Wednesday, May 15, 2019

"I Gave Her the Stars": Retief's Wonderful Voice

In the 3rd romance novel in the New Mexico sci fi trilogy series set in the Over the Edge universe, Lolly admires Retief's deep, rich and warm voice.

Here's a fun video for you men wanting to improve your voice: How to Develop a Manly Voice

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Quantum Physics and the Human Mind

Part one

Part two

As an observer, you have a role in creating reality, not just in observing, but in how you think about and speak about what you observe.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Split Brains and Individuals Who Band Together to Make One

In the Over the Edge series the Somainai characters are marsupial humanoids. Marsupials are mammals whose young make a journey from the birth canal to the pouch where they find a teat and complete their development. Everyone has seen the cute pictures of kangaroo babies peering over the rim of their mother's pouches. There are many dramatic differences between placental mammals and marsupials. Marsupials view the world in the ultraviolet spectrum, which is so foreign to us that we can hardly imagine it and you'd be hard pressed to find decent images on the web that portray what that might look like. They also have split brains.

Normally placentals don't have split brains. Our brains are unified by a structure called the "corpus callosum" which is a bundle of nerves that unifies the two brain hemispheres. There are instances of human beings who don't have corpus callosums at birth. You can find articles about some of those people in the archives of this blog. For a time doctors tried cutting the corpus callosum to treat epilepsy. This video discusses some of what we've learned from these patients. The archives of this blog also contain articles dealing with this topic.

In Over the Edge marsupial humanoid characters' silent brains use sign language to communicate simultaneously with the speaking brain--sometimes about different topics that might be unrelated. This can occasionally generate conflict between one brain and the other, even to the point of suicide. The Bible talks about a sort of split mindedness when addressing how human beings are capable of holding two opposite views simultaneously, this is called "double-mindedness." Disunity in a creature that is supposed to operate in unity is not a good thing.

Our bodies are made up of individual cells, each of which has its own life. Christians speak of "the body of Christ," when talking about the church, a kind of organism of which Jesus is the head that is a new creation, just as the individual Christian is a new creation, a kind of being that never existed before. Christians think they kind of know what that means, to be a new creation and to be the body of Christ, but it is my belief that we don't really have a clue. The video below this one touches on the question, "If we are a bundle of individuals who are dying and being replaced all the time, who are we anyway?" Christians answer that question by saying, "I am a spirit living in a body using a soul as my interface between me and the world." For more on this topic visit Carolingian Studios for the video called "Do Humans Have Souls?"

Here's another article on this topic: Are Split-brain People Really Two Half Persons?

Consciousness, the soul and other related concepts have been and will continue to be explored in this blog. Please check the archives for past articles. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

That Postman Who Paints Scarves for Hermes

In the upcoming sequel to Give Her the Stars Lolly Lang quips that Retief's scarf looks like one created by the postman in Texas who paints the designs used in scarves for Hermes. That fellow's name is Kermit Oliver and he lives in East Waco, Texas. His story is the kind of romantic success that's a key element in all my fiction. Here's more about Kermit:

Portrait of the Artist as a Postman

How a Texas Postman Became a Designer for Hermes

Scarf Ace

Photo credit: Texas Monthly

Thursday, February 02, 2017

A Better Spacesuit

When the white, 30 lb. space suits used during the Apollo missions were created, human beings had forgotten how to make clothing--except tube socks--without seams. Those charged with creating the suits had to reinvent that lost technique. The History of Space Suits

Serious space travel needs suits that protect the wearer from the harsh realities of space while allowing freedom of movement. The Apollo and shuttle suits are bulky and limit mobility. Someone has to help his buddy get into one of those suits. Now Boeing has a new space suit that is easy for one person to put on, doesn't need a cooling unit to keep the person from sweating their brains out and isn't orange--a big plus for those of us who wondered, "Why orange? It's so ugly."

Monday, April 25, 2016

Apparently the Power Elites Have Decided to Get Us Excited About Space Again...

Will the future consist of ordinary mortals suffering slavery at the hands of global elitists or will the future consist of ordinary mortals playing an integral role in shaping the future? The answer to that question is up to us. If we still believe in the Constitution of the United States of America, we need to get busy and get active in every venue we have available to us. Each of us has a sphere of influence. Instead of complaining, use your influence. We need to stop thinking of politics as dirty business--we need to become politicians, every political office matters from sheriff to mayor, to state representative, if we fill all those posts with people who love God and love the Constitution, we can turn this country around. We need to stop hating businessmen--we need to become businessmen. We need to stop whining and get busy working. It's up to us!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Science of Over the Edge: Gravity

In the Over the Edge series characters have achieved mastery of gravity and use gravity fields in elevators to lift and lower occupants. Gravity waves are also used to push or repel ships and gain acceleration or slow ships down.

