Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Forebidden Planet and the Monster Within

Every subsequent sci-fi movie and TV show is indebted to Forbidden Planet”—Charles Mathews, OSCAR A to Z

It’s Halloween today, and I thought that a post of about Forbidden Planet would be most appropriate. Thanks to our relatives in Australia who gave me this DVD as a Christmas gift last year, the family and I recently watched this delightful and entertaining 1956 classic that, in some ways, jump-started SF movies and TV. The tag line for the film runs like this:

among Altair-4’s many wonders, none is greater or more deadly than the human mind

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Autopoiesis: When Chaos Misbehaves

Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit—Henry Adams (1838-1918)

Poiesis is a Greek term that means production; autopoiesis means auto-production. The term autopoiesis was originally conceived to characterize the nature of living systems. The eukaryotic cell, for example, is made of various biochemical components like nucleic acids and proteins, and is organized into bounded structures like the cell nucleus, organelles, a cell membrane and cytoskeleton. These structures, based on an external flow of molecules and energy, produce the components which, in turn, continue to maintain the organized bounded structure that gives rise to these components. Autopoiesis refers to the dynamics of a non-equilibrium system and describes an organized state that remains stable for long periods of time despite matter and energy continually flowing through it. It is this flow that maintains the organization of the open system.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

What We Make of Ourselves

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it—Santavana

“…It was not possible for me to free you from the pain that you must now suffer on my account. How hard it must have been for our dear Savior when, through His sufferings and death, he had to prepare such a great sorrow for His Mother—and together they bore all of this out of great love for us sinners…And now your husband, son, son-in-law and brother-in-law greets you once more before his final journey. The heart of Jesus, the heart of Mary, and my heart are one in time and eternity…”—Franz Jägerstätter (last letter to his family)

On August 9, 1943 Franz Jägerstätter was beheaded by the Nazis.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Quiet Symphony—Friday Feature + meme

For today’s Friday Feature, I present Melanie Faith’s charming blog, A Quiet Symphony… If you quiet your mind for a moment, you can just hear it too…

Quotes Melanie on her opening page, “Many silent years are spent searching for the right notes—the right conductor to illustrate the song inside our hearts… A quiet symphony is of’t overheard; overpowered by the loudness of life and the busyness of stillborn ears.”

If you check out her site on MyBlogLog, she describes her blog like this: random stuff, life, writing, marriage, spirituality, friendship, food, animals--and everything in between. That's quite a lot when you think about it... Her tags are equally eclectic, quirky and humorous. Among some meaningful ones like “spirituality”, “writing”, “friends”, “kids” and “animé” (something she betrays a strong interest in—dare I whisper, obsession for?), she adds “funny” and “stuff”.

Upon alighting on her site, you are first embraced with classical music—quiet, elegant and unassuming like the author. Treating her sidebar like a fireplace mantle, Mel unabashedly displays what she holds dear: like her rather fat cats (well, they are, Mel!), her son, husband, family and close friends. So, what kind of “stuff” does this lady, who admits that one of her main interests is daydreaming, put on there? Well, a random visit and scroll down her blog might provide you with a delightfully varied sprinkling of eclectic topics that include:

  • reviews of movies, books and, of course, animé (good animé, I might add);

  • some quirky tidbit of information, puzzles, quotes and silly photos;

  • news clippings, often with some strange twisted truth or humor in it;

  • issues that resonate with the author’s sensibilities and philosophy; and,

  • always something both personal and tender.

On her “esnips” site, Melanie displayed a kind of creedo and it went like this: “the three most essential ingredients to a successful life are Love, Faith, and Passion.” WOW! That is a remarkably wonderful tenet to live by.

A Quiet Symphony, was a truly delightful find for me and when I “stumbled” it, I was thanked by fellow stumblers for bringing this charming site to their attention. So, keep on writing and blogging, Mel! And the rest of you, go check it out. ‘Nuff said.

I should just add that Melanie also authors another blog, devoted to writing and poetry, called Amberwood Ambrosia. As with Quiet Symphony, the tag line of Amberwood Ambrosia resonates with deeper tones of poetic truth: Amberwood: the place where every emotional gamut comes to surface—the roulette game of a chanced heart singing out its own distinct voice. Here, time is still, allowing the sun to break the dawn. Here we are ourselves, and in such honesty, give allowance to be broken so that we can become who we are meant to be. That says it all, as far as I’m concerned.

