Tag Archives: Technology

After listening to Lakme, the Flower Duet

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

I like beautiful music and although I prefer music over song, either can be from any era, just as long as it is beautiful to my ears and it moves me. So I was listening to Lakme, part I, The Flower Duet (in this case performed by Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca – See YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf42IP__ipw)

…And I was thinking, again, about Earth and about “Man” as Earth’s current lord and master. I was thinking of a line by Carl Sagan in “Contact”: ‘You are capable of such beauty, and such horror.” (Quoting from memory but the gist is here)

Whenever I engage myself, mind-wise, on Earthian matters, I get confused as to how I should approach it. Is it “you” and me as the cosmic observer, or should I include myself in among the observed? How do I decide this? First, I must be sure it isn’t a matter of hubris; that if my observation runs into negative judgment, that if I remove myself it isn’t in any way because I think I’m superior to the rest of Earthianity, but because I no longer think, speak or act as most of “you” do. This process, this judgment, must be impeccable on my part.

I believe it is, therefore I am going to be the observer and use the “you” though certainly in the generic sense. I do not know “you” as individuals, therefore it will be according to your conscience whether you “fit in” or can truthfully remain outside the picture. For you, today, I will once again take up the role of the Trojan prophetess Cassandra and say things you will not find acceptable.

You are capable of great beauty… certainly, and the piece of music I mention above proves it even by itself. You don’t have to be able to write, play or sing such, you just have to be able to listen to it and have the capacity to let it enter you and fill you and for the three or four minutes it takes, let it displace all other thoughts, feelings and emotions. Simple, really.

The problem however is that too often it seems impossible to let go. The “immediate” presses upon the mind and demands full attention. That immediate could be anything from the most pleasurable to the greatest pain or loss. The mind-heart refuses to let go of its current obsession driven by anticipation or the immediacy of physical or mental pain.

Earth is not a place conducive to an overall sense of peace, comfort and wholesome satisfaction. Even in the most remote corners, surrounded by nothing but nature, unless one is blind, the reality of the turmoil taking place in the skies, the seas, the trees, the soil, impinges on one’s awareness: predators, everywhere. You see, your world’s natural motive force is based on predatorship or perhaps I should coin a word here: predatorism, because in fact that is the concept that rules Earth. Some are born to kill, many, many more are born to be killed, eaten or absorbed into the natural fabric, their lives cut down long before they can complete their natural cycle. Even your great mountains are worn away by waters and passing winds.

I realize that most of you do not engage your world this way. You do not sense this, though you may be vaguely aware of it, and you generally shrug it off, or use it as an excuse for indulging in what Sagan called, “great horror.” You call it the food chain, and that’s that, as if somehow that explains it away. As if that same nature you want to wax poetic about can also be the brutal barbaric entity that supports your convenient food chain. As if there is no unacceptable dichotomy here, no problem.

That’s the problem, you see, the fact that you don’t see a problem with how nature works. You don’t see a problem because you don’t realize the direct relationship with your own social failures: your wars, genocides, social injustices of every possible kind juxtaposed with those of the world you happen to be temporarily using as a base because… you have no choice: you can’t get away, and if you could, you would have no clue where to go. Some of you feel that your species is a failure, but how many see your world’s “procession” as an equally and connected abysmal failure?

I feel both, the horror that is the working natural system of this world, and the greater horror that is an intelligent, sentient, self aware (ISSA) species calling itself “mankind” that refuses to question the modus operandi of its natural world; refuses to question its own modus operandi; refuses the simple expedient of connecting the dots in order to realize why things are as they are and why no lasting (real) solution to man’s social problems has ever come forth. The only times some significant change has ever happened was through the exercise of violence. That true statement should make any rational being stop and take note: why must it require violence to make significant change within the social structure, and why is it that any and all such changes have failed and are in the process of failing right now?

To me that would be the “why?” question of all the “why?” questions. Why do you always fail? Look, even now, while shooting off on all kinds of tangents based on IT and AI, you are helplessly realizing that this technology is quite likely going to supplant you, perhaps destroy you as ISSA beings. Barely has the technology begun that already you know without a doubt that some way or another it is going to bite you in the ass, and that severely so.

You see? There is no win-win here, not under the current hegemony; the current “force” or “power” that operates this planet. You, people of earth, are not that force or that power, but its slave species. There, I’ve said it, and but for rare exceptions, that is not something you will find acceptable, therefore you will find it necessary to reject the thought outright. If you did not, guess what? You would be forced to look into this in depth and who knows where that would lead? To confront your real nemesis?

No. I can easily tell you where it would lead: back to organized religion. Without self empowerment; without the power to cancel out all input and replace it all with your own thoughts, your own self-made ISSA reasoning, the forces or powers I speak of, will seem to smile in your brain. They will prod you along, with fine words or goads, down the chute into a ready-made religion that will, of course, explain it all. You will then accept the “new” ideas this “new” religion programs into your mind and who knows? It could explain how the AI is a divine power, or it could just as easily make you believe that the time has come to launch a “revolution” against science and technology and you will go off to destroy all vestiges of science and technology, mindlessly following the dictates of a few madmen who will tell you they are “making the Earth great again.”

Either way, you see, you’re not your own person: you are an actor, a puppet, a robot because you are not in control of your own mind. So you will go along (or you will be of those who will violently oppose the barbarians) and indulge in much, much more horror and under your feet, in the seas, in the trees and in the air, predators will continue to kill and eat, and billions of lifeforms will die premature deaths in attempts to sate the hunger of an insatiable system – as Costello would say, “Same as you!”

