I can’t understand people who say “I’m just waiting until MM/DD/YYYY, then I can [verb phrase- relax, have fun again, be with you, etc.]” Why are they doing whatever they’re doing until then if they’d rather be doing something else? A friend of mine recently advocated the Gap Year- a year off to work (or do other things) between high school and college in order that people might figure out why they’re going to college. Why wouldn’t someone know? Why would anyone do something just because “that’s what’s next.” The notion that someone might go to high school just to go to college, and to college just because they don’t have any better ideas repulses me.


Story Idea #15: Unnaturally Gay

What if homosexuality was a ‘disease?’ What if a cause was isolated, and a ‘cure’ found?

This was the common way of thinking for some time, and many were sent to (or chose to go to) halfway houses where they would be ‘cured’ of their homosexuality. Whether homosexuality is caused by genetic, psychological, environmental or other factors has yet to be determined. Perhaps it never will be. Considering that it has become a social, rather than a scientific, issue of significance with many making it a part of their intrinsic identity, I rather doubt too much work will go into discovering the cause of homosexuality for some time. Not until things calm down on the social front, anyhow.

If homosexuality was discovered, scientifically, to be curable, what would happen to Gay Pride parades?

I’m not entirely sure what conclusions a story based around this might lead to, but here’s how I’d start. The story takes place in the present day, focusing on the scientist- the doctor?- who discovers the cause and figures out the cure. He does not immediately reveal his findings, and instead leaves the office/lab early in order to contemplate the significance of his findings. He’s heterosexual. I’m not sure I could write this from any other perspective. I’m not up to the challenge of writing this from the perspective of a homosexual man (or woman) making this discovery. I get confused just thinking about it.Gay Pride Flag

The doctor has one- at least one- close friend who is homosexual. Also, let’s set this in San Fransisco. He goes to confide in his friend- potentially his friend was part of the group of test subjects he got the results from. The friend compares being gay, in light of this discovery, to having a non-critical medical condition. A hammertoe (my own affliction), acne, or anything along those lines. Anything that might cause someone to want plastic surgery as well. The medical technology exists to ‘fix’ these conditions, but to what end? To make the person more ‘normal,’ to work the way we believe the human body was designed to work? When asked, the friend decides that he would not seek treatment if such a thing was made available.

Now, let’s also have the doctor’s teenage son- or daughter- be homosexual. My first notion was to have it be a son, but at this rate the entire cast of characters will be male. Either way, they will make the opposite position. For them being gay has been anything but. They have found it to be a hardship. After the father informs his child of the possibility of a ‘cure,’ the child will ask whether the father would want them to seek treatment. The doctor considers telling the child that they should- he wants grandchildren. Instead, he tells them that the choice is entirely up to them. They decide that, if it were to be made available, they would seek treatment.

The doctor goes to bed, but cannot sleep. He feels guilty that he might have pressured his child into the decision, and is still unresolved as to whether or not to publish his result. Late into the night he calls his homosexual friend on the phone and asks if he can come over to talk. The friend says yes (of course) but chooses to meet him at a 7-11 or some similar all night location, likely within sight of a ‘gay bar.’ He doesn’t want to reveal the results to his partner, who for a long time was uncomfortable with his homosexuality.

The discussion now revolves around the potential aftermath of revealing the doctor’s findings. The doctor is a researcher at heart, and few things matter to him more than the truth. At the same time he realizes that such findings would make the movement for gay rights nearly impossible, which he believes would be unfair. He asks his friend whether he might not wait until gay rights at been achieved, and then publishing the results. The friend says that might not be a bad idea, but that like as not it might cause a reversal (Any law which can be passed can also be revoked.) The friend okays the publication of the results saying that “If it’s the truth, people might as well know. I believe that the cause is in the right. This will change the minds of some other people, but I wouldn’t have you hide the truth. Perhaps I’m hopelessly naive, but I’d like to believe that the right side should be able to win by being fully honest. Otherwise they shouldn’t win. Now, maybe I’m not right… I’m as capable of doubt as the next person. But I’m invested. This is who I am… etc.” In short, while the research will make progress more difficult, he won’t stand in its way.

Walking around the city until the sun rises, the doctor contemplates each side of the argument and, as the first rays of light illuminate the city, reaches a decision.

I don’t choose to reveal what that decision might be. That will be left to the reader.

Idea #11: Believe in Me

Creatures which exist only so long as you believe in them, drawing parallels to how someone’s nature can change based on what you believe of their actions (was Robin Hood greedy or philanthropic?). I’m not sure whether or not this should be tied in with traditional notions and legends of the Fae- I’d almost rather not, for although that might be a fantastic source of material it would draw uncomfortably close to the god question. It might be preferable to have it be an imaginary friend of sorts.
These are decisions that I will make on some other date, if at all.