Recently, Melanie, having been tagged by miss Marjie, tagged me with what she called the “Desktop Analysis Meme”: What's the look of your computer personality? Her response was, “I have no idea what this means about me... but it's probably a lot of embarrassing, nerdy things. Oh, well!” then went on to post her desktop, which was—you guessed—some animé scene. Well, here’s mine:

So, what does it say about me? Well, that I’m Canadian and proud of all matters Canadian, including our spectacular and mysterious Aurora Borealis, that I’m a naturalist and scientist fascinated and inquisitively asking questions about how our planet works, but also an artist and spiritualist who’s also content not to know it all… Or is it simply that I am fascinated by swirly things and love the colour green?...

I pass on the screen-capture meme to the following: Princess Haiku; David, sjsuarez, Zia, wforwonder, Joshua, and Deborah.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blogging with a Purpose—meme

Well, that great gal over at Climate of the Future tagged me with this cool meme, invented by another good friend, Mel Kaye at Monday Morning Power who had tagged Deborah. Well, this is a worthy cause and a wonderful opportunity to provide one's own personal and possibly lofty reasons for blogging. For my part, I am truly astounded at the quality of blogs in the blogosphere and the amazing richness of sharing. If you’ve followed my posts from the beginning you may recall one post I made back in May that explored this very question. It had begun with a rather pithy book that lamented how blogging was supposedly corrupting the quality of the internet (I totally disagreed). But, then that’s what this place is all about: freedom of expression and the ability to express it with passion, integrity, humor, pathos, wonder and all those other things that drive us to blog. So…here is the blurb you are supposed to copy when you get tagged by me (see below):

**start copying here**

We have a voice;
We must be heard;
Therefore we blog;
Now spread the word!

This meme is based on a recent post that was conducted that asks the question “Why do you Blog?” and the rewrite “Why do you Blog? - Reworked.” The purpose of this meme is to tell our tales by spreading the reasons that we blog to as many sites as possible. We get to explain ourselves, direct traffic to our site and highlight our most important, most representative or most relevant post in an SEO favorable format. This will be a positive experience for everyone who wants to get involved. This will enable you to create a short advertisement for your site that will be spread across the blogesphere; a growing directory of blogs.

This is an open meme. You do not have to be tagged to join in. All you have to do is follow the rules.

Please let me know when you have added your site by leaving a comment on “Complete List” with a link to your post. This will insure an up-to-date list, giving you even greater distribution. You then have the option of copying the growing list back to your site.

1. Create an inventive post title
2. Write a brief introduction to the meme.
3. Copy from “**Start Copying Here**” through “**End Copying Here**”
4. Paste into your post
5. At the end of the “*list*”, before “**End copy here**”, please add your name, site name (with link), a very brief description (2-3 sentences) of why you blog, and your most important, most representative, or most relevant post (with link.)
6. Tag at least 5 others to participate.
7. Leave a comment and a link to your post on “Complete List

My name is Mel and I am the Author of Attitude, the Ultimate Power, aka Monday Morning Power. I blog because I am passionate about happiness and living in the moment. I want to spread the concept that we are in control of our own lives and can choose how we act and react. My site is focused on the Pursuit, Capture, Care and Feeding of a Positive Mental Attitude. One of my most representative posts is “Happiness Vs. Human Nature.

I am Max and I offer weekly articles on MAX. Why do I blog? I do it because I want to share my thoughts with you guys. I present a new and interesting way of transmitting philosophical thoughts: funny, engaging and intriguing! My funniest, yet intriguing, post is “Don’t you just love People?

I am the Great and Powerful Baba Doodlius. My 100% factual blog The Thoughts and Sayings Of Baba Doodlius is intended to educate all of you curious readers about the Truth behind the Great Secrets of the Universe. I have the Truth! Can you handle the Truth? For a sample of my powers of enlightenment, read my Revelation of the terrible secret of Bigfoot, aka Don’t get stepped on.

My name is Amelia and I am the Author of Amel’s Realm. I blog because I need to voice everything in my world so that I won’t explode. My site is all about thoughts, experiences, fears, problems, misadventures, hopes, and dreams of an introverted tropical girl in a foreign land (Finland). One of my most representative posts is On Trust and Relationship.

I am Geoff of and I blog for reasons as diverse and as fickle as my moods. Mostly I blog because I’m firmly convinced I’ve figured a few things out and that the world will benefit from my experience the same way I’ve benefited from others’ experiences. One post that I feel captures my emotional involvement and my ire (but not my humor as much) is Decision time.

My name is Judy and I am the Author of ~~Sugar Queen’s Dream~~. I blog because it’s cheap therapy and I have something to say. I feel my most powerful post is called “The Myths of Smoking……

My name is Sindi and I have written a blog entitled Life is a roller coaster!. My blog is based on the ups and downs of everyday life. I started blogging because I was going through some hard times and I wanted to meet new people to talk to. I like to write and was hoping people might enjoy reading what I have to say. I think the most inspiring post I have written to date is We Effect So Many.

