|3.00||METAMEMETIC EAST CHINA|
Dr. Delta: The East China cluster of memes is highly infectious but not virulent.
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: The patient is not his usual cheery self. Eyes are slightly bloodshot.
DG: Tell me about Shanghai.
FS: I arrived in Shanghai the capital of East China with Erotron. China had split up about twenty years earlier. A group of middle-aged members of the communist party, with support from the economic elite in Shanghai, seized power. The new government actively sought out the advice from business and economic experts from all over Asia.
DG: Were they socialist?
FS: No, the new system had been dubbed memetic politics. Memes are an intellectual construct. A meme is an idea. Ideas are assumed to reproduce in a manner that is similar to genes at a systems level.
DG: What is memetic politics?
FS: The central dictum of memetic politics was that the state had to create conditions for the production of memes that served the interests of the state and the people. According to memetic politics three memetic classes had controlled memes over the centuries.
DG: What are these classes?
FS: The three-memetic classes were the intellectual, commercial, and militar class. The intellectual classes were the meme technicians. They understood how memes mutated and how to control their lineage. The intellectual class was also responsible for creating new memes.
DG: And the memetic role of the other two classes?
FS: The commercial class controlled the physical means of memetic production. The militar controlled the physical means of memetic destruction. No one-memetic class could truly control the state.
DG: So in this view, what is the function of government?
FS: From a memetic political view, the main function of government was to mediate between these three classes. The Asian Union had developed methods of intelligence synthesis that were far subtler than those of the UA and used these methods to balance the three-memetic classes and use these classes to serve the interests of the AU. However, East China has come to the conclusion that Chinese culture had specific memetic problems that had to be addressed.
DG: What was that?
FS: All three classes in Chinese culture tend to be traditional relative to meme production. The focus is not on creating new memes, particularly technological ones, but on focusing on creating accurate copies of existing memes or what is technically known as copying fidelity. This traditional outlook gave the Chinese a huge advantage for more than a thousand years since the Chinese were better at keeping knowledge gained than just about any other culture. Fire was probably reinvented a hundred times until someone figured out a way to keep that meme alive.
DG: So what changed?
FS: The information age meant that memetic fidelity was not a problem due to the huge sophistication of copying technologies. The information age meant that a society should focus on being proactive about memetic mutation. The US for various socio-political reasons had a proactive approach to memetic mutation and would always be ahead of East China due to this fact. The East Chinese realized this and created a think tank that focused on the specific problem of how to make East China proactive in terms of memetic mutation at every level and they succeeded.
DG: This sounds like a fusion of Marxism and memetics.
FS: I won’t go into the technical details but memetic politics agrees with Marx that there are classes and history is dominated by class struggle but class struggle must be seen in memetic terms.
DG: Why the change?
FS: The growing nuclear bomb club meant that any militar action could soon escalate into World War III and therefore militar action was increasingly irrelevant. Memetic warfare replaced traditional warfare as the dominant form of warfare in the 21st century of my Earth and a new theory of class warfare had to be developed in order to accommodate this new historical reality. The AU was the dominant economic power on my world.
DG: You haven’t explained how this economic dominance occurred?
Dr. Delta: The E-money meme is highly infectious but not virulent.
FS: The Asian Union dumped their own currencies and adopted e-money as their official currency. E-money was totally electronic within the AU. There was simply no paper money used in the Asian Union. All monetary transactions were done with an e-card, similar to a credit card.
DG: Why this radical move?
FS: This made street crime very difficult since the AU central authority could easily analyze any transaction done with an e-card. Both dólares and euros backed e-money. The euro and the dólar were contra cyclical. If one currency went up then the other one went down. E-money was the most stable currency on my world and this had special advantages.
DG: Paperless money? Sounds impossible.
FS: Money is the ultimate meme. Money is ultimately an idea. Backing the e-money with euro and dólar reserves was more for psychological purposes than stability. Even my world wasn’t ready for true e- money and needed the crutch of paper moneys backing the e-money.
DG: So e-money was a giant memetic warfare strategy?
FS: One of many, the East Chinese government in Shanghai used their huge euro and dólar reserves to manipulate the world money supply and thereby control the world economy. The AU government used the reserves to buy goods and services outside the Asian Union but could and did decide which currency to use for particular macroeconomic transactions such a big AU government contracts. Deciding to use the euro or dólar for that transaction would dramatically increase the relative supply of euros or dólares.
DG: Why did the Asian Union do this?
FS: The maxim was “He who controls the money supply of the world, controls the economy of the world.”
DG: So the AU was trying to control the money supply of the world?
FS: E-money didn’t give the Asian Union total control over the money supply of the world since the United Americas and European Union could still print more money but e-money did give the AU more economic control domestically and internationally than paper money would have. Several books had been written about monetary warfare and East Chinese economists were seen as generals with a new weapon.
DG: Why did the China in your Earth focus so much on economic means?
FS: Revisionist Chinese historians claimed that imperial China had controlled the middle kingdom primarily through economic rather than militar means and that the Chinese naturally excelled at such types of control. Chinese had superior technology to their neighbors for hundreds of years and this had translated into superior products and services that allowed for Chinese dominance. The decline of China had begun with a decline in relative technological progress compared to the West.
DG: Sounds like a reasonable view of Chinese history.
FS: Japan had correctly focused on technological development first, then economic progress but had almost destroyed itself in World War II when it pursued a militaristic path. China had been distracted by various social agendas but now was on the right path of economic superiority that would lead to political control of the world. This view claimed that a study of Chinese history taught the Chinese that economic imperialism was more effective than militar imperialism.
DG: So the goal is economic power?
FS: No, the goal is to control the means of memetic production through whatever means necessary including economic means.
DG: My area of expertise has always been micro-memetics i.e. psychology rather than macro-memetics i.e. social sciences. What do you know about micro-memetics?
FS: Not much, actually I just know that my Square Earth focused on memetic war more than this Earth.
DG: What about good old fashioned none memetic war?
FS: Regardless, of arguments about the past, most agreed that every militar adventure since the 1970’s by a major power had ultimately failed and there was a pattern to this failure. On my Earth, UA militar action had failed in the long run in Vietnam, Serbia, the Gulf War and the Colombian Droga War.
DG: How so?
FS: The huge militar budgets incurred by the United Americas in these conflicts had ultimately contributed to the UA economy growing more slowly than the rest of the world and losing its dominant economic position. The cost of these militar actions escalated to the point that the major power injured the economic means that enabled militar action in the first place. The United Americas economy had been so rich it took much, much longer for the cost of its militar adventures to ultimately hurt the economy but eventually the fall came and the Asian Union sped ahead.
DG: I thought the military power of the US had made it number one in the 20th century.
FS: The US is of course different from the UA but I think the real lesson of the success of the US is the success of the US economy. US militar actions by the US in Vietnam and the Middle East have hurt the US not helped the US. In hindsight, the US had ultimately out spent the USSR and defeated the USSR via economic means rather than militar means.
DG: And on your world?
FS: In my world, the relative prosperity of the AU was due to its low militar spending. The relative lack of prosperity of the United Americas was due to its high rate of militar spending. Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese militar strategist had written that,” One spy was worth a thousand soldiers.” A new saying arose on my Earth; “One billionaire is worth a thousand spies since money controlled spies.”
DG: You mentioned Shanghai as being the capitol of East China. Was East China a separate country?
|3.02||East versus West China|
FS: Yes, East China became incredibly wealthy and a giant middle class developed. On the other hand, West China was rich in mineral resources but poor in water. The water in West China was used up in order to get at the mineral resources that East Chinese factories needed. Huge parts of West China became desert and millions of West Chinese farmers were displaced. Ultrasonic technology was widely used in West China as a result of the water shortage. Dishes were cleaned with ultrasonic dishwashers that I mentioned before but the West Chinese even wore clothing made up of special fabrics that could be cleaned using ultrasound unlike normal fabrics.
DG: So what ultimately happened to West China?
FS: This population became a huge unemployed nomadic population that flooded the cities of East China. This population couldn’t find work in East China due to their lack of skills and became a permanent underclass. Finally, the East Chinese dominated government in Shanghai and passed laws that prevented West Chinese from migrating to East China and created an armed border between East and West China to keep this population out. This was a policia action and not a militar action but many West Chinese did not see it this way. The West Chinese complained but would have stayed a part of China except for another incredible political event.
DG: What was this event?
Doctor Delta: The virulence of this meme is currently unknown. The infection rate can be as high as 6.3 in the Eastern part of China. If the meme turns out to be virulent then this meme will be extremely dangerous.
FS: Japan had suffered a recession that had lasted over thirty years. The Japanese economy was tied to the United Americas economy and as the United Americas economy declined so did the Japanese economy. Japanese intellectuals looked at the incredible economic success of the China and eventually a group of Japanese arose that argued Japan should quit the UA and join the Asian Union that included China and ASEAN.
DG: Why the Japanese join the Asian Union?
FS: These Japanese argued that the economic center of the world had shifted from the UA to AU and that joining the AU would get Japan out of its recession. Japanese argued that the European Union had admitted Turkey and Russia that were only marginally European culturally.
DG: I have a hard time imagining Russia being part of the European Union.
FS: I had spent a summer in Europe and had managed get to Russia. Russia on my world was much more economically developed than Russia on this planet. Maybe if Russia joined the EU on this planet the same thing would happen here. Why couldn’t the more culturally similar AU admit Japan? Suddenly, Japanese historians were pointing out that Japanese culture had many Chinese elements. For example, both cultures shared common Confucian values and even similar ideographs in their languages.
DG: I thought Chinese hated the Japanese.
FS: Not on my Earth, the pop culture of the Chinese and the Japanese had long ago fused and created an Asian cultural identity that the Asian Union formalized politically. Most Movies and TV shows were aimed at both a Japanese and Chinese audience in order to make a greater profit. Talent and capital flowed freely from Shanghai and Tokyo. Communication between the Japanese and the East Chinese was no longer a problem.
DG: Why not?
FS: English had become the “de facto” language of the new Asia and saying someone didn’t knew English was equivalent to saying the person was uneducated. Educated Chinese and educated Japanese teenagers communicated on a daily basis over the web creating a web of friendships between the two cultures. New transportation technology that doesn’t exist in this Earth meant that travel between the two countries was commonplace. Middle-aged Chinese would show off their Japanese friends at business cocktail parties and vice versa. The huge middle class in East China saw a gigantic business opportunities in an AU that included Japan.
DG: What about Japanese atrocities committed by the Japanese on the Chinese during World War II?
Doctor Delta: The virulence of this meme is unknown. The meme is slightly infectious (2.3). The meme does mutate internationalist memes in the infected host.
FS: Both sides agreed that the invasion of the Chinese by the Japanese was ancient history. Chinese argued that the United Americas had the right idea and embracing Germany and Japan after World War II had been practical and that the Chinese should also be practical. Many Chinese felt that the World War II generation was no longer alive and a new generation should create a new way. The Asian Union became the equal of the UA and EU with the addition of Japan. Three major economic unions dominated the world on my Earth and were known as the triad. The Union of the Americas or UA was made up of the countries of the Americas including North, Central, and South America, Australia to the West and Great Britain to the East.
DG: I thought Great Britain was part of the European Union?
FS: Not on my Earth, the fact was that the United Americas were really led by the US rather than being true economic union of more or less equal members. The European Union had finally admitted most East European nations and even Russia. Individual states in the EU had a lot of power. The AU was somewhere in the middle. China had more power in the Asian Union than big states in the EU but not as much power as the US within the UA.
DG: So the government of your Earth was tripolar?
FS: Exactly, the three giant transnational entities competed at the political level largely via economic means. Each union had a different idea of what democracy meant. The AU put forth a Confucian view of democracy in which the society had rights to a greater extent than the other unions.
DG: And European Union democracy?
FS: The EU was more concerned about lifestyle issues. Liberalism with a capital “L” was emphasized in the EU. The soft drogas were only legal in the EU. The UA felt that untrammeled capitalism was the way to go. The European Union also saw itself as an intermediary between the UA and AU. The EU saw itself as the premier representative of global justice. To emphasize this role, the EU had added a scale to the middle of their flag.
DG: Was the tripolar system better or worse than the balance of power in this Earth?
FS: The trilateral relationship between the UA, AU and EU had brought stability to world politics.
DG: Which union was the most powerful?
FS: The United Americas was the most powerful of the three militarily. The United Americas was about strength and had made global justice a number two priority after our 9/11. The UA was militarily powerful but not more powerful than the AU and EU together and the UA knew this. The AU and EU both agreed that UA militar interventionism was a negative and used economic and political means together to put pressure on the UA to not use militar means outside of the UA borders.
DG: So the Asian Union was weak militarily?
FS: No, the Asian Union had its own multinational militar that it very, very rarely used. The combined contribution of China and Japan to the AU made AU militar forces very formidable. The AU slogan was, “An Asia run by Asians.”
DG: So, there were fewer wars in your Earth?
FS: Yes, partly because there were just fewer places to wage war. For example, the United Americas militar intervention in the territories of the EU and AU was unthinkable. Russia had joined the EU and lent its considerable militar muscle to EU forces.
DG: What about NATO?
FS: Protests in Europe and the election of new governments had lead to the gradual transfer of NATO militar assets to the European Union militar. At the same time Latin American terrorismo had engulfed half a dozen nations in Latin America and US forces were needed there more badly than in Europe. Plus, the UA made huge amounts of money from selling the militar equipment that the European Union absorbed. Finally, NATO had been abolished altogether.
DG: I can’t see the US in this Earth ever abolishing NATO.
FS: Whether or not a triad would work in this Earth is hard to say. No one wanted a war between union forces. War had not been abolished. UA militar intervention still occurred on a regular basis in nations outside of the three unions and this was especially true of the Middle East. Africa was pretty much left alone by all three unions and conditions had deteriorated to a point that most union nationals were advised to avoid Africa altogether.
FS: Race riots in Zimbabwe and South Africa had led to the slaughter of the few whites that had not emigrated long ago. AIDS was endemic to Africa and considered a hopeless cause. Africa was a no man’s land.
DG: Sounds like Africa’s future in this Earth as well.
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: The tripolar world the patient describes is obviously borrowed from George Orwell’s 1984. Orwell presents a world divided into Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia. The UA is Oceania. The EU is more or less Eurasia. The AU is more or less Eastasia. The patient’s version reflects the downfall of the Soviet bloc unlike Orwell’s earlier tripolar vision. What is interesting is that the patient describes a positive version of a tripolar world.
Dr. Delta: This meme is highly infectious but not virulent.
FS: Hard to say. The Asian Union felt that all three unions should approve any militar action outside of their own territories via the Trilateral Commission.
DG: The Trilateral Commission?
FS: The Trilateral Commission was a permanent body that included representatives from all three unions in order to deal with inter-union affairs. The United Americas totally disagreed. If there were unilateral militar action on the part of the UA then generally the European Union would take a hard line public stance against UA militar intervention. On the other hand, the AU would use e-money to quietly hurt the UA economy. There were basically only two currencies in the world anymore: the euro and the dólar. Other countries outside of the three unions had currencies but they only worked within the country and were wildly unstable.
FS: Counterfeiters had become so sophisticated that the United Americas and EU had to expend huge sums of money on R&D to make currencies that were not easily counterfeited. At this point both currencies used radio-frequency identification tags or RFIDS that allowed each and every bill to be tracked as it flowed through the money stream.
DG: All the trouble for each and every bill?
FS: Money was made up of a durable paper enclosed in a super durable, holographic, plastic so that a bill had a lifetime 1000 times longer than money on this Earth. New bills were much less common on my Earth. In a sense the history of the bill provided authentication of the bill. The fact that the unions could track the flow of money for criminal investigation purposes was also an added bonus. In a sense all money was marked money. Criminals increasingly relied on a barter economy on the streets.
FS: My Earth had a lot of good ideas. The triad was very similar to the US national system of checks and balances but at the international level. In the US you had the executive, legislative and judicial branches and each provided checks and balances for the other. The US had provided stable government for it’s citizens for over two hundred years and this was more than most national governments could claim. If the triad could last two hundred years then this would be two hundred years of relative peace that the world had never known.
DG: Sounds like the triad was great. Were there any other advantages to the triad?
FS: Yes, ask any businessman what the best government is and they will invariably answer with one phrase, “A stable government.” Businessmen don’t care if the government is democratic, authoritarian or even Islamic as long as the rules don’t change and a business plan can be built around those rules. A stable government allows for long term economic planning. A stable system of international governance would be the single best thing that multinationals and the growing global middle class could ask for.
DG: What about a US led world?
FS: This is a unipolar system. Unipolar systems are inherently unstable because no one country or even group of countries can really run the world. The US at the height of its power on my Earth could only react defensively to global crisis around the world. The US had ended up like the little Dutch boy trying to plug all the holes in the dam. Militar intervention dealt with the symptoms of terrorismo in a country but not the cause. The cause was economic disintegration that led to political radicalism and ultimately terrorismo.
DG: How were trouble spots in our Earth handled in your Earth?
FS: The unions had more local knowledge of a nation in their region and a greater stake in seeking a long-term solution. After all one cares more about one’s back yard than a distant and exotic place. In many cases a union had special regional ties with the people in a nation of their region that they could work with.
DG: What about nationalism?
FS: Nationalism was still strong but an Asian could accept Asian intervention more readily than intervention from a US Marine. At this point almost any country in the world united against the United Americas when it intervened militarily. The UA had long ago used up any global goodwill for its militar missions through over use of the militar option.
DG: You are a real fan of tripolar systems.
FS: Sure, I’ll give you an example, Kosovo could have been solved more efficiently if the EU had moved into Kosovo to do long term nation building. On my Earth, Kosovo was handled by the European Union and became a very prosperous region unlike Kosovo in this Earth. Also in this Earth, Afghanistan could have had been handled by the joint efforts of the EU and the AU rather than US militar intervention that only provided short-term relief against terrorismo.
FS: Historians on my Earth realized that bipolar systems were the most dangerous ones of all. The US/Soviet era was the prime example of a bipolar world at it’s worst. The US and the Soviets came close to blowing it all up many times over. Historians on my Earth agreed that the tripolar scheme had avoided the development of an US/China bipolar world that would have led to World War III.
DG: How do you think this would have happened?
FS: China would have had to spend precious resources on meeting the US militar challenge and would not have grown economically and the whole of China would have gone the route of West China. A back wards China would have had the weapons to destroy the world but not the elaborate safeguards to avoid a nuclear accident.
DG: Was there a deeper philosophy behind the triad?
FS: A postmodern Buddhist rationale for tripolarism had emerged that was widely quoted in the Asian Union.
DG: Buddhism was obviously a more dominant philosophy on your Earth than our Earth.
FS: Buddhism seemed more able to handle the postmodern concerns caused by the accelerated technological development of my Earth than Christianity. The first premise was that the globe is filled with suffering.
DG: A variant of existence is filled with suffering.
FS: The second premise was that the main cause of global suffering is global chaos and it’s ultimate manifestation: war.
DG: As opposed to ego as the cause of suffering for the individual.
FS: The third premise was that the emergence of a global order would solve the problem of global chaos.
DG: As opposed to the traditional Buddhist eightfold path.
FS: The fourth premise was that tripolarism is a practical system of global order that meets current historical conditions.
DG: Sounds more like a syllogism than a real Buddhist philosophy.
FS: Traditional Buddhism dealt with the problem of individual suffering but how could even an enlightened being avoid suffering in a world beset with wars and terrorismo? Traditional Buddhism had not dealt with the fact that World War III could destroy human life altogether and therefore makes the possibility of human evolution impossible altogether.
DG: An interesting view but is a balance of power really so central to peace?
FS: Even on this Earth, the five-power European continental system of the 1800’s was considered one of the most stable international balances of power in world history. England had a very simple foreign policy goal at that time; stop any one European power on the continent from becoming too powerful. In other words maintain a balance of power regardless of such superficialities as religion, culture and ideology. Historians agreed that five major groups may have been better than three political groups but three provided the minimal number of international actors you needed for a viable system of checks and balances.
DG: What was in it for countries like China and Japan?
FS: China and Japan had followed the route of Germany in the EU. China and Japan had agreed to work within a larger Asian framework. Some sovereignty had been given up but the economic gains had been enormous.
DG: What gains?
FS: Could Japan become militaristic again? Could China have another Cultural Revolution? Due to the AU this was impossible on my Earth. The idea was to get countries embedded into a larger regional framework than could intervene at the more local level as situations developed and not just when they were totally out of control.
DG: How did the UA get started?
FS: Our 9/11 had started the process but the United Americas had also been formed largely in response to the growth of the AU and EU. The critical event had been the development of terrorismo in Argentina. The Argentinean economy had gone bankrupt. Economic conditions had led to terrorismo in Argentina that soon spread throughout the Americas. The US used the existing Free Trade Area of the Americas or FTAA as the nucleus to create the UA. The UA had all the missions of the FTAA but also had a policia mission. Terrorism was made a crime against the newly founded United Americas. A multinational policia force was created to hunt terrorists throughout the Americas.
DG: I thought your Earth focused on the roots of terrorism rather than military intervention.
FS: The UA favored a more heavy handed approach to social problems compared to the other unions but the UA did use immigration as a macro tool to resolve problems within it’s union. For example, immigration controls for Argentineans to other countries in the Americas were lessened during their economic crisis so that the highly educated middle class could move to more prosperous countries and send some of their earnings back to Argentina in order to finance a recovery. Immigration within unions turned out to be the key to the success of the unions.
DG: How so?
FS: Allowing educated people to immigrate provided a country suffering from an economic crisis with some breathing room. Educated persons that might have become radicals worked in other countries instead. Money was sent back to the economically depressed country and this provided some relief.
DG: So there was free immigration within a union?
FS: Immigration was less free in different unions. The European Union allowed for the easy immigration of any EU citizen from one country to another. The Asian Union had fairly liberal immigration policies but not as liberal as the EU. The immigration policies of the United Americas were fairly restrictive but still much freer than what they had been before the formation of the UA.
DG: This sounds like the total opposite of the immigration policy on this world.
FS: Immigration wasn’t just a nation state concern but a union concern and this changed how you looked at immigration. Each union tended to be more concerned about a particular global issue than the other two unions.
DG: What issues?
FS: The UA was always lecturing the Asian Union about human rights. The UA and EU tended to agree about human rights. The European Union in turn was always lecturing the UA about pollution. The European Union had many green parties within its member nation states and took a leadership role in global environmental issues.
DG: The EU is the same in our Earth but what about the so-called AU?
FS: The AU lectured the United Americas about staying out of the business of the other unions. The Asian Union strongly supported intra-union sovereignty. The unions should handle their own affairs. As far as the Asian Union was concerned, If there was a dispute between two member states of a union then this absolutely should be handled within a union. The AU strongly supported the Trilateral Commission that had been set up to handle inter-union affairs.
DG: And the UA didn’t agree?
FS: The UA regularly ignored the findings of the Trilateral Commission even though the UA was represented on this commission. There was a saying that, “The UA was mean. The European Union was green. The AU was never seen.” If one union got too powerful in any one area then the other two would gang up against the union that was winning and a balance of sorts was established. Technology was a major area of competition between the unions. The Asian Union had subships and microbots. The United Americas had megatrains and gigabots.
Dr. Delta: This meme may be useful.
DG: I hate to ask. What is a subship?
FS: Rome created roads and the roads created Rome. The subship was the special chariot of the AU. The United Americas dominance of the aerospace industry had been countered by the creation of an entirely new technology. Converted oil tankers were used to house and lay the tunnel at the bottom of the ocean. The tunnel was made up of a substance that was stronger than the plastic Kevlar. Kevlar was about ten times stronger than steel. The new substance was spider silk and had a similar molecular structure to a spider web that was pound for pound one of the strongest substances known to man. Suzhou, in China, was the birth place of silk 3,000 years ago, and had genetically engineered a particular species of spiders to enhance their web output a thousand fold plus so that it was now possible to use this substance to build the tunnel.
DG: Underwater? What about air for the passengers?
FS: No attempt was made to fill the underwater tunnels with air for breathing. Such a giant air system would have been too costly and interfered with one of the giant advantages of an airless environment. The airless tunnels meant that there was no friction and supersonic speeds could be more easily achieved. The cable was hollow and big enough to accommodate a train. Coaxial cables that connected the world are in every seabed on this Earth and this was just the same technology on a much larger scale.
