The Wonderful World Of Science

dimesion.jpgWe live in a wonderful scientific age.  In our time, the selective use of science can prove — or disprove — anything we like.  For example, did you know we live right next door to a parallel universe?  We do.  Now, I’m not one of the tinfoil hat brigade.  Nor do I hear voices from across the ether.  What I do have is some pretty compelling evidence that we are not alone in a uni-dimensional universe.  And with a little scientific analysis and some 21st century logic, we can see just how dangerous these beings from “the other side” are.  Let’s look at the facts.

The Socks In The Dryer Conundrum
Evidence — How many time have you put a load of laundry into the dryer, gone back an hour later and discovered you suddenly have a odd number of socks?  It happens all the time — right?  Plus, and this is the weird bit, it’s never bed sheets, blue jeans or pajamas that disappear — only socks.  Clearly, we don’t think the dryer ate the missing socks — that would be stupid — but something did happen here.
Analysis — The only logical explanation is the spinning dryer must create a vortex that allows beings from another dimension to travel here and steal our socks.
Conclusion — These extra-dimensional beings have no regard for the human concept of private property; they’re totally dishonest and they can’t be trusted.  Also, since we know socks come in pairs, they’re probably stealing individual socks for their third foot.  Therefore, we can logically conclude they must have three legs.

The Where Did My Stuff Go? Mystery
Evidence — How many times have you reached for your key, your gloves, your telephone, etc. and discovered the item is missing?  You check all the places it could be, retrace your steps, search the house, the office, the car and still can’t find it.  Then, suddenly, the item reappears in the most unlikely spot.  Clearly, we don’t think the item moved itself — that would be stupid — but something did happen here.
Analysis — Since we already know beings from the other dimension are capable of inter-dimensional travel (see #1) we can assume that, once again, they are stealing our stuff.  However, why are they giving it back?  Obviously, unlike the socks, they neither need nor want our personal items.
Conclusion — Extra-dimensional beings are taking our things away for analysis and then returning them when they’ve collected the information they need.  This is pure intelligence gathering.  They want to know all about us so they can find our weaknesses.  And since they don’t keep things like key fobs and smart phones, we can logically conclude they are more technologically advanced than we are.  Plus, since we never see the theft (and these beings aren’t — uh — invisible, LOL) we can deduce that they must be extremely fast, which is corroborated by the fact that they have three legs.

But here’s the proof that seals the deal:

The Extra Stuff Enigma
Evidence — How many times have you been looking through a drawer or cupboard and found an electronic cord that doesn’t fit anything, a key without a lock, a lock without a key, plastic container lids that don’t fit any containers, breath mints in the bottom of your pocket, a single battery, pens, pennies, paperclips, the list goes on and on.  We all have this kinda stuff kickin’ around and have no idea where it came from.  Clearly, we don’t think these items just appeared by magic — that would be stupid — but something did happen here.
Analysis — Extra-dimensional beings are not only stealing things from us but also leaving things behind.  This is the inter-dimensional equivalent of littering.
Conclusion — Inter-dimensional beings are throwing things out in our dimension because — in their own dimension — the garbage bins are full.  Since we already know their civilization is more advanced than ours (see #2) we can only assume that they have an even bigger waste management crisis than we do.

So let’s put it all together

Super Conclusion — Here are the facts.
1 — Three-legged beings in a parallel dimension are capable of inter-dimensional travel.
2 — They have a disregard for private property.
3 — They’re gathering intelligence to discover our weaknesses.
4 — They’re in an environmental crisis.
The only logical conclusion we can come to is our world is being probed by extra-dimensional aliens who are about to invade us and use our planet as a gigantic garbage dump.

Thanks, science!  You’ve done it again!


afterwordsAFTER WORDS

This was the third night the lights had come flashing into the bedroom window.  Six of them — each with a separate rhythm.  It was like music shining through the night and the half-light city.

The first night, she’d woken her boyfriend to show him, but he’d hurmphed and wouldn’t get out of bed.  She told him about it in the morning, but he yeah, yeah, yeahed her and went to work.  On the second night, she didn’t even bother trying to wake him up and went outside instead.  The lights were over the garden, moving and twinkling like halogen fairies  She found herself tapping her bare foot in the grass and swaying her hips.  And then she was dancing with them.  She reached her hands up and they came down to her, just out of reach.  Were they singing?  Then they were gone.