People call me the Midgetmanofsteel (although I’m neither a midget, nor made of steel). I am the sole author the blog Mental Poo: a mostly true and humorous account of things that have happened to me, are happening to me, or are just filling my head and taking up valuable space where images of women should be. You can get a sneak peek into my mess of a brain by reading “Raisins are People” – a true account of my son’s first field trip.

My name is Sandee and I have a blog called Comedy Plus. My blog is just for fun, and I started it to poke fun about everyday life. My reason for blogging is to have fun and meet new friends. I have done both beyond my wildest dreams. I have posted lots of jokes, but when ask what my favorite joke is, I always pick Anger Management

My name is Lynda. I blog to as a way to expose my writings and to spread my knowledge on the subject of love. My primary blog (I have 15) is lynda’s loft. My favorite piece would be I LOVE….. I have over 300 original poems and posts dealing with the wonderful and painful world of love. I love love!

My name Adrian, although most of you probably know me as the Mighty Genie King. I am the author First Time Dad. I started blogging as a way to document my growing up pains as my wife and I raise our daughter. I hope that one day my daughter will be able to look at this and get an idea what life was like “back then”. Now I blog about everything but the main focus is still the same! One of my favorite posts is Goodnight Sweetheart! Hello Basil! Eh…Who’s Basil…

Hello, my name is Ann and I’m the author of A Nice Place in the Sun. I blog because I care about people and want to make them happy. My site is focused on humorous, inspiring, and nostalgic posts about life, children, and memories. My most representative post, or the post where I’m most myself is “The Craziest Experience Of My Life.”

We are a team of writers, and everyone calls us NAFA, so that would be our name. We are the proud authors of NAFASG©™ - United And Dedicated Behind You™. Blogging, to us, is a form of spreading useful information and sharing our knowledge to every part of the world in order to contribute to the betterment of our global community. The post that we feel would be representative of our blog and the global community at large is The Sociological Interaction.

Hola! This is Mariuca and I blog because writing is what makes me whole. I write about anything under the sun from life, love, friends to cats and work. I tend to write best when under pressure and my personal favourite post from Mariuca is Love in Disarray.

My name is Susan and I am the Owner of ~~Wake up America ~~, which is a political, right leaning blog. I blog because I believe we need more voices out there to separate fact from fiction, to support our troops and to high light the lack of ethics from journalists today. I feel my most powerful post is called “Are You Proud to be an American……

“Here I am My name is Mauro and I’m the author of 1 Million Love Messages … maybe the biggest love challenge in the blogosphere. Why I blog ??? Because I believe that bloggers can make a difference in the world. That’s my challenge! My favourite post it’s (for sure) Adam Donkus & Lizzie’s Love History.”

Hi there World I am Aussie, the author of Little Aussie Cynic and I want to Breathe among others. I was recently asked:”Why Do you Blog?” this takes me back to the beginning… I started blogging in an attempt to get people thinking, using my cynical humour as a tool to make people laugh, think and at times get the blood pumping…. Each of my Blogs takes in a little peice of my varied personality but the one which discribes me best would have to be There is Always a Natural Way the latest edition to the Aussie Cynic Family…

I am Zubli Zainordin, in Total Happiness, I organize the Book Project blog and co-author Santa’s Community Blog and Hall Of Fame Blog. I blog with the purpose of documenting about my self for my own reference, my future generations and friends who prefer to know me. I also share vital and valuable information entirely on total happiness. I believe in Santa Claus and I share the Spirit of Christmas within this Blog World. In addition I promote bloggers, their blogs, and invite them to share their blogging experiences, and together with Shinade, I review their blogs and award them with the Zubli and Shinade Recommended Read awards. Those who continuously show continuous blogging improvements shall be residence of the Hall Of Fame blog.

Hello my name is Deborah author of Climate of Our Future, I also co-author She Walks in Beauty. I blog with passion for our environment. I started this blog because I believe that we as bloggers have a very loud voice in this blogosphere. that By sharing what knowledge I find about our environment would not only benefit the blogger but also our environment. I also blog about Beauty, because no matter how harmed and polluted our world has become I can still see the beauty within. My favorite post would have to be the one about plastic in the Pacific twice the size of Texas.

I’m Nina Munteanu, ecologist, SF author, wife and mother and lover on a journey on this beloved planet Earth…your Alien Next Door. I blog for the same reason that I write my short stories and novels…because I have to. I blog to share my passion for the beauty and wonder of this planet Earth through science and art and to share the little wisdom and insight I’ve gained in my few years on the Earth...and certainly to gain some from you (I love your comments! Thank you!). My favorite post is about one of my heroes, Doctor Lynn Margulis, courageous scientist who would not be dissuaded from speaking the truth even when at the time it seemed like a lie: imagine saying we evolve through cooperation; not competition! What anti-Darwinian cheek!