LIGO, laser interferometer gravitational-wave observatory, recently reported that scientists have detected gravitational waves. This is a huge step forward in our understanding of gravity and of the universe!

IT'S OFFICIAL: Gravitational waves have been detected, Einstein was right

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Science of Over the Edge: Bone Growing Wire

Inventors haven't come up with bone growing wire as described in the first book of the Over the Edge series, but they have come up with some bone growing foam. French scientists reported recently that they'd created an injectable foam that repairs degenerating bones and may even regrow them. It's called calcium phosphate cement. It's been used before, repairing broken vertebra for instance, but not in this form. Here's the link to the story:

Researchers have created an injectable foam that can heal degenerating bones 


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What About AI That's Not Intelligent?

Kevin Slavin: How Alogrithms Shape Our World
This is just a picture--it won't play the video. Click on the link above for video.

People worry about artificial intelligence. They have good reason, even without the numerous science fiction stories that explore the dangers of AI. But what about AI that's not intelligent? What about AI that just blindly does what it does? That's what Kevin Slavin describes in the Ted Talk link above.

In Over the Edge robots abound, but they're mostly harmless. This implies that the question of AI has been dealt with. Hmn, might be a good story.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Science of Over the Edge: Entanglement

photo credit:
Quantum entanglement occurs when two particles remain connected, even over large distances, in such a way that actions performed on one particle have an effect on the other.

In Love from the Stars, a romance novel from the Over the Edge universe, Violet observes that she feels "entangled" with the hero, Causey Lindo. Entanglement between humans isn't a new concept to fiction, but it is romantic! In the novel, Jane Eyre, the hero, Rochester, tells Jane that he feels an invisible cord connects him to her.

Christians believe that they are "in Christ," connected to Him by the Holy Spirit and entangled with Him so that His death becomes the believer's death, His resurrection becomes the believer's resurrection and believers become joint heirs with Christ and have the power to operate on planet earth in the same way and with the same miraculous power He demonstrated. The "Lord's Prayer" even asks for entanglement to occur, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." That Christians often do not live up to their potential or take advantage of the connection to remain spiritually intimate with Christ does not mean that the ability and power aren't there. The "cares" and pleasures of the material world often distract from spiritual matters.

Read more about how plants use entanglement to produce energy.

 Physicists prove Einstein's 'spooky' quantum entanglement

Spooky Atomic Clocks

Sunday, November 15, 2015

UFO Case Files Revealed--Michael Schratt--MUFON

Starting with known, declassified documentation of black and skunk works air and space craft and working his way through increasingly speculative craft this video gives the viewer a overview of advance flying technology, including how the crafts are flown and powered.

In Over the Edge characters fly space jets not unlike some of the craft described here. Also, in the world of Over the Edge characters have mastered gravity and use it along with the electromagnetic spectrum to travel through deep space at speeds approaching light.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Science of Over the Edge: Flying Cars

Hover craft are a staple in the Over the Edge series. A flying car may be in your future....

Moller International website click here

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Deleted scene from "Love From the Stars" coming in November 2015

Violet Kelso

“Unbelievable,” Violet muttered, waiting for her sister to come to the door. Two Gold Street in lower Manhattan is a nice enough building, but five thousand dollars a month, wow. She shrugged and muttered, “I guess if you want to work in a luxury hotel in New York City, that’s what you have to pay.

“Speaking of money,” Violet glanced at her watch and frowned, “two days gone from work aren’t going to help my finances any.”

She hadn’t bothered to bring her laptop. The last time she’d visited her sister she’d lugged the thing around and never had a moment’s peace to write even a paragraph. Mavis’ bratty kids, Victor and Sally, had climbed into her lap every time she’d sat down, the rest of the time Mavis had dragged her all over Manhattan to see this site, visit that store and admire the general splendor. Not that Violet objected to children, per se, or to sightseeing, per se, but as a freelance writer she seldom had any such thing as a day off.

Violet clutched her overnight bag with both hands and bounced it against her knees. Three projects waiting completion, I don’t have time to waste, let’s do this already.

