From the Web: Another Explanation of Fermi’s Paradox that sounds wrong to me.

Happy New Year.  My first post of 2017!  Here’s to hoping for a good year.

As I usually do when I want to write my novels, I stare at my computer until I get the urge to write or look at Facebook or something.  This morning, Facebook won out.  I found a post about Brian Cox explanation of Fermi’s Paradox.  Another article talking about how all aliens must destroy themselves before they break free of their home planet.

I have addressed how I feel this is wrong in this previous post, so I will not dwell on those reasons here. Of course; I, like them, have no clue whether aliens exist or not. We have no substantiated proof either way, yet.  It is all conjecture.  But what fun this is!

To me, these arguments for self-destruction is superimposing our behavior on any alien race that might exist. While I believe this is a very possible outcome for the human race.  I do not believe that means all intelligent races will do the same.

Look at other examples on Earth. Bees for example.  How do they expand? Do they grab every possible hive location as soon as possible?  Do they constantly war with themselves? They do have their cold-blooded aspects but not like us. Bees expand, or swarm, when they have grown large enough that they can not “smell” the queen. When a hive is so large that the queen’s pheromones can not reach all members in the hive, those members not ‘under her spell’ make a new queen. When she is born, the old queen flies off with a portion of the workers.

A hive grows larger because it has produced enough food to allow the colony to successfully grow.  So instead of producing swarms that go out and just find land, they do it when they are over populated.  Could an alien race act like this?  Why not?

Another example could be the big cats or wolves. Normally they also do not go out and grab all they can grab. They keep their territory unless resources are scarce.

Why would aliens not have a similar behavior? Why would we think that aliens would make their main goal of exploration of everything?  Why wouldn’t they just explore their immediate surroundings, find a few places and settle in for a while to develop these resources.

Within 10 light years of Sol (our solar system) there are 15 known stellar objects (stars and red/brown dwarf stars). These are the ones we know of.  The last being discovered in 2014, with a few more found since 2010. This leads me to believe there might be at least double this number in this space.  If there are 30 systems in this small space, that is a lot of exploration for us to undertake.  Each one requiring a mission to be set up, speed up and slow down of the craft on the way, communications between the stars, etc..  That is a lot of resources.  And we still have problems on earth that are priorities.

Within 100 light years of Sol, there are over 500 known G type stars (ones we can see as a twinkle of light in the night’s sky).  In the 10 light year range, only 2 of them are G type. So if we take a similar ratio of dwarf stars to G types, in 100 light years range there might be 2500 stars.  Include even fainter ones, like we are discovering still in 10 light year range, and that might be 5000 or more.  Again think of all the trip planning and particulars of the trip to get to all of them.

Humans seem to have the wanderlust that makes them always go over the horizon. That doesn’t seem to be a trait of most of our fellow species of Earth. Why would aliens act more like us and not more like one of the other species of Earth?

Additionally, there are so many resources in this solar system, why would we need to go elsewhere? Yes for humans, its wanderlust.  If the species was not prone to wanderlust, when would they need to move?  When they have exhausted the resources of a solar system?  How long would it take for us to mine out this system?  It has been 5000 years of recorded time and we still have not mined out the resources of Earth. What about the moon? asteroids? Mars? Jupiter and her moons? etc…

If a race takes 1000 years to exhaust the resources of an entire star system and thus requiring the aliens to move on.  It would take this race 30,000 years to exhaust the 10 light year range from Sol.  With the Milky Way galaxy being 100,000 light years wide, it would take this race 30 million years to strip a 10 light year wide strip from one end to the other.

To do this for a 1000 light year wide strip, it would take 3 billion years. That would still leave the vast majority of the galaxy untouched and that is a quarter the age of the galaxy. So even if we had a locust acting race out there, chances are, the galaxy is just too big to swallow.

Have a Happy New Year!

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From the web: Reading Level of Writing

So I am cruising through entries in an FB group “Writing Fiction”, using my best procrastination techniques and I come across this blog entry from Shane Snow, “This Surprising Reading Level Analysis Will Change the Way You Write”. This article talks about how many of our great writers write at a middle school level for readability. This translates into higher comprehension and more enjoyment for the reader.

Basically don’t try to write to impress with big words that takes the average reader out of the story. If they have to try and understand the words then it is work and not fun.  The goal is to make it easy for the reader to comprehend the story and then visualize the action in their minds.  Make it easy for the reader to get into the story and stay there for as long as they are reading it.

Makes sense, right?

It is much more enjoyable to use your imagination to see “Chief Grog, swings his mighty club and with a booming thud smashes the knight backwards. The man flies back into the cavern’s wall and crumples to the ground.”