**stop copying**

I tag the following with this challenge: Melanie Faith; Bob Kingsley; Jean-Luc Picard; Walks Far Woman ; Jennifer Rahn; Karen Mason; Tricia Ares; Mimi Lenox; Theresa Lucas; Mad Goat Lady; Markk; Joel Gruber; Orbitgal; Speedcat Hollydale; and Delmer. Go at 'er and make me proud! ;)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Vcon Fallout

Vcon (Vancouver's SF and F Convention) was a resounding success...for me as well. I wasn't on any panels. Nor did I do a reading of my upcoming novel, Darwin's Paradox...voice artist, Heather Dugan does a much better job, anyway! But that freed me up guessed it! MORE BAR TIME! Yee! Ha! Beside me, is yours truly and Boba Fett as we are about to sidle over to the bar for a couple of Canadian brewskys. Being around Boba has its advantages. As you know, this guy gets around in the galaxy.

Within moments of getting our drinks, Boba introduced me to none other than Flash Gordon (Eric Johnson), who is even more gorgeous in person. And to Boba's left (your right) is the graceful Dale Arden (Gina Holden) who no doubt keeps Flash's heart nicely beating...

The con, of course, had its requisite activities such as filking, live theatre, masquerade, aliens and crazy people running down the halls (oh, that was Boba and I...never mind). Oh, yeah...and panels (like the one on medieval swordfighting) and readings and the hot tub on the 15th floor...The con's program, which showcased a lovely ad of my book on the back cover, posted these wise words of advice (by Ross Pavlac), which most aptly sum up what a con is all about:

The Four Rules of Con Behaviour:

1. do good
2. avoid evil
3. throw a room party
4. please don't damage the hotel

The Four Rules of Con Survival:

1. get at least five hours of sleep each night
2. eat at least two meals a day
3. do not confuse rules 1 and 2
4. shower, brush teeth and change into clean clothes at least once a day.

I met a lot of new people at the con and was delighted to see many old friends. Friends like:

Here's the announcement list of this year's Aurora Awards winners:
Best Long-Form Work in English:* Children of Chaos, Dave Duncan (Tor Books)
Best Long-Form Work in French:* Reine de Memoire 4. La Princesse de Vengeance,Elisabeth Vonarburg (Alire)
Best Short-Form Work in English:* "Biding Time," Robert J. Sawyer (Slipstreams edited by Martin H. Greenberg and John Helfers, DAW [and also in The Penguin Book of Crime Stories, edited by Peter Robinson])
Best Short-Form Work in French:* "Le regard du trilobite," Mario Tessier (Solaris 159)
Best Work in English (Other):* Neo-opsis Science Fiction Magazine, Karl Johanson, editor
Best Work in French (Other):* Aux origines des petits hommes verts, Jean-Louis Trudel (Solaris 160)
Artistic Achievement :* Martin Springett (
Fan Achievement (Publication):* Brins d'Iterniti, rid. Guillaume Voisine(
Fan Achievement (Organizational):* Cathy Palmer-Lister (Con*Cept)
Fan Achievement (Other):* Fractale-Framboise, Eric Gauthier, Christian Sauve, Laurine Spehner (blogue/blog)

Next Year's CanVention will be: KeyCon 25 in Winnipeg, a four-day con over the 2008 Victoria Day weekend.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Angel's Promises by Nina Munteanu

"Angel's Promises" is a short story that is aptly in keeping with misunderstanding, apparent abandonment and hopeful resolution. It's all about promises: to others and ultimately to oneself. The story was originally published in Dreams & Visions (Skysong Press). It was nominated for an Aurora Award and included in a "Best of" anthology by Skysong. Angel's Promises will appear in a short story collection entitled "Natural Selection" by Pixl Press (an imprint of Starfire World Syndicate).

This is a love story set in a time when AI and humans have settled on an uneasy truce of cooperation.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dragonfly to “Robobug”... Where is Science Taking Us?

Picture that you’re a reporter for the Times and you’re at the garden party of some large conglomerate CEO who you know is into some shady business… As you shoulder your way among the glitter, smiles and chatter, you notice that the CEO is having a serious discussion in the corner by the freezias with a burly man whose suit stretches tautly over his barrel frame like an alligator’s skin. The CEO looks pale and brushes his hand nervously across his face. You strain to hear just a snippet of their tense conversation but fail to catch anything. Then, you glimpse a dragonfly hovering behind them rather persistently. If it only had a built-in microphone, you think…

The possibility is plausible, or already exists.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day--Truth

In honor of Blog Action Day on the Environment, I submit my issue here and now…My issue is TRUTH: Living with it and acting upon it for the environment.

