Sunday, October 3, 2010

Goodnight, Sam

Well friends,
It appears that blogging SF and science isn't moving as fast as I'd hoped. I just don't have time to keep up with the latest physics and media to keep the conversation lively. Half way through the year my son and his young boys moved into our house and turned our lives upsidedown.

So....I'm switching gears. I'll probably add some posts here and there as my book gets closer to completion but in the meantime I'm starting a new blog about raising grandchildren. It's on a new blogspot called Grampy's Little Acre and, since things with kids change every day, I hope to post every day.

Sorry if anyone out there is a fan of my SF blithering. I'm sure I'll come back to it. For now, I'll see you all at my new home

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice - science and magic

I took in the matinee of the new Nick Cage flick "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" today. While it's lots of fun, it's loaded with the typical magic cliches. Merlin, Morgana, et. al.

However, they try to connect quantum physics with magic in a small way (probably just to hook the SF crowd) by channeling electromagnetic energy through thought to create magic. A bit hokey in itself but I am working to connect these as well in my latest novel. Not by creating magic, but by creating the mystery through quantum mechanics. Taking the science down to the planck scale makes everything at the macro seem like magic.

The trick for me, in a novel not a movie, is that I need a lot more detail. My magician moves stars and across the sky. But I don't call it magic. I'm trying to connect through spirituality and religion.

Maybe by the time I'm done, It'll all be magic.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

An afterthought...

If we could compress space by stopping local time so that crossing the space was easier, in fact by eliminating the distance, we humans would probably start pooting across great distances until we completely destroyed space.

Imagine if you could travel in an instant from New York to Tokyo simply by compressing all the land mass in between. I bet there are lots of people who wouldn't mind deleting North America and the Pacific Ocean for their own convenience.

We gotta long way to go...

Friday, June 25, 2010

compressing time

Let me use the last entry to suppose a new form of space travel. If time did freeze, according to Kovachi, all space would instantly compress because the cohesion of energy would disappear. Why? Because time is the moment of energy transfer, the reason for matter, the spark of density and gravity. Imagine, then, being able to localize a time 'freeze' that compresses a portion of space from point A to B. If your ship was positioned on the cusp of the time quanta that is frozen, then perhaps you could ride a gravity wave to the other side in an instant.

Just make sure you don't enter that segment of space or you'll get compressed smaller than a Kenmore trash compactor could dream.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Cosmic Reset Button

Physicists for the most part buy the Big Bang as the original cosmic burst. The question of a cyclical or linear universe, that is, are we a pulsating and contracting expanse or just swelling to the point of endless entropic dissipation, is key to understanding the Bang.

Instead of matter or energy being the primary measure of the universe's trip to nowhere, Kovachi's TGIF theory quantizes time into particles that mingle with gravity/energy to create matter. This creates the following supposition: the universe only exists because there is velocity. Time doesn't pre-exist the universe, it is the primal reaction, the first transfer of gravity to energy giving birth to matter. Without that transfer, there is no matter. So, the only way to 'reset' the universe is to stop time.

Imagine what that would look like. Stopping time wouldn't freeze us all in Matrix style bullet time, nor would it be like pulling on an H.G. Wells gearbox to shoot us past the moment into an alternate human history. Time is more like zeros and ones in a computer. Individually they don't seem like much but you add them up infinitely and they look like something they really aren't. So to 'stop' time would be to eliminate the agitation of gravity that creates energy. The universe would collapse in on itself in the last micro-nano-planck-moment of time leaving only dead matter, the byproduct of a once living universe.

Talk about the ultimate reset button. But would it start the whole thing over again? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My daughter, the constellation.

My daughter Elise was married last Saturday. I searched for days, wondering what I could say about her to the gathering as father of the bride but when I saw her standing in that dress it took me by surprise and all my words failed me.

Going to so many weddings over the years, you get used to seeing a gorgeous young woman in a white gown that it becomes part of the uniformity of the occasion. Tuxedos, flowers, round tables, ritual, etc. often give the guests too much deja vu.

But the girl in the gown that day shone out at me like a beacon of light, like all the trappings, including the tux I was strapped into, were all part of the invisible dark matter (well, this is an SF blog!) and she was the only particle of light in the whole universe. My! It took my breath away. It wasn't that she was the most beautiful girl in the world (that's a given), it was more: she turned the mundaneries of weddings into an event that I was privileged to witness.

To bring this special relationship that I'm sure many parents feel at their children's weddings, into a perspective that somewhat befits this blog, and follows what I've been saying the past few entries. The universe we see is only visible with the eyes that were evolved to survive in it. Maybe the truly beautiful, rare, and unusual can only be seen when our relationship with it is special.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

We have eyes...but do we really see?

