SciFi thought of the Day

I’m having a really bad arthritis knees day so I will leave you with this one thought.

How Many people live on Coruscant? Wikipedia lists the fiction planet as having a population of 1 trillion.

From the films we can see it is a densely populated world and we are told that the entire planet is one big city. (In George Lucas’ mind all planets have one dominate feature, Desert, Ice, Forrest or City.)

So let’s assume a population density matching that of Manhattan. (That’s a low ball figure considering the height of the buildings but it gives us something to work with.)

And a surface land-area equal to the earth’s.

Manhattan Density : 27,485 per km square.

Earth Land Surface area: 148,940,ooo km square.

27,485 X 148,940,000 =4.0936159^12 people. or 40,936,159,00,000 almost 41 trillion people.

Seems to me the wikipedia entry is a bit of a low ball figure based on the fantastic nature of the planet,

Here’s an interesting thing to run, given that population density how big of an area would the Earth’s current population take up?

Current population: 6,812,000,000 / 27,485 = 247, 844 square kilometers.

That’s smaller than the state of Nevada at 286,367 square kilometers. Every man woman and child on planet earth fits into Nevada if we all live like New Yorkers. That really gives SF colony designers something to think about.

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One of the joys of writing

Today i experienced one of the joys of writing and that is the moment of epiphany.

Writing can be like laboring across an unknown landscape, trying to find shelter during a storm with only the vaguest ideas of where the inn is actually located.

If you are an organic writer you set out looking for the inn without even a map or any idea which direction is lays. I am an organized writer, i.e. one who writes from an outline. This helps, it’s like having a crude hand-drawn map and a compass to held you, but it is still dark and rainy.

A moment of epiphany is like a sudden lightning strike that illuminates the countryside, revealing the road to the inn. It’s that moment when not only does the solution come to you for a problem, sometimes a problem you didn’t even know was there, but the greater shape of the story is enriched by the answer.

I had such a moment today riding the bus and it required such a small change it hardly amounted to a paragraph, but the tone improved so much I was awestruck by it.

truly one of the joys of writing.

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Sunday Night Movie: The Wicker Man (1973)

Last night I was in the mood for something darker and yet fantastic, so I settled on the original film, The Wicker Man, made in 1973. (Let’s make this clear NOT the remake staring Nicholas Cage.)

This is a film I first heard about when I watched the Academy of Science-Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror’s televised award broadcast in 1979. To give you an idea of their commitment to horror they are the ones who unleashed William Shatner’s — interpretation — of Rocket Man upon this world.  Anywho, that year they award the Best Horror film award for 1978 to The Wicker Man. (I guess horror is such a thin field you gotta let a film five years old compete.) So a few months later I got a chance to see this movie in HBO and it blew my little mind. Continue reading Sunday Night Movie: The Wicker Man (1973)

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Where does a person’s rights really begin? (Part III)

So in the first section of this rambling set of thoughts, I covered how some people feel that rights begin at conception, and that these people in general will draw a distinction between a fertilized egg and an induced pluripotent cell in terms of what is a person. (The fertilized egg being considered as person with the protections that implies. While the Induced Pluripotent Cell does not.) It seems that being a person in potential is the key factor.

In the second section of the missive I discussed the new field in biology, epigenetics which deals with the factors that govern when and how genes function and that these factor can be influenced by environment and these environmental influences have surprisingly been show to be inheritable.

Now it’s time to combine these two idea and see where they lead us.

With epigenetics we can now see that action we take today can have an adverse effect on generations down time from us. This is not a generalized or metaphorical statement, but a direct corollary of cause and effect. For example let’s hypothesize that smoking can have an inheritable epigenetic effect that makes your grand children much more susceptible to autism. This is pure speculation at this point but not an unreasonable one. So what rights of the unborn and unconceived grandchildren have? Does my choosing to smoke violate their rights? IF I know that my smoking can cause autism two generations downstream, should I be held criminally liable for smoking and the damages it creates?

Of course I could never have children, but this is an exception to human  behavior not the rule. Most people want to have children and want families. So do those future generation have rights?

I am not answering that question. My intention was merely to pose it. Everyone has to find their own answers, but what we do know that is life, biology, and the realities of inheritance are far more complex than we generally give them credit for.

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Where Does a person’s rights really begin? (Part II)

Now wether we are talking about the pro-choice or right-to-life side I generally see some hypocrisy in dealing with the issue of rights and the unborn.

