Monday, January 31, 2011

Serious Business…

Folks,

I remember the night of this Grateful Dead gig at RCMH. Couldn't be at the the show, as our own little band had an appointment on this Halloween, 1980. Yeah, well, work must be taken care of. Our little tribe had rent to pay.

Anyhow, this particular tune, "Jack Straw" is of great significance to me. No foolin' around. We do sometimes have to play for keeps. About half a decade before the performance that I've posted, this was the song (recorded on "Europe '72") that played in the background as I had to say so long to my best buddy. Bad craziness and mortal danger spilled into the small frame of my so-called real life. Choices were made. Somebody got to walk out alive. Another did not. These things do happen and now and again do get out of hand.


S



Folks,

Here we have Billy Klock on traps and Avansah Jeff Barns mastering percussion. The notorious Hooligan band rides the Vista Cruiser out into the deep space and the marrow of our dancing souls. Close your eyes and ride. This here is The Stuff. Human hearts beat together in this bit.

S


© Solomon

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Folks,

A masterful rendition, if shaky video, of a fine and weird tune by the notorious Hooligan Band. Slow, mysterious, and deep. Hats off to writer and keyboardist Mateo, and his mates. "Main Street".

S


© Solomon

Folks,


This Elbaradei fellow may be the one to rescue Egypt and the rest of the Middle East from the madness now ongoing, and perhaps from the tyrannies, stupid wars, and unreasoned so-called diplomacy that has brought the entire world to this place in history.

This bureaucrat, a much maligned profession, and a diplomat, is going to put his skinny, old butt on the line today. He's heading down to the streets to talk some reason to the people and to the dictator of Egypt, to the Middle East, and to the wider world.

Here's something he cogently remarked a couple of years ago.


"Iraq is a glaring example of how, in many cases, the use of force exacerbates the problem rather than solving it."[10]


So, here we go. There's fighting in the streets. Dangerous men with armies and atom bombs and poisons are supposedly in control, but have utterly lost their grip. People left their families at home today, to go rip the heads of off mummies in museums. How stupid is that? But, right about now, this old man strides onto the stage. Is he smart enough, is he tough enough to lay down reason with gentle fire?

How hard have we fallen that we are relying on this old man to save us from our own insanity?

S





Saturday, January 29, 2011

Read and Think!

Folks,

From Penn Gillette. Remarkable reasonableness:

"If you want to become an atheist, I always recommend reading the Bible from beginning to end. Not a guided system of reading it, but just read the whole thing, and I think if you do, you come out being an atheist. I don't think you have to do anything special. I think at the end of a book about hatred, slavery, horrible acts towards women, crazy contradictory laws, and the jealous nature of this God, I think it's apparent that it was written by crazy people for political reasons. "


S



Antikythera Legos!

Folks,

This picture is of what is likely the oldest computer on Earth. It's a set of gears and cams designs to predict, with extraordinary precision, the positions of the stars and planets, back about 100BCE, by the Greeks. Then it was lost in a shipwreck, only to be found 2,000 years later.


Some clever folks with Lego blocks built a working model of the thing. Here's how it works.

S

Friday, January 28, 2011

Whoops!

Folks,

Twenty five years ago, today, my girlfriend and I skipped work to enjoy an afternoon of rather "explosive" joy in each other's arms. When we got back to the TV studio where I worked, we saw our colleagues standing dazed, looking ashen in front of the TV in the lobby. The Challenger had just blown up. I looked to my gal and she looked at me. We both felt like maybe this was our fault. Crazy thinking, but the idea did flash across both our minds.


Then, I thought of my favorite teacher, Mr. Monoogian. He taught me to really love science in the 7th Grade. I'd recently run into him again, and he had told me that he was sort'a disappointed that he was only the runner-up to be the first teacher Astronaut to fly into space. A lady named McAuliffe had gotten the gig. But for his bad luck, it would have been his rear end that was blasted to bits on that morning.

Anyhow, Marty Monoogian is retired today. In his career, I bet he taught a lot more kids than just me to aim for the stars. Christa McAuliffe did the same, and still does today, even after she has long disappeared into the high winds.

A few months after The Challenger exploded and incinerated its crew, one of the smartest guys then on the our planet, Richard Feynman, explained how it had happened. The problem was, the most complex machine that Humans had yet created was held together with what were basically rubber bands. Rubber freezes and gets brittle. Feynman pulled a rubber band from a glass of ice water, and crushed it into shards to demonstrate his point in a very simple experiment. NASA had tried to launch a very complicated vehicle loaded with the most potent explosives, a big gadget stuck together with rubber bands, on a very cold morning in Florida. Whoops!

Now, people that puts their rear ends on top of things that explode with the power of a small atom bomb must know the risks. They've seen those before them blown up, burned up, tumble out of the sky on fire, suffocate, and be crushed even on the ride home. This business of going toward the Heavens is no fooling around. Still, I would love to get on a rig with old Marty Monoogian and aim for the stars.

S

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How Did We Get Here?

Folks,

How did Life on Earth arise? Are our kind, from the most simple virus to our primate kin, unique? It is possible that this warm, wet planet is a petri dish for an alien experimenter? It's possible that a meteor or comet came bearing the stuff of Life to our home. It is just as possible that anywhere in the Universe, if water or liquid methane stirs up the dirt, Life will happen… and it will be along a design not too different from our own. Physics and chemistry may be all that is required. We do got rules around here.

This is an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on Panspermia (Greek for "Seeds Everywhere").

On May 11, 2001, two researchers from the University of Naples claimed to have found live extraterrestrial bacteria inside a meteorite. Geologist Bruno D'Argenio and molecular biologist Giuseppe Geraci claim the bacteria were wedged inside the crystal structure of minerals, but were resurrected when a sample of the rock was placed in a culture medium. They believe that the bacteria were not terrestrial because they survived when the sample was sterilized at very high temperature and washed with alcohol. They also claim that the bacteria's DNA is unlike any on Earth. They presented a report on May 11, 2001, concluding that this is the first evidence of extraterrestrial life, documented in its genetic and morphological properties. Some of the bacteria they discovered were found inside meteorites that have been estimated to be over 4.5 billion years old, and were determined to be related to modern day Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus pumilus bacteria on Earth but appears to be a different strain.


Tantalizing clues from microbes in the Earth's stratosphere, where none should be alive, let alone on the tenuous but fierce winds, to what look like tiny bacteria in bits of a meteorite that fell from Mars to Earth's Antarctic.

Here's the Wiki article… The Origin of Life?

S

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Old Girlfriend…

Folks,

My, my… there once was a lady named China Cat. She had a kid named Sugar Magnolia. In turn, Sugar begat Tiger Rose who took in a stray, Loose Lucy, who brought with her terrible trouble for all concerned. Well, we did have some fun before she got the whole joint busted. That I must confess.

S

Loose Lucy

Ball of Confusion…

Folks,

There was actually a day when all folks danced all over politics, didn't scare each other so much, and a bunch of guys in tuxedos made from the stuff of space suits stomped the terra, sang like angels, and made the kids hopeful and happy.

When I first heard the following tune, there was a guy riding a golf buggy over the dust of the Moon. He even brought a golf club with him. Our world, then as now, was boiling with war, but a bunch of kids and their moms and grandmothers were putting a stop to one particularly gruesome fight. We'd thrown one depressive bum with atom bombs out of the White House, and were on our way to taking out another. We did that, as well. There are times when idiots with atom bombs can be dealt with appropriately, and nobody has to get killed.

Many think that the '60s ended in 1969. Whatever that spirit was that animated the social change of that decade, did not ebb for several years later. In fact, the tide still flows today, tho it is less discernible.

So, here's one of the anthems that we danced to…

S

The Temptations… Ball of Confusion!

Folks,


An edited repost from FB, commenting on the reality that we are but bits of old stars born of bits of atoms, space, and time. The fellow who prompted my extemporaneous explateration noted that when we handed a coin over a store counter for change or a tip, we were exchanging star stuff.


S


"There is the fact that we are the dust of a Supernova, holding the dust of a supernova in a silly coin while standing on the dust of a supernova.

Like the old lady said to the physicist, "Hey, buddy, it's turtles all the way up and down."