An obvious observation about a dog is that you can hand them anything and they'll accept it without understanding. A lump of food, a digital watch, a stick, can of soda are all in the same basic place to them: can I or can't I eat it? When they're through with it, the item joins the background noise of their lives.

But a less overused metaphor is when you point at the clouds or the stars for the dog and all they see is the end of your finger. Looking up, or observing the background of the world, is not only incomprehensible but irrelevant to them.

I wonder if the same rings true for us on some level. Are we staring so hard at our surroundings that we don't see 50% of it? I don't mean quarks and microwaves and viruses and infrared. I mean something that is so clear that all it needs is relevance to spot it. What might it consist of? Metaphysical? Consciousness? Interchangeable density and energy? Another level or species of life that shares our world without our notice?

What if one time you lifted your Schnauzer's snout to the stars and for the very first time he saw the twinkle of Venus next to the Moon. He'd bark, look to you for approval and move on to the next thing.

I suspect that's what most of us do when we spot the unknown.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Alien OCD

Following up on that last thought...

If we couldn't make it out of the trees without being obsessive-compulsive, then might it not stand to reason that SF aliens who zoom around the galaxy in all the popular movies and TV imitating humankind would be the same? So, as well as being warlike, greedy, selfish and whatnot like all the stories would have us believe, lets explore their obsessive side.

What about the superior race that shows up to control the planet Earth just to watch what we'd do if, say, they changed the weather patterns or introduced a new disease. ("My blotnix are on the Americans to come up with a cure, Zacknar.") We've been given the butterfly-on-a-pin treatment in SF before but not so much of the ant farm.

What if they use Earth as the lab rats to test an immunization they want? How about the old 'we buried the Asian subcontinent in water because we can' excuse that humans are so fond of when trying out new toys like, I don't know, the atom bombs. A great Kliban cartoon from the '70's had a bunch of slob aliens stumble off a saucer with open cans of something in their paws saying, "Greetings. We're creatures from a 5th rate planet."

SF always runs too much to the warlike for their alien conflicts these days. A good old fashioned hand washing obsession for its own sake could make for some Roland Emmerich scale disasters.

We miss you, Doug Adams!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

human endeavor on a planck scale

It's amazing how we each can get so absorbed into our own endeavors that we become fascinated with the tiniest nibblets of information about our passion. Abraham Lincoln's chipped tooth, the slightly lower engine output in the early '67 Lotus vs. the same model later that year, a misprinted 1st edition, and so forth. Our lives have become so removed from necessity that we hone our natural OCD in less than essential directions.

I've come to the conclusion that we don't suffer from Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder, we benefit from it. It's what drives us. We climbed down out of the trees because of it, we invented the wheel, we pushed our way to the Moon on the stuff. How else would we ever have dragged our asses off the floor of the cave to create a bison trap if it weren't for our compulsions? We could have stayed by the fire and eaten whatever came our way.

You see, we have it backwards. The real downfall of our bored society is a Disinterested Unmotivated Disorder (DUD). People who could care less about curiosity. We are naturally curious and motivated to learn. We're just wearing ourselves down to the bone on the mundane.

Time to celebrate our obsessions! Don't let them run your life, but don't dismiss them either. Obsession in moderation, I say!

Okay maybe that's a tad simplistic. Let me research it....and do a poll....and start a newsletter....and write a paper.....and get funding.....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Are We Really That Dense?

The more I delve into physics, the more I think about density.

Seeing the world through quantum eyes has changed the view of the universe around me in strange ways. Density is an all important fundamental in differentiating one particle from another. Same goes for the macro condition of things on Earth. We only learned how to fly when we realized that the air, like water is a substance that we all swim through. Wood, leaves, and brick are only modestly denser than air but that slim difference gives our world structure inside a gravity field.

Imagine if your eyes could only see density, no color, nothing impenetrable, just variations on dense. I suppose that's a lot of what we do because of shapes but we can't tell with our eyes what is more dense. Starting with air, we'd see a fog. Through that to a chair back that had shape but translucent, then to a more transparent, but not invisible window, more air, some leaves, the grass, the earth and all the variations in between. The world would turn into an uncolored, layered line drawn illustration. Much like some of the translucent creatures at the bottom of the deep ocean.

What if there are already creatures living this way, using density as their relative medium? Like clouds they might float on the surface of our atmosphere, or the depths of the ocean. We might not have sensitivity to detect them because they are only subtly denser or less dense than their surroundings. The very Ozone! Perhaps they are as large as the void between planets because their density is so slight.