DG: So the subships were like a submarine?
FS: Not exactly, subships were a cross between a maglev train and a submarine and had their own life support system. A maglev train is a train that uses magnetic levitation to achieve incredible speeds. Instead of going to outer space in space ships to escape the friction of air, the AU went to inner space, under the ocean. The maglev train tracks and engines that allowed the subships to achieve supersonic speeds had been refined by Japan that already had a long history of designing and producing maglev trains. China created the subships themselves. The subship from China incorporated many design features of the militar submarines that China had bought from Russia. The Chinese had reverse engineered the submarine. The subship was proof that the Asian Union could accomplish feats together that individual members could not.
DG: What cities were connected together?
FS: The first subship route connected Tokyo and Shanghai. A giant population effortlessly commuted between these two cities. A second tunnel connected Shanghai and Taipei. A third tunnel connected Busan in South Korea to Shanghai. North and South Korea had unified and the “iron Silk Road” connected Busan to Europe via Russia. Shanghai became the hub of Asia. All roads in the ancient world led to Rome. All roads in the new Asia led to Shanghai. Finally, Shanghai and Los Angeles were connected.
DG: What would be the advantage of taking a subship over an airplane?
FS: One advantage of subships was that they could not be used as missile by terrorists as had been done during our 9/11. The other advantage over airlines was that supersonic speeds could be achieved without sonic booms. Finally there was no danger of a supersonic airplane accidentally crashing into a populated city. Our supersonic passenger planes were four times larger than the largest passenger plane in this Earth in order to achieve economies of scale. A plane this size and traveling at supersonic speed could and did take out a whole city. The AU decided that our 9/11 once and for all showed the need for fixed route supersonic transport such as a subship. Smaller routes like the one between Tijuana and Tokyo were handled by subsonic flights.
DG: What about regular ships in your Earth?
FS: The Asian Union created larger subships that took the place of cargo ships. The cargo subships had one passenger, the pilot, so the expensive life support system could be minimized. Eventually the cargo ships were totally computerized and no air supply was needed for these cargo subships. The AU banned most commercial shipping in the China Sea and large tracts of the Pacific.
FS: This meant that droga smuggling, arms smuggling and human trafficking was almost impossible in Asian Union waters. The Asian Union members hated drogas and guns that seemed endemic to the EU and especially the UA. The subships allowed for a much greater level of control of what came in and left the AU than cargo ships and airlines had allowed. The narcotics industries of the golden triangle eventually evaporated as the cost of getting product out of the AU and to the UA and EU just became to high.
DG: Why was the Asian Union so obsessed with control?
FS: The AU was made up of countries that were basically more conservative than countries in the EU or UA. The member countries had watched with alarm as droga use and AIDS exploded in Asia and decimated social order and their economies. One could argue that the AU had been formed largely in order to provide a more effective means of policing the region. Many of the biggest droga and prostitution rings in the Asia had been multinational. The multinational Asian Union policia could more effectively go after these multinational criminal rings.
DG: The AU police was different from the police of the other unions?
FS: The list of AU crimes was very different from the EU and UA list of crimes.
DG: How so?
FS: European Union crimes included crimes that consisted of violations of human rights by member states. These were largely absent from the Asian Union list of crimes. Instead, the AU focused on going after crimes that disrupted social order especially droga use and unlicensed prostitution. A gangster could no longer flee from Taiwan to Mainland China or vice versa as had been common in the past. The gangster would be found no matter were they were in the AU. The gangster would also have a hard time leaving the AU since air space and ocean lanes were more tightly controlled than in any other part of the world. The Asian Union member states liked control. The United Americas had more laws pertaining to terrorismo.
DG: Was controlling the oceans the only reason the AU favored subships?
FS: No, the subships had an energy advantage. The Asian Union nation states generally had very little oil. Electricity was generated via solar power, wind power, nuclear power and tide power.
DG: Tide power?
FS: The subship tunnels had buoys attached to them. The buoys gathered the tidal energy of the ocean above. The fixed costs of building the buoys that exploited tidal energy were high but created clean energy and had almost no overhead costs after construction. As the AU needed more energy, more buoys were created. The buoys were mass-produced. The per-unit cost of the buoys dropped dramatically due to mass production. The subships meant that renewable resources could be used for international mass transportation.
DG: What happened to airplanes and sea ships?
FS: Airplanes and sea ships relied on oil. No one had figured out how to create an electric sea ship or airplane. The Middle East had long ago become radioactive due to terrorist use of dirty bombs in Saudi Arabia.
DG: Dirty bombs?
FS: Dirty bombs didn’t rely on a nuclear explosion but instead used conventional explosives in order to spew radioactive material everywhere and oil from that region actually could cause cancer due to radiation. The price of oil skyrocketed due to the dirty bombs and international travel in the EU and UA suffered tremendously. The subships just kept on running.
DG: Were subships only used in the Asian Union?
Dr. Delta: This meme may be useful in a manner similar to the subship meme.
FS: No, three giant subship systems connected the AU, UA and EU. I already mentioned the Shanghai to LA subship route; a subship system was created to connect London to New York. The Asian Union had built the system and then leased it to the UA and EU. The tunnel was laid along the Atlantic seabed. A United Americas Megatrain connected New York to Los Angeles already. The Megatrain was the slow part of the journey and most of the Megatrains did make stops along the way. A subship on the other hand cruised at around 1,000 miles per hour, over twice the speed of a fast airliner on this Earth, and was not subject to the vagaries of the atmosphere and weather like a Megatrain was.
DG: That’s the second time you mentioned a Megatrain. What is a Megatrain?
FS: I’ll explain in detail later, just think super fast trains. Megatrains were used for land routes. Subships were used for underwater routes. The longest Megatrain route was the Trans-Siberian route from Busan, Korea to Moscow, Russia. The most impressive Megatrain ride was the one from Beijing to Tibet. The Chinese on the Square Earth figured out a unique way to make tunnels through the Tangulashan Mountains of the Himalayas that were seemingly impossible to tunnel through.
DG: What was this?
FS: They used the equivalent of a laser tipped plumbing snake to make a pinhole through mountain rock.
DG: What good is a pinhole?
FS: The pinhole was then flushed with a bioengineered fungus that ate the rock and broke it down. The broken down earth was not quite soil but close enough that a bioengineered earthworm could digest it. The digestive range of both types of species had been extended so that they could work in a symbiotic fashion to do incredible feats. If you extended the digestive range of fungi and earthworms at the same time then you could create a fungus/earthworm “system” that could turn some types of rock into useful soil.
DG: This system might actually work.
FS: Sure, this trick had been used extensively throughout Western China to make many land areas arable. A species with an extended digestive range was capable of surviving in all sorts of environments it previously could not. The pinhole was turned into a tunnel large enough for a train to go through. This meant that the fungi and earthworms did all the work at a fraction of the cost that traditional methods would have cost. The Himalayas were not the obstacle to train route construction that they are on this Earth.
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: Subships, Megatrains and laser tipped plumbing snake are all phallic symbols. The patient has generated these powerful phallic technologies in order to make up for his own feelings of masculine inadequacy due to latent homosexual feelings.
DG: Why didn’t the high tech fungus just end up eating the whole mountain.
FS: The fungi and earthworms had been engineered to only live enough generations to make a hole of the appropriate diameter. Still you bring up a general systems problem that plagued my Earth.
DG: What problem is that?
|3.09||Self-Replicating Systems Problem|
Dr. Delta: This meme applies to memes and is therefore metamemetic and may have exponential potential.
FS: The Self-Replicating Systems problem or SRS Problem. Any self-replicating system has advantages of economy and power that make them very attractive to develop but a huge disadvantage in the area of control.
DG: What are the economic advantages?
FS: A properly designed SRS requires the up front cost to design the system but requires minimal maintenance afterwards. In almost any other production system, on going costs far outweigh start up costs. The on going costs of factory operations during the lifetime of a factory may be over one hundred times the initial cost of the factory.
DG: Are you sure?
FS: Yes, this explains why blowing up the factories of the Germans and Japanese during WWII was almost a favor to these countries. The Germans and Japanese were forced to build factories that were state of the art factories that could produce more for less. The initial cost was largely irrelevant but sentiment causes people not to see this basic production fact.
DG: I think some businessmen see this. Andrew Carnegie, the famous steel producer of the 19th century, realized this when he had a factory torn down before it was ever used when an engineer showed a design change would lower production costs.
FS: Many managers can’t be this ruthless and need enemy bombs or bankruptcy to force them to destroy the old in order to create the new.
DG: You are suggesting this is not just a factory rule but instead a more general rule?
FS: Absolutely, the maintenance of a computer system over its lifetime will cost several times the start up costs to create the system. The economics of an SRS turn this cost equation upside down. The start up costs of an SRS are initially high since they are very high tech and require costs in the area of basic research. The pay off comes down the road. Life is a SRS except we refer to this self-replication as reproduction.
DG: Sounds great!
FS: The basic problem is that life forms can mutate and systems created to control the original life form don’t work with the mutation. Any system that can self-replicate will eventually replicate forms of itself that contain errors. The errors can be thought of as mutations. We already discussed memetic mutation earlier. Biological mutation is obvious enough. The really tricky concept is cybernetic mutation.
DG: Cybernetic mutation?
FS: This Earth has computer viruses. Computer viruses are self-replicating software programs that effect some part of a computer’s operating system. Your Earth is already starting to conceptualize cyber-warfare in which one nation uses computer viruses to disrupt the computer systems of another nation. The next stage will be computer predators.
DG: What do computer predators do?
FS: Sooner or later someone is going to realize that just disrupting an enemies computer system is primitive and controlling the computer systems of another nation is a far more effective goal. If you can control the computers of your enemies then to a great extent you can control most of the infrastructure of your enemy.
DG: How do computer predators do this?
FS: Like their biological counterparts, computer predators can react in complex ways to any counter measures taken to stop them. Computer predators replaced computer viruses on my Earth. Computer viruses generally have less than a hundred lines of code. A computer predator had thousands of lines of code and any error in their code replication could have unforeseen consequences. The enemy used cyber-war countermeasures that deliberately tried to disrupt the program of the computer predator, and often instead of disrupting the predator the means may mutate the predator so that the predator become effectively autonomous and out of the control of the government that created them.
DG: The SRS problem is a systems problem?
FS: Yes, the SRS Problem thus applies not only to biological systems but also to memetic systems and cybernetic systems. In the long run the SRS Problem is what led to the destruction of my Earth.
DG: I suppose our Earth will face the same problem down the road.
FS: But perhaps you can learn from our experience. The same fungus/earthworm system was used to connect Chinese Kunming in South East Asia with Lhasa in Tibet. The Bangkok to Lhasa ride through Kunming was considered the most interesting Megatrain ride on my Earth.
DG: From one side of the sublime to the other side of the sublime in one train ride.
FS: I regret that I never did this ride. The Shanghai to London trip via a subship to LA and a megatrain to NY took ten hours if you were lucky. The combination of economic union and global transportation systems created a new multinational professional class that was actively hostile to old-fashioned ideas of nationalism. This class was still small but growing and very influential.
DG: Sound like triadic yuppies. What was better the subship or Megatrain?
FS: The subship was better for transportation across oceans and the Pacific is the largest ocean in the world. The history of China and Japan cannot be explained without looking at the basic geographical fact that an ocean separates them. Subships made sense given the geography of Asia. The Americas are a solid landmass. Megatrains made more sense for the Americas. Megatrains were less energy efficient due to friction caused by air than subships but Megatrains could double as weapons platforms and satellite launchers. The Americas were criss-crossed with Megatrains that allowed for easy transportation between North and South America.
DG: I bet the weapons potential of the Megatrains was a big plus.
FS: Each system had pros and cons. There was trade off between flexibility and efficiency. Megatrains had lower start up costs but were more expensive to maintain because of higher energy consumption.
DG: The primary function of the Megatrains was military?
FS: No, the United States used Megatrains for mass supersonic transport and to send satellites into space on a daily basis. The subship was the direct response of the AU to the Megatrain. The United States would dominate outer space but the AU would dominate inner space. I had taken the Megatrain from New York to Los Angeles and had been impressed.
DG: So this was a maglev just like the subship?
FS: No, the United States used advanced rail technology that was developed at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The propulsion technology had originally been built to accelerate satellite-killing projectiles. A track was built that used magnetic propulsion to propel objects at near light speed.
DG: Why are near light speeds needed?
FS: At near light speed the kinetic energy was so great that a car propelled at this speed would have the explosive power of a nuclear bomb but was almost impossible to shoot down with a missile defensa (defense) system due to the speed and mass of the projectile. The technology was known as segmented rail phased induction motor system or Seraphim for short.
DG: What were the major Megatrain routes?
FS: The most important route was used to shuttle people back and forth from New York to Los Angeles. About twice a year the same track was used to launch satellites. There was a special track from Los Angeles to the Pacific that slowly raised the gradient so that the projectile went straight into the atmosphere.
DG: I think sending your passengers into space instead of LA like they wanted wouldn’t be too good for business.
FS: This additional track was never used by the public and only existed to launch satellites. The payload started in New York and emerged in the Pacific. If the launch was a failure then the payload could be dumped into the Pacific.
DG: How is this better than standard missile technology?
FS: The biggest advantage was that payloads the size of a commuter train could be launched this way. The cost of launching extremely large payload this way was about one-sixth the cost of using traditional rocket technologies. Many countries and companies leased the track for one billion dólares and hour!
DG: What was the target of this system?
FS: In theory the target was Shanghai but if the missile landed anywhere in East China then two thirds of the country was basically obliterated instantly. Accuracy was not necessary. The best part was that there was no radioactive fallout and the area could be occupied once the debris shot into the atmosphere finally descended in about a year.
FS: The biggest problem with the weapon was that it was too powerful. A supercomputer had been used to calculate the exact size and speed of the projectile needed to destroy China and not the world. The blast could be so powerful that China’s neighbors would also be affected and the weather of the whole world could be permanently changed for the worse. Again, the track was used for commuters on a daily basis and hopefully would never be used for missiles. China needless to say wasn’t too happy about this and had assured United States that they would destroy United States in turn. This may have been harder to do than most people realized.
DG: The UA had a countermove?
FS: Monumental civil defensa. The New York to Los Angeles route ran through the Rocky Mountains. The Rocky Mountains were huge and could not be penetrated by nuclear weapons. The New York to Los Angeles route had massive bomb shelters adjoining it and about 50% of the population could be evacuated to these bomb shelters using the Megatrain and connecting trains. The UA Internet superhighway as well as, traditional electric lines, also ran along this route and these lines were shielded from any electromagnetic magnetic pulse or EMP that would follow an atomic ataque. EMP would disrupt electronics. The United Americas wanted to make sure it’s command and control structure was protected from nuclear weapons. The UA had stockpiled enough supplies to survive underground for two years which meant that they could weather out a nuclear ataque, destroy China and then leave the now radioactive United States and reclaim, a decimated but non-radioactive China.
DG: What if the European Union attacked?
FS: In theory, a similar scenario would play out if the EU attacked the US but the payload would start in LA and shoot out of NY.
DG: Sounds risky.
FS: The people of my Earth were risk takers. The system had several redundancies. The United States had created modular elevated tracks.
FS: These modular tracks could be connected to any part of the line to allow for a makeshift liftoff. This meant that China would have had to totally destroy both tracks in order to prevent retaliation. A projectile from a subship would also do a ton of damage but bombing the terminals of a subship shut it down so it was not a very good weapon.
DG: I can’t imagine millions of people living underground without going nuts.
FS: The Megatrain complex had many aesthetic features including the use of natural light underground. The Suncatcher was a combination of wind tower and sun pipe. The Suncatcher trapped exterior light from a building’s roof and sent it down to an electrolytically enhanced, anodized aluminum tube creating yellow-white daylight. The Suncatcher also provided fresh air. The natural light was used to grow many plants for decorative purposes. The public areas of the Megatrain complex were very bright and green.
DG: What Dr. Strangelove came up with this system?
Dr. Delta: This meme has already actualized.
FS: The Megatrain was the brainchild of the Cyber-Lincoln Brigade. The United States Cyber-Lincoln Brigade was an organization modeled after the first Lincoln Brigade that saw action in the Spanish civil war just prior to WWII.
DG: Hemingway was a member.
FS: Hemingway was the most prominent member of the first Lincoln Brigade and drove an ambulance during the civil war. The Lincoln Brigade was a group of expats who felt that freedom was everyone business and fought the Franco’s fascists as volunteers.
DG: And the Cyber-Lincoln Brigade?
FS: The Cyber-Lincoln Brigade felt that the UA was a bastion of freedom standing up against the new fascism of the Asian Union. They decided that in modern times the UA needed brain more than brawn and the second Cyber-Lincoln Brigade was a militar a think tank consisting of some of the most brilliant minds on my planet.
DG: What was the “cyber” all about?
FS: The members got together in cyber-space in order to plan strategies and tactics that UA could use for defensa. The members were anonymous and basically you were promoted purely on the strength of the ideas you presented to the other members of the group. The Cyber-Lincoln Brigade was an open source political group.
DG: The flaw in your subship story is that the labor costs would make the project impossible.
FS: Yeah and maybe we are both in a novel and when the reader stops reading then we no longer exist. Anything is possible! You are right except that robotic technology was much more advanced than in this Earth. Erotron had taken me to a robotics factory in the Tokyo area once.
DG: She took you to a factory for a date. Why?
FS: I don’t know she was always visiting all sorts of totally not fun places for some business or another. The head of the factory had given us a long-winded lecture about robotics and he said that robotics had emerged as the other key to global dominance.
DG: How did this happen?
FS: The factory supervisor had told me that at first robots acted as helpers to troops. Bigger robots mostly delivered material and large payloads such as missiles. Smaller robots enhanced the sensory capability of the troops.
DG: So robots came in different sizes?
FS: Yes, the factory used the measures of the Global Robotics Institute. The institute had precise measures but rough biological equivalents are used more often. Nanobots were smaller than a virus. Microbots were a robot the size of a microbe to the size of an insect. Minibots were the size of an insect but smaller than a human. Homobots as mentioned were not homosexual robots but robots that were about the same size as a human. Megabots were the size of a large mammal. Gigabots were larger than the largest dinosaur.
DG: All the unions had robots?
Dr. Delta: This meme is difficult to measure as are all the “bot” memes.
FS: The United Americas dominated the homobot, megabot and gigabot size range. The UA had taken an early lead in the use of combots and tankbots.
FS: Combots resembled an infantry soldier in size and function. The factory didn’t build any UA robots but the director showed some pictures of the UA combots and tankbots during his presentation. Anyway, I had seen them any number of times on TV.
DG: And a tankbot?
FS: Tankbots resembled a tank with mechanical spider legs attached to it and was a megabot in terms of size. A combot is a homobot due to its size and looked vaguely human. A combot could use weapons and tools designed for humans due to its size and more or less human like arms and legs. Unlike humans, the combots had their computer in the chest were it was protected with heavy plating and had tentacles that came out of the chest that had sensors that could move around and let it “see”.
DG: Why use tentacles?
FS: A combot would not move into the line of fire but instead would snake it’s sensor over into the area of fire to figure out what was going on. If the sensor got shot up then no problem because a combot usually had several of these tentacles and would just switch the sensory input to another tentacle. In a really bad situation, the combot did the turtle thing and the tentacles were withdrawn into the chest leaving only the much stronger arms and legs in danger. A combot could walk like a human or on all fours with equal effectiveness and could still do twenty miles and hour on all fours even if it lost one leg. Combots usually carried spare legs and arms anyway and would just screw out the damaged component and screw in a new one. I had seen combots do this on TV.
DG: Sound expensive.
FS: Absolutely but according to the factory supervisor, once you figured out the engine and transportation system of one type of homobot then you can make all sorts of homobots for all sorts of purposes.
DG: Such as?
FS: Soon the UA had all types of homobots in its factories and construction sights. The same goes for a megabot. The engine and transportation specs for a tank sized robot mean that you can easily make robots that can also do the job of heavy construction equipment. A tankbot and megabot for construction were pretty similar. The tankbot had an artillery piece attached to its body and a construction megabot might have anything from a wrecking ball to a shovel attached to it but aside from the attachment, the two types of megabots were pretty similar.
DG: So robots built the Megatrains?
FS: Yes, soon homobots and megabots were being used to build Megatrains throughout the Americas. The Rio Grande Canal would have been impossible to build without breakthroughs in the area of homobot and megabot design. The United Americas was able to dominate the EU and AU militarily due to this robotic technology dominance, well at first anyway.
DG: At first?
|3.13||Robot Size Rule|
Dr. Delta: This meme is highly infectious but not virulent.
FS: According to the factory supervisor, the EU and AU had started a joint research project to combat United America’s robotic dominance. It soon became obvious that the UA was too ahead in homobot/ megabot technology for anyone to catch up with them. There were all kinds of robots out there. Robots were generally classified by their size based on the Robot Size Rule.
FS: The Robot Size Rule states that when it comes to robots size does matter more than any other body factor. Of course the computer in the robot was even more crucial but what made a robot a robot and not a computer was the fact that a robot had a body. There are several corollaries that follow from this rule.
DG: What are the corollaries?
FS: Again, this is all according to the robot factory supervisor, there was almost no transfer in technology of homobot/megabot technology to smaller robot designs.
DG: Why not?
FS: The engine specs and transportation specs of microbots and nanobots had to be totally rethought due to simple physics. The first corollary of the Robot Size Rule is that a robot made to a certain size class can be adapted for other functions for a fraction of the cost it takes to make a robot of a certain size class in the first place.
DG: Any other corollaries?
FS: The second corollary is that there is approximately 50% transfer of technology between size classes but almost no transfer of technology when you skip a size class. The exception to this rule was later found to be nanobots. When it came to nanobots, quantum physics considerations had to be taken into account that none of the other size classes had to worry about at all. Making super small engines and transportation systems came naturally to a combined EU/AU design team that was mostly made up of Swiss and Japanese engineers.
DG: It would seem to me that teeny-weeny, little robots wouldn’t have much military potential.
FS: Well the supervisor told me that the opposite is true. The UA invaded Iraq for the umpteenth time and unloaded thousands of combots and tankbots supported by the now totally automated jet fighters and bombers of the UA. No one was stupid enough to fight this mechanical army with mere humans.
DG: Why not?
FS: Unless you hit a combot or tankbot directly with the equivalent of an antitank weapon, they just kept on coming. The combots could carry more ammunition than ten humans could. This meant that the combots didn’t have to be careful about managing their ample ammunition supplies and would just tear up the countryside with giant gouts of firepower.
DG: I suppose barriers could slow them down.
FS: The tankbots walked or rather crawled, unlike earlier primitive tanks that used tracks, and could get just about anywhere. More importantly, the tankbots jumped rather like a spider does.
DG: Why did they jump?
FS: A tankbots would jump over a standard tank and totally outflank it and hit it from behind. Standard antitank weapons were also less effective against tankbots than standard tanks since the tankbot would just jump out of range and then bring it’s superior long range weapons to bear on the offending party. You might get one tankbot if you hit it dead center but the rest would get away and even up the score.
DG: How so?
FS: The combots were also fair jumpers. They would just jump over a human squad of soldiers and hit the squad from behind. The combots could hitch a ride on a tankbot for a really long jump. Standard antitank traps were jumped over. Trenches that would have stopped a human army were simply jumped over. The jumping ability of the tankbots meant that they could also match antitank helicopters in the area of maneuverability. The United Americas robots would have just jumped over the defenses of Normandy at WWII and then turned around and attacked the Nazis from behind.
DG: So what could stop UA robots?
FS: Not much, the robots were immune to atomic, chemical, biological ataque and therefore could use all three against humans with impunity. The tankbots had shells filled with chemicals and biologicals that they used as needed. A whole area could be sprayed with any number of gases and the robots could operate with total impunity while humans had to wear bulky protection suits. The robots were already stronger, faster and more agile than humans under normal conditions. Humans hampered in heavy suits rarely even saw a robot before getting killed. For really tough jobs the tankbot could always lob a tactical neutron bomb.
DG: Neutron bomb?
FS: There were no suits that could protect humans against neutron radiation and only soldiers in special tanks could survive in this environment but only for a few hours. Every time someone would come up with tanks with better shielding, the UA would create an even deadlier neutron bomb. The neutron radiation was supposed to go away in a month or two or so the experts said.
