Cleopatra by E. S. Strout

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Lester Curtis
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Cleopatra by E. S. Strout

Post by Lester Curtis »

Wha-Hoo!

I think we've all read a story or two about what can go wrong with intelligent machines, but this one is -- different.

Punctuation needs cleaned up, particularly the use of quotes. Other than that -- great!
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Re: premed

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

bottomdweller wrote:Bill_Wolfe said (wrote): "Gino, I was pre-med, too. Even got accepted to med school, passed my MCAT and everything. Just couldn't afford it with a baby on the way. So now I'm a nuclear physicist. Wierd how things work out, ain't it?"
Yeah, and he still can't write worth a s**t! How about that, size small?
I seem to recall that Bill has won more Challenges than, er, you... So on his behalf (he's far too dignified to do it himself), neener neener neener!

R. (one tie, many losses, took his word processor and went home) M.
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Lester Curtis
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Post by Lester Curtis »

To all in attendance of these posts:
Don't talk physics, biology, virology or chemistry unless you got the 'stuff' down. It doesn't take that much research, really.
Bill is right.

A lot of readers don't know and don't care (the difference between ignorance and apathy), and gods help you if you put an equation into your story, they'll throw it right across the room. But there are hard-core readers who are sticklers for authenticity, and I'd hazard a guess that a generous proportion of them have prominent voices in the publishing field.

If you're sloppy about fact, these people will nail your hide to the outhouse door. (If I've heard correctly, this is a near obsession among fans of murder mysteries.) But if you get it right, they will rise to your defense on that account, because they care about these things.

Do the research. It isn't hard, with the internet. Do it even if you aren't going to include the science itself in the story; it makes your characters more informed. And, it's stimulating. I've been all over everyplace putting together my work; from childbirth to basket-weaving to military chain-of-command, and damn little of it shows up in the text, but the final product will no doubt have someone somewhere grinning and wondering how the hell I (or my characters) know so much.

You don't have to be an expert; you just have to be accurate in the part that shows up on the page.

Get at it, have fun, and good luck.
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Lester Curtis
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Re: hard science

Post by Lester Curtis »

bottomdweller wrote: I try to keep a handful of scientists on call, just people I've run across over the years, in case I need an opinion on a current theory, for instance.
Lucky you . . . I have no such resources, although I've thought about trying to cultivate some. Well -- I will have one bunch soon; I've attended a meeting of a local astronomical society, and I'll likely join. But . . .

I was very lucky once. I needed expert info on an esoteric topic (parchment documents), and went searching around the 'net . . . found a guy in Holland with a website -- he restored antique documents for a living, and we had a very friendly email exchange through which he answered all my questions. I thanked him profusely. As near as I can tell, it's getting harder to find such things now.
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Post by Lester Curtis »

I keep a stockpile of "new ones" to replace those that Bill has reamed me.
You may want to reorder soon . . . he doesn't seem to be quite finished with you yet.
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Post by Lester Curtis »

what Capt. James T. Kirk called a 'universal translator'
C'mon, BD -- we all know that Kirk's favorite 'translator' was the one he had in his pants . . .

Seriously, though, you may have a point, if the fiction becomes an accurate predictor of actual scientific achievement.

I recall seeing an interview with Leonard Nimoy, and he was talking about being on a set once, and having his cell phone ring . . . he flipped it out and looked at it, and said something along the lines of, "Omigod, these things are real!"
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Then on the other hand...

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

In the ST:TNG episode where Scotty was found in the transporter buffer of a ship crashed on the outside of a Dyson sphere, the crippled Enterprise-D avoided crashing into the artificial star by altering its trajectory using MANEUVERING THRUSTERS. Either the artificial star was really, really small, or a Galaxy-class starship has really, really powerful thrusters.

And they never did explain how it was that the restrict-everybody-to-Warp-5 policy they decided was necessary to avoid tearing space-time into cosmic confetti sort of ceased to matter...

