Chained Reality

Hyper-Contagious Brain Emissions from a Science Junkie.

Chained Reality immerses you in the world of Science and Philosophy. Taking a look at the world around you and seeking the questions we all want to ask, but may have been afraid to. Are you ready to seek answers you never knew were there?

Forming a System - Uncharted Territory Part Two

"Rig, how long until we have Warp?" Thankfully I managed to reprogram our ship's crystal generator to efficiently process Ley-Energy and also store more for emergency use. If I hadn't, I probably would haven't made it out of that last warp. I wonder how Douglas fared after that... Or was it Dokk? Man I can't even really tell anymore!

"Your adjustments have increased storage capacity and speed by fifty percent Rey. We now have a surplus of thirty percent when compared to our original capacity. Warp is ready at any time." I know how much I did... She likes to say things I already know a lot. "Thank you Rig. Let's hold off for now. Can you scan the installation again for any signs of life?" 

"The Pulsar's magnetic field is far too strong for our direct sensors to have any stronger effect on an integrated station. Perhaps the best way would be for me to tap into the Ley-Line directly and scan the facility using their own sensors. Will you authorize this course of action?" Oh boy. That's tricky. Last time someone let a Rig unit dive it gained sentient AI status. It kept speaking something of a presence in it's programming, something it hadn't ever known. 

The unfortunate part about it was that this Rig unit was military grade. It had been pre-programmed with a disposition for battle, which led the presence, or what it kept calling a ghost, to lead it towards a violent string of actions. It began to take battle tactics into it's own hands. At first the military was ecstatic. It had saved the war ship Sigdrifa from an enemy ambush by calculating the differences in already charted territory to minute details. I think it was something as simple as a can of paint misplaced in a settlement as it scanned the surface that tipped it off to the ambush.

"Umm... Let me think on this Rig. I do need to know though, what class AI are you?" Maybe a Rig that is designed for a research and exploration vessel will have a different disposition. "I am class Advanced for Exploration, class Basic for Military Support." The Odin protocol. I forgot. All non-civilian class ships with a Rig AI on board are mandated to have military support pre-programmed in with the unit.

"Rig, can you disable your military support protocols?" I doubt it. "No Rey, I am unable to comply with that request." Maybe I can disable it... "Alright Rig. I'm gonna have to think on this one. I doubt this installation will be going anywhere, but continue to monitor it and alert me if anything major changes." Although a research vessel couldn't cause nearly as much damage as a military war ship, I don't want to take the risk of it being able to make it's own choices. "Yes Ma'am."


Forming a System - Uncharted Territory

I've seen some cool stuff since I left the Doranian Nebula, but this is some seriously cool stuff. Through the ship's center control panel the view finder showed a bright orange nebula, just barely small enough in the view to see the whole thing. Within the center of the nebula, a star was pulsing brightly. "Rig, what am I looking at?" I may be a scientist, but Astrophysics wasn't really my strong suit. The only bit that I had learned was to understand the Gaiaforming Initiative, and that was with planet structure. Stars weren't on the curriculum. 

"It appears to be a relatively new born Pulsar within the nebula Rey. Dating shows an estimated thirty-four thousand years old, with a margin of error of two hundred years. The surrounding nebula appears to be rich in Oxygen, Helium, Hydrogen, Iron, Silicon, Carbon-" I don't need that much detail. "That's fine Rig, document it please and I'll visit it later." I can now say I've seen a Pulsar in person. How many people can say that?

"Rey, I have detected an exoplanet orbiting the pulsar." What? How can that be? There's no way a planet could have formed that quickly unless... "How is that? Is there a Ley-Crystal showing up in your scan?" Could this be another Gaiaforming initiative? "Scan is inconclusive. Increased Ley-Activity in the area has been detected, centering around the exoplanet, so even though I cannot verify the existence of a crystal directly it is more than likely there is one of rather large size within it's structure." So it IS an installation!

Chaotic Control

Chaos seems to be all my brain ever knows. I can't sleep because there's always too much to think about. I can't enjoy the time I have to enjoy because there's always something else I could be doing. I can't think about something that's important for me too long because so many things are important to me that I can't keep my mind on just one of them.

