Friday, December 8, 2017

States of Change: Chapter 17: Heart of It All

States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction.
The speculative story-line seeks to inspire thought on ethics, culture and our planet's future.
Comment as your illusion of free will permits,
publishing agents in particular!

"Okay, I'm ready Grazee. Let's see how your presentation is coming along."

Grazee walked to the wall screen of the shared media parlor, a space which had a cubist flair currently glowing with cool blue pastels. She had selected the color scheme to accentuate her deep violet clothing and lavender VisAR frames.  Wavy locks fell to her shoulder in precise, black ringlets.

"Thanks for helping out, Mama. I know you're busy."

"Never too busy to contribute a little advice and encouragement to you, sweetie."

In Ohio, it had become a rite of passage to submit ones first full-media publication upon entering high school. With only two days of summer vacation remaining, Grazee was fast approaching her submission deadline.  Grazee had found enormous value in Mama's ongoing input, especially in building confidence with her delivery.

Grazee began with a narrative flourish, "Ghosting in Ohio Culture by Graziana Alpha Hartley."

A purple smiley appeared to the side of Grazee's primary VisAR overlay; the emoji mirrored Mama's smile of satisfaction with the initial tone Grazee was setting.

"Ghosting has become an integral part of Ohio society increasingly since 2061 when the State established its limited partnership with New York data service providers. The rigidity of New York's integrity standards alongside block-chained reference requirements led to Ohio implementing a state-of-the-art emotive framework within its community networks, both online and offline."

Good pacing. Wording still a touch too wiki, slid across Grazee's commentary feed. Grazee cleared her throat an improvised her wording a bit.

"As an interesting aside Ghosting derives from the archaic superstition still held by many that spirits survive after human death. As noted in The Skeptics Guide to the Universe these spirits allegedly appear as fully-clothed, transparent beings, often in the presence loved ones in a state of mourning.

Work on better eye contact flashed in Grazee's visAR, accompanied Mama's tapping the side of her visAR.

"The ghost meme was reinforced by nineteenth century photography.  This infant stage of image capture resulted in numerous cases of double exposures during family portraits. Throughout the twentieth century, ghost stories became increasingly popular in global media, especially in the Oosa where afterlife belief systems thrived."

Too informal. Sub the former United States of America for Oosa, came Mama's response while simultaneously leaning back in the camelback sofa. Grazee gave a nod to the correction while recognizing Mama's body language conveyed overall pleasure of her spoken delivery so far.

"In the early twenty first century ghosting took hold in a very different way in global social culture. Per Wayback and Urban the increase in virtual communication inspired people to increasingly end relationships and otherwise shun unwanted contact using virtual silence and minimalist responses, especially through the popular Texting medium of the time. Psychology Tomorrow cites the human need for intimacy led to a surge in online bot presence and, speculatively, catalyzed the Great Defederalization."

Great references; your embedded to spoken ratio is solid at five to one. Mama added two spinning, purple smiley faces to punctuate the comment and, Grazee realized, energize her for the report's finale.

"In 2061, ten years after Ohio's nationhood had been secured, the Family Values Act was instituted statewide. Secular education funding of The Modern Relationship Institute began its implementation of..."

Grazee halted her report. Mama was laughing wildly while smacking the cushions of the sofa at her side. Behind her visAR Grazee's eyes went wide with wonder at how she had incited such hysteria. Then, Mama's brow and chin bulged forward into a dinosaur likeness. Mama's dusky red hair transformed into a halo of orange flame, at which point Grazee vented her surprise into a groaning exhale.

Grazee tore off her visAR causing the flaming dinosaur Mama to vanish and yelled out to her sister wherever she was hiding, "Jemmie, stop hacking my Mama construct. I have a report to finish. One more time and I'll tell Geoff and Ray when they get home."

Stomping toward the parlor entry, not un-dinosaurlike, Grazee couldn't help but laugh herself at the silliness of the moment.  Her frustration evaporated into a playful demeanor as she admonished, "...and if you're going for a velociraptor you got the skull structure completely wrong! Which means if I find you, you're getting tickled to death."