Mavis, her auburn hair styled in lose waves, opened the door, her face warming with an affectionate smile. “Violet.” She kissed her sister on the cheek. “You’re looking fit.”

“Thanks. I run every day. Where do you run, Mavis? Is it safe to run in this neighborhood?” Violet loosed a nervous laugh. Ouch, that didn’t come out right.

Mavis shook her head. “Violet, if you’re worried about it, you can use my visitor’s pass and run on a treadmill at the gym.” She stepped back to allow Violet room to enter. “How was your flight?”
Violet grimaced. “Mavis, you know I have an irrational fear of treadmills.” She kissed her sister’s cheek and stepped inside far enough to allow Mavis to close the door. “And these days, flying is not a fun proposition, you know that too, Mavis.” Violet glared. “Oh, I forgot, you fly first class.”

“Ah, Violet, the same as ever.” Mavis managed a sickly smile and gestured. “Come in, come in. Arlene just got here.”

Violet stepped past the sparkling clean kitchen into the living room. “Hello Arlene, love that new hair color. How are the kids?”

Arlene looked up from her spot on the sofa where she’d been staring at her I-phone, her mouth fell open, she frowned, then said, “It’s my natural color, Violet.”

Violet waved a hand. “Ha, ha, sorry. I haven’t seen your natural hair color in so long I forgot.”

Arlene stuck out her tongue. “Yeah, right, sure you forgot.” She set her phone on the coffee table and stood up, smoothing her slacks and attempting a friendly smile. “It’s good to see you Violet. It’s refreshing to discover you haven’t changed.”

“Ah, you’re so sweet. How are the kids?”

“The kids are fine. They’re staying with Toby’s parents while I’m gone.” She leaned over the coffee table and gave Violet an awkward hug. Standing back and grinning, she hunched her shoulders in an “I’m so lucky” sort of body expression. “It’s nice to get a break from them. No laundry, no crumbs to sweep up, no snotty noses or whining bedtime rituals. And I won’t have to cook a single meal while I’m here.” Arlene beamed, now aglow with her typical joyousness. “Of course, I miss them already!” She giggled. “I enjoy leaving them behind, but I love going back.”

Violet attempted a friendly smile. “I’m glad you’re getting a break.” She set her overnight bag on the floor and perched on the loveseat. Arlene’s kids are brats too. She smoothed hair away from her forehead. I guess, my problem is I think all kids are brats.

Mavis breezed in from the kitchen carrying a tray with a pitcher of iced tea, sugar bowl, teaspoons and three glasses. “Violet, I loved your piece in that online magazine. What was it called? Oh yes, I remember, Pocketbook. It was great.”

Violet accepted a glass of iced tea, doused the liquid with several spoonfuls of sugar and stirred vigorously. “Thanks.” She scrutinized her sister, thinking, Ha! Mavis! You normally never bother to read any of my stuff. Violet’s eyes narrowed. What do you want? Her eyes widened. I’ll bet she wants me to take care of Mom. She stifled the angry, sarcastic quip that bit at her lips, choosing to gulp her tea instead. Lowering the glass and holding it with both hands, she managed a genuine appreciative look and murmured, “I’m pleased you liked it.”

Mavis’s cheerful expression faded, her eyes reflected a mind full of questions, as if she could almost hear Violet’s thoughts. She grimaced and turned to Arlene. “Tell me about the kids.” She handed Arlene her glass.

“We have Tyler in little league. You should see him; he’s a mini-Alex Rodriquez.” She chuckled. “ Samantha is such a beauty queen. She insists on picking out her clothes every day by herself. She wants to start dance this summer.”

Mavis poured herself some tea. “That’s fabulous. Samantha is a natural; so athletic and graceful all at the same time. And I bet Tyler’ll end up with a MVP award before the season is over.”

Arlene grinned from ear to ear.

Violet nursed her tea. If you want to see Arlene happy, just get her started talking about her kids. She glanced at Mavis. Googling for my latest piece, complimenting Arlene on her kids, Mavis is really laying it on. She definitely wants something.

She tuned out the latest tale about Tyler’s little league exploits and Samantha’s final days in the spring tumbling class and went to the window hoping to find a comforting view. Nope. Nothing but concrete canyons. Wonderful.

Interrupting Arlene, Violet blurted, “Not much of a view, Mavis, not for five thousand a month.”

Mavis retorted, “It’s the city, Violet. There are other amenities.”