This post is dedicated to the spirit of what Al Gore has been so courageously and tenaciously doing: presenting the “truth” on Climate Change and the health and future of our beloved planet Earth, and providing numerous key solutions that we can embrace.

Many skeptics, naysayers, and self-motivated individuals have criticized Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth” as alarmist myth, perpetuated by a bitter man with ambitious motivations for office…or at the least a man who was terribly misinformed and who presented a case that was replete with inaccuracies and hence useless and untrue. Scientists and politicians and various others have cited many inaccuracies in the movie, so much so that various educational institutions have removed the film from their scholastic libraries. I find this appalling and am dismayed by the shallowness of their actions.

I submit that the hardest (actually the easiest) lesson one can learn is that a greater truth can embrace many smaller untruths—and still be true. This is the paradox of life on Earth. One we must embrace if we are going to prevail as a species on this ever-changing planet (yes, global warming being part of it). What am I talking about, you may very well ask?

I’m suggesting that we all strip down and consider our hearts in these matters, even—nay, particularly—when science is involved. The heart is where the truth really lies within each and every one of us, whether or not we are educated, informed or intelligent. The truth does not reside in your pocket book. Not in your neighbor’s opinion or in the newspaper. Not in your pride or your insecurity. Not in your knowledge, even. Don’t let ten…heck…thirty, forty, fifty “experts” persuade you or dissuade you. If your heart tells you that it’s wrong or right, then listen to it. Your heart is your true compass to the truth.

Albert Einstein, in discussions with Max Wertheimer (1959) about the theory of relativity and his thinking which led to it, said:

…during all those years there was the feeling of direction, of going straight toward something concrete. It is, of course, very hard to express that feeling in words; but it was decidedly the case, and clearly to be distinguished from later considerations about the rational form of the solution.

In 1913, the French scientist, Henri Poincaré stated that “it may be surprising to see emotional sensibility invoked a propos of mathematical demonstrations which, it would seem, can interest only the intellect. This would be to forget the feeling of mathematical beauty, of the harmony of numbers and forms, of geometric elegance. This is a true esthetic feeling that all real mathematicians know, and surely it belongs to emotional sensibility.” Poincaré also suggested that “pure logic would never lead us to anything but tautologies. It is by logic that we prove. It is by intuition that we discover.”

Rosenblueth and Wiener (1945) emphasized that:

An intuitive flair for what will turn out to be the most important general question gives a basis for selecting some of the significant among the indefinite number of trivial experiments which could be carried out at that stage. Quite vague and tacit generalizations thus influence the selection of data at the start.

What Rosenblueth and Wiener were saying is that when scientists (like me) report on the “truth” we are using our scientific judgment, along with our tools in scientific method and logic. We are using our sensibilities and our feelings (whether we like to admit it or not). In the end, science is often just the tool to prove a truth you already know through intuition. Al Gore knows. And so do you.

So, while it might be ignorant to discount the very real effects of extra-planetary and solar cycles in the current global warming phenomenon, what is it to ignore the cumulative role of 6.5 billion people and associated industry in what is happening to our planet's ecosystems on a global scale? Who are we kidding?

So, my challenge is the truth…the LARGER TRUTH. I exhort us all to seek it in our own way. Watch the movie. Make up your own mind. From the heart. Because, with truth comes conviction. With conviction comes responsibility and action. With action comes change. And each of us can change the world. In our own small but not insignificant way.

Recommended Reading/Watching:

“An Inconvenient Truth” by Al Gore.

Shavinina, Larisa & Michel Ferrari (eds). 2004. Beyond Knowledge, extracognitive aspects of developing high ability. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, London.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Climate Change & the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007

Today's Friday Feature is dedicated to our beloved Planet Earth and theNobel Committee in their choice for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 is to be shared, in two equal parts, between the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Chaos Theory: One Person's Chaos is Another's Order

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy—William Shakespeare (Hamlet, Act 1, scene 5)
Physicists like to say that all you have to do is say, these are the conditions, now what happens next?—Richard P. Feyman

When the Greek poet Hesiod wrote Theogony in the 8th Century, he stated that “first of all Chaos came to be,” and then the Earth and everything stable followed. The ancient Greeks seemed to have accepted that chaos precedes order; that order comes from disorder—the opposite of what current science postulates. The dragon in Chinese myth represents the principal of order, yang, which emerges from chaos. Yin and yang, the female and male principals, create the universe and retain the qualities of chaos; too much of either brings back chaos.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Choices and Quantum Physics