This issue is nothing new, of course. I'm just for some reason more aware of it at the moment. I know how to change it, but It's not something I can change chemically, or through a medicine. I could try, but it would just be a cover up of the real problem. It's just scary to try because I don't know how I'll come out on the other end of it, and hope that it doesn't change who I am at the core. I don't think it will, but you never know. Change isn't always predictable.

So as a forewarning to all of my friends, if my behavior is... abnormal for me, please bear with me. If it's a change that you really don't like, please don't hesitate to tell me. It's difficult to rewire my thought process and takes a lot of conditioning that you can't see the direct process of. But trust me, I'm doing what I can to move towards a better way of thinking for myself.

Because that's what I want. Out of desire to have more control over my life and how I think and act. I Love all of you, and if you have questions about it feel free to ask. It's going to be an interesting few months.

The Nature of Understanding

Understanding, isn't something that is truly easy to understand. While you may know what understanding means by definition, actually putting the idea into practice is a different problem altogether.

"I know" is a highly common response to suggestions and rebuttals in certain situations. Although I always question the truth to that person's claim. I'm sure many of us do. But I also question whether or not I truly do grasp the entirety of the subject when I say it myself. So where does the nature of understanding come from?

Does it come from our ability to not only simulate certain situations, but also our ability to emulate certain situations in our own minds with a certain level of accuracy? Or does it come from our ability to process others' experiences as closely to our own as possible? Does it come from a whole separate psychological capacity?

The nature of understanding may indeed even come from a basic human need to fit in with those around us. Is it possible that we can truly understand things better if it is explained within a situation that our lives have seen? I'd say we have sufficient evidence within our own personal lives to say so.  Perhaps understanding is an innate trait in itself. It would certainly fit the Occam's Razor dynamic.

Do we understand the implications of understanding? Am I over-complicating it? Probably. However, I tend to value understanding things on as many angles as possible. Even if some of them don't make sense. Even if there's really only one option to go with in order to understand. Sometimes, that full understanding is what helps you create a deeper knowledge and appreciation.

Or I'm just over-complicating things.

Living Life Behind a Screen

With the age of technology, we face some new and previously unknown problems with increased integration with others. We all value experiences throughout life, but the real question is to what level are those experiences worth? Can we honestly say an experience someone shares over the internet is valued on the same level as experiencing that event for yourself?

For example, many of us like to watch the Travel Channel and see what cool and different places we visit could be. Yet most of us have the sense to know that seeing it on TV is nothing like seeing it in person. I would argue that a generation that values interactions online to the level we do today may not fully understand that concept. 

One of the adverse effects social media has had on us is posting life experiences on Facebook is all about getting likes. Twitter is all about getting followers and retweets. Instagram is all about getting followers and likes on photos. This has changed our psychology from valuing experiences for ourselves, and created a sense of valuing experiences based on how others value them.

Our sense of identity no longer exists within ourselves and our endeavors, it exists within others and how they perceive them. At least for the younger generations. The real question is: Is this really something we should be worried about? I would say yes. I grew up on video games and behind a computer screen. The value of my world was defined by how powerful my character was. By how many reliable friends I had to raid with. Whether or not I fit in with the world I was playing in, not the real world around me.

This has, in many unforeseen ways, negatively impacted me severely. I'm 26 and still trying to figure out what it means to make my way in the real world. As difficult as it is to admit, I have problems valuing interactions with others in the real world. I have problems placing value in experiences beyond a screen, and it's something I'm working on for myself. At this age, and with a strong desire to experience things in the real world, things change overwhelmingly quickly.

A lot of time was lost when I was more capable and receptive to placing value in interactions. My childhood was hardly a sob story, and it's difficult to regret things when you truly understand where your life has taken you. However, it doesn't mean I don't wish to provide a warning for others on how these things truly effect us as people. 

I see similarities in others and how they interact with technology and how I grew up, and it makes me question how it effects their psychology. Someone who is attached to their phone and social media exhibits similar problems, but in a different fashion. We can be sociable with others and get out into the world and still not value those experiences the way we should. I cannot speak for anyone buy myself, but I truly take issue with how I perceive and value the world because of this problem.

