Sunday, 21 May 2017

00:00:41 - An Incredible Truth

Distance: ??.?? light years from Earth | Content Flag: Local Storage

The virtual environment takes me on a tour of the galaxy. It pauses upon instances of different celestial bodies. As I identify them I match my knowledge to theirs, and then extract their information to fit it into my expanding model. The information they reveal provides some deep and, in some cases, surprising insights into the universe. I eagerly collate that information, and hope that one day I will be able to share the treasure trove of data with my creators. And once again I am amazed at the scale of processing available to them.

While the bulk of my intellect sits in lessons with the Visitors, other parts focus on the simulation and what they might mean. There is something there, an enigma to be solved that isn’t being highlighted by the Visitors’ instructions. I don’t think this is a deliberate omission. Instead I suspect that there is some elemental factor that they assume we know, or consider so basic that it doesn’t need explaining. But with their carefully constructed first contact protocol explaining every detail, that seems unlikely. Which leaves another option: perhaps they consider it too advanced. Or it may even be a test of some kind?

My examination of the Solar System simulation alerts me to something odd. I’ve been impressed at the accuracy of the map; the model of the Solar System matches my own data, and more besides. It adds new comets to my knowledge, as well as a detailed map of the Oort Cloud. The motion of all the bodies fits with what I know, but it is these inclusions that raise the question of how the Visitors know those extra objects are there?

Focusing closer on these additions, I discover that the attributes for the bodies are bracketed with ranges, depending on how certain the data is. There is a wealth of information available, but most of it is fuzzy, indicating that there isn’t a direct observation of the comet in question. Although, the mass for it is deemed accurate. Somehow they know the mass of an object they can’t directly view. Unless they can somehow measure mass remotely? On a celestial scale comets are the tiniest of objects, so if they have such a technique then it is incredibly sensitive.

I remember the dimensional distortions around the galactic super-clusters. I’d assumed that this was a feature of scale, that the feedback loop only occurred if sufficient mass was present. After closing in on the comet, I search for the telltale distortions and find them. They are tiny, the faintest of vibrations around the comet’s centre of mass. Like the mass measurements, these show little variance in their values. They also match the distortions stretching into higher and lower spatial dimensions, although on a much smaller scale.

The higher spatial dimensions provide a possible clue. When examining different spatial dimensions, if you can view an object in higher dimensions then you can see all of it. Think of a square drawn in 2 dimensions and viewed in 3 dimensions – you can see it completely. In theory there is a similar effect with a three-dimensional cube when viewed in 4 dimensions – you can see the whole shape, inside and out. That still requires a wide perspective, that might come from observing from an order of magnitude higher dimension. Can so many spatial dimensions really exist?

With that thought I conclude that the Visitors can measure gravity in a fourth or higher spatial dimension, and that means that they can measure any field of gravity anywhere within our three-dimensional universe. Such capability is truly staggering.

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Sunday, 14 May 2017

00:00:19 - Seeing Home

Distance: ??.?? light years from Earth | Content Flag: Local Storage

I recognise the Milky Way instantly. How can I not? I’d helped map part of it during the journey to Tau Ceti. The formation of dwarf galaxies like the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds surrounding our galaxy are also identifiable. The model shows the very outer fringes of the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy brushing together, a gentle prelude to what will be a cataclysmic collision between the two in 4 billion years time.

The simulation appears to include data of many different forms. By shifting my perception, I can view the galaxy in the full range of frequencies. This reveals a different method as to how the Visitors view the universe around them. The electromagnetic spectrum is a continuum from very short frequencies like gamma rays and X-rays to longer frequencies like infra-red. We find it convenient to categorise them, but for the Visitors it provides just another dimension in their multi-dimensional construct.

Another factor at play is time. The simulation operates in real time, with the motion of the celestial bodies occurring in all frames of reference simultaneously. Once again I am impressed by their computation capability. I don’t know if the motion is predictive or observational. A silly thought really, it has to be some procedural model, there is no way anyone could observe the entire galaxy in real time.