Have you ever stopped your car at a 4-way stop, along with several other cars, and all found yourselves in a protracted hesitation? No one remembers who got there first—we all sort of drifted to the stop as if in a dream and entered a kind of twilight zone. Invariably, everyone decides to move forward at the same time, only to halt in mild panic. Then one feisty individual finally forges ahead and establishes a pattern that all can follow. Everyone breathes a collective sigh and life moves on.
Life’s full of choices. In fact, the quantum physicists would tell you that life is really a series of non-stop choices—from that big stretch before you haul yourself out of bed in the morning to the decision to bake salmon burgers for supper that evening—resulting in an infinite number of realizable worlds. The Everett many-worlds interpretation (MWI), formulated in 1956 by Hugh Everett, holds that all the possibilities described by quantum theory simultaneously occur in a "multiverse" composed of mostly independent parallel universes. This represents an alternative to the Copenhagen interpretation originally formulated by Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg around 1927. The state of the entire multiverse is related to the states of the constituent universes by quantum superposition, and is described by a single universal wavefunction. This is related to Richard Feynman's multiple histories interpretation and H. Dieter Zeh's many-minds interpretation.

Another theory, the string landscape theory, asserts that a different universe exists for each of the very large ensemble of solutions generated when ten dimensional string theory is reduced to the four-dimensional low-energy world we see.

A multiverse (or meta-universe) is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes (including our universe) that together comprise all of physical reality. The different universes within a multiverse are sometimes called parallel universes. The structure of the multiverse, the nature of each universe within it and the relationship between the various constituent universes, depend on the specific multiverse hypothesis considered. According to Max Tegmark the existence of other universes is a direct implication of cosmological observations. Tegmark describes the set of related concepts which share the notion that there are universes beyond the familiar observable one, and goes on to provide a taxonomy of parallel universes organized by levels. To clarify terminology, George Ellis, U. Kirchner and W.R. Stoeger recommend using the term “the Universe” for the theoretical model of the whole of space-time in which we live; “universe domain” for the observable universe or a similar part of the same space-time, “universe” for a general space-time—either our own “Universe” or another one disconnected from our own; “multiverse” for a set of disconnected space-times; and “multi-domain universe” for the model of the whole of a single connected space-time using chaotic inflation models.
Various versions of the multiverse thoery include:

1) open multiverse (spatially unbounded universe);

2) bubble theory (an infinite number of open multiverses, each with different physical constants); and

3) big bounce (After the big bang, the universe expands for a while before the gravitational attraction of matter causes it to collapse back in and undergo a Big bounce. Although the model was abandoned for a time, the theory was revived in brane cosmology as the cyclic model.).

Often the alternate worlds theme in science fiction is framed by postulating that every historical event spawns a new universe for every possible outcome, resulting in a number of alternate histories. Fantasy has long borrowed the idea of "another world" from myth, legend and religion. Heaven, Hell, Olympus, Valhalla are all “alternate universes” different from the familiar material realm. Modern fantasy often presents the concept as a series of planes of existence where the laws of nature differ, allowing magical phenomena of some sort on some planes. Wikipedia discusses some examples of these: “The popular MYST computer game franchise uses concepts of describing a world and then linking to that world, which is part of a multiverse of infinite possible and concurrently existing universes, matching the descriptions. Also, the computer game Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and its sequels feature two distinct parallel universes. The protagonist, Raziel, is capable of existing in both the Material Realm, or normal reality, and the Spectral Realm, a dark and distorted version of the former with its own physics and properties. The Michael Crichton novel Timeline featured a method for what appeared to be time travel by traveling to parallel universes that are identical except for the moment of their birth, thus rendering off-set yet parallel time. The DC Universe, famous home of Batman and Superman, uses the multiverse as the basis for their universe. This is in part to help deal with their 67 year history. In the 1980s DC published the ever popular Crisis on Infinite Earths which detailed a breakdown of the Multiverse at the hands of the Anti-Monitor. The television series Star Trek has many times gone into parallel "Mirror" universes, and Stargate SG-1 has postulated parallel universes.”

But, back to that 4-way stop and choices. Most of our many choices over a day are mundane ones, choices related to things we do subconsciously within the natural rhythm of our daily lives. Then there are those significant choices that we must make, which often grind our little rote existence to a halt. You know the ones: Should I move? Talk or keep silent? Confront or run away? Accept or deny? Fall in love...or not? These choices will change our lives and the lives of several others in some significant way. The possibilities aren’t as easily defined; they are often diverse with complicated and varied consequences. You have entered a different zone, another plain or existence from your “ordinary” world of mundane choices. Ecologists have a word for this in both spatial and temporal terms. The word is Ecotone. According to limnologist George K. Reid an ecotone “constitutes a ‘buffer’ zone, between two communities.” An example would be an estuary, which exists between the freshwater ecosystem of a river and the saltwater ecosystem of the open ocean. Ecotones are typically the most varied and rich community, representing a boiling pot of two colliding worlds. For me, this is a fitting metaphor, given that the big choices we must face in life are the ones that prove to enrich our lives the most for having gone through them.