We are, however, privileged to live in a day hoped for by Pythagoras, Socrates and Plato and their ilk at the dawn of "modern" thinking. Today, some folks are good enough at math and have the scientific instruments to peer across time and space toward the very edge of our Universe. From this perspective, we might soon even glimpse other Universes. This is a literal, scientific possibility. (
String Theory, the LHC Experiment)

Wow! Think about this for a moment. It took us Humans about 200,000 years from our specie's birth to create a clan of families. It then only took another few thousand years to make a village. Then, just a while later we made the first little cities, about 10,000 years ago. We swiftly made city states, and thence on to nations. Today, we are reckoning with forging one Human world, lest we perish… yeah, along this path we also created war and a weapon that can literally destroy a planet.

The stakes are high, even as we swiftly, over the course of less than half a millennia of refining physics and engineering, stand in the face of the edge of the Universe… or, perhaps our doom, but hopefully our redemption.

For all I know, we live on a world that is a petri dish, an experiment left behind by another species, or maybe we're just an example of what happens when you contaminate a pristine, barren planet in the right place around its home star with certain chemicals. Whatever. Here we are and this is a beautiful moment to learn all that we can about Everything, and maybe make a difference. What else is there to do?"




What You Get When Protons Collide

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Welcome to the Future. We're Glad You Made It!

Folks,

I live in a small city that is the home of a leading school for the deaf. The Clarke School has had a long standing relationship with our local and the region's hospitals and medical schools. As a result, it is not uncommon to run into folks with aural prosthetics, cochlear implants, attached to their skulls just behind the ear. These ordinary humans are cyborgs of the first design. Yes, we can give hearing to the deaf.

But, what about sight to the blind? I worked for a while with a computer science lab that worked on machine vision. Back then, about a decade ago, the smart folks in the lab thought that we'd have only a quarter century of work before they could place a chip into a Human eye and wire it to the nerves to the brain. Maybe their work would deliver sixteen pixels… enough to help a blind person not bump into a door jam or stumble on a curb.

In short order, much more was accomplished, and more imagined. So, why stop at the limits of "normal" Human vision? How about seeing in other spectra, IR and UV, even X-Ray? There's no tech that we haven't already invented to do that; it just has to be miniaturized and implantable. Why restrict these abilities to the disabled? I might like to spend my vacation money on the opportunity to see things not only with Human eyes, but those of a Honey Bee, and to hear things as a bat does.

S

Becoming Cyborgs…


Monday, January 24, 2011

We get to live here!

Folks,

I've taken a few photos of lunar eclipses, but never a multiple exposure as ravishing as this one created by Itahisa N. González and the Heavens over the Canary Islands.

S

Celestial Mechanical Beauty…


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Folks,

A speculation by a clever guy, delivered back in 1961. Now, this Sagan fellow figured out a lot of stuff that has turned out to be true and important, both here and above. More on that later, perhaps. But, back in the '60's, he was wondering if the clouds of ammonia and hydrogen in the atmosphere of Jupiter might seed life of a kind we do not yet know. Perhaps, as one of the ancient Greeks, Aristophanes, imagined, there was a Cloud Cuckoo Land, where creatures did float and play with beings below their loft closer to the stars.

Let's go find out.

S


http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,895649,00.html




Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Folks,

Back in 1963 a young fellah gave what is likely the finest political speech ever delivered in modern history. It is certainly the best ever recorded in audio and television. Naw… it's just the best. If you were young and weird like me back in '63, you saw him throw down the fire on a sunny day in August, and provoke a crowd of tens of thousands to peacefulness and reasonableness… you saw him stare down a man with atom bombs, sheriff's and their thugs with guns and dogs, and nothing but the facts of the matter to help The People win the day.

Well, almost. The work continues. You should listen to the attached clip of the entire oratorical monument, but there's one little bit that usually goes unquoted. He says, three times I think, "Now is the time!". Whatever the cause for peace and justice at the moment, now is the time. Now is the time. It's a notion never improved and never out of date.

Oh, and the guy was handy with a pool cue and knew a little something about how to gamble in the big time.

S



History is Fun!

Folks,

Here's one excerpt from a book that seems interesting. The topic of the excerpt is the foundations of Hinduism. The book is about the history of religion, in general. But, in this piece, Prithvira Ji lays out a plausible template for the Human social mechanisms for forging religions from our most ancient roots, across the globe.

S

How Did Our Religions Form?



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nice View from a Fascinating Neighborhood…

Folks,

Right at this moment, there are six folks making a living by working in outer space. Think about that. Humans can do this stuff. We can also take some meaningful pictures to share with folks still having their feet on the ground. A fellow named Doug Wheelock kept a little scrap book, during his time two-hundred and sixty miles above the Home World. Here are just two shots.

S


Sunset seen from orbit. Look at the gentle curve of the Earth's horizon. We know how big our world seems to us here, and even from this vantage it looms large. Then look at the thin layer of atmosphere. It is proportionally thinner than the skin of an apple stretched across that fruit… and that is all we got.


Here's a lady named Tracy. She taking a break from work, looking out the window of her office.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Uncle Al's Mistake…

Folks,

Here's an article by a fairly bright guy, a physicist named Brian Green. It's a little technical, but written for the popular audience. Anyhow, it made me remember back to when I was eleven years old. I'd just discovered the Beatles, girls, and a couple of other fascinations that caused me to cause some trouble in the coming years.

But one day, at my Uncle's house, I stumbled upon a biography of Albert Einstein. Nobody else was up in the house, so I started reading. I became wrapt. I devoured that book in one morning. Tho having no sense with math, the way the old man, dead in the year that I was born, described the flexible mesh of Space-Time was simply common sense to me. The fact that he got to his vision by pursuing a question that he'd had since he was six years old… that made sense, as well. I had been furrowing my young brow with such questions for some years, as well.

S


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Folks,


A long time ago, in 1861, a fellow named Fitzhugh Ludlow wrote these words about something that I experience today, and have since I was young; synesthesia. Here he is referring to his experience of some years earlier, after eating a chunk of hasheesh. But, as I have learned, you don't need to get chemically altered to experience this sort of stuff. Truly, the creek near your house can speak to you. Music can be seen. Colors tasted. Human feelings can be seen.

The variety of Human mind and perception is to marvel at. We are small creatures living on a dust mote in the Cosmos, but Mind is vast. This old guy's description of his own experience is just splendid in its Victorian manner.

Anyhow, if you're curious, seek out more of this guy. He was Mark Twain's confidant, and a noted American literary figure for a brief time. He did leave behind a treasure of information from the vanguard of ideas.

S

"The soul is sometimes plainly perceived to be but one in its own sensorium, while the body is understood to be all that so variously modifies impressions as to make them in the one instance smell, in another taste, another sight, and thus on, ad finem. Thus the hasheesh-eater knows what it is to be burned by salt fire, to smell colors, to see sounds, and, much more frequently, to see feelings."

I Like Ike…

Folks,

Eisenhower was an enormously underestimated civilian leader. When I was just six, I was sitting with my dad, watching our little black and white TV, as this dude that took out Hitler and kept the Soviets at bay in the aftermath WWII said so-long to public life. Dad explained that I should remember the speech, referenced below. I remember he said it had something to do with the danger of having too much power and being careless with wealth and power… that I should remember the message.

Eisenhower's words resonate even more profoundly today, than in 1961. We live in the world that he warned us of, and right now, right here, today, is more than ever the time to consider what this warrior had to offer.

S


Ike's Clear Warning…


A Very Fine China Cat…

Folks,

Here the boyz are in fine communication, and having some fun with a fine old tune. Each one of the fellahs is listening close to the others, doing his job as it comes to hand, and hammering in the rivets of a Star Ship. Serious business.

S

A Quite Nice Cat…

Folks,


A young friend was asking me about the film "2001: A Space Odyssey". When I was a kid, back in 1968, my dad took me to see it. He was thoroughly mystified. I totally got it. In fact, that experience rescued me from my teenage depression. I totally related to HAL, the computer, and knew that the unstated message was that the Humans had become machines, mistreated their electronic creation, and that's why there is hell to pay for being careless with other minds… even the ones that we would someday build with our own hands.


I was also encouraged to look to a future where Humanity might actually stumble upon an intelligence other than our own or those of our fellow species on the Home World. That may still happen in my lifetime. We'll see. I doubt that they'd come here to have us for supper, so I'm optimistic. They might also have something or another to teach us. I'm not a UFO crazy, but I do entertain the possibility that they've already been here. We might be their experiment, and our lovely piece of lint in the almost infinite vastness is a cozy petri dish that may, someday, produce something of interest upon their return.