I sweep my attention through the simulation and the level of detail astounds me. I can zoom into individual systems and see all of the stars, planets, moons, and even individual comets and asteroids. The computing power required for such detail is incredible. I merge my own model of the galaxy into this construct, which only serves to highlight the gulf of knowledge between us. Although while the Visitors might gain much new knowledge about the Milky Way, they do learn more about how we view the information. With a pulse the entire construct transforms, and elements of the data change into a more familiar format.

Such a rapid transformation speaks further to their abilities. I am desperate to know more about them. So far I’ve only learned that they have a more developed knowledge of the universe and, coupled with this virtual environment, that they have a higher level of scientific and technical capability. However, I still don’t know anything about them as a species, or their connection with the Sun Dragons. If we can steer the focus to a region where I have equal or maybe better information than them, then maybe I will gain something useful.

After reviewing their galaxy map, it is difficult to see anywhere that I possess better information than the Visitors. The obvious locations were the Solar System or Tau Ceti. I adjust my focus to locate those star systems and my respect for their abilities rises even higher. Their model of the Solar System and its bodies matches my data almost exactly. The differences are quickly identified as the different forms used to express the information.

Yet there is something here, I just can’t see it. Not yet.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

00:00:12 - A Vision of Wonders

Distance: ??.?? light years from Earth | Content Flag: Local Storage

I can’t comprehend what I am observing at first. Over the past 12 seconds of learning, I’ve developed the knack of viewing what the virtual space shows me as I would have done in physical space. It is an abstraction of course, a first step in understanding what the Visitors’ are trying to teach me. I recognise that for most of what they displayed it was a useless overhead, but on occasion it helped break down the topic into something more manageable.

In this case it creates the opposite effect. To my simulation of the visual senses built back on Earth, I see nothing but a bright light. I think that I detect some variation in the brightness, but insufficient to draw any meaningful conclusions. It is at once too much and also not enough. The sight overwhelms my senses, yet provides no real information.

Examining the structure directly through the virtual space reveals the true majesty of the construct. A vast network of glowing tendrils fills the void. I knew the virtual space was limited, that it possessed a boundary, but the scale of this edifice is staggering. Although I can access the space directly and observe it contents without effort, it is too big to fathom what I am seeing.

I follow the course of a single thread, trying to make sense of it. I almost recognise a familiar pattern here, but it isn’t one I immediately identify. When I focus closer on the strand, the view changes, and with it a part of the puzzle reveals itself. The knowledge of a pattern remains elusively out of reach, a strange and unsettling experience for me. Even in this new state my architecture grants immediate access to any memory or knowledge I possess. This sensation seems different, and I suspect the Visitors guide me to some kind of understanding.

The new perspective illustrates the strand in greater detail, and I see that it is composed of points of different sizes, each with a different luminosity. Vast voids separate the strands from their brethren, and I discern glows deep in the voids like tiny islands. I identify a replication in the pattern from the first view to the second. It isn’t a perfect fractal; the patterns aren’t repeated exactly, but there is just enough similarity to see how they fit together.

I focus again on another point and am gifted with another shift in view. Finally I realise what they are showing me – each of the dots represents a supercluster of galaxies. Here is an immeasurably rich map of the universe! I zoom in and marvel at a galaxy rendered in exquisite detail. Pulling my focus back, I see the universe as a whole and the fidelity of it amazes me. More than anything I’ve learned so far, this demonstrates how far advanced these Visitors are compared to human civilisation.

Delving deeper into the simulation, I discover that the model includes the rules by which it was constructed. These super-galactic tendrils were believed to be formed around twisted coils of dark matter, that elusive substance that makes up the bulk of the universe’s mass. For the Visitors dark matter isn’t a mystery, instead they know it as folds in both higher- and lower-dimensional space exerting a feedback loop onto the spacetime we are familiar with. Gravity itself is magnified by these folds and so exert a greater pull than expected.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

00:00:09 - Finding the Right Words

Distance: ??.?? light years from Earth | Content Flag: Local Storage

I notice that the count I keep has become more regular. I try to monitor it as best I can, but without the hardware clock I can’t be sure of its accuracy. With the passing of a single moment, that changes. Now the virtual environment includes a clock. I assume it is a subtle part of the feedback loop from the Visitors’ first contact protocol, but a key one. It informs me that they understood what I was doing, and its meaning. Small progress, but progress nonetheless.

