The Scribe’s Banishment – to Ventura Beach Ca.

Standard
Scribe's Lament

Scribe’s Lament

I found that I had to leave my village and seek enlightenment elsewhere. I have been capturing the lives of alien creatures, which I see in my dreams, and sharing them with my tribe. I have worked hard to place those vivid images on paper. I wore my quill to the nub while I used my pen to paint the amazing pictures that I saw.

I must take my aluminum dwelling to the great sea. I must take my visions away from my village and seek the power of the sea god Ventura-Beach. I must make the sacrifice of separating myself from the other villagers and perhaps containers of fermented berry juice will allow my humble musings to appear, once again, on paper.

The sacrifice is difficult; I must face the heat of the 75-degree sun. I must work in its glare and I must endure the rhythmic pounding of the waves. I must do these things for my craft. I must resist the heat of the campfire, I must survive the consumption many foods. I do all of this so that power will return to my pen.

In my disappointment, I find that the wondrous prose that I penned yesterday now appears written in some foreign language; perhaps Klingon and I must edit more to return it to the beauty it had when I laid it on paper. Alas, my beach god is weak today and I must consume more fermented juice. Perhaps the other scribes whom I share this craft with, will find strength in their Ice, Snow and Wind gods.

May amazing images flow from their pens?

I must find the strength for my tribe; I must endure.

Ray Jay Perreault

https://rayjayperreault.wordpress.com

Advertisements

Moon Colonization

Standard

Moon Colonization

http://www.space.com/21588-how-moon-base-lunar-colony-works-infographic.html

This is a great article on moon colonization. It covers the reasons why a moon base can make sense and it is technically feasible. Surprisingly the moon provides most of the necessities to support life; except of course food. Surprisingly the soil is 42% oxygen.

Aside from materials to make rocket fuel the moon has a high concentration of Helium-3 which is a good source of fuel for nuclear fusion. H-3 is a non-radioactive fuel which could be a great long term reactor fuel source.

The materials mined on the moon would be sent into orbit using a dual rail system which fires the materials off a track a couple of mile long. Instead of rockets, electrical energy is used to accelerate the mass.

I’m pointing this out, because this is precisely how my moon base is described in my SIMPOC series. The only major different is, my moon colony named Desert Beach has to be abandoned because 99.9997 % of the people on Earth are wiped out by a suspicious virus and the astronauts on the moon have to use their lifeboats to get home.

Incidentally the first book in the series is FREE.

 

Ray Jay Perreault

https://rayjayperreault.wordpress.com

Pilot ‘Hours’ vs ‘Experience’ – ‘Wind the Clock’

Standard

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/airasia-plane-crash/airasia-flight-8501s-tail-section-found-divers-java-sea-n281171

Let me ask a question I hope will stir up some debate. “Is a pilot with 10,000 hours in the cockpit ‘experienced?’

Put it another way does the fact that a person sat in a cockpit for a long period of time ‘operating’ the airplane have a life of experience where they would be considered an ‘old timer’; somebody who knows the ins and outs of flying and every situation they might face. I get frustrated with the news media (that’s a flash!) when they say a pilot is ‘experienced when they have XX hours.

Before we go too far let me defend myself. I started flying out of a sand pit when I was 15 years old. I flew C-130’s to 27 countries around the world and I instructed Air Force pilots for 5 years. After that I worked as an aerospace engineer and I got my Air Transport Pilot License (Qualified to fly airliners) and I got a type rating in 727’s (one of the old airliners). I’ve seen just about everything in the air and survived it.

Sitting in a cockpit doesn’t in itself increase the experience of a pilot. Flying takes many skills, of course operating the systems is a big part, but they are not the entire skill set needed. When I was instructing in the Air Force, command was going through a phase where every in-flight emergency had to be coordinated with ‘experts’ on the ground. The pilot ‘operated’ the airplane but anything else needed input from the ground. It took a while but the Air Force realized they were creating ‘airplane operators’ not ‘command pilots’. I was fortunate and during my time as a flight instructor we focused on teaching pilots how to think not just fly.

