Education in Gramatia

After Emperor Pimpèl founded the Gramatian state, he also introduced compulsory education and military conscription for all citizens. That both education and military service were (and still are, even twenty-five centuries later) mandatory, is no coincidence. Just one look at the traditional Gramatian school curriculum reveals their relation:

  • reading and writing
  • arithmetics
  • geometry
  • logic and grammar
  • equestarianism
  • archery (girls) / swordsmanship (boys)
  • Takamu (a strategic board game, similar to chess)

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The Wet Frontier

Oceans cover two-thirds of the surface area of our blue planet. So it is not really surprising that people are looking to the seas to solve the problems caused by a growing world population. Continue reading →

Airships

With increasing fuel costs as a result of the depletion of cheap oil and the abundance of helium as by-product of fusion power, I can easily imagine that airships will make a comeback in the second half of this century. At least Lockheed Martin has some serious designs of the next generation of airships.

 

Etiquette in Gramatia

Terrestrials who visit Gramatia will be heavily surprised with the complex rules of Gramatian etiquette. At first glance an Earth-born person might think Gramatian have no etiquette at all, but that would be plain wrong. Here a quick summary of the most important aspects of etiquette in the Commonwealth of the Gramatian Union. Continue reading →

Is the singularity right around the corner?

This excellent post illustrates why I don’t talk about “technological singularity” in any of my SF stories.

SelfAwarePatterns

Schematic Timeline of Information and Replicators in the Biosphere: major evolutionary transitions in information processing. Image credit: Myworkforwiki via Wikipedia

You’ve probably heard the narrative before.  At some point, we will invent an artificial intelligence that is more intelligent than we are.  The superhuman intelligence will then have the capability to either build an improved version of itself, or engineer upgrades that improve its own intelligence.  This will set off a process where the system upgrades itself, with its greater intelligence come up with new ways to enhance itself, and then upgrade itself again, looping in a rapid runaway process, producing an intelligence explosion.

Given that we only have human level intelligence, we have no ability to predict what happens next.  Which is why Vernor Vinge coined the phrase “the technological singularity” in 1993.  The “singularity” part of the label refers to singularities that exist in math and science, points at which existing theories or frameworks break down.  Vinge predicted that this would happen “within…

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Lunar radio-observatory (Updates)

I have added a new part to my ongoing story “The Lunar Radio-Observatory” on Wattpad. Please, check it out. For those unfamiliar to the story, here a short intro:

Fifty years have passed since humans returned to the Moon, when a scientist arrives on the Far Side of Earth’s only natural satellite. Though formally sent to head a scientific mission located at the Lunar Radio Observatory, his real mission is to lead an investigation in regard of establishing a second radio telescope of the Far Side.

However, the Moon is not only interesting for scientists but also for project developers. And as a four-decade-old arrangement banning tourist resorts on the Far Side is about to lapse, these project developers are eager to build a new hotel there. This brings the scientists on a collision course with the project developers.

In this story we follow both sides of the “debate”, the scientists and the project developers. In addition the Moon has become the object of a political dispute between Earths and Space settlers.

Characters: motives and actions

Reason is, and only ought to be the slave of the passions – David Hume.

Though one can disagree with Hume’s position on reason and passion (desire), this quote does, however, describe how I perceive characters in my work.

In my stories I seek to build the plot around characters who have rational plans to achieve their personal aims, which are based on their passions or desires. Clashes between characters, however, arise from the fact that different persons have conflicting passions.

And to lesser extent tension is also caused by the fact characters have only incomplete or even false information, causing them to make mistakes in the pursuit of their ends. False information, of course, might be supplied by those with different aims in order to manipulate the actions of other people.

On a deeper level, a single character might even have conflicting passions, causing internal conflict. For instance, an abolitionist may be in love with a slave owner despite her desire to abolish slavery. Or a person has to choose between two or more ends, because they cannot be achieved together.

As a related issue I like to explore how society and technological progress affects how we choose our aims. What I mean certain developments might make our aims obsolete or creates entirely new desires. And social expectations might drive human and other sentient beings to act differently than how they would act without such pressure.

Finally, over the course a characters life he or she might change his or her passions, desires and aims as the result of increased knowledge and life experience.

Getting married in Elynesia

In order to have your marriage to be legally recognized by the Elynesian authorities you have to marry in a civil ceremony at either a city hall in Elynesia or at an Elynesian embassy or consulate (if one or both prospective spouses live abroad). Continue reading →

What’s next after IBM acquires Red Hat?

Recently news broke that IBM has bought Red Hat for the enormous sum of 34 billion USD. For starters, Red Hat is the company behind Red Hat Enterprise Linux, a Linux distribution aimed, as the name suggests, for use it the enterprise environment.

However, Red Hat is not the only FOSS company to have been acquired recently and the article above in the link notes that the only major independent commercial vendor of Linux is Canonical, the developer of Ubuntu. The article’s author suggests that this business might be acquired by Microsoft. Continue reading →

Short notice

I have recently accepted an offer for a full time day job, which means that I will be from home most of the time. And since I intend to spend my scarce spare time on working on my book, I will give lower priority to this site.