DG: It didn’t?
FS: Some people thought the rise in children born with two heads children in Iraq had something to do with neutron radiation of past United Americas militar interventions but there was no definitive proof of this. Besides the UA invariably sent teams of doctors after an intervention and they happily removed one of the heads using the latest surgical techniques available.
DG: I am glad to see Americans were kind hearted even in the last Big Bang cycle.
FS: The use of these teams in no way constituted acceptance by the United Americas of responsibility for the two headed crisis in the first place. After all any number of genetic or environmental causes could be responsible for the rise in two headed children in Iraq and further research was needed.
DG: Arabs are always blaming the US for every little problem.
FS: No kidding, the problem was that sometimes both heads were alive and this posed a dilemma for the surgeon. Standard procedure was to give an IQ test to each head and detach the one with the lower score. Unfortunately, the surgeons sent to Iraq soon noticed the head that took the test second always had a higher score. The second head cheated and copied the correct answers of the first head!
DG: Was there no honor among heads?
FS: I guess not. With typical Yankee ingenuity, a special device had been created for just this purpose. The test was administered by putting a box on one of the heads that was totally soundproof. The head outside the box could not hear what the head inside the box was saying.
DG: So how could you communicate to the head in the box?
FS: There was a screen inside the box that presented the test and the program responded to verbal stimuli from the head in the box. Millions had been spent on sending the surgical teams to Iraq. More millions had been spent on creating the special IQ boxes. Despite all this the people of Iraq still seemed to hate America, further proof that the mind of the Arab was a mysterious one indeed.
DG: Mysterious indeed.
Dr. Delta: This meme may actualize soon.
FS: According to the Hexagon the rise in the number of two headed children among United Americas personnel stationed in Iraq was equally irrelevant statistically at least. As far as the brass was concerned, UA troops who refused to be stationed in Iraq could not use the old, “I don’t want to have two headed children”, excuse. Still there were problems.
FS: As I stated before, our Pentagon and White House got wasted during our 9/11. At the time, we had supersonic jets that were four times the size of your largest airliner and our DC area was basically leveled due to the greater mass and speeds involved. Bigger is not better when you are on the wrong side of bigger.
DG: That’s true unless you are female and bigger is your boyfriend.
FS: Good one, fortunately, our President Reagan was having a blast at Disney World at the time. After our 9/11, NASA was incorporated into the Pentagon and the Hexagon was born. NASA was needed to coordinate projects like the giant bar coder in the sky and had no time for lesser tasks like space exploration. The UA contracted commercial outfits to take over the civilian missions of NASA.
DG: I suppose, if space travel becomes routine then it would make sense for the government to focus on military rather than commercial aspects of space travel.
Dr. Delta: This meme may also actualize soon.
FS: Might happen on this Earth as well in a gradual manner. There had been some talk of relocating the capital to NORAD but President Reagan’s advisors had decided that Washington DC was the political center of the United Americas for better or worse and another solution had been devised to the problem of extreme terrorist attacks. Two geodesic domes housed the Hexagon. One dome was inside the other dome.
DG: Were the domes made of steel?
FS: Better than steel, the first dome was made out of reactive armor and Chobham and the dome was basically made of super thick tank armor. There is a limit to how thick you can make tank armor due to the negative effect of overly thick tank armor on mobility. The outer dome wasn’t going anywhere and was ten times thicker than the thickest tank armor.
DG: Again, this would be too expensive.
FS: The tank domes were mass-produced at shipyards that had been put out of business by subships. There is no such thing to a government as a vote that is too expensive. Jobs get votes. The tank domes were put together like so many tinker toy sets by the megabots. In a matter of a year, every major potential economic and militar target in the UA had a tank dome over it.
DG: For example?
FS: Macrohard was the first private company to buy a tank dome for Macrohard’s corporate headquarters. Door was no fool. Unlike normal buildings, the Hexagon had a second smaller inner dome was made of twenty inch armor.
DG: Why a second dome?
FS: The thicker geodesic panels of the inner dome were designed to resist nuclear ataque and not just a terrorist ataque. There were checkpoints at the entrance of each dome. There were constant patrols between the two domes. Both domes had cameras mounted throughout for constant surveillance inside and out the domes. No car bomb was getting past both dome checkpoints. A passenger jetliner aimed at the tank dome would barely have dented the first dome much less the second dome inside.
DG: I guess that the Hexagon was snug as a bug inside both domes.
FS: Even more snug than you might think. The new White House was headquartered ten stories below the Hexagon. The BIS headquarters was ten stories below the new White House. The UA bunker was ten stories below the BIS headquarters.
DG: They had a bunker under everything else?
FS: Sure during an ataque, the Hexagon, White House and BIS could evacuate to the safety of the United Americas bunker in less than an hour and plan a counterstrike.
DG: Why the overkill? Wouldn’t the domes stop a nuclear weapon?
FS: The UA bunker was supposed to be able to withstand the latest weapons not just nuclear weapons. Megabots had been used to make a Megatrain tunnel that connected the UA bunker to NORAD.
DG: Have your ever thought of a career as an ultra-right wing, nutcase politician? I think you would win by a landslide. Well sounds the like the United Americas was ready to take over the world so who needs a tripolar world?
FS: Well let me finish my story, the robots could go nonstop 7/24 until they needed a recharge. The robots all had multiple sensory systems in their tentacles so day and night were just differences in their internal chronometers. For reasons beyond the comprehension of the leaders of the UA, the world feared their robot armies. Didn’t the world realize that this robot army had been created to free them? How many wars would have to be fought until the world realized the blessings of UA style democracy?
DG: We have the same problem on this Earth.
FS: No kidding, on the third day of the umpteenth Iraq invasion, all the UA robots just froze. The AU/EU research team had come up with a class of microbots that were too small for the United Americas robots to detect and these microbots had drilled into the United Americas robots and released acid once inside the robot, destroying the innards of the attacked robot. The factory I created microbots so I got to see this kind of robot first hand.
DG: Kind of like microbes attacking people.
FS: Excellent analogy, the UA had started its own crash program in microbots and soon there were even smaller second generation UA microbots that attacked first generation microbots by crawling into their innards. Eventually this had lead to EU/AU nanobots. The nanobots infected the microbots. Some crazy environmentalists wondered if nanobots could infect humans. Nanobots made viruses look big. The Hexagon made its own militar nanobot that wasn’t quite as sophisticated as the EU/AU ones but did the job.
DG: A race to see who could make the smallest robot.
FS: Exactly, some crazy environmentalists wondered if this nanobot arms race would eventually lead to a disease that hurt humans.
DG: Well would it?
FS: The Hexagon told the world that humans are carbon based and robots are silicone based. A disease that destroys silicon can’t destroy carbon. What the Hexagon hadn’t told the public is that the latest robots had carbon based wet-ware components and nanobots that attacked these components already existed.
DG: So in theory these nanobots could infect humans?
FS: Just a matter of time. The third corollary of the Robot Size Rule is that you use a robot of one size class to make a robot of the next size class. For example factory homobots were used to make megabots. The AU and EU used microbots to mass-produce nanobots. The EU/AU team made the first computer invisible to the naked eye using a factory of microbots. The keyboard was too small for anyone but a microbot to use and this was considered cute until someone realized that a keyboard for microbots might be useful in a microbot factory.
DG: What did microbots look like?
FS: First generation, microbots resembled dust mites more than anything else and their transportation system had in fact been based on studying dust mites. A dust mite looks like what happens when a spider mates with a crab. Second generation microbots looked more like protozoa than dust mites.
DG: What did nanobots look like?
FS: Nanobots looked like cubist paintings with cilia grafted unto them. Some art critics noticed a similarity in appearance between nanobots and early twentieth century modern art and wondered if there was some sort of clairvoyant connection.
DG: Maybe there was.
FS: Maybe, strangely kids thought microbots were cute. Macrohard was theoretically a UA company but really was a multinational that would work with any of the unions and soon was building it’s compucards and later its compu-rings in AU and EU microbot factories.
DG: Were robots used in other areas?
FS: Developments in robotics meant that many parts of the human body had mechanical replacements that were used on humans. Microbots could do surgery at the cellular level. Nanobots were much smaller than a cell and didn’t have the muscle to push cells around.
DG: So what good are nanobots?
FS: Nanobots were used for medical imaging instead. Millions of nanobots were released into the human body once every five years. The nanobots recorded the entire structure of your body at the cellular level.
DG: Sounds like a CAT scan.
FS: Similar, the nano-scan provided a precise three-dimensional snapshot of your body that made CAT-scans seem primitive. The microbots could then use the nano-scan information to restore you to normal.
DG: So medicine was more advanced in your Earth?
FS: Much more advanced. The combination of microbot surgeons and nanobot observers had allowed cancer to be cured. Almost everyone had a microbot cleaning once a year. Three types of microbots were used for medical purposes: slicers, drillers and grabbers. The slicers would go after cancerous cells and remove them mechanically from the body. The slicer would simply slice the offending cancer cell and/or microbe in half.
Dr. Delta: This meme is a “bot” meme and difficult to measure.
FS: The slicer had the equivalent of a cilia chain saw that it used to hack away at opponents. The chain saw doubled in function as a type of propeller that let the slicer move around the blood stream. Microbot design always aimed to combine functionality so that the tool could also double as a transportation device.
DG: So what was the advantage of a slicer over the bodies natural defenses?
FS: The body had T-cells that went after diseases and killed them via chemical action. The slicers went after any invaders that the T-Cells had missed and dealt with them via mechanical means. The slicers attacked whole host of diseases.
DG: How was this done?
FS: The slicers were generally injected into the body once a year. The yearly slicing was preventive medicine since many diseases were destroyed before they had a chance to grow and do any damage. Microbes seemed to be incapable of developing immunity to the mechanical rather than chemical ataque of the slicers.
DG: What about other diseases?
FS: The slightly larger drillers guarded the subject against heart disease. Once every two or three years, drillers would travel throughout the circulatory system and clean up the arteries by literally scraping away the plaque that developed over the year using a miniature drill designed for this purpose.
DG: I think a drill would do more damage than help.
FS: The drill was more like a fan that rotated flexible filaments similar to cilia. The drilling function allowed mobility at a low speed. This yearly drilling dramatically lowered the number of heart attacks.
DG: What about cleaning veins?
FS: In theory, even smaller microbots could have cleaned out the veins as well but clean arteries seemed to naturally lead to clean veins. The routine slicing and drillings had led to the virtual elimination of cancer, heart disease and a myriad of other diseases as causes of death.
DG: But you still had accidental deaths?
FS: Routine microsurgery meant that death due to accidental injuries had also dramatically fallen. For example, a gunshot to the head was curable. Slicers would go in and slice of dead neurons. Grabbers looked like a spider.
DG: Why were they called grabbers?
FS: The grabber legs of the grabber were actually claws that allowed them to carry neurons that had been harvested via cellular cloning and fuse them to the appropriate ganglia. The grabber had a separate propeller and was the only microbot didn’t use its tool for transportation. Grabbers were much larger than the other microbots.
FS: They also were expected to deliver drogas and were the packhorses of the microbot family. The grabber would then carry the dead neuron to a nearby artery to be flushed out. Drillers would clean out any arteries that were clogged with dead blood.
DG: How were the microbots delivered to the affected area?
FS: Medical microbots were inserted into the body via a plasma transfusion filled with the appropriate microbot cocktail. The medical microbots were also controlled strategically via an external signal. The microbots were programmed to go towards a particular electric frequency. The patient was hooked up with an electrode on one side of the body and the microbots were inserted at another point.
DG: I get it. The microbots would naturally move from the insertion point to the point were the electrode was.
FS: Right, using electrodes, the microbots overall directionality could then be controlled. You would try to make sure the tumor you were after was somewhere in the middle of their little journey.
DG: Okay, they are in, how do you get them out?
FS: Getting the microbots out was more problematic.
DG: Yeah, how was that done?
FS: Solution number one was to make the microbots biodegradable and let the bodies natural waste disposal systems take care of them. Solution number to was to insert an electrode in the lower bowel.
DG: Did the electricity destroy the microbots?
FS: No, the microbots would then congregate towards the lower bowel and were excreted naturally.
DG: Oh, I see.
FS: The two solutions were used in conjunction. Microbots that were able to make the long journey were excreted. Microbots that broke down on the way were absorbed into the body of the patient. One way or another the microbots were removed from the body after their usefulness was at an end.
DG: Poor little microbots!
FS: Yes, poor little microbots! One priest had suggested that perhaps we were medical microbots in the body of God and ultimately suffered a similar end. Biodegradation was heaven. The journey to the lower bowel was hell. He was promptly expelled from his church.
DG: Poor little priest!
FS: Yes, poor little priest. The microbots were programmed to replicate the neural structure you had before the gunshot wound. The neural structure in turn translated into personality, cognition and memory.
DG: Did you still have a soul after half your brain was reconstructed?
FS: No one knew where the soul resided well at least not on Earth. As mentioned, nanobots made a three-dimensional molecular picture of your body once every five years and this included a nano-scan of your brain.
DG: The nano-scan guided the microbots.
FS: Right, nanobots were too small to move neurons around but were great for observing neurons since they were also too small too effect brain activity. You would lose five years of memories since any neural structures that had developed since your last exam would be lost but this beat being dead.
FS: Hopefully you hadn’t gotten married since your last nano-scan.
DG: Yeah, not recognizing your spouse at all would interfere with domestic harmony.
FS: On the other hand many spouses took advantage of this memory loss to reprogram their spouses.
FS: For example a ruthless wife might tell the husband that he did indeed develop a love of opera a couple of years ago when in fact he had hated the activity. The worst cases were people that had just finished four years of college and had all this education wiped out.
FS: Fortunately, the custom had developed to have a nano-scan right after graduation to guard against just such an eventuality.
DG: Prudent. So how different were military and medical microbots?
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: This is the second time the patient has mentioned opera as an activity forced upon a male by a female. Could the patient have had a wife we have no record of that had forced him to go to opera or is opera symbolic of a deeper trauma in a prior relationship?
FS: Militar microbots were pretty similar to medical drillers. A platoon of drillers would lay dormant on the ground until someone stepped on them. They were too small to be crushed. The bottom of a shoe was the Grand Canyon to them. The driller would make a hole into the human/robot foot it was attacking. The drillers kept drilling until they emerged from your head or wherever.
DG: But they too small to do any damage.
FS: Thousands of drillers were making thousands of holes at the same time and blood just started spurting all over the place. The drillers alone didn’t do the real damage. The drillers were followed by a wave of grabbers that deposited poison in the case of humans and acid in the case of robots. The poison or acid didn’t make things much better.
DG: Inventive story but how can such teeny tiny robots get around the battlefield?
FS: Militar microbots could be delivered to their target through a variety of means. You could fire a bullet or shell filled with drillers and grabbers. The drillers and grabbers would then emerge from the bullet/shell and start their damage from the center of system rather than from the outside going in.
DG: That isn’t a very original way to disperse microbots.
FS: Militar microbots could also be dispersed in the millions as a fine spray that started drilling only the type of material they were programmed to go after. You could program them to only go after human tissue and leave other organic tissue alone.
DG: What about enemy robots?
FS: You could program them to only go after metallic alloys associated with robots that your enemy used and to leave your own robots alone. Microbots were generally used to fight homobots and megabots since there were plenty of other weapons that could do damage to humans.
DG: Why didn’t the microbots just attack everything?
FS: Basically the driller would touch a macromolecule and then “taste” what it had touched. If the macromolecule had the correct taste then it drilled away.
FS: I use the word taste in a special technical sense. The drill didn’t really taste anything since drillers didn’t really feel anything but the robot experts had come out with a system that could mimic taste i.e. the ability to distinguish macromolecules via direct mechanical contact.
DG: How could the microbots taste anything? Did they have itty-bitty tongues?
FS: Taste was built into the actual body of the microbot and was a function of the exoskeleton of the microbot interacting or not interacting with a material due to a chemical reaction. In some ways a militar microbot was a taste bud that could move around.
DG: Well how did you get different types of “taste”?
FS: Different exoskeletons allowed the microbot to taste different macromolecules and react accordingly. Slicers and grabbers also had this taste function. In militar settings, the taste function allowed the microbot to only go after appropriate targets. In medical settings, this taste function meant that a slicer would slice a cancer cell and not a healthy cell. This also meant a grabber carried away a dead neuron and not a live neuron.
DG: Guess you’ve thought of everything.
FS: Not me but the robot experts on my Earth. There was a reconnaissance microbot that was a driller with communication equipment. The driller was programmed to drill into the subject for a couple of inches and then stop. The drillers as a group formed an additive communications array. More drillers meant a better signal. The driller then received sound or radio waves from the subject’s area and beamed this back to an observation post. The hole was so small that the subject didn’t even feel it and would carry the bugs around until special equipment was used to detect the microbot transmissions.
DG: Why didn’t the United Americas have as much success with microbots?
FS: Unions had limited resources and decisions had been made at the highest level as to what robot size levels to pursue. Due to a lack of technological expertise, the UA had larger microbots than the Asian Union. The main purpose of UA microbots was not to ataque homobots but to defend against enemy microbots. UA microbots were deployed to detect any AU microbots in an area, report position and movement and then the area was napalmed. Napalm melted the enemy microbots.
DG: Small robots have small computers for brains. How could such small computers contain the complex instructions needed to do what you describe?
FS: The key to controlling microbots was keeping your commands simple. Microbots had very, very, very little brains and could not handle complex commands. The first command a microbot could handle was “on” and “off”. A driller would drill or not drill. A slicer would slice or not slice. A grabber would grab or not grab.
DG: But you would need more commands.
FS: The second command that a microbot could handle was to “move” or “not move”. In a medical setting, the microbots would move towards an electronic frequency until the frequency was turned off. You could calculate how fast a microbot could travel and then turn off the frequency at the appropriate time and figure most of the microbots were in the right place.
DG: How about in a military setting?
FS: In a militar setting, the driller moved up using a micro gyroscope to be able to distinguish up from down. The third instruction a microbot could handle was the coordination of the first instruction and the second instruction. For example, a slicer could be programmed not to slice while moving so that it didn’t start slicing until it got to the right place.
DG: But the microbots couldn’t interact with each other.
FS: There was no intelligent coordination through communication between microbots. The slicer sliced based on taste. The grabber just grabbed anything that happened to taste right with no awareness of the slicer having made the material available in the first place. On the other hand, you could program drillers to drill one type of material, slicers to slice yet another material and finally grabbers would grab a third type of material for complex effects.
DG: I don’t see how this could work.
FS: In order to treat bone marrow cancer, the drillers only drilled when they tasted bone. Once they hit the marrow then they stopped. The slicers were directed by an electrode on the other side of the bone and seeped through the holes of the drillers.
DG: How could the slicers find the holes?
FS: The slicers didn’t recognize the holes but just keep swimming towards a particular direction in a fuzzy manner until they hit a hole and arrived in the marrow. The slicers didn’t stop slicing until the frequency was turned off. The approximate speed of a slicer in this situation was known, so that most of the slicers would be in the right place when the frequency was turned off. The slicers sliced away at the cancerous cells while the grabbers deposited the appropriate medicine to the marrow.
DG: Your story almost sounds plausible.
FS: It’s sound plausible because it is true. As far as the United Americas were concerned, the Asian Union could have the dismal dark depths of the ocean with its subships. Also, as far as the UA was concerned, the EU and AU could continue making little toys with their microbots and nanobots.
DG: And the UA’s goals?
FS: The UA would soar like an eagle into space and create a whole new class of gigabots that could transform entire worlds and make them habitable to humans. First the Moon, then Mars, and perhaps even Venus would become the new frontier for the United Americas.
DG: Eagles soar and dragons swim. I get it.
FS: Exactly, just as microbots made natural tools for creating nanobots, megabots became the natural tools for creating gigabots. Megabots could easily lift and manipulate the giant components that made up a gigabot.
DG: What were the gigabots for?
FS: There was talk of an ultimate gigabot system that was a gigabot that could land on a world and move about the surface, unleashing armies of megabots to terraform a world. Giant domes would be built to hold what little air there was on Mars.
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: Three unions and now three types of microbots, I would say the patient is slightly fixated with the number three.
DG: So the other unions gave up on space?
FS: Not totally, the Asian Union had already started terraforming Mars but used an entirely different approach.
DG: What was the AU approach?
FS: Microbot had terraformed Mars at the molecular level. The microbots planted various fungi that had been bioengineered to survive the Martian environment. The fungi were descended from the fungus that had been used to make arable land out of rock soil in West China.
DG: And made the tunnels in Tibet.
FS: Right, the second-generation fungi had its digestive range expanded so that it could eat just about anything. The fungi for terraforming had its temperature range expanded so it could live in incredibly hot and incredibly cold climates. Instead of collecting oxygen, oxygen would be created by the fungi. A small Martian colony had thus been created.
DG: And the United Americas rejected this small is beautiful approach?
FS: A crazy UA scientist had suggested going further than the AU and using nanobots as a means of terraforming planets at the subatomic level. The UA scientist was promptly fired. The UA liked to think big!
|3.19||Invasion of Taiwan|
Dr. Delta: The virulence of this meme is unknown. The infection level has been very high in China (4.2).
DG: In our very first session you mentioned an invasion of Taiwan. There’s been a lot of talk about Taiwan being invaded and am curious what happened in your Earth?
FS: Mainland China had invaded Taiwan several years ago on my Earth. The invasion had started with an EMP bomb over the Seventh Fleet of the United Americas. The bomb fried the electronics of most of the Seventh Fleet but left the personnel unharmed. The Chinese reasoned that crippling the UA in Asia without actually killing anyone would be less likely to lead to WWIII between the UA and China.
DG: Did it work?
FS: The war stayed conventional so I guess so. The Chinese needed a quick victory since it was just a matter of days before the Seventh Fleet would fix its electronics and other forces were being moved into the area. The Chinese bypassed the formidable coastal defenses on the West Coast of Taiwan that were closest to China. The Chinese attacked the East Coast.
DG: But there still had to be some East Coast defenses.
FS: The Chinese had been given very detailed information about weaknesses in the East Coast defensa system by fifth columnists in Taiwan. Policemen from Taiwan engaged in smuggling prostitutes from Mainland China to Taiwan.
DG: So what?
FS: China put pressure on the Chinese prostitution gangs and the Chinese prostitution gangs in turn blackmailed the Taiwanese policemen with videos of them having sex with prostitutes. China now had an army of Taiwanese policemen running around the island and gathering the most sensitive material available. The blackmail scheme was expanded.
DG: How so?
FS: Most important Taiwanese led a double life. They were respectable husbands by day but at night they frequented KTV places were they met their prostitute girlfriends. The Taiwanese policemen had always known about such activities.
DG: So what?
FS: Under orders from Shanghai, the Taiwanese policia gathered videos of most the major leaders and seguridad personnel in Taiwan fooling around with prostitutes. The leaders thus caught were given a simple choice: cooperate or be publicly humiliated with the release of the videos to the Taiwanese press that was notorious for their hunger for such material.
DG: Well I am sure the Taiwanese refused to cooperate.
FS: No, most Taiwanese men were found more willing to betray their country than risk the shame that the release of these videos would have brought upon them.
DG: I find this hard to believe.
FS: Well the mainland Chinese always made sure that the first act of treason was always a small one. Later the Mainland Chinese could threaten to expose this act of treason as well, no matter how small. The Chinese had for centuries excelled at using blackmail against their opponents. The Taiwanese had forgotten the old ways of fighting and this had been their undoing.
DG: So, China won through blackmail.
FS: Yes, but perhaps the blackmail scheme had not been even necessary. Many Taiwanese felt annexation by mainland China was inevitable and preferred having a place in a new greater China as opposed to being put in concentration camps by a victorious mainland China.
DG: And what would the cooperating Taiwanese get?
FS: It had been agreed that a prominent Taiwan leader would be the Vice-President of the Greater China and that the property rights of those who cooperated would be respected.
DG: And what happened to those that didn’t cooperate?
FS: Those who did not cooperate would have their property confiscated and given to the fifth columnists. The Mainland Chinese had rightly gauged that many Taiwanese were businessmen first and nationalists second.
DG: So what did the Taiwanese do?
FS: The Taiwanese opened the doors to the Chinese. There was barely a struggle. The Taiwanese troops were ordered to surrender by generals loyal to Mainland China whether due to blackmail and/or promises of a place in the greater China. A few missiles lobbed around the major cities soon cowed the population.