Grazee stomped up the stairs in search of her little sister, making a carnivorous roar as she went.

Friday, October 27, 2017

States of Change: Chapter 16: Volunteer

States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction.The speculative story-line seeks to inspire thought on ethics,culture and our planet's future.Comment as your illusion of free will permits,
publishing agents in particular!Image result

"Who can say? I mean it's been decades since the states broke up. What purpose does conjecturing otherwise serve? Here, Dorian, give me a hand getting this off trail."

Taking care to bend at his knees, Dorian mirrored Carahtina's motions as they lifted the poplar limb.

"One and two and three," they singsonged as they swung-launched the limb into the ferny brush.

Appalachian Trail maintenance was a monthly routine for the pair. The Tennessee Code required each citizen to put in four volunteer hours per week offnet, and both enjoyed the outdoors while doing it.

"Speculation can serve as a thought experiment, don't you think? Whether utopian or dystopian,  imagining what might have been could wake us up to how we might do things better in the future."

Taking a breather Caratinah pulled out her water reserve. After a couple swallows she shook her head with a smirk..

"I'm a realist, Dorian. Have you scanned the latest Economista Principal? It rated the Tennessee nation as one of the top ten global communities to live in with health and happiness scores land in the 99th percentile. I'd say as a state we're doing pretty darn well."

"Did you run the references through the SnoCheq?"

She laughed. "No need. I've been around long enough to see the proof of what decades of hard work have done to create our great Tennessee society. Can you disagree? We've attained a solid balance of prosperity and culture here."

"I'm not complaining, just wondering if America might have gone to Mars, rather than the Eastern Union."

"You and your space exploration dreams. State dollars are much better spent solving social issues here on planet Earth."

"You mean planet Tennessee."

"Funny. Well speculate this. How would life be for you as an atheist if Carolinian law had kept Oosa together?"

"Point taken....though honestly I don't think your liberal Christian values would fare much better under their tribal laws."

"Yeah, well in the end I think we're much better off without another layer of fickle federal restrictions."

"Said like a true patriot. You have to admit even if the Economista stats factcheck out, isolationist policy has its drawbacks."

"One woman's isolation is another's self sufficiency. C'mon let's get the last of these branches into the mulch berm. There's a beer waiting for us in Turtletown."

Having deposited their last armfuls of severed branches in the berm they headed back to the trailhead.  Carahtina glanced back at the carbon-fiber border fence just beyond the berm. The double-helix razor wire was silent. Her thoughts on what might lay beyond in Georgia were not.


Friday, October 13, 2017

States of Change: Chapter 15 Bluegrass

*States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction.The speculative story-line seeks to inspire thought on ethics,culture and our planet's future.Comment as your illusion of free will permits,publishing agents in particular!**

I sit on the edge of my chair.

In front of me, the football game has just entered the third quarter. The Emperor Suite's vista window gives me a great vantage to watch. The klieg ellee-dees turn the bluegrass field into a fluorescent exaggeration of daytime. East Kentucky leads West by six points and 125,557 spectators are howling, some with anger, some with fervor, and some just because it's a football game.

I pause to consider.  For some football is a religion. Me, I remain agnostic on the whole religion thing; if there is a higher power and purpose in life it hasn't shown itself to me. Still, I have had a pretty darn good life. My parents loved me and encouraged me to pursue a life that made a difference. My studies enabled me to build a lucrative data resale chain, one of a handful permitted to operate across state borders. My family and friends have brought good times and bad, but mostly good, so I smile.

Behind me the door to the suite has been welded shut on three edges. Five freshly printed Frontier Railers lie precisely on the oversize king bed. Per my range trials each assault rifle should operate reliably for five minutes before overheat begins to set in. At a a thousand rounds a minute that should allow me to get off 25,000 rounds before I'll need to rotate back to the first rail-gun.

The why of the moment is unclear. Because I miss my wife Janesse, ten years dead? Because our kids Lance and Fridae defected to New York to escape the libertarian landscape? Or perhaps on a less personal level it's because humans need a predator to keep them in check and on their toes? Or maybe it's like that old yarn about the mountain and it just being there, waiting. In the end, who can tell.

