes on nights like this you can't
then that one little hand reaches out again
and you will never have a choice about this, ever, this feeling
and she sleeps

Thursday, December 10, 2015

To boldly go where everyone has gone before...

Let's be real, galactic colonization is not going to happen anytime soon. 

  1. There's no hyperdrive/warp. The physics we have today say it's impossible. Say, in a few years / decades we figure out that it is possible, we'd have nuked / diseased ourselves into oblivion, never mind the Grey Goo apocalypse. 
  2. If there were, even going at X times c where X is a triple-digit number would still take years, maybe decades of real time, shipboard, not relativistic time to get there. Which means the ship is effectively a generation starship, which means the mass of all things needed to sustain the humans aboard outweighs the humans aboard by 25 gajillian tons to the kilo. Plus the colonization stuff. Even if the drive did ALL the moving point A to B, just think of the logistics of getting it into the ship and down again. 
    1. Cryosleep? Still not as cost-efficient. 
  3. Ok, so don't send humans. Send a digitized bank of DNA codes for everything needed, a nanotech factory, and an AI / semi-AI to make it all happen. Will fit under a couple of dozen kilos, but still leaves the rest of us right here. 
  4. No hyperdrive, no space elevators, no all-powerful benevolent AI to stop us from nuking / diseasing each other into the void, sea levels rising... we have a few decades at best, and time's running out. 
  5. Terraform the solar system? Absolutely. It's hedging bets, and we have the tech (or will have in five years) the means to get there. Maybe in 50 years, even the means to survive there, in a place with different gravity, different soil, different air, different temperature... assuming any of them exist. Stretch goal, but doable. 
  6. Space stations, then? As the Earth fades away after the asteroid impact / Singularity event / zombie apocalypse / nuclear winter, there will be a dozen to a few hundred little lights floating in orbit or L1 to 5 points, maybe even the moon... recycling air, water, food... racing on their little centrifuges to make sure their children gestate normal and their bones don't turn to jelly... 
  7. Leaving the final, most economical, most doable answer: 
Weight is not a problem. Space is not a problem. Go deep enough, and soil is not a problem. Gravity is not a problem. With efficient scrubbers, even air, water, and minerals are not a problem. All you need is a solid door and a long, long time. 
Dozens, hundreds, thousands of vaults. 
With functional ecologies, seed or DNA banks, cryosleeping residents tended by robots, or even - as the ultimate backup - that same nanotech factory and DNA bank buried deep underground or in near-Earth orbit with a thousand-year alarm clock ticking away... 

We're here. Whatever happens, we will survive. The planet may die, but we will remain. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

On Bollywood

My relationship with Bollywood's been fairly interesting, I think. 

When I was growing up, Bollywood consisted of this blur of imagery and drama that would happen for a few hours in a week, maybe a Friday evening movie or a bunch of songs in Eastmancolor on a flickering, crackling, bulbous little CRT... but most of all, it was music. Music everywhere, on taxi cassette players, mikes on the corner, brassy, disjointed bands, and everywhere, radio. Single-channel MW bands on battery-powered transistors sitting in faraway corners, singing away in the background. Somehow, always associated with travelling, with holidays and memories, the comfort food of music. 
It's probably the nostalgia factor, but I guess also because I was most of the time too young to really get what was happening. 

Then sometime around Chunky Pandey, I got old enough to understand the stories... and hated them. And the music - however good it might be - was forever tainted from then on with shallow, selfish, misogynistic, boorish, and embarrassing behavior. 

But all that had come before - I think it's pretty much set the tone for what music should be, as far as I'm concerned. There has to be melody. Imagery. Erudition. The ability to paint a lifetime in a few charcoal strokes, just abstract enough to let you fill in the blanks with what you wanted the story to be. Soothing. Distantly on the edge of hearing, yet constantly there. Familiar enough so you can sing along. 
You don't know who's singing, who's composing, who did the music or what film it's from. It's like reading a comic from the middle of a series you found in a box of junk on a vacation afternoon when you had nothing to do. You don't know why they're singing. You don't have any visuals to go with them. 

All you know is - this is awesome. 

And I guess that's why there's always going to be that genre that exists only in my head - the soundtrack to those drives in the dark, the walks in dusty golden winter sunlight, browsing through second-hand bookstores... and sometime between KL Saigal and Baba Sehgal, a little golden RD-Rafi period that's can only be labelled 'the most awesome childhood ever'.