Just a thought to steer the landlocked into imagining that possibilities of life need not start and end with us.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Farthest Reaches of Humanity

I feel I can come back from the depths of grandparenting and get a grip on some writing again. The last couple of months have been such a change in life that I didn't think - strike that - couldn't think. Period. I was on auto-operation parenting mode just to stay on top.

It's fitting, perhaps that in returning to thoughts of science and SF that this week I was creating a piece of jewelry that incorporated an element from the plaque on Pioneer 10. Remember that, Sam? Way, way back in 1972 Nasa launched the first satellite destined for deep space outside our solar system. In 1983, it sailed past Pluto and onward towards Aldebaran some 65 light years away. The last it was heard from was in 2003.

With it flies a piece of mankind's history, know-how, imagination, and hope. Some may say hopeless but meeting up with other species, or letting them know who and where we are, even if by chance, is an imaginative gesture.

Well, that's me, all wrapped up in a nutbar. One single ray among the billions sending out imaginative gestures into the void in the hope that someone out there will learn a bit about who I am and why I send this signal.

Beep. Beep.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A time to write

I've been off topic for a month with so many other issues that I haven't had time to write or blog or reading get the idea. I'm dying to get back to writing. My novel is ready for a final rewrite and it can be daunting to start over for the last big push. The nail biting thing about writing a complex story with tons of characters is the hope that the dream story that brought me to the typewriter in the first place stays the same as the one that finally comes out.

Wish me luck. The next few months will tell the tale.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

SF Hokum

I was watching old Time Tunnel reruns on HULU last night. I have no excuse for why. In Irwin Allen tradition, these hokey, bad science yarns are really no worse than some of the SF today. The big difference is that today the slick FX and fast cut action/violence mask the bad writing and inconsistent plot and science right down to all the aliens using American English dialect.

The show didn't last long but I remember seeing it in reruns over and over when I got home from school in the 70's. I thought it was a joke then, it's a joke now. But somehow I don't think the crew did.

It doesn't matter what's changed in the past 40 years, tin foil aliens or renegade Romulans all want to destroy Earth. Like we're the center of the Universe.

I wish.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chaotic and Temporal Disturbances

My son, with fresh sole custody of his three small sons has moved into my house. Talk about quantum disturbances in the force. Everything affects all other things, big or small. When one says a bad thing in 3rd grade on Tuesday it throws the house into chaos by Thursday. It reminds me of the "thousand monkeys typing to write Shakespeare" cliche. If we leave the house in ruins for 6 weeks will the 3 children and 4 dogs coincidentally clean it?

As for temporal paradoxes, one afternoon with a 4 year old stretches 3 hours into an infinite number of xeno slices, and yet the time disappears in a flash. I think this is a classic example of compression of time depending on velocity and energy. The more energy the kid spends, the faster time goes by. But parked in front of a row of matchboxes and lego can make the years tick by like watching a galaxy spin.

If this goes on too long, the gravitational pull of the three heavenly bodies will suck me into a black hole of complete inaction.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Is Science Dying?

Now the debate has seeped from "Is SF dead?" to "Is science dead?". The Reference Frame a physics blog expressed a disappointment in the public for not understanding basic science anymore and that even the science community follows populist theories that may not be well researched or possibly even fact based. Calling it pseudoscience, the author expressed nothing less than disgust at his perceived failing of government and scientists to properly research and report fact rather than opinion. This is true of climate change to particle physics. Both fundamentalism and sensationalism are party to this problem.

Personally, I think this a failing all across the board. But sticking to science and hard SF, we all have work to do to bring the public back to our court.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Origins of Gravity: A New Theory by Erik Verlinde

I've just read the most fascinating treatise on a new theory of gravity by Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde. A synopsis by Mr. Verlinde PhD. is posted on The Reference Frame blog and you can find a link to his complete paper there. What sparks my quark about this theory is that it creates a dynamic interaction of gravity in the origin of the universe. He postulates that gravity is an entropic force, rather than static, created in the primordial crucible of time and energy.

Sound familiar? It might to the one or two readers of my own Kovachi TGIF theory of time. As a non physicist, my concepts on the origins of the universe are intuitive not formula based but Dr. Verlinde has my back on this one.

I'm going to explore more and get back to you about the details. Reading the treatise was slow going and I need time to really digest its gravity.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Finding Time To Read

As I get familiar with blogs and bloggers in SF, I see so many that review books and stories and edit and seem to find so much time to read. Man, I wish I could do that! First off, I am a real slow reader. Dyslexic or something, I don't know. But whenever I try to zip through a book, I lose most of it, so I have to slow down. On top of that, I have a job making flutes that occupies a bagful of working hours in the day, and, hey, I want to continue to be a novelist so I have to find some time during the day to write. Throw in networking with tweets, and facebook and blogging and listservs, add family and grandkids, exercise, and my marriage and...and... and that only leaves a few minutes here and there to read anything for enjoyment.