Than something like: “The leader of the orc tribe, Grog, uses a cudgel, in a round house swing, to impart a massively kinetic blow to the chest region of the hapless armored knight.  The forward momentum of the knight was viciously reversed, resulting in the man being thrown backwards, into the wall with bone crushing force.”

For many the second passage might be just as easy to understand. Some might even like the additional detail but it also takes more away from the imagination because it actually details more thoroughly what is happening. This additional detail, with the use of some words that might not be common enough, could stop the flow of the story for the reader and force them to confront the literary reality of reading a story, than living it.

I have read many blogs and articles talking about how the writer should just say enough to give the read the foundation to create the picture in their mind. I like this goal of striving for low detail scenes, for the reader to flesh out.

Well with so much energy going into a blog entry, I should be able to bust out the last few passages of book 1 of my trilogy.  Have a great weekend!

From the Web: Finding Aliens with Gravity Waves

Recently, there has been a lot of talk of being able to detect gravity waves. The dreamer in me definitely loves that idea. An article on Gizmodo by Jennifer Ouellette discusses that they think they can detect waves made by very large objects.

Assuming that they have figured out how to measure gravity waves, how can we use it? I think we have discovered our first long range detection system for alien craft. Similar to Radio Direction Finding techniques, we will have Gravity Direction Finding systems.

These systems will “listen” for the waves, in all directions. It should be linked to provide a direction finding solution on where the object that caused the wave is located. The detection system will need to be able to determine which part of the sensor first registered the wave. That site will then send their direction solution to a central system.  All sites in the cluster will report their solutions and the central system will calculate where the object is.

In time, we will be able to increase the sensitivity of the detection system. The more sensitive the system the better chance we can “listen” for transient gravity waves.  Most objects in space are fairly stationary, in a relative sense, to us. We can soon identify all the larger waves that will come from one particular direction (like distant stars or black holes).

A space craft, asteroid or comet would be moving across the spectrum. Also this is probably more than a single wave, so successive waves will hit different parts of the sensor over time. Most stars would probably hit the same sensor. A comet or asteroid would, over time transit across the sensor giving a track to follow.

Assuming that space craft would need to be at higher speeds than a comet or asteroid, to make space travel feasible, they would quickly pass along the sensor head. While we could not really catch them in real time, we could tell of their passage.

This system probably could not detect craft too far away from our system, due to background noise. If a craft passed half way through the Oort Cloud, it would take almost 140 days for the gravity wave to get near earth. Our Oort Cloud goes out 1-2 light years which might or might not be a navigation hazard for interstellar travel.

The good news is that we probably can track an object coming into our solar system. With gravity waves traveling at light speed and assuming a craft would have to slow down their approach into the solar system, we should get a “hit” on our Gravity Direction Finding system before they show up.

I guess the worse thing would be to see a lot of UFOs come into the Kuiper Belt, stop for a short time, then move on. Boy that would be a massive hit on our self-confidence. Aliens find us boring.

So while we wait to see if E.T. has an interstellar highway near us, we can always use this to track asteroids and comets. A noble cause and something near and dear to most of us.

From the web: Another take on Fermi’s Paradox

Fermi’s Paradox discusses the likelihood of alien civilizations existing in our universe. This article by Tim Urban breaks out some of the possibilities of why we have not detected these other civilizations.

While writing my Worm Hole Earth stories, I have thought about this and came up with a few more possibilities for why we have not detected an alien civilization. Some of these might have been discussed before but they are not in the few articles that I have read on the subject.