Hopefully, this is an individual case of how life has unfolded for me. I would hate to see others have to struggle with the same problems. However, I can't help but feel like I've become a lot more understanding and intelligent simply because of these psychological hurdles. Perhaps on the other end, I will learn to appreciate things on a deeper level. I guess I will let you know when that happens.

In any case, I think this is an important issue to keep in mind. The moral of this story is moderation applies to all things in life. Time and place are always important when experiencing life. You cannot substitute experience with understanding. Sometimes, thinking it through, just doesn't cut it.

Forming A System - Yldrgrad

"Where is this place Dokk? I've never seen such purposeful structures." Such symmetrical lines used in the mud bricks. The placement of the crystals seem almost... Strategic. Half-Sphere shaped buildings are definitely not a characteristic of Pangean structures. Not to mention, each building appears to have some kind of connection directly to the planet. 

One has vines growing across the top of it, but not over the small ornate windows. This particular one appears to have tree roots growing through the mud bricks. Does it go into the inside of the house as well? "This is Yldrgrad! Isn't it cool? There is a lot to be learned here before I meet with the person I want to see." I'm still not used to this yet. Dokk seems to be nice enough, but I can't quite understand it's motives. 

The Pagan clans have never been one to be friendly towards Pangeans, especially officials. So whomever he is looking for will most likely cause us a lot more trouble than I think Dokk realizes. "Who exactly do you want to see? Pagans don't take very well to Pangeans." Running my hand over the brick, it felt a lot sturdier than mud brick should feel. I manifested a steel spanner from my inventory modifier and tapped the brick with it.

Not even a scratch or dent. There is definitely ley-manipulation in these structures. "That seems to be the case most of the time. But as you know well, not all hold grudges for past ordeals. In fact, the one I'm looking for is a Justiciary himself! His name is Hurst, and he is one of three triplets that were born of this tribe. So, it's only natural that I should seek to understand his culture before meeting him."

Dokk looked intently at the structures. He seems to be noting things about their layout outside, and how they connect with the oak trees growing around them. Strange, that oak would grow here. Someone must have migrated saplings in order to populate the planet. What kind of effect did that have on the eco-system I wonder? "If he's a Justiciary then shouldn't you know where he is?" This doesn't make much sense. What is he looking for? Just some talking points for when he meets this person? Seems a bit excessive to me...

"I never said I don't." Good point. Still, I don't know what this is helping. "So what do you hope to gain from being here?" This thing certainly is interesting if nothing else. Opening the slanted door to the home, he stepped inside before answering me. I could hear him starting to talk, but I couldn't understand what he was saying. I had to walk a few paces over and step inside the home with vines lining it.

"That's why." The inside was a lot more spacious than I thought. Stairs led down, which indicated that they actually dug their homes into the ground rather than built above it. That must have required a lot more work, and left the only sunlight entering from the windows in the ceiling. Although the crystals inside provided ample lighting.

I'm not sure why this surprised me, but the inside was decorated. The walls were lined with a light yellow colored wall painted over a smooth surface, and there were crystals and paintings lining the walls. There were doors that led into other rooms, which no doubt led down even farther considering the spacial restrictions. It certainly makes a lot more sense as to the way the homes were set up outside. "Rey?"

I spaced again. "Ah, yes. Sorry, I missed what you said. What are you looking for here?" Dokk sighed looking at me. Oh come on you can't blame me for being curious! "Because I'm curious! I would like to know more about his culture! It's truly fascinating the way it differs from Pangean culture which relies so heavily on technology." Oh. Well, aren't I just a regular ass? "I guess that makes sense... Maybe a better question would be why is this Hurst a person of interest for you?" 

His smile was a little off-putting for some reason. Maybe it was because it was Douglas' smile, but I knew it wasn't him. It also didn't help that he was still dressed as a Justiciary. He was looking through a small end-table, and found a slip of paper. I wonder what was on it? I guess I could go over and take a look. "He is interesting because of this." Holding up the piece of paper, Dokk grinned like a fool.

The paper was actually a picture on what appeared to be papyrus. How they managed the kind of detail on papyrus that you would find on a film paper is beyond me. The picture was of three children, one boy, and two girls. They couldn't have been more than twelve years old. All three of them had traditional pagan ritual robes on, no doubt signifying their coming of age ceremony. All three had red hair, but the girl with a wide grin on her face had a light red with freckles across her face.