Quote: “Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty- five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.” (Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt)

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Re-Blog from George Monbiot: An Electrifying Idea

Taking the liberty to post a copy and paste of a most excellent article by George Monbiot. There are a lot of complaints about the way things are, and are going, and I’m certainly as guilty of that as anyone else and it is to me happiness and relief to be able to post about a revolutionary technological idea that could change our world.  Remember how we were taught in high school that agriculture changed everything for man; how we began a new civilization from that idea?  Well, here’s an idea that goes beyond agriculture and could make agriculture and fishing obsolete. 

Whichever side of the ideological fence we are on, religion or technocracy, we are all basically hoping and waiting for some “miracle” to move us off an unsustainable path as a species and civilization.  Could this be it? Could we do this and avoid the inexorable “die back” to result from our obsession with the maintenance of our old and obsolete ways?  Have a read, it’s quite short.

An Electrifying Idea

Posted: 06 Nov 2018 06:16 AM PST

What if we abandoned photosynthesis as the means of producing food, and released most of the world’s surface from agriculture?

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 31st October 2018

It’s not about “them”, it’s about us. The horrific rate of biological annihilation reported this week – 60% of the Earth’s vertebrate wildlife gone since 1970 – is driven primarily by the food industry. Farming and fishing are the major causes of the collapse of both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Meat – consumed in greater quantities by the rich than by the poor – is the strongest cause of all. We might shake our heads in horror at the clearance of forests, the drainage of wetlands, the slaughter of predators and the massacre of sharks and turtles by fishing fleets, but it is done at our behest.

As the Guardian’s recent report from Argentina reveals, the huge forests of the Gran Chaco are heading towards extermination, as they are replaced by deserts of soya beans, almost all of which are used to produce animal feed, particularly for Europe. With Jair Bolsonaro in power in Brazil, deforestation in the Amazon is likely to accelerate, much of it driven by the beef lobby that helped bring him to power. The great forests of Indonesia and West Papua are being felled and burnt for oil palm at devastating speed.

The most important environmental action we can take is to reduce the area of land and sea used by farming and fishing. This means, above all, switching to a plant-based diet: research published in the journal Science shows that cutting out animal products would reduce the global requirement for farmland by 76%. It would also give us a fair chance of feeding the world. Grazing is no answer to the ecocide caused by grain-fed livestock: it is an astonishingly wasteful use of vast tracts of land that would otherwise support wildlife and wild ecosystems.

The same action is essential to prevent climate breakdown. Because governments, bowing to the demands of capital, have left it so late, it is almost impossible to see how we can stop more than 1.5° of global warming without drawing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. The only way of doing it that has been demonstrated at scale is to allow trees to return to deforested land.

But could we go beyond even a plant-based diet? Could we go beyond agriculture itself? What if, instead of producing food from soil, we were to produce it from air? What if, instead of basing our nutrition on photosynthesis, we were to use electricity, to fuel a process whose conversion of sunlight into food is ten times more efficient?

This sounds like science fiction, but it is already approaching commercialisation. For the past year, a group of Finnish researchers has been producing food without either animals or plants. Their only ingredients are hydrogen-oxidising bacteria, electricity from solar panels, a small amount of water, carbon dioxide drawn from the air, nitrogen and trace quantities of minerals such as calcium, sodium, potassium and zinc. The food they have produced is 50 to 60% protein, the rest is carbohydrate and fat. They have started a company (Solar Foods), which seeks to open its first factory in 2021. This week it was selected as an incubation project by the European Space Agency.

They use electricity from solar panels to electrolyse water, producing hydrogen, that feeds bacteria (which turn it back into water). Unlike other forms of microbial protein (such as Quorn), it requires no carbohydrate feedstock – in other words, no plants.

Perhaps you are horrified by this prospect. Certainly, there’s nothing beautiful about it. It would be hard to write a pastoral poem about bacteria grazing on hydrogen. But this is part of the problem. We have allowed a mythical aesthetic to blind us to the ugly realities of industrial agriculture. Instilled with an image of farming that begins in infancy, as about half the books for very small children involve a rosy-cheeked farmer with one cow, one horse, one pig and one chicken, living in bucolic harmony, we fail to see the amazing cruelty of large-scale animal farming, the blood and gore, filth and pollution. We fail to apprehend the mass clearance of land required to feed us, the Insectageddon caused by pesticides, the drying up of rivers, the loss of soil, the reduction of the magnificent diversity of life on Earth to a homogeneous grey waste.

The compound the Finnish researchers have produced from air, water and electricity is most likely to be used as a bulk ingredient in processed food. But (though this goes well beyond the company’s current plans) is there any reason why, with modifications of the process, it could not start to deliver the proteins required to make cultured meat, or the oils that could render palm plantations redundant? Is there any reason why it should not eventually replace much of what we eat?

According to the researchers’ estimates, 20,000 times less land is required for their factories than to produce the same amount of food by growing soya. Cultivating all the protein the world now eats with their technique would require an area smaller than Ohio. The best places to do it are deserts, where solar energy is most abundant. When electricity can be generated at €15 per megawatt hour (a few years hence), their process becomes cost-competitive with the cheapest source of soya.

Could a similar technique also be used to produce cellulose and lignin, eventually replacing the need for commercial forestry? Is there any inherent reason why the hydrogen pathway could not create as many products as photosynthesis does today? Could it help to change our entire relationship with the natural world, reducing our footprint to a fraction of its current size?

