Thursday, July 22, 2021

Adventures of Fran

 Fran does what I am too cowardly to do, scratch that, won't or can't do. She is my vicarious brave.

You'd think genetically programmed males would be super brave. But, no you get a populated hypersphere of diverse variants. Drone males with the added role of mutual mother, advantageous for the tending of the babies and preparation for adult replacements but hopefully better tend to live longer than mere speediest breeder. Males have good reasons to be cowardly. Cowardly is a strategy, which, in the game of Prisoner's Dilemma, is Tit-for-Tat-lean-towards-Grim. 

Males as human males as men/thems add a primate sensibility, but we know we are expendable on account of our shorter life span and ability to father millions of children even into late old age. Women?

Women are tough, brave, almost fearless. They are the castle keep all us sweet stupid knights protect. 


Fran has been to a lot of tropes. Fearless.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Fra Mauro



I only did four movie pitches on my last post so here is the fifth, Fra Mauro

I would otherwise called the movie Apollo 13 but that title's taken.

This movie is about if Apollo 13 had no problems and landed on the Moon and returned safely. Boring alternate history, huh?

Let me back up. The market for outer space has two sectors: space for Earth and space for space, in turn a  mix of public and private ventures, The space for Earth market is doing quite well, but space for space? Not so much. (excluding public space for space market: scientific exploration). No one is enthused about living in space for good. Can you blame them? Space is for robots, cyborgs and peasants (expendable deplorables). Enthusiasm for the space for space market has always been low, which is why we did not go to Mars in the 1970s and today complain about billionaires.

There seems to be no carrot or stick that would shift the earthbound to live in space. Except maybe aliens. Aliens as adversaries to unite us? Forget it. If they can travel quadrillions of miles or between realities, I'm pretty sure they can make us all disappear with a magic word. Aliens as promise? In the form of enhanced technology that makes it worth our while to venture into space, perhaps. It really boils down to creature comforts.

There are plenty of space fans today willing to die in space instead of plodding on earth. I'm one. But if it a slave job, and of course it will be, I will not go. I'd just assume we colonize the Solar System with fission-powered robots. So, there better be creature comforts beyond the canned ape subsistence level astronauts enjoy now. Pooping in a baggie in zero G for the rest of life is not an option,

Okay back to the Apollo 13 mission. Apollo 14  took up 13's mission and landed in the Far Mauro region Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell were to sample ejecta from ther Cone crater, which they did. However due to confusing topography they never reached the rim of the crater. Had they done so, they would have discovered the alien base.

So, instead, in my movie, Apollo astronauts, Jim Lovell and Fred Haise make it to the rim of the Cone crater and discover the alien base. It's not like they bonk hit a hatch by accident with a shovel. Once Lovell mounts the rim, what looks like a tumble of rocks is suddenly an obvious artificial structure poking out of the regolith. 

He says "Houston, I think we might have a problem".

Earthside, the TVs all go to commercials, followed by no more live Moon feed for the day.

(Where should this movie go? Well, for sure, NASA would put its Big Giant Head to work on artificial alien moon base protocols. Evil aliens? Too obvious but benign evil or boring benign, ET... no this has to have a promise to get folks out into space and that is miracle products looted from alien moon bases. Once they identified the Fra Mauro alien moon base, all the other moon bases started radio peeping at them like babies in a nest. But that's in the sequel).

Lovell and Haise are ordered to document!  Lovell wants to go check it out. NO says everyone. They are ordered leave their cart and go back to the LEM. 

Houston tells them to get some sleep if they can while they make new plans. Geologists peering at the pictures, suggest the structure is a billion years old. Before multi-cellular life on Earth. Alien. 

Eight hours later Houston tells Lovell and Haise to go back and recon. They suit up and trudge their footstep path to the crater, and find the structure has morphed to create an entrance for them right at the end of their bootprints from hours ago.

There is an argument whether to go in or not, but you know Jim Lovell is going to accept the invitation.

(Again where to go? Pull a Men in the Moon story? I think not. 2001? The most logical, but no. We want dialog. My solution is Willy Wonka. Jim and Fred are shown the miracles of the moon base but then are told they have to test to get in).

Jim and Fred are greeted by an attractive and naked man and woman, who invite them to take off their helmets. They do, and don't die, and the naked alien lady says "Hi. I'm Fran and this is Carl"

Jim and Fred get a moon base adventure. At the end of the ride, Fran tells them there is a test to get a miracle moon base membership. The adventure was the test and they both failed. This meant they have to go home.