DG: Why didn’t the Taiwanese go into bunkers and withstand the missiles?
FS: Incredibly, the Taiwanese had responded to the growth of missiles aimed at it not with an increase in civil defensa measures but with flowery speeches from Taiwanese politicians that denounced the missiles. The flowery speeches got votes but of course were quite useless as a missile defensa system.
DG: Maybe Taiwan didn’t have the money to afford such expensive weapons systems.
FS: Taiwan in the five years previously had spent billions to make a high speed rail that no one used and the tallest building in the world that never rented even a quarter of it’s office space. Over ninety percent of the college age students of Taiwan went to college largely at the expense of the government. Soldiers had guns but no one bothered to buy bullets. The jet fighters only had enough missiles to fight for hours not days.
DG: How could anyone be so stupid?
FS: In hindsight the Taiwanese went down in the history of our planet as the magpie people. The magpie is a bird attracted to shiny things regardless of their utility.
DG: Well if ninety percent of the college age population went to college then at least they would have the education to understand the situation.
FS: The higher education system of Taiwan was all show and no substance. The Taiwanese would spend millions on world class art, TV stations for their universities and luxurious offices for administration. On the other hand very little was spent on the actual task of teaching and learning.
DG: For example?
The administration that worked in the luxurious offices would not spend one penny for workrooms or computers for their faculty or even bookstores that ordered books. The campuses were beautiful but actually very little learning and teaching was going on. The soliders had no bullets and the faculty had no support but as long as things looked shiny on the outside no one cared. In fact many Taiwanese students went to college in mainland China because they realized they were wasting their money in Taiwan.
DG: Well you must be talking about another world such a stupid people could not exist on this one.
FS: Well I would hope not.
DG: Didn’t the United Americas respond?
Dr. Delta: This meme has low virulence and infectiousness.
FS: On the day of the invasion, mainland China unveiled a brand new fleet that had been secretly built and could have fought the Seventh Fleet of the UA even if the Seventh Fleet had not been knocked out with EMP weapons. The secreto fleet was smaller than the Seventh Fleet but had been totally adapted for cross-straits warfare unlike a normal fleet. The most remarkable ship was a bridge ship.
DG: Bridge ship?
FS: This deck of the ship was designed to act as a span of bridge. A series of these bridge ships created a bridge linking Mainland China to Taiwan that allowed thousands of Chinese troops to stream into Taiwan from Mainland China.
DG: I think it would be pretty hard to get your ships lined up just right when being shot at by other ships and attacked by airplanes.
FS: The bridge ship deck was hexagonal and had spokes on the outer rim. The bridge ship could connect to other bridge ships via any side.
DG: Doesn’t sound like a traditional bridge.
FS: The finished bridge looked more like flattened beehive than a traditional bridge. The design of the bridge ships was robust and the Chinese figured any line between Taiwan and Mainland China was a good line, not just a straight line like a traditional civilian bridge.
DG: What sort of obsessive-compulsive, monomaniac maniac would come up with something like a bridge ship?
FS: A Chinese general had gotten the idea while looking at the irregular footpath of a Chinese garden that had been done with hexagonal tiles.
DG: I understand how the bridge ships would connect. Even if they were connected then wouldn’t it be fairly easy for jet aircraft to sink these sitting ducks of ships?
FS: The bridge ship hull was filled with a specially designed plastic that was filled with air pockets. It was almost impossible to sink a bridge ship. The bridge ship was rather like a piece of soap that refuses to sink no matter how many pieces you break the ship into.
DG: What kept the bridge ship in place?
FS: Anchors along the entire rim of the ship hull sank into the seabed and anchored the ship to a particular piece of seabed. You had to destroy almost 85% of the ship to really destroy its bridge capability. The United Americas had never planned for a secreto fleet much less a fleet specifically designed for the specific conditions of cross-straits warfare.
DG: What did China do once it won the battle?
FS: China installed a new president and new cabinet. The new President of Taiwan told the UA in no uncertain terms to stay out of Taiwan.
DG: How did the UA respond?
FS: The United Americas was prepared to save an embattled Taiwan but not the Taiwanese from other Taiwanese. Besides the pro-independence forces had been ruthlessly massacred. The Taiwanese policia loyal to China rounded up the diehard supporters of Taiwanese independence on trumped up charges, a few days before the invasion.
DG: What about the police outside of Chinese control?
FS: The loyal policia suspected something was wrong but Taiwanese are an obedient lot and obeyed orders no matter how suspicious such orders were. The Chinese knew the Taiwanese were essentially passive when it came to authority and this understanding was an essential part of their plan. Taiwan was democratic on the outside but authoritarian on the inside. The arrested pro-independence Taiwanese were shot in the basements of Taiwanese policia stations a few days after the invasion. Even more thousands were arrested and killed in the weeks after the invasion.
FS: Maybe not so much horrible as inevitable. There was a saying on my Earth that was widely quoted as the cause of Taiwan’s demise, “Taiwan is a small island, with small people, with small minds.”
DG: Why was this said about Taiwan?
FS: Before, during and even shortly after the invasion, the Taiwanese engaged in the most petty political games imaginable and ignored repeated advice from the Cyber-Lincoln Brigade to take the most fundamental militar precautions. As mentioned, civil defensa was non-existent despite constant typhoons, earthquakes and the giant increase in the number of missiles aimed at Taiwan but this was just one of many problems.
DG: What were some other problems?
FS: The Chinese could also have starved out the Taiwanese under certain conditions. Droughts in Taiwan were commonplace despite subtropical rainfalls.
DG: But if there is plenty of rain how can you not have enough water?
FS: There was plenty of rain but not enough reservoirs.
FS: Also, Taiwan had oil stockpiles that were less than those of any other country in Asia did. All signs of the exponential growth of Chinese militar, political and economic power were ignored.
DG: Wasn’t there a pro-independence movement, surely they tried to prepare Taiwan to resist an invasion.
FS: No, the pro-independence movement concentrated on speeches that got votes but ironically had led to the decision by Chinese hard-liners to ataque Taiwan in the first place. These same pro-independence forces totally neglected the defensa of the island. Instead of speaking softly and carrying a big stick, the Taiwanese decided to speak loudly and get rid of their stick.
DG: When did Taiwan fall?
FS: On Ten-Ten-Ten Day.
DG: What is Ten-Ten-Ten Day?
FS: October 10, 2010. I was sent slightly in the past of this Big Bang cycle. Perhaps history will repeat itself and the Taiwan of this Big Bang cycle will fall on the same date.
DG: I doubt it. I don’t think the Taiwanese of this Earth are as stupid. What happened after Taiwan was conquered?
FS: After the invasion, Taiwan was treated as a semiautonomous region of East China. The Taiwanese were allowed limited self-rule but had to follow the Shanghai line when it came to foreign policy. Most of the semiconductor plants in Taiwan were dismantled and shipped to Shanghai.
FS: The logic was twofold. Removing the plants meant they wouldn’t be damaged in any UA ataque to free Taiwan. Removing the plants also meant the UA had very little reason to free Taiwan since Taiwan’s semiconductor industry is what gave the island a strategic significance in the first place. This move sealed Shanghai’s supremacy in chip design and creation once and for all.
DG: Was there a huge resistance movement in Taiwan after the invasion?
Dr. Delta: This meme is a metametic meme with exponential potential.
FS: The Chinese were masters of metamemetic warfare on my Earth and used this knowledge to suppress any resistance movement.
DG: I have heard of memetic warfare but what is metamemetic warfare?
FS: “Meta” means basic and some examples are metaphysics, metadata, and
metacognitive. This establishes a record of how this prefix should be used.
DG: Metanalysis, metamathematic, metapsychology, I get it.
FS: I would define metamemetics as the study of memes that have as their primary function the control of memes. Control can be defined as the enhancement/inhibition of meme reproduction or the enhancement/inhibition of meme mutation. In common language: ideas that in themselves effect the reproduction of ideas. This is not the study of memetic reproduction since this is memetics itself.
DG: And the key difference?
FS: The key concept of metamemetics is that some memes control other memes disproportionately. Memes that have as their primary function the control of other memes are metamemes. This was a key area of study in memetics on my world. I would say that this technology already exists in various fields including political science, education, communication theory and other social sciences in this Earth but a memetic perspective allows for huge interdisciplinary insights.
DG: Interesting, you know for someone with absolutely no higher education you really know how to talk the academic BS.
FS: Thanks, I guess. Taboos are an example of metamemes. The main function of taboos is to regulate and generally reduce meme reproduction of ideas like incest. Could one even begin to examine something like taboos from a replication viewpoint and figure out how taboos can be consciously manipulated? This might be pretty powerful stuff in the hands of a social engineer.
DG: Did you have social engineers in your Earth?
FS: Every society has social engineers, a class that has as their function an understanding of the history of a meme i.e. the lineage of the meme. Whether Pharisee, witch doctor or modern scholar, their job is be aware of the various mutations of a meme and probably have some idea of how a mutation worked or did not work out under actual historical conditions.
FS: It isn’t enough to just condemn all mutations of a meme under the name of heresy. A society needs some memetic experts that can figure out which mutations can be allowed to exist and which mutations must be wiped out before the mutant memes do great damage to the society.
DG: For example?
FS: The Spanish Inquisition didn’t root out heresy just by condemning all mutations of Christianity.
DG: I thought that is exactly what it did?
FS: Well maybe mostly but the Spanish Inquisition also needed some Jesuits on the panel that have knowledge of different views of Christianity over the centuries and can spot those mutations that have been especially virulent in the past versus more harmless mutations that can be ignored. If you try to kill all the mutations then you may not have enough resources to focus on the really deadly mutants.
DG: Kind of like lineage experts in dog breeding.
FS: Exactly, the lineage experts may also be called on to guide a society in mutating a meme just enough to meet new historical conditions rather than allowing a brand new meme to overcome the existing meme system. Lineage experts generally prefer evolution to revolution and use their knowledge of the lineage of a meme to recommend incremental memetic mutation.
DG: Why not just let memes run their course?
FS: Uncontrolled mutation is bad! Why take chances! Who knows what sort of mutant memes will over run a population if mutation of any sort is allowed?
DG: Memetic mutation sounds like the heresy of your Earth.
FS: The concept of heresy could be an example of meme that tries to control the mutation of especially important memes such as religion or political orthodoxy. Radical Islam is a mutation of moderate Islam and the label of heresy did not succeed in stopping this mutation. Why?
DG: Free will?
FS: Almost, freedom is a persistent metameme that meme reproduction is good and should be allowed. A memetic rationale of freedom is that the free flow of memes allows them to compete and only the fittest memes survive.
DG: Sounds like old-fashioned liberalism with new language.
FS: Liberalism is often used in conjunction with the freedom meme but with a focus on mutation. Meme mutation is good as long as it is incremental and controlled to some extent.
DG: So you are a liberal?
FS: Not really, I buy into memetics and look for memetic truths in whatever political philosophy that has them. For example, Marx wrote, “He who controls the means of production controls the society.” Marx certainly wasn’t a liberal but he did have some handle on memetics. He got it right but I would go one step further, “He who controls the means of metamemetic reproduction controls the society.”
DG: I think education is the main form of social control.
FS: Education mainly relies on the metameme of lineage to control mutation.
DG: What do you mean?
FS: Educators are the gatekeepers and only those who have contracted the right memes are allowed to graduate.
DG: A genetic model of memes is generally used. You don’t contract genes.
FS: I think a disease transmission model is better in some cases.
DG: The military is also a major tool of social control.
FS: The militar usually focus on the physical means of production in order to control meme mutation and reproduction such as transportation and communication systems i.e. control of infrastructure. However, all infrastructures may not be equal.
DG: How so?
FS: Infrastructure that supports enemy metamemetic reproduction is a better target than infrastructure that supports mere meme reproduction.
DG: This mirrors my intuitive thinking that the US is winning the ground war against terrorism but losing the war of ideas i.e. the memetic war. The world is more radicalized ideologically since our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq than before. The current global environment favors the replication of terrorist memes more than before the actions in Afghanistan. I know the ghost of Vietnam is always in the background of every US military action but there is a reason for this. The Vietnamese lost the ground war but managed to win the memetic war. The US could afford to lose Vietnam. The US can’t afford to lose the world.
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: The patient describes a tripolar world similar to George Orwell’s 1984. I would say his metamemetic ideas are a more sophisticated version of Orwell’s Newspeak. In both cases language is used to control ideas.
FS: On this Earth, the militar are relative amateurs in area of memetics.
DG: From your view the goal of the war of terrorism cannot be to just kill terrorists but instead the goal must be to disrupt and ultimately eliminate the replication of the memes of terrorism.
DG: Sounds like ideological warfare.
FS: The problem is that ideological warfare has always been really tricky to analyze. Memetics may provide a more precise and less value-laden way of looking at ideological warfare.
DG: Could you apply memetics to the current war on terrorism?
FS: Right off the bat, I have an idea from biology that could be applied to the war on terrorismo. One way you put down a pest you don’t like is to introduce another organism that competes for the same resources or even a predatory organism that preys on the pest. You have to be careful since the introduced organism can become a bigger problem than the original pest. This is how Texas got started.
FS: Yes, the Mexicans thought the introduction of Americans would drive out the Comanche’s and provide a buffer state between them and the Comanches. The Texans turned out to be a bigger pest than the Comanches ever were.
DG: And now?
FS: Support of moderate Muslims is one application of this principle. Radical Muslims travel everywhere spreading their ideas. Since one organism can infect many other organisms that in turn replicate the meme in an exponential manner, a single cell, in the intelligence not biological sense of the word, in a country can soon radicalize a Muslim country. Moderate Muslims tend to stay in their particular range. They tend to do their business in one country.
DG: So what can the US do?
FS: One could through artificial means allow moderate Muslims access to a greater global range. The US dominated global media is closed to Muslim extremists but it is not necessarily very open to moderate Muslims. A global moderate Muslim movement might affect radical Muslims in a manner that is far greater than normal means of analysis would suggest. I would add a secondary memetic argument to this particular strategy.
DG: What would that be?
FS: Fecundity of organisms also seems to be effected adversely by similar organisms more than dissimilar organisms. This is because similar organism competes for the same ecological niches in the environment. Would the same be true for memes? Are there memetic niches? For example, support for moderate Muslims in Central Asia might bring about rewards that support for secular democratic movements would not, since moderate Muslims and radical Muslims compete for similar populations and resources. Secular democratic movements compete for an entirely different social niche.
DG: Makes sense.
FS: Some interesting articles about memetics on the web that make the point that to some extent the CIA took the relatively small and nascent meme of radical Islam and mutated it into an anti-Soviet militar doctrine. They also trained the same radical Islamic groups how to make bombs, hand-to-hand, and subversion, you name it. One article described Al Qaeda as a US Frankenstein.
FS: The very same skills and the kill the infidel philosophy were turned against the US once the Soviets were defeated. I don’t blame the CIA. The US was in the middle of a giant cold war with the Soviet Union and expedient decisions were made.
DG: So what lessons can be learned?
FS: I think the number one lesson is that the transmission of militar technology memes is a very, very dangerous procedure since once these skills are learned they can’t necessarily be controlled and can replicate more quickly than most people realize. Most armies are very careful about who they select, do indoctrination during training and have strict supervision of their militar personnel after the transmission of militar skills but the US isn’t doing this.
DG: What do you mean?
FS: There is a tendency in many covert operations to train locals of questionable loyalty and to short change indoctrination. I would say that the basic tactical mistake in this situation is to look at militar memes and political memes in isolation. In other words the common wisdom that the indoctrination of your armed forces is every bit as important as the militar skills they learn can be put in memetic terms.
DG: I am sure the US military has taken this into account.
FS: Not really, the US is currently teaching militar skills to troops in the Philippines, Georgia, and Afghanistan minus indoctrination. The lesson from the Al Qaeda experience would be that while teaching militar skills to these troops, some political memes must also be transmitted to maintain control over the militar memes.
DG: Makes sense.
FS: I think there is good historical experience that indoctrination works best in a total social environment while militar skills are of a psychomotor nature and do not require a total environment.
DG: What do you mean a total social environment?
FS: At the practical level, the foreign troops should study in a base in the US. Expediency may cause militar skills to be transmitted at the expense of this total environment and this is less important in the short run but this also means you can potentially lose control of the militar memes transmitted.
DG: This sounds like common military wisdom.
FS: Memetics doesn’t change common militar wisdom but gives you a way of looking at it.
DG: Sounds too abstract.
FS: Okay an example, the British Empire was very careful to put locals through the whole militar process including indoctrination before teaching militar skills. Even to this day the commonwealth still exists.
DG: Don’t all militaries do this?
FS: No, other empires such as the French empire were less careful and faced the consequence of having these locals turn on them and use the militar skills they learned from the French against the French. Does a little place called Vietnam sound familiar? There is no equivalent of a French commonwealth.
DG: I am sure military indoctrination policies were just one reason.
FS: Probably, but the US can learn from this experience and make a point of tying militar skill training to political indoctrination and not allow situational expediency to be used as an excuse to down play indoctrination.
DG: So what are your specific suggestions?
FS: One might want to consider the transmission of cultural memes for key locals. Foreign troops, that are going to learn especially deadly militar skills, should study in the US. In the US cultural memes will be transmitted in a natural way.
DG: I think a historical case can be made that cultural memes reinforce political memes.
FS: Yes, in particular, special attention should be paid to foreign militar trainers since they have the ability to transmit militar memes. A guy who has access to dangerous militar skills is bad enough but there is more dangerous person still.
DG: Who’s more dangerous?
FS: The really dangerous guy is the one who can teach these dangerous militar skills. The really dangerous guy is the trainer of the trainers. Training trainers allows the exponential transmission of militar memes and can lead to the creation of armies’ overnight but this exponential transmission needs to be under strict control.
DG: Wasn’t Bin Laden a military trainer during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan? I thought I read somewhere that he was.
FS: I don’t know. Training key foreign militar in the home country has been a custom among armies for centuries and memetics only provides an explanation for this custom.
DG: I think this a common custom but not sure what the rationale is.
FS: What is really interesting is that a lot of militar customs don’t really have an explanation. That is the running theme of any number of novels about the militar. Catch-22 is the best novel of this type. However, contrary to what Joseph Heller wrote, just because you can’t explain a militar custom doesn’t mean it’s totally nuts.
DG: I think that over the centuries, armies found that some customs worked and some didn’t. We do many things based on empirical evidence alone despite the absence of an explanation. You don’t know why it works. You just know from historical experience certain customs lead to great armies.
FS: At another level you can ask the question how can you best ataque the copying-fidelity, fecundity and longevity of the opposing ideology? In short, how can memetic warfare be waged effectively?
DG: Sounds like you have it all figured out. Have you ever heard of George Orwell?
FS: George who? I haven’t figured out anything. I am just telling me about my Earth.
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: The patient shows an advanced knowledge of memetics and this is consistent with his metaschizophrenic condition. Where and how he learned about memetics is unknown. The patient may not be as uneducated as his file suggests.
DG: Such an “advanced” philosophy. You mentioned a type of yuppie in your Earth. Would you consider yourself a yuppie?
FS: They weren’t yuppies. The triad had created a class that called themselves cosmopolitan proletarians.
DG: As in the proletariat mentioned by Marx?
Dr. Delta: This meme is highly infectious but not virulent.
FS: In a way, the Cospros joked that they were the new working-class. They also joked that a proletariat with historical, transnational consciousness had indeed arisen as predicted by Marx and they were it. They called themselves cospros for short. Cospros had their own philosophies. Many cospros rejected minimalism that is the philosophy that less is more. Instead cospros loudly talked about maximalism.
FS: More is more! A full life meant more travel, more types of food, more sex and overall more types of experience of every sort. Above all a cospro wanted to have one apartment in one union and another apartment in another union.
FS: Living in two unions was kind of the entry-level requirement for being considered a cospro. Better still have a job that required travel between two unions and vacation in a third union. Austerity and temperance were for suckers and low brows. Live big and live loud!
DG: Sounds vulgar to me.
FS: Bicultural holo-art was especially popular among cospros. For example, cospros bought holo-art that looked like 13th century Japanese from one angle and 16th century country English from another angle. The idea was to have you whole house done in two national styles via holo-art that reflected the two countries you did business in. For some reason the Andy Warhol/Gainsborough pieces sold especially well.
DG: Perhaps the consumer liked the incongruity.
FS: Maybe, from one angle you were looking at a painting of Marylyn Monroe by Warhol and from another angle you were looking at a country squire by Gainsborough.
DG: Again, this is vulgar. These two artists have nothing in common.
FS: The fact that these two artists had nothing in common made the whole experience that much more fun. One would of course get other holo-art pieces that matched these two artists so there was a sort of aesthetic unity to the house.
DG: Still sounds terrible.
FS: Well I guess you wouldn’t like tricultural art that actually confused people and wasn’t as popular. One piece of holo-furniture that changed from a Frank Lloyd Wright chair, to a Zen mat and then to a baroque throne was actually very hard to sit on since the true form of the chair was totally hidden by the complex holo-effect on the chair. Not everyone liked holo-art and some people claimed to get splitting headaches after being in a house filled with holo-art.
DG: Seems like a minor use of technology rather than a true cultural difference.
Dr. Delta: This meme is infectious but not virulent.
FS: The holo-art is representative of the larger philosophy among the cospros called maximal virtualism. One should try to experience all aspects of reality but if you couldn’t have the real experience then go for a virtual substitute in a systematic manner.
DG: Can you give some examples?
FS: Sure original antiques were great but have fun with some holo-furniture if you couldn’t afford the real thing. Troilism, sex between three persons at the same time, is a blast but if you couldn’t find two willing partners then get the software and hardware to do it on your on in the comfort of your own home.
DG: Why was virtualism so popular?
FS: Cospros were well-paid professionals but wanted to live the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Cospros found that virtual technology made this possible and this was smart not fake. Part of the trick was to be up on the latest virtual technologies and be hip about making trade-off between the real experience and the virtual experience.
DG: Can you give an example?
FS: Sure, memory implants were a process by which memories of a vacation would be programmed directly into the brain via your cyberplug. This was super cheap and just required a quick trip to a Memotron outlet but no cospro would go this route.
DG: Why not?
FS: Memory implants were working class as far as cospros were concerned. On the other hand, a cospro might prefer a simulated vacation to space since the real thing was just way too expensive. A Cospro would consider a simulated vacation to Vietnam was stupid since the real thing just cost a little more. Similarly, cospros looked down on cyberaddiction.
DG: I would think they would love cyberaddiction.
FS: No, drogas were unreal anyway and virtual drogas were just too much. A cospro heroin addict would be considered fashionable but not a cospro cyberaddict.
DG: If cospros didn’t believe in memory implants then how did this Memotron company stay in business.
FS: Memotron was an Asian Union company. Virtualism came in a lot of different flavors. For the more developed countries virtual technologies were used for reality substitution. Cospros generally used virtual technology to enhance reality not substitute reality. Most of all the cospros were NTV
FS: No television! Television was seen as a passive none interactive medium that was hopelessly lower class. Virtual and interactive was good. TV was bad
DG: So, Different groups used virtual technology differently?
FS: Exactly, the general AU population applied virtualism in a very different way than cospros.
FS: The AU found itself with billions of new urban consumers that were educated and potentially a revolutionary class.
DG: I thought the Asian Union had caught up with the United Americas?
FS: The total GDP of the AU was equivalent to that of the UA but per capita income was still far behind since the AU had a much larger population than the United Americas. The problem was that the AU urban consumers wanted the same lifestyle as the United Americas population.
DG: The solution?
FS: The deal between the Asian Union government and the AU citizens was simple: Gives us a better material situation and we will give you our political loyalty. The AU government accepted that meeting consumer needs was part of its job in a way that the UA government never had. The UA route to meeting consumer needs wouldn’t work for the AU.
DG: Why not?
FS: The physical resources to satisfy the billions in the Asian Union simply did not exist in the whole planet much less relatively resource poor Asia.
DG: So, what did the AU do?
FS: The AU used memetic surveys to measure the “happiness” level of this huge urban class in consumer areas. When a nexus of unhappiness was identified then government research was done to identify potential solutions that were cost effective. Often times a virtual solution did the job.
DG: For example?
FS: Asian Union citizens wanted to travel around the world on a yearly basis like their United Americas counterparts but this just wasn’t economically possible for most AU citizens.