There are plenty of questions to be answered, plenty of possible hurdles and constraints. But think of the possibilities. Agricultural commodities, currently using almost all the Earth’s fertile land area, could be shrunk into a few small pockets of infertile land. The potential for ecological restoration is astonishing. The potential for feeding the world, a question that has literally been keeping me awake at night, is just as electrifying.

None of this means we can afford to relax and wait for an infant technology to save us. In the meantime, as urgent intermediate steps, we should switch to a plant-based diet and mobilise against the destruction of the living planet. You could start by joining the Extinction Rebellion that launches today [Wednesday].

But if this works, it could help, alongside political mobilisation, to change almost everything. Places which have become agricultural deserts, trashed by giant corporations, could be reforested, drawing carbon dioxide from the air on a vast scale. The ecosystems of land and sea could recover, not just in pockets but across great tracts of the planet. A new age of global hunger becomes less likely.

Crude and destructive technologies got us into this mess. Refined technologies can help get us out of it. The struggle to save every possible species and ecosystem from the current wave of destruction is worthwhile. One day, perhaps within our lifetimes, they could repopulate a thriving world.

http://www.monbiot.com

Armageddon: of Plots and Counter-plots

[a short story by Sha’Tara ]

“Mr. Chairman, there is one item remaining on this year’s agenda which I think should be considered before we adjourn for another century.”

The heavy-set, red-robed man at the head of the table nods imperceptibly and looks over the table with an undisguised bored expression.

“Very well, get on with it then.”

“Gentlemen, we are in the business of publishing best sellers on contract and I have here the contract for Yahu regarding the Earthian trilogy. It appears he hasn’t written a best seller in over 2000 years of his Earth time. We’ve made several inquiries about his intentions lately but without results. I have taken the liberty of having him present himself here today to explain why he has failed to fulfil his end of the agreement with this House and what he intends to do about it.”

The portly red-robed chairman nods in agreement. “Send him in, send him in.” He waves at the massive door in the side of the meeting chamber.

The door opens and a gnomish gray-robed shifty-eyed character with long white hair and beard enters and smiles at the gathering. No one greets him but the secretary who ushers him to a chair.

“Are you the same Yahu who claimed in his book to be the God of Earth?”

“That I most certainly am,” replies the wizened character with a quavering voice. “I Am that I Am.”

“Yeah well, so you say. Some 5000 Earth years ago you entered into a contract with us to write a trilogy about the creation, fall and termination of some world in your sector. We gave you the advance in power to manifest the ingredients required of your books. You delivered a very lengthy and repetitive but fortunately very violent Part One that contained enough murder, greed, sexual perversion, racism, slavery, misogyny and genocidal mania to easily rise to the top of our best seller list for over a thousand years.

Then you sent us a stultified Part Two in a very abridged and staid format that would have gotten nowhere had our editors not insisted it be tied to and weaved into Part One.

For Part Three you gave us a brief synopsis entitled “Revelation” but we are still waiting for that denouement. No action and no revelation. You are in breach of contract with this great Galactic Publishing house. Have you given thought as to how you are going to fulfil your agreements with us or do we need to bring legal action to recoup our losses?”

The wizened character stands up and wipes his brow with his over-sized sleeve. His voice quavers even more now.

“Please, don’t be so hasty!  Yes, I realize I made you all wait a bit long for the third part but it’s been very tough making this ending plausible. I mean, it was easy enough imaging the critters, evil spirit dudes and violent multitudes I mentioned in my blurb. Also you should know that I was rather busy at the time and I had a trainee write that part. I should have read it before it was sent to you but I was too absorbed observing (and abetting) some spectacular developments in an old empire of the time. I had several contracts to complete lesser books on that affair, which do not legally enter this discussion.

“To make a long story short – I don’t want to bore our illustrious chairman – I’ve taken steps to activate that Part Three on Earth. I’m sure that with our current developments of weapons of mass destruction, the fears around new diseases, global warming, overpopulation, wars over depleted resources and the utter, almost incredible, ignorance and overt incompetence of most of that world’s leadership, that a plausible scenario can be set in motion to satisfy the requirements my agents signed with your firm. Not only will there be a book but all of the action will be on video and made available to publish as a mini-series which shall appropriately be entitled “Armageddon.” I can assure this august assembly that our work won’t fail to entertain even the most blasé of your readers. It is guaranteed to be a box-office winner. You’ll be able to buy entire planets with your profits, gentlemen, you have my Word on that.

“What exactly are we talking about here, you’re wondering? Imagine: the total destruction of an entire world, its satellite and its “heaven” in real time. Imagine this: global war, famines, infectious diseases. Rampaging armies of mercenaries raping, looting, burning and killing unarmed innocents by the millions, year in, year out for as long as there remains life to destroy. Religious bigotry running rampant. Total lawlessness, or as they put it there, the law of the jungle in spades. Billions dead and dying of causes yet unknown. A sun going super-nova and a moon melting down upon a planet. My guarantee to you gentlemen is this: there will be no special effects. Everything the videos and accompanying best seller depict will be exactly as it unfolds. You will see it in real time, exactly as it happens. That, gentlemen, is the script I and my trusty group of shadow-writers, technicians and engineers, have been working on for 2000 Earthian years. You will find it was well worth the costs and the wait.

“How can you be so certain of the denouement, Yehu? That’s a mighty big set-up, even for one like yourself. Intelligent creatures possess a mind of their own.”

“Gentlemen, do not, ever, make the mistake of ignoring the Earthian mind’s predictability. I programmed them, remember? They will respond on cue, make no mistake. I repeat, make no mistake about that. They will believe, they will kill and they will die, heroes and martyrs in their own minds even while committing the most atrocious of crimes. We have already begun to trigger their atavism in that respect and the results exceed expectations. This is win-win.

“Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to stir the pot some more. I must return to a current political seat of power called “The White House” where the ignoramus’s in charge actually believe they worship me. I need to get their sensibilities inflamed to expand that war in the Middle East (don’t worry about these locations, they mean nothing to the actual story, just collateral damage to help us set the scene) and bring the Powers of the West ever closer to a final confrontation with the Powers of the East. You want a Revelation? I’ll give you the mother of all Revelations! I’m bringing you Armageddon!”

He departs with a flourish. He knows his Earthian humans and there is not a doubt in his mind at that point that he will create his masterpiece from the destruction of Earth. It had always been his plan to complete his trilogy thus but he had been stymied by those who claimed he was plagiarizing them and forced to put the work on hold time and again. But those who stood in his way, he had finally triumphed over: the Communists; the Socialists; the Anarchists; Atheists and Pagans and assorted others. Hardly anyone published them or read them any more. Even the new high priests of Science were beginning to “see his hand” in the movement of sub-atomic particles even if they didn’t use his name… yet. And now with his ironclad under the table agreement with his once avowed enemy, Mammon, (Capitalism for the uninitiated) the timing couldn’t be better.

The scales had tipped once more. The people clamoured for his kind of entertainment, even if it meant he’d be using their blood to write the grand finale. The sweet irony! Oh, how he hated the stinking, short-lived whining creatures. Prayers! Prayers for parking spaces and hangnails! Prayers for sick dogs, dead budgies and weeds in the lawn. Prayers for deliverance and salvation: well that last part was his own fault, he’d unintentionally, in a fit of anger, brought that on himself with a promise which he had then used to write Part Two of his trilogy. Live and learn hey, unlike the creatures he was about to annihilate in long, drawn-out bloodshed! They won’t learn, not ever, he’d made sure of that.

“Kill them all: God will know those who are his!”

“Damn, I just LOVE that line!” He says under his breath with his best sardonic smile as he settles back in his containment field for his trip to Earth, all but rubbing his hands in anticipation and glee.

There is a Tree

A Short Story… from the thoughts of  ~burning woman~

That was a long time ago, in those mythical times when there were trees. Yes, trees. Wooden things that grew tall and proud, so many of them, waving their branches and shaking their leaves in the winds of summer. They were beautiful, so say the tales, but the problem was, they grew taller than men and this made men feel small and insignificant.

Men do not appreciate being made to feel small and insignificant. Nature, and anything else not man-made, should have learned that lesson, but of course it didn’t and men grew to be more and more angry at not being recognized for their skills and strength. All was not well on the world and a reckoning was in the making.

I need to remind you, once again, that this is but a tale I learned from my own grandmother so I don’t want you to take it to heart. There never were any such things as trees, of course, but it is a good story. Since your ‘breather’ isn’t working and you have to remain in this oxygen balanced room and you’re not allowed your devices, I though you’d like a story, even if I make some of it up as there is nothing to read such imaginary tales from. I’m trusting my memory here. When you feel tired and want to sleep again I’ll stop.

“I’m OK grandma. I’d love a story.”

Good. So, as the story went, men decided, not altogether mind, but bit by bit and here and there that trees had to go: they were a constant reminder that a man soon stopped growing whereas trees continued long after a man died, adding insult to injury. It seemed to man that trees spent their entire long lives inventing ways to belittle humanity. Other forms of life had done so too, like those tales of man-eating predators but these had long ago been eradicated. There were stories of rocky outcroppings, hills, canyons, mountains even, and these too had been filled and flattened and anything of value found within had been extracted to build man’s new world: the endless city.

But the trees, they insisted on growing, even upon rocky plateaus that had been flattened down. They just would not stop. Men gritted their teeth at these and vowed to put an end to their insolence. The trees, like dinosaurs, unicorns, buffaloes, tigers, lions, bears, moose, well, anything growing or standing that surpassed man’s height, would be eradicated.

There was really nothing formally said about it, it was just a sense of what’s right. Trees were wrong, man was right and right makes might, so your great-great grandma put it. Man was the Mighty, nothing else would be permitted to challenge that.

It happened one day, globally, that men went out and attacked all the trees, felling and felling. Years passed and trees disappeared with each until only shrubs remained and these were given to the children to destroy by cutting, hacking and pulling up of roots. Seeds were collected in big sacks, stacked up in open fields and burned. Such a burning there was, year after year, and the smoke covered the entire world. Grandma said that many people got sick from the smoke and died. That’s why we all wear the ‘breathers’ now even though there is no longer any smoke.

“I thought you said this was only a tale. How can a make-believe story make the world bad for us that we have to wear ‘breathers’ to stay alive, grandma?”

I will explain, don’t interrupt or it makes no sense anymore. Follow the images, don’t question any of it, not yet. At the end of the story and over the next days there will be time for questions and explanations. You’re old enough to understand that, boy.

So they killed all the trees; they hacked away all the shrubs and they burned all the seeds. Man was pleased with the results because the trees had been home to much other life that preyed upon man’s fields and crops. Without the trees to shelter birds and rodents, these mostly died off and crops were no longer molested except by insects which the Global Environmental Protection Agencies took care of with a multitude of ever-more potent insecticides. Other pests, like weeds, were controlled by herbicides and food became plentiful again thanks to our genetically modified seeds. Without competition for space and food, people were once again able to reproduce at will thus providing much labour for the City Builders.