"But we welcome others to take the test". And that starts the mad dash to get to the Moon.


Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Five Movie Pitches in 5 Minutes

Succeed, Texas

This one has been kicked around since 2008 at least. We finally have secession, although it isn't. Texas gets kicked out of the Union. Build The Wall. Texas Brexit. Texit. A mad cap comedy caper with a countdown to closed borders. Billionaires buy all the land off the Rednecks for Texas. Texas or Bust. I would love to see Wesley Snipes as Mr. President. Ned Beatty bless him would have been the Governor of Texas, and Bill Murray as the corrupt Senator that helps buy Dixie. But in the end, Snipes tricks Murray into staying for the Secession Ceremony, and they are trapped in Austin for good.


The MOHO

The Mohorovicic discontinuity is the boundary between Earth's crust and mantle and this movie supposes that it is a living thing, a massive structure made by life. We humans don't know that, but our scientific superdeep drilling on Russia's Kola peninsula to get a mantle sample  pisses off the Deep Crust peoples so much, that they send two rock demons up to the surface to tell us to cut the shit.  Humans stop with the shit. 


The Beverly Killbillies

Rob Zombie is making a remake of the Munsters. I told him years ago that he fucked up and instead of making his first horror movie, House of 1000 Corpses, he should have bought the rights to the Beverly Hillbillies, and made the Beverly Killbillies. A Satan worshipping clan of pedophile cannibals strikes oil. The kinfolk said Californee is the place you oughta be, so they moved to Beverly.  The plot twist is all the millionaires and billionaires in the Beverly Hills are all secretly Satan worshipping pedophie cannibals but they are too uppity to accept the Clampetts. The movie practically writes itself.


Battlefish

Battlefish is more big screen sports bar video game than movie. This one started when I went to the aquarium with my brother, niece and great-niece. They had an Ipad and you could create and paint a fish. When you were done, the fish in the Ipad swam onto the giant TV screen. I told my great-neice that there could only be 14 fishes on the screen so she was going to have to battle up her fish and take down one of those cute little fish. She would have, if there had been game controllers.


Pebbles and Bam Bam


This movie will never be made as a remake of  Badlands with Pebbles as Sissy Spacek and Bam-bam as Martin Sheen because they have a sex scene. Otherwise it's a multi-state serial spree killing story about Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate, but with Pebbles and Bam-bam. Bam! Bam bam! BAM!



Monday, July 5, 2021

Thursday, June 3, 2021

The Slaver Empire

The Great Acceleration, from about 1947 - 1964 was also the Era of Wild Experimentation. 

Consider all things fission  It was 90 days from the startup of Chicago Pile 1 until the final experiments which solidified atomic pile reactor design. (The patent for a neutronic reactor, US Patent number 2,708,656, would not be made public until 1955).

You would be hard-pressed to show me any technology with a shorter development time, from proof-of-concept to working industrial machines. You would be hard-pressed to show me any advanced technology with such a short development time in what was basically a scientific backwater like the United States of America. 



The United States of America, which, as a backward-looking conservatively federated nation, had resisted most every form of centralized control. This is an allergic reaction to having a bad roommate, which resulted in the American Revolution. For more than two hundred years, the United States of America had been influenced (you might say occasionally ruled by) a loosely agglomerated Southern slave empire. 

The southern planters, slavers, were among the richest people on Earth. The richest man ever, Mansa Musa, made his wealth from slaves, via salt and gold mining.

I present two counterfactuals and I will submit that both result in an American Slaver Empire.

As an aside, gentle reader, I will submit that setting up the house of cards is more fun than knocking them down. Which is to say the question of how could it happen interests this autistic boy just as much as what happens after. The trick is to be al scientific like and recognize the minimum number of variables to keep constant until needed for the story. This chaos theory so I'd be disappointed if the orbit didn't go off the rails. In any case,

SCENARIO ONE, ONE A, TWO B

For whatever reason, the Western Hemisphere is off limits or not available to European explorers. I don't care how. Okay, the continents of North and South America do not exist. You sail into a monster Pacific. HOW'S THAT?

What happens to capitalism? What happens to Spain? A constant in this scenario is European innovations of Chinese inventions. This continues regardless. The Portuguese and Dutch still fuck with India and Indonesia. Cutting edge stuff in those ships and cannon, so they get used.The Muslim world is still competitive, and they loved slaves, so the answer is make more people slaves. Don't fix what's froken. And slavs are slaves throughout the World Island.

