Other Projects of Mine: Sci-Fi Novel, Geomass, Cartooning, Poetry
My Novel-in-Progress: "Signatures in the Ice"
I am simultaneously editing and shopping around for a publisher for my sociological sci-fi novel, "Signatures in the Ice".
Here's a preview:
The story revolves around a discovery in the far Arctic of a set of flash-heated melt layers embedded within a twelve-thousand year old ice core. Under further scrutiny by researchers and a science journalist from Portland, a jaw-dropping pattern emerges from the melt layers. The visiting science journalist, one Charlotte Weiss, is blindsided by a global media empire when she has the brazen temerity to publish a simple, straightforward account of the historic discovery.
Signatures in the Ice is set about 10-15 years from now in a world where underage US President-Until-The-Crisis-Passes, Roy Koenig Jr., rules over what has devolved into what is essentially a super-size banana republic (middle class largely wiped out, among other things). It’s a world dominated by globe-straddling multinational corporations, the most powerful of which is the media empire called TotalNews. Its slogan is proclaimed everywhere: “TotalNews! Serving up the world to you in tasty news nuggets throughout your busy day … TotalNews is the name you can trust. Remember, ‘trust’ is right there in our name!”
Founded by charismatic mogul Wolfgang Kraft, TotalNews Corporation is a behemoth conglomerate that in one way or another, directly or indirectly, controls virtually every major media outlet in the world, every popular publication, every studio, every source of cultural knowledge, every spigot of public information. Even the once-freewheeling Internet has been tamed by TotalNews-sponsored legislation. Every public source of information about the world has fallen under the sway of TotalNews.
All, that is, but one ...
The last holdout, based in Portland, Oregon, is a venerable and fiercely independent news organization called the “Portland Mirror”. The Portland Mirror bills itself as “the world’s last independent news organization.” But this happy situation is not destined to last. The ravenous media empire, TotalNews, having finished feasting on all the other media outlets, now wants its dessert and the Portland Mirror is at the top of its menu. A hostile buy-out is imminent.
It is at this momentous juncture that our protagonist Charlotte Weiss, the not-quite-thirtysomething senior science writer at the Portland Mirror, catches wind of an intriguing discovery in the far Arctic: an odd pattern of melt layers embedded within a twelve-thousand year old ice core. Together with her unnervingly risk-a-holic colleague, photojournalist Mario Bernardo, she travels to a remote glacier on Norway’s Spitsbergen Island where an international, multidisciplinary team of research scientists is trying to make sense of what they’ve found.
The story opens as the two journalists, Charlotte and Mario, catch up with the team out on the glacier. Contact is made just as the researchers are setting up their surveying instruments to measure the exact location of the borehole where the ice core mystery was first discovered.
During the ensuing days, arguments fly back and forth about the nature of the melt layers. And then comes the stunner ...
One of the researchers notices that if you interpret the pattern of melt layers in the ice – along with gaps where melt layers are missing – as a series of binary digits, as 1’s and 0’s that is, the sequence “spells out” the first part of the universal mathematical constant, π – a jaw dropping revelation! Surely it is the work of intelligent beings. Or is it?
A controversy arises over whether this ancient pattern is indeed a deliberate communication from an advanced society somewhere out among the stars – or merely a remarkable coincidence. If the latter, it’s still intriguing. But if it is the former, if it turns out to be a kind of interstellar communiqué, then what are we to make of it? What is its purpose? Is it a message of hope … or of warning?
Whatever the truth turns out to be, Charlotte anticipates that once she gets the story out to the public, it may well alter the course of human history. She is right, of course ... but not in the way she imagines. For, having finally acquired Charlotte’s beloved Portland Mirror, TotalNews’s Wolfgang Kraft (in concert with a worldwide cabal of war profiteers, energy executives, corporate powerbrokers and heads of government) intends to pursue his own plans for this enormously “useful” story.
Whatever the purpose of the alien message is, any benefits to humankind might as well remain forever entombed in the ice if the shy science journalist Charlotte Weiss cannot outmaneuver her mighty media adversaries to get the unadulterated story out to the world.
And get it out soon ...
Energy Self-Sufficiency: Geomass
This project is in the very early, gleam-in-the-eye stage. One of our the biggest household expenses / energy hogs is temperature control -- air conditioning & heating as well as hot water heating and refrigeration. The first two can be addressed by installing a "ground source heat pump" (a.k.a., geomass, geothermal, etc.) which taps into the nearly constant, year-round ~55 degree temperature of the earth beneath our part of the country.
The third thing -- hot water heating -- can be addressed with solar water-heating panels on the roof.
These systems are rather spendy up-front, but essentially free ever afterwards.
But that means our plans will move slowly until we can work out the finances.
On the plus side, there is help: tax credits, a 33% federal rebate for energy conservation projects as well as a low-cost loan program from the Oregon Department of Energy. So that's encouraging!
More on this project as time goes on ...
Random Cartoons from the "Oh-Oh" Decade
Ready for the Competition
2003 - Drunk on Power Already and the Party's Hardly Begun
Who am I Without the mirror of others' eyes? But what am I If I am a reflection only? And who are you If you will not see From time to time the view Through my eyes too!