DG: So what did the AU citizens do?
FS: The AU used memetic techniques to convince its population that the virtual travel of Memotron was just as good and showed shrewd economic judgment on the part of the consumer. Memotron was an Asian Union company and had been created through the use of low interest government loans to the appropriate AU entrepreneurs.
DG: Sounds like a modern version of the old Roman circuses and bread to keep the population happy.
FS: That’s exactly what it was but the question should be asked why did Rome survive so long rather than why did it decline? AU populations already had a tradition of using Internet bars as a cheap way to be entertained. As virtual technologies developed these Internet bars evolved into sophisticated centers where every conceivable consumer fantasy could be satisfied virtually.
|3.24||Enhanced, Muffled, Assistive and Corrective Reality|
Dr. Delta: This meme is infectious and perhaps useful.
DG: How does virtual reality compare with enhanced reality?
FS: Enhanced reality is not a total immersion experience. In this Earth, you generally use goggles to introduce on-screen objects that give you more information about an environment. For example a fireman might have a digital temperature display pop up whenever he was looking at an extremely hot surface area even if there were no smoke or flames. Enhanced reality gives new information to the user in a direct perceptual manner. On my Earth, enhanced reality was mostly used to help soldiers in combat environments but something similar referred to as muffled reality was widely used in the Asian Union among civilian populations.
DG: Muffled reality?
FS: What does the muffler of your car do?
DG: The muffler decreases the amount of noise coming from the car engine.
FS: Muffled reality technologies decreased the amount of aversive stimuli that the user perceived. The AU had become a very crowded place. At the same time there was a relative amount of prosperity so people could afford high-tech gizmos but there was no getting around the fact that some of the highest population densities in the history of the world were affecting the quality of life. For example, An AU citizen could choose to wear electronic earmuffs that would filter out unpleasant sounds. This could include any sounds above a certain decibel level.
DG: Why not use low-tech earmuffs?
FS: Have you ever tried to listen to a conversation with earmuffs on?
DG: It isn’t easy.
FS: Exactly, muffled reality earmuffs would take ambient sound and only decrease certain sounds that were preprogrammed. Sounds you liked could in fact be increased. The sound of traffic could be blocked out to a level you wanted. The sound of your girl friends voice could be increased but given some girlfriends you might not want to do this. Muffled reality extended to all five senses.
DG: For example?
FS: Muffled reality goggles made the visual environment more monochromatic. Muffled reality goggles were basically like a high tech version of sunglasses but instead of keeping out the sun kept out all the garish neon that had become the trademark of Asian Union cities.
DG: And the other senses?
FS: The most popular muffled option was in the area of smell. AU cities had multi-Asian populations. The smells of Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, India, Japanese and Western food all blended together.
DG: Doesn’t sound so bad.
FS: This wasn’t so bad but sometimes the smells of Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, India, Japanese and Western garbage all blended together as well. Muffled reality masks could mute smell in general or mute certain smells such as the smell of garbage or a particular food type.
DG: Actually, Asians do often wear surgical masks to avoid getting a cold. I suppose a high tech electronic version would be the next step.
FS: Muffled reality technology had a basis in history at a lot of levels. Perfume probably began not as a technology to enhance smell but to mask the horrible smells our ancestors had to deal with.
DG: Well certainly in the West were baths were considered bad for your health until the 18th century. Are there any other historical examples?
FS: Spice was valued in the West in the Middle Ages as much for it’s ability to make rotten food seem palatable as for the purpose of making food taste better. Many AU citizens chose to wear a reality helmet that resembled a motorcycle helmet and muffled auditory, visual and olfactory stimuli at the same time
DG: You know I have been to Asia myself and I think you are describing some products that would sell in this Earth as well. So in general civilians didn’t mess with enhanced reality but preferred muffled reality.
FS: Not totally, language input was routinely enhanced. The reality helmet often came with a natural language translator function. You could look at script in a foreign language and the OCR system would kick in and use a computer generated video feed to provide word for word translation. The word would appear as a subtitle on the visor of your helmet that in fact was a type of screen for the user to look through. This was not a true translation since word for word translation isn’t true translation but you could understand street signs, advertisements and basic textual messages without having to pull out a dictionary.
DG: Just a high tech dictionary.
FS: True but more sophisticated systems had object recognition capability and could tell you the name of an object you were looking at in the foreign language. You could stare at a hamburger in Mexico and you would get either script or audio input that would tell you the Spanish word for hamburger and you then ordered a hamburger in Spanish.
DG: That would be useful while traveling.
FS: The reality helmet was especially popular among world travelers since it lessened the sensory shock of travel and provided translations services as well as other seguridad and directional functions.
DG: What security and directional functions?
FS: The reality helmet was made of a super-light but super-tough plastic similar to Kevlar that provided some bullet proof protection not to mention protection against someone hitting you on the back of your head when you weren’t looking.
DG: And the directional functions?
FS: Some reality helmets had a GPS function that tied in with onscreen maps and even street level maps for some cities. The helmet could also be bought with a function to filter out noxious fumes such as carbon monoxide. Most importantly, the reality helmet could filter out black goo.
DG: Black goo?
FS: A disease in my dimension that I will discuss some other time. Finally, a helmet could have a limited cooling/heating function.
DG: Cooling and heating?
FS: A little known fact is that 90% of the blood of your body passes through your head every minute.
DG: This is why the old axiom “keep your head warm” applies. If you wear a cap and keep your head warm then this will have a disproportionate affect on your overall body temperature.
FS: Conversely, cold water poured on your head will cool your body down much more quickly than the same treatment on any other part of your body. A reality helmet with very limited heating/cooling capability changed overall body temperature very quickly. You had to be careful since the head is very sensitive and you didn’t want to overheat or overcool this part of the body.
DG: Wasn’t it uncomfortable running around with a helmet all the time.
FS: I suppose comparing the reality helmet with a motorcycle helmet was misleading on my part. The plastics on my Earth were much more advanced and the reality helmet weighed a fraction of what a plastic helmet of this sort would in this Earth.
DG: I don’t know if I would like a society were everyone was wearing a helmet. I think this would literally affect face-to-face relations.
FS: Yes, the reality helmet also gave you some anonymity although most nations required some sort of bar code on the helmet so that the government itself could identify you via monitors and computer systems.
DG: Sounds like a license plate.
FS: The bar code was more or less the license plate of the reality helmet but at least your wife couldn’t recognize you when you emerged from a hotel room with your mistress.
DG: So the reality helmet was like a mask.
FS: Not the first time masks have been used for day- to-day activities. The book Rostro de La Patria, by the author Lucia Lockert, describes how upper class Peruvian ladies in the colonial period would use the equivalent of a body length scarf to hide their identities. Besides a reality helmet was more of a necessity for a small part of the population.
DG: How’s that?
FS: There was a technology called assistive reality.
DG: As in assistive technology for handicapped persons?
FS: Yes, assistive reality tried to help handicapped people lead normal lives generally using onscreen objects that annotated reality. The good news was that people led longer lives than ever on my Earth due to microbots and nanobots but there was a bad side to this.
DG: And the bad side?
FS: The bad news is that all sorts of cognitive disorders started to show up after you reached one hundred that are totally new since this was the first time in human history you had large populations reaching these ages. The most common problem was a host of memory disorders.
DG: And the reality helmet role in all this?
FS: A reality helmet would provide a series of reminders to a person suffering from a memory disorder.
DG: Why not just use notes on the refrigerator?
FS: The program provided real time reminders. The user could tell the reality helmet to remind him of the name of his wife the next time that he saw her. You could even program the helmet to remind you who you were every twenty minutes or so. Cyberplugs could also be used to provide the reminder.
DG: Still all this virtual stuff isn’t real.
FS: But radical virtualism would disagree.
DG: What is radical virtualism?
FS: Some computer programmers argued that it was just a matter of time before virtual constructs would become aware as they became more and more complex and interacted with their users in more sophisticated ways. What if these virtual constructs in turn created more virtual realities? There were thousands upon thousands of virtual reality programs and what if each one of those realities created thousands upon thousands of virtual realities? The number of virtual realities would soon outnumber the original base reality by a million to one. Statistically it would just be more likely that you are in a virtual reality and that was probably the case with us. Sooner or later we would find the backdoor that would enable us to contact the creators of our reality and there was no reason to believe the creators themselves were not virtual as well.
DG: That would give the “worlds within worlds” idea a new meaning. Plato, Hinduism and Buddhism all refer to reality as commonly perceived as being an illusion maybe some mystics find the backdoor via meditation but don’t have the computer background to fully understand what they perceive.
FS: That is what radical virtualism would argue.
DG: Some programmers keep a log. I wouldn’t mind reading the programmer’s log of our reality. Oh this is such nonsense there is nothing virtual about our reality.
FS: You have to careful about thinking about radical virtualism too much. The idea can drive you a little crazy.
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: Ancient people would bore a hole in the head of the patient in order to let demons escape and thus cure the patient. The cyberplugs remind me of this practice.
DG: Sounds horrible, wouldn’t a natural death be better?
FS: You would think so but the old survival instinct is pretty strong. Besides most people suffered from the breakeven syndrome.
DG: What is the breakeven syndrome?
FS: The breakeven syndrome is a version of the breakeven point.
DG: I have heard of this, the breakeven point was the postulation that as you lived longer, you lived long enough for technology to develop that would allow you to live even longer so there was a chance that you could get immortality incrementally.
FS: The breakeven syndrome is the belief that in a similar manner whatever ailed you might also be cured if you lived long enough and you wouldn’t just get immortality if you hung in there but a healthy immortality.
DG: Was there any other major population that used reality helmets?
FS: Reality helmets were often used with ex-con populations. A corrective reality program was specifically created for this population. You know the little cartoon were you have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other shoulder?
FS: The corrective reality program was like having the little angel minus the little devil. If the “wrong” brain activity were detected then the helmet would initiate an appropriate talk therapy program. For example, a sex offender getting sexually excited while seeing a young girl would be given a lecture of how such thoughts are wrong and suggestions of how to deal with such thoughts. A lot of the programs were based on rational emotive therapy and tried to “rationally” help the ex-offender redirect their thoughts.
DG: I have treated sex offenders and most of them don’t think they have a problem so I would imagine they would just take the helmet off.
FS: Wearing the helmet was generally a condition of parole. The parolee could only remove the helmet at certain prearranged times and places such as showering in the bathroom. The reality helmet could monitor when and were the helmet was being removed and this information was beamed to the local policia station computer in real time.
DG: What would happen?
FS: If the ex-con took of the helmet at the wrong place and wrong time then he could expect a visit from the policia within the hour for violating his conditions of parole.
DG: We do something similar with in house imprisonment using an electronic shackle. Sounds like a great system. You deal with the whole issue of changing criminal cognition and therefore criminal behavior in a real life setting rather than an artificial therapy setting. What about when the parolee was sleeping? Did the offender take the helmet off?
FS: Oh, you slept with the helmet on. Research showed that focusing on inappropriate brain activity while asleep with the proper subliminal cues had dramatic effects. Your brain goes into something called REM.
DG: REM is short for rapid eye movement, and this generally means you are dreaming. What does this have to do with corrective reality?
FS: Well ex-cons have inappropriate dreams! The helmet could monitor REM levels in addition to inappropriate brain activity. Different verbal stimuli had been created for optimal effect with different REM levels. Corrective reality generally worked best with ex-cons that had a condition that responded to talk therapy.
DG: Reality helmets seemed to have been very useful tools.
FS: Yes, but they had their limitations. Someone wrote a corrective reality program for the purposes of weight loss that failed totally.
DG: How did it work?
FS: The program kept a tally of what foods you ate by noting which foods were aimed at the mouth. The helmet didn’t actually measure food consumed just food that was grabbed by your hand and came towards your mouth but this was good enough. Whenever you tried to eat the wrong food or too much food per day, the user received a verbal reprimand. A running tally of the calories consumed that day was shown on the helmet screen.
DG: Sounds great what went wrong?
FS: People just took the helmet off.
DG: Who else used reality helmets?
FS: Reality helmets came out of militar research and the militar were the biggest users of reality helmets.
DG: What was the main difference between military reality helmets and civilian reality helmets?
FS: Militar reality helmets were used to control weapons systems. In particular, reality helmets were used for No Hand Firing systems or NHF systems.
FS: NHF, the militar on my world had to face small terrorist groups just like this world and soldiers had their hands full, pun intended. NHF systems let them use their hands for other functions.
DG: I thought you used robots. Why not just give the robots extra hands?
FS: Good idea and some robots had more hands than others depending on the job but robots were used for large-scale wars between nation states in which firepower was more important than judgment. Humans were generally used for SWAT type situations were greater judgment was needed, especially hostage situations.
DG: Why was that?
FS: Robots always had trouble distinguishing between good guys and bad guys which is fine in a total war situation but not in a hostage situation. A favorite technique was to insert small squads through the use of parasailing.
DG: Our Special Forces use parasailing.
FS: Parasailing on my Earth included jetpacks to provide additional mobility. The jetpack could be used to increase the speed of descent from a high altitude.
DG: Why bother?
FS: So you could come in over radar and air defenses, get past the dangerous 500 to 2,000 feet range were air defenses are particularly dangerous and then stop your descent on a dime with the jet pack and deploy your chute.
DG: Why not just stick with the jetpack all the way?
FS: Jetpacks never had enough power to provide long-term flight but were great for controlling the direction and speed of a jump but there was still one big disadvantage to jumping into a hostile situation
DG: What was that?
FS: You were still a sitting duck while in the air. Jetpacks meant you were more mobile in the air and your time in the air could be controlled with greater precision. You didn’t want to just dodge bullets but shoot bullets.
DG: The best defense is an offense.
FS: Absolutely, complex jumps using jet assisted parasailing just meant you were in the air that much longer. The jumper needed to use his hands to control the parasailing and needed some way to fire artillery from the air for tactical defensa.
DG: So what is the solution?
FS: The energy weapons of my Earth were about the size of an Uzi submachine but much lighter and some could be temporarily plugged into the top of the reality helmet. Early systems used voice commands to swivel the weapon and fire on targets on the ground.
DG: Wouldn’t the kick back of the weapon be a major problem?
FS: Energy discharge weapons have no kickback and this was one of their major advantages. Energy discharge weapons dried up a battery pretty quickly but you just needed something that could fire a dozen rounds while you were in the air until you hit the ground and pull out the more traditional gunpowder based weapon.
DG: How did the jumper control the weapon?
FS: The reality helmet used a voice recognition system so that it would only respond to commands from the user. The first command was “arm system”. The firearm would automatically target whatever the user happened to be looking at. The second command was “fire system” and the third command was “disarm system”.
DG: Pretty basic for such a high tech world.
FS: Later voice recognition was replaced with direct cybernetic control via cyberplugs in the brain of the user. Eventually policia and militar on my Earth got into the habit of having some sort of energy discharge weapon on their reality helmets 24/7.
FS: Research showed you could fire this type of weapon faster than you could pull out a weapon from his holster. Once armed, the user just had to say, “Fire system.”
DG: I would think the speeds would be about the same.
FS: The reaction speed was even higher with cyberplugs that allowed direct mental control of the weapon. You could set the energy discharge weapon at a stun level for policia situations. Policia on my Earth were constantly stunning innocents by accident because of this but better safe than sorry.
DG: Any other energy weapons?
FS: The militar developed electromagnetic pulse weapons that were controlled by the reality helmet that could knock out electronics of whatever you looked at in a second and this left the hands free for standard artillery. This was especially useful against robotic defensa systems that could take a beating from standard artillery but were very vulnerable to tactical EMP weapons.
DG: I thought I read something about EMP grenades.
FS: Hey, my Earth is your Earth in the future, well, more or less. In terrorist situations were no robots were expected a laser could be substituted that could cut through a wall and hit a terrorist on the other side in a precise manner. Lobbing grenades at fortified positions often lead to the deaths of hostages.
DG: I suppose.
FS: Sure, lasers were often a better option. The main thing was that energy discharge weapons were on your head and gunpowder was in your hands. This dual weapons system allowed greater offensive flexibility and a drastic increase in per person firepower that were of course one of the historical keys to victory on the battlefield.
DG: So humans used energy weapons and robots didn’t?
FS: Nothing so simple. United Americas robots had derived their power from miniature nuclear reactors and could fire multiple ion shots before having to recharge.
DG: Is an ion shot better than a laser beam?
FS: An ion charge was more powerful than a laser and didn’t dissipate in the atmosphere as quickly as a laser. Lasers were used for short range shooting. The heavier but more powerful ion guns were used for medium term ranges.
DG: The whole thing sounds like Buck Rogers.
FS: Yeah, but as usual the Buck Rogers warrior of my Earth evolved incrementally using existing technologies rather than through the use of some magic system that allowed for true individual flight. Buck Rogers had the jetpack but no one ever tried to figure out how he could control the jetpack and fire a gun at the same time.
DG: What would the energy source of the jetpack be? The source would have to incredibly compact and powerful.
FS: Even on this Earth much more compact and powerful power systems will be developed that can handle this task within the next twenty years.
DG: I am still unclear how the jets worked with the parasailing equipment.
FS: The jets were mounted on your back like a backpack, under the chute, and could rotate 180 degrees. If the jets were aimed towards the sky then thrust towards the ground was provided. If there was no chute and you could speed through a kill zone. Once the chute was deployed then aiming the jets skyward towards the chute provided lift in a manner similar to a hot air balloon.
DG: But wouldn’t the jets burn the chute?
FS: Even high tech plastics on this Earth can be devised that are sufficiently fire resistant for this trick.
DG: How did you run this contraption?
FS: Pointing the jets towards the ground acted as brakes. Pointing the jets at a ninety- degree angle provided forward thrust and the soldier could fly over ground obstacles and/or enemy controlled territory. The jets provided a huge amount of control over the chute and allowed for pinpoint drops, even from the stratosphere, since the user could adjust where they landed dramatically once they entered the proximal target zone.
DG: So aside from the NHF system the military/paramilitary reality helmets and the civilian reality helmets were pretty similar.
FS: Yes and no, militar/paramilitary helmets both displayed information but different types of information.
DG: Such as?
FS: For example, policia helmets could come with a fingerprint system that allowed the user to look at a fingerprint, have it magnified, tie into the BIS database and compare that fingerprint with other fingerprints on the spot. A policeman could look at a suspect and compare his face with mug shots using a facial recognition system.
DG: Sounds like a great idea. Muffled reality suggests that material comfort was an important part of your Earth.
FS: I would say that our materialism had evolved to a form of sophisticated hedonism. For example, Cospros used something like the Big Mac index on this Earth to compare prices between nations on my Earth.
DG: What was that?
FS: Cospros used the hedonist index to compare the prices of countries. The hedonist index was a composite of the price of cerveza, sex and drogas in various countries. The European Union was the best value for a hedonist based on this index.
FS: Cerveza was cheap. The hookers were reasonably priced. Illegal drogas mostly controlled rather than illegal and therefore reasonably priced. Robotic sex was cheaper in the Asian Union, especially Japan, but the AU had managed to stamp out illegal droga use. In the UA, cerveza, sex and drogas were all available but expensive.
DG: Sounds like the “perv” index not the hedonist index. Been to Europe and sounds like this Earth. So I guess the cospros were big international travelers.
FS: Yes but the Cospros traveled differently. The grand tour had been a rite of passage during the 19th century when anybody that was anyone traveled across Europe. This was also meant to be a major shopping excursion and you were expected to return with a few roomfuls of antiques and souvenirs.
DG: The grand tour has been largely replaced by the backpacker’s journey through South East Asia. The backpacker is minimalist and tries to experience a lot but buy very little.
FS: The cospros would have none of that and combined the grand tour and backpacking with the big walk.
DG: The big walk?
FS: It was assumed you saw Europe as a teenager and Asia in your twenties but this was just normal traveling, nothing special. You usually waited until you were in your thirties or forties to take the big walk. The big walk usually took about a year.
DG: I think you wouldn’t have a job when you came back.
FS: Most employers of cospros were sympathetic to the big walk. Your job would be waiting for you when you got back. If fact, many companies would only consider giving an upper management job to a person after they had done the big walk.
FS: The big walk was part of the maturation process of cospros. The idea was that you traveled around the world and spent some serious bucks to get stuff to fill out your pad with. Hopefully you had learned something from the European and Asian traveling and now were ready make some serious purchases. Purchases before your thirties where temporary and reflected the fact that you were still a kid.
DG: And your thirties were different?
FS: Yes, in your thirties it was assumed and had the maturity to understand the intricacies of serious shopping. Shopping was an art form that took a lifetime to learn.
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: In some societies the man ritually abducts his wife. I met my wife in graduate school.
DG: What about the stuff you did have?
FS: You would rent a storage place ahead of time for just such a purpose and stores would send your purchases to the storage place as you traveled and bought. The management would put your purchases in the storage place for you as you sent stuff from your travels. The storage place also acted as your mailing address. This way you could travel light like a backpacker but have something to show for all your traveling when you got back.
DG: Storage places don’t provide these services.
FS: They should. No sense paying an apartment fee/house payment while you were living in hotels anyway.
DG: Did you do this rite of passage alone?
FS: No, the big walk was usually done with someone you were serious about. It was assumed that your first marriage was temporary and not permanent. You shouldn’t buy too much property since it would just make the divorce that much messier.
DG: Having been a divorce counselor, I can agree with this idea.
FS: The idea was to put your money in liquid investments and postpone purchases of furniture other less easily divided assets until you were older and more mature.
DG: Sounds expensive.
It was, hopefully you weren’t a total loser and had saved enough to do the big walk after you divorced your first spouse.
DG: You did this trip with your second spouse?
FS: Yes, hopefully, you had also had the forethought to have a partner lined up for the big walk. The big walk was done with the person you had thought about being your second marriage partner. You learned a lot about a person after traveling around the world together for a year.
DG: Sounds like what many couples are doing in this Earth.
FS: I agree, mostly you learned if you like to shop for the same things at the same places. Studies had determined that different shopping styles were the real reason people got divorced. Couples that shopped together stayed together.
DG: You think so?
FS: Sure, arguments about sex and money were symptoms of an underlying hostility about different patterns of consumption. Anthropologists on my Earth had discovered that humans were gatherers or hunters and this affected their shopping style. A simple test was devised to figure out who was who.
DG: What sort of test?
FS: When faced with a shopping experience, gatherers savored the experience and would look at many objects. Hunters focused on one object and blocked out other stimuli. Virtual reality shopping experiences combined with measures of eye movement could differentiate hunters and gatherers.
DG: People in your Earth were just way too much into technology.
FS: Maybe, gatherers like to buy lots of little things to create and overall pattern of consumption. Hunters looked for that very special object and pounce on it.
DG: What is the basic difference between the two types of consumers?
FS: Would you rather spend your money on lots of little knick-knacks or forego this pleasure for one big purchase? Don’t answer “both” since money is limited and people do end up choosing one style or another or go bankrupt.
DG: I thought women were the big shoppers.
FS: A common mistake. Shopping is central to the lives of both men and women but in different ways. On my Earth, women in general were gatherers. Men in general were hunters but this was not always the case. A man might eat crap and wear horrible clothes but save his money for that very special sports car.
DG: The being the prey in this case.
FS: Exactly, a hunter married to a gatherer would feel that the gatherer was wasting a lot of time and money on inconsequential purchases. In fact when men said they didn’t like to shop they were in fact saying they didn’t like to gather when in fact they did like to shop but as a hunter.
DG: But gatherers didn’t mind hunters.
FS: No, the gatherer would be disconcerted by the lack of a lot of little purchases and feel abandoned when the man decided to sit down and wait on a bench outside the mall not realizing that the hunter was waiting for the big kill.
DG: What about two hunters?
FS: Two hunters might get along but hunters usually collected different things and would need to learn how to take turns hunting or hunt separately and then hook up later.
DG: And two gatherers?
FS: Two gatherers were probably the happiest but this could also be a little boring since the intensity of the hunt was lost. There was no perfect combination but most marriage experts agreed that if patterns of consumption were not reconciled then divorce was inevitable. A global shopping experience was good way to iron out the consumption patterns of the relationship.
DG: I would think a sex-addict like you would put more emphasis on sex in relationships?