S



  • "2001" is not like any other movie. There is only about half an hour of dialogue in the story's entire couple of hours. Visually, it borders on perfection (tho, there is a now corny trippy sequence near the end). The narrative and themes are timeless, and it is drenched in mystery. After you see it, it may take a few days, or years, of reflection to understand the story and its implications.

    What is most compelling to me, these days, is not the film as simply superb art. It is the precision with which Kubric and Clarke described the sort of Human/Machine world that we now must reckon with. Not all the tech details are right on (it was written forty years ago), but the moral and ethical issues stand firmly where we live.

    This week, IBM rolled out a computer that understands jokes and word play, and is "smarter" at answering questions thus posed than humans. That is a distinctly non-trivial achievement. It won't be long before we have to ask ourselves if it's okay to turn off such a machine… or is that murder? And, what will such machines make of their creators? Let's be sure to "program" some reverence into their circuits.


    Wow. Things are going to get stranger. Let's get on with the show!






Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Fine Story of Real Humans…

Folks,

If you were a kid back in 1966, you might remember the grownups being a little freaked out that the Captain of a star ship, a white fellow, kissed a black lady on television. Now, it was quite obvious that the beautiful woman was quite deserving of a kiss by any man that would dare approach a proud striding Human, one such as Lt. Uhura. A guy with the best star ship in the galaxy was an appropriate candidate to deliver that smooch. No big deal. Well, except he did get to kiss her. Our nation's knees turned to jelly with that momentary embrace before the commercial for Jiffy Peanut Butter.

As we approach the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr, it is interesting that MLK had a little something to do with arranging that kiss. History is fun! Who knew?

May Nichelle Nichols Live Long and Prosper.


S

Friday, January 14, 2011

Folks,

Look to the skies! This sort of show happens most every night, and you can see it if you are patient. Likely, it will not be as grand on demand as the attached photo, but the heavens are alive with sparks and fire. Happily, we get to enjoy sitting on a presently quiet cinder in the vastness. Thus, if you've got an adequate camera and a tripod, or even a rail on your porch to perch the gadget, you can make a picture like the one below. If not, you can simply look up and wait. The Universe is very patient. It waited for you.

The Quadrantid Meteor Shower is an annual event for planet Earth's northern hemisphere skygazers. It usually peaks briefly in the cold, early morning hours of January 4. The shower is named for its radiant point on the sky within the old, astronomically obsolete constellation Quadrans Muralis. That position is situated near the boundaries of the modern constellations Hercules, Bootes, and Draco. In this haunting time exposure, two quadrantid meteor streaks are captured crossing trails left by rising stars of the constellations Virgo and Corvus, but Saturn leaves the brightest "star" trail.

The meteor streaks, one bright and one faint, are nearly parallel above and right of center in the frame. Fittingly, the old cistern structure in the foreground lies above the now buried city of Qumis. Known as a city of many gates, Qumis (in Greek history Hecatompylos), was founded 2300 years ago in ancient Persia.


S

Thursday, January 13, 2011

No More Fun and Games?

Well, folks,

No more fun and games? It seems that we've built a machine to better our own minds at some things that we have always claimed as our own, alone. When will we have to tussle with a gadget that claims to have emotions? Can we ethically hit the off switch? We are coming up close to such a decision.

Watson in Jeopardy



S

The First "Real" Computer…

Ladies and Joymz,

A bunch of true British loonies are about to rebuild the first machine that might be called a modern, electronic computer. At the risk of delving into ethnic stereotyping, I must say that geekiness is best conveyed with an English accent. Think Q from the Bond films. John Cleese. It's just better done with those clipped consonants and the sneering tone attached to even a friendly greeting.

Anyhow, our cousins in Great Britain have taken on a fine enterprise. They are rebuilding, as best as one can today, the very first machine that we might recognize as a modern, electronic computer. The thing will have the power of, oh, say a wrist watch. It will fill a big room. But, if there is a heaven, Allen Turing is smiling, saying "I told you so!" as he twiddles the knobs on a truly Universal Computer.

The Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator


S

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Scarlet Slathered in Begonias on The Golden Shore…

Folks,

Well, well, well, here we go… you might want to take about a quarter hour out of your future to look a little furthur. The boyz and The Grateful Dead Show step deep into this little jam. Keep you sneakers laced, 'cuz it will get messy.

Scarlet Dances to the Golden Shore



S

Hello, Earth!

Folks,

Morning and Evening meet over Graz, Austria, about a week ago. Thank you Robert Pölzl.

Eclipse Seen from Graz…


S

A Luscious View…

Folks,

Here's what you get with a friendly Home Star, lot's of ice crystals in the air, and a view from near our World's poles… if you look to the sky at just exactly the perfect moment of a certain hour on a certain day in all the history of Creation, you get to see a circle 'round the Sun.

The specific location was Stockholm, Sweden, a few days ago.


S

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sanity and Reason?

Folks,


Don't mistake a satirist for a comedian. It is utterly pathetic that these guys are the best voice of reason and sound analysis of society, today. Still, folks like Mark Twain, Ben Franklin, Jon Swift, have always been the ones to rely on when things are horribly bewildering. This commentary by Jon Stewart is dead on, sincere, and aimed at the heart.


Jon Stewart's Take on the Arizona Shooting…




S

Monday, January 10, 2011

For Posterior?

Back in Shape…

Folks,

Here's a few cuts from right after dumb ol' Garcia got somewhat back in good shape for a spell. His fingers worked again, as did the band. They worked hard and thoroughly did their jobs. Bobby Weir sings like a dragon looking for a fight; like a dragon that don't give a damn, but is eager. Doomed Brent Mydland breaks hearts with foreboding known only to him of what was down the Road of The Blues. The eight limbed drummer nails stars to the heavens. Lesh makes it all throb like that big dragon's heart. Not a beat is missed. The mighty Grateful Dead blazed once again, and you can hear all the kids in the The Grateful Dead Show lend their hearts and voices.

When the boyz tear into "Not Fade Away", I can see Buddy Holly smiling from Heaven at what they done with his little song. Tens of thousands of voices join in testifying that love that's real does not fade away, while twice as many hands clap out that rhythm borrowed from the Bantu of the Congo, appropriated by old Bo Diddley, and stolen by Holly for furthur good purpose.

Then the recoding ends with one of the most perfect, simple lyrics, and a stately guitar statement. Those make the rest of the music behind Garcia, the gushing of the bass, the pulsing drums, the keys and the rhythm guitar that rings like banging on steel beams into a an invisible magic carpet.

Yeah… I will die happy knowing that I got to be a small part of The Grateful Dead Show. Those chronic unemployables couldn't have pulled it off without me and a few of my friends; you maybe likely among them.

Spring 1988…


S

A Wail From Beyond the Grave…

Folks,

Here is some delicious, jazzy work by mid-'70s Grateful Dead. When the jam gets deep into the paisley pudding, right at the heart of "Scarlet" beautiful Donna Jean executes a most acute wail from beyond the grave, a cry that insist that the ghosts must come back to The Dance. The jam into "Fire" and beyond is to weep for… deft.

A Prophet & Scarlet on Fire


Listen now, as it will only be up for a week!

S

Sunday, January 9, 2011

American Reality…

Folks,

Now, here are a bunch of amateur hillbillies  figurin' out how to put it all together presentable to the locals. They passed pretty well, thanks in much to Hunter's well put words and some fellers that could passably play a tune… when pressed.

Cumberland Blues…


S

Not my usual drivel…

Well, Folks,

Here's a recommendation to a remarkable book. You may have seen Peter Coyote as the compassionate doctor who took care of E.T, in that movie. That is the slimmest sliver of his history. In his memoir is a tale of earnest striving, foolhardy courage, full throttle love, and some triumph in a day when the odds were most against those that dared to change not only their culture, but their own hearts. This fellow was not a'freared of taking on a doomed mission. He tells the story without a shred of self promotion, and great honesty.

"Sleeping Where I Fall"


S

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Remix of Earth…

Folks,

Back in 1977, Earthers launched a pair of robots into the heavens, Voyagers One and Two. Today they are at the very edge of our solar system. One of them created the first family album of our home system, and in that a pale blue dot caught was in a sun beam from a vantage of four billion miles from the ground where its guts were forged.

Attached to the sides of these robots are golden phonograph discs. Yes. There were such things, once. Anyhow, etched onto their surfaces where simple images of our world's place in the home system, images of a man and a woman, the DNA helix, and a little bit of math to help the aliens decode what laid in the grooves below those images. That was an assortment of the sounds of Earth. Babies crying, folks speaking in myriad tongues, and a bunch of music from all over our planet, circa the end of the 20th century.