Violet turned away from the depressing sights and stared at her sisters. “Yes, I suppose there are, but for the life of me I can’t think what those might be.”

Mavis sighed and patted the couch. “Violet, we both know you love open country and you’re not happy in the city. I love the city and Arlene doesn’t mind it--you know that too--so let’s just pretend we had that conversation and we finished it. Now, come over here and sit with us. We need to talk about Mom.”

Violet regained her seat and set her glass on the coffee table. Here it comes, just as I suspected. Mom is starting to fail and Mavis going to ask me to take care of her.

Mavis sighed. “Both Mrs. Cortez and Tender Care called me. Tender Care is the name of the company that provides in-home care for Mom on the weekends and once a week to give Mrs. Cortez a break. “Basically Mom can’t be alone at all anymore.

“Mrs. Cortez was staying through the day, fixing her meals and cleaning house. She used to put Mom to bed after supper and Mom managed on her own until she came back in the morning. We had a different girl for Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday so Mrs. Cortez could have a break.

“Up until a few days ago, Mom did fine. She watched Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune every night, kept her crossword puzzles finished and read her Bible daily, but Mrs. Cortez said she started noticing Mom slowing down on the crossword puzzles a few months ago and doing little things like leaving out the milk all night and the light on in the bathroom, but nothing serious. While Mom could carry on coherent conversations and remembered most everything, Mrs. Cortez didn’t worry about it much.

“But a couple of nights ago Mom went outside and stood on the corner in her nightgown. When the cops found her she muttered something about waiting for Dad to come home from work. They asked her where she lived and, thank God, she was able to tell them. They helped her inside and found Mrs. Cortez’s phone number on the refrigerator.

“The next day Mrs. Cortez took her to the doctor to check for a stroke.” Mavis shrugged. “Maybe she had a tiny one, I don’t know, but the bottom line is, Mom can’t live by herself anymore.”

Arlene asked, “Did they do any other tests?”

“They did. She doesn’t have diabetes and the definitive tests for Alzheimer’s are unavailable until a person is dead. I guess the generic name for what she has is ‘dementia.’” Mavis sighed again. “Mom has dementia. It’s not very bad yet. Mrs. Cortez says Mom could probably handle being alone at night a little longer, but I think it would be stupid to push it. It’s only going to get worse from here.”

She looked down at her hands, then back up at Arlene and Violet. “I’ve promised Mrs. Cortez a huge bonus, a Caribbean vacation, whatever it takes to get her to stay with Mom 24/7 until we find a permanent solution. Mrs. Cortez has her daughter coming in a couple of hours every day so she can do other things. I didn’t like the weekend caretaker, so I let her go.” Mavis’s face wore an uncharacteristically worried expression.

Her hands going sweaty, Violet asked, “What do you suggest we do?”

Mavis swallowed. “One of us has to move to Roswell.” She looked at Arlene, then their heads swiveled in unison to gaze in Violet’s direction.

I knew it; I knew it! Violet pushed the air with her opened palms. “No! I have a life in Downs! I just bought a house and I have a boyfriend.”

Mavis pursed her lips, sympathy mingled with resolve settled on her face. “Violet, you’re the only one who doesn’t have kids and a husband. You’re the only one who works from home. You’re the one to move in with Mom and take care of her.”

Arlene raised her hand and volunteered, “I’ll come every three months and stay for a week so you can have a break.”

Violet snapped. “Oh, you two already have this worked out, do you?”

Her two sisters frowned and looked at one another. Mavis turned her attention to Violet and said, “No, we didn’t. This is the first Arlene has heard of it.”

Violet groused. “Fine, just fine. You two always joined forces against me before, why stop now.”

Mavis reasoned, “Violet, you’re a freelance writer, you can work anywhere. They have internet in Roswell, probably better service than in that little collection of houses where you live now.”

Violet’s eyes narrowed. “It’s a town, Mavis, with a motel and restaurants. And, of course they have internet in Roswell, but that’s not the point. The point is you two have already decided and I don’t have any say in it.”

Arlene cleared her throat. “Actually, Violet, you could say “no” and help us pay for 24/7 care. One or more of us would have to go to Roswell and set it all up, but that’s do-able. We can find new people and keep Mrs. Cortez part time.”

Mavis shook her head. “No, Arlene, that’s not going to work. Mrs. Cortez wants to quit. She wants to spend more time with her husband now that he’s retired.” Her eyes dropped to her tea glass. “They want to take an extended vacation if other things work out in their lives.”