And the cosmic superstring in ST:Generations bore no resemblance at all to anything in 'string theory' (I guess they just liked the term 'string'. Kinda like a kitten with a piece of yarn.)

Now, the interspecies fertility issue might have been explained in the episode where Picard and rival archaeologists learned that the major humanoid starfaring races all had been 'seeded' by a more ancient race, but otherwise, the biological / medical science was just as loosey-goosey. (A good shot of adrenaline cured the rapid-aging disease and even REVERSED ITS PHYSICAL EFFECTS IN A MATTER OF MINUTES?)

The TECHNOLOGY of Star Trek in its various incarnations may have inspired a lot of current gadgets, but the SCIENCE? Nah...

RM
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Lester Curtis
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Post by Lester Curtis »

the biological / medical science was just as loosey-goosey. (A good shot of adrenaline cured the rapid-aging disease and even REVERSED ITS PHYSICAL EFFECTS IN A MATTER OF MINUTES?)
I don't know how many times I've felt this, but you so often saw Kirk and McCoy standing over some apparently lifeless walk-on, and:

MCCOY: "He's dead, Jim."

And I just want to yell, "Well, aren't you gonna try to revive him? What kinda doctor ARE you??"
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Post by Megawatts »

Quite a story. Reminded me of a movie in which two computers--one Soviet and the other American--got together and took over the world. The writing was good except for a few typos; I could not find much to nit pick about.

This story opens up so much debate about the future of computers, stem cell research and the application of one to the other, that I think a critique on the content of this story is appropriate.

I believe that computers---computer science with high-level language developers---will give us machines that speak, act, feel and listen as if they were human! This will be more with the software developers than with hardware, I believe. We will not be able to tell the difference between the machine speaking and a human! And, I don’t think intelligent machines are too far off!

I had the good fortune to be around programmers and engineers from a large and well established computer manufacturing company once. When the company I worked for upgraded its old control systems by buying a state of the art industrial computer, the computer manufacturing company sent in many of its engineers and programmer to train us, and make minor adjustment to the new computer as it started to control the plant.

This was in the early 90s, and I became friendly with one of the computer engineers. He never said anything about his company’s R&D department---which he worked in but was on loan to another department for a year. I never knew why. One day he told me that if I saw what was being developed in their labs, I would shit my pants? I never asked him any question since he was under a confidentiality agreement with his company and I liked him. And didn’t what him to shun me for the remainder of his stay with my company. I really liked him because we were both Pittsburgh Steeler Fans. Go Steelers!!!!

A question can arise with regards to stem cell research, computer programmers and hardware designers. Will it be the programmers or the hardware designers or a combination of the two plus some derivative from stem cell research that will be planted in and grow; and interface with a computer’s central processing unit, data base and DDLs, just to name a few. An if it is stem cells, will it still be considered artificial intelligence?

What’s in the future for us? Only those who been there know!!!!
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Post by Lester Curtis »

What’s in the future for us? Only those who been there know!!!!
HAHAHA! Irritatingly true, too . . .

http://www.livescience.com/health/06032 ... chips.html

and, Megawatts, look up "Turing Machine" or "Turing Device." You've just about got the definition, when you said,
I believe that computers---computer science with high-level language developers---will give us machines that speak, act, feel and listen as if they were human!
I think legal troubles might stop such things -- but only for those who obey the law.
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Post by Megawatts »

Thanks Lester,

I did read about that, but have forgotten it. I think I was at work on the 12-8 shift. That was never a good shift to read seriously. I never could
remember what I read, and I usually just skimmed over articles about science. If I found something the interested me, I'd put it aside. However, I usually forgot about it anyhow!!

What do you think about technique over technology?
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Lester Curtis
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Say what?