Idea #9: Flawed Premise

Alert: Really broad idea.

I want a character who in some way devotes his life to making himself unassailable, invincible. This could be a fantasy ‘invulnerable’ or a real world case have having garnered wealth and favors enough that you can get away with murder. The goal is accomplished, but then the character falls. Why does the character fall? Because he’s done. Finished. It’s like reaching the end of the Internet. End of the InternetThere’s nothing to do after that point, so he just collapses inwardly. His only goal was to make himself invincible, and in doing so he killed himself.

Metaphorically, I think. Obviously I’m still trying to wrap my brain around this one.

Idea #8: Root Recovery

In a Neuromancer-like future world, a novice programmer is given the root password on his family’s integrated home maintenance and personal computing system and given directions to organize, clean up, and archive all the folders on the system that find Saturday in order to earn his allowance.

Eager to get out of the house, he rushes through the task and accidentally deletes a directory containing the home’s temperature control system preferences. Worse yet, his father had custom configured the automated AC control (that process may have been the reason the son needed to ‘neaten up’ all the household files) in such a way that the AC automator reads ‘0’ when there is no preferences file to reference.

That may mean 0 Kelvin, 0 Celcius, or 0 Fahrenheit. I’m thinking Kelvin, just for kicks. Wouldn’t it make sense if everyone used the Kelvin temperature in the future?

In any case, the house is clearly incapable of lowering the internal temperature all the way to 0 degrees Kelvin, but it begins to do it’s darndest, calculating that it will reach that point in 120 years, but that it will have gotten half way to the appointed temperature in 4 hours and 53 minutes. I’ll come up with a more significant time later. I’m sure we can do something cool (buhdum-ch) with that. Actually, I just thought of it. I was only off by two minutes. It will have gotten half way to the appointed temperature in 4 hours and 51 minutes. Too bad I chose Kelvin over Fahrenheit. If it was Fahrenheit it would be getting to that temperature (rather than halfway) in that time.

Here’s where the Neuromancer bit comes in. Poor fool that he is, Kevin (that, I’ve decided, is the boy’s name) can’t figure out a way to recover the file through the command line interface of the administrative access panel. Frankly, neither could I. So, with the energy bill skyrocketing and unsure whether he’ll die of hypothermia before his parents get home or manage to solve the problem before either occurrence, he patches his VR gaming system into the administrative interface and jacks in to attempt to recover the data as his body temperature in the real world gradually lowers.

Idea #7: Friendly Neighborhood Mafia

A scientist has developed a revolutionary new energy efficient method of cleaning water on a large scale. (Through electrolysis, some of you might know where this idea originated.) However when he tries to sell the idea to the city legislature he (she?) gets shot down by nonsensical concerns “You want to electrocute our water?” and general lack of interest. The next day, however, he is contacted by a mafia representative who gives him a recommendation for repackaging his idea as part of a bundle being brought before the legislature by a contractor the very next day. “No strings attached.” Included in the deal is a job offer from the contractor with a fair wage a little below the industry average and a research budget a little above it. The two offers are separate and unconditional.

As the scientist has been working independently with very limited funds for some time, he decides to accept both.

A few interesting questions here. 1. When does he realize that the representative is a mafioso? Does the representative reveal that from the get-go? Does the scientist do a google search after the initial meeting?

The angle here is that the mafia has chosen to do genuine good for the community and the city, albeit through illegal means (the contractor is an obvious front, and bribes/kickbacks would be involved in getting the contractor’s proposal accepted). The scientist will decide that so long as he (she?) doesn’t directly participate in anything illegal, in other words just sticks to the science, there is no ethical dilemma.

But what about when the boss is under investigation and the new job is in peril?

Progress through Processors

Yesterday, TechWorthy posted about a fantastic opportunity for you to get involved with scientific research taking place around the globe- and all you need is a Facebook account and a minute to download a new application. You can choose from among several scientific endeavors to lend your computing power to, and there appears to be no downside. The program only uses processing capabilities that you aren’t accessing, and your own needs will always come first. The moment you need all of your computer’s power, you’ll have it- the processor sharing application will run quietly in the background, and you’ll never know that it’s there.

I would have downloaded it right away except for one concern: security. While I’m no IA expert, it seems to me that if another computer is being allowed to access my processing power, someone could easily conduct a man-in-the-middle type attack to take over my computer, and the post I’d read did little to address my worries.

This morning, however, I found an article on which claims that Progress through Processors creates a folder on your computer which is incapable of accessing the rest of your hard drive, so all of your files are safe. Furthermore, there is a one way interaction: “No third party site contacts your computer. It’s only your computer that reaches out.”

I’m not entirely sure how that’s possible, but I’m willing to trust that until I learn anything to the contrary. I’ll begin donating my processing power tonight.