Feeling as if someone had left her heart sitting on a block of dry ice, Violet said, “Surely we can find someone.”

Mavis stared at Violet with that domineering, oldest sister look she hated. “With Mrs. Cortez out of the picture, if we hire people to care for Mom, one of us has to go check on things at least twice a month if not more often than that to be sure she’s being treated well and deal with whatever issues come up.” She paused. “The truth is, with none of us nearby checking on her regularly, we set Mom up for abuse.” She glanced meaningfully between Violet and Arlene.

Violet scowled. She’s right about that. I should know, I did an article on elder abuse a few months ago--things can get really ugly. Mavis probably already knows I know. She sighed.

Mavis continued, “Mom’s situation is going to continue to deteriorate, and probably faster without Mrs. Cortez onboard to help unless one of us takes over. Mom’s not going to do well with a fresh batch of strangers wandering through her house all the time. She needs continuity and stability.

“We won’t find another caretaker like Mrs. Cortez. She’s one of a kind. And trying to see to an older person’s needs from New York and Wisconsin and Kansas isn’t going to work. We’re all too far away to make a difference.”

Violet didn’t speak. Besides the article on abuse of the elderly, she’d written a blog post a few months earlier about the difficulties in finding responsible, kind people to look after old people in their homes. Thankfully neither Mavis nor Arlene had seen the article or they’d know that they hadn’t even scratched the surface of the problems they’d soon be facing if they couldn’t find three or more of Mrs. Cortez’s clones. 

Gloom descended over Violet. Mavis is right, from a purely practical standpoint, I am the best person to live with Mom and take care of her. “Can’t we try to find some people to care for Mom?”

Mavis and Arlene looked at Violet as if she had just suggested that they should hire a hit man.

At last, Mavis said, “Haven’t you been listening, Violet? We’re already having trouble locating people to take care of Mom. Besides, even if we do that, very soon we’ll find ourselves going to Roswell every time we turn around to handle some crisis or another. That will be expensive and use vast quantities of time, time which none of us has. Meanwhile, Mom might suffer a serious injury or take a turn for the worse and none of us would be there for her.”

Violet grimaced, picked up tea glass and drank. Maybe they did know about the difficulties after all.

Mavis made a sudden twist of her shoulders, straightened her back and parked her hands on her knees--signs of imminent big sister domination about to come down on little sister Violet. “Violet, face it. You know better than we do what Mom will be up against if we leave her in strangers’ hands when we’re all living so far away. You did that article for that caregiver association in Michigan. You can’t pretend you don’t know what we’re up against.”

“We could put her in a nursing home,” Violet said, regretting the whine infecting her voice.

Arlene gasped. “Violet, we swore to Dad on his deathbed that we’d never do that to her, not when we had better options.”

Violet snorted an irritated laugh. “Yeah, well, Dad is dead.”

“He may be dead, but we promised,” Mavis barked.

Violet’s shoulders hunched and her heart ached. “You and Arlene promised, I was down the hall getting coffee.” Just when I found a boyfriend I really like and my garden is weed-free for the first time since I started buying a house. Aloud she grumped, “I guess that’s how it works, the person who’s not at the meeting gets stuck with the worst job.”

Mavis sounded irritated. “Well, I’m sorry about that Violet, but neither Arlene nor I can do it. Even if we could move to Roswell, we would still have our families to raise. Kids take a lot of time and energy, not that you’d know anything about that.”

Arlene blurted, “You’re the best person for the job.” She lifted a finger. “I’m pretty sure there aren’t any jobs in Roswell for a timberland valuations analyst nor is there a snazzy enough hotel where Lawrence can pull down the kind of salary he’s used to--not within two hundred miles anyway.”

Mavis nodded. “Believe it or not, Violet, I’ve already looked into it and talked it over with Lawrence. I know, cost of living is real cheap in New Mexico and Texas, but Lawrence likes the city and the high-pressure, luxury hotel business. He’s finally gotten where he wants to be in his job. He’s over-qualified for a job as hotel manager in Roswell and I don’t think they’d hire him even if I could get him to consider it.” She sighed. “It’s not fair to ask him to give up what he’s worked for years to achieve. And I’m not going to sacrifice my marriage so you can stay in Downs, Kansas, with a boyfriend who hasn’t even asked you to marry him yet!” She glared at Violet. “Arlene’s Toby would have to find work in an area that provides no jobs in his field. But worse, if they moved, that leaves his parents without anybody around to help them just when his Dad’s health is beginning to fail.”

