Monday, October 15, 2012

Wow. Just wow.



Two amazing things to report today folks.

First, the AMC show The Walking Dead has submitted what I believe is one of the BEST ever season openers of any show in the history of shows hands down.



Last nights showing of the first show in the series 3rd season titled “SEED” definitely seeded my interest to watch the rest of the season. Now to be clear, I expected big things from the show. I have watched both of the previous seasons with tense anticipation and apprehension and fear and trembling and thoroughly enjoyed both. And this from a guy who really didn’t like Zombie movies until I watched DAWN OF THE DEAD and of course SHAUN OF THE DEAD. Before then, the Zombie genre was (cough cough) pretty much DEAD to me. (heehee)

But I must admit that I was skeptical. My expectations for the third season opener had been tempered because of last weeks season TWO opener of HOMELAND.

Umm... folks at HOMELAND, writers, etc... what the HELL are you doing?

I LOVED the first season of HOMELAND but season two has been a complete letdown. Really folks, do you expect us to believe the CIA would EVER let Carrie back in with access to TOP SECRET information? Come on man!

But WALKING DEAD??? Yea buddy! That’s how you do it! Better watch that show to get a clue you HOMELAND writers!

And this takes us to AMAZING THING to report #2!

The almighty freaking SPACE JUMP!

OK, I admit, I had COMPLETELTY missed this last week when Felix Baumgartner attempted it and THANKD GOODNESS the weather prevented his attempt because I caught the jump yesterday and WOW! That was some COOL STUFF!

Straight out of the coolest scenes of APOLLO13, complete with command center video clips replete with (actually funny) pithy comments from the director, and the calmest and coolest performance from any space-like dude I have seen since Chuck Yeager, this performance had EVERYTHING!

And that’s not to even MENTION the actual JUMP!

If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and WATCH the whole video.


Needless to say, as a writer, BOTH of these things have succeeded in completely STOKING the fires of my imagination.

So, yea folks... for the foreseeable future, I will be pretty much heads down writing out my new ideas for my sci-fi books, and heads up only to watch THE WALKING DEAD.

Have a great FALL/WINTER ya’all!

Later!
PPC


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Smart Phone Chip in your head...



Some days the future makes amazing leaps closer to the present.

Regular readers of The Multiverse know that along with writing Sci-fi novels I stay abreast (I love that word) of the latest news and developments in the “real-world” application of SCIENCE and particularly the advancements in areas such as ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, ROBOTICS, and what is now known as TRANSHUMANISM, or the act of turning humans into the better known term: CYBORGS.


My sci-fi books Romy Malloy and Culver Bishop are heavy on the high tech, but techie type stuff leaks into my fantasy books too. Just look at The Plotters of Cantaera where a powerful group of angelic like beings control an entire planet using advanced (read “magical”) devices called “plots” and “the master sequence”... read more here.

My books predicted...
Control is a key topic in many of my stories. Romy wants to help Abbott in Brilliant Disguise to keep her dimension being held captive by criminals from Abbott’s dimension. In EVERY PURPOSE UNDER HEAVEN Culver realizes her work in building artificial nano-nerve technology will give immortality and unlimited power to the technocratic government.

Frightening concepts, but in the end these are just stories, right? This can’t happen here... right?

Today I read an article from CNN that at first blush seems like a light-hearted, flippant trek into one possible future where we are all happy and content to purchase the newest gadgets and live our lives out as mind numbed robots following whatever dictate the government/advertisers float in front of our eyes along the Cave Wall (read Plato’s Allegory of the Cave if you have no clue what I just said.)

Anyway, back to the CNN article (read it here). In summary, this article predicts that in the future Smart Phones will be chip implants in your head.

Of course, there are NO drawbacks to this. Nope. None. We will all gladly allow some twenty-something stoned out untrained clerk at the nearest Sprint Store of the future to stick a needle like device up our nose like Arnold did in TOTAL RECALL and shove a bulbous electronic consuming/RF transmitting/radiation radiating chip up there so that we can text/surf porn/watch Honey Boo Boo in our heads all to our hearts content.

It will be a BLAST to instantly “call” each other and connect with no wait time, almost like a HIVE mind thing. Fun, huh?

Well, near the end of the article, the writers admit that there might be ONE issue... just a little one though... trivial really.

The one “glitch” that MIGHT cause a rare FEW Smartphone Chip users some discomfort is the thing where “advertisers” commercials might accidentally “control” the users.

Hmm... by control, do they mean make me want to pee myself in public and then go buy Depends undergarments? Is that all?

Yea, probably not that simple. You know where my overly active imagination goes with this, right? My first thought is The Matrix.

