Listening to advice from friends, I am going to start other blogs to carry topics unrelated to writing, instead of clogging the space here. Since my favorite off-topic interest is off-the-wall stories in our modern or pop culture, the first new blog is called “I’m Off My Meds Again” and can be found at http://www.offmymedsagain.wordpress.com. It’s MY platform for MY craziness. If you love the world of abnormal, bizarre, whacko things, then you’ll love this space. If crazy talk isn’t your cup of tea, stay away!
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Tag Archives: TPTB
A Writer’s Cash Cow
Are you looking for that writing topic that has the potential to turn you from pauper to prince?
Consider the doomsday story.
According to CUNY physics professor Michio Kaku, the doomsday story is a cash cow that cycles around with intensity about every ten years. Remember Y2K? Today it is the end of the Mayan calendar.
(Make a note to self to check pop culture in 2020 to see what doomsday buzz has turned into a roar.)
There are real problems that get eclipsed by doomsday stories. Some of those problems are:
- Heating up of planet earth
- Melting polar ice caps
- Increasingly rapid migration of the magnetic poles
- Real help for adults with mental illness
- Curing cancer and other life-threatening illnesses
- Financial solvency for governments
- Clean water
- Weather changes
That said, if you are strictly a commercial writer, you have three or four years to check your societal crystal ball and decipher the clues telling what the next big doomsday story will be. Then write your heart out and ride the wave. The last five years have been lucrative for the Mayan storytellers. Maybe you will be my new rich friend the next time doomsday cycles around.
For Science Fiction Writers: Facts about Drones
This information is from Electronic Frontier Foundation. Any emphasis is theirs:
These records, received as a result of EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), come from state and local law enforcement agencies, universities and—for the first time—three branches of the U.S. military: the Air Force, Marine Corps, and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).
The records show that the Air Force has been testing out a bunch of different drone types, from the smaller, hand-launched Raven, Puma and Wasp drones designed by Aerovironment in Southern California, to the much larger Predator and Reaper drones responsible for civilian and foreign military deaths abroad. The Marine Corps is also testing drones, though it chose to redact so much of the text from its records that we still don’t know much about its programs.
Perhaps the scariest is the technology carried by a Reaper drone the Air Force is flying near Lincoln, Nevada and in areas of California and Utah. This drone uses “Gorgon Stare” technology, which Wikipedia defines as “a spherical array of nine cameras attached to an aerial drone . . . capable of capturing motion imagery of an entire city.” This imagery “can then be analyzed by humans or an artificial intelligence, such as the Mind’s Eye project” being developed by DARPA. If true, this technology takes surveillance to a whole new level.
While LIDAR can be used to create high-resolution images of the earth’s surface, it is also used in high tech police speed guns—begging the question of whether drones will soon be used for minor traffic violations.
It’s not a far-fetched idea to use drones to replace the traffic cop. Drone manufacturer AeroVironment offers a few suggestions of their own for drone usage:
The Future is Unmanned
AeroVironment is a world leader in the design and manufacture of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Since the introduction of Pointer in 1986, considered by many to be the first true small UAS for military use, AeroVironment’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems have supported U.S. and allied Armed Forces with reconnaissance data, helped monitor forest fires, and penetrated and analyzed volcanic plumes.
UAS have more than proven their value in the military world. Today, UAS are utilized for applications closer to home. Whether monitoring our country’s borders, protecting its citizens, monitoring pipeline and utility assets or finding those who are lost and in distress, small UAS can be launched quickly, day or night, to provide precise situational awareness whenever and wherever they are needed.
Qube is a device already in use by police departments. AeroVironment offers suggestions for its use:
Qube® is a rugged and reliable small Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) specifically targeting the needs of first responders. The packaged system fits easily in the trunk of a car, and can be assembled and ready for flight in less than five minutes to provide a rapidly deployable eye in the sky, transmitting live video directly to the operator at a fraction of the cost of manned aircraft.
Small UAS like the Qube system can provide valuable capabilities to a broad range of industries and applications:
Public Safety – transported in the trunk of a police vehicle, the back of a fire truck or carried in a backpack, small UAS can provide immediate situational awareness to first responders, giving them a birds-eye view of the situation, day or night, to save lives and protect property.
Wildlife and Environmental Monitoring – already used to monitor sensitive wildlife areas and populations, small UAS are increasingly providing a means of collecting important information in inaccessible areas to facilitate more effective resource management.
