Archive for china

Good People

Posted in Alternative Energy, Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2012 by javedbabar

Sami was spending all his free time at Lucerne’s new store, Additive Manufacturing Processes, known as AMP co. It wasn’t open for business yet, as the owner, Alfred, was testing his new equipment – an innovative 3D printer that could fabricate almost anything, given the right data and materials.

It was an amusing contrast to the previous business there, the General Store, filled with everything you could think of. The owner had sold it after 72 years of living and working there, which had cost him the chance of having a wife and family.

“I’ve often been tempted to create something living,” said Alfred. “But till now I have stopped myself. There could be a tricky situation…”

“We created a worm yesterday. That was successful.” Sami recalled stepping on the poor thing accidentally. “Well, sort of…”

Alfred stared hard at the 3D printer. He seemed to look at particular cogs and levers sequentially. After a while he said, “That’s the problem, my friend. We’ve crossed the Rubicon. We’ve gone beyond the Pale.” Sami must have looked at him strangely.

“Excuse me; I am a keen student of history. The Rubicon was the river crossed by Caesar with the Roman army, after which he became dictator of Rome. The Pale was the part of Ireland controlled by the British, beyond which was wild, lawless terrain. Making the worm was easy. It was a shame you killed it, but I don’t think we were really affected by its death. If we created a human being though, that would be a different matter.”

Sami had been following Alfred’s gaze as he was speaking, but now his head turned towards Alfred, almost snapping into place. He had imagined making a mouse or cat, even a dog, but Alfred was talking about creating a human. “Are you seriously considering that?”

“Well, yes. I have been for some time. The machine is life-blind. It does not differentiate between animate and inanimate matter. As long as we prepare it correctly, it will produce what we desire.”

“Why don’t we make gold then?” said Sami. “Or cash?”

“The problem is that gold can only be made from gold. We won’t be creating anything, just putting it through the machine. And cash – we could easily make coins, but notes have serial numbers, so we would either be forging them or creating new ones, which is also illegal.”

“But isn’t creating life illegal? You can’t just do it because you feel like it.”

“Of course you can. What do you think is the cause of the world’s population crisis? The people who can’t afford to feed, clothe and educate their kids are having the most. Only China has shown real leadership in this area. Anyway that is a different matter. This is science. Let’s make a person. Are you in on the experiment or not?”

Sami first said no, and then yes; his curiosity was too great.

The machine was too small to make an adult – at least in one piece – so they decided to make a baby. They fed in anatomical, psychological and religious data – hopefully covering the early needs of its mind, body and spirit. They wanted to make good people, not bad ones.

They set the chronometer to 1 month:1day.

After nine days they heard crying in the 3D printer. The owner of the General Store would have been pleased.


White Matter

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Unknown with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2012 by javedbabar

Sammy poked his head around the door. “Yes, Doctor? You wanted to see me?”

Dr Bungawalla looked up from his desk but said nothing. There was something bothering him. Then he said, “Yes, yes. Please come in. How long are you with us for, altogether? Ah good, a month. So you go back to school in September? Perfect.” He pushed his chair away from the desk, pulled it back in, and shuffled papers.

“I was wondering if you would help me with a project. I think we can complete it in four weeks. It is not something mentioned on the internship documents; it’s more of a personal project. It will be helpful research to me.”

Dr Bungawalla had been the village doctor for forty years. Sammy recalled his always being nice to him, especially as a child, giving him snacks and sweeties, even pop. Good job he had become a doctor not a dentist!

Sammy nodded to indicate he would help. When someone’s just lost his wife, you should do everything you can for him.

“Oh good. I’m sure you know that the brain is composed of grey matter. Well, did you know that there is also white matter? It’s lipid tissue veined with capillaries; actually pinkish, but let’s not worry about that. It was previously thought to be passive tissue but now we know that its main function is to transmit signals, acting as a sort of relay, consolidating communication between different brain regions. It has an important role in processing and cognition; it plays a role in both our function and dysfunction.”

Sammy nodded along and said, “Is white matter your special area of interest?”

“Yes it is. Specifically, there are areas called White Matter Hyperintensities which show up as bright signals on MRI images. No, they are not really dangerous; like most things, they are essentially neutral, and it depends on what you do with them.”

“Can I take a seat?” said Sammy.

“Ah, yes, yes. So sorry, I was going to stand up but then forgot. Please take a seat.” Dr Bungawalla explained his strange request to Sammy. It seemed like a good way to spend his month here. They would both learn something useful.

For the first week, Sammy ate a Mediterranean diet. He stocked up with fruit, vegetables, fish, grains, nuts, and olives, and drank strong coffee and smoked cigarettes. Dr Bungawalla scanned his brain with the EMU (Electromagnetic Medical Unit), and recorded the changes. His chief interest was in the effect of olives; olive wood had been used in Greece to make statues of gods. There must be a reason for that.

The second week, Sammy ate pulses, macaroni, rice, beef and pickles. This Egyptian diet had fortified the builders of the Pyramids and Sphinx. Dr Bungawalla was especially engaged with the nourishment provided by lentils; these tiny seeds were a source of total nourishment. He saw that Sammy’s Hyperintensities had decreased in volume.