For example we know that alcohol consumption by pregnant women is likely to result in serious health issues for the unborn child. The pro-choice side has certain shown a desire to regulate this in the name of the unborn child but without ever recognizing that the unborn child’s right have begun. While on the right-to-life-side they’ll insist that the unborn child has rights but refuse to pass laws to protect those rights — such as the drinking example — except where it pertains to abortion. That said I want to look at the situation as if we applied it logically, consistently, and using the most up to date understanding of human biology. This is not an argument to adopt a particular viewpoint, but an exploration of the viewpoint that rights begin before birth and possibly before conception. Continue reading Where Does a person’s rights really begin? (Part II)

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Where does a person’s rights really begin?

This is of course the classic question in the abortion debate. The prochoice side generally selecting some moment after concept and sometime only after birth for considering the unborn to have right and with the right-to-life side generally selecting some point before birth or right at conception.

I am not going to debate the merits of either side here. Abortion is a topic on which very few minds are capable of being changed. What I want to do is take the idea that the unborn have rights and play them back within our new understand of human biology. Continue reading Where does a person’s rights really begin?

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Sunday Night Movie(s):Dracula’s Daughter & Son Of Dracula

So on Saturday the Fedex man brought me my newest addition to my growing DVD and Blu-Rau collection; Dracula The Legacy Collection.

For those not in the know, from the 30’s through the 50’s Universal was know for its horror films. In 1931 they produced and released Frankenstein and set the tropes that would be used in retelling that story for the rest of the century. Several years ago they began releasing their classic  horror films in Legacy boxed sets. Each set containing the Classic film from Universal in that franchise. The Dracula: Legacy collection has five films in all, I had only seen two of those so when I got the chance to buy the Legacy Collection for just $12 I jumped at it.

Dracula’s Daughter (1936) picks up exactly where Dracula left off. Two police constables come down to the cellar of Carfax abbey and find Renfeld dead at the foot of the stairs, Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan reprising his role) kindly points them towards the body of Dracula and confesses to staking the man. Naturally the police are skeptical about the whole hie was a vampire defense and arrest Van Helsing.

The plot continues with Van Helsing and his friend Dr Garth struggling to find some way to save Van Helsing from the gallows while remaining true to the truth. Their job is made easier when Countess Marya Zaleska (Gloria Holden) appears on the scene and starts munching on necks. in this story however we have an unwilling vampire, the Countess wants to be free of her curse and believes that Dr garth has the secret to freeing her. However the Countess’s human servant — the best vampires have one — Sandor (Irving Pichel) is convinced that there is no release.

This turned out to be a better movie than I had expected. the story had a few twists and I really enjoyed the fact that you could splice it together with Dracula’s and there would not be a moments’s continuity gaff.

In the evening — I had watched Dracula’s Daughter in the afternoon — I watched the next in the series Son Of Dracula (1943).

This film I had more interest, but lower expectations for. Unlike Hammer Studios, Universal was not seeking a way to raise the Count for each film and in this one another lost relative of the famous vampire turns up. This time the charming and suave eurotrash vampire is played by Lon Chaney jr.  This is some of the worst casting ever. Please just go ahead and put Arnold Schwarzenegger in a musical if you want to equal this terrible casting. Lon Chaney jr had no ability at voices or accents and it not credible an in fashion as a Hungarian prince.

Surprisingly, I kind of like this movie and wish it had not been hampered by inadequate  direction and moronic casting.

A european count, Alucard (Lon Chaney jr), has come to live in a Bayou town at the invitation of a plantation owner’s daughter, Katherine Caldwell (Louise Allbritton.) People are suspicious as Katherine is not acting like herself. Upon the mysterious death of the plantation owner, Katherine inherits the land and bring in Alucard as her husband. Cheesing off her fiancée, Frank Stanley (Robert Page) to the point iof murder. Slowly the counts true name is learned — cause spelling your name backwards just won’t fool Americans a young and vital race — and it falls upon men of learning to battle the demon spawn again.

What made this film particularly interesting is I think it might have been the first time in film we saw a character who wanted to become a vampire. That here might be the genesis of the rock and roll vampire. It’s good to live forever and party all night even if you have to die to achieve it.

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Exhausted

For whatever reason I am utterly exhausted tonight. (Could be why I am going in for  a sleep study in a little over a week.)

Anyway I did watch a Sunday Night Movie and I will write it up tomorrow.

See you kiddies on the other side of the terminator.

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I found it.

So I found the comparison chart I had seen a week or two on Health care reform. It shows just how similar the current – and just passed — Health Care reform package is to the one proposed by the Republicans in 1993 as a counter to the Clinton Health care Proposal. What was an acceptable Republican Proposal in 1993 turns out to have been nothing more than naked socialism!

(OR the Republicans were on a mission to had Obama a defeat — which is sound  strategy is you win — and nothing Obama could have done would have won him Republican votes.)

Here’s the link to the original article.

The chart follows after the break.

Continue reading I found it.

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