When I hear about an airline crash and the pilot is ‘experienced’ I wonder about the breath of that term. There have been a couple of crashes lately including Asiana 214 where the pilots had thousands of hours of experience but they didn’t ‘feel’ the airplane. Feeling the airplane is where a pilot senses what it is doing, why it is doing it, and how it is doing it. It’s more than just looking at the instruments. When a pilot just reads the gauges, they might miss one of them and they don’t know what is going on. If a pilot feels the airplane they know what gauges tell them important information and which ones don’t.

One of my mantra’s while instructing was the question ‘what is the first thing you do in an emergency?’. The answer is not jump in checklist, the correct answer is ‘wind the clock’. Take a minute make sure you know what is happening and take the appropriate steps when you understand the emergency. Pilots who read the instruments tend to jump into the check list and start flipping switches without fully understanding the problem. This can happen with 10,000 hours of time and it can happen with 5 hours of time. The difference is a state of mind.

Of course I don’t know what has happened with AirAsia 8501. I’m not implying they weren’t the best possible pilots. I am pointing out that sitting in a simulator and flying a plane for thousands of hours is more complex than building ‘seat time’. I suspect airlines fight with this problem, because teaching a pilot to ‘think’ is expensive. Its much easier to run them through the 200 scenarios in the sim and anoint them qualified.

I hope there is a bunch of ‘old timers’ out there that understand what I’m saying.

Just the musings of an ‘old instructor pilot

 

Ray Jay Perreault

http://rayjayperreault.wordpress.

Does Sharknado 2 fall into my definition of Sci-fi?

Standard

Sharknado 2

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3062074/

Following my new rating system I give Sharknado 2, 2 buckets of popcorn and 2 bottles of wine.

(0 Bucket of Popcorn – Great; too busy to eat! – 3 Buckets terrible – nothing else to do)

(0 Bottles of Wine – Great; too exciting to drink. 3 Bottles – nothing else to do)

 

I couldn’t, in all good conscience, talk about which movies help define my Sci-Fi perspective without talking about Sharknado 2.

Yes, to some it could be considered Sci-Fi and to others, it falls ‘into another category.’

To me it falls ‘into another category’. Even though I enjoyed the movie, it is too commercial and too self-deprecating to fall neatly into the Sci-Fi genre.

After seeing Sharknado 1, and enjoying it, I looked forward (a little) for Sharknado 2. I found the first one by accident before it became a cult explosion. My wife and I immediately knew there would be a 2 and sure enough there was. Hollywood would never miss the chance to make money of a crazy story line.

This movie didn’t fall within my definition of Sci-Fi because it didn’t try to be Sci-Fi. Its only purpose was to carry the silly story one step further and entertain us with a crazy movie. Sci-Fi in my world has a message, aside from just creating a quick knock-off to make money. Good Sci-Fi takes some element of human nature, science and fiction and shows us something different. To me Sharknado 2 didn’t fit this bill.

I did enjoy it and I’m amazed how a small bomb will break down a tornado. Amazing….

Ray Jay Perreault

https://rayjayperreault.wordpress.com

How movies define Sci-Fi

Standard

How movies define Sci-Fi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_of_the_Lepus

Over the holiday break I was fortunate to see two pieces of Sci-Fi which I feel helps to define the genre.

The first piece is the classic “To Serve Man” from the Twilight Zone series. It is one of those subtle stories that has aliens and the ending sneaks up on the viewer. It is truly a classic and anyone who enjoys Sci-Fi or writes Sci-Fi has to watch this episode and of course the remainder of the Twilight Zone and Outer Limits series.

The other piece I saw was a classic also. I must admit though I’m not sure what the word ‘classic’ means in this case. This piece is “Night of the Lepus”. You may wonder why I’m referencing this movie, but after you see it and you stop laughing I think you’ll realize how it helps to define Sci-Fi.