FS: How could a woman be expected to have sex with a man when she basically didn’t like the clothes he bought or the type of car he drove? If you like the same stores and the same restaurants then you probably stayed married. The big walk was ultimately a walk of discovery since you are what you buy but most of us don’t really know what we want to buy until we have achieved a certain level of maturity.
DG: We are what we buy? What a pathetic consumer based philosophy!
FS: Realistic not pathetic.
DG: So cospros did everything differently?
FS: Yes, cospros even retired differently. The average age of a citizen in a developed country had shoot up to 100. The increase in life span had been accompanied by a social trend towards early retirement.
DG: How early?
FS: If you were working a standard 9-5 job past 50 then people looked at you funny. Many people retired even earlier. This meant that you had a huge population that had the next fifty years of life on their hands.
DG: So how did people handle this extra free time?
Dr. Delta: This meme and the other community memes that follow are infectious and perhaps useful.
FS: A third category of lifestyle that was a cross between retirement and work was created and called rebirth. During rebirth, a cospro would typically move to a community that was designed for this purpose.
DG: What sort of community?
FS: These planned rebirth communities allowed the cospro the ability to use their high level professional skills but in a less structured and more autonomous environment.
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: My daughter heard about the cap and scarf knitted by my mother and wife respectively and knitted me some mittens. She gave me the mittens on Easter Sunday.
DG: Sounds like yuppie heaven. How did these communities start?
FS: The trend had really started in the United Americas. At first planned community developers targeted retired high-level business managers. They advertised their rebirth communities, as places were one could be reborn not retired. Retired was what mid-management types did. Rebirth is what successes did.
DG: So what did these successes do?
FS: Top business executive moved to exclusive gated communities that had super deluxe country clubs. Most of all, the houses, mansions actually, were wired to the max to allow for easy telecommuting.
DG: So the community was geared to provide professional services.
FS: Yes, the community also had the equivalent of an executive job center that allowed companies to easily hire members of the community as consultants. The community always had a high profile buscom website in which high profile community members were advertised on a regular basis.
FS: The buscoms, short for business communities also had a community center but the community centers were more geared towards providing the most sophisticated online investing hardware and software than shuffleboard. Buscoms were also great places to network and soon non-retired business types moved into buscoms, often as a first step towards planning their rebirth.
DG: Beats the home my grandmother is stuck in.
FS: Probably, retirement sucks on this Earth. A visual artist’s version of the buscoms soon followed. The rebirth communities for artists were called an artcol, short for artist colony. The houses had artists studios built in but the centerpiece of such an artcol was the virtual gallery. An artist could exhibit their work in the holo-gallery.
FS: An exact visual replica of their work could be shown in all the other virtual galleries around the world. That meant that thousands of persons around the world could wander around dozens of virtual galleries, at member artcols, and see your work at the same time. Only one gallery had the real items but you couldn’t touch art on display anyway so who cared.
DG: Why not just list stuff online like E-Bay does?
FS: The virtual exhibition was also online but it soon became apparent that most of the bids came from people that went to the holo-gallery shows.
DG: I wonder why this would be true. Perhaps the cheese snacks at a gallery show elicit some buying response that online shows do not.
FS: Anthropologists on my Earth suggested that buying expensive art was a essentially a social ritual in which a person could display social dominance through the acquisition of expensive and non-utilitarian objects in a group setting that online buying did not allow.
DG: So traditional galleries were no longer used?
FS: No, art galleries around the world received the holographic input from the virtual galleries data storage center and could display all the works of an artist three dimensionally without having to invest in the overhead of storing the actual arts in the store. This was basically a high tech version of ordering art from a catalog. Exposure was the name of the game in the visual arts world and artcols provided this in a high tech/high touch manner.
DG: Not all artists are visual artists.
FS: True, there was some attempt to make a community of writers similar to the visual art communities. Online writing workstations were built into the houses.
DG: I think a simple PC would be good enough for most writers.
FS: With a workstation, writers could do holo-conferencing, three-dimensional videoconferencing, with each other and teach creative writing classes from the comfort of their own homes.
DG: In theory, this would be great for writers since most writers like to write at home. This way they could teach and/or lead writing workshops for steady money, spend less time commuting, and have more time to write.
FS: Great in theory. The writing community didn’t work. The writers always argued. Invariably one writer didn’t like the writer that lived next door and sometimes these dislikes were manifested violently. Shootouts were not uncommon. The policia at these communities had to deal with constant domestic squabbles.
DG: What kind of squabbles?
FS: Mostly alcohol related. The writer’s community center was soon littered with cerveza cans and whiskey bottles despite a clearly posted ban on drinking in the community center. Alcohol related problems ate into the profit margins of these communities.
DG: I do think there is something to that truism that most writers are heavy drinkers.
FS: I think so. Finally, a shoot out between neo-realists and metafiction writers at one of the community bars escalated into a community level civil war in which the National Guard had to be called out.
DG: Well the debate about metafiction is an important one and I can see how things can get out of hand. Fact is fact and fiction is fiction and one shouldn’t blur the lines between these types of writing. I would even say that metafiction is one of the causes of meta-psychopathology. I especially dislike the experimental formats that metafiction often uses. I especially dislike novels with a Chinese box construction.
FS: What’s a Chinese box construction?
DG: A story within a story within a story.
FS: I agree that would be a very confusing way to construct a novel. A neorealist novelist at a bar had said that experimental writing that blurred the line between reality and fiction was elitist nonsense and the biggest hoax since the Piltdown man. A leading metafiction writer had responded by pouring cerveza on the head of the neorealist and all hell broke out. The writer’s community hobbled on but no new communities were planned after the shoot out. Science communities on the other hand did work out.
DG: Well good for the neo-realist. Can you imagine if this metafiction trend continued and some unwitting reader would pick up the transcript of this session and think it was fiction? What were the science communities like?
Dr. Delta: This meme is in the process of being actualized.
FS: Science communities had holo-labs. Holo-labs existed in most high tech companies. A holo-lab combined supercomputers with holographic technology to mimic any type of laboratory imaginable, given that you had the right software. The congruence between a virtual lab and an actual lab was about 99.9% in most fields.
FS: That is to say an experiment done in a virtual lab would probably turn out identically if replicated in an actual lab 99.9% of the time.
DG: So virtual research replaced hands on research.
FS: You still wanted to do your final experiments in an actual lab but a lot of preliminary research could be done in the holo-lab. Holographic projections were basically a light show and holographic objects had no actual mass and only could mimic mass. The holographic test tubes were not solid and only responded to being touched by your hand if you wore gloves hooked up to the computer.
DG: Why keep the fiction of test tubes at all? There must be more efficient ways to input data into a computer.
FS: You often get some creative insights from messing with “real” test tubes rather than just typing the data in.
DG: Why not buy our own hololab?
FS: The holo-labs were expensive and out of reach for most individuals. A bright real estate developer realized that a community that offered virtual labs as part of the rebirth deal would be very attractive to scientists that would rather be reborn than retire.
DG: Why were the virtual labs so important?
FS: Scientists could do consulting for major companies using the holo-labs of the community. You still had to schedule time in the holo-lab and rent the lab for a fee but this allowed many researchers to do research that had commercial possibilities on an individual basis. The community was filled with other scientists and you were of course free to form your own little company with a neighbor and work together.
DG: Doesn’t sound like retirement at all.
FS: The irony of all the rebirth communities was that many members ended up becoming entrepreneurs and working harder than they ever had for any company. Some joked that rebirth was really when you started working. The time you spent working for a company before rebirth was really company paid for education. Technology had turned the traditional cycle of life that had existed for millennia on its head.
DG: So only the United Americas had these communities.
FS: The communities started in the UA but soon East China realized this was an excellent tool for attracting the best and the brightest from around the world and reverse the brain drain that had allowed UA dominance in the first place.
DG: So East China built a rebirth community?
FS: Yes, the East China government in partnership with rebirth United Americas companies built a buscom, artcol and scicom just outside Shanghai. The three communities were separate but there was a transportation system that connected them while keeping out none rebirth community members. Exclusivity was one of the benefits of being in a rebirth community.
DG: And the rest of the world?
FS: The vast majority of the world was not being reborn and just spent the extra fifty years of their life in humdrum second jobs or watched TV.
DG: Fifty years of reruns doesn’t sound too great.
FS: I personally love reruns. The biggest rebirth community company in the UA was Sunny City. They jumped at the chance to expand into Asia when made an offer by East China. Unlike the Sunny City communities in the UA, the East Chinese government insisted that synergies be created between the three rebirth communities.
DG: How so?
FS: The members of the buscom were the VIP guests at the holo-gallery presentations at the artcol.
FS: Artists need patrons. The artcol members thus got buscom patrons and the buscom members got a chance to network with members of their community and members of the scicom community that were also invited.
DG: I can understand the buscom invites but the scicom invites?
FS: The buscom members could also easily consult with scientists about the technical feasibility of various ideas. The sciencom members could network with the buscom members for venture capital. East Chinese officials always hovered about these gatherings, always ready to offer East Chinese government assistance to projects that sounded particularly attractive. The East Chinese added one last twist to the rebirth community idea.
DG: What was that?
FS: All three communities had many members that taught virtual courses that were broadcast to colleges and universities throughout East China and even other states of the AU. This allowed the quality level of higher education in East China to be dramatically increased. Shanghai was considered the most attractive city in the world to most Cospros.
DG: The scary part is that some of your ideas almost make sense.
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: Patient is obviously using the rebirth fantasy to deal with his own fear of old age and death. Need to get away from the technological fantasies of the patient and explore how he relates to other people. A further exploration of the Erotron fantasy may provide some insight into the patient’s interpersonal conflicts.
DG: Did you ever see Erotron after the Fluffy incident?
FS: Yes, I ran into her in Shanghai. I was walking along a street in Shanghai and I saw Erotron on her bright red motorbike. She was wearing a tight red leather skirt, matching red boots, a red bra and a red leather jacket. You just had to love her fashion sense.
DG: Well I guess she would be your type. Still you say she was gorgeous.
FS: Well she had gained a little weight around the waist, probably due to going on an eating binge because I left her. Still she was pretty hot.
DG: How did this situation make you feel?
FS: I was in a state of shock and thought maybe I was having a flashback of some sort but went ahead and waved. I have noticed that when you treat you hallucinations with respect, the hallucinations treat you with respect.
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: Discussion of hallucination within a giant hallucination. Why in the world did I pick this profession?
DG: Did she wave back?
FS: Not exactly, she gave me the finger. I smiled back.
DG: Well that’s very mature on your part.
FS: I think so. A lot of time had passed since the Tokyo and I thought that we could still be friends.
DG: Kudos for you! So did you become friends?
FS: We didn’t exactly become friends. She speedup and some sixth sense told me that she was going to run me over. I started running away.
DG: Well was your sixth sense right?
FS: I could hear the motorbike directly behind me. I could almost feel her hot breath. I ducked and barely missed getting hit as she sped by me. I ran towards a park. I caught a glimpse of her face and could tell she had drunk a lot of green tea. Green tea affects different women differently. Some got happy. Some start crying. Some just got mean. Erotron belonged to the last category.
DG: What did you do?
FS: I thought that there was no way some woman was going to make me back down, motorbike or no motorbike. I stopped running and stood my ground.
DG: What did she do?
FS: She sped by me again. I took a swing and missed. She sped by me again. I took another swing at Erotron. She brought her bike around looked at me from about twenty feet. She was smiling smugly. She was toying with me. I was going to be killed by this bitch and not even got in one good punch. This couldn’t be happening I thought then I thought to myself, “Screw it”, and started running again for my life. I ran straight into a tree that I didn’t see in the dark.
DG: What about your Half Square night vision?
FS: Night vision doesn’t do you a lot of good if you aren’t looking. The impact gave me a bloody nose and I tasted blood on my mouth. In a blind panic, I climbed the tree like a monkey. She was right behind me, headlights digging into my back. I got to the top of the tree in record time. I yelled, “Ha, I’ve escaped you bitch. “ She made a big circle around the tree and tore up grass and mud but I was safe. After half an hour she gave up and drove away. I walked back to my apartment cautiously. I imagined her waiting for me behind every tree and turn.
DG: Did you learn anything from all this?
FS: My advice to all Americans in Asia is not to trifle with the affections of Asian women. They may look small and cute but underneath that fluffy exterior is the cold heart of an assassin. Erotron was out there somewhere. Every time I heard a motorbike behind me, my heart jumped. Have pity on me for I live in fear of the green tea crazed, Japanese, motorcycle mamá
DG: So that was the end of the relationship.
FS: No, Erotron had left a message on my CC and said she had decided to tell me something important instead of killing me. She was sobbing as she left the message.
DG: Sobbing? That doesn’t make much sense.
FS: But it does, I called her back and we agreed to a meeting place and time. She broke down and cried some more. I was very surprised at the outburst since Erotron was usually very cool and collected.
DG: You agreed to meet someone that tried to kill you?
FS: Sure Erotron had tried to kill me but women were always trying to kill me and I was used to it by now.
DG: I can imagine.
FS: We met at an office that Erotron had in the Asian Union headquarters. The AU headquarters sat on an artificial island in the bay of Shanghai. The headquarters was actually a complex of buildings done in the distinctly Shanghai style known as neo-Chinese.
FS: A style that combined traditional Chinese architecture and a minimalist modern style. The most striking thing about the island was the giant green house dome next to the tower.
DG: How so?
FS: The dome was made of special geodesic transparent solar panels that generated electricity but also polarized as the amount of sunlight increased like some sunglasses do and became darker as sunlight increased.
DG: Why were the panels polarized?
FS: This meant that the temperature inside the dome was kept between 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit regardless of the outside temperature. The frame of the greenhouse was studded with lights of different colors and different intensities.
DG: What were the lights for?
FS: The lights allowed incredible light shows that could be generated for special occasions. China had always been famous for its firework displays and this was seen as a new version of an old custom. The greenhouse also meant that the air supply to the island could be controlled and the air pollution of Shanghai, filtered out. Lastly the dome had a seguridad function.
DG: What sort of security function?
FS: Airborne terrorismo was on the rise. Increasingly more sophisticated terrorists would parachute into a target area using the jetpacks I described before. There was second tank dome inside the first dome made out of a spider silk composite, which was much stronger than the tank domes of the United Americas.
DG: The UA didn’t have spider silk domes?
FS: No, the Megatrains gave the UA a superior offensive capability but the spider silk tank domes gave the AU a superior defensive capability. No one really knew if a spider silk tank dome could withstand a missile sent by a Megatrain and no one really wanted to find out.
DG: Sounds like a stand off.
FS: There were rumors of cameras on the outside of the dome that let the authorities scan every square inch of Shanghai. In contrast to Shanghai, the centerpiece of New York was the United Americas Tower.
DG: UA Tower?
FS: The UA Tower was over one hundred and fifty stories high. The United Americas Tower had been built were the World Trade Center had stood before our 9/11. The UA Tower had missile batteries to defend New York and even Washington DC. The United Americas had learned from its mistake and any unauthorized plane or airborne terrorists would be instantly shot down with weapons on the United Americas Tower.
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: The UA Tower is yet another phallic symbol similar to the subship and Megatrain. The commonality to all three phallic symbols is that they are technologically based. The patient sees technology as a way of using external mechanisms to compensate for internal masculine identity deficiencies. This would be an extreme case of something like a computer nerd that uses his mastery of computers to compensate for other deficiencies in the interpersonal realm.
DG: So the terrorists also used the jetpacks? Technology is always out of control on your Earth.
FS: The First Universal Law of Technology states that, “Technology is out of control in the entire space-time continuum.”
DG: How was West China different from East China?
FS: Due to financial problem public schools had closed in West Chinese and English was very much a foreign language. Home schools had arisen that taught a curriculum filled with a mixture of Maoism, extreme nationalism and xenophobia.
DG: I thought, due to WW II, the Chinese hated the Japanese.
FS: The old ideas of Japan as the WWII invader of China were alive and well in West China. West China deified Mao as a man that had tried to lift the peasants of all China including West China.
DG: What finally happened under these terrible conditions?
FS: The West Chinese declared independence and the East China accepted this. West China would be given full economic autonomy while both Chinas agreed to militar cooperation. In a deliberately ironic move, the monies allocated for welfare payments to West China were allocated directly to the newly created Green Wall Project.
DG: Green Wall Project?
FS: Singaporean genetic expertise was second to none and a Sino-Singaporean company was created to create a miniature genetically engineered ecosystem that could contain and reverse desertification that would be used as model for a giant buffer ecosystem between West and East China.
DG: The second Great Wall of China. Why was Erotron picked by the Squares to work with you?
Dr. Delta: This meme is in the process of being actualized.
FS: I am not totally sure but I think Erotron was picked because of her involvement with the Hyperconsciousness Project. As a Half Square I was supposed to have abnormally high levels of hyper-consciousness. At least that is what she told me at first. The Hyperconsciousness Project was a project dealing with hyperdimensional consciousness.
DG: What is hyperdimensional consciousness?
FS: Hyperdimensional means more than four dimensions. Basically there were at least five dimensions that baselines can perceive.
DG: What are they?
FS: All of us could perceive the three spatial dimensions of width, height and length. The fourth dimension is time. Baselines can remember the past. We all had some sense of time but some of us could perceive the future to a greater extent than other human beings. Some of us used intuition and some of us used logic but either way we could perceive the future to a greater or lesser extent one way or another.
DG: And the fifth dimension?
FS: The fifth dimension is pretty mysterious but has to do with perceiving part to whole relationships. Parts make up wholes but wholes also affect parts. Cells make up a human body but the human body also governs cells. Individuals make up society but society effects individuals. This perception of organization was the perception of an actual dimension like space and time. Some of us could perceive this fifth dimension using intuition and some of us used logic.
DG: Sounds pretty mystical. What are baselines?
FS: Baselines are humans, as well as other beings on other planets, that have technology but haven’t started the process of tinkering with the hardware of their own brains. It is mystical. At the ultimate level we were all finite yet we were part of the infinite. The finite affects the infinite and the infinite affects the finite. We affect God and God affects us.
DG: And how do you perceive this fifth dimension?
FS: If you perceive this fifth dimension a higher level using logic then you were an Einstein. If you perceive this fifth dimension using intuition then you were a Buddha.
DG: An interesting view of intelligence.
FS: This ability to perceive these five dimensions at a higher level is hyperconsciousness. Book Squares had unlocked some of the secretos of tantric yoga from Tibet and realized that many discoveries come from hyperconsciousness.
DG: So what did the Squares want to do with this knowledge?
FS: The Squares wanted to create a cadre of individuals that could operate at the human peak of consciousness. Cloning technology was brought to bear on this goal. Erotron had taken me on a weekend tour of the hyperconsciousness project headquarters in Singapore before we broke up in Japan.
DG: What was that like?
FS: Pretty weird, the Squares through various measures had managed to get cell tissue of Einstein and Buddha. The Squares figured that Einstein was the greatest representative of a logical hyperconsciousness but that in this instance they would control and that Buddha was best representative of intuitive hyperconsciousness.
DG: Why not use the cell tissue of Christ instead of Buddha?
Dr. Delta: Yet another father figure meme.
FS: Cell tissue of Christ was simply not available. The Singporeans had managed to buy one of the eight hairs of Buddha housed in the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, Burma. They went ahead and cloned 222 copies of Einstein, Buddha and William Door,
DG: I vaguely recall that such a temple with the supposed hairs of the Buddha does exist. I suppose making a clone of the Buddha would be possible someday. Who is William Door?
FS: Door was the CEO of Macrohard and the richest businessman in the world. William Door was identified as the single greatest exploiter of people with high levels of hyperconsciousness in the history of the world.
DG: Why was Door so successful?
FS: Door had invented the first pornbot software and made a fortune and in turn used this money to create the biggest software company on my world. PCs had been invented about fifty years earlier on my Earth than this Earth so there was no way that Door was going to make money from operating system software that was now considered old technology. Door had made some money creating meta-operating software that allowed you to easily create operating software for brand new robot hardware.
DG: Pornbot software?
FS: Pornbot software went through the web and looked for any free porn and would go ahead and download it. You could specify what particular fetishes and/or themes you were looking for. Pornbot beat going through the web and manually downloading porn. Door real fortune came due to his central role in the spyware/counter spyware wars.
DG: I know that spyware is software that spies on your computer habits and monitors everything from keystrokes to what websites you visit. What is counter spyware?
FS: Counter spyware sends feeds false information to spyware. This is especially useful when you are downloading porn all day at the office with pornbot and your company is using spyware to make sure you are typing a report or whatever.
DG: Yeah, I can see were you might not want the company to know this.
FS: Door kept coming up with better counter spyware and spyware. The employee downloading the porn would buy the better counter spyware and the company in turn was forced to buy ever better spyware that could bypass the ever better counter spyware.
DG: Kind of like an arms merchant that is on both sides of an arms race. Yeah, I can see that this Door character had provided a real service to the world. What was his role on the team?
FS: William Door was there to make sure that anything the Buddha-Einstein teams created was exploited commercially. After all the Squares were a practical people and this project was not a charity.
DG: What did the Squares do with these clones?
FS: They wanted to figure out how the world was going to end and what to do about it but kept them busy with other projects as well.
DG: What sort of projects?
FS: The clones worked on school projects in three person teams. Each team had one Buddha, one Einstein and one William Door. The teams had already garnered over one hundred patents in a wide variety of fields. The projects were carefully selected and guided by some of the top professors in the world. In addition the clones were used to test the latest intelligence amplification or IA technology.
FS: The use of technology to augment human intelligence. IA is kind of the flip side of artificial intelligence or AI. Instead of making smarter computers you use computers and biochemicals to make smarter humans.
DG: So what sort of IA experiments were done?
FS: One third of the teams took super learning drugs to increase their intelligence. One third of the teams were outfitted with a cyber plug that allowed them to access data from the Internet remotely and wirelessly using subvocalization. One third of the teams used both the super learning drugs and the special cyber plugs.
DG: So did all this IA stuff work?
FS: The teams with both the super learning drugs and the special cyber plugs were the most productive. The teams with only the cyber plugs were the least productive and wasted tons of time surfing the web for information that had nothing to do with their projects.
DG: Sounds like the web surfers on this Earth. Which clone led the teams?
FS: Out of 222 teams, 221 had ended up selecting the William Door member as the business managers of the individual teams. The Door clones promptly asked for a share of the profits. The adult supervisors tried to talk the Door clones out of asking for money.
DG: What did the Door clones do?
FS: The Door clones went on strike.
DG: But as long as the Buddhas and Einsteins kept working who needed the Door?
FS: The Door clones convinced the Buddha and Einstein clones to join the strike through appeals to the principle of friendship. The Door clones also convinced the project managers that he deserved 50% of the profits from the projects. The stockholders in the project got the other 50%.
DG: What did the Buddha and Einstein clones get?
FS: The Buddha and Einstein clones got a ten-dólar allowance a week, which the Door clones generally went ahead and held for the Buddha and Einstein clones for a later date when they would really need it.
DG: You mentioned 221 out of the 222 teams picked a Door as a leader why didn’t all of the teams do this?
FS: The one William that wasn’t on board seems to have had attention deficit disorder, probably due to some problem with cloning process.
DG: How did this team do?
FS: The team with the defective William was the least productive team but this was the only team in which the Buddha and Einstein members hadn’t developed an ulcer. The real life Buddha and Einstein never had ulcers and the project managers suspected the Door clones had something to do with this condition.
DG: What was the school like?
FS: The school looked like any other school except all the students were the same age and were only three types. You had little Einsteins wrestling with other little Einsteins. There were little Buddhas arguing with other Buddhas. They all wore a blue blazer with the school emblem in the corner.
DG: So how could you tell them apart?
FS: They also had an ID card hanging from their neck with their particular ID number. They wore matching blue dress pants. There were three types of clones so all the kids didn’t look exactly alike but still it was confusing. During lunch I sat at the teacher table. I asked the teachers if they got the students mixed up.
DG: What did they say?
FS: They started laughing in unison. One of the teachers told me that wearing the ID’s was mandatory and helped a little but still the situation was still confusing.
DG: Did the clones take classes together?
FS: The students took some classes in common and then took some classes as a clone group. All the Buddhas took meditation as a group. All the Einsteins took advanced science classes together. The Door took business classes that the other two groups didn’t have to take.
DG: I wonder what these classes were like?
FS: A teacher told me that these specialized classes were really different from teaching a class in a normal school. The students tended to finish each other’s sentences and sometimes you got the feeling you were dealing with one big student rather than thirty different students.