Violet glowered, feeling as if someone had punched her in the gut. The news was hardly a surprise. She had noticed her mother had been a little slow during their last phone conversation and at one point totally dropped out of the conversation leaving a sentence unfinished.

Mavis’s mouth formed a hard line. “Violet, it’s not fair; its stinks, but of the three of us, you stand to lose the least by moving to Roswell to take care of Mom.”

Arlene blathered, “You work from home, you’re not married, you’re the best choice.”

“Yeah, Arlene, I believe that was mentioned.” Violet lowered her eyes. Damn. 

In a gentle tone, Mavis said, “Violet, how about Arlene and I hire you to take care of Mom. That way if taking care of her interferes with your work, at least you won’t go broke.”

Violet’s head popped up. “Are you kidding me? Now you want to insult me on top of planning my life for me?”

Mavis shook her head. “It’s not an insult. You’ll be taking over Mrs. Cortez’s job we should pay you.”

“No, I don’t need your money.”

Mavis pursed her lips, then drank tea.

Grief washed through Violet. You shouldn’t be upset with them. Take their money, you can use steady money and, actually, Mavis is sweet to offer--it means she actually gets that you’re giving up something too.

Everything they’ve said is entirely reasonable. And worse, they’re right. You’re the best woman for the job.

Face it: this is normal. This is how it always is: things finally start going right for you and something screws it up.

Her eyes watering, Violet snapped. “Fine. Fine. You’ve decided. You two promised Dad. And as usual, I get stuck following through.”

Mavis drew a bead on Violet as if she were behaving like a spoiled child. “That’s not always the case and you know it, Violet.”

Feeling petulant and increasingly childish under Mavis’ stare, Violet folded her arms over her chest and hung her head.

Mavis pressed on. “It won’t be that bad. Roswell has a symphony orchestra and two art museums. Arlene is going to come and spell you every few months and I’m going to pay whatever bills Mom’s retirement and Social Security checks don’t cover. And, I’ll pay for someone, whoever you find, to come in and watch Mom for a few hours every day so you can work or go to the store or a movie. We’ll be paying you too, so you’ll make a little extra cash. I think you should receive at least what we’ve been paying Mrs. Cortez.”

Arlene couldn’t resist adding, “And you’ll get to find out if that mechanic boyfriend of yours really loves you or not.”

Violet slammed her iced tea glass on the table splashing liquid over Mavis’s Elle D├ęcor magazine. “Fine. Fine. I get it. But I don’t want your money! I’m her daughter, if I’m going to do it, I should just do it.”

Mavis patted her hand. “I’m sorry, Violet. I’m sorry it’s worked out this way. I wish there was a better alternative.”

Violet jerked her hand away.

Arlene quipped, “Look at it this way, Mom took good care of you Violet. She paid for your college education after you lost all your scholarships and bought your first car for you. You owe her.”

Violet glared at Arlene. “That’s horse manure, Arlene. If I said that to one of your kids you’d have a fit.”

Arlene looked surprised.

Violet scowled and watched Mavis clean up the spilled tea. Uh, maybe she wouldn’t. Maybe she’s hoping her little darlings will be her little slaves when she’s an old bag. The problem is, Mama will do better if someone who loves her is there to take care of her in her own house. She needs someone familiar. She stared at her hands, loosening her fists and spreading wide her fingers, blinking away her tears. Her voice barely audible she murmured, “I don’t owe Mama anything, Arlene.” She raised her chin and stared at her middle sister. “If you ever say that one of your kids owes you and I hear you say it, I’m going to slap you in the face.”

Arlene blinked and lowered her gaze.

Violet’s words felt like globs of lead falling to the floor. She blubbered. “You two owe me, big time.” Like they’ll ever do anything this difficult for me.

Mavis sympathetic look would have irritated Violet if she hadn’t felt so desolate. “Yes, we do. I promised Mrs. Cortez a Caribbean vacation, how about I look into one for you?”

“Fine. Whatever. I’m going to the bathroom while you make reservations.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Science of Over the Edge: Hoverbikes Coming Soon to a Dealer Near You

In Over the Edge, characters drive hovercars and light duty trucks and remotely operate "robo eyes" or release autonomous "robo eyes" or "snooper robos" which are essentially drones. These robotic devices are used to gather information, dispense medicine, triage patients, complete basic medical physicals and conduct blood, urine, breath and skin sampling and testing. They can also defend their users from attack or attack assigned targets. Snooper robos are used for spying and forensic purposes.