Post by Lester Curtis »

What do you think about technique over technology?
Megawatts, I don't know if you intended this for me, or just to the general audience . . . and in either case, I'm not sure I understand the question . . .
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Post by Megawatts »

Technique over technology is a phrase that I heard once. I’m not sure if it’s the correct label to use but let me give an example: In Viet-Nam one night a zapper ( A Viet-Cong who would sneak in with explosives ) managed to get into our camp. We guarded out perimeters with manned bunkers built with sand bags, and in front a large fence protected it from APGs ( Rocket propelled grenades ). And we had starlight scopes, search lights and patrols out walking the perimeter. And we had “intrusion” devices set out in what was called the killing zone. The intrusion devices sounded like a geiger-counter when it detected movement. Yet, with all this technology the damned zapper got in. I heard the phrase “Technique over Technology” from an officer a few days later as he tried to explain how the zapper got in.

Another example: I worked for Bethlehem Steel once in Johnstown during the early 70s. An engineer I knew was a fighter pilot during WWII. He told me about the German ME-262 jet fighters and how it overwhelmed his P-51 mustang squadron a first. But, within a month he and his fellow pilots figured out how to shoot them down. One technique used: They would fly above the MEs, then dive down toward them. The speed of the mustangs
because of the dive then would be equal to the MEs, and for many miles the mustangs could hold that speed! And at that higher speed, the mustangs easily dominated the MEs for the mustangs could out maneuver an ME-262 at any speed. There was some other techniques the mustang pilots used, but over the years I’ve forgotten what the engineer said.

Technique over Technology? The underdog winning? Out gunned, out classed, out trained, but win!!

We all know about this type of senario----it's often seen in sports---but do we ever stop and really think about it?

Some might say that in the case of the P-51s against the MEs, that the P-51 was better technology!
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Post by Lester Curtis »

Some might say that in the case of the P-51s against the MEs, that the P-51 was better technology!
I agree absolutely -- maneuverability has often been used to superior advantage over armament; self-evident here.
Technique over Technology?
I'm not about to exclude either one, but I'm a little partial to the use of instinct.
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Re: Cleopatra by E. S. Strout

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

McCamy_Taylor wrote:I've been thinking more about genetic memory. You could make a story about an AI with wetware crafted from stem cells which experiences something like genetic memory of its donor---and maybe even other people who have received cloned neural tissue made from the same stem cells. If the AI has been designed to do something physically impossible like faster than light speed travel, then its augmented function could also allow it to go backwards in time to a point when all of the cells with the same DNA were together and then move forward again to the present when those cells are part of different minds having different experiences. This would create a kind of hive mind.
If we assume that some memories are encoded in RNA (I suspect this is completely wrong and rather Lysenkoesque), we might postulate that memories of this type might be partially replicated along with the DNA during the cloning process. (But maybe that only applies to flatworms.)
::)
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Re: Cleopatra by E. S. Strout

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Bill_Wolfe wrote:
Robert_Moriyama wrote:If we assume that some memories are encoded in RNA (I suspect this is completely wrong and rather Lysenkoesque), we might postulate that memories of this type might be partially replicated along with the DNA during the cloning process. (But maybe that only applies to flatworms.)

Robert.

The flatworm thing has been pretty thoroughly reversed. Turns out that if you clean the maze between experiments, the new critters can't follow the slime trails and don't do any better whether they were fed the ground-up 'learned' wormies, or not.

Loved the Lysenko reference, though. Surprising how many folks think that's a valid evolutionary method.

Sillines.

Bill
Read a story a long, long time ago called "The Lysenko Maze", in which scientists were somewhat startled when their lab animals DID start to inherit acquired traits... (or something like that).

In a sense, human children can 'inherit' certain acquired traits from their parents -- obesity, for example (since their tastes in food are largely learned and ingrained by their parents' habits). Bigotry, for another (viz. the song from the musical 'South Pacific', in which the male lead laments that "they've got to be carefully taught" to look down on other races (in pondering his reasons for not considering a permanent relationship with his native-girl lover). But those examples illustrate 'nurture over nature', or learned behavior trumping or overriding innate behavior, so...
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