Reportedly, one or both of these records have been intercepted, and we are now given the gift of a remix from some twelve billion above our heads, or below our feet, depending on your local hour and where you stand, the season, and the tides of gravity bending Space and Time.

Good Weird Aural Fun… "Scrambles of Earth". Just hit the links on the upper right of the screen to receive your messages.


S

Friday, January 7, 2011

Warm Up Pitch…

Folks,


There's a lake in Antarctica, called Vostok. It's buried under about three miles of ice, and nothing above the surface has touched it for around fourteen million years. A Russian team is about to drill thru all that ice to taste the water in the hidden lake, and do so without mucking up the data with contamination.


This is interesting, as there is another body of water under ice, far away on the Jovian moon, Europa. It looks like a place where life might thrive, or at least survive. Earthers plan to send a robot there in 2020… just to see what might be up. What the Russians are doing is the first demonstration of the tech required for a competent exploration of that moon.


By the way, if you've got even a small telescope or a nice set of binoculars and a view of Jupiter, take a gander that'away. You'll see four small stars by the big planet, ones not visible to the naked eye. Go back in, get warm, and when you go back out in a quarter hour, you will see that those stars moved about their father planet. Those are the principle Jovian moons, and you will have witnessed exactly what so stunned Galileo and all of civilization in 1610. Now, very soon, we may touch one of those stars and see what is beneath a mantle of ice. It might be something that will talk back to us.


Getting Ready for Europa to get more info on the Russian mission.




S

Good, Clean Scientific Fun!

Folks,


A Nice Picture of The Theory of EVERYTHING from Garret Lisi, courtesy of TED.

S

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Very Leaky WikiLeaks

Folks,

Is it surprising? Assange, as gallant as his mission may be, is not spotless. Dang! Reality!!!


Nothing is Simple.

S

It's not that hard?

Folks,

With many kilos of fissionable material, high grade Uranium and Plutonium lost just in the USA, discounted as an "accounting error", it is well to ponder how easy it was for a couple of college students to design a workable atom bomb from scratch. This was back in the '60s that the kids did it, and it took less than three years for them. I'm astounded that it's a problem for many nations on Earth to pull off the same feat. Or, have they?

Hey, kids, let's build an atom bomb!


S

More Geekiness!

Folks,

Okay, enough weirdness. Back to geeky stuff. If you're as old as me, you might have laid your hands on the first commercial computer that worked like the one under your fingertips. Well, that's not likely, no matter how old you are. Apple could not sell a lot of $10,000 computers in the early '80s, and hasn't tried since.

In many ways, the Apple Lisa still surpasses the junk we put up with today. It was far from perfect, due to the pokey CPUs of the late '70s. Still, if you've got an iPad or other iOS device, you can see its legacy continue in the guise of something you can fit into you backpack or pocket.

S

The Birth of Lisa…



And, Wiki's entry…

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

And, in the End…


 
Compiled and Edited by Steven Solomon © 1992


Who Killed Kennedy?

Sources close to both men during the mid-fifties claim that the Doktor had transmitted an encoded cable to Saurian sometime in late September, 1956. Allegedly, the purpose of this secret communication was to alert the Professor to an opportunity with the then up-and-coming Bulgarian Security Agency. Thanks to the recent opening of the formerly communist eastern nations, we do know that on September 28th, a top-level delegation of Bulgarian scientists and intelligence officers left Sofia for New York City via diplomatic air-transport. The mission is said to have included Angel Karpov, father of the Bulgarian biological-warfare program.


We can surmise that this delegation had been dispatched in an effort to both substantiate Saurian's credentials and, that provided, to induce him to work on behalf of their nascent neurological-espionage enterprise. In large measure, this theory is buttressed by the following cable sent to Doktor D, intercepted by the American National Security Administration, and now attributed to Saurian.


"HELLO-DOK-STOP-NO-TIME-TO-CHAT-STOP-OFF-TO-
BREAKFAST-WITH-SOPHY-STOP-THANX-FOR-
INTRO-STOP-WILL-CALL-SOON-STOP-A-S"



Strangely, Saurian did not soon call, nor was he again seen or heard from, until late in the year 1959. In fact, the only clue to Saurian's disappearance on or about September 29th, 1956, is to be found in a yellowed and incomplete N.Y.C. police report. According to the filing officer, a Sgt Sidensticker, a call was made to the South Bronx precinct house at 5:47 on the morning of the 29th. The proprietor of the Howling Street meat-rendering plant, a Mr. Chiam Potemkin, reported seeing what appeared to be a kidnapping taking place less than a block from his establishment.


According to Mr. Potemkin and several employees then arriving to work, a lone individual was observed standing in the shadows at the end of the block. This individual seemed suspicious, apparently waiting for something or someone even as the morning sun had only begun to illumine the city skyline to the west. Their description of this individual, confirmed by no less than five persons, matches that of Saurian. At 5:25AM, as witnessed through the west window of the Howling Street shop, a black, four-door sedan of foreign make careened into view at high speed.


Mr. Potemkin is quoted as follows: "The car runs at this guy, making him to high-tail it toward the wall at the river. They barely stop the car; almost smash into him. Four guys, big guys, guys in black coats, leather coats- they jump out from the car and grab the other guy. They grab him and push him inside and the guy driving mashes the pedal and they head along the river road and out of sight. That's it. That's what I seen. Ask them. They'll tell you. That's what I seen." Lacking any report of a missing person matching the description of the man apparently abducted at Howling Street, the case was soon dropped.
What to make of this? One can only conclude that Saurian had been inadvertently set-up for kidnapping by his dear friend, Doktor D. Shortly after the Professor's disappearance, the Bulgarians are known to have made unprecedented strides in neurological espionage, developing, among other devices, the Gas Operated Mycological Poison Umbrella Gun. 


Soon, advances in covertly delivering heretofore unimaginably devastating neurotoxins led the Bulgarians to a lucrative and long-lived career as the Soviet's covert contractor of choice. They were tops in such sensitive operations as assassinating defecting physicists, intelligence operatives, and expatriate novelists, cellists and ballerinas. Their alacrity with rare and little studied neurochemicals had Saurian's imprimatur all over it.


We do not precisely know how Saurian effected his release from behind the rusty curtain of Bulgaria's scientific gulag. Legend has it that he escaped during the explosion of a biological-warfare center, located on the outskirts of Varna, on the Black Sea. This catastrophe is thought to have rendered millions of hectares of land permanently uninhabitable. Of the several hundred workers said to be at the site, there were no known survivors except, we are led to believe, the Professor.


That he once worked toward nefarious ends against his will is all but certain. That he spent those days indentured to the Bulgarian spy-masters constantly plotting his escape is an equal surety. That those days gave birth to a festering grudge toward the good Doktor is, alas, likewise assured. As Saurian finally reemerges in the West, it is on the occasion of a meeting of the infamous Adelphion Club, the Doktor being among its members. We may reliably guess that Saurian's alleged impromptu tracheotomy of Doktor D was not strictly medically prescribed, but prompted in part by a rage that only blood would cure. From that day on, November 13th, 1959, neither man would ever again refer to the other nor acknowledge their prior spiritual and scientific kinship.


Following the Adelphion incident, Saurian again disappears from view for some four years. Where he goes and what he is doing, are utterly unknown. In fact, the first documented sighting of the Professor in the decade of the sixties occurs on November 22nd, 1963. At that time, he and I made our second personal encounter. The following memo tells the inexplicable but true story. Suppressed for three decades by timid publishers and fearful attorneys, it appears here for the first time.
Ed.
More… 

Memo
To: Chris Pierson, Managing Editor; Sensational Crime Publications
Fr: Steven Solomon, Freelance Assignments
Re: Truth Stranger than Fiction
Dt: November 24th, 1963

Okay, Chris, here's a chance to make good on that whole episode surrounding the Russian Mafia story. Not wishing to stir up unpleasantness, I might still mention the hundred and twenty-five dollars, plus expenses, that you folks owe me. I'm even willing to forget about the hospital bills, just to put it all behind us. Let's move on and focus on the present. I've got an amazing story for you! That is, if you have cash up front and the guts to see this tale to print.


What follows are the broad strokes. Details will be forthcoming upon receipt of a cashier's check in the amount of $956.