I wish I had time to enjoy all the latest novels and stories. For those, I listen to books on tape while I work and I have my computer read blogs and articles, too. But there's so much good stuff that drips through my fingers like water that I feel like I'm always falling behind.

What do I choose when I do get a chance to crack open the pages? Right now, quantum physics and the latest theories in the primordial makeup of the universe.

Maybe I could give up sleep...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Kovachi Temporal Gravitational Interlacing Force (TGIF) Grand Unification Theory

The next 9 posts are all the parts of the TGIF Grand Unification Theory created by physicist Evan Kovachi. I’ve posted it in parts to keep from writing one long ponderous blog. We’d love to hear comments and ideas about each section or the whole thing.
It starts with basic background on the elements of quantum and relativity mechanics and builds from there. Many may already be familiar with these concepts but it’s important to lay the foundation before making the case.

The Kovachi Temporal Gravitational Interlacing Force (TGIF) Grand Unification Theory
Part 1: Gravity

We have eight basis elements of nature. Four forces: strong and weak nuclear, electromagnetic, and gravity. Then the four known dimensions: three spacial and one time. The two elements in all of these that we understand the least are gravity and time. Let’s start with gravity.
Gravity behaves differently at different mass/energy scales. That means we have to leave it out of one set of equations, modify it at others, trust it on yet others, and scratch our heads as to why it is so weak on an astronomical scale.
Newton, back in the seventeenth century, established the basic laws of gravity and motion that still hold true for physics today - as long as we don’t look too closely. In 1906, Einstein came along with relativity and the concept of space-time where gravity, no longer a force, curves the structure of space depending on the mass of an object and even maintains a weak effect at great distances. That meant that all objects weave their way through gravitational fields as they travel through space. He didn’t negate Newton’s laws, he modified them to fit a new relative understanding. Both still work hand in hand.
Also at the turn of the twentieth century, Max Planck theorized the quanta that later became quantum mechanics to start answering questions at very small, sub atomic scales calculating that gravity gets incredibly strong when measured at the planck scale of 1.616 x 10-35 meters. It is at this point we started getting a clue of how amazingly complex the make up up the universe really is.
Quantum mechanics and Einstein’s general relativity are compatible for the most part and led to the holy grail of universal scientific questions: Is there a theory of everything? One grand overarching equation that explains the mechanics of the universe at Planck, Einsteinian and Newtonian scales? The answer was yes - if, and it is a huge if, you don’t include gravity.
Einstein struggled with this problem in his later years to no avail. Careers came and went over this one question: what makes gravity work the way it does? The problem lies in the fact that gravity seems so amazingly weak at stellar levels and incredibly strong at the planck scale. Not only that, but at the quantum scale, gravity gets stronger as the distance increases.

Click here for the next section of the TGIF theory

TGIF Part 2: Dark Matter and Strings

The Kovachi Temporal Gravitational Interlacing Force (TGIF) Grand Unification Theory
Part 2: Dark Matter and Strings

In order to balance this, many theoretical physicists have created multiple higher dimensions, multi-universe theories, membrane layers of alternate space, and dark matter (an unseen, unknown material that takes up a third of space) into their equations to create enough density to account for gravity’s weakness at large scales. One explanation for so many complexities in the math comes from a basic reluctance on the part of the physicists to modify Einstein’s basic tenets. Or, for that matter, any of the other so called ‘constants’. The first being Newton’s gravitational constant (that the gravitational force between bodies of masses is separated by distance), the second being Planck’s constant (that there is a fundamental meeting of all scales of matter at 10-16cm), and the third being the speed of light (186,000 miles per second).
This implies that the physical world needs to conform to our math instead of the other way around. So we get enigmas like strings and dark matter that can’t be detected but make the formula balance. Strings because they turn point particles into one dimensional lengths, adding six new quantum scale dimensions to the universe, and dark matter because it creates a dense substance to the universe that balances the gravity equation at large scales. Let me add that string theory does not completely bring gravity into the black nor does it make it function at the quantum scale.