Recommended Reading:
Tegmark, Max (May 2003). "Parallel Universes". Scientific American.

Ellis, George F.R., U. Kirchner, W.R. Stoeger (2004). "

Multiverses and physical cosmology". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 347: 921-936.

Lewis, David (1986). On the Plurality of Worlds. Basil Blackwell.

Deutsch, David (45841 1985). in Splash: Quantum theory, the Church-Turing principle and the universal quantum computer, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A 400, mos craciun, 97-117.

David Deutsch, extracts from
Chapter 14: "The Ends of the Universe" of The Fabric of Reality: The Science of Parallel Universes—and Its Implications (London: Allen Lane The Penguin Press, 1997), ISBN 0713990619; with additional comments by Frank J. Tipler.

Nina Munteanu is an ecologist and internationally published author of novels, short stories and essays. She coaches writers and teaches writing at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. For more about Nina’s coaching & workshops visit Visit for more about her writing.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Novelist: Finding Your Muse

O Muses, O high genius, aid me now!
O memory that engraved the things I saw,
Here shall your worth be manifest to all!
—Dante Alighieri, Canto II of the Inferno

As a published author of novels and short stories I often get asked how and where I draw my inspiration from. How do I find my muse? And how do I keep it? (i.e.,, how do I defeat “writer’s block”?).

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Santa's Collectively Written Christmas Meme

Thanks to Zephyr1 at Climate of Our Future, who tagged me with this wonderfully festive and thoughtful blogging meme, I present to you:
Santa’s Collectively Written Christmas Meme.
I like it because it’s a collective story. The rules are pretty simple. Each person who gets tagged adds two lines to the already existing story (remember to number them). In those added lines, one word needs to be hyperlinked to your own blog and your post should include a link to Santa’s Community Blog, the originator of the meme. Whoever reaches 21 lines, submits the story to Santa here, by commenting to that post with a link to your post. Santa will select the best, nicest, warmest, funniest collectively written Christmas stories and publish them on Santa’s Community Blog. So here is the beginning of the story:

1- The day before Christmas a young little girl
2-Was worried about Christmas in the Future.
3-So, she planted an acre of “living Christmas trees”
4. without realizing that the grumpy Alien Next Door
5. was allergic to trees and hated Christmas.

I challenge (tag) the following stellar writers to provide the next two lines of this story:

Somerset Bob
Mimi Lenoux
Modern Matriarch
the Insane Writer
Word Strumpet
Greg's Brain
Author's Den (Erik Hare)
A Quiet Symphony

Okay! Go at her and enjoy yourselves! I gave you a challenge (mischievious grin) But be good, 'cause Santa's watching, after all!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday Feature--Vinny

This is the view from the aft lounge of SF Girl's ship, the "IGG Intrepid" (Vinny, for short).

For today's Friday Feature, I'm featuring...ME! Well, actually, my intelligent ship, Vinny. Several of you had the fortunate experience of being kidna--er--a guest on my sentient ship and enjoyed this spectacular view from my aft lounge. Okay, that looks suspiciously like a NASA vehicle in the foreground...bit of a traffic jam there...We got through it okay.

Vinny was graced, for instance, by Captain Jean-Luc Picard, who displayed the elegant poise and wisdom of a man at home in the vastness of space. He was so charming and gracious, accepting coffee from me when his prefered drink is Earl Grey tea. I do so love his warm and sincere smile...sigh...And he did send me a case of his wonderful Picard red wine. Thank you, Jean-Luc! When he isn't speeding around in his ship, harrassed--er--surrounded by his loyal crew, you can spot Jean-Luc lurking on Facebook or Shelfari under the pseudonym of Graham Seager.

When avante-garde scientist--and my personal hero--Dr. Lynn Margulus, stepped aboard Vinny she brought with her her bright light of scientific genius and courage that lingers still. She also left me with some really bad biology jokes. Here's one:

A boy was assigned a paper on childbirth and asked his mother, "How was I born?""Well honey..." said the slightly prudish mother, "the stork brought you to us.""Oh," said the boy, "and how did you and daddy get born?""Oh, the stork brought us too.""Well how were grandpa and grandma born?" the boy persisted."Well darling, the stork brought them too!" said the mother, by now starting to squirm a little. Several days later, the boy handed in his paper to the teacher who read with confusion the opening sentence: "This report has been very difficult to write due to the fact that there hasn't been a natural childbirth in my family for three generations." (LOL) Okay...but it's better than these:

How many evolutionists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but it takes eight million years.