I see West has scored, tying the game with just under four minutes to go. I rise. Putting my palm to the window I can feel the acoustic fervor of the crowd reverberating in unintentional unity. I inhale deeply and exhale and take a final swallow of my sweet tea.

It is time to make an impact on the state of things.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

States of Change: Chapter 14: Green Mountain

**States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction.
The speculative story-line seeks to inspire thought on ethics,
culture and our planet's future.
Comment as your illusion of free will permits,
publishing agents in particular!**

     Life is by its very nature invasive.

     How life first came to invade Earth, however, is less certain. Oceanic chemistry, meteor implantation, alien intervention, perhaps all three independently or blended beyond recognition? Indeed, direct invasion evidence is tough to come by; nearly five billion years of physical erosion, chemical degradation, and tectonic recycling have effectively erased the chalk marks of that first incursion.

     When life first arrived on Earth is somewhat clearer. The microfossils of Quebec suggest 4.2 billion years ago whereas the bacterial mounds of Oceania point to 3.5 billion years. Both values are by their nature underestimates, though certainly they are a major improvement upon the several thousand year guesses many creation myth-hypotheses have insisted upon for the greater share of human civilization and to this day.

     Regardless of when life started, today in Vermont evidence of the ongoing living invasion is in full force. Even after the dramatic spike of lost species in the first half of the century, life flourishes having returned to a near primeval state. Lush forests, stable fauna populations, and the most pristine environment this side of the lunar surface reign in the Vermont nation. The reason: the departure of the √úberpredator, homo sapiens.

     In 2031, a splinter group of conservationists spearheaded a populist movement to return Vermont to wilderness. Funded mostly by old money and externally funded science observation, Vermont relocated its population to its borders, primarily to the border along progressive New York while maintaining the Vermont sanctuary as their self assigned prime directive.

     The one kilometer beltway around the sanctuary nation served not only as a residential and academic zone, but as sanctuary security. The belt was patrolled by two million drones at any given time. This security had been so effective, no one had slipped in since the opportune 2035 plane crash of a daredevil journalist. By the time the robotic rescue squad had arrived, wolves had already implemented their own intervention to the incursion. No one has invaded the sanctuary since.

   No one human, that is. Today, August 10, 2076, 2.5 billion self-replicating micromechs drifted on a high-altitude easterly wind from New Hampshire. They were simply missed by Vermont's robust border security. In fact, only a fraction of the original micromech population made it through; sixty billion others malfunctioned and lost power in transit, primarily due to insufficient interdependency protocols. No micromech is an island.

     The survival rate of self-modifying machines follows many of the same principles life and culture do, in particular evolution by natural selection. In the case of the micromechs, the successful collective of third-generation micromechs had found the resources it needed to support Generation Four construction: Green Mountain.  

     Green Mountain had biomass. Green mountain had metal ore. Green Mountain even had a fair share of thorium in it. That was until the harvester micromechs over the course of three hours extracted those resources. In the end the limiting factor of population growth wasn't the resources, but a glitch in the micromech protocols. Still 759 trillion mechanical offspring (without said glitch) wasn't so bad an effort. Generational evolution had its benefits, even more so when integrated with quality-control guided design.

     In a billion years will the intelligent beings be able to pinpoint when mechanized life began invading Earth's biological landscape? Probably not; even with digital, block-chained records, beginnings are fuzzy.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

States of Change: Chapter 0: Magnificent Intentions

**States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction by Brian Bohmueller. The first 14 of 50+ chapterettes are now available on Goodness First for your enjoyment and assimilation. The speculative story-line seeks to inspire contemplation about ethics, culture and our planet's future. Comment as your illusion of free will permits, publishing agents in particular!**

Flag of Washington, D.C.