DG: Was that all cloning was used for?
FS: No, the East Chinese air force had ordered a couple of thousand Chuck Yeager clones to be raised in a special school to educate the perfect pilot for the Asian Union air force.
DG: Makes sense, Chuck Yeager had been the first man to break the speed of sound and was arguably the best pilot in the history of the world.
FS: Right this way even though the UA had better fighter planes, the AU made sure to have better pilots.
DG: Why not just use drones?
FS: Drones were used on most missions but sometimes in borderline WWIII situations you wanted human pilots that had better judgment.
DG: Did you and Erotron go out on any regular dates in Shanghai despite the Japan break up?
FS: Lots of times. One night, Erotron and I went to a Shanghai nightclub. The young people in Shanghai were into glow-in-the-dark, holographic tattoos. Glow-in-the-dark tattoos were nothing new, but the new holographic tattoos really freaked me out. When light was reflected on the tattoo, then a three-dimensional object was formed.
DG: What sort of tattoos did you run into?
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: Einstein probably represents the super ego of the patient. Buddha may be a symbol of his Jungian supraconsciousnes. Door is representative of the patient’s ego. The patient is using this fantasy to reconcile different aspects of his identity that are in conflict.
FS: The most common holographic tattoos were creepy crawlers on you arms and hands. There were also horns on your forehead and wings. This lady reached for an ashtray and I could have sworn she had a giant spider on her arm. I tried to brush it off and my hand went through empty air and she laughed.
FS: Oh not so bad, the holographic tattoos were a shiny greenish-yellowish color and you could tell they were holographs once you knew what to look for. That’s where I ran into the Ying-Yang Kids.
DG: Ying-Yang Kids?
FS: What would Jesus do? What would Charles Manson do? These were two questions that preoccupied the Ying-Yang Kids.
FS: An outfit in Japan had developed software titled Jesus vs. Manson. Jesus of course is the founder of Christianity.
DG: And Charles Manson is the notorious mass murderer of the 1960’s.
FS: Right, some software programmers had noticed that both guys had similar haircuts even if they had totally different philosophies. Most Chinese had always seen Christianity as a type of magic more than anything else and kind of saw Jesus as the ultimate magician. Manson appeared to have flirted with Satanism in his lifetime and a contest between the two of them seemed natural to most Asians.
DG: So what was the video game all about?
FS: In the video game, you could be Jesus or Manson. Jesus ran around converting people. Manson went around killing people. The people that Manson killed got back up and became part of his army of the living dead and killed more people and the army got bigger and bigger.
DG: What if Jesus won?
FS: After conversion by Jesus, the converted joined the army of Jesus and they converted more and more members to the army of Jesus. The members of the army of Jesus had little halos. The side with the biggest army won. Two Jesus heads could convert one Manson head and vice-versa. The soldiers of Manson had flaming skull heads. Jesus and Manson looked exactly alike except that Manson wore a black robe and Jesus wore a white robe. This game was incredibly popular in Shanghai.
DG: Why would Shanghai youth even know about Mason?
FS: There had been a new release of the movie about Manson called Helter Skelter. You could pick different environments for Jesus and Manson to fight in including ancient Judea, 1960’s San Francisco, and Nazi Germany just before WWII.
DG: So who was stronger Jesus or Manson?
FS: Jesus generally won in Judea. Manson almost always won in Nazi Germany, lots of weapons lying around. San Francisco was a coin toss. Many Shanghai high school and college students saw this as confirmation that good and evil were relative and developed some customs around this belief and referred to themselves as the Ying-Yang Kids. They had an interesting manner of making moral decisions.
DG: So how do the Ying-Yang Kids make moral decisions?
FS: The Ying-Yang Kids flipped a coin in order to decide what to do. They stole this idea from a Swamp Bat villain named Janus. Some Ying-Yang Kids had a special coin with the face of Jesus on one side and the face of Manson on the other. Ying-Yang Kids liked to go beggar hunting.
DG: Beggar hunting?
FS: If the card landed with Jesus face up then they gave the beggar a thousand dólares. If the card landed with Manson face up then they beat the crap out of him.
DG: Sounds nuts.
FS: And they may very well have been nuts. Many of the Ying-Yang Kids went out of their way to eat a Cantonese delicacy: monkey brain. Most Chinese wouldn’t touch monkey brain because of the growing mad monkey disease problem. The Ying-Yang Kids thought the risk of disease is part of the fun. Whenever a Ying Yang kid acted silly his cohorts will say, “He has mad monkey disease.”
DG: Sounds like mad cow disease.
FS: Similar but much worse. The Ying-Yang Kids liked to do the same stuff as other Shanghai teenagers including playing video games and watching DVDs. The one hobby they had that is a little different is the red knife game.
DG: What’s the red knife game?
FS: In the red knife game one participant takes a red marker and tries to mark up the brand new white T-shirt of the other participant. The other participant then tries to dodge the marker and take away the marker using Wing-Jutsu techniques. The two participants then exchange roles.
DG: What an awful game!
FS: The game is a lot of fun and very challenging. The game also provides excellent practice at knife fighting, both offense and defensa. Guns were almost impossible to get in Shanghai but every type of knife imaginable was available. The Ying-Yang Kids always carried knives but really didn’t use them all that much. Some Ying-Yang Kids get bored with using a marker and graduate to playing with real knives but this was pretty rare.
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: Ying-Yang Kids probably extension of amoral outlook and way of providing external validation for this anti-social outlook. Hyperconsciousness Project is externalization of the patient’s own fractured psyche. Door, Einstein and Buddha represent different aspects of the patient’s personality. This hallucination may be indicative of a larger multiple personality problem. Attempts to hypnotize the patient have met with failure.
DG: So what did you and Erotron talk about in Shanghai?
FS: Erotron tried to teach me some Square Bible lessons. It was as though she were trying to reform me for some reason.
DG: I thought she was smart.
FS: Hey, Erotron asked me if I had my Square Bible. I told her I did. Erotron told me to read the story of David and Goliath. According to the Square version of the story, David was a Square that had to fight the much larger Sloppy Square Goliath. Goliath tried to smash David with his club but David could easily evade the blows of Goliath using his HKP. Sloppy Squares telegraphed their movements and tensed up their muscles in distinct manners prior to attacking.
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: Metaschizophrenia on the rise throughout the nation. There is pressure from the Federal government to come up with more efficient treatments or more radical options will have to be considered.
DG: Is this important?
FS: Absolutely, Taichi and Aikido were martial arts that depend on reading the opponent and blending with the force of the ataque. Taichi and Aikido are internal martial arts that focus on developing HKP rather than brute strength. Wing-Jutsu also had this HKP aspect and developed body sensitivity via an exercise called sticky hands. What was interesting is that the sticky hands practice strengthened the Jiu-Jutsu part of the art. A person that had studied sticky hands could more readily trap an arm and throw the person than someone who had not. Wing-Jutsu practitioners generally did quite well in pure Judo contests. Some Judoka started practicing sticky hands to improve their Judo. Squares had this HKP ability naturally and could learn to apply it to martial purposes with minimal study.
DG: What does this have to do with David and Goliath?
FS: David used his superior spatial perception to aim a rock from his slingshot at the exact spot that would kill Goliath. The moral of the story was that the Sloppy Squares were more numerous and had the advantage of brute strength but Squares could offset the numbers of the Sloppy Squares with their special abilities.
DG: Makes sense within the context of your fantasy.
FS: The second moral of the story was that David appeared to be a shepherd and hid his warrior abilities until they were absolutely needed. Squares were pretty big on secretos and even had secretos from other Squares.
FS: Erotron also wanted me to know more about Square culture in general. She explained to me that the War Squares could talk to each other with an international War Square facial language, which was kept secreto from other Squares that were not War Squares, for seguridad reasons and their language had other differences.
DG: How so?
FS: War Squares often generated the words formed via blood flow to the back of the neck rather than using their cheeks. The War Square troops could see the commands being given on the neck as they followed the War Square leader.
DG: Neck language?
FS: Generally, neck bulges substituted for lip and nose movements in War Square languages. This was the reason most militaries preferred short hair on my Earth.
DG: Short hair has something to do with neck bulges?
FS: Short hair made it easier for War Squares to give orders to other War Squares. On my Earth, if the ears and neck muscles of your sergeant seemed to move a lot while he was leading a march then he probably was a War Square leader.
DG: I will never look at neck muscles bulging the same way.
FS: Erotron also told me the story of the War Squares. Many Squares joined the War Squares and had dominated the warrior caste of the Sloppy Squares since the earliest times. The superior spatial abilities of Squares were especially valuable in militar situations. Squares could throw a spear, shoot an arrow and track the enemy better than any Sloppy Square. Militar society had evolved its very unique attributes in order to accommodate the special needs of Squares.
DG: But what about the Square lack of creativity?
FS: Lack of creativity was an asset in most militar organizations. Soldiers needed to obey orders literally and abstract reasoning just got in the way. To many emperors, the general was a soldier and would prefer Square generals to Sloppy Square generals. The routine in militar life made militar life attractive to the Squares.
DG: Were you ever in the military?
FS: No way, Erotron told me that War Squares made excellent sharp shooters and actually had to miss on purpose so that the Sloppy Squares around them wouldn’t be suspicious. Having Squares in key positions of the militaries of the world gave the Squares a lot of power. Actually, one of the major missions of the War Squares was to prevent nuclear war.
DG: How did they do this?
FS: They always made sure that War Squares were in the command structure of the nuclear forces of all three unions. In the event of a nuclear war, they had a plan to sabotage the whole process. Squares had also infiltrated most of the policia departments of the world and inteligencia services of the world.
DG: So War Squares were this super secret organization within the already secret Squares. I suppose they killed Kennedy.
Dr. Delta: This meme is highly infectious and virulent among conspiracy theorists.
FS: War Squares did kill Kennedy or at least on my Earth. Kennedy had started to investigate the CIA-Mafia connection.
DG: What did this have to do with the War Squares?
FS: War- Squares in the CIA worked with War Squares in the Mafia on a regular basis. If Kennedy investigated the CIA-Mafia connection then he might uncover the larger Square conspiracy. Kennedy had to be stopped. Squares were excellent shots. Their spatial abilities let them do things with a gun that almost seemed like magic. Kennedy was shot from an angle and area that was impossible to believe because no Sloppy Square could do the job.
DG: How so?
FS: War Squares with, appropriate guild training, could routinely shoot bullets off objects so that they then went on to hit their intended target. For example, a War Square could shot at a target in front of himself so that the bullet would ricochet back and hit some one next to him.
DG: Why would you need such a shot?
FS: This was done all the time when a War Square policeman had a Sloppy Square policia partner that he wanted to get rid of. This particular technique was known as a sloppy divorce.
DG: Who killed Kennedy in our Earth?
FS: I have no idea.
DG: I think it was the CIA.
FS: Whatever you say doc. The use of ricochets was a pretty standard shooting technique of the War Squares. Kennedy was in fact killed by a bullet fired by secreto service men in the car behind.
DG: How did they do this?
FS: The secreto service men aimed their guns at the book depository that Oswald was in and the bullets ricocheted from the book depository and killed Kennedy. The ricochet effect totally deceived the investigators as to where the bullets actually came from. Oswald was just a Sloppy Square patsy.
DG: So why weren’t the War Squares involved investigated?
FS: Who investigates the investigators? Many War Squares became forensic investigators. The Squares liked the step-by-step procedure that a case was handled with and did this with ritualistic precision.
DG: Wouldn’t some creativity be needed to do this job.
FS: Not the way the War Squares did the job. They knew who was guilty ahead of time due to their HKP and just work backwards from that knowledge. Knowing that Suzy did the crime means that you look for Suzie’s lipstick and hair. The Square investigator then furrowed his brow and acted like he figured it all out. Suzie confesses when confronted with the evidence and the Square investigator looks like a genius.
DG: Were the Squares out to get you?
FS: I was the sixth Half Square and according to prophecy I was going to save the world. Why would they be out to get me?
DG: Never mind, so Squares were good police officers?
FS: Square policia officers literally had a blue sense. Sloppy Squares used to the phrase to refer to a special intuition that good policia officers had about criminals. A policia officer with blue sense was supposed to be able to tell if a suspect was lying or not. Squares could see slightly into the ultraviolet range.
DG: So what?
FS: When most people lie, their blood supply constricts ever so slightly. This blood constriction causes the face to look slightly bluer, if you had tetrachromatic vision. Of course Squares could tell you were lying from a thousand other cues that Sloppy Squares didn’t even know existed.
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: Statement provides clear evidence that the Half Square delusion is messianic in nature.
DG: I suppose these same War Squares framed OJ Simpson?
FS: Who told you doc? You are a lot smarter than you seem. OJ Simpson was considered an especially noisy Sloppy Square. OJ’s antics on and off the field really drove the Squares crazy. For Squares, creative spatial movement was the equivalent of having a policia siren at full blast being put next to their ear in an already hellishly noisy world.
DG: But I guess this is just something they would have to put up with.
FS: The Squares knew they couldn’t eliminate such noise totally but would take desperate measures to minimize such noise. OJ was a creative genius at moving his body from point A to point B in a totally creative manner. The other football players could not predict where OJ would be. OJ also moved in a very spontaneous manner when he was in a movie. This thrills Sloppy Squares, but really drove the Squares nuts.
DG: Go on.
FS: The Squares in the movie industry found out that OJ could was going to be offered a part in a major film and was about to become an even bigger super star. If OJ became a bigger super star then his movements would be televised and shown everywhere.
DG: There would be no escape for the Squares.
FS: Right, at this point, the Money Squares called the War Square forensic investigators in LA. The War Squares murdered Nicole and her male friend. The evidence linking OJ to the crime was planted. The Square forensic investigators lacked the creativity to explain how all the evidence fit together.
DG: I see because of their lack of creativity the War Squares could plant the evidence but couldn’t create the story that would explain the evidence but surely they had run into this problem in the past.
FS: Typically, Squares relied on unwitting creative Sloppy Squares to do the creative work needed in a project but they really couldn’t trust any Sloppy Squares in this delicate situation.
DG: So this led to the acquittal?
FS: Yes, the Sloppy Square jury could see that the massive amount of planted evidence didn’t tie together in any coherent manner. Many Squares were afraid the OJ trial would blow their cover but were relieved to see that the Sloppy Squares remained oblivious. OJ was not the only celebrity to suffer at the hands of the Squares.
DG: So there were more conspiracies?
FS: Squares totally hated rock and roll dancing because of its spontaneity. The Squares especially hated the Beatles. The Beatles were blamed for making rock and roll so popular. Many Squares still blamed the timidity of the Money Squares for not having the Beatles killed when they were just starting out. The Squares did find out that John Lennon was planning to reunite the Beatles and had him killed before he could make this happen.
DG: I suppose they killed Elvis?
FS: Yes, Elvis was planning to be a more spontaneous performer in order to compete with the new rock and rollers. The War Squares had Elvis killed in his bathroom before he did this and made it look like an accident.
DG: But who killed Elvis on our Earth. Once again this proves your story is false.
FS: Maybe it really was an accident on this Earth but who really knows. Keep in mind that a forensic investigator could alter and hide physical evidence at will and about 95% of all forensic investigators were War Squares. Squares did like disco because of the consistent movements used. Squares absolutely adored square dancing. The heightened spatial sense could help Squares handle other types of problems.
DG: Squares had special powers. Did War Squares have powers the other Squares did not?
|3.36||Military Digital Assistants|
Dr. Delta: This meme is being actualized.
FS: Not so much special powers but access to special equipment. The head of the War Squares, the colonel, had been playing around with a PDA during the meeting way back when I met all the leading Money Squares. I thought the PDA looked different and he explained to me that it was a militar digital assistant or MDA.
FS: An MDA was similar to a PDA and deliberately looked like a PDA to fool outsiders but had some specialized militar functions. The MDA had a more powerful and sophisticated battery than a PDA. The battery allowed various offensive and defensive functions to be performed. Offensively, the MDA could be used as an emergencia stun gun. Two prongs popped out when the appropriate code was typed into the MDA. A massive shock was delivered to the opponent stunning them.
DG: Sounds like a PDA with a stun gun.
FS: A little more advanced that all that. When the retrieval of information was necessary, an interrogation program allowed the current to be controlled in a systematic manner in order to deliver the maximum amount of pain over time while not killing the subject.
DG: How could software do this?
FS: The interrogation software was an expert system and incorporated the knowledge of top interrogators who had spent years developing their skills in the field. Appropriate intervals between the delivery of pain, seem to play a crucial role in successful interrogation both for medical and psychological reasons that were not entirely understood but had been verified empirically.
DG: I have to admit your technology ideas are interesting.
FS: Thanks but they aren’t my ideas. Defensively, the MDA could also deliver a lower more controlled current so that the MDA could control autonomic functions via a medical program. The MDA hooks into a militar issue cyberplug that was more sophisticated than civilian cyberplugs.
DG: How so?
FS: A clinically dead person hooked up to an MDA had their heart kept beating and lungs kept pumping via artificial means. Brain damage was thus averted and increasingly advanced resuscitation techniques meant that more soldiers survived clinical death with minimal side effects.
DG: Did the MDA have any other functions?
FS: The MDA could also deliver a current via the cyberplug that increased endorphin production to such a degree that pain was essentially nullified and thus death via shock was averted. The line between offensive and defensive functions was blurred since a soldier could literally had both their legs blown away and keep on fighting once pain was nullified by the MDA.
DG: The MDA almost makes sense.
FS: I think so. MDA’s had some standard equipment that was optional on PDA’s. Global Positioning Systems or GPS was standard on MDA’s so that the soldier always knew where he or she was.
DG: For what purpose?
FS: MDA’s also had two-way communication capabilities. Finally, MDA’s had a digital video camera that cross referenced with GPS so that commanders could access real time video of what the soldier sees and also knew exactly were this video was coming from. A commander could literally warn a soldier of a flanking movement by enemy troops based on a video feed from another soldier and his MDA. Command, control, communication and intelligence or C3I was more effective at the squad level thanks to MDA technology.
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: In this session the patient reveals his construction of a super secret organization called the War Squares. The psychic construction of super secret organization is consistent with paranoia but strangely the patient does not think this organization is out to get him. I have no explanation of this atypical symptom.
Dr. Delta: This meme is of similar infectiousness and virulence as the parent Square meme.
FS: Cord called me while I was in Shanghai and we set up a meeting despite every attempt on my part to get out of the meeting. He mentioned something about the best massage parlour in Shanghai and I changed my mind and decided meeting him wasn’t so bad. Erotron had given him my number.
DG: Who is Cord?
FS: As you will recall, Cord was the head of the covert Interspecies Communication Institute. Cord was a Sneaky Square. Sneaky Squares were spies.
DG: So what was this whorehouse?
FS: I met Cord in a place that specialized in suspended massages. He was hanging from the ceiling upside down being massaged by a lovely young Chinese gal when I met him. The Chinese gal was petite and wearing a short, blue satin robe that ended just above her slim legs, with an elaborate pattern in gold. There was a slit on one side of the robe. I went ahead and mounted the suspension machine next to his. He had a tattoo in super color of a stick on his arm.
DG: What exactly happened in this place?
FS: You get a massage, being suspended stretched out your back muscles. It was a very relaxing experience. We started talking about the Sneaky Squares.
DG: I don’t want to ask. What did you talk about? Were the Sneaky Squares some time of subgroup of War Squares?
FS: No. Sneaky Squares were not born but made. Promising Squares from all three castes were recruited and cross-trained in the guild methods of the other two castes. For example, a Money Square would learn the appropriate guild methods of Book Squares and War Squares. A War Square would learn the appropriate guild methods of Money Squares and Book Squares, etc.
DG: What sort of guild methods?
FS: Fourier transform analysis for example.
FS: The ability to intuit mathematical patterns and/or frequencies through observation. A person with this skill might be able to observe at a tide over time and notice a complex pattern of wave movement and ultimately be able to predict the tides of that area with incredible accuracy. The apprentice of this skill learned to clear their mind and become one with the object being observed. Book Squares developed this skill to figure out phenomena intuitively. Sloppy Squares used slow and cumbersome mathematical formulas to do the same thing.
DG: I have heard of Fourier and think he was some sort of mathematician. I am not sure what a Fourier transform analysis.
FS: I am not sure either. It’s some kind of math thing. The abstraction level of most mathematics was totally beyond the Squares but they could use this sense to do what the Squares do with formulas but better and much, much, much more quickly.
DG: You know something like that would explain a lot of clairvoyance. Did all Squares study this Fourier transform skill?
FS: All Squares had this sense to some extent and kind of knew little things like were going to happen before they happened but not to the same extent as someone who studied this skill. War Squares would never study such a boring skill but it could come in handy for a Sneaky Square trying to figure out the pattern/frequency of some sort of phenomena and combined with microkinesic perception, you could also predict Sloppy Square behavior with uncanny accuracy.
DG: As a psychologist I would be very interested in this subject.
FS: Cycles of microkinesic behavior were related to cycles of macro behaviors. A Square with this training could look at a person and have some idea how the person would behave in a stable environment for the next three hours or so. This would be a complex version of a Sloppy Square manager knowing a worker was feeling blue and wouldn’t work as hard that day and output would be down. Cord asked me if I wanted a demo. I said sure.
DG: What sort of demo?
FS: Cord closed his eyes and said, “Mei-Ling will be here with the massage oil in thirteen seconds.” He began to count to thirteen slowly and sure enough a lovely slim Chinese lady walked into the room with some massage oil when he said thirteen. She began massaging his feet. Cord closed his eyes again and said, “Vivian will be here in 34 seconds”. Another young lovely walked in exactly 34 seconds. Cord introduced me to Vivian. Vivian began massaging my feet. The sensation was interesting. The blood was flowing downwards from my feet to my head. Vivian said, “This helps the move the chi towards your head”.
DG: That almost makes sense. What other interesting little guilds where there?
FS: I did mention facial yoga but this was just one type of Square yoga. Square yoga, broadly, is the ability to control static body functions to an extreme level. Facial yoga is the most important of these disciplines and is by all Squares. War Squares and Sneaky Squares learn how to mimic death using Square Yoga in order to play possum in military situations. Sneaky Squares alone learn to contort their bodies in such a way that they can slip in and out of a building using the smallest space imaginable.
DG: Well I suppose if these imaginary Squares had yoga then it would be pretty developed. What other skills did these Sneaky Squares have?
FS: Any Square can fool a Sloppy Square but lying to another Sloppy Square is not as easy. One special guild taught Squares how to lie to another Square. Only the Matriarch in consultation with the Queen of the Sneaky Squares could authorize the study of this skill. The Liars were one of the two dark guilds.
DG: Sneaky Squares sound like super Squares.
FS: I suppose in a way they were. Of course they learned the seduction skills of the Seducers, a guild that generally only taught the Money Squares.
DG: I thought all Squares could seduce Squares.
FS: Yeah, but seducing another Square, in particular, one female Square seducing another female Square, systematically was something that had to be learned. Seduction was a weapon often employed by Princesses in order to become a Queen of a caste or even to become the Matriarch. Sneaky Squares of course learned all the War Square combat arts like sloppy divorce shots and hand to hand combat.
DG: Any other special skills?
FS: Book Squares had created a form simplified HKP production that was essentially hypnosis and quite effective on Sloppy Squares and this was taught to both Money Squares of Princess rank and above and Sneaky Squares on particular missions that required this skill.
FS: Cord asked me if I wanted a demonstration. I responded, “Why not?” Cord got out of the suspension contraption and told Mei-Ling and Vivian that he wanted to talk with them. After he had gotten their attention, he looked at both of them in the eyes and in a very low voice he repeated, “You love each other. You have loved each other for quite some time. You want to make love. You can’t hold it in any longer.”They kissed. This is one skill I wanted to learn.
DG: As would all men. Why not teach this hypnosis to all Squares so they could better control the Sloppy Squares?
FS: A lower level Square might not have the discipline to keep the hypnosis skill hidden from the Sloppy Squares. Worse you didn’t want a lower ranking Square using this ability to have an unwitting Sloppy Square kill another Square. Only Squares of the highest caliber could be trusted with this powerful skill.
DG: So some guild knowledge was controlled?