Infrastructure Management – dams, pipelines, offshore oil platforms, microwave transmission towers, power plants and ports are some examples of large, sometimes remote infrastructure that can be accessed easily and safely by small UAS to provide color and thermal video for rapid visual inspection.
Scientific Research – peering into a volcano is made easier and safer with small UAS, and is just one example of the new ways this technology is helping scientists gain a better understanding of the way the earth and its biosphere operate.
You can see what Qube looks like by clicking the link: http://www.avinc.com/uas/small_uas/qube/
Facts (f)or Doomsday Sci-Fi?
On November 13, I cut the segment below from a lengthier post on ZeroHedge.Com, a financial web site that monitors all things Wall Street. Since this topic is atypical for the organization, it caught my eye. Quotes within the article from Retired Major General Jerry Curry riveted my attention, particularly the last line of the portion pasted below.
Today, writing about the Apocalypse is popular. The form the end of time takes in a book plot is as varied as the authors writing on the topic. One of my readers has an indie book out in this genre, with a second book in the works. Book two is due to be released by the end of the year.
Given the high level of interest in doomsday matters, I had to share the following text. It is FACTUAL fodder for fictional stories. At this point, I normally sign off with something like “Enjoy, and happy writing,” but given the words you are about to read, I think I’ll pass on the cheery salutation.
Retired Major General Jerry Curry wrote Friday, November 9, 2012:
The Social Security Administration (SSA) confirms that it is purchasing 174 thousand rounds of hollow point bullets to be delivered to 41 locations in major cities across the U.S.
Those against whom the hollow point bullets are to be used — those causing the civil unrest — must be American citizens; since the SSA has never been used overseas to help foreign countries maintain control of their citizens.
What would be the target of these 174, 000 rounds of hollow point bullets? It can’t simply be to control demonstrators or rioters. Hollow point bullets are so lethal that the Geneva Convention does not allow their use on the battle field in time of war. Hollow point bullets don’t just stop or hurt people, they penetrate the body, spread out, fragment and cause maximum damage to the body’s organs. Death often follows.
Potentially each hollow nose bullet represents a dead American. If so, why would the U.S. government want the SSA to kill 174,000 of our citizens, even during a time of civil unrest?
If this were only a one time order of ammunition, it could easily be dismissed. But there is a pattern here. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has ordered 46,000 rounds of hollow point ammunition. Notice that all of these purchases are for the lethal hollow nose bullets. These bullets are not being purchased and stored for squirrel or coyote hunting. This is serious ammunition manufactured to be used for serious purposes.
In the war in Iraq, our military forces expended approximately 70 million rounds per year. In March DHS ordered 750 million rounds of hollow point ammunition. It then turned around and ordered an additional 750 million rounds of miscellaneous bullets including some that are capable of penetrating walls. This is enough ammunition to empty five rounds into the body of every living American citizen. Is this something we and the Congress should be concerned about? What’s the plan that requires so many dead Americans, even during times of civil unrest? Has Congress and the Administration vetted the plan in public.
All of these rounds of ammunition can only be used to kill American citizens, though there is enough ammunition being ordered to kill, in addition to every American citizen, also every Iranian, Syrian or Mexican. There is simply too much of it. And this much ammunition can’t be just for training, there aren’t that many weapons and “shooters” in the U.S. to fire it.
We have enough military forces to maintain law and order in the U.S. even during times of civil unrest.
This is a deadly serious business. I hope I’m wrong, but something smells rotten. And If the Congress isn’t going to do its duty and investigate this matter fully, the military will have to protect the Constitution, the nation, and our citizens.
The article on ZeroHedge.com ends with a 1987 quote from a United States Senator. That quote, which follows, when combined with the words of Major General Curry is enough to make the hairs on my neck stand on end. The words of these powerful, knowledgeable men stimulate my imagination. How about yours?
Senator Daniel Inouye said in 1987:There exists a shadowy Government with its own Air Force, its own Navy, its own fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas of national interest, free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself.
Duck! Or You’ll Get Whacked by an E.T.
Just like the submarine drug runners of yesterday’s post, I have found another off-the-wall story that should be printed in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, but instead comes from Veterans Today. The news is this: China and the US are carrying out joint naval maneuvers off the US coastline near San Francisco. The purpose? Preparing for an invasion of unfriendly space aliens.