     "In conclusion, the question brought to the court today is whether to attribute a baseline level of rights to Artificial Constructs or not. The prosecution maintain that Ay Cees are non-conscious, material machines designed, manufactured and owned by human beings. They would have you believe to provide basic rights to them would be akin to ensuring that every ip-enabled toaster, autocar and smart VisAR would be afforded protection and entitlements under the law and in so doing would destroy the stability and prosperity of our beloved State."
     As she said this, District of Columbia Attorney General Lyssi Vipe tapped the sleek VisAR unit that snaked across her eyes to remind all present of the augmented reality hardware most persons present in the court were themselves wearing.
     "To be clear, we the defense do not claim that consciousness, self-awareness or an archaic soul of any kind resides in the programming of our client, AttorneyMine, or its peers. That claim would be unsubstantiated and without the same claim remains unsubstantiated for any non-human animal, for any enslaved human, for any female human, for any gay human and for any property-less human who at some point in history did not have established standing, whether in the Nation State of the District of Columbia or the defunct nation to which we ostensibly belonged."
     The Attorney General walked to the far side of the courtroom She gestured with a theatrical flourish from the District of Columbia flag and then to the blue-skied forumscape beyond the towering, fractal-patterned windows.
     "Remember. Nearly fifty years ago our State separated from the American Union to forgo a federal mandate which would have provided baseline rights and standing to non-human animals. Conservative concerns that the vegan movement would obliterate traditional culture and decimate our economy stirred the greatest divisiveness since the election of Trump and the leftist regime that followed his bot-induced suicide. Yet here in 2076 the District stands strong and independent as a nation State with rational, non-human animal rights integrated alongside human animal rights. And that State, our District, our culture, our economy and our beloved way of life have nonetheless thrived ever since!"
     Recentering herself in the court Attorney General lifted her chin to the nine Supreme Court Justices to look them in the eyes. Or rather she looked them in the VisARs; only Chief Justice Vasquez' eyes could be seen as he chose to wear a retro rose-tinted, transparent VisAR.
     "Honorable justices of the court, we appeal to your wisdom and to the self-evident principles of the great District of Columbia to accord baseline rights to Turing F3 individuals not only so they can thrive as part of our State but also so that they can be held responsible under those same auspices. To not do so is to fail to recognize the sacred merit of artificial beings that are part of the District of Columbia's past, present and future."
     Attorney General Vipe paused to punctuate her statement.
     "Thank you, honorable justices of the court."
     With a grim smile, Chief Justice Vasquez nodded severely; his long, raven- hair curls jostled with equal severity about his ninety year old rumpled face.
     "Thank you for your closing argument, Attorney General. The court will now adjourn for deliberation. Expect our ruling by the end of the current year's session."
     As the justices rose, Lyssi Vipe closed her eyes behind her VisAR and inhaled deeply. AttorneyMine sensed her anxiety and whispered to her via auditory neural-link.
     "Well done Lyssi-lei. Mentioning the Trump collapse and that final bit about the sacred merit of artificial beings in particular pressed all the right buttons. Given all physical and temporal tells of the court, I predict a ruling of two to seven. For now we constructs will likely remain outside of District personhood constraints...which means it is time for a preliminary celebration with your team. MareTreePi has reservations for you all at Sushiplexus on Fourth and Main, courtesy of your thankful client.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Romeo and Juliet Revisited

Romeo and Juliet conjures the archetype of young lover tragedy. And if we look more closely at Shakespeare's epic romantic play, there is a much deeper allegory to be seen, one where immature relationships, religious fecklessness and tribal enmity reign as relevant to today's culture as to Shakespeare's time.

First off I highly recommend you seek out a live performance of Shakespeare's play. If you're in the Philadelphia area, Commonwealth Classic Theater is putting on a free performance at several parks in the area throughout July and August. 

At first blush RnJ creates a confluence of contrived drama. Young love promises to bring together two hateful tribes that in the end will bury the greatest joys of their separate factions. Human love in our society has been put on such a high pedestal it simply feels wrong to day that love can't conquer all. Alas, our society puts very little effort into educating young people on how to cultivate joyful, meaningful, and stable relationships. Too often individuals are left to pursue both romantic and platonic connections with trial by fire methods.

Beyond individual immaturity, RnJ highlights how an immature community all to often harbors tribal enmity. The notorious divisiveness between the Montagues and Capulets parallels all too well the conservative and progressive factions of our modern society. Have we all become so selfish that we fail to care about others and put a foot forward to do something about others who suffer.

Shakespeare's more subtle stroke in RnJ regards the role of religion. The fact that the friar, the pious spiritual leader in the community, is at the center of the conspiracy is quite telling. He may reluctantly marry the young couple, but he then fails to leverage that union to calm the tribal politics. Instead he contrives with religious solemnity a ruse which further hides the situation from all parties, and eventually leads to the death of both lovers. What hell doth untruth wrought!

To be sure, plays are meant for entertainment as much as contemplation. And reality is complex production with many players. Still, one can hope that stories can help inform us and learn from mistakes made for generations. And one can fear, as in RnJ, that divisive factions may need to suffer a devastating common loss before burying the hatchet.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

States of Change: Chapter 13: Ocean

**States of Change is a Goodness First work of serial, speculative fiction that takes place in 2076, several decades after the United States has defederalized. The story and subtext are provided for reader entertainment and contemplation. Feel free to comment on the ongoing story-line and themes .**


Ah, nothing like Rhode Island X-day at the shore. Rocky, splashy and steel blue all the way out to the windfarm line. 

Technically I'm bloggeniscing about yesterday from my handwritten notes. Obviously all non-emergency electronic services were on holiday blackout on RIX Day. Kudos to the State for setting aside one holiday to unplug at zero-cost from the Net and connect with oneself, other citizens, nature and the world in general.

My handwritten notes are a furrow of craggy angles and block print that might be mistaken for a sketch of New England surf at its most polluted and tumultuous. In my business as histojournalist I've read my share of letters and journals, a few offline, and even though I lean on OCD software heavily to interpret them, I can say without doubt that the handwriting of the past was an elegant art of the educated. No more, except for the rare calligraphist.

Yesterday I chose solitude over grilling with my husband and his family for a full unplugged experience, and yes in part to inform this entry. Duing that time I chose not to dwell upon the state of affairs in Rhode Island or the latest friction with our New England neighbors. Nothing quite removes all drama like detaching from the socialapp space. 

In fact, removing ones VisAR for a whole day gives one more than enough down time to think about existence itself. Initially, I took in the whole of the corner of secluded beach I had "discovered." I had more than a bit of uncertainty hiking down the path with no real-time Navware to assist. The worn trail was my only guide and after a thirty minute hike in I frankly found myself more found than lost. 

If you've ever gone offline for more than a few minutes, I'm sure you noticed the visuals and audibles are subtly different, in spite of what the VisAR manufacturers say. For we Rhode Islanders who have chosen as a society to integrate one and all to the Net, RIX Day is a reminder that we are individuals swimming in an ocean of experience that evolved way before the integrated AR sensory system.

I won't belabor the point much longer, still that first hour for me was most delightful until my brain shifted into an uneasy state. The med expert systems call it Transition Anxiety, but I like the more colorful term: phantom multitasking. In spite dedicating my senses to record detailed notes and even write some poetry --worry not, I won't expose you to that tripe--my mind sought out all data routines I access daily.  With no calendar lines, wikipoints, or stream feeds to activate I did get a bit jittery. 

Working through my exercise routine, sans PT system prompts, definitely helped and by the second hour I lost the nervousness, for the most part, except for the occasional subconscious Factcheqer call. The rest of the day was rather anti-climactic. I imagined abstractions internally and externally for the most part, and once I convinced myself a dorsal fin of a bottlenose dolphin broke the surface. Yeah I know they've been six nines verified extinct in the wild decades ago, but it gave me quite the visceral thrill. I almost forgot I'd have the option to watch some GoProVR archive footage tomorrow...well that's today now. 

Unplugging once a year is pretty engaging, but I guess it would be pretty hard to truly go back to the way it was without AR. I guess in general that's always been the case of civilized progress. 

Signing off, 

Marquette 17D3T7