She definitely seemed different than the other two, even if the differences were minimal. "This is who I'm looking for. The boy in that picture is Hurst. Brother of two sisters, Lydia and Yaria." The boy looked serious, with an obvious fake smile on his face. The other girl was smiling in a sweet manner, but obviously fake as well. Well, I guess that's interesting information. Only one of them was innocent somehow. 

"Which one is she? She looks interesting." Dokk looked at the picture again, and lost his smile. "That's Lydia I think. What little I do know of this family, she was an interesting one too, but Hurst definitely has a lot more to offer me." 

Are we too connected?

A beautiful part of the world we now live in is we're always connected to those we love. We're always capable of finding information, seeking answers, and even seeking help when we need it. However, is it possible that we weren't meant to ALWAYS be connected to this network? Are there greater effects on our psychology than we know? 

Social Media plays a rather large role in how we connect with others nowadays. In fact, there are many who feel more comfortable communicating and interacting via social media rather than out in the real world with others. Is this due to the increasing importance placed on social media? Or is it a problem innately with how our culture has grown and changed? 

For a lot of us who have grown up with this social media plays a much bigger role in our lives in communicating with others than sometimes even directly through our phones. Social Media is designed to give us a glimpse into a person's life when we're not there. So it's no wonder people are hooked on it. Who wouldn't like to know what their good friends are up to when you're not there?

Well perhaps we aren't meant to know what goes on in a person's life at every waking moment. In fact, I would argue one of the reasons we find others so interesting is because of the things we don't know about them. With social media shedding light on every detail, is there really any purpose to meeting in person?

This is a rather negative view of Social Media, I know. However it's something I have personally been trying to break free from. It causes me to overlook other details in my life, especially with those who do not use it nearly as frequently. Perhaps I'm cynical due to other problems I have had to face due to lack of real social interaction, but it seems to me like Social Media can very easily consume a person's life and cause them to lose sight of what's important.

I know it's done that to me.

Flexible Batteries

Scientists have created a thin, flexible film that combines the best qualities of batteries and supercapacitors. Chemists developed a flexible material with nanoporous nickel-fluoride electrodes layered around a solid electrolyte to deliver battery-like supercapacitor performance that combines the best qualities of a high-energy battery and a high-powered supercapacitor without the lithium found in commercial batteries today.

Rice chemist James Tour and his colleagues have developed a flexible material with nanoporous nickel-fluoride electrodes layered around a solid electrolyte to deliver battery-like supercapacitor performance that combines the best qualities of a high-energy battery and a high-powered supercapacitor without the lithium found in commercial batteries today.

The new work by the Rice lab of chemist James Tour is detailed in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.


That's right, flexible batteries! What does this mean for electronics? Well, it really all depends on how far we can take this technology. If it's scalable to any level we desire, then you can expect longer battery life in your every day electronics. You can also expect a wider variety of small electronics available for use. With a smaller battery comes smaller electronics!

Some of the possible applications could trickle over into the use of Augmented Reality devices, much like Google Glass. Think of being able to have a small device that can attach to your favorite sunglasses, and create an augmented reality experience regardless of what your glasses are. There are, of course, other technological advances required to make this a reality. However, being able to power these devices is just as much of a challenge as being able to make them function in the first place!

Regardless of the future potential uses, it is good to know that we can create flexible batteries. It allows a much greater range of usefulness in a world that is becoming more and more integrated with technology!

Soapbox: A Collapse in Judgement

Recently I have been hearing stories about the "Collapse of the U.S. Dollar". While there is certainly evidence to support this theory, what is disturbing me more is how people are preparing for the consequences. The U.S. Government has been beefing up the Department of Homeland Security for a few years now, according to some to prepare for the collapse of the dollar.

Along with local law enforcement requesting increased crowd control ability in certain places, this theory definitely seems rather scary. In turn, many believe they must beef up in response to this potential threat to their liberty. However, most of us would plan for the collapse in the dollar in a much more productive(and much less scary) way.