Now you can live on a clean world, not polluted by natural events, or messy things that refuse to conform to our ways. Buildings are air-conditioned and filtered. When you are a bit older you will be trained to work in the city and you will be guaranteed space to sleep in, and food will be available to you as long as you work hard, which is only to be expected. Do you know how lucky your are for the great vision that built this world?

“What does ‘rationing’ mean, grandma?”

That is a word you must forget. It is enemies of our system that invented the idea there isn’t enough food to go around and the Government has to ration, or limit, how much each person gets. None of that, of course, is true but it confuses people. Do not get confused. Things are as you see them and you see them as our leaders tell you to see them. Simple and no confusion because it cannot be otherwise. Do you understand me?

“I am not sure grandma. In school, away from the monitors, kids talk. Some of the sicker kids have died because their water was not clean; they call it pollution. What about that?”

Listen to me, boy. That word, ‘pollution’ is a dangerous word. Nature pollutes the world. It is man’s task to make sure it remains clean from natural pollution. So you be careful how you learn to understand that word. Kids like to spread gossip against leaders and that is a bad thing. Leaders become so because they know more than anyone else. When we disagree with them we weaken the entire system and that’s when problems start. Don’t be a destroyer, boy. Be a believer and you will have a good place in the System. Destroyers are the enemies and they have to be reported to thought police agents, the TP.

Now then, try to imagine this: there is one lone tree growing on a plain somewhere and it is so strong that nothing man does can stop it. Soon it begins to shed leaves, making a mess on the ground. Mice and other things begin to feed and multiply from there. Then it grows seeds, the winds come and the seeds are spread far and wide so that it becomes impossible to get them all. Within a few years new indestructible trees are born and they grow and grow. Remnants of predatory birds and other animals return to the trees and there are forays into our crop fields. Yields go down and then, yes, you can use the term ‘rationing’ because there will no longer be enough food to feed everybody. Nature, you see, is a thief and it takes without giving anything back. It is the enemy, make no mistake. We need to be constantly vigilant to ensure that our way of life remains safe and unpolluted.

“Grandma, where do people go when they die?”

Why would you ask such a silly question, boy?

“My best friend, her name is Sally, her little sister died last week. Sally was crying and she asked me where her little sister went. I didn’t know what to say. Where did she go, Grandma?”

You really are a stupid boy, aren’t you. When you die, you die, what do you think? Have you met anyone who’d died and come back? Let’s have no more of this superstitious nonsense, you’re much too old for that. Besides, that’s just the kind of thinking the TP would be interested in. Do the right thing: report your friend. She’s an enemy and needs reprogramming. That’s not the sort of thing you want to happen to you boy. Survival of the fittest, that’s our motto, right? Remember that tree: that’s the symbol of man’s greatest enemy. If that tree finds a foothold in the world, we are doomed. Be vigilant.

As the old lady stands and wraps her shawl around skinny shoulders and pulls back her thinning grey hair, the boy asks, “You’re going now, grandma?”

Yes, I have to meet with a TP agent regarding our neighbour Raoul Janzik. He’s been spreading rumours about just the sort of thing I warned you about. He’s been saying there is a Tree, boy. Imagine the gall to claim such lies as truth. He must, he will, be silenced.

The Move

a sci-fi short story,   by Sha’Tara

“They’ll never know.”  Voice intoned.  “They must never know.”

“Some suspect…” 

“Hypothesis; conjecture — we’ve always encouraged that.  We’ve also encouraged the opposite: belief that physical proof is necessary to acceptance.  They’ll follow the pattern.  Those who do not, who “see” will be disparaged and disbelieved.”

Council dissolves.

In their private chambers, Orthon and Agria discuss the matter. 

“We are manipulating their minds, Orthon.  This goes against the Teaching.”

“This is a very primitive race, Agria.  We must prevent global panic at all cost.”

“The move will create great disruptions, as the Council has been made aware.  The tips of the spirals will overheat and some of the smaller worlds will be burned up.”

“The Generators are working on the psi shields, are they not?”

“They won’t be ready in time, and there is no way to test their resilience to such a move.”

“Erthe is a minuscule entity.  Surely we can produce a powerful enough effect to shield it while it is being moved?”

“We… ahh, hope.  Why is the Council so concerned about Erthe?  Why not let it burn?  The Biologons from Elgir scanned it and found nothing remarkable, except for two unalterable facts:  one, it contains the greatest diversity of life forms anywhere and two, the Erthes are destroying their own living space on it.  Why would the Council want that world spared, particularly?”

“It has deep reasons, Agria.”

“Convince me, Orthon.  Impress this truth upon me.”

“You have my trust, Agria.  I will share with you.”

And as Agria opened herself to his mind probe, she began to sense why the Council would be duly concerned by Erthe’s fate.  Deep under one of her oceans the Biologons had recorded the existence of  an Anomaly.  The recordings described an intelligence unlike any other on Erthe,  expressing from within the magma.  The Council had attempted to have the expression analyzed but every available transponder/decoder had failed to translate the anomalous expression.  It remained the only unreadable expression emanating from any of the known Universes.  Even the great Lotharias Logos could not make any sense of it.  In fact, when the recorded expression entered its logic fields, the Logos temporarily froze.

But the times had come.  The Galaxy had to be moved to a new location or it would fall prey to the black hole caused by an imploded star know as Sol Dallin.  Already there were signs of great instability among the larger systems. The ripple effects were spreading as more and more matter-beings were sucked into its giant maw, destroying balance.  Soon the entire Galaxy would be beyond saving.  But if it could be removed from the vicinity, the danger of a Universal melt-down to anti-matter posed by the black hole could possibly be averted.  There were no alternate options in the mind of Council.