Click here for the next section of the TGIF theory

TGIF Part 3: Quantum Gravity

The Kovachi Temporal Gravitational Interlacing Force (TGIF) Grand Unification Theory
Part 3: Quantum Gravity

Many other physicists, Einstein included, did not like creating complications to arbitrarily balance a formula. They decided instead to modify relativity the way Einstein modified Newton: use it a foundation to build upon. After all, nothing should be sacrosanct, according to these theorists. These theories have come to be known mostly under the umbrella of Quantum Gravity theories. By modifying the gravitational constant and making the speed of light relative rather than constant, the weakness argument balanced between large and small scales without creating substances such as dark matter. Others added a large scale fifth dimension that resolved the question of where gravity’s strength was being sapped. Loop Quantum Gravity creates the fabric of the universe from the basic elements rather than supposes that the very premise of the standard model of the universe is flawed in depending on matter and energy existing in some pre-existing spacetime.
Unfortunately, none of these theories can be proved without high energy experiments that are as yet impossible to perform. They all agree it would take a particle accelerator with a circumference the size of Jupiter’s orbit to get the mass/energy they need.

Click here for the next section of the TGIF theory

TGIF Part 4: The Kovachi Theory

The Kovachi Temporal Gravitational Interlacing Force (TGIF) Grand Unification Theory
Part 4: The Kovachi Theory

Evan Kovachi focused his later career on quantum gravity theory and discovered that the key ingredient wasn’t gravity but time. He began his studies as a string/M theorist but the constant shifting of variables in string theory bothered his Einsteinian belief that God would not create a universe that was that complicated. Still, the concept that the smallest particles of matter as vibrating strings had a sense of poetry and resolved fundamental quantum questions.
String theory supposes that each primordial string, of which there are approximately 50, has an energy/mass value that is created by it’s vibration signature. This is as simple a place to start as any but it leaves us to question what is this string made of? Where does it come from? What produces that vibration and why?
At that point Kovachi wondered if you turned the formula on its head, would it read any better? For example, E=MC2 is the same as M=E/C2. But, is it really? Mass and energy aren’t interchangeable, much as they share many of the same properties. So if instead of the string creating a vibration, what if the vibration created the string? What if there is no string - only a vibration? That vibration creates energy, which in turn = mass. So if there isn’t even a string at all, or even a particle, what are we left with? A vibration. What is a vibration but energy +time. If energy and mass are constant, then time is the variable (i.e. increasing the vibration will increase the mass energy) That makes time the basic building block of all particles. This breakthrough led Kovachi through a 20 year labyrinth of theoretical contortions that eventually resulted in the Quantum Particle of Time theory, also known as TGIF Theory.

Click here for the next section of the TGIF theory

TGIF Part 5: Time

The Kovachi Temporal Gravitational Interlacing Force (TGIF) Grand Unification Theory
Part 5: Time

Let's take a look at time. What we understand about time is limited to three basic suppositions. First, we can only observe it flowing in one direction. Two, it’s perceived passage is tied firmly to the speed of light. Three, it appears as an unstoppable force that is the backbone of our universe. Not a lot to go on.
We understand that the universe is so vast that the further away we look, the further back in time we see because the speed of light isn’t instantaneous. We can’t reach the outer edge of the universe with our telescopes. Yet, quantum entanglement says a subatomic particle can communicate instantaneously across the galaxy with its twin. How can a proton cross the galaxy in a spliced second when a massless photon of light would take years to get there?
How is that possible? General relativity dictates that as you approach the speed of light, time observed outside your craft appears to slow down and space within is compacted. However, inside the craft, light still travels at a constant velocity. Take a look at those spiral galaxies through Hubble. They appear pinwheeled in shape from whipping around but have yet to show much progress in the span of human observation. It is conjectured that they might take a billion years to go around once.
We define a year as the time it takes the Earth to rotate around our sun. But that isn't the only motion and velocity we experience. The Earth spins on it's axis, it sails around the sun, the sun revolves in our local star group, the stars move with the galactic arm and the galaxy circles with the local galaxy group as we all zip away from the center of the big bang. We may feel like we’re standing still but actually we’re moving at a pace that would dazzle Zefram Cochrane. No wonder the galaxies look like they stand still. We’re observing them from a very fast moving object which makes all outside observations appear to slow down. What if you suddenly flew off the planet, off the galactic plane and out into slow, deep space where motion really did stand still. Would you be able to observe the galaxies actually whirling around?
We peg the age of the universe at fourteen billion ‘years’ old. With all the stars and gasses and expansion and rebirth of stars that live for billions of years, you’d think the whole system to be older than it is. But that’s only an outside observation. In fact, standard model physicists wonder how the universe could have come to be where it is in so short a period of time and created a theory called inflation which postulates that during the first microseconds of the big bang, the whole works blew up to as big as it is now and then suddenly slowed down as it reached its current size for the rest of its 14 billion year span. That’s a very earthbound theory. Objectively, who says it slowed down? The thing may appear to be standing still while we whip around like a double Ferris wheel on steroids. We say a billion years like it means something measurable outside the spinning of this sphere at this time in this solar system.
Unfortunately, inflation, like dark matter, may or may not be a convenient add-on tool but it begs the question of whether our reality is a metaphor for the mathematical equations or are the equations a metaphor for our reality. Rather than alter the basic perception of the formula, the timid physicist screws gadgets and glues appendages onto the sides to keep it alive.

