Little islands of life

I like to take breaks at work to walk around and think, but it was raining so I walked around in the parking garage. With springtime arriving, the spiders are out in force, and I noticed that nearly every overhead light I walked under was surrounded and covered in spiderwebs, with multiple spiders clearly visible–a few I even saw in the process of building. These were not dead webs piled up over time, but new arrivals, and all of them centered on light sources that would draw insects into those webs.

How could these spiders know to build their webs around the lights? Light sources other than the sun like that are a new invention that the spiders could not have yet adapted to…

But of course, it’s not the light attracting the spiders. Instead it’s the same thing that draws them into your house in the winter: the heat.  Each light fixture is a hospitable planet in the cold emptiness of space.

Temperature differences are often a focal point of life. Life on earth is thought to have started at thermal vents in the deep ocean, those cracks of heat in the icy depths…

I wonder, if life capable of interstellar travel exists in the universe, whether it would even bother dealing with planets. Would they not go straight for the greatest temperature difference of all, that of stars and space? Maybe the alien life we’re looking for is orbiting our sun, and soaking up endless energy, instead of bothering with little, cold, rocky us.

 

 

 

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The planets: a collection

I’ve written a story inspired by the moon, for possible use at Lucent Dreaming, and am going to continue that route and write 6 more stories, inspired by the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

I’m not sure where these will all end up, but if they all turn out good there may be a collection in the works!

our world is just vibrations

What is light? It brings us information but is itself insubstantial. Sound is has no mass, or weight. Light and sound aren’t objects or material in themselves, only energy… motion… but they seem to be most of what our human experience is made of.

Someone or something that knew how to manipulate light and sound could alter our whole world without us ever knowing…

Other worlds

A visitor from outside our solar system is flying by, and while the odds of it being something sent by alien intelligence, it is still quite exciting to think something from another star, another part of our galaxy, is coming close enough for us to get a good look at.

I can’t help but imagine how the world would react if it turned out this was something of intelligent origins… something built. Would people be excited? Scared? In denial? All of the above? Would it draw us together as a species knowing we have more in common with each other than whatever beings sent it? Or would we just find more ways to be divided over it?

I hope one day to find out…

The Orville, Episode 9

In another somewhat dull episode of The Orville, all the crew members fall in love with each other. This one was more focused on humor and relationship stuff than real adventure or thoughtful things.

The blue alien that Kelly cheated on Ed with ends up on the ship as a forensic archaeologist, to determine which of two warring species has a true ancestral claim to a contested planet. While he’s on the ship, his hormones cause anyone he touches to fall in love with him–or anyone else he’s touched.

It was fun seeing Captain Mercer go all gaga for the guy he hated just moments ago, and the slime blob sex scene was interesting/messed up. But, there wasn’t much thought provoking–and yes I know it’s a comedy show, but it’s gotten its self a reputation to upkeep in my eyes!

Using the love pheramones to resolve the thousands of years old dispute was obvious and also silly. Though it was humorous seeing those two previously enraged enemies holding hands and googoo eyeing like teenage lovers, in reality after a few days when it wears off they’ll be even more pissed at each-other that it happened at all.

Still better than Discovery, though.

The Orville: Episode 8, into the fold

In the first really boring episode of the series, Dr. Claire and her two sons attempt to go on vacation, but are instead sucked into a fold in space and shot out a thousand lightyears away, and crash land on an alien planet.

It sounds interesting in principle, but instead it’s just endless bickering children and diseased cannibals.

I guess the ‘moral’ of the episode is you should appreciate your parents and how much they care for you. But it is shown in a really dull way.

The kids are separated from Dr. Claire, and have to be taken care of by Isaac, who with his robot ignorance, shows us what parent/child relationships are like by asking very blunt questions like ‘why are you such little shitstains to your mom’, to paraphrase.

In the end the kids feel bad and apologize for being jerks.

Also Dr. Claire is locked up by a survivalist alien who tries to feed her, but won’t let her go outside because of the poison water and hoards of diseased that will try to kill and eat her. To repay him for his kindness, she tricks him into going to her ship to search for medicine (which he does, because he is worried she will die) then when he gets back she kills him. How kind.

On the plus side this episode was real light on the stupid humor.

The Orville, episode 7, Nosedive

Oh, sorry, Nosedive is actually the title of the black mirror episode the writers were copying inspired by.

On this week’s episode of The Orville, the crew goes to a planet which, through paralell evolution, is somehow exactly like 21st century Earth, except a bit different. Okay… that is a bit silly… well, a LOT silly, but I’ll go along with it. The over-abundance of knowledge and care that these characters have for 21st century north america (not 20th or 22nd or any of the other surrounding centuries or other areas and cultures, just 21st century western world…) is possibly only irritating to me… but, what the hey, it’s a comedy show.

The crew stop by this planet searching for some missing anthropologists who have blended in to the society in order to observe it. The society, we quickly  find, is exactly like the dark future of that one black mirror episode, and everything is ruled by social media. This one is a bit more intense, in that there are no laws or anything, other than voting. It is a complete democracy. So, not only was this a riff on ‘social justice’ but on democracies imperfections.

The ideas were interesting, but the execution left me a bit confused. Even though the anthropologists have been learning about this society for years, supposedly, the crew goes down and tries to fit in without even 5 minutes of research. They don’t have their badges that literally everyone wears, they don’t understand money, they don’t understand how anything on the planet works–which, I get it, is a narrative function so the writers can easily explain to the viewer how things work through the character’s ignorance–but it’s dumb, REALLY dumb, for a science ship who’s one job is to explore new worlds, to have no idea what they are blissfully floating down into.

So, because of this lack of research (and common sense, or any kind of awareness that they are in a place that is not their home) John Lamar humps a statue of a respected founder, someone films it, puts it on the internet, and people start downvoting him.

Only problem is, when you reach 10  million downvotes, you are ‘corrected’ ie, lobotomized.

So, John has to go on an ‘apology tour’ to try to get people to stop downvoting him. He is a complete ass though, and can not even pretend to care about anything that is going on, and just gets mad at the situation. (also earlier got mad because the guy who’s trying to help him won’t explain what things like an ‘apology tour’ are… imagine someone asking “What is a crime? What’s jail?” Of course you’d think they are insane…)

Anyway, at the last minute the crew on the Orville manipulates the ‘main feed’ with videos of John playing with dogs and doing other nice things, and he doesn’t get enough votes to be killed.

At the end of the episode, we see the character from Black Mirror planet, who helped the crew save John, back in her own house watching the Main Feed where the latest person of interest is being interviewed. She reaches for the downvote button, but then instead turns off the tv… Okay.

So, it seems the message here is… don’t be a part of social media? I was expecting her to instead hit the upvote button, as a way to end the cycle of negativity and harassment of people who did something as simple as not getting up for a pregnant woman they didn’t see standing behind them on the bus. But, no, the message is ‘social media bad.’ Or possibly ‘voting bad.’

I think the real message we should take away from this episode, is that blundering into a society you have no idea about and expecting everyone to accommodate your ignorance with out consequence when you start pissing on people’s beliefs, traditions, and way of life is the actual bad thing here.

At least a thought provoking episode though!