Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Agent Suguo: Sociology Studies 101

At the Lieban Planetary University at Axal, Suguo enjoyed the privilege of studying under Professor Orton Curint, "perhaps the greatest Sociologist of all time," as fans labeled him. Of course, his detractors weren't so polite, seeing his teachings as supporting Celian superiority over the other Marsupian races.

During his lectures on the value of religion in human life, he'd insisted he didn't believe in The Eternal, or in any god for that matter, and couldn't give any credence to The Eternal's actually having issued the Ten Words (Ten Words.) However, he believed, there was still something to the Celian and Ephonian religion that set it apart from the rest.

Professor Curint spoke and signed simultaneously, "Cultures who try to rid themselves of religion are dead cultures within a generation. (For example, look at the Trian people who decided no Supreme Being existed and attempted to live accordingly. Their whole society collapsed into an economic depression; the people were starving to death. Criminal organizations stepped up to fill in the vacuum. I'm talking about a society that once had public services, health care, schools and lost all of them within a generation. Ripe for the taking, another group obliterated what was left of their culture and they were assimilated.) Listen people! (Their new way of life didn't even last to be passed down to their great-grandchildren!) Like it or not, religion is necessary to the very existence of viable culture, it's necessary to the longevity of the culture and it's necessary to the happiness and prosperity of the culture. (It's a fact, human nature demands a religion which includes a Supreme Being or beings.)

""Bad" religion, which I'm defining as religion that oppresses some people within the society, for example, religion declaring a minority race as sub-human, or a particular gender as sub-human, or teaching hatred of other people groups or religions, or offering human sacrifice and so on, can keep a culture going for centuries just as effectively as a "good" religion. But those who practice these "bad" religions will remain locked in repressive social organizations, which disable wide varieties of intellectual pursuits and keep the society in an economic pit unable to generate a wide spectrum of technological advances. But they at least function, even if it's at what we would consider a reduced level.

"Cultures that enjoy peace and prosperity practice religion which has at its core the ideals of "love," or "charity," or whatever one chooses to label those noble impulses. And those ideals are embedded in its laws.

"(Effective human law doesn't exist without religion and religion is ultimately ineffective in human life without law. In our case, as a satellite state of Celi, because they've brought us peace and prosperity, the Ten Words) Ten Words (of the Celians and Ephonians are the religion and the law we're concerned with. And, by the way, for the religion to really bring peace and prosperity to the greatest numbers of individuals and to really matter, those noble impulses I mentioned earlier, by law, must be applied to everyone, including people groups outside the in power religious practitioners.)"

At this Professor Curint threw his hand outward and drew it back to his body in the sign meaning "All-Inclusive." He continued, "In other words, the acts of "love," "charity," "generosity," "tolerance," etc., must be done by and to everyone, or at least a majority, and those types of behaviors must be supported by law. If these conditions are met, a thriving, healthy, prosperous, peaceful, vital culture will exist.

"(The Ten Words) Ten Words (work because "love," "charity," and so on, are the driving forces behind the commands. Perhaps the Celians, having been the objects of oppression for most of their history, were able to develop the Ten Words) Ten Words (while the Liebans, as the oppressors were not. The Ten Words) Ten Words (provided the Celians a means for survival and even thriving while simultaneously suffering was ongoing. ) If you study the history of the Celian people, you'll see an odd correlation between times of oppression and times free of oppression--their prosperity level actually increased during times of oppression! It's true, during times free of oppression they initially enjoyed prosperity, but would "forget" the Ten Words (Ten Words) and lose it."

Professor Curin paused and glanced at his notes, then looked up at the class with a gentle grin on his face. "Of course, scientists tell us, love is nothing more than a chemical reaction in the brain." His smile at his own remark caused polite laughter. "But I tell you, love is an action. And its practice encompasses more than the swelling of affection you may experience as you look longingly at your girlfriend over a cup of caffeine at the local cafeteria. Love is the fountainhead for all good existing in a culture. It is the canopy under which such ideals as tolerance, generosity, benevolence, kindness, truthfulness, trustworthiness and so on flourish, for without it, those characteristics we treasure would be reduced to paltry impulses of no significance meted out in increasingly stingy measures, truly nothing more than chemical reactions.

"(Celians as the ultimate pragmatists understood racial wars, social pogroms and power seeking consume energy and waste resources. But it's not the god who matters; the god is a contrivance, a myth, an excuse, nothing more. It's the Ten Words) Ten Words (that matter. Until all people recognize the innovative and intrinsically wonderful value of the Ten Words) Ten Words (oppression, economic catastrophe and social collapse are just in the offing.)"

Stealth coatings: The science of "Over the Edge"

Fans of Over the Edge know about Minan Chameleon Battle Skin--well it's about to become a reality. Researchers at New Mexico State University are working on aircraft coatings that "deflect radio waves, thus making them invisible to electronic tracking devices, but still visible to the human eye," says the New Mexico State University magazine "Research."

In the spring 2005 edition of the magazine "Research" also reported collaborators at Wake Forest University and the University of Florida were working on nanotechnology to "develop intelligent coatings that will enable aircraft to change colors like a chameleon to blend in with the background..." These researchers are also working on a coating that will bend light in such a manner that will make it difficult to see objects covered in the coating.

geosynchronous orbital satellites were first conceived by a master science fiction writer. So, hey...we'll see what else develops.