“Ah… my dear Orthon, I thank you.  We stand to lose much if we do not act swiftly.  So, Council would first move Erthe to Galaxy Eleven, then move Galaxy 58 to Sector P19?  There is more to the Anomaly than you have shared with me then?”  

“The Logos believes the Anomaly may be the Source of All Life.  It fears the implosion of Sol Dallin was caused by the Anomaly in a move to destroy itself.”

“But why would the Source seek to do such?”

“The Logos suspects a malfunction within the mind of the Anomaly triggering a self-destruct sequence.  It believes the All Life desires to terminate.  The Logos cross-referenced all its available data and concluded the activities on Erthe were the trigger.”

“Tell me more, Orthon.  Why, for example, would All Life be located in Erthe, particularly — or why did the Logos reach this conclusion?”

“Facts about Erthe herself, my dear.  Well-known facts.  For example, diversity of life, despite Draconian attempts to control, has continued to expand and mutate exponentially on its surface and in its atmosphere and oceans.  The resultant complexity has apparently caused overloading in Source Mind.  Such otherwise unknowns clashing with each other – fear, hate, violence causing physical terminations on scales unimaginable; these juxtaposed by passionate explosions of love and protection.  Predators met with ever-adaptive means of evasion and defense.  Violent rejection, violent attraction.  Wars between Erthes themselves.  Life birthed in blood and pain, sustained by death, giving way to laughter,  turning to dust.  A maelstrom of organic dysfunction.”

“It frightens you to look into these things, friend.” 

“Yes, it does.  And do you see?  Fear was never a part of our psyche Agria.  This fear we now feel, it was generated from our brief, accidental contact with the Anomaly.  As to its location, logic dictates that wherever the All Life is located such a place would become endowed with more life than any other.  Erthe, if truly the heart of creation, would pulse with an over-abundance of creative energy.”

“Yes my dear.  But the All Life chose Blessed Rest after the Completion.  Is that not the Teaching?”

“It is.  But the Logos believes the All Life was Binary.  When the One chose rest, the Other was forced to enter the process continuation.  It was inevitable.  Life demands continuous involvement, change, expansion.  The Other tried to limit its input and involvement, withdrawing, hiding within the core of Erthe but even this was too much.  Life’s needs increased over the billennia.  The Other served life with compassion, all the while accepting the need for the destruction to prevent over-building and collapse.”

“What will happen if the All Life located in Erthe’s core is destroyed, then?”

“Entropy, Agria.  The Logos believes this will apply to all known worlds.”

“And what will happen to us?”

“We will experience termination.  Without fresh input the extant will fall into stasis and cease.”

“Well my dear, let us continue with our plans to build our psi shields.  I do not think they will suffice but it will keep us focused while we contact the One who chose Blessed Rest and re-unite the All Life Binary.”

“My dear Agria, there is no Teaching even hinting that the One could be brought out of retirement and reunited with the Other.  If such was possible, would they not have done so?”

“As below, so above Orthon.  What the Teaching does not say is “why” the One chose Blessed Rest, leaving the Other to carry the burden of All Life.  But we, the female energies of Om, know intuitively what happened.  Simply put my friend, there was disagreement in the Binary, resulting in the Split. 

If I can approach the Anomaly and am allowed to enter her Mind it may be she will share her fear, anger and feelings of rejection with us .  She may yet choose to live, Orthon.  She may have learned the lesson that all of life has yet to learn: that no part of life is greater than any other, not even the All Life, and that any part can be friend with any other part.”

“Well said, friend, but where would you begin to search for the One?”

“Not necessary.  If I can make her aware her loneliness and desolation are caused by her separation from the Twin, it may be she will allow us to contact the Blessed Rest and speak to the One on her behalf.”

“Have we come so far that life would have the wisdom to speak for the All Life?  That we, the created, could bring peace within the realm of the All Life, thus bringing peace within all of life?”

“They made us in their own image, Orthon.  It is time we made use of this awareness.”

“Ah, Agria, please consider this before you proceed: the Logos predicted our conversation to Council.  It asked:

{What will you do if the All Life, instead of coming out of retirement or ending the self-destruct process, confers its powers upon you?  What does Agria-Orthon choose if offered the power of All Life?} 

“What do we choose, Agria?”

“Life, Orthon.  Always life, whatever it entails.”

Lahia, a Tale Beyond Time

[short story by Sha’Tara]

Once upon a time, well let’s just say, beyond time, there is a very pretty little world orbiting its only sun. The world is named Lahia. Much sentient life exists, better put, lives on Lahia. Some are bipeds, some quadrupeds, some are plants of various shapes and species.  There are winged fairies and dragons too, if you want to call them that. All sentient life exists in perfect harmony here and it may surprise some non-Lahians to know that nothing and no one ever dies on Lahia. It is, as are most worlds deep in the galaxy, a self-healing and self-perpetuating system. Various kinds of leadership comes and goes on Lahia, mostly for the benefit of visitors, as the Lahians themselves rely on their sense of empathy to interact impeccably with one another. The horror of violence is unknown while any conflict that may arise is resolved instantly within the mind of those touched by it.

Today, which is Everyday, Lahia is being visited by alien strangers it has never encountered. These aliens arrive in a toy spaceship as the Lahians think of it. No one has used spaceships to travel since times before the end of time and the concept only exists in Lahian collective memory.