The other scenario is the native peoples of the Western hemisphere were on equal or better footing than European explorers. Which means someone has to come up with gun powder. Which means the Chinese made it to the west coast. What about all those nasty Afro-Eurasian diseases. If the Norse had more contact, with a 1000CE lotto win of a couple ships with small pox and measles, the resistant populations would be almost back after 500 years. There is a curious Mayan painting of two blonde haired blue eyed fair skinned sacrificial victims. Castaways perhaps, but we must remember the Norse portion of the global trade network was there for 400 years. So, you still have slaves.

SCENARIO ONE, TWO B, THREE ZERO ZERO ALPHA 

The African Diaspora never happens. North America is colonized by only white people. Result? We would have white castes here. Not just slaves, but breeds. Slavery would certainly be here in the USA (if that's what we're called, the more likely outcome feudal lords and slave estates). No question. Once you kill off the Indians its only yourselves to prey upon. Man feasts upon man.

Pretty dismal, huh? Makes you want to move to Iceland and live in a geothermal greenhouse with a bunch of bees. "They ain't making any more land". Iceland is. What they need is soil. I'm thinking I'm up for leaving my body for Soil For Iceland. What about you? 

Speaking of soil, we went to Turkey Run State Park, to spread the mixed ashes of mom and dad. A fine smoke of dust wafted up and we inhaled them when we dumped them. Perfect. we became them and they became us. Turkey Run State Park is I think where my younger brother was conceived. A scene for me of many a good time and psychedelic adventure out in the sandstone canyons and cuts of Sugar Creek and her little sister water dragon streams. It is a sacred place for me, and I will be going back. If I pull a Tony Randall and live long enough for the kid to experience it, I will introduce the child(s). As we did to the fearless youngsters of our family whilst there.

One last thing. Reminiscing, we talked about the goofy German spike helmet my dad had. It was not the real thing, which is called a pickelhaube, but great grandpa came from Prussia, and not that pussy ass Germany. More specifically we came from the Baltic coast right next to Denmark which is called the Florida of Germany.

So I am a German Florida Man. Which explains why my first plan is always murder. Plan A. Always.

Plan B??? Now that a year and a month and a day and month and half  and a day of Quarantine has passed? I really don't want to come out of hermit mode. I know a lot of people were stressed out despite financial stability. I should probably become a monk or a sentinel or something.

Nevertheless I have duties as a silverback, and my world needs me. 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Systemic Hyper-parasitism

Two careers ago I was a mainframe programmer at, successively, four multi-billion/international kaiju corporations. They are all gone. Extinct. I would like to think I helped, but that's just my natural arrogance.


All of these kaiju, in one form or another, did not die by the free market, not by competition with other kaiju, but rather were bled to death by parasites. More specifically, management infestation in the form of financialization. When I started consulting at Corporate Kaiju Number One, I had one report-to boss between me and my boss's boss. By the time I went to the next gig, there were three bosses in between. And assistants. And administrative staff.  This man-in-the-middle parasitic attack is part of why so many companies are gone, but not the whole story.  A hippo or a grizzly bear has no problem with the parasites sticking out of their assholes. No, these corporate kaijus almost always died of frat bro nepotism, a differnet form of parasitism.

Typical frat bro CEO, not realizing they were a piloting a corporate kaiju, made stupid existential choices of one singular puny human being. The first kaiju I consulted at, and having greedily and short-sightedly eaten every dot.com around, disappeared in the 2000 tech bust.

( I realize I ruined the labor relations of these companies by being a consultant/gunslinger. Had I a vested interest as a stakeholder, I'd've been more militant. {Probably not, I'm kind of a wuss}. Still, I deprived, as an outsource labor unit, in-company people leverage against the kaiju. But no, Johnny got the attention of the production manager, which made him a little prince, and he worked zero bullshit jobs happily ever after there).

Johnny has been lucky to have worked many shit jobs, but just a handful of bullshit jobs. Since my every position was glorified janitor, it's easy to ignore the paperwork. Others not so much.

In the 1990s, Eastern Europe, the Russians and Ukrainians, mainly, showed up in the USA to take even more IT jobs. They took a long around and said "oh yeah we know this drill, except we get paid". Shareholder owned Soviet Unions, three clerks to sell a loaf of bread.