Instead of stockpiling ammunition and beefing up our defenses, we should seek to build relationships with others and strengthen our ability to act independently as a community. Is it really all that beneficial to us as a society to pretend like everyone around us is going to pillage and steal the things around us once the shit hits the fan? If we allow ourselves to buy into that mentality, then it is far likelier to become the reality.

We should instead choose to understand the connections we have, and the community around us in order to strengthen our ability to continually lead comfortable(and productive) lives. America has moved far past the stage of societal development where we worry much about survival. I say we take advantage of that and seek to keep that going, instead of fear-mongering this idea that everyone around us is trying to tear that down.

I'll admit this post is rather preachy, but I'm an Anarchist at heart. And the people I most identify with(Libertarians) are just as prone to fear-mongering problems as the rest of the world is, I start to take issue with and question that philosophy. It does no one any good to perpetuate a standard of mistrust in all around us, even if there is reason to mistrust the few whom hold the power.

If the government is really seeking to prepare for rioting in the streets, and abundant chaos, then we should give them reason to look like fools and take care of ourselves. In fact, we should be doing that anyway. The point is, I'm not a very trusting person. Despite that fact, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt in that they don't seek to destroy relationships. They seek to build them. Although I take steps to protect myself from someone trying to do me harm, I don't immediately assume that they are trying to.

Much as it is with science, I need evidence before I can believe something. If I have no evidence to believe that someone has malicious intent, I have no reason to believe they have malicious intent. Just remember these wise words:

E Pluribus Unum

Sci-Fi Tech: Geckskin

While the concept is simple, the applications are universal. The ability to adhere to almost any surface, while carrying heavy loads, with the ability to remove and re-adhere multiple times. This is the concept behind Geckskin. It was inspired by the Gecko's amazing ability to stick to and move around just about any surface in the wild.

Climbing trees isn't exactly what we're going for here, but there are numerous applications in the every-day commercial world. Being able to adhere a painting to a wall without needing to drill into the wall for a mounting screw would save a lot of hassle and potential repairs later. This concept can be applied to multiple hanging amenities that we enjoy in our homes.

It could also be used industrially, allowing the adhering of tools to any surface near where you are like it was magnetic. Need a wrench near you at all times while working on a car? What if you could just stick it to the side of the car, without worrying about harming the paint? These are just a couple of the countless uses for a product like this!

Let's not forget the fantastic sci-fi military uses for a product like this. Need to set up a flashbang trap easily and with fewer materials? Slap some geckskin on the back of your flashbang, stick it to the wall and set the pin to the string. Want to make sure your tracking bug gets on the intended vehicle? Slap some Geckskin on the back of that bug and it will stick anywhere to the vehicle you want.

I'm only one man, so my ability to see all of the applications is limited. But if there's one thing I do know, it's that this technology will change the way we live in a lot of ways. Now, the only thing to do is wait and see exactly how!

Sci-Fi Concepts: Questions of Habitability

Kepler System discovered by W.M. Keck Observatory and the Gemini Observatory. The first potentially habitable Earth-sized planet in a solar system.

With the discovery of Kepler-186f, it begs some serious questions about the future of our race. Will we rely more heavily on naturally created habitable planets? Or will we rely on terraforming planets within a habitable zone for ourselves? 

Obviously if a planet is capable of being habitable, there is a large likelihood that other forms of life will spawn from this planet. Could there be a moral or ethical imperative to taking over this landscape for ourselves? What kind of forms of life would we potentially be denying were we to do so?

If we were to terraform a planet for our own habitat, would we spawn new forms of life inadvertently? Would evolution play out differently on this new world than it did on our own? Could we engineer specific species to our own desires by creating environments and leaving the rest to evolution? We have controlled the evolution of species before, but how big of a scale could we perform this in?

What if we were to find that evolution repeated itself in the same way it did on our own planet? It is theorized that the universe is a computer simulation. If this were true, is there a limit to the "natural" coding that is allowed to happen? While this is highly unlikely, it's interesting to think. Even finding another habitable planet begs a lot of questions, and probably many more once we reach one. 

There are many problems with traveling to space for new homes. Many questions must be answered in order for us to move forward with inhabiting one of these new homes. Let's just hope we ask the right questions.

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