I was in Dallas, intending to collect background for a feature on the Texas/Cuba heroin pipeline. Dance a More, our associate at Real True Crime, had me working on spec, nothing up front but a reservation at the Charter Oak Motel (hourly rates available). Intending to be in town only overnight, I had less than thirty-dollars in my pocket; enough for meals and the train back to Chicago. When I arrived at the hotel, I found that RTC was in arrears and their business was no longer welcomed. It all had something to do with a damaged ceiling in room #378, a damaged floor in #478, some burned-up furniture, an exploded bed and a Mexican cleaning lady held hostage by RTC's new Assistant Editor, Thompson.


I was on the street and there wasn't another room to be found. The President, as you know, was due in the very next morning. Of course, Kennedy would soon have his own unpropitious rendezvous with destiny, but more on that later. For my part, I was to sleep the night of the 21st on a sticky floor in the Dallas Metro station. I hoped to leave on the 7:AM to Chicago.


T'was not to be. Around six AM, I awoke to an insistent rap-rap-rapping upon my skull. In my first drowsy awareness of the situation, I feared that I was being rolled. Can one be rolled while already procumbent, face down upon the floor? Turning over, I apprehended, in no small horror and disgust, the hoary visage of a bedraggled vagrant. He was tapping on my head with his left shoe. And, a smelly and unwholesome shoe it was, by God!
I swiftly, instinctively, wrested the odoriferous footwear away from the odd stranger who crouched over me. Without begging pardon for his interference in my fitful dreams, I proceeded to beat him perforce about the head and shoulders. Strangely, even as I struck him and hollered for assistance, he made no effort to defend himself. He only giggled, ineffectually swatting at my incoming blows with one hand, digging in his vest pocket with the other. At length, and after no intervention by eye-averting passers-by, my tormentor produced a soiled business-card and offered it to me.


I continued to thrash him, even as I took the card and quickly scanned its inscription. Immediately, I was taken aback in confusion and the beating stopped. The card read: Anton Saurian, Ph.D. Freelance Neuropharmacology and Political Troubleshooting for Hire. Could it be? Could this be the same man that I had seen hanged lo those many years ago in Laoag... and what was he doing here... what had happened to him and why was he bothering me?


For several seconds, I stared into those eyes deep-set in grime and matted hair. In silence he stared back at me, smiling cryptically. Finally, he spoke: "Ya gonna buy me a drink? Bars open in twenty-minutes and I got a thirst, fellah.".


"Who the fuck are you?", I asked, already knowing the answer. This was, indeed, El Professoro... filthy, smelly, but unmistakably the great man, himself.


"You know who I am. Let's go. There's a bar on Munger Street. We still got six hours of drinkin' before they..."


"How did you find me? What do you want with me? And, how the hell are you still alive? I saw you hanged!"


Again, he giggled, gently taking his shoe from my hand and pulling it over an unspeakably fragrant left foot. "Welp, findin' ya was easy. A coupl'a calls to former employers, folks ya owed money to, owed you money, whatever. Now, why? That's gonna take some talkin' n' a few drinks. I'm momentarily between opportunities, so yer buyin', okay." He sprang to his feet on still wiry legs and headed toward the door. I could not but follow.


As we traversed the few blocks toward Munger Street and Bob's Saloon, Saurian remained several steps ahead of me. At a breathless jog, I called out for him to slow, but he would not. Meanwhile, questions raced through my mind, not least among them, what is with the hobo act ? The Saurian once known to me was erudite, well spoken. Was this a disguise ?
Although he somewhat resembled the man I had seen those years before, this fellow had the language and bearing of a real down n' outer, one of the army of chronic unemployed and incorrigible minor felons lately filling our nation's streets.


These are the flotsam of two American generations at war around the world. They are often traumatized veterans, government trained killers, who now people the mental wards and rail-road yards, the motorcycle gangs and soup kitchens of our cities and by-ways and the hills north and south and east and west of anywhere that decent people deign to live. They are among us yet a world apart from safe, sane, and productive folk. Our sight moves instinctively away from people like this. I reflect, if this is a disguise, it is perfect! Who cares to remember the poor hobo, the nameless bum, the reeling drunk, the crazy on the street?


Laughing hideously as he dove through the entrance to Bob's, Saurian cried, "Set 'em up, Bub! I'm drinkin' on my friend, 'ere...". The place stank of stale beer, cigarettes, old perfume and vomit. By the look and aroma of the place, I reckoned I was about to drink in the seventh level of Hell. Saurian wheeled on well-worn heels to plop his derriere onto one of the spinning stools at the bar. He spun and circled a hand in the air with the flourish of either a matador or a very, very serious drunk: "Give us the usual, Tearbender!".


The Tearbender complied, snapping two shot glasses and a bottle of Four Feathers onto the bar. He then wiped out a pair of eight-ounce pilsners with a filthy rag. Into each, with military precision, he deposited the contents of one egg, four ounces of tomato juice, a healthy spoonful of horse-radish, two jiggers of cheap vodka, two fingers of old coffee grounds and a short blast of pink, liquid antacid. Saurian downed this mess without bothering to stir, and offered same to me. I declined, preferring the beguiling warmth of straight whiskey at breakfast.


Thus began one of the most intriguing and confusing conversations I am sure that I will ever have. Whiskey now in hand, Saurian leaned forward into my face. With the obnoxious breath of one who has been drinking for days unceasing, he informed me; "I'm undercover, you know. In this way, dissembling as one of the common riffraff, I have come to be well known and well liked in these parts. They trust me here." His tone had the character of that man that I had once met and perhaps knew so slightly but well enough. He spoke in a conspiratorial hush. "I am so glad that I found you. I need to tell the truth about what is to happen today. I need to clear my name. The authorities will surely try to blame me. That I will be arrested and tortured is all but certain."


"I beg your pardon?"


"The Kennedy assassination."


"Huh?"

We resume our story as your earnest reporter is confronted with Saurian's horrifying, some would say unbelievable revelations concerning the impending assassinaion of then President John F. Kennedy. The scene is Bob's Saloon on Munger Street in Dallas. It is the early morning and we are already drinking heavily. The following text is transcribed verbatim from my memo of November 24, 1963 to Chris Pierson, Managing Editor, Sensational Crime Publications.
Saurian implored me, "You must write down what I am about to tell you. You must tell the world. The people of Earth must know the truth." I was utterly befuddled. I could not tell if my head was already reeling from the liquor or the stink of Saurian's breath. Regardless, his words made no sense to me.


He grabbed the pen from my shirt pocket and stuffed it in my left hand. He smeared a half-soaked cocktail napkin upon the bar and gestured that I should begin writing. "I have been doing important research these past few years... extraordinary research... it has led me into contact with certain, uh, forces... yes, certain forces, intelligences, intelligences hidden from view, beyond the ken of the average person or even highest placed officials... are you getting this?"


I was not. I was staring blankly at him. "Did you say something about killing the President? You said something about killing the President."


"Yes, I'm about to get to that."


"Um- shouldn't we tell somebody? Why are telling this to me? What about the police?"


"Hah! You think I haven't thought of that!?! I would not be believed. They've already been warned and have taken no precautions. By now, I'm sure the fix is in. They are ready to invoke the cover-up, even as final preparations for the shooting fall into place. Therefore, I have sought you out, for you can serve to authenticate of my story. Please note the time."


It was 7:18 AM, the morning of November 22nd, 1963. I so duly recorded upon our improvised legal instrument and, at Saurian's direction, affixed my initials. He took the pen and signed his own, saying; "I will forward this document for authentication by the appropriate government experts. They will be reviewing everything, once it's all gone down. There will be an investigation, of course. I want to be sure that my testimony is heard. It is important to history, to humankind."*


Saurian distractedly swirled an index finger through the dregs of his awful cocktail as he continued. His tone was less of urgency than resignation. "At 12:30PM, today, the President will be shot. It will occur as his motorcade drives through Dealey Plaza. I want you to know, I want the world to know, that I am not involved. I am innocent. Further, the true perpetrators of this heinous crime might never be known if not for the deposition that I am about to give and that you must make public. They will try to stop you. They will laugh at you. They will attempt to destroy your credibility and my own. In fact, they may well try to have me killed, for I know the truth."


He leaned a bit closer, significantly violating my personally space and, with a sudden gravity of dire proportions, implored; "Promise me, for the sake of humanity, do whatever is required to publish the truth, no matter what it takes or how long it takes. The world must know!"