Neo-feudalism? Nope, same old feudalism. Hyper-parasitism, exploiting nested niches. It is said that in Nature, the record is seventeen levels of hyper-parasitism. The evolutionary means to counter parasitism are myriad and oh-so clever. One of my favorites are the mini caste in leaf cutter ants. The regular leaf cutter ants are prey to tiny flies that will lay their eggs in them. The colony developed little tiny ants, minis, that ride around on the workers and shoo away the flies. Maybe that's what I was, a mini.

David Graeber* nailed bullshit jobs in a book called Bullshit Jobs. A majority of bullshit jobs not surprisingly are at the top. Consider, 50 years ago, most CEOs were mustangs, rising through the ranks, knowing, not just their business, but their neighboring businesses. But then financialization and pseudo science kicked in. People with wizard degrees from Harvard and Wharton took over from the village witchdoctors. The locals didn't disappear, just got shoved down the corporate food chain into the shit job productive levels that somehow keep corporations making monies despite themselves, and here we are.

Graeber attempted to quantify bullshit jobs into categories: flunkies, goons, duct tapers, box tickers, taskmasters. (My thinking the last few years is to think of categories more a dials or slides, and the overall variety as a sound mxing board with slides rather than boxes to place things in. Each fader or blender slide on a mixer can have a mixing component of its own, so slides all the way down)

Many of my shit jobs occasionally involved duct taping, so I was immediately struck by the fact that you can have, not just jobs, but aggregates of jobs in subsystems and systems of bullshit (like the upcoming Internet of Shit), and this Wired article by Andy Greenberg on Bullshit Systems made my ears prick up when I saw it. This is classic hyper-parasitism involving rnet extracion via soft-serv ice cream machines (and why they break down so often). The solution, unfortunately, involves duct taping, which you will see a lot of as we enter the Internet of Shit Era. Covering everything from corporate sabotage to right-to-repair, I can't help but realize this as just another example of  Why We Can't Have Nice Things. 



*David Graeber died of cancer in 2020. One of the organizers of Occupy Wall Street, he also wrote Debt: The First 5000 years. I should re-read that book. Fortunately, before passing Graeber and archaeologist David Wengrow wrote a book called The Dawn of Everything due out in October 2021. I can't wait to read it, but based upon what I have read about  their review of the past 42,000 years, a good alternate title might be Something Went Wrong.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Poop and Pee

Some people collect watches. I collect skills. A lot of them are survival skills or low tech hacks, but that's not because I am a survivalist. It's because it's fun.

Take gunpowder. What red-blooded American boy doesn't know how to make gunpowder? Johnny got entangled in the web of causation. Do you need sulfur? Why does charcoal work better than coal? Where does this wonderful saltpeter at the drugstore come from? Books at the library pointed me to nightsoil, dedicated piss pots, shit and piss farms.

Pre-Revolutionary France was known to have the worst gunpowder in Europe.  A certain count or duke of something something determined how to rake quality saltpeter out of mounds of black dirt infused with copious amount of poop and pee. His holdings also included zinc and lead mines, so he was a bullet farmer. Off went his head in the Revolution. (which should serve as an example to doomsday billionaires).

In the event that things get bad (but not TOO bad), I too will be a bullet farmer.

The stench? Well, I'm reminded of a story about a Roman merchant that supplied ammonia fermented from piss to the fuller industry. His son was hesitant to take over the business because of the stink. The old Roman shoved a gold coin under his nose and said "Well, then don't get used to this smell!" There had to be a speculative shit market in ancient times. In fact, I would bet that certain areas or towns were of renown for making miracle shit.

Piss and shit are worth their weight in gold. If you look at folklore you find tons of references to gold being shit. The coin pooping donkey. The devil's ducats, where he spends gold coin and in the morning it is turds. Rumpelstiltskin, spinning (dung infested) straw into gold. Gold is fucking worthless. 

In Mad Max world, gold as commodity is porn magazines. That's the bitcoin. Survivalists take note.

Other things. I am still churning out VR sculptures. Trying to do one a day.



Some people say they are awesome.

Others, the ones that buy stuff, crickets.

I have been thinking about Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord's categories.

The general was commander-in-chief of the German Army and an undisguised opponent of Adolph Hitler. He said: 
"I distinguish four types. There are clever, hardworking, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and hardworking; their place is the General Staff. The next ones are stupid and lazy; they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the mental clarity and strength of nerve necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is both stupid and hardworking; he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always only cause damage". 

Here is a more accurate model, but still only approximating the human essence.

Mediocrity rules, thank goodness.