The third week, Sammy consumed an Indian diet. He added plenty of coriander, cumin, chilli, turmeric, garam masala, mustard seeds, salt and pepper to his meals. He also ate curds and sweet fried pastries. The chilli made him sweat and activated other nutrients he’d consumed. Spice fires the soul. Dr Bungawalla saw that this diet was boosting his antibodies, with no detrimental effects on Hyperintensities.

The fourth week Sammy ate Chinese food. He ate mostly vegetables and rice with a wide variety of meats, including pork stomach and trotters, beef brain and tongue, chicken gizzard and feet, and snake guts and heart, all washed down with pearl green tea. Dr Bungawalla saw a reduction in the volume of Hyperintensities. After further examination, he saw that it was not caused by food; it was caused by pearl green tea, which calmed the spirit and created fluidity. From now on Dr Bungawalla would drink this tea in the hope of slowing down his Alzheimer’s’ Disease.

Dr Bungawalla never assumed that modern medicine was best. He believed one should try traditional cures, beginning with your daily food. Hyperintensity Volume was a marker of small vessel damage in the brain, a reduction of which leads to a reduction of strokes and cognitive decline. But he also knew that it wasn’t just diet. There were associated memories encoded in White Matter, those of family joviality. Any of the diets that Sami had tried – Mediterranean, Egyptian, Indian or Chinese – would help Dr Bungawalla if rather than eating alone each night, he could share them with someone.


Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Unknown with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2012 by javedbabar

“Area O has 42% activity. Area M has 12%. Area H has only 4%. Area T has 9%. Area C has 14%. I am using these as the Rest State Benchmarks.”

Martin wasn’t sure that he was meant to hear these remarks, but the door was open and he hadn’t been drugged. It was a young female voice. He wondered what she looked like.

His experience so far was not interesting. After an hour in reception, they’d taken him up or down some levels – the elevator was strange and he wasn’t sure which – and brought him to this room called the ScanLab, where spots of gel, and then electrodes, had been attached to his head. He’d asked them how many; they’d said twelve. He’d sat here for half an hour with nothing happening. It was not a great way to spend a day, but he was getting paid a hundred bucks for two hours work, so who cares.

A tall lady with dark hair and brown glasses came in and said, “Hello, I’m Joyce, your researcher.”

“My researcher?” he said. Maybe she looked tall because he was lying down.

“Sorry, I mean the researcher. Thank you for agreeing to this. It took longer than expected to set things up, so we’re a bit behind. You can leave after two hours if you wish to. But if we need to keep you longer, and it’s okay with you, we’ll give you an additional hundred dollars per hour. How does that sound?”

“Keep me all day if you want!” This wasn’t a bad gig.

“Wonderful. Let’s begin.” She adjusted her glasses. “We want to show you some items and record your responses. That’s it.”

“And I presume you’ve wired me up for a reason?”

“Yes indeed. As well as your conscious behaviour, we would also like to test your unconscious behaviour. You don’t need to be sleeping for this; we just need to know what’s happening in your mind.”

Martin would have liked to see too, but the monitor was in the room next door. He wasn’t getting paid fifty bucks an hour, going up to a hundred for overtime, for watching TV.

Joyce passed him a card bearing mathematical symbols, which he realized were Greek letters. He noted Alpha, Beta, Theta, Gamma and Pi, but couldn’t make out any larger meaning.

From the other room he heard, “Look – Area T has hit 38% here.”

“What is this?” said Martin.

“It’s some early advertising. A lost and found poster from Ancient Greece. Can you make any sense of it?” He said he couldn’t.

She passed him another card, with hieroglyphs. He recognized the Ankh and Eye of Horus; palm trees, people and animals were easy; the blue curls must be water.

He heard, “Area C now, look… 48%.”

Joyce said, “This is a home rental ad from Ancient Egypt.” Martin raised his eyebrows. She continued, “Beautifully laid out, isn’t it?”

Before he could answer, she passed him a third card bearing Indian letters. He’d seen similar script on people’s tattoos. He recognized the curly 3-like letter as an OM sign, but that was it. He heard, “Area O is 68% and Area M is 34%. Area H is minus four.”

Joyce said, “These are personal ads from Ancient India – families advertising for marriage partners for their daughters. They were way ahead of us in dating!”

“Now try this one,” she said, pushing a fourth card towards him. It held Chinese letters, none of which he recognized, but which for some reason gave him a sense of great wellbeing.

“Woh!” he heard from the next room. “Area H is 100%! All other Areas are high!”

Joyce looked up suddenly. She’d lost her cool.

“What was that card?” he asked.

She hesitated and looked at the mirror, and then at him. “A poster for medicine from 3000 BC China.” She pulled out some other cards. “Now please look at these.”

There was a tortoise.

There was the sun.

There was the ocean.

There was gold.

His sense of wellbeing remained. That Chinese medicine must be a strong one. The images were harmonious, and all of long-living or imperishable things.

There was excited conversation in the room next door. A man said, “Is that it? Have we found the leverage point?”

Another man said, “That’s it! We’ll check the relevance of his surrounding content, and traffic received, but I think we’ve got it. Area H, the Hypothalamus, fully engaged with the Elixir of Life poster. That shows we can directly control biological functions with archetypal advertising. Prepare the Brainspam.”

When Martin went home he felt very different. Everything was wonderful, and would remain so as long as he kept taking his medicine.