I poured another shot, stealing myself both from his sulfurous exhalations and for the revelation to come. I asked him, "So, tell me, where did this plot to kill Kennedy begin? Cuba? The Kremlin?"


"Oh, no. It's the aliens, of course. The Alien Force!"


Feigning comprehension, I nodded at the bizarre reply. In truth, I now reckoned that old Professor Saurian had gone dotty, demented, his brain no doubt riddled with puss and rum-filled lesions. I threw back another blast of liquor, considered my own reply and inquired, "You're having a grand ol' time at my expense, aren't you? Did you hunt me down just for a few shits and giggles and free drinks? You know, I'm a little too tired and way too busy for this."


"Oh, come now! I know all about you. My contacts have kept me abreast of your activities. I like to monitor my press, you know. No, you've got nowhere else to go in a big hurry, and you surely can use the money that a major story would bring. Hell, this might get you out of the minor league and into the majors, you know."
"I'm leaving." I turned to go, but he grabbed my arm.


"Wait... alright! Look, I'll buy." Saurian reached down, into his right sock, and pulled out a wad of bills. He peeled off three hundred-dollar notes from the top and stuffed the rest back in the sock. He took one of the bills and placed it on the bar, stuffing the others into my shirt pocket. "This should more than compensate you for your time, eh."


Two hundred bucks was more money than I'd seen for a job since the "Case of the Chrome Nun", three years ago. What the fuck, I'll write whatever he wants. "Okay, spill your guts." I took pen in hand, slurped up a fresh pile of napkins and motioned Saurian to hold forth.


"Very good. Here's the straight scoop, the real poop. First, the background, as you folks call it. For the past few years, I have been conducting highly secret research into advanced mental abilities. The work has been financed by my -oh call it a day job- political problem solving for various governments and would-be governments. In any case, this research has afforded me a glimpse into realms of human experience well beyond the scope of the ordinary: teleperception, distance viewing, that sort of thing. It was in this line of experimentation that I happened onto the secret of Alien Force."


"Alien Force- that's capitalized?"


"Quite. Now, you see, it had come to my telepathic attention, that since the dawn of the Atomic Age, we had become the object of some concern to a certain higher intelligence, one that is abroad in the galaxy..."


"How's that?"


"By telepathing. We, the higher intelligence and I, communicate across the void of space through mental energy. It's really not that difficult; you just need the right kind of drugs, and plenty of them."


"I see." The old man was nuts, that's what I saw. The preeminent criminal mind of our era had decayed into just another dipsy-doodle hop-head, a drug-addled mental case. He did have cash, though. As far as I was concerned, I was just working a job. Pouring yet another drink, I let him continue.


"This force, since, oh, 1943, has been taking an ever more active role in our planet's development. They are chiefly concerned with the continued evolution of the presently dominant terrestrial species, the cockroach..."


"The cockroach?"


"Quite."


"Alright, I just want to make sure I'm getting this all down. Please, go ahead."


"Oh, I know that you think they're crazy, mistaking the cockroach for the prime species on the planet, but really, try to see it from the alien point of view. These lowly insects eat our food, eat us, for that matter. They live in our homes. They live anywhere they damn well please, actually. We can't stomp them out. They breed like, well, cockroaches! Gracious me, they'll be here long after we and all our misbegotten works have departed up the ash plume of nuclear Armageddon.


Now, it is this last matter that most gravely concerns Alien Force, and first brought humanity to their attention. Sturdy as those bugs are, the near-term likelyhood of a planetary atomic conflagration, while not posing a death-knoll to Cockroachdom, would certainly present a stumbling block on the path to higher insect consciousness and the great promise that it portends. Thus, Alien Force has determined to intervene in human politics."


Saurian paused as Bob came by to check on our progress with that bottle of whiskey. Progress was, indeed, mind-numbingly substantial. I rejoined, "So, uh, that's why they want to kill Kennedy- to save the cockroaches."


"Dear me, no! Kennedy is one of them."


"One of the cockroaches?"


"No! One of the Alien Force, my boy."


"Of course. How dull of me. Go on." It was now just past eight in the morning. I asked Bob for a cup of coffee. When it arrived, I poured in two fingers of Four Feathers.
"Here is the crux of the matter. Our beloved President is a genetically altered being, an alien imposter in the guise of John F. Kennedy."


"So, where's the real JFK?"


"Hah! The old man made a deal. Through Alien Force infiltration of international trade, it was arranged to get Honey Fitz the exclusive licensing of all scotch whiskey imported to North America. To sweeten the pot, the aliens threw in a sizable sum of cash, gold and diamonds. In return, he handed over his kid, then a Senator and potential presidential candidate. Poor Jack, I suppose there's nothing left of him today, but a stuffed exhibit in an alien museum. Tut-tut."


"But, uh, how'd they know he'd win the election? I mean, he's Catholic, and all."


"Really, do you think they're stupid? Nixon's one of them, too. Rather botched the job on that one; an early attempt at synthesizing a human being. Something of a brute, but they say he'll live just about forever if he's not put down."


"Put down?"


"Yes, a stake through the heart, a silver bullet, that sort of thing. Good God, the cold-gutted bastard scares even his makers. But, I digress. You see, the problem is, from the point of view of Alien Force, their Kennedy has gone native! He's turned, forgotten whom he's working for. A dreadful turn of events."


"More napkins, please."


"Certainly. Now, Kennedy, rather than obsequiously doing his job, reporting back to Alien Force, trying not to make too bad a muddle of things, is instead having a merry old time impersonating the leader of the Free World; movie-star babes in the Lincoln Bedroom, a glamorous and obedient wife downstairs, a gaggle of Brillcreamed, over-educated syncophants at his beckon call and mobsters available to kill anybody he desires made gone- and he's got his own army, navy and air force! Good gravy, he's twice brought the planet to the brink of nuclear disaster."


"Twice?"


"Oh, yes! The second time was never made public. Made the Cuban troubles look like a polite squabble between playground chums. As the aliens see it, Kennedy has to be brought back to the fold."


"Uh-huh..." I pour yet more whiskey and signal Bob for another coffee. I suddenly recall that I haven't eaten since yesterday, noon, and those pickled eggs on the shelf start to look real good. I plunk over a small ransom for something that would have last been termed food prior to the Korean conflict. "...so, they're going to kill him?"


"Well, that wasn't the initial plan. It's now quite complicated, really. You see, originally it went like this: Central controlled operatives, at the top of the CIA, put into action a program to 'take out' the President; not to kill him, but to reclaim him and get him home for some serious reprogramming. The assassination attempt was merely an expedient ploy, a red herring, to cover the reappropriation of the psuedo-Kennedy.


Of course, the damned NSA, acting in league with the Vatican, certain banking interests and anti-flouridation radicals within the American Dentistry Association, put the kibosh on that! Not that they had the slightest idea what they were really doing."


I bit into that first slimy egg. It was tepid-warm; the jar had been sitting under the illuminated sign that read: "Just Ask for the Handsome Waiter." It tasted like old sea weed and its yolk was green and rubbery hard. I took another and slurped it down whole; better than to chew it. "Wad'dya mean?"


"The NSA and company were not under Central's control. They did, however, know that something was afoot over at CIA, something concerning the President's ill-advised and incautiously planned trip to Dallas. They wanted in on the franchise! Acting independently, NSA seized on the presidential motorcade as the perfect opportunity to repay a debt owed on certain crimes against The Natural Order of Things. Thus, a second assassination plot was set in motion, outside the purvue of Central's planning."


The whiskey was about gone. I finished my coffee. It was almost nine in the morning, and those salt-cured pig's knuckles were looking quite delectable. I requested the Maitre-de bring over the jar, and more coffee, too. You know, the best part of a pig's knuckle is the hard to get, fatty gristle between the toes. At the time, this seemed a striking metaphor for journalism. Between bites and frantic slurps of acid brew, I asked, "Why don't your aliens just put a stop to it, huh?"


"These folks are not omnipotent. There's only so much that even a higher intelligence can control. They saw what was happening, but had too little time to take action. No, it was determined to back off and let the humans do the dirty work."


Brine slobbered across my chin. A piece of cartilage stuck between my top, front teeth. "Great. So, Kennedy's going to be killed?"


"Most likely. The terrestrial agents have brought in three expert shooters from around the world; Mafia, French Foreign Legion, U.S. Marines, the best. My bet is, a fellow named Lee Oswald will score the hit; he's the best of the bunch, a crack shot, a geek with nerves of steel. The Central forces could strike peremptorily, but so doing would add no opportunity to take JFK from the clutches of the surrounding terrestrials. No, they'll just hope for the best. Worst thing that can happen is that the President winds up dead or at least horribly wounded, permanently incapacitated, probably a mental vegatable. In any case, the problem of the moment will be eliminated."