Holy cow! Call Batman! When I read it, I thought to myself, “Someone is pulling my leg.”
Then I stumbled on this video.
Ok. So what’s my point? First, let me ramble, then I’ll explain.
I thought Stars Wars (a.k.a. space based weapons/ defense systems) died with Ronald Reagan. Obviously not. Then it was the Russians who were the enemy. Recently we heard about Planet X headed our way to collide with the earth. Now we are preparing to protect ourselves from space aliens. Good thing we have big boats in the big Pacific Ocean to save us! Or are the joint maneuvers really to prep us for the greatest laser show on earth that is about to unfold in the night sky near you?
Whatever the truth is, this series of stories demonstrates the constantly changing technological information about which an author needs to be informed IF you are writing science fiction or doomsday stories. Even if your story is imaginary, it has to have a basis in truth to ring true to your reader. Good science fiction, even when set in the future, hangs on good science.
As the author of secretsun.blogspot.com says:
I’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about where exactly Edgar Rice Burroughs came up with all of this stuff. It certainly wasn’t out of the thin air.
Stockman Says The Ship Is Going Down
“Kill the Fed. Lunatics run it. Tell the generals to put their toys away. Cut the Defense budget by a third. Let the Bush tax cuts expire on everybody. Let greedy, mismanaged banks collapse. Obama’s budget is a fantasy. Let the wealthy pay a larger portion for their medicare. Start the revisions ASAP. Ron Paul was right about the Fed destroying America.”
CNBC was startled when its guest, former Reagan-era money man David Stockman, barraged the interviewers with the frank comments above. The TV hosts joked about throwing Stockman off the set. In essence, Stockman says the public is being lied to by banks, Congress, the Federal Reserve and its chairman Ben Bernanke, and both political parties. Without sensible change, the country faces ruin, he says.
In an election year, it is important to take in as many facts as one can before making one’s decision. Here’s a perspective to consider as one makes a choice for November’s election:
Justice: Part 3, The Finale
Justice: Part 3
by Fay Moore (c) 2012
“Good god, man,” says the Chief. A pause, then, “Call me later with the rest of the findings.”
The Chief of Police is silent. Six pairs of eyes focus on him, trained to read the faces of men to reveal what is in the heart. At the moment, the face of the Chief is tabula rasa. Under the circumstances, the eyes stay riveted to the chief’s face, mining data from each subtle nostril flare, each bat of an eyelid, each pupil dilation.
Standing, the Chief hands off the cell phone to an assistant, straightens his uniform coat, then locks eyes with his audience.
“There’s been a fire at the GS Global Investments building. All the senior executive offices burned. Once the blaze was controlled, firemen made a cursory search through the suite, to be sure all flames were extinguished. In the executive bathroom, they found a pair of severed hands on a plate, covered in blood, under a glass dome. The coroner said the hands appear to have been removed from a cadaver. You know, one of the pickled bodies used for training in medical schools. Thank God for that. I was afraid the hands belonged to another investment banker.”
One of the detectives in the room chuckled. “Blood on your hands.”
“What?” asked the Chief.
“Blood on your hands. The perpetrator is sending a message. The investment banking community has blood on their hands.”
“If you count the kills in Asia, Europe and here, we have eleven dead bankers in forty-eight hours. I’d say you’re right that whoever is behind these hits is sending a message, a very lethal message.”
“Did they find anything else?”
“Yes. Under the glass plate holding the hands, there was a copy of an article from a San Francisco newspaper, written by a Bill, Phil, or Will somebody and called “Unrepentant and Unreformed Bankers.”
Another voice responds, “I saw that article on the Internet. It has gone viral on the free video channels. That crowd sees our perpetrator–or perpetrators–as a kind of Robin Hood. You know, delivering justice where the regulators and courts won’t.”
The Chief growls in reply, “Let me remind you that we deliver justice, not some vigilante. You can’t have people taking the law into their own hands. Remember that! Now show me the article. You said it’s on-line?”
The detective uses the Chief’s computer to find it. The search returns several references to the article, as it has been printed not only in the San Francisco newspaper, but also in the Huffington Post and on various Internet web sites.
The Chief scans the article as the detectives peer over his shoulder.
“Money laundering. Price Fixing. Bid rigging. Securities fraud. Talking about the mob? No, unfortunately. Wall Street,” a detective reads aloud. There’s a laugh around the room. “Old Phil Angelides knows how to start an article off with a bang. You know, Chief, he’s got a point.”