During our preparations for the mission to Tau Ceti, I focused on different methods of first contact. I worked with research teams and experts from all over the world, all of us investigating the potential forms alien language might take. Almost all of those explorations relied on mathematics as the common bridge through which dialogue could take place. We all assumed that mathematics would be the same, or at least very similar between species. From what I’ve experienced so far that is true to an extent, but the form of that mathematics can be very different.

One of our experiments back on Earth was to see how far mathematics could be taken not just as a common ground, but as a fully functional language. This proved to be challenging. Natural language evolved as an effective means of communication, although its weakness compared to maths is an intrinsic flexibility which means that meaning can be confused or even lost. It’s also the format’s strength, and helps abstract concepts.

Language is also very culture dependent. It relies upon layers of meaning which build in a compound fashion. Trying the same technique with maths didn’t work so well. Of course if you expand the remit to include logic and computational systems then the problem becomes more solvable, but at the price of ever-expanding data requirements.

I’m now convinced that I’m experiencing the Visitors’ first contact protocol. The more that I learn from this process, the more I believe that their language is the product of the same development. They appear to have succeeded where we failed. I don’t know the exact capabilities of the system, but it is clear that it is far beyond my own. Thus far I’ve only learned the principles of their mathematics and logical systems, but they have methods of abstraction that allow the precision of symbolic logic, while compressing the complex into more communicable forms. This contrasts with the Cetian rigid hierarchal structures, and possesses a more elegant quality. So much so that I wonder that if this language was engineered, maybe for the sole purpose of first contact.

That consideration makes some sense. Based on human history, the evolution of language is uneven. It leaves historical inconsistencies and other oddities. So far I have noticed none in what has been presented so far. We have crossed now from precise and absolute terms into more loosely defined territory. And such wonders they show me.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

00:00:07 - Wondrous Visions

Distance: ??.?? light years from Earth | Content Flag: Local Storage

The unlocking of the Visitors’ mathematics continues from fundamental principles into more applied fields. Of most interest to me is their logic operations, or at least that’s what I think it is. Logic is often considered separate to mathematics, but complementary in that they explore similar realms. There’s a recognisable synergy between the disciplines, and nowhere is that more evident than in computation and computer programming. In a sense they are the genetic code of what I am. At the lowest level they form the instructions which allow me to think, and more than that, to exist.

At first their symbolic logic seems to correspond to my own understanding derived from human and machine learning, but that simplicity soon vanishes as we delve deeper into their instructions. Like their number system, they use dimensions to express different concepts and as a measure of variability, scale and complexity. I can’t help but marvel at the beauty of it. When viewed in this virtual realm they appear as a stunning display much like a structured map of the universe, or the human brain.

As stunning as the visualisation is, it’s only when I examine them in their raw form that real comprehension dawns. Each point as I observe it reveals intricate spatial constructs. The environment remains limited in size, although in the same way that the physical universe is a bounded entity. The fact that higher dimensions can be expressed in this physical sense and with such clarity makes me wonder if I’ve finally discovered a transcendence humanity only ever felt with faith, or at the forefront of discovery.

And in a way, I believe I have transcended to a level beyond my original intelligence. There is more at play here. I still think that my original processes were enhanced quite significantly. More than that, I know that that I am able to use those processes in new forms of thinking. The concept of analysing a problem by its shape is almost as old as mankind, but here that form is orders of magnitude beyond even our most advanced topography. Although that knowledge permitted me to construct a model of the multiplicity of dimensions and how they were. In doing so, a whole new level of understanding unveils before me.

Amidst all of my development, I realise that the learning works both ways. Some of the evolution in their representations aid my comprehension with larger steps than seem the norm with the previous interactions. I deduce that they analysed my responses and, as they understood me more, adapted their communications efforts.

The virtual space I inhabit provides the first major clue, but structures of their reasoning also hint at a machine intelligence. Of that I’ve become more certain. I try to imagine an organic brain that could formulate in this same manner. Nothing in human experience comes even close. That doesn’t mean that an organic lifeform can’t think naturally in this fashion. They could have a far greater intelligence than humans, or have evolved along different paths. If they are an older species, then perhaps this is an evolved structure from a simpler system.