Click here for the next section of the TGIF theory

TGIF Part 6: How Is Time Tied to Space

The Kovachi Temporal Gravitational Interlacing Force (TGIF) Grand Unification Theory
Part 6: How Is Time Tied to Space?

It was only when Kovachi threw away these subjective diversions that the thunder struck him. Alter the premise that space is vast and a whole new model begins to emerge. What if space is only vast when we look up because our perspective from the inside of the universe is set entirely by our velocity through it? As we approach light speed, space compresses. If we took that trip outside the galactic plane, perhaps we would 'decompress' and become so big the galaxy could fit in our hand. This very directly connects space and time objectively. But, according to relativity, there is no objectivity in measuring space-time. So what holds it all together?

Ah, gravity, the gift that keeps on giving, long after you give up trying to understand it (kind of like a long lived marriage). The force that is so weak a simple magnet can beat out the entire planet by lifting a paperclip off the ground.
Kovachi’s task, like reshaping our outlook of relative time, was to redefine the gravitational premise. Like reversing E=MC2, why not redefine the terms of what gravity is meant to do. Perhaps ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ are terms that shouldn’t apply to gravity. We assume that strength is comparative from one force to another through attraction and repulsion. Gravity doesn’t seem to want to live by those laws because gravity isn’t really a force. It’s local attraction is ‘weak’ by those standards but it’s influence over the entire universe is incredibly ‘strong’ by an entirely different measure. It is the glue that binds us all. All objects create a gravitational field that warps space-time. So, if we take matter out of the universe, will gravity still exist?
There is so little matter in the universe that it occupies only 0.0000000000000000000042% of space. So for gravity to have such a binding effect, there either needs to be more matter (thus the need for dark matter), or gravity might be there to begin with and it only makes itself known when matter is present.
Let's use a popular metaphor. If a tree falls in the forest, will it make a sound? If two planets collide in empty space is there a sound? All the elements are there to create a monumental boom, except the medium to carry it and the ears to hear it. Does that mean that the impact does not throw low band sound waves? It certainly throws light and heat and debris far and wide. The difference is that light photons need no medium to travel. Put another way, if a lifeless planet contains a thin atmosphere where no noise is present, does that mean that sound waves cannot exist? If a meteor interrupted a million years of this silent solace, the noise it produced may be the first but they would certainly exist.
The same analogy might be true of gravity. Suppose that gravity exists separate from mass. That it, like time, is an equally distributed force that flows across our universe. An undetectable force of it’s own because it generates no signature until particle mass is introduced onto the scene. Then rather than detecting gravity, we detect the disturbance it creates, the gravity well that curves space-time and creates an attraction/repulsion. The larger the mass, the larger the well, the larger the gravitational force.

Click here for the next section of the TGIF theory

TGIF Part 7: The Three Genies

The Kovachi Temporal Gravitational Interlacing Force (TGIF)Grand Unification Theory
TGIF Part 7: The Three Genies

Kovachi concluded that time, energy, and gravity are the three building block elements of the universe and energy is created through the combined force of the other two. Let's examine that by looking at the mother of all gravity wells: black holes. Some modern theories that warp the gravitational constant through branes or create higher dimensions to resolve gravity’s anomalies, negate the mathematical need for the black hole. In some ways it’s trading one metaphor for another. However, in the Kovachi model the black hole is the crucible of matter. In fact, the big bang was a black hole. If we suppose that all that existed in the beginning was time and gravity, where does matter come from?
As expressed earlier, Kovachi proposed that time is in fact the fundamental particle. The vibration itself is what makes up energy and therefore mass. The higher the cycle of energy, the greater the mass. So the universe starts with one single vibration of infinite energy and infinite time creating infinite gravity which expresses itself as infinite density. This is what makes up all black holes, but the original one, the big bang, began with a single vibration.