Robo eyes or snooper robos are spherical and covered entirely by video projectors and cameras. The video cameras not only gather visual information, but transmit what they "see" to projectors making the devices practically invisible to all but the most experienced observers. They can operate autonomously or be remotely controlled via mind control or computer interface. 

Lexus, more commonly known for automobile manufacturing, has recently announced that it has developed a magnetic hoverboard prototype. A short teaser video can be found elsewhere on the web, unfortunately, doesn't show anybody demonstrating its use or I would post the video here. However, a UK company has developed a hoverbike which the US military will soon purchase and employ in a variety of situations. (Videos posted below.)

In Over the Edge, hover passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks navigate either by computer control or by user control in hover lanes above already traveled ground lanes--layered travel lanes. Urban hove vehicles are limited, by law, to designated hover areas (laws are made to be broken, right?).

Hoverbikes featured in the video below and for use here on earth employ the same kind of rider/machine control as a motorcycle. The rider leans to one side or the other to effect a turn. While hovercycles also exist in Over the Edge, hovercars are similar to vehicles found in earth's 21st century in their appearance and seating capabilities, most are outfitted to double as ground automobiles.(Yes, the back-end of two horses is the galactic standard width for cars, trucks and all hovercraft just as it is here on earth for everything from buggies, to Conestoga wagons to automobiles and trucks to NASA's spacecraft.)

Click this link for more: The Telegraph reports: US Soldiers Could Soon Use UK Developed Hoverbikes

Friday, June 05, 2015

Science of Over the Edge: Brain to Computer Melding

In Over the Edge and related novels, Lendar Marl, Captains Reeser Peland, Anwic Dzula and Ystem Aver are fitted with a device called a Kaldesope. While Lendar Marl uses his Kaldescope to become a component of his Cadillac Escalade, the other characters' Kaldescopes cause them to become intimate components of their ships. Using mind power alone, they are able to employ the Escalade or ships' computers, manage their functions etc. via their Kaldescopes. Through their Kaldescopes characters access information files saved on data bases aboard their ships or other vehicles and throughout linked computer networks using only their minds. Though Lendar is not fitted with the full-blown Kaldescope, the Captains' Kaldescopes make it possible for them to record the audio and visual information they gather through their own senses, save it to their ship's data bases and then review it at will, like watching a movie, either in private within their own minds or projected on screens anywhere they have access and the proper equipment. Through their Kaldescopes Captains can spy on passengers, check on cargo and observe activity outside the ship via the ship's data gathering systems--cameras, sensors and so forth. Lendar can drive his Escalade or change any setting remotely; the other characters can also change settings and fly their ships remotely. While the Kaldescope is functioning, the characters essentially become one with their ships, the over-brain and the heart of their vessels.

A company called BrainGate (click here to visit the company website) is working to develop interfaces between human brains and computers and/or robots. Their work is based on research that began in the late 1800's when Hans Berger began researching how the brain communicates and developed the EEG, the electroencephalogram, to record brain waves. He was the first to demonstrate that our neurons talk to one another using electrical pulses. His findings were published in 1929. His work was largely ignored until 1969 when biophysicist, Eberhard Fetz, wondered if, since our brains communicate using electricity, perhaps we can control electronic devices through thought control. His test subjects were Rhesus monkeys who learned to manipulate readings on a meter using only their brains. With the advent of the computerized age, BrainGate can now implant silicon chips in human brains and allows an individual to control a robotic arm or access the internet using mind control alone. This is potentially great advance for disabled people and remote operations. While the BrainGate plug-in is bulky and intrusive, the Kaldescope is barely visible and requires no intrusive brain surgery (of course, the Kaldescope is fictitious, but so were satellites in geosynchronous orbit at one time--nod to Arthur C. Clarke for inventing those).

Check out: The Coming Merge of Human and Machine Intelligence for more.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Atheism is a Delusion

John Lennox speaks about the evidence Christians have for their belief in Jesus as Lord...

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Theology and Over the Edge

"When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased," Luke 3:21 & 22
Jesus went to the river to be baptized. During a Jewish baptism, the person being baptized enters on one side of the river or baptismal tank, dips into the water until completely covered to symbolize cleansing and repentance and then stands up and steps out, leaving behind the old way and exiting on the opposite side. When Jesus came out the Holy Spirit, looking like a Dove, landed on Him. Doves are easily startled and will fly off at the slightest provocation. Can you imagine walking around with a dove on your shoulder? How carefully you would move?