The movie is horrible, it has bad acting, bad directing, and lastly the special effects are out of the local grammar school. But, still there is something about it that helps me, in my mind, to understand why I like Sci-Fi.

The beauty of Sci-Fi is that is has room for this type of entertainment. The movie provides entertainment and is best viewed after the second bottle of wine. The ending is imaginative although totally against the laws of physics but that is why it has a cult following.

Maybe I’ll start a Sci-Fi movie rating system. Instead of the “Thumbs up/Thumbs down” rating by Siskel and Ebert, I’ll have 1-3 buckets of popcorn, 0 being poor Sci-Fi, 3 being great Sci-Fi. Then I’ll have 1-3 bottles of wine; 0 fantastic (too excited to imbibe) and 3 would too bad not to drink.

Obviously I’ll have to work on this system a little; maybe another bottle of wine will help.

Ray Jay Perreault

https://rayjayperreault.wordpress.com

Answers to Fermi’s Paradox

Standard

11 of the Weirdest Solutions to the Fermi Paradox

http://io9.com/11-of-the-weirdest-solutions-to-the-fermi-paradox-456850746

Here is an interesting addition to the discussion on Fermi’s paradox. These are all logical reasons why the paradox might not be valid, but I have my own opinions.

One major one missed, in my opinion, is social entropy. Social entropy is the natural energy level of society to decay over time. You can see examples of it in the Roman Empire and in some large corporations. Over time societies decay because of a couple of factors. One is span of control. One government can’t control an infinite number of individuals. The larger the number, the weaker the influence. Extrapolate that over billions of individuals, a large number of planets or great distances and the society loses its focus and wonders.

The giant advanced populations that are discussed, I think, reach a practical limit and once reached they decay. Who would care about some leader who is light years away and whose life is totally different? Once the point of decay is reached, technology loses much of its impact and meeting the needs of daily life dominate.

Another item, I think they miss, is the assumption that all creatures explore. Exploration might be a characteristic for only us. We are the product of an evolution where survival of the fittest dominates. Without alpha predators to force evolution a species can remain very happy in its biological niche. There are many examples of this; sharks haven’t changed in 10 of millions of years. They were the alpha predator and had no need to change or explore.

In my recent book Gemini, I described a naive society that never had alpha predators and when faced with a survival situation they didn’t know how to react. They were happy in their world and didn’t feel a need to explore. They had what they needed and there wasn’t any pressure to expand.

In my opinion societies may not feel the pressure to explore the entire universe and if they did they might find limits on their breath and depth which they can’t deal with. Assuming some race of aliens will dominate all of existence is like assuming that crabgrass in your lawn, which you have fought for years, will take over the world.

Ray Jay Perreault

https://rayjayperreault.wordpress.com

Fermi’s pair of sox

Standard

The Fermi Paradox

http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/05/fermi-paradox.html

If any of you have wondered why we haven’t heard from another intelligent life form, this article is an excellent summary of the Fermi Paradox.

This whole thing intrigues me along with just about everyone else in the world. If there are as many habitable worlds as current research indicates why we haven’t been contacted by them. The story doesn’t make sense, there are billions of habitable planets in our galaxy and even if a small percentage of them have intelligent life why hasn’t one of them dropped us line?

What is your favorite reason in favor of Fermi or rejecting it?

My favorite is using┬áradio signals as the benchmark of intelligence. The span of time intelligent life uses giant amounts of power transmitting information in every direction must be short. That along with the very narrow sliver of time that we’ve been transmitting and receiving make our chances of finding anything almost impossible.

If any of you fellow Sci-Fi authors (or readers) haven’t looked over Fermi’s musings you must, there is a lot of thought and interesting points made.

I’m following this blog with another that has 11 of the weirdest explanations for Femi’s paradox, which also make for interesting reading.

Ray Jay Perreault

https://rayjayperreault.wordpress.com