Lahians are a very calm and self assured people, that, by the way, including all sentient life on the planet. They are also impeccable hosts to all who visit their world. They gracefully accept the presence of the noisy, smelly, ugly contraption landed in a field outside their main city. A happy delegation of various sentience is assembled to go meet and greet the visitors. As always, music and dancing accompanies the delegates who form a small contingent of some three hundred sentients.

What comes out of the toy ship are bipeds, so the bipedal Lahians come forward to greet these strange looking aliens wearing not only clothes, but what appears to be armour and helmets. Noises emanate from the aliens and it takes the Lahians by surprise: a language they do not know. Deep remembrances are called forth and the language is deciphered. Much conversation ensues, most of which leaves the Lahians quite perplexed. These aliens, it seems, have come from a planet called “Earth” and call themselves humans. In reading their simplistic thoughts it seems obvious to the Lahian humans that these creatures are misinformed: they are not human at all and there is something terribly wrong about their thinking and deportment. They are looking at some of the Lahian delegation with thoughts of killing, of food, of eating!

A message is sent to the Lahian honorary queen Ishtar, impressing upon her the urgency of the situation regarding the landed toy space ship and its occupants. They impart to her the thoughts coming from the helmeted strangers and concepts such as killing, eating; of food, which can only be related to by invoking pre-time-end galactic sentient behaviour.

Ishtar appears, naked and unadorned except for her golden sash of office. She “speaks” to the aliens and asks them to remove their helmets, uniforms, clothes and return their weapons to the toy ship. After much arguing on the part of the Earthian aliens, they finally comply. The Lahian delegates are dismayed by the terrible stench and odours of non-life coming from the now naked Earthians each time they move. With a circle formed around them they are taken to a small pond fed by a waterfall and ordered by Ishtar to bathe themselves in it. Then she asks some of the boys and girls in the delegation to join they visitors in the pond and help them wash themselves.

This done, the aliens are taken to a knoll overlooking the city and there, as explained, they will attend a council at which they will be able to explain why they are on Lahia, and what their intentions are. Ishtar realizes the aliens are “hungry” – a form of ancient body need she can still relate to – and informs the aliens that they will be fed during the council session. Indeed, while questions and answers go back and forth between various curious Lahians and the leader of the Earthian delegation, these realize that they are no longer hungry and feel exactly as if they had eaten fully of their favourite foods. The leader, captain Alexi Manon, thanks his hosts, quite uncomprehending as to how they were fed.

Ishtar, a direct descendant of a forebear who had once inhabited the world from which these aliens claim to come, uses her remembrances to probe the minds of the aliens in deeper ways than the delegation would have ever allowed itself to use. To the Lahians, what Ishtar is doing would have seemed to be grossly invasive but their queen reserves for herself many prerogatives her people would not want to use and would in any case never have use for. That is why Ishtar is the honorary queen after all. If counting by time, she is the oldest of the Lahians and probably one of the oldest Galactic Elders.

She discovers many disturbing patterns in the alien minds and decides on a course of action. She asks the Earthian spacefarers to accompany her on a walk of a park where lovely, tall, golden stalks rise and wave in a light breeze. To the Earthians they look somewhat like sunflowers but taller and of much more graceful mien. No longer either hungry or even tired, the aliens accompany the lovely, long-limbed graceful queen, having some difficulty keeping up to her steps but not wanting to look childishly ridiculous by running beside her. She knows of their slight predicament but does not slow down. They enter the meadow of “the Goldens” as the sentience residing there names itself and a strange thing happens.

As the aliens approach the Goldens they turn they beautiful heads away and some begin to droop and wilt. Soon there is a trail of sickly Goldens through the entire meadow where the aliens are walking. Ishtar is satisfied. Her test tells her what she must do, even if it completely violates all the rules of alien life encounters since before the end of time.

“What is happening to the Goldens, my queen?” asks a Lahian delegate.

“These alien creatures are not human. They are diseased. They retain all the evils that before the end of time threatened to destroy our galaxy. They exude uncontrollable sexual lust; they are greedy, selfish, self-centred and filled with murderous thoughts. They see us and our world as an easy place to conquer, to exploit, oppress and enslave. They see us as their indentured servants and the captain has already decided that I will be his concubine.  They possess weapons which they rely upon to accomplish their mission of conquest.

“Therefore I must do what has not been done on Lahia since time ended: I must banish these aliens, send them back to their toy ship and fling them out into space to fare as they may. Then I must send a message to all sentients throughout the galaxy that a ship full of very sick Earthians is travelling through, the name and description of the vessel, and a warning to not give them landing or any kind of sanctuary. They carry a poison, a disease, that could once again corrupt our worlds, and perhaps because we were foolish enough to care for them, our own corruption may well be irremediable this time.”

“As impossible as it seems for me to say so, my queen, but should we not terminate them?”

“No! Death is the poison! They carry death within them and if we kill them, that disease will naturally enter us and our children. Time will return and we will begin to die once again. Our children will become sick and violence will arise between species. Look into your remembrances, delegate, and see for yourself what it was like once, if you dare!

Ishtar, using a power she has not needed since time ended, orders the Earthians back upon their ship. In her mind she goes inside their primitive computers and wipes out all data concerning the ship’s voyages, noting that as she had correctly surmised these primitives still use “time” and “distance” as means to measure their progress. She removes herself from the ship and sends it off, knowing it would be lost forever. It saddens her deeply to have to use such ruthlessness but she knows too well what the alternative means. Time, and therefore death, to return to Lahia, and that with a vengeance, if the aliens are given safe sanctuary anywhere.