Click here to read the next section of the TGIF theory

TGIF Part 8: The Big Bang

The Kovachi Temporal Gravitational Interlacing Force (TGIF)Grand Unification Theory
Part 8: The Big Bang

Expressing the singularity as a vibration also helps answer a few other conundrums. For instance, what caused this infinitesimal nugget of a universe to become unstable in the first place and explode it’s goodies to create space, matter, and ultimately us? Observational physics informs us that we know everything back to the first microseconds but can't see the original moment. Or do we? We can’t compress time and space and energy all into that tiny place without leaving ourselves open to a million questions.
However, if we suppose that those ‘microseconds’ were in fact millennium or billions of years on a compressed time scale because, as relativity demonstrates, the faster we go, the slower the observed time, and the more compressed space becomes, that makes the bang inevitable. Assume for a moment that there is no objective speed of light, then it is subject to the velocity context it exists in. The same goes for time, because as velocity increases, time decreases. Is there really a T=0? That only supposes that the original bang is ‘ground zero’ giving T a value of 0. But relativity does not teach us there is a bottom or a top. So we have velocity of our vibration increasing, time slowing and density (gravity) going through the roof. A volatile cocktail that has to reach a tipping point and explode.
Remember that density in this case is a manifestation of gravity, not the other way round. Gravity itself is a relative constant tied to the vibration of time. In fact, if we take our quantum equations as predicted down to the planck scale, we get a very different response from gravity than we do on a general relativity scale. A more consistent and controlled response because the vibrations create the density/gravity. We only recognize gravity as a weak force in the greater universe because we assume that it should respond more uniformly as it does on a quantum scale. But the fact that it has incredible reach through what can be fundamentally considered empty space indicates that the planck scale time/gravity vibration preexists matter. In some way, we could consider that each particle/vibration of time is a mini gravity well or black hole, an ‘event’ which could be called ‘a particle of time’ that connects to other events and makes up the fabric of space.

Click here to read the next section of the TGIF theory

TGIF Part 9: Conclusions Anyone?

Part 9: Conclusion.

This model also answers the question of how do you pack all of existing matter into a dense singularity that occupies no space. The single vibration that encapsulates all of time doesn’t require all of matter to exist at that moment. Time creates matter. Time plus gravity is matter. After the Big banged the vibrations slowed, time sped up, and the universe cooled. Slower vibrating time particles form quarks, hadrons, muons that carry the nuclear and electromagnetic force signatures which then collaborate into electrons, neutrons and unstable hydrogen atoms.
And the rest, as they say, is history.

Click here to go back to the beginning of the TGIF theory

Monday, January 4, 2010

Top 10 SF Movies Of All Time - My Pick

Since everyone's doing their top 10 this time of the year and we're talking about the demise of SF, I'm going to list a few real juicy films that deliver on all fronts. These are stories and ideas worth emulating in books and movies. They all include: strong story all the way through, consistent universe that's true to itself, original ideas and delivery, good characters and character interaction, and always worth a rewatch.

Okay, in no particular order:

Dark City.
Maybe an all time fave. Hard to commit in such good company. Dark, unassuming and full of original creepy stuff.

The Matrix. (First movie only)
Contender for all time best. Has it all: Originality, hero action, on the edge SF. A bit too many bullets maybe but....

The Day The Earth Stood Still.
Gort Rules. Michael Rennie as Klaatu nails the cold war alien.

2001:A Space Odyssey & 2010.
While very different, both films create aliens we can't understand and pit man against himself while trying to understand them.

Star Wars (Episodes IV, V, VI)
The Skywalker trilogy was brilliant then and brilliant now.

Independence Day.
Love the retake on War of the Worlds with a 'virus' killing the aliens who just don't care who we are.

The Abyss.
Another great alien that is beyond our comprehension. Well told tale.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
Sure, you need T1 for backstory but this one is the balls for great action SF with cyclical story.

Different kind of SF. Too close to reality. Sharp as a razor.

Red Planet.
With the exception of the robot cat, this is a great story of man vs. environment. No monsters, no evil genius, no insane computer. Just wits against the wild.

A couple of honorable mentions:
Planet of the Apes (1968), Sleeper, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, ET: The Extra-Terrestrial, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Bladerunner, The Handmaid's Tale, Galaxy Quest,
Alien, Forbidden Planet.

Stay tuned for top 10 novels...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Is Science Fiction Dying?

This blog entry is a response to the question: Is science fiction dying? The original question was posed on Mark Newton's blog with a long and very interesting discussion.