After another hour of drinking booze and coffee, and loony exposition on Saurian's part, he excused himself to the men's room. I took the opportunity to get on the phone and call the cops. I drunkenly informed them of a plot to kill the President and hung up quickly, hoping they would have no time to trace the call. As I stumbled back to my seat, I felt pretty silly. Of course, I hadn't really believed a word that Saurian had said. Obviously, the man was delusional.


He returned presently, and ordered up another bottle of whiskey. We drank and chatted aimlessly for another two hours; he being in an oddly serene state of mind for a man ostensibly possessed of such horrible knowledge. I would have preferred to quit the place, but this was a physical impossibility; I was far too drunk to walk. I contemplated sleeping the afternoon in Bob's backroom, as Saurian prattled on about subjects ranging from quantum physics to the social ecology of Cairo.


At 12:23PM, two men entered the bar. They were dressed in black suits and black hats. Something about them said FBI, but they identified themselves as Dallas Police. Approaching Saurian, they momentarily drew their identification, exposing holstered pistols in the process, and returned the ID too quickly to be examined. Making no move, not even looking toward Bob nor me, they placed Saurian in cuffs. They seemed to know exactly who they had come for and he offered no resistance. "Tell the world the truth!", were his last words as he was led away.


At 12:30, I was negotiating with another coffee cup, now well full of whiskey, hoping to arrange its transport to my rubbery lips without spillage. I intended to sober up and head downtown, see if I could be of any help to Saurian. He might have been nuts, but I still had a soft-spot for the old guy. Besides, I wanted to know why he'd been arrested. The cops hadn't said a word and I'd been too smashed to dare involve myself. As I weaved toward the door, a news flash came over the TV. It was 12:32PM. President Kennedy had been shot and was presumed to be badly injured, perhaps dying.


Over the course of the next few hours, virtually everything that Saurian had told me concerning the assassination was confirmed- at least everything pertaining to the specifics of the crime. Oswald, Dealey Plaza, the timing, all was perfectly correct. Later that day, as the police rounded up suspects and witnesses, Saurian could be seen among a group of three men, identified only as hobos, being taken into custody. Their identities and present fate remain unknown to the public. As to who the true perpetrators of Kennedy's killing were, and what were the real reasons behind the plot, this reporter and our nation, may never know.



Future Evolution & What Passes for Intelligence
But for a stroke of supreme good fortune, the exploits of Professor Saurian in the thirty years following President Kennedy's assassination might well have remained a source of eternal mystery. Indeed, it was merely by the inadvertent release of certain formerly classified materials from the vaults of American military intelligence, and a subsequent thread of loosely tied evidence, that we have any evidence of Saurian's survival and release from government custody.


Our first inidication of Saurian's whereabouts in the year 1964 waited until a 1982 suit filed by American Vietnam veterans against the United States Army. This class action involved the notorious Army Intelligence program, code-named MK Ultra. That twenty-year effort involved the use of powerful, mind-bending chemicals upon unwitting U.S. servicemen. The intention of the covert program was to discover substances useful as battlefield weapons, aides to interrogation, and enhancements to the mental and physical performance of our own troops. MK Ultra ended in a fire-storm of controversy when it became known to veteran's groups and the media, that our own personnel had been used as guinea pigs.


Important to our story was a precursor to MK Ultra; an earlier effort, clandestinely posed as a research program through the University of California at Berkeley. There, in 1964, a team of government sponsored psychiatrists headed by a Colonel Gordon Bethune engaged in an experiment designed to develop chemicals capable of intelligence augmentation and the conscious control of so-called extra-sensory abilities,


Among such hoped for abilities were telekenesis, telepathy, and distance-viewing for the purpose of espionage. It was during the MK Ultra trial that certain documents came to light, revealing the existence of the Berkeley experiment. Seen as of little consequence at the time, the extensive and largely uncensored reports of Bethune's experiments hint to the informed eye of the presence of a man of remarkable talent among the test group.
Could Professor Saurian have been one of the supposedly unknowing subjects recruited from the halls of academia and the gutters of Oakland to participate in the government's program of mind-expansion and control? Following are several brief excerpts from Bethune's copious records, each giving strength to this possibility.
Ed.
September 14th, 1964:


The selection of our experimental subjects is complete: twelve white males, aged nineteen to thirty-four from the list of eighty applicants answering our advertisement in the Herald. The classified offered fifty dollars per week, free meals and a bed for anyone wishing to take part in a two-week experiment in the mental benefits of high dose vitamin supplements.


Most applicants fell into one of two groups: Berkeley students and bums. A number of individuals from both groups were selected out due to difficulties with their livers. Several were also found to be demented, and were relegated to a pool for a subsequent study to be conducted directly through U.S. Army Intelligence.


Of the subject group, five are under-graduate students. None possess a background that would garner them significant insight into our real purpose here. Two of our subjects identify themselves as novelists by trade; that is, out of work and living with friends in the Haight. Four subjects are self-admitted winos, but in good enough physical shape and alert enough to satisfy experimental protocols. One individual indicated that he was a freelance political troubleshooter, whatever that means. He may be emotionally disturbed, but still did well enough on the standard tests.


September 19th, 1964:


The subject group reported for their stay with us. They are now dormed in the west wing of the university infirmary. It has been quarantined for the duration of the experiment. Campus officials and the local media have been informed that this action has been required to control a minor outbreak of viral encephalitis among patients and staff on the wing.


Following admission, all subjects received a second standard test to determine each individual's baseline performance. There were few surprises, although our "political troubleshooter", Subject K, continues to be a bit of a puzzlement. His performance on the post-admission test was slightly but significantly higher than on the first exam.
He scored an improbable 58.7% on the standard three-card distance viewing exam, and several points over probability in the random event sequence test. Queried as to his activities and possible self-medication in the past five days, he responded only to the extent that he was "very excited about our work, here", and that he had gotten a jump on things by devising his own vitamin regimen.


The Chief Physician states that our admitting physical exam of Subject K reveals no anomalies whatsoever; no substances in his blood. to either vindicate nor disprove the veracity of his weird statements. Given that all other indications leave him within our desired profile, we will proceed. Other subjects show no cause for our concern or reconsideration.


September 21st, 1964


There is definitely something strange about Subject K. Or, something is terribly wrong with our study. K has been performing consistently ahead of other subjects, apparently showing great benefit from initial dosages. At this early point in the experiment, we have administered only a threshold dosage of a single substance; Impremamine HCl3. All subjects have received the same weight-adjusted dosage.


Thus, I am mystified, as are my medical colleagues, by K's performance this evening. During the night's first set of random event predictions, in a run of two-thousand cycles on the event generator, Subject K clocked an astounding 1,328 correct predictions! In our second and concluding run, that figure rose to 1,577. Probability indicates a likely maximum of 1,200 correct guesses per run, that is simply by chance. Other subjects are attaining scores of significantly less than 1,200, indicating that a small dose of Impremamine HCl3, is actually of no value in improving performance in this area.
What then is the source of Subject K's rapidly growing predicative facility? The Men Behind the Mirror are starting to ask hard to answer questions. I realize that I must have answers, and soon.

September 22nd, 1964


In consultation with our medical professionals under the direction of the Men Behind the Mirror, it has been decided to isolate Subject K from the test group. We will begin a new regimen of testing on K alone, beginning tomorrow morning. The purpose of this new protocol is interrogation.


Nobody on the team is quite sure what we are dealing with. Excitable as they are, some of the PsyOps boys suggest that we have come across a true savant. Others suspect a ruse, a sham, or worse; a plant directed and controlled by the Opposition. For myself, I have trouble with all these alternatives. Still, it is clear that we have a real anomaly in the person of Subject K.


I will meet the Emergency Subject K Working Group at 06-hundred hours. The medical professionals will administer a Protocol-X regime of recently developed cortical depressants, Dimethyltryptomine and experimental CNS stimulants; state of the art truth serum. As you well know, Protocol-X permits, as one potential outcome, the accidental destruction of the subject. I have been instructed that Subject K must reveal to us the secret of his prodigious talent, or be disposed of as a possible security risk.