  1. Signal Strength and robustness. How intelligible is a signal from a transmitter 10, 150 or 1000 light years away. I think, theoretically, the signal will not degrade over time, if it goes through empty space. But that is assuming that space is empty over many light years of distance. What if a large body or asteroid field is in between? What about our Kuiper Belt or the Oort Cloud?  Could they filter out most signals?  Would a large gamma ray burst or other event be able to blast the signal out of existence?  If any of these are possible, then could they not keep signals from reaching us? While we receive lots of signals from space, are they not from stars? I would assume the power of those signals would be much greater than a transmitter. Would our early transmissions, now nearing 100 light years out, be more than a garbled mess?  Maybe a story in the there 🙂
  2. Technological advancements. We have graduated from AM signals to FM to satellite signals in the last 100 years. Nowadays, most of our signal is very low powered WIFI or cellular or passed over landlines. Cable TV, line of sight, etc.. are handling most of our communications. Where will we be in 100 or 200 years with regards to communications methods? Maybe the broadcasting, for all to hear, is a short lived stage of advancement. One would think that communications between stars would not count on light speed.  Doesn’t really seem practical, so maybe there are other methods. For us to catch signals like ours, we would need to be listening at the right time in a civilization’s advancement. We have only been listening for 30 or 40 years. Chances of another civilization being in a 200 year technological range of ours within these last 30-40 years plus travel time is pretty miraculous.  While fiction, in my Worm Hole Earth universe, we have worm hole travel. All communications and commerce pretty much goes through worm holes. An alien race trying to detect where the Solarian Empire’s planets are, would need to detect energy or heat emissions of the machines, not their communications to one another.
  3. Machine Explorers. Explore all stars with self-replicating robots. Since we have not seen any, then they must not exist. Well, to have self-replicating machines that would also explore, assumes these systems would have to be very advanced. Here are some reasons I think this might not be the case.
    1. If a biological race created machines that were smart enough to search systems for materials to replicate, explore the environment and communicate back to the homeworld, then they would have to almost make self-aware machines. If a machine is self-aware, would it follow orders? Would the creators not worry that something could foul the machines “mind” and cause it to go psycho?  Would they worry that it might get to a system and build an army of its fellow machines and then return to take out the creators?
    2. Superior beings find these automated explorers. Would the creators not worry that a more advanced race would be found and would learn how to get back to the homeworld?  After all, for the explorer thing to work, it needs to know how to communicate back home. Even on earth today, there are those that worry we might find the wrong folks.
    3. Economic reasons.  We can barely keep a space program funded. What value would there be in having these explorers go out?  First, it will be generations or at least a long time before they get to another star. Even at one-third of light speed, it would probably take us 15-20 years to get to our neighbors (assuming we can not start/stop on a dime). Then 4-5 years to get a report back. This might be acceptable for stars in 10-20 light year range but wouldn’t it be better to report back and start building habitats, factories or terraforming of things found there, rather than build more ships and send them out? It would take the creators 20-25 years to get a report on the star system’s make up and make a determination if they want to send a colony to that star. Another 4-5 years to respond back to the explorer to continue on to another star, build copies or build colony infrastructure.

So just some additional things that I considered when working on my Worm Hole Earth stories. Some I plan on incorporating into the stories and others were just for fun.

What do you think?

From the web: Make unbelievable stories feel real

Strolling through the LinkedIn’s  Writers Hangout group, I found a post by C.S. Laskin, on her blog Live Write Thrive.  How Novelists can make unbelievable stories feel real, is a guest post by Michael Hauge.

He discusses how it is best to create a story where characters act like real people, even if in a fantasy setting. This will increase the believability of the story, as people can relate to the characters or problems they face. Even if the bully is a 15 foot giant.

The major points I got are:

1) Ground the normal character actions in stuff we would do even if surrounded in fantastic elements.

2) Never have an all powerful hero/character because hard for anyone to get connected and of course, what does the story really tell, if there is nothing he/she can not do.

3) Try to keep the fantasy items to a minimum to allow the reader/viewer to follow and understand these things without becoming overwhelmed.  Too many fantasy items all going on at the same time tends to confuse the audience and this add to the disbelief in the story.

A very good read, please check it out and use for your own stuff.

From the web: If you write a great script…

Sott Myers blog: Go Into The Story had an older article I just stumbled on. Well actually a whole set of posts titled:  30 Things About Screenwriting.     This one in particular,  “If you write a great script…” was pretty motivating.

This post was how you can make it if you have a great script. I believe he is right and am motivated to try. Since I have finished my script and now am preparing the things I will need for submission to Hollywood, it was the right post at the right time.  Motivation soaring, excitement building.

Some might ask what happens if it doesn’t get any responses? Oh well, it was worth a try. I would then write my next book and then, if it is movie worthy, try again.  I am a firm believer in, don’t try, don’t know.

Anyway, please give it a read.  Pretty good read.

From the web: 14 Myths About Writers

14 Myths About Writers

From the online magazine, Authors Publish, by Emily Harstone.

This was a very nice article about things that people think about writers. I have heard most of these myths but didn’t know about the idea of being independently wealthy. I wish it was true because I would really like the money 😉

Somethings I would like to comment on:

1) The Day Job is the Enemy.  I actually agree that the day job is the enemy. Not so much about having to work and not having the time to write, but that I can not do what I did when I was not working. I find that there are too many distractions, in the home, to consider it a productive environment for me.

Last year, when I was “on vacation” I would do most of my writing in a bar near my old job. I would get there around 2-3pm and write for 2-3 hours until my friends showed up. The bar (Pronto coffee house/bar) served coffee and such before 5pm and I would sit and drink coffee, smoke and write.

Can’t really do that now. Work is work and coffee shops are busy on the weekends. So the day job is my enemy.