Yea, no big deal. Just total control over your mind so that The Overlords can make you think you are somewhere other than where you really are, which is to say you are actually in an artificial cocoon of amniotic goo that keeps you alive just enough so that the machines can use you as a battery.

Based on where the world is headed these days, would that really be a bad thing?

The one cool thing I see in this is if they would actually let me live out the stories I write. I mean, living out the role of Peter Abbott in my Romy Malloy novel? Actually seeing what it would be like to live in a Virtual Multiverse? That would be awesome.

Alas, though, Star Trek probably nailed the way this will really turn out: “The Borg”.

But what the hell, right?

I guarantee that in 50 years there will be people at the Apple Store lining up DAYS in advance to be the first customer to receive the newest “Brain Phone Chip” implants.

Instant always on communication. Video straight to the brain. Real life virtual reality where the senses are treated to the WHOLE experience (and I DO mean the WHOLE experience).

Who cares if you happen to occasionally see a glitch where you receive constant irresistible 24/7 impulses to buy, buy, buy?

It’s all good.

Plato had no clue what wonders we can achieve now. Right?

... and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave...


Later.

PPC

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Autonomous killer drones? Really???



Sometimes I wonder if anyone in the so-called group “ the powers that be” ever watched The Terminator or Robocop?

Based on what I am reading lately the resounding answer to that question is a big NO!

Or, maybe they HAVE watched the movies and are using them as a blueprint to guide their actions.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c9/Charging_Bull_statue.jpg
Moo...

Here’s just couple of reasons I believe “the powers that be” are completely ignorant or willfully disregarding the entertainment industry’s commentary and warnings on Robots and Drones:

#1 - A new report states that the Pentagon is working to give their drone fleet autonomous control over who gets killed on the “battlefield”. That means that there will be NO HUMAN controlling what the drone is doing. It will decide who and when to kill all on its own. 


Hmm... Seriously folks... the MAIN theme, the easiest to understand point of both The Terminator and Robocop movies that ANY freaking child who has just learned to talk could immediately comprehend is that NO Machine should be given autonomous control over the lives of humans!

Come ON! We’ve written about this for AGES!

How many OTHER movies and books have been written about this? I, Robot and other Asimov stories tell us SPECIFICALLY that robots (drones) need to have The Three laws written into their basic operating code BEFORE any artificial intelligence is even introduced! Sheez!

But no... the intrepid Pentagon in all its glory of advanced knowledge and intelligence wants to just keep moving on with programming the drones to kill-at-will.

Wow... Just wow, folks.

But wait! There’s more!

#2 - High Frequency Trading in the stock market is a common practice and will one day (soon - if not already) completely destroy the market and the global economy.

Ok, ok, I will not bore you with a bunch of mundane details about the stock market and the economy because you probably would just skim it all anyway and miss all the wonderfully salient points I lay out for you in the hopes that I will soon make some kind of joke about food or bodily noises so that you can laugh and get on with your day.

However... please allow me to give you just a smidgen of background. Ever since the 2008 Global Economic Recession (The GREAT Recession) I have taken it upon myself to learn as much as possible as FAST as possible about the economy, money, trading, etc. and find ways to predict and capitalize on events or at least protect what I have earned over the years from severe market downturns.

And not to put it too lightly, but all of my research has been ENLIGHTENING.

If I were a man bent on Conspiracy Theories I might just believe there are groups of nefarious minded folks out there whose only desire is to make as much money off the world in whatever way possible as fast as possible and DAMN the consequences and DAMN the people who might get hurt.

But... of course as you know I am NOT so conspiratorially minded. Right?

So, just what the hell is High Frequency Trading anyway? The previous link sends you to a Wikipedia page that will give you a brief description of what HFT is.

In a nutshell, the wunderkinds of Wall Street have created programs that monitor active and popular trades (like on Oil or on Apple stocks). When they see a particularly juicy amount of trades or trades that they predict will send a stock price either up or down in a direction they wish to see it go, these HFT programs will PREEMPTIVELY launch a BUTTLOAD of “pre-trades” (trades that may or may not even ever be completed) that thoroughly affect the outcome of final sales and which has the result of driving the SALE price wherever they want it go.

Now THAT sounds totally FAIR, doesn’t it???

Now I bet your idea of the Stock Market is that a bunch of rich dudes and Mom’s and Pop’s with a bit of retirement and maybe a few just-married couples go out and “invest” their money in other businesses “stock” (basically buy a piece of a company) and typically they will leave that money there for a long time so that the company they invest in has a greater value and will perform well overtime and make a big nest egg for them to withdrawal interest off of later on down the road.

And you would think that the MAJORITY of trades on the stock market are just like what I have described above.

Sadly, it is just not that way anymore.

By the year 2010, High Frequency Trading accounted for over 70% of ALL stock market trades!