Tonight, she was ready.  She waited like child-time Christmas, too excited to sleep.  And there they were.  She went outside and, laughing, pointed the flashlight into the sky, clicking it on and off to a nursery rhyme rhythm.  The lights stopped twinkling and shone directly at her.  There was a tiny hum.  Sara thought she was thirsty.  It was the last thought on Earth as the Athorians reversed the electrical charge on hydrogen and instantly dehydrated the entire planet into dust.  Moving through the drifting leftover cloud to avoid the Moon careening towards the Sun, they wondered why such a primitive species as humans would suddenly declare war on them — for no apparent reason.


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Ray Bradbury and Me

I’m not a big science fiction fan, but I stopped for a moment the other day when Ray Bradbury passed away — as we all do when we lose parts of our youth.  Honestly, I didn’t know he was still alive.  I thought he was like the rest of them — Heinlein, Asimov and Arthur Clarke — dead and gone.  These writers were the much-discussed trio of dire warnings from my high school and university days.  There isn’t a nerd over fifty who doesn’t know that HAL, the renegade computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey, is only one letter off IBM or Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics – in order.  (They’re more than willing to remind you of both, at every opportunity.)  Oddly enough, though, it was Bradbury who made the biggest impression on me — even though Heinlein’s Glory Road is my favourite science fiction tale ever.

Like most non science fiction readers of my generation, I never actually read much Bradbury.  He was around, but most people didn’t take him that seriously.  Basically, the guy was considered all rayguns and rocket ships.  However, this all changed one evening in 1967 when, in a blast of utter irony, Francois Truffaut’s adaptation of Fahrenheit 451 hit the big screen.  The movie was almost universally panned at the time, but the cult film world and academia jumped all over the Bradbury bandwagon.  Forgotten 50s sci-fi rolled back into the independent movie houses, and people looked longingly over their shoulders at television’s Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone.  Practically overnight, Bradbury joined the big three futurecasters as another oracle warning us about our perilous ways.  In fact, some critics even spoke about the ABCs of science fiction (Asimov, BRADBURY and Clarke) leaving Heinlein out there to fend for himself.  As an author, Bradbury’s reputation was made — even though most people outside the science fiction community hadn’t actually read any of his stories.  Even today, many people are unaware that there are significant differences between the Fahrenheit 451 narrative they think they know; the movie they half remember and the novel they never read.  Regardless, Fahrenheit 451 is an astounding bit of fiction that is now part of our cultural fabric.  As with every other dystopian big hitter — Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World, for example — everybody knows the basic tale, even though they may not have gone cover-to-cover with the author.

I’m very much a creature of my generation, so Bradbury’s influence on me started with Truffaut’s movie.  It was the first starkly serious film I ever saw; before that it was all James Bond and John Wayne.  I’ve got nothing against those guys, even now, but I realized with Fahrenheit 451 that sometimes it’s not just about cinemagraphic popcorn and soda pop.

In 1967, Montag’s futuristic world was not so physically different from my own.  (Truffaut filmed it at a British Housing Estate.)  It wasn’t Star Trek fantasy; just a glimpse into the future; the near future; perhaps even my future.   I could see the tentative thread that held Montag to his society and the embryonic rebellion against what for me (when you’re a teenager, it’s always about you) was the Wilderness of Lies the characterized the 60s-going-on-70s.  I remember the sad anger I felt that people could be so governed by their own ignorance.  And I remember leaving the theatre determined to keep that anger intact – and do something about it.  It sounds adolescent and maudlin now, over forty years later, but I was an adolescent then, much influenced by my surroundings.  It was physically painful to watch the “Firemen” burn books.  (Actually, it still is.)

Eventually, Bradbury’s influence with me and my generation waned.  His books sat on the shelves or went to the yard sales, when Kurt Vonnegut took centre stage.  However, in the mid 1980s, Bradbury re-introduced himself to another generation with The Ray Bradbury Theatre.  New people, who weren’t even born when Fahrenheit 451 was published in 1953, took note of Bradbury’s stories and his characters.  Of course, no one (probably not even Bradbury himself) can escape the one incredible irony.  Most of the people lauding his literary achievements — and praising Fahrenheit 451 as a pivotal work of fiction – are familiar with his written work only because it was adapted to the visual media of film and television.