September 23rd, 1964


06:03- Subject K is led to Isolation Suite #7. He asked no questions regarding the early hour at which he was roused, nor the deviation from his usual morning routine of baseline physical and intelligence tests. He cheerfully chatted with the medical team as he was secured to the gurney, wired to the encephalogram, heart-monitor, and intravenous tubes were attached to his right arm. Intravenous administration of cortical depressant begins.
06:14- The first effect of the treatment begins swiftly. Breathing slows, brain waves dip into deep theta, and the Chief Physician observes full dilation of the subject's pupils.
06:19- Subject K appears to be in a deep trance state.


The Chief Physician confirms that he has lost all reflex action; he responds not at all to light in his eyes, pin pricks at his heels, hammers at his knees and elbows, nor to sharp slaps across the face. The depressant IV is removed from Subject K's arm. A 120cc venous injection of DMT is administered. This is followed immediately with one gram of CNS stimulant by the same means.


06:20- Subject K responds instantly to his medication. An odd smile curls over his slackened, drooling mouth. Cardiopulmonary rates climb rapidly. A second pin-prick reflex test results in his body snapping board-stiff. With that smile, K presents a passable imitation of the mortician's craft. A second dose of IV cortical depressant is administered.
06:21- No change in subject. Consulting with the Men Behind the Mirror, it is decided to begin interrogation. It is in no way clear how the subject is to respond to our questions. Our "truth serum" seems to be a bust. Subject K is a grinning catatonic.


06:23- No change in subject. Agent Alpha enters the isolation suite from behind the mirror. He replaces the Chief Physician at the subject's side. He asks the subject; "Who are you? We have ways of making you talk, you know. I know you can hear me! We've only begun this procedure and I hope we needn't make it more uncomfortable for you than it already is. Who are you?"


The subject remains visibly unchanged, though his EEG now registers heightened delta and beta waves. Cardiopulmonary rates climb again, the effect of the last depressant dose lasting no more that thirty-seconds, if at all. Something is amiss. I motion Agent Alpha to interrupt the interrogation. He waves me off. The Chief Physician looks concerned. His staff stands by anxiously, resuscitation gear at ready.


06:24- Agent Alpha slaps Subject K sharply across the face with the back of his hand. The subject is unyielding under the blow and Agent Alpha appears momentarily perplexed. He massages his right hand, apparently smarting from the encounter with K's rock-hard physiognomy. At rear of the theater, a giggle is heard. Alpha reacts badly to this sort of thing. I've seen it before. He shouts to the Chief Physician; "120cc, Beta-Phenethylamine, STAT!".


After a moment's hesitation, the doctor complies, turning to Nurse Appelhagen and taking a syringe from her tray. This detour from normal operating protocol is indicative of Alpha's dire request. I am myself tempted to speak up, but understand that, as you well know, we all report to Someone Behind the Mirror. The Chief Physician walks to the pharmacy shelf and removes a small, red-labeled ampule. He fills the syringe and preps it for injection. He hands it Alpha without comment.


Agent Alpha wastes no time finding a suitable vein and inserts the needle. For a medical nonprofessional, he seems very well versed in the technique. Injection done, he tosses the empty syringe across the room into the sop sink. The needle is broken off, half-way. The other half protrudes from K's rigid flesh.


Everyone takes a deep breath. We all know the reputation of Beta-Phenethylamine, though none, including myself, have seen its use, first-hand.


06:25- Alpha stares at the second-hand of his watch. Intravenous Beta-Phenethylamine should take effect within seconds. Almost a minute has passed with no change in the subject. Alpha barks for a second syringe, 240cc, but this time, the Chief Physician is less swift to comply. Alpha is quite direct in his order, "Do it now, or I will have you replaced! Understand?".


A second syringe is produced and handed over. One of the junior medical staff requests permission to leave the theater. Alpha will not permit it, his only comment being, "the nation is always in need of volunteers at the forefront of science"; this as he jabs the needle into K's arm with less than medical precision.


06:26- No change in subject. Alpha grabs the vial of Beta-Phenethylamine from the Chief Physician's clutched hand. It is empty. It shatters as he tosses it into the sink.


06:26:30- Alpha is tapping at his watch, probably hoping the problem lies there. He whispers inaudibly into the microphone concealed in his tie tack and then orders the staff from the theater. He quickly adds, "Bethune, Doctor, you stay- you too, nurse."


06:27- The three of us are joined by several of the Men Behind the Mirror; counting Alpha, six in total. He snaps his fingers in the direction of the coronary defibrillator and motions the nurse to his side. "Prepare the subject, please. 100cc epinephren, coronary injection."


Nurse Appelhagen, looks nervously to the doctor. He nods, directing her to proceed. I determine, at last, it is high time for me to step in. "You can't do this. It serves no purpose. You'll kill him.".


Alpha responds, "For christ's-sake, he's already had enough chemicals to kill a hippo, and he just keeps smiling! Dammit, Colonel, he's just napping. Can't interrogate a napping subject."


The Chief Surgeon is emboldened to speak up. "I'm afraid cannot sanction this procedure, even under Protocol-X. This is deliberate cruelty to an unconscious patient."


06:29- Alpha orders his men to restrain both the doctor and myself. From this moment on, I am unable to monitor my stopwatch. Nurse Appelhagen, in fear for her life, proceeds to inject the stimulant into K's heart. She then applies sterile dermal conductant to both K's chest and the defibrillator paddles, and turns on the machine. Alpha requests, "Three-quarter voltage. Let's start high, just to be on the safe side. CLEAR!". He mashes the charged paddles into K's chest with the full weight of his body.


Nothing happens. The body doesn't even twitch at the shock. I had expected it to jump from the table with such a massive charge. The bizarre smile remains upon K's turgid lips. Alpha calls for "Maximum voltage!".


The machine takes a few seconds to recharge and is applied again. Again, nothing happens. Furious, Agent Alpha flails with his fists against the defibrillator cart. He screams for his chief aid to, "Get me a scapel! Chest crackers, too!!! I want to the fucker's goddam heart. I don't believe this bastard's still alive, I don't care what the EEG says!". Indeed, the medical monitors indicate K's brain idling at a resting rhythm, his heart barely breaking a trot, despite the tremendous load of ups, downs, psychomemetics and raw electricity shot through his body.


Alpha's request for surgical implements was too much for Nurse Appelhagen. She has fainted dead away. Surprisingly, none of Alpha's men jumped at the opportunity to assist in a human vivisection. Neither did they act to restrain their superior. He charges to the locked instrument cabinet and smashes the glass with his bare fists. Alpha is in a blood rage.


Grabbing a set of surgical scissors quite capable of causing the kind of damage he has in mind for his intractable patient, Alpha leaps across the theater. He aims to plunge the sharp end of the instrument into K's chest. As a seasoned veteran of real action in Korea, I must say that this was the single most wantonly vengeful and reasonless act I had ever seen inflicted upon one man by another. My own eyes reflexively shut at the horror about to be committed.


I cannot, nor can the others in the room, recount exactly what happened next. All that we know is that there was a sudden flash of blinding, white light, an explosive roar, followed by a blast of heat so intense that it burned the hair from my arms, head and even my eyebrows. The odor of burnt flesh filled the room. The doctor and I, as well as Alpha's men, were momentarily knocked silly by the concussion.


Coming to our senses, we ascertained, lacking any other hypothesis, that K's body had somehow and inexplicably exploded upon the impact of Alpha's weapon. Nothing was left of the corpse and thus we cannot further analyze nor serve to resolve the mystery that this theory presents. The surgical table on which K had lain was nothing but a charred frame.


Of Alpha, we found only the smoldering soles of his shoes melted into the linoleum floor. Apparently, he perished with Subject K. Nurse Appelhagen was entirely missing, leaving no evidence of her remains, whatsoever. Why the others and I were spared, we do not know. Neither can we determine the source of a strange and distant yodeling sound heard for some few seconds following the blast.


I understand that the bizarre nature of this report, and the loose ends unresolved, are causes for real concern Above. Be advised that I have copied this report to our brethren Behind the Mirror. They have taken appropriate steps toward neutralizing negative publicity and any attention to our activities. Alpha's kin have been notified of his demise in an aircraft mishap while in the employ of Air America in southeast Asia. Nurse Appelhagen's family in Germany are under the impression that she perished in a freak lab accident; refreshingly close to the truth. Our Berkeley project has, of course, been terminated.


Here ends my report of September 24th, 1964. Col. G. Bethune, InfoSpec D.S. ABD


Hic Finis Est © Solomon, 2011