And, as for HFT involvement acting like the above described trading where they “invest” money and leave it there so a company can grow over time... NOPE!

HFT trades are almost ALWAYS removed by the end of that trading day or before and the HFT investors leave NO NET investment in the companies.

Now, most of you might think SO WHAT? What does this have to do with me?

Well, like the Terminator and Robocop drones above, these HFT investment firms are more and more often writing programs and algorithms for HFT trading and then LEAVING THEM TO RUN ALL BY THEMSELVES!

Yep! Autonomous stock market trading! Look Ma! No hands!!!

Surely nothing can wrong with that, right???

I realize that many of you may not be interested, but if you are, here a few more links to read up on HFT trading:

Now my whole point with the HFT information is to say that, like the autonomous drones being given free rein to kill-at-will by the Pentagon, a completely different set of high speed computers are being given free rein to do whatever-they-will with the stock market which we all know based on all the wonderful bailouts we provided banks (Chase, BofA) and investment companies/insurance companies (Merrill Lynch, AIG) has a direct effect on our continued ability to make and keep our own money.

Whether you dabble in stocks or keep your money in a mattress you will be affected if these yahoos find a way to once again bilk the system and “force” the government (haha, yea they really have to twist their arms) to pony up more bailout money.

Bottom line: The infamous “THEY” are going to allow machines to kill on the “battlefield” AND rob you of your savings all at the same time.

Welcome to the Brave New World.

By the way... I need your help. I read a Sci-Fi short story years ago where a whiz-kid created a Robot that did all his stock trading for him. I think it was by one of the masters (Asimov, Clarke, etc.) but for the life of me I cannot remember who or what and cannot find it anywhere no matter what I Google search on.

If one of you remembers that story PLEASE clue me in!

Thanks!

Later

PPC


Monday, October 1, 2012

Sometimes I just don’t care...



You know what? Sometimes I just don’t care.

I know... most of you will be totally “surprised” by this revelation, but get over it. You can’t tell me that you don’t sometimes feel the same way.

There are those days where you get up and say to yourself because nobody else will listen anyway: “You know I just don’t give a rat’s ass today!”



Yep... that pretty much sums up the way I feel today.

Everything just seems so pointless sometimes, you know?

Take this election crap for example. I know, I know, I probably shouldn’t discuss politics here. But I am not going to “take sides” or throw a bunch of partisan crap at you and yell at you to “Take a stand” and “Save America!”

Because that’s my whole point.

What’s the difference if I do start yelling all that crap at ya?

Do I really think that will make any difference?

No, I don’t.

And that’s what I mean when I say sometimes everything seems pointless.

Try all you want to move people’s minds on political points and there’s really no change in politics.

Try all you want to change the culture in positive ways and still there’s really no change in people’s behaviors.

Try all you want to make a name for yourself and sell a few books and still...

“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! NOW we see what you’re up to Mr. Carter! You’re bellyaching and whining that you aren’t making any headway with selling your stupid books aren’t you?”

Ummm... YEA! This is MY BLOG after all! What else would I be talking about???

Let a guy whine a little, will ya??!!

But never fear, I actually DO have a point to all this.

Right, ok... so some days I just don’t care. Sometime it all just seems so pointless. Sometimes I really believe that I am making no headway.

I have been an independent writer for over 8 YEARS now. I have been actively working to sell my work for over 5 YEARS. And I have been publishing my own books via ePublishing technology for almost a year now.

And yes, it gets a little lonely out here sometimes.

I was just thinking today as I drove in to work that most of the time this all feels like I am having conversations only with myself... and that I write books only so I can read them.

BUT HERE’S THE BIG BUTT!!!

I knew coming in that it would very likely take a long time before I saw any real fruition from my hard work. Independent publishing is much harder in many ways than traditional, as documented well here in one of my previous blog posts.

And, to counter the burnout factor you might feel as an independent author, I write many blog posts such as this here to remind me/you/us that it will take a while and that you have to stay as focused and as positive as possible in order to stay in the game.

It all just might freakin better will get better.

One cool thing I can report is that I received my first ever ROYALTY payment from book sales last week. Wasn’t much, but it felt kinda cool. Paid for a dinner.

So, there is that.

But that’s only one very small milestone passed and there are many many other larger and more satisfying milestones out there that I want to reach.

And that’s why I can’t give up.

Still... sometimes I just don’t care.

Here’s a little secret... most people probably don’t know or haven’t realized that all this writing I do on this blog and even the two books I wrote in the “Stop Sucking” series are not only written as help for all of you out there.

I also wrote those books to help ME.

Cause quite often I need that advice I wrote in those books.

It gets tough. Sometimes there is no forward movement. Sometimes you really are just spinning your wheels. Sometimes you might not give a rat’s ass.

Join the club.

Later.

PPC