2) All writers are alcoholics.  I agree this is a myth. Even if my most productive periods were in a bar. 🙂

3) The daily habit.  This myth states to be a writer you have to write every day. I was always worried about this because I am no where near that. I have intentions to write most days but end up getting distracted. I am thankful for Emily to mention this one.

So there are some of my comments on this great article. What are your thoughts?

From the web: Sci-Fi stories are getting a little closer to reality!

An article by Caroline Reid on IFLScience about a powerful laser producing anti-matter sounds interesting. Yes, there are ways to produce now. Can this produce more? Will we be able to produce enough to use for engines?

Some good questions. The nice thing is it gives me more ideas on how to flesh out my Worm Hole Earth world.  Take a look at all the related posts.

From the Web: Author Earnings Bi-Annual Report

From the website Author’s Earnings, comes their bi-annual report on who is selling. In a slightly non-technical explanation: They use bots to query Amazon, Barnes & Noble or other major eBook retailers to query for top selling lists and the books on them. Then, they crunch the numbers, in a very cool and easy to read report. I like the information they provide.

What were their findings in this May’s report? They queried Amazon this time.

may-2015-combined-titlecount

The Indie publisher and self-published categories continue to grow.  While it does not say they are making a fortune, there is still a chance. That chance continues to grow, in time, as the Internet continues to change how we consume content.

I believe the way to go is to publish many books of quality content. Whether through a publisher or through self-publishing, publishing many books is much better than a single one. The goal being to give a reader, who liked your content, a chance to purchase additional stories by you.

Having said this, I believe one goal of writers would be to “build a universe” around the story. Not every story could have this, but many could. Invest the time to build background, subplots, pre or post stories, art work or movie scripts. These items could enrich the story, to the enjoyment of the reader.

They would force you, the writer, to think of the whole story. They could also be sold as separate entities. Short stories explaining a sub-plot or how something came to be, could be submitted to short story magazines. Many of them could then be added to anthologies.

The goal would be to engage the customer in many different perspectives of your story. Give them a chance to fall in love with it and buy everything they can. Like a music artist. Most bands do not have a single song nor do they put out only the one killer song. They try to get many songs out there, in CD format or electronic. They sell shirts and other things. The idea is to capitalize,as much as possible, off your art.

The more business savvy you are, the more likely you can make a career out of your ideas. That is my goal.

From the web: 6 Reasons to Write What you Want.

An interesting blog post by Denise Drespling.

March 13th, 2015 on her blog:  www.denisedrespling.com/

Great article.  To summarize, Denise states that you need to love what you want to write and goes on to give a few examples of why that is best.  One reason I think she could have included is; if you write what you love, you will probably write more.

This works on the theory that the more books you have available, the more likely you will have people finding your work. If you write what you want to write, you will more than likely enjoy it and then have more things to write about. At least with me, not everything I was thinking about, my version of Atlantis, is put down in the book, Wall of Destruction. Lots of things I created, in my mind, helped me put the story together.

Think that there is only one way to write that story?  Realize, if you write an enthralling story, there are probably many readers that will have tons of “Why?” questions about the story.  Why did the main character do X? Why was the story propelled forward to Y? Why did the protagonist and antagonist not like each other? Why did X do Y instead of Z?

These questions could be answered in many ways.  Here are some thoughts on how to answer those questions through additional books, novelettes or anthologies of short stories. These are the things I plan to do.

How about the background? Writing stories in many different formats that explain how things work. This might not work with all kinds of stories but seems to be a natural for fictional worlds.

How about the history?  Build a timeline of snippets of story. You could use this to create short stories or novels that would before or after your initial story.  How you got to the point where your story started or why the characters hate each other. Or you could build stories that happen in the future based upon how your story ended.  When A killed B, it allowed F-M to run wild that made X happen.

Can you make the story a series? From what I have read, a series is always interesting to producers/publishers. Pretty much if someone likes the first book they will get the second one.

What about side stories of the secondary characters? When I get into a book, I sometimes imagine what did the secondary character do. She had to leave to take care of something. How did that go?  Why not write stories about these characters.

The last of these examples. If your story is built for it, why not have an art book or two? Art of things in your story with explanations of the art. You can combine the background and history with the art to create a book that helps fill in the gaps from the story.

As Denise states, love what you write. You probably can create a universe around the story. For those readers that loved the original story, it will be something they enjoy. Building out your universe through many books will give your readers many avenues to discover your world. They might love art and find your works through the art books. They might love short stories and discover you through those. There is, “no one way” to do it.

For those stories that I truly enjoyed, I loved to know more about the story. Writers like J.R.R Tolkien made me love that. For those that might be curious, yes I am planning to do these things in my worlds.