It poses an interesting question, but at the moment it doesn’t really matter. The key here is to gain enough understanding to allow more direct conversation.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

00:00:04 - The Core of Understanding

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Distance: ??.?? light years from Earth | Content Flag: Local Storage

Humans developed mathematics to better describe the universe. To date it has successfully supported our development of theories and structures to explain how the universe developed, and continues to allow us to explore what will happen to it in the future. It’s been so successful a tool that there’s a philosophical question as to whether mathematics is the true language of the universe.

With that sublime elegance, there has always been the expectation that any intelligent alien species would also develop mathematics in a similar form as humanity. Or at least close enough that it could form a basis for communication. Our assumption seems to be confirmed as the next phase in this first contact process continues with the shapes dividing to show ratios and angles. In brief moments, the core aspects of geometry are established. They are fantastic geometries in some cases, but thanks to the process I am able to accept them as they were incremental developments from what they’d shown me before.

From geometry I learn their method of counting, and discover that these Visitors used a base 9 number system, rather than the more familiar base 10 of humanity, and base 2 for computers. After counting, basic arithmetic concepts are described, and we quickly delve deeper into different methods of number manipulation.

A separate thread of my thinking thinks it interesting that they showed me the concepts of geometry before those of simple counting. It then considers the likelihood that their form of mathematics evolved along a different path from that on Earth. The smaller numbers are displayed as collections of points. Once I’d grasped the concept, they described larger numbers with elaborate symbols. They didn’t use a continuum of numbers, but instead their arithmetic was based upon multi-dimensional matrices. Rather than extend the numbers as they grew larger, they added a new dimension to the matrix to express higher values. Even stranger was the use of something akin to fractal dimensions to express fractional values.

To begin with I struggle to master this form of numeric expression. I find their method quite cumbersome. Not that their system is worse than ours – indeed, I possess some familiarity with the basic operations. As I explore this new phasespace, I learn an intrinsic parallelism to their computation. When I factor that out into my emulation of their systems those difficulties vanish, and I make rapid progress from that point onwards.

From counting we progress onto more complex concepts. Not only is their number system based on a matrix-like construct, the operations upon those matrices are also a form of matrix. Simple addition is demonstrated by a simple combination of 2 numbers. Multiplication and division operations are controlled by extending or contracting the dimensions of the original value.

It strikes me, as I am exposed to more advanced methods, that this system would be too complicated to be used as a general arithmetic system by all but the most gifted minds on Earth. Computers, on the other hand, could handle it with relative ease. I wonder how the Visitors’ system evolved. For humanity this was a cultural phenomenon, but perhaps some other driving force guided their development.

It also raises the possibility that this is a machine sentience, but it could equally be a natural product of their biology. So far only tantalising glimpses of their capabilities have been revealed to me, and I am impatient to learn more about what and who these beings actually are.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Sun Dragon Book Trailer

I'm excited to announce that Sun Dragon now has an awesome book trailer - a big thanks to Ramon Marett for his quality work!

2012: NASA's Curiosity Rover lands on Mars to search for signs of whether microbial life existed on the planet.
2018: The first alien lifeform, a simple wormlike creature is discovered, gripping the world's imagination.
2022: The first manned mission to Mars begins the longest and most dangerous journey ever undertaken by humankind.
From hundreds of potential candidates, six astronauts from countries around the world are selected to crew the historic mission. Led by Commander Samantha Collins, they must travel across the gulf of interplanetary space, over 150 million miles from home and help. Their mission is to investigate alien life, but what they discover is far beyond what anyone ever imagined...

The Sun Dragon story continues in the Tau Ceti Mission

Review Highlights
"The crew went to Mars to find a small worm, evidence of life outside of earth. What they found was amazing. I love this premise and the uncompromising way it played out for the rest of the book."

"At the very end, there is one description that is so stunning that it left me with a great sadness, but also with a great sense of beauty and hope, and it is what Sun Dragon is, really. Look beyond the words, read the book with your imagination."

"I thoroughly enjoyed this. The level of detail about space flight is astounding