And God announced, "You are my Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased." This is the last thing we are told that God said to Jesus before He was led by the Spirit to go into the wilderness and fast forty days and do battle with the devil. When He emerged triumphant from his duel, Luke tells us that Jesus returned to Galilee "in the power of the Spirit," verse 14. Jesus wasn't feeling tired or run down, He was feeling invigorated and on fire. The Holy Spirit had gone from resting on Him to residing within Him. And He created a stir just by walking past someone because Luke tells us that the news about Jesus spread throughout the land. Jesus had entered into His destiny.

The great overarching theme of the Over the Edge science fiction novels is the human quest to find God, to find meaning and to enter the joy and exhilaration of unity with God in thought and purpose. Many of the characters are representatives of Jesus or types of Jesus. This should not surprise any believer for becoming part of the Body of Christ, living as His representative in the earth is the calling every Christian has on his or her life. Human beings were created to be God's Image Bearers in the earth, to one another, to our families and to the public at large. And Jesus' life, death and resurrection makes this possible again after it was lost during Adam's fall. To be God's Image Bearer is what it means to be "created in the Image of God," Genesis 1:27.

When a person becomes a believer in Jesus as Lord, he goes through a baptism, which the physical ceremony is meant to portray in the material world. He leaves behind his old self, his old way of thinking, his old life and is immersed in Jesus and His death to emerge on the other side in Jesus' resurrection power and live a new life in fellowship and unity with the Lord, Ephesians 4:24. The heroes of Over the Edge portray what this might look like when applied to the situations in which they find themselves. Advanced science and technology might shape how the challenge may look or what means the character has available for dealing with the challenge, but these accoutrements do not change the charge God has given every being created in His Image: be My Image Bearers.

As soon as we begin pursuing our destiny, what Stephen Pressfield calls, "Resistance," or what Christians call, the destroyer or the accuser, will come and test us. Resistance is a fitting name. The first thing Jesus faced after He enjoyed the mountain top experience with God at the river was Resistance. The entire satanic challenge was more than a tempting to turn stones into bread or gain notoriety by flinging Himself off the temple wing, it was a challenge to God's statement, "You are my beloved Son and I am pleased with You." Adam faced this same challenge in the Garden of Eden--will you remember God loves you and is pleased with you, Mr. Adam? Or will you doubt His generosity and goodness as I, ha Satan, the Challenger do? Where Adam failed, Jesus super-abounded in success. He remembered God loved Him, He remembered who He was and came out of the contest invigorated, confirmed and seated in His destiny. Challenges come and are intended to be tools we use in co-operation with God to confirm and seat us, the combatants, in the realization and fullness of the dreams God has set before us, to confirm and fix us in our destiny and in His Grace. Remember that when Resistance comes--and it will come, just as soon as you make even the smallest step toward your destiny and calling.

Believers in Christ--be encouraged. The Holy Spirit, the Power that made Jesus a force to be contended with while He resided here and a Person who transformed the entire fabric of the individuals who encountered Him, the Holy Spirit who empowered Jesus who has changed world systems, this same Holy Spirit has settled on you like a Dove and would reside within you transforming you into a powerhouse for good and glory for God. As Image Bearers of the Most High God, we are called to represent Jesus to everyone around us. Take up the charge and go forward. Failure only means you have an opportunity to learn how to do it better. Victory is assured if you do not forget who you are in Christ, if you do not forget who He is and that this One who created the entire universe and sustains it by His Word, this One loves you and finds you pleasing. He can do this because He has not only died for you, but as you; He not only was raised for you, but was raised as you and has seated you with Him in Heavenly realms. You are His sibling, a joint-heir to all He possess. Do not fear. He loves you more than you can imagine.

It is my hope that you, dear reader, will find inspiration in the Over the Edge stories to stir you up to take on your calling with new vigor. Let's conquer whatever territory lies before us for the Kingdom of God and claim it for Him.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Science of Over the Edge: Forcefields

In the Over the Edge universe, spaceships use gravtational and electro-magnetic fields to protect the ship from random particles and debris. Recently, Boeing patented a device that will detect an explosion and use lasers to create a plasma field that will deflect the bomb's shockwaves.

Boeing Just Patented an Actual Force Field Right Out of Science Fiction