The Endeavor-Korov, as the ship had been known at launch on Earth would travel empty space, pushed away from sentient worlds by collective mind, going on until all Earthian life aboard has died. It would crash on a bare rocky moonlet, its parts gradually scattering until no sign of its existence remains.

Report to Galactic Headquarters

(a short sci-fi story… from Sha’Tara)

For: Leon Battera, Receiver

From: Apia-Di Loro III, Observation ship, OmaTe

Date: Cycle 286-87-1902 per Pleiadian Time Accounting.

Begin:

I have discovered an ancient world sparsely populated by intelligent sentience. Per my orders, I am orbiting this world on six different parameters taking soundings and recordings.

The sentience speaks as-yet unrecorded languages and I have instructed my translator to begin working on it. However, due to the vast confusion of spoken languages, this may take some time.

The world has much water on it but much appears to be non-potable and what should be potable appears to carry unusual amounts of radiation and trace pollutants inimical to the local flora and fauna. Samplings of air quality also reveal high levels of radiation and an unnatural dearth of oxygen.

I have run my findings through my analyzer. This world will require personal investigation as it is obvious it experienced a terrible catastrophe as recently as five to ten thousand years ago. As per my orders I must ascertain whether this unnatural catastrophe was caused by an invasion, or by the locals themselves although at first scan, these people have no technology, certainly nothing capable of such devastation indicated by my scans.

There is evidence of very large cities having once existed, now nothing but ruins. There are no roads. The people, it seems, live in small villages of huts made from mud and grasses; in some places, from twigs or bones.  I have noted smoke rising from the mouth of caves also.

What happened here? My mind is burning with questions. I am leaving my AI in command and taking my lander down to the planet.

Apia-Di Loro: AI, have I taken all necessary precautions and availed myself of proper protection?

AI: All is optimum. Ready for launch.

I am landed in a hidden depression on a broad plain covered in coarse grass. First analysis: radiation poisoning but dwindling. There is a village of sorts some ways from my hidden lander. I am making for it. It is difficult to separate the bipedal humanoid sentients from many other sentients so proceeding with care.

Of important note: I come upon an inscription of sorts on a plaque. The plaque material appears to be some metal alloy and is very old. I set the translator to transcribe what can be seen of the inscription and while it is doing so I wander around, careful to retain my cloaking. I hear an animal bleat and over a small rise comes a young woman leading a dozen animals which my portable unit refers to as “goats”.

Another animal follows the young woman, or girl rather. The animal circles the “goats” and keeps them walking in a specific direction. It is called a “dog”. The woman/girl is known as a shepherdess according to my portable translator. Meaning: she has charge of the animals and the “dog” animal helps her.

I’m in need of some verbal communication to talk to her so I return to my translator by the ancient plaque. This is what the translator shows me:

My name is Do-ald Trum-. I am the Presid–t of the mightiest nat— on e-rth. I have the p-wer to –nihil-te any nation or allian–s of na–on- that chall-nge my -ill. My fing-r is -lways -n th- butt-n. Be afraid, be v-ry -fr-id. -istory wil- r-memb– me as t– gre–est, mos- power-ul man who ever lived- – am mak-ng Amer-c- gr–t agai-

It was enough to formulate a rudimentary understanding of the language. The computer had no problem filling in the missing letters. Accompanied by the translator I return to the shepherdess and her animals. Before I uncloak myself I study her. She is very thin to the point of emaciation and her hair is sparse and dull. Her limbs are obviously deformed, a mutation from the radiation. Her right leg is shorter than the other and that foot has no toes. Her left arm terminates with a few knobs that were meant to be fingers, approximately where the elbow should be. Her clothing is inadequate, little more than patched rags. I feel a great pang of empathetic sadness knowing this would be the case for most of her people.

I try to imagine hundreds of millions of such mutants surviving in the most primitive and terrible of conditions, prone to disease and sudden temperature changes, always hungry, and the worst of it: not knowing why they are thus being “punished”. 

Having some verbal communication ability via the translator, I uncloak myself slowly and pretend I’d been walking towards her, a stranger crossing the prairie. Upon seeing me, she stands abruptly and raises her stick. The dog gives a half-dozen perfunctory warning barks. Fortunately my female form takes some of her fear of me away and she waits, though ready to run. I signal I am unarmed and try a greeting through the translator. She remains mute, obviously uncomprehending. I try other words and I see that she is listening intently but not understanding.

Finally, I point to the plaque and ask who this Donald Trump is, or was. She looks at the plaque as if she never noticed it before and shrugs and shakes her head to indicate she doesn’t know. I realize then that her language has nothing to do with what is on the plaque and in any case she cannot read. I conclude then that these are survivor remnants of some terrible war, for war it had to be as I can easily infer from the contents of the plaque. These people have no history and what language they possess has only immediate survival value.

The girl is still standing, rigid and uncertain, ready to bolt. To help her relax I slowly turn away to disappear in the tall grasses. Ironically the dog creature circles me and coming to the plaque, relieves itself upon it. I think it a very fitting gesture even if the creature does not realize the symbolism of its act.

My dear Leon, I will give you a much more thorough report when I return to the OmaTe. Meanwhile, I need not tell you this is a terrible heart-breaker of a world. Let me know as soon as you can if I should remain in orbit here and if it is necessary for me to make other landings. More importantly advise me, please, on what Galactic Planetary Health Consortium plans to do about this discovery; if it will intervene on behalf of these people. They desperately need our help Leon.

More details to follow soon. I remain, your Apia-Di.