FS: Yes, most of all some Sneaky Squares received the mark of Cain. The ability of one Square to kill another Square, quickly and without hesitation. This was the second dark guild. Only the Matriarch in consultation with the Queens of all four castes could authorize the study of this skill.
DG: What exactly is the relationship between the caste system and the guild system?
FS: Cord told me that the cast system was much older than the guild system. The origins of the caste system are buried in prehistory.
DG: And I suppose the guilds are more recent?
FS: Cord had explained to me that most of the guilds were less than a thousand years old but the oldest one, the Mark of Cain, was older than that. Cain was considered the father of the guilds since he started the first guild, recruited from all castes and was critical of the caste system itself.
DG: Why was Cain critical of the caste system?
FS: Cain found that just because a Square was from the War Square caste it didn’t necessarily follow they could learn how to murder with any greater ease than someone from another caste. The aptitude and motivation for murder cut across all the castes. The guilds taught advanced HKP skills rather than the basic HKP skills of the castes and far fewer Squares of any caste could master the skills of the guilds. Guild skills were valuable and you didn’t want to limit their spread just because of caste or at least that is what the guilds argued. Out of thousand candidates picked to learn murder from all castes only one could actually do this skill. The failure rate was such that intercaste recruitment was an absolute necessity. The murder of troublesome Squares was important for the survival of the Squares.
DG: The lack of finding murderers was a problem? Well I guess the Squares were very different from us after all. Any other differences?
FS: The caste system used to be totally hereditary but that had changed over the centuries and there was more movement between castes than before but not much. The guilds tend to recruit largely from certain castes, not too many War Squares want to learn ritualism, but in theory the guilds were open to anyone from any caste that had the extreme motivation and special aptitude to learn the very difficult guild skills.
DG: Still there seems to be an inherent tension between a caste system and a guild system.
FS: Some Book Squares theorized the guilds would someday supplant the castes altogether but the Squares were a conservative people and preferred gradual evolution to revolution.
DG: What else did you talk about?
FS: Cord explained several of the TV shows that the Interspecies Communication Institute had produced. Just as Erotron was supposed to teach me Square history and customs, Cord was supposed to teach me about the Sneaky Squares.
FS: The Squares knew I was going to save them but they didn’t know how and couldn’t be sure what information I would need about them in order to do my job.
DG: How convenient for the purposes of your story. What is The Interspecies Communication Institute?
FS: A Sneaky Square agencia devoted to figuring out how to create better communication between Squares and Sloppy Squares. There was an American TV show and movie called The Odd Couple that was thought of as a comedy by Sloppy Squares but was actually an interspecies training film by Squares for other Squares.
DG: I love that show but what in the world would this have to do with Squares?
FS: Felix was the Square, super neat. Oscar was the Sloppy Square, a total slob. They were roommates. The various incidents of the Odd Couple were taken from case files that the Interspecies Communication Institute had compiled.
DG: Once again with feeling The Odd Couple exists on this Earth. There are no Squares on this Earth so there would be no such show on this Earth therefore there are no Squares on any Earth.
FS: Again, I can’t explain the existence of this show on this Earth. The Odd Couple shows were meant to teach the Squares how to handle Sloppy Squares in daily situations. The incidents were given to Sloppy Square writers and jokes were added.
DG: So the Squares had a good sense of humor.
FS: Not at all, the jokes were meant to hide the true purpose of the show. If you suspect that someone was a Square then you could watch the show with the suspected Square and if they don’t laugh then they were a Square.
DG: Why did the Square laugh?
FS: The non-laughing Square was studying the film. Squares didn’t laugh very much. Humor and creativity seemed to go together. Squares didn’t get the whole humor thing. Felix was a real life square and was secretly talking to the Squares in the audience using facial communication.
DG: We have this show in our Earth. How is this possible?
FS: I don’t know. The similarity between TV on my Earth and this Earth is really incredible. Some TV shows helped Squares with particular social transitions. Many Squares had to move from rural to urban settings and vice-versa and they found this process difficult. The Interspecies Communication Institute went ahead and developed two shows to help Squares cope with rural to urban moves.
DG: What shows did the Squares use for this purpose?
FS: Green Acres and the Beverly Hillbillies give specific advice on how to deal with a move to a new type of environment. Green Acres was developed to help Squares cope with a move from an urban environment to a rural environment.
DG: I know all about Green Acres. Green Acres is about a New York attorney, Oliver, who decides to move the countryside and become a farmer. Oliver takes Eva Gabor with him to the countryside and he becomes a farmer. A totally moronic show but I have to admit I liked it as a kid.
FS: Oliver and Eva were real-life Squares and they must deal with the Sloppy Squares that inhabit Hooterville, a small town.
DG: And the Beverly Hillbillies?
FS: The Beverly Hillbillies dealt with what happens when rural Squares moved to the big city. The Clampets move to Beverly Hills Hollywood from a rural setting and must deal with the Sloppy Squares in Hollywood.
DG: And I suppose all the Clampets were Squares in real life?
FS: Buddy Ebsen was the only real life square but most Squares agree that the actors did a good job of portraying a Square family and the problems that Square families face when they move to the city. Many Squares had a real hard time believing that Jethro, the oldest son, was not actually a Square since his portrayal was so realistic.
DG: And were there other shows like this?
FS: Upward mobility could be a big problem for Squares. Squares were faced with new problems and their lack of creativity meant that they often had trouble coping. The Interspecies Communication Institute created The Jeffersons to deal with this problem. Mr. Jefferson becomes wealthy and must deal with the problems of moving on up as the theme show puts it.
DG: And who was the real life Square in that show?
FS: Mr. Jefferson was the real life Square. Mrs. Jefferson was a Sloppy Square so that the show also explores the problems of an interspecies marriage in a sensitive manner.
DG: Well the show on our Earth deals with interracial issues.
FS: Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson were also African-American on the show on my Earth but this issue was totally irrelevant to Squares. A Square was a Square regardless of skin color, religion and nationality. Squares stuck together and didn’t let silly Sloppy Square labels divide them. Some shows were meant to teach specific skills.
DG: Did all TV shows in your Earth teach social skills?
FS: No, I would say less than ten percent and I am just mentioning the major ones.
DG: So which show was the biggest one?
FS: The sitcom Bewitched was probably the biggest one and was meant to teach young Squares elementary facial language techniques.
DG: One of my favorite childhood shows. The premise of the show was that Samantha was a pretty, blonde, witch that accomplishes various feats of magic by twitching her nose.
FS: There were at least twenty- five significant nose twitches in the various Square facial languages and young Squares sometimes had trouble with nose twitches.
DG: So the show taught nose twitches?
FS: Yes, Samantha provided a HKP model that young Squares were encouraged to imitate while watching the show. Most of the magic that Samantha does involves the levitation of household objects after she twitches her nose and this provides a great deal of positive reinforcement for the young Squares.
DG: How is levitation positive reinforcement?
FS: Young squares were fascinated with the slow movement of objects through the air. The plots and dialogue were kept child like on purpose to appeal to viewers under the age of five and not adults. Bewitched was the equivalent of Sesame Street for Squares and adult Squares were mystified by the fact that adult Sloppy Squares watched the show.
DG: This show exists in this Earth.
FS: Yeah, amazing isn’t it. A similar sitcom was I Dream of Genie was a follow up show to the educational success of Bewitched and was meant to teach head shaking language techniques to very young Squares. The plot was kept similar. A blonde, female genie acted as a substitute for the female witch. I Dream of Genie was meant to appeal to toddlers and the language and plots were simplified accordingly. The fact that adult Sloppy Squares liked I Dream of Genie was further proof for the Squares that the Sloppy Squares were hopelessly immature.
DG: Do you wonder why these “Square” shows exist in an Earth that by your own admission is devoid of Squares?
FS: Have you ever wondered why totally moronic shows are shown endlessly as reruns? Obviously these shows are meant to teach something to someone, generation after generation, on both our Earths.
DG: You seem to have all the answers. So what do you wonder about?
FS: I have often wondered if Samantha of Bewitched took on Genie then who would win?
DG: I don’t know and don’t really care.
FS: Well I do care. Samantha is powerless in the past while Genie is powerless in her bottle. Genie could send Samantha to the past. Samantha could send Genie to her bottle. Whoever struck first would win. You could defeat both of them by sending them to Genie’s bottle and then sending the bottle to the past before either one could zap back. Also both blondes are hot but which one is hotter.
DG: Genie has the hotter body but Samantha has a prettier face. Any other Square TV shows?
FS: The Square leadership decided that more Squares needed to learn the dolphin’s kinesic language and the show Flipper was created. Flipper seemed to be a show about a young boy and his adventures with the dolphin named Flipper. The show was really meant to teach young Squares the dolphin language.
DG: Well that almost makes sense. Were most actors in your Earth Squares?
FS: Not most but many actors were Squares due to the advantage that HKP gives them in this field. In addition, acting requires no creativity and pays well.
DG: I think acting does require some creativity but I will agree it pays well. So the Squares liked being actors?
FS: Yes but the only draw back was that actors had to deal with the creative Sloppy Squares who wrote and produced the show. Squares had problems with normal members of the Sloppy Square species. Creative members of the Sloppy Squares really got on their nerves. Many of the Square actors turned to drogas as a way off coping.
DG: Any other Square media projects?
FS: Overall, the Squares wanted to create an atmosphere in which the conspiracies were trivialized to hide their own conspiracy.
DG: For example?
FS: The Squares actively promoted the X-Files TV series to trivialize conspiracies. In particular, The Blair Witch Project, a film, was promoted. The Blair Witch Project blurred the line between reality and fiction in order to fool Sloppy Squares and make them more suspicious of any abnormal information.
DG: So it was all film and TV stuff?
FS: Not totally, the Squares had also encouraged the growth of metafiction that as mentioned is a type of novel that is self-conscious about being a novel and also blurs the line between fiction and reality.
DG: One metafiction author used a fake diary that pretended to be an actual diary to get this effect. Metafiction is very creative. Your Squares are not creative therefore they could not be behind metafiction.
FS: Of course, the Squares were not creative enough to invent these media projects but could make sure some media projects got financing and some did not.
DG: Any other giant Sneaky Square conspiracies? I suppose they had a giant satellite that spied on all the Sloppy Squares?
FS: When you’re right you’re right. Cord told me all about it while I was hanging next to him in the Shanghai. The Sneaky Squares had overseen the creation of a technological version of their tetrachromatic vision.
DG: Sounds interesting.
FS: The United Americas had created bar codes that operated outside of the visible light spectrum. The bar code technology only worked at certain very specific wave frequencies so that unless you had the specific enhanced bar code reader then there would be no way to detect the bar codes.
DG: Just for the purposes of argument, why would anyone develop this technology?
FS: This means that any object imaginable could be tracked surreptitiously using the already very advanced database technology developed for bar codes. If terrorists knew about the bar codes then they would attempt to get around them. Surreptitious bar codes get around this problem. You can’t counter a technology you know nothing about.
DG: How could you see these magic bar codes?
|3.38||The Giant Bar Code Reader in the Sky|
Dr. Delta: This meme has been actualized.
FS: Sloppy Squares had to use special equipment. Squares could see the bar codes without any special equipment and easily process the spatial information of the bar codes. Ubiquitous bar codes gave the Squares yet another advantage. Bar codes outside of the visible light spectrum were used to enhance satellite surveillance. This was known as the Giant Bar Code reader in the sky and had advantages over satellite technology on this Earth.
DG: How so?
FS: Satellites have the weakness that they can only look down. This means you can see the roof of a car but not the license plate. You see the top of my head but not the culprit’s face.
DG: So how could you get around this weakness of satellite surveillance?
FS: Surreptitious bar codes could be put on the top of cars, ships, trains, planes, bald heads, you name it, so that satellites could track them. The bar code system got around the basic limitation on satellite surveillance. The bar codes could be fairly large since they were invisible to the eye.
DG: What was tracked with the bar codes?
FS: Secret bar codes were placed on tanks, missiles, and even the barrels of firearms. This allowed the United Americas to track weapon flows as well. The UA was not interested in the particular weapon but where the weapon came from and where it ended up and keeping track of its transit. The UA then attacked the transit points of the weapons network and broke it up. No weapons, no terrorists!
DG: Why not just use robotic drones for observation given that robots are all over the place in your fantasy?
FS: The United Americas had used robots to counter the numerical superiority of the Asian Union troops but the robots were vulnerable to EMP. This meant that the UA still needed some flesh and blood soldiers when fighting an enemy such as the AU that had access to tactical EMP nukes. The problem was that the tactical EMP nukes also knocked out all the electronics that flesh and blood soldiers had and this was a big part of the UA’s tech advantage that made up for the AU’s numerical advantage.
DG: So what was the solution?
FS: An optical communication system was developed that could operate even in EMP environments. Bar codes were on the helmets of United Americas troops, tanks, planes, everything. The satellites could then track everything on the ground using optical technology
DG: Sounds like AWAC planes.
FS: The optical battle management system fulfilled a function similar to similar to AWAC’s. AWAC’s were so laden down with electronics that all attempts to harden their equipment from EMP had failed.
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: Because of prior sessions with the patient I did some research and E-bombs that use EMP do in fact exist.
DG: The bar codes were a back up?
FS: Exactly, the bar codes would act as a supplemental battle management system in non-EMP environments. Optical systems were able to operate in some environments that AWACs couldn’t and vice-versa. AWAC’s were also vulnerable to the now ubiquitous air to ground missiles while very few countries could hit a satellite. Especially the latest robotic satellites that actively avoided missiles and had a prey/predator AI system i.e. they could mimic prey/predator thought. The UA could handle different types of information with an optical system. This giant bar code reader in the sky was also used for border control.
DG: How so?
FS: All planes, ships, trains, trucks and cars that entered UA border space had to have a bar code on their roof for easy identification. Sophisticated terrorists figured out countermeasures but the system did keep out most of the riff-raff.
DG: You would need a ton of people to keep track of all the objects tagged.
FS: The bar codes were digital data and the whole information system was totally automated. The United Americas even attached an expert system to the database system to watch for anomalies in border movement.
DG: But the bar code would have pretty limited application.
FS: There were other applications. For example, Squads of UA soldiers carried bar code flash cards that the satellite could read.
DG: Kind of like taking the signal mirrors used by the militar in the US civil war.
FS: Exactly, this means the guys on the ground could communicate back to the UA HQ. The UA still hadn’t figured out how HQ could communicate to the soldiers in an EMP environment.
DG: Still, one-way communication was better than no communication. You have stated that the UA was a bigger, badder version of the US. So how did the United Americas handle guys like Saddam Hussein and North Korea’s Kim?
FS: The BIS used psychological profiling to a much greater extent.
DG: How so?
FS: Every dictator creating weapons of mass destruction faced a limited set of choices that can be broken down. Choice one was to stop making the weapons in the face of militar pressure from the UA.
DG: But the dictators never do this.
FS: The cost to the dictator was the money used to create the system that was usually considerable. The dictator also lost power on the regional and international stage due to disarmament. As long as the chance of militar intervention was low then the dictator would continue trying to create weapons of mass destruction.
DG: So how was this saved?
FS: Fundamentally the dictator had to be convinced the chance of militar intervention was high but this wasn’t enough. More importantly, you had to take into account the narcissism and sociopath nature of the dictator.
DG: I will agree that dictators tend to be narcissistic and sociopaths but so what?
FS: You had to convince him that militar intervention would lead to his personal death or imprisonment. A normal leader might consider damage to his country a deterrent but this ignores the psychological profile of a dictator. The UA had established a history of certain militar intervention that always led to the death or imprisonment of the dictator threatened.
DG: And the US?
FS: The US does not have this track record. The US foolishly targets everything but the dictator when the dictator only cares about is his own skin and therefore a dictator in this Earth will generally choose to ignore the US. Also, you make the narcissism work for you. The US generally pursues regime change from the outside in. You ataque the country from the outside.
DG: Well what else can you do?
FS: The UA reasoned that if you wanted to get rid of a dictator then talk to the dictator. Start with the ultimate inside guy, the dictator himself. There was a very high probability if the dictator was offered total amnesty and a billion bucks for vacating the country or death then the dictator would cash the billion-dólar check in Switzerland.
DG: This would be totally against international law in this Earth. You are talking about using Mafia tactics.
FS: Hey, Mafia tactics work on narcissistic sociopaths. New technologies mean new laws. The proliferation of the technologies of mass destruction naturally and inevitably will change international law.
DG: I suppose that you have a point.
FS: Sure I do. I have reflected that my Earth had superior technology but there was also the will power to use this technology that is lacking in this Earth. You know bandwidth on this Earth is doubling every six months?
DG: What does that mean?
FS: This means that technically it is getting exponentially easier to put up cameras to cover every square inch of the Virginia and Washington area but instead you got people zigzagging across parking lots to avoid that nasty sniper that I keep seeing on CNN. Cavemen zigzag. Technologically advanced civilizations crush the enemy using bandwidth.
DG: As I recall your Earth had the will to use technology to ultimately destroy itself.
FS: Good point.
DG: Sometimes dreams tell us what is going within. Have you had any interesting dreams lately?
|3.39||Dragon and Eagle Dream|
Dr. Delta: This meme is extremely infectious but virulence is difficult to measure.
FS: Yes, I had a dream that a giant eagle and a giant dragon were fighting.
DG: Who won?
FS: Neither won because archers in turbans aimed flaming arrows at the eagle and dragon and destroyed both of them. The archers then took out scimitars and cut up the body of the eagle and the dragon.
DG: Why did they cut up the bodies?
FS: I am not sure but the pieces of the body then commingled and became monsters that were half eagle and half dragon in every combination conceivable. The monsters then attacked and ate the archers and finally attacked each other until all were dead.
DG: When I say dragon what do comes to mind immediately.
DG: So basically this is a political dream of some sort. Are you very political?
FS: Actually I could care less about politics.
Dr. Arrow: Time for the patient’s medication.
DG: Dr. Arrow! How long have you been standing there?
Dr. Arrow: Long enough, dreams are the royal road to the unconscious? Royal road to bullshit is more like it. Dreams are a manifestation of the brain reorganizing information it has acquired over the day. There is no more meaning in dreams than the defragmentation of a hard drive.
DG: Get the hell out of here!
Dr. Arrow: Hey, the patient is on a medication schedule and it’s time for his patient. At least he might get something from his medication.
DG: Listen you philistine, this is regularly scheduled treatment and is every bit as important medication.
Dr. Arrow: Please, come on Freak Show.
DG: I will take this up with Dr. Delta.
Dr. Arrow: You better believe I will.
Dr. Arrow: Fine!
DG: I mean it!
Dr. Arrow: I mean it too!
DG: Beware the wrath of the Omegas!
Dr. Arrow: Uh?
DG: Nothing, I just meant if the patient’s treatment is interrupted then he will still believe in the Omegas and in a way suffer the wrath of the Omegas.
Dr. Arrow: Whatever you say fraud.
DG: At least I am not a crypto- humanoid like you. I will let this go for now but there will be consequences.
Dr. Arrow: Crypto-humanoid? What in the world is a crypto-humanoid?
DG: Oh don’t play innocent with me.
Dr. Arrow: I’m not playing anything. I don’t play mind games unlike some people. Again what is a crypto-humanoid?
DG: Ah, er, it’s a new MetaFreudian concept.
Dr. Arrow: Spare me. GIGO: Garbage in, garbage out. Keep your garbage to yourself.
DG: Do you find the Odd Couple funny?
Dr. Arrow: I thought the Neil Simon film was okay. I didn’t care much for the TV show.
Dr. Arrow: Alright, I’m going.
DG: Then go!
Dr. Arrow: I’m going
Dr. Arrow: Bye right back!
Dr. Gamma’s Notes: Dr. Arrow’s rudeness is astounding. I will very definitely complain to Dr. Delta. I video tape all my sessions and will use this as evidence of Dr. Arrow’s unprofessional behavior. I have my own suspicions about Dr. Arrow but these suspicions are so radical that I will keep them to myself until I have gathered the proper evidence.
Sneaky Squares are an obvious manifestation of the patient’s paranoia. Records indicate the patient once had a roommate named Cord and this is probably were the patient got this name. The dream about the eagle and the dragon seems to have some sort of political significance and this is very unusual for dreams.
Dr. Delta: Dr. Arrow had disappeared around this time. Dr. Arrow had originally worked for many years in the prison system and his prior prison patients are the first suspects. Patients suffering from meta-psychopathology disorders are actually much less violent physically than the general population or at least this is statistically true. It’s almost as though they substitute psychic violence for physical violence. Dr. Gamma said at that time that he had no knowledge of Dr. Arrow’s whereabouts.
MEMETIC INFECTION COUNTERMEASURES
This session puts forth a flat out logical political argument and therefore can be dealt with a conscious affirmation. Repeat the following at least one hundred times:
1) The US is number-one.
2) A US led world is a better world.
3) Tripolar is bad.
4) Unipolar is good.
Again, if you start thinking that perhaps the US is not number-one then seek professional help if these thoughts do not go away. Staring fixedly at a US flag and repeat:
Again and again, this measure can act as a quick stop gap form of self-treatment.
Fox: Gamma’s Asian Union fantasy is not as far out as one might think. ASEAN is an organization of South East Asian nations that wants to make ASEAN into more of an EU type organization. ASEAN in turn is negotiating free trade agreements with China, Japan and India. I think the US invasion of Iraq has forced India and China to think of working together in order to counter balance US imperialism.
The subship is also not as wild as one might think. I saw a show on the Discovery channel about building a transatlantic tunnel. The distance between Taipei and Shanghai is much, much less than the distance between the US and England.
The invasion of Taiwan is also not so far out. President Chen of Taiwan is trying to create a new constitution despite a total lack of a mandate and the deep divisions his suspicious election caused. Many expats in Taipei think Chen’s move will lead to war with Mainland China. The US has moved a squadron of B-52 bombers to Guam in order to defend Taiwan. Chen himself has actually cut defense spending while China’s military spending expands exponentially. Chen seems to believe in doing the opposite of carrying a being quiet and carrying a big stick. Chen believes in yelling at China and throwing away Taiwan’s stick. Maybe the invasion of Taiwan fantasy will happen after all.
Gamma and I went to the Taipei 101 Mall. Taipei 101 will be the tallest building in the world when completed. The mall is connected to the building and you can see the actual 101 building on the fourth floor of the mall since the roof is made of glass.
The best part of the mall is the Page One bookstore that is by far the best bookstore in Taiwan. In particular there is a huge selection of Western comic books in book form. Basically past runs of comic books are put together in a book. There is a new comic book called The Authority that I had heard about but never been able to find in Taiwan. Well there were three years worth of collected issues in six volumes. Sat down and read the whole collection in one sitting. Gamma was reading the Legion of Superheroes. I used to be a big fan of the Legion when I was kid but like the more modern gritty stuff nowadays. The Authority is a super team that goes ahead and starts solving global problems instead of just catching bank robbers. The team goes ahead and kills the President of Serbia and warns the rest of the cabinet that they will be back for them if the cabinet doesn’t stop the war atrocities. They also kick the Chinese out of Tibet. The idea that a super team would go ahead really solve global problems was explored in the Squadron Supreme. The Authority is about ten times more violent than the Squadron Supreme. Gamma got bored with the bookstore and wandered around the mall while I finished reading the Authority.
Gamma commented that the Taipei 101 tower would be a great target for Chinese missiles were lobbed at Taipei. Gamma has been reading the Taipei Times and China Post, the local Taiwan papers, and read that China had 550 missiles aimed at Taiwan. Gamma is obsessed with this fact.
I looked at the map and a subship between Shanghai and Tokyo is impossible since Tokyo is on the wrong side of Japan and faces the US not China. You could make a subship between LA and Tokyo in theory but not between Shanghai and Tokyo unless there were a land route added to the subship route. The Discover channel did have an episode of Extreme Engineering and documented plans to build a transatlantic tunnel using technology similar to the subship. This episode is probably where Freak Show got the idea in the first place. Looking at a map that shows seabed I think you could easily make an underwater tunnel between Fujing and Taipei since both are on the same continental shelf and therefore the depth is not so great. Interestingly when I looked at the map I noticed that Busan in Korea and Shanghai are also share a continental shelf so I suppose and underwater tunnel between them would also be feasible. You could link up Busan and the Japanese city of Kitakyushu. Kitakyushu is a major port city anyway.
The nanobots sound vaguely like molecular computers. Molecular computers use DNA as their building blocks or something like that.
Chapter 4 at: