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Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Thirty Six

Journal by mcgrew

Drills
        I got woke up early again, about five thirty this time. Fire in passengers quarters number forty seven. God damned drills, but I had to get up and inspect forty seven anyway. I put on a robe and trudged down there.
        Yep, just a stupid drill. I noticed that Tammy was in the commons with the German woman as I walked past on my way back home. It was still early enough that I could still get another hour's sleep or so.
        Nope, as soon as I got back there another damned alarm went off, this time a fire in engine seventeen. This one might be real, so I hurried down there and told the computer do deliver some nasty robot coffee.
        The computer wouldn't let me in at first, it must have been in a vacuum. The door finally opened, and the robot that had been working on it was charred and still smoking a little. I unhooked it from the engine, and another one rolled up for me to hook up, and a third dragged the smoking robot to the repair shop.
        I logged it and trudged back up the five damned flights of stairs towards home, but by then it was too late to go back to bed, quarter after six. I made a pot of real coffee and put a game on, but it was almost over. When it was over I switched it to the always old news.
        Nothing new, of course, they were still trying to scare people about the Venus virus. Destiny came in, kissed me, and poured a cup of coffee. "You're up early again," she said.
        "Yeah," I replied, "fire drill in the passenger section and a burned up robot down in the engine room. I was up at five thirty. I'm sure glad we went to bed early!"
        "Did you eat yet?"
        "No, you hungry?"
        "Yeah. Computer, make a turkey and cheese omelette."
        I said "Computer, a turkey Denver."
        The stupid thing said "Error, no Turkish dishes named Denver are listed in the database."
        God damn stupid computer. "A Denver omelette with turkey meat you dumb computer."
        "Affirmative."
        "Fuck you."
        Destiny laughed. "Had your shower yet?"
        "No," I said, "Want to take one together?"
        "Sure," she said, with a twinkle in her eye. God, but I love that woman.
        We had a pretty long, really fun shower and ate our breakfast. By then it was almost eight. I kissed her and took a cup of coffee to the pilot room. We were going the right way and all the computers were agreeing with each other that everything was cool.
        After that I had inspection. The German woman was eating in the commons and the rest were asleep, except Lek who was in her quarters reading, still dressed. I complimented her on her clothing.
        "Thank you," she said. "I want Doctor Winters to cure me."
        "So do I," I said. "I want her to cure all of you."
        "I want that too," she said.
        I went down those five damned flights of stairs again to the bottom of the boat. The good generator was still good and the busted generator was still busted. So was engine seventeen, with the robot I'd plugged into it still working on it.
        It had been an easy inspection. I trudged up all those damned stairs. There were fifty or so women in the commons, pretty much behaving themselves.
        As I went in my quarters Destiny said "You're a little early. Done?"
        "Yeah, I hope so. Are you hungry?"
        She said yes, and laughed. "Computer, ham and beans."
        The computer replied, of course, "There are no pork products on the menu."
        I said "I think I'll have prime rib, baked potato and a glass of wine."
        "Sounds good to me," Destiny said.
        Right then a light lit up on the map. "Damn it," I said, and went to the pilot room to listen in. Thankfully it wasn't pirates, it was a boat from a different shipping company about five light minutes away.
        The robot was finished cooking lunch right after I got back, so we ate. Then we watched an old two dimensional movie called "The Blues Brothers", and I loved that movie! Funny as hell and it had some really great old classical music. Some of the musical greats from the time, like Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker were in it.
        The closing credits were rolling on the screen when an alarm went off in cargo nine. I hoped it was a drill. "Is cargo nine occupied?" I asked the computer.
        "Negative."
        That was Lek's room; she was in the commons. The light on her door was solid red, so I went in to investigate; there was no fire.
        I went to the commons to talk to Lek. "Here because of the fire drill?" I asked.
        "Drill? I thought my apartment really on fire! Scared me when the alarm go off."
        "Yeah, it was just a drill, you can go home if you want."
        "Thank you," she said.
        I went home myself and we had Polish sausage and sauerkraut with shikes for dinner. Destiny put on an old two dimensional western, True Grit.
        We'd each had a glass of wine with lunch and finished the bottle watching the western, since it would be sour by the next morning. No sense wasting it.
        We listened to a little Clapton when the movie was over and then we went to bed. It was still early but Destiny had gotten up earlier than normal and I'd gotten up way early and was just plumb wore out.

When I posted the last chapter, I'd started this one but it had been nowhere near finished. After posting the previous chapter I "finished" this one and the next, as well. So there will be a new chapter in a few days.

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Thirty Five

Journal by mcgrew

Smiles
        Destiny woke me up about seven thirty; I'd been the one up early the day before because of that engine. "Wake up, sleepyhead, or you won't have time for breakfast." She'd already made coffee had the robots make chicken cheese omelets. God but I love that woman, meeting her was the best thing that ever happened to me in my life. Of course, were it not for the monsters I'd never have met her. You take the wonderful with the insanely horrible, I guess.
        We watched the news while we ate, but there was nothing new. A war had broken out in Africa, but there's always a war somewhere, it seems. People are stupid.
        Lankham Farms in Mexico closed down, citing Mexico's new environmental laws. The environmental regulations in almost all countries were strict to the point that raising pork just wasn't economical enough to earn any money. About the only place you could buy pork was from the fanciest farm restaurants, the kind you had to be a Dewey Green to afford eating at.
        Like I care about the price of pork. Sheesh.
        I finished breakfast, showered and got dressed, kissed Destiny and went to the pilot room for my normal morning routine.
        Everything in the pilot room checked out. There were no upstairs inspections today so I trudged down the five damned flights of stairs, which is better than trudging up them, and inspected the generators and engines. Yep, port generator and engine seventeen still broke. A robot was working on seventeen so I logged it.
        I got done quick today! Probably wasn't even noon yet. Destiny was in the commons drinking coffee with Tammy and Lek, who was still wearing clothes, although different ones. I wondered where she got them, probably traded drops to the naked animals for theirs. Or maybe Tammy gave her some, I don't know. I sat down with them and complimented Lek.
        "Thank you," she said.
        "You've come a long way, Lek. You should be proud." She smiled widely. Thailand is known as "the land of smiles" and unless they were short of drops the three on board were smiling almost all every time I saw them. Lots different than that German woman, who was always frowning and never seemed to smile.
        "Doctor Winters help me," she said. I was startled. "Tammy?" I said, really confused.
        "She's smart, John. She figured me out after a couple of weeks and confronted me. She noticed that I was the only one wearing clothes and had plenty of drops and she guessed correctly that I was pretending to be an addicted prostitute, so I told her I was a really a scientist studying them and trying to find a cure."
        "I no tell anybody," Lek said. "I only call her doctor when we alone. She say I not animal because I have respect, and animals no have respect."
        I asked "What was up with that one woman yesterday?"
        "She knocked her drops off of the sink and thought they went down the drain. She went through withdrawal for nothing, if she'd been in her right mind she would have realized that there's no way that bottle would fit down that drain."
        Then she started talking Thai with Lek. Lek said "We need speak English, they no understand." I gathered that Tammy spoke very good Thai and communication was easier between them in that language.
        "Uh," I said, "Are you working right now, Tammy?"
        "Well, kind of," she said.
        "I'm sorry, we're in the way" I responded.
        Destiny blushed. "Oh, God, Tammy, I'm sorry! You're making great progress, though. Both of you. Come on, John."
        We went home, ate lunch, and Destiny put on a two dimensional science fiction movie from the twentieth century, and it was funny as hell. I think it was called "Star Wars" or something. Huh? I don't know, it was Italian food, Destiny ordered it. Some kind of cheesy noodles with meat and tomato sauce. Huh? Oh, there's quite a few of those Star Wars movies. After the first one was so successful they made it into a trilogy. Back then computers were still way too primitive to make movies in so it was all models and puppets and probably drawings by hand. Oddly they shot episodes four through six first, and didn't shoot one through three for another twenty years, probably because the technology to do it wasn't there. It was another fifteen years before another was made.
        Then we had beef and beans for supper and watched Forever Old, a new holo.
        We listened to the Vaughn brothers for a while and went to bed.

The last nine chapters are ready to post, but the next 3 or 4 haven't yet been written so I don't know when the next chapter will be available.

What I've been doing is I'll read the whole thing, usually adding stuff and sometimes taking stuff out; I removed about a thousand words from one chapter. when I get to the next chapter to be posted is when they get posted, so I'll post the next few as I write them, then the rest as I edit.

I doubt I'll hit my 100,000 word goal, with so few chapters left to write and only 54,515 words in the manuscript as of now.

Shark

Journal: Burn, Baby, Burn! 1

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

"Sustainability" is, as far as I can see, a project designed to keep this culture - this lifestyle - afloat. The modern human economy is an engine of mass destruction. Of course, I am conflicted about this. I live at the heart of this machine; like you, I am a beneficiary of it. If it falls apart, I will probably suffer, and I don't want to. ...

I don't think any "climate movement" is going to reverse the tide of history, for one reason: We are all climate change. It is not the evil "1%" destroying the planet. We are all of us part of that destruction. This is the great, conflicted, complex situation we find ourselves in. I am climate change. You are climate change. Our culture is climate change. And climate change itself is just the tip of a much bigger iceberg, if you'll pardon the terrible but appropriate pun. If we were to wake up tomorrow to the news that climate change were a hoax or a huge mistake, we would still be living in a world in which extinction rates were between 100 and 1000 times natural levels and in which we have managed to destroy 25 percent of the world's wildlife in the last four decades alone."

http://grist.org/climate-energy/i-withdraw-a-talk-with-climate-defeatist-paul-kingsnorth/

Medicine

Journal: Gimme Gimme Penicillin! 3

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

China 'seals off' town after man dies of bubonic plague
"A Chinese town has been sealed off and 151 people placed in quarantine since last week after a man died of bubonic plague, state media said Tuesday.

The 30,000 people living in Yumen in the northwestern province of Gansu are not being allowed to leave, and police at roadblocks on its perimeter are telling motorists to find alternative routes, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said.

Other reports said that earlier this month the 38-year-old victim had found a dead marmot, a small furry animal which lives on grasslands and is related to the squirrel.

He chopped it up to feed his dog but developed a fever the same day. He was taken to hospital after his condition worsened and died last Wednesday."

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/24523564/china-seals-off-town-after-man-dies-of-bubonic-plague/

The Matrix

Journal: Property is Moral Opposite of Liberty 10

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

Think about that, while you make absolute positions...

"...Liberty, as defined in its truest negative sense, is freedom from external restraint. This, along with the principle of self-ownership, commands that nobody shall have the right to act on the body of another without their consent. But "property rights" as Gobry slyly calls them gives people precisely that right. For a right to property is not a right over a piece of the world, but rather a right to act on the bodies of others: to attack and externally restrain those bodies without consent.

In a world that respects liberty, people are free to do whatever they'd like, provided they do not act on the body of another (e.g. externally restrain it). This requires that people may walk about the world as they please, grabbing and utilizing any of its various pieces and resources as they go. No person may stop them from doing so because such stopping would impose an external restraint on their body, a destruction of their negative liberty.

Yet, this kind of liberty-destroying external restraint is precisely what property ownership is. In fact, it is the only thing that property is: a social relation of violent exclusion wherein the "owner" has claimed a right to attack other human beings if they try to act on a particular piece of the world. Claiming a "property right" does not change the piece of world that it is meant to attach to, nor the person claiming it. It merely advertises a terrifying threat: everyone else's pre-existing liberty to use this piece of the world is hereby extinguished at my violent hands whether they consent to have their liberty so destroyed or not."

http://mattbruenig.com/2014/07/23/does-nature-command-the-destruction-of-all-human-liberty/

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Thirty Four

Journal by mcgrew

Engine
        An alarm woke me up at quarter to seven and for once I didn't mind a bit, and in fact I was glad it woke me up. I was in the middle of a really weird dream. A herd of cows was stampeding towards me, only they were running on their hind legs and somehow carrying big butcher knives in their front hooves, all singing a Chartov song while coming at me. Too many westerns, I guess.
        It was engine seventeen, something was wrong with it. I shut it down from the pilot room and started a pot of coffee perking before I shit, showered, and shaved. Destiny woke up about the time I was getting dressed.
        "What time is it?" she asked.
        "I don't know, maybe ten or fifteen after seven."
        "You're up early again!"
        "Yeah," I said. "Alarm woke me up from a really weird dream, something wrong with engine seventeen. I shut it down and corrected course so eight o'clock should be easy this morning. Hungry?"
        "I probably will be. What are you having?"
        "Steak and scrambled eggs and toast. Should I have the robot make you that?"
        "Sure, only I want my eggs sunny side up. Is there any good coffee made?"
        "Yeah, I made a pot, most of it is still left."
        She got out of bed and put on a robe and followed me into the dining room, where the robot was already cooking our breakfast. I put the news on. Not much new, some problem at that big Venus station, an outbreak of some disease they thought had been eradicated decades earlier. They were worried it might get back to Earth.
        I think they only have the news to scare people and make them worry.
        We ate our breakfast and drank coffee and Destiny started a second pot as I went back to the pilot room for the eight o'clock readings. Like I figured they were fine, and I was sure glad because this was going to be another busy day, what with number seventeen shut down and today I had to inspect cargo.
        The passenger section was, like usual, a big waste of time. Cargo were all asleep except the German woman, who was in the commons with Tammy, and a girl named Angel who was bending over the sink. She turned around and looked at me with those scary red monster eyes. I freaked out, ran, and ordered the door locked behind me and called Tammy.
        "We have a serious problem," I said. "Angel is going through withdrawal."
        "What? I left her a dose, someone must have stolen it. I'll be right there." She came running down the hall holding her fone. "How bad is she?"
        "Bad," I said. "Redeye bad."
        "Oh, no," she said. "I'll be right back, try to keep that door closed. If she gets out we're all dead."
        "Wait! Where are you going?"
        "To rig up a spray bottle. This is going to be very dangerous but it has to be done." She ran to her quarters.
        I had an idea and pulled out my fone. "Computer," I said, "what's the best way to knock that bitch out?"
        The fone said "Parse error, there are no female dogs on board and 'knock' is not in context. Please rephrase."
        Who programs these God damned stupid things, anyway? Back when computers were new, speculative fiction movies had computers that could think. These stupid computers sure can't. God damn it, I was going to have to talk like I went to college... only I ain't went to college, damn it.
        "Uh, how can I..." I had to think a minute. "Make the woman in cargo twenty two go to sleep fast with the least amount of harm?"
        The fone said "waiting until she falls asleep naturally would cause the least harm." Stupid computer.
        "What will cause her to, uh... lose consciousness quickly with the least amount of harm?"
        "Replacing the air with an inert gas would accomplish the task," it said. Whatever the hell an "inert gas" is.
        "Okay," I told it, "replace the air in cargo twenty two with an inert gas."
        "Please choose which inert gas you wish to replace it with."
        God damn computers! "What gas will knock... uh, put her to sleep with the least damage?"
        "Nitrogen, he..."
        "Computer, replace the air in cargo twenty two with nitrogen and then open the door when she goes to sleep."
        "Complying."
        The door opened, and Tammy came running back carrying a spray bottle. "It's okay," I said. "She's not conscious, I knocked her out."
        "Wow, John, remind me not to piss you off," She said. She took care of Angel while I finished my inspection. There was some minor damage to her sink, and I wondered what the hell that crazy animal was trying to do. As I was leaving the room, a medic Tammy had summoned rolled in.
        I'd do the commons and sick bay after the engines and generators.
        Everything was fine down there, all things considered. The generator was a little warm, but readings said it had been a lot warmer at seven.
        All the engines except seventeen were fine. Seventeen had shorted out; we were lucky the alarm went off or either the generator would have probably been damaged so bad it would have to be rebuilt, or the rest of the engines might have fried, or both. I logged it; the robot was already working on it. We'd be fine with only one engine out. At one time earlier in the trip I'd had three or four that weren't lit, but there are a hell of a lot of the huge things.
        I checked out the rest of the monstrously big things. That's where I spend most of my work day usually, downstairs inspecting engines since there were so many of them and they all had to be inspected.
        I trudged back up the five damned flights of stairs and decided to have lunch before finishing inspections; it was already twelve thirty and I was starved.
        I had a cheeseburger and Afghan style fried potatoes for lunch. Destiny had a steak chef salad, joking about pork. Her pig jokes made me think about the German woman.
        "I still have a little more work," I told her. "Engines took forever today because of number seventeen, I spent half an hour on just that one alone. I still have to inspect the sick bay and commons. Want to go for a walk when we finish eating?"
        "Sure," she said. "I'll come along."
        We finished eating and walked to sick bay. I inspected it and we went into the commons, where Lek and Tammy were drinking coffee and eating turkey sandwiches. Lek was still wearing clothes and acting pretty damned ladylike for a dropper. Tammy was doing some damned good work with that one, she should be proud.
        We got back home at two or three and destiny put on an old two dimensional comedy western named "Wagons East". It was a really silly movie and we laughed our asses off watching it. Destiny said that part of this one had to be done in a computer because one of the stars, the fat guy who played the wagon master, died before they finished shooting and they had to map his face to a body double. She said computers used in movies was still really new when that one was made.
        When it was over we ate a poor man's dinner; prime rib, baked potato, salad, and wine. I only drank one glass, I hate hangovers. Especially wine hangovers.
        I did have two beers while we watched The Underpass. That's a new one, you guys probably saw it already.
        We listened to some old classical blues and cuddled when it was over and went to bed.