How many biologists does it take to change a light bulb? Four. One to change it and three to write the environmental-impact statement.

Fantasy author, Jennifer Rahn, was delightfully composed and curious about Vinny, and enjoyed the view of our beautiful planet despite her fear of heights. I must thank you, Jennifer, for introducing Vinny to those wierd hair-slapping Fins (Apocalypta, who play a mean version of Metallica's Enter Sandman). She also used Vinny's services recently to do some dubious business with a rather questionable character named Jeff at the Texan Lounge on the Karnellian Lunar Base. As Jen said, "Nina's usually pretty busy, what with saving the Earth and all, but she's the only person I know in Canada who has a spaceship, and as always, she was happy to oblige." Thanks for the case of Traglet wine as payment, Jen (she was totally schooled at galactic poker--before paying me, I might add!). But you DO know that Traglet wine gives me indigestion, don't you, Jen? And I really don't care for the green residue left on the bottom from the live Traglets.

Science fiction author, Robert J. Sawyer was just like...well...Robert J. Sawyer! Rob was so at ease on board Vinny, slipping into Vinny's binary language and fixing things while he strolled along the hallways, helping himself to Traglet wine, residue and all (which didn't upset HIS system!). Not only did he apprehend all the facets of this organic-mechanized ship, but he increased Vinny's efficiency by 30%. Rob, we have a date for Vinny's 100ly tune-up! Okay? Toronto, here we come!

Philanthropist, SEO and internet extraordinaire, Karen Mason was elegantly graceful, composed and in command throughout her stay aboard Vinny, despite the passes my feisty robot, Harry, made at her (unbenounst to me, of course!). I don't think she minded so much (Harry is so cute!) And he did send her flowers to make up for his insolence. I've since put him through the circum-popo-stabilizer to adjust his circuitry (not quite like a lobotomy, but close). We'll see. I caught him writing love letters to Moya (Farscape's leviathan AI ship) yesterday. He's such a rake!
  • Here's a picture of Harry. He looks a lot like Clank (of Ratchet and Clank). Well, he should! I made him that way.

    So, for those of you who delight in science and technology, here are some more facts about Vinny:

    he is an organic-mechanized, totally sentient ship, capable of cognitive thought, with a personality of his own.

  • Vinny is also capable of faster-than-light speed (like all good SF ships). Mostly, Vinny taps into the dark matter of folded space, transmutates then reconfigures elsewhere, but sometimes he skims along the fabric of space like a frisbee. Scares the heebee-jeebees out of me when he does that.

  • The ship is equipped with a revolutionary bio-film plasma technology that ensures against any hypervelocity impacts and other irregular collisions.

  • Vinny is equipped with a fully functional greenhouse/biome in addition to a molecular replicator for both nutritious and easily accessible food.

  • He recycles everything including wastes, air, water, dreams, laughter, etc through a revolutionary system that provides him with the energy to run; all of which I am not permitted to divulge.

  • Okay...I'll tell you just a little bit: Vinny uses dream-waves for fuel, mainly through its passengers when in REM sleep, which activates theta rhythm generated in the dentate gyrus of the brain. Nanosensors attached to sleeping passengers transfer the theta waves via Vinny's neural network into wave-energy for the ship.

Here's a shot of Vinny. Okay, so he looks a little like Serenity (from Firefly). He should! I built him like that!

And, below, is a blow-up of my logo on the starboard bow of the ship.

Happy flying. If you're really nice to me, I might give you a ride aboard Vinny too (I prefer good old Earth wine to any of those universal exotic drinks, by the way. And you already know about my penchant for chocolate...)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Different Hero’s Journey (As only Farscape can deliver)

A comment to my previous post, Christ-Figure in Movies/Books—Grace or Redemption?, by the ever-thoughtful and provokative Modern Matriarch, got me thinking again. Said our Matriarch: “I would argue that the ‘christ-figure’ iconography is not always intended by the writer, but is the result of western reader response. As Joseph Campbell pointed out, the archetypes exist across history and cultures.”

I'd like to explore this through the now-cancelled science-fiction/fantasy TV show, Farscape. (Check out my recent review of Farscape if you haven’t yet seen the show).

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Christ-Figure in Movies/Books: Grace or Redemption?

In one of my previous posts (Fertility--Infertility & the Environment) I got into a rather lively discussion with a fellow blogger, Erik Hare, about the tendency in Western Culture mythos (in literature and in movies, particularly) to portray the main character in fiction as Christ figure and the ramifications of this choice. Erik lamented the separation that has occurred between Jesus the Teacher and Christ the Redeemer. I hadn’t really given this much thought until he brought it up. But his examples (e.g., Matrix and Harry Potter) and his discourse were so compelling, I've had to give it considerable thought. And here are my thoughts…