A glare from the Chief silences the speaker. “We have crimes to solve. Now get to work.”
It takes weeks of coordinating investigative efforts with global law enforcement and intelligence organizations to turn up bumpkus. The police entities can’t identify who is behind the mayhem. The killings have stopped: the spree is short-lived and focused. Nowhere is there sympathy for the victims.
Over and over, excerpts from the Angelides article appear on television. In coffee shops, barbershops, taxicabs and airports, the buzz is the same: the banks and their leaders have faced no real political, economic or legal consequences for their wrongdoing. The banks are cozy with the regulators and with legislators. Wall Street is solipsism, a world of utter madness that, till now, others could not affect.
Somewhere in Hong Kong, an octogenarian is on his deathbed. He is thinking about the Year of the Dragon; it is a year of bravery, of passion, a time to eliminate negative chi from the past. He considers his life. He has been favored in business and industry. His personal fortune exceeds the total economy of many individual countries. Before he dies, he wishes to leave a gift to his children and grandchildren. He believes he has done it. He believes he has made their world better.
How does he know?
He is watching the news. The broadcaster describes a global reordering of the financial world. In the aftermath of the multiple murders, fear seizes those who ran the old order, and they flee to hide in their hidden bunkers. Systems that have been in place for decades are being disassembled. The central banking system breaks up into small localized units. Fiat currencies are replaced with asset-backed money. Sovereign debts are forgiven. Taxpayers are off the hook. Governments cut size and balance budgets. International banking criminals are arrested and prosecuted vigorously.
Optimism and hope are in the air. Economies will be rebuilt. He can die in peace.
This Crazy World
As I was logging on-line this morning, a tease for a Yahoo Trending Now news item caught my eye. Once again I was shocked to see how topsy-turvy “official” thinking has become. This excerpt illustrates that reality is crazier than any fiction I could create. See if you agree:
A woman trying to feed the kids in her neighborhood during the summer may be fined for her good deed. Angela Prattis of Chester Township, outside Philadelphia, has spent the past few months handing out free lunches to the children in her community while they’re home from school for the summer break. The food, supplied by the archdiocese of Philadelphia, helps low-income residents of the township, which has a per capita income of $19,000 a year.
The city council was alerted to Prattis’s free lunches and ruled that if she continues to give away food next summer, she will need a variance or be fined $600 a day. The council says she needs a variance because she’s giving away meals in a residential area, which is a zoning violation. However, if Prattis gets a variance to distribute the food, the administrative fees would cost up to $1,000. The Chester Township City Council has agreed to allow Prattis to continue distributing food for the duration of the summer, but next summer is a whole new battle. Currently, Prattis files paperwork weekly and is visited by a state worker biweekly to ensure she is doing what she says she’s doing.
Prattis, who does not make any money on the meal distribution, says she wanted to help make sure the neighborhood kids received at least one healthy meal a day during the summer. “You have houses here. The roofs are falling in, and they could be focused on a lot more serious issues than me feeding children,” Prattis said of the city council’s ruling.
You’ve Gotta Be Kidding Me!
This post is way off topic, but I had to post it as an example of how crazy things are getting in the world. This excerpt came from www.zerohedge.com on 8/7/2012, posted at 18:37, submitted by Tyler Durden:
Last Friday, US Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced HR 6357, a bill which aims to ‘prohibit the extrajudicial killing of United States citizens’ by the federal government. In other words, in the Land of the Free, they need to pass a law to prevent the government from indiscriminately murdering its own citizens. Now if this doesn’t give one reason to pause and consider the distortions of liberty that have taken place in western civilization, I don’t know what will.
Humor for the Morose
Thanks to Robotic Rhetoric for his humorous essay regarding the end of the world. If the world does come to an end in 2012, I hope I can find the humor in the situation. It makes meltdown bearable if one can laugh in the face of oblivion.
Many are paying a lot of attention to unusual happenings around the globe. YouTube is full of videos on the subject.
Robotic Rhetoric addressed the ending of the Mayan Calendar and the prediction of the end of the world. I smiled my way through his editorial and replied as follows:
IMHO, the guy running the Mayan calculations got a massive migraine, the carver of the calendar stones got carpal tunnel and tennis elbow, and the rest of the committee took a cruise to the Galapagos. Then their Captain ran the ship aground. Hence, the end of the Mayan calendar.