The Internet

Journal: Was the Internet Created for Covert Domestic Surveillance?

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

"From its creation by DoD contracts and grants to research institutions, there have been aspersions cast by those easily dismissed as "fringe" commentators, on the nefarious, or at least covert, motivation to create the Internet. Conspiracy theory may have been met by reality in recent months with now commonplace reporting, first by Wikileaks and later, in the more extensive Edward Snowden revelations. It is still almost canon, that NSA mass-surveillance and warrantless information analysis occurred through coopting the burgeoning Internet, and diverting traffic in a way that is counter to the ideals of its creators and promoters. But what if the social, commercial Internet were always intended as a sort of giant honeypot? The idea would still seem farfetched, if it weren't recently disclosed by William Binney that the NSA is recording 80% of all US phone conversations â" not simply metadata. Closer examination of the record shows that ARPAnet was being used to clandestinely gather information on the legitimate activities of US citizens â" and transmit the information to the US Army Intelligence Command NSA â" as far back as 1968! According to articles published in 1975 by MIT in "The Tech":

  "via the ARPANET, a computer network connecting more than 50 government agencies and universities throughout the country. The network is funded by the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)... The information, according to intelligence sources, was transferred and stored at the headquarters of the National Security Agency (NSA), at Fort Meade, Maryland. The Army files were transmitted on the ARPANET in about January 1972, sources say, more than two years after the material â" and the data banks maintained at the [Army's] Fort Holabird facility â" were ordered destroyed."

MIT officials were worried 40 years ago, about this abuse of interconnected TCP communications and the complicity of their own research scientists. These concerns arose at the height of the Watergate fallout and downfall of President Nixon for illegal wiretapping and information theft allegations. The danger of Government "record keeping" was outlined by Senator Sam Ervin, in an address to MIT that was also profiled in the same publication. Clearly, this did not begin in the last decade, and clearly pre-dates the 2001 "Global War on Terror" pretext. It is important to remember, the NSA was an almost unknown agency at this time, and was chartered to strictly forbid intel on US citizens and those dwelling within US borders."

User Journal

Journal: Morgan Freeman on Mars

Journal by mcgrew

As I was going through Google News this morning I ran across an item about actor Morgan Freeman talking to a couple of astronauts on the ISS at a round table discussion at JPL before an audience of what looked like two or three hundred people, all of whom were JPL employees.

He was there with the producer of his show on the Science Channel Through the Wormhole and with its writer, a physicist.

There was no link from the newspaper article, but Google found it here on YouTube. Those of you who think we should go to Mars instead of "wasting time and money" on the ISS should watch it; it will be an eye opener for you.

Everyone else is likely to enjoy the presentation as much as I did. All sorts of science is discussed, and there's a fascinating part about testing parachutes for Mars landings. There's also a clip from Through the Wormhole and it looks to be as good as Cosmos, although I haven't watched any full episodes.

I was surprised to find that Mr. Freeman is a fan of science fiction. When he asked for a show of hands, asking who was alive to see the moon landing, maybe a half dozen raised their hands, although most of the audience was interns.

For those of you, like me, who don't have cable or your provider doesn't offer that channel, more googling found that all the episodes are online here.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.

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