I find the bandwidth of this discussion fascinating because in the end no one made the definitive case for or against the question is SF dying. It all came down to opinion and how to interpret stats and trends. Whatever the state of affairs, I don’t want SF to die. I’ve only recently published and started on the road to finding readers and a voice in the fiction world. So I have a stake in keeping SF alive. Hell, I’ll give it mouth to mouth if that’s what it takes! I grew up on Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, etc. I went to the moon with Neil and Buzz in 69, I stared at the stars so hard every night that I can tell you where the constellations are during the day. “Why, oh, why,” I’ve cried, “didn’t ET land in my backyard!”

Here’s my take on the problem:

As has been said, technology is big, science isn’t. I believe the turning point was the advent of the calculator. Who needs to learn math when the machine will do it for you? Likewise, technology and special effects have made the reading and movie audience lazy. Star Wars supplanted Star Trek with battles and FX. Who needs to think and imagine when someone else will do the heavy lifting? So writing space opera and military SF became the cash cow and who can blame the writers who milk it. But it put us question posers and science thinkers in the back seat as writers and readers.

On the sexism issue, in the heyday of classic SF, Rocket Jockeys, along with everyone else in the world, were all men. Women were meant to be by their side, like Maureen Robinson in Lost In Space. Most male writers at the time couldn’t imagine it differently. Sally Ride, Desert Storm, and Hillary Clinton has put self assured women who don’t behave like men in politics, space and battle. But while the world has changed, much of SF hasn’t.

As far as waiting for the next voice in the genre, we shouldn’t hold our breath if Mark’s comments about finding publishers to push the genre for us holds any water. Which I believe it does. Publishers print books to sell. They can’t print books that are ‘good for the genre’. The marketplace is too tough for that. From what I understand, 90% of books published in a given house are held up by the 10% of writers who actually turn a profit for them. That translates to a lot of risk for publishers trying like crazy to find the next big thing to sustain themselves on before one of their current wells go dry.

So where does that leave us writers? Let’s see... we need to excite the audience with some action, include science without boring them, create complex women characters so that we can attract complex women readers. Anything else? Oh yes, and fit it into a cross over space where fantasy readers can dig it, too.

Not a small order. Since no one in this discussion actually offered solutions, let me be the first to stick my neck out to fellow, and successful, writers on where I think we can help make it work:

Science is exciting. It shouldn’t have to sell itself. But we have to sell it the way it excited us in the first place. Remember the epiphany you had when SF first spoke to you? That’s what you want to give your readers. Take small bites. don’t over explain. You can’t bring a new reader in to quantum gravity by discussing MOG theory compared to Dark Matter. Create someone in the story who is as confused as the reader, someone who can share the frustration, someone who is overwhelmed and needs to be brought along.
Another great ally is humor. Laugh at how bizarre it all seems that this science stuff is baffling.
Have characters explain some stuff while involved in other drama. If you stop the story to give a lecture, it’s time to zip up the body bag - you’re dead.

Women. Women are the same...only different. For male writers to write female characters we have to be careful not to just plug our own stereotypes into them. The ‘same’ part is that women are jealous, angry, loving, stupid and physically challenged by a brain in a frail body just like men. For storytelling the ‘different’ part is that many women solve problems from a different perspective. This is one place where many SF (and other genre) female characters break down. No matter if we’re writing about drama or relationships, or combat many male writers just put a woman’s name on their male character. We’ve heard it often said that ‘women like to read more relationship and emotional conflict driven stories’, not so much on the guns ‘a blazin’. So creating females that jock up their gritted pearly whites while they pull back the bolt on that blast action murdalizer only take our girl readership so far. Those ladies exist, but not in high numbers.

When it comes to conflict resolution, women might prefer cunning, dealing, compromise, and leadership, over bullets and battle. Use science to help them find these kinds of conflict resolution. Allow female characters to be resourceful as well as smart. Create a different frontier for plot resolution than you might consider for a man.

My first stab at a female lead was in a first person narrative. I made it work by allowing her to be vulnerable but not stupid. She learned from her hard knocks and took on the conflict through teamwork and understanding. Not the first tools most male heroes would reach for. She didn’t understand the science needed to overcome obstacles, but she learned to rely on those who did.

If you’ve read this far, well, I hope it helps. Personally, I believe that dark matter, higher dimensions, and other quantum concepts are exciting and I want to share them with readers. However, as I’m sure many of you have found, when you talk to friends about these concepts, their eyes glaze over. At the same time they become instantly impressed that I understand such ‘advanced’ concepts and they wish they knew more. That belies a serious curiosity about quantum concepts amongst the reading population. They’d like to understand, just don’t feel they can.

There’s our challenge: how to make science accessible so the audience is brought along with our imagination while the story keeps their eye somewhere else, like a good magic trick. It’s a delicate balance but I firmly believe that the writers who can pull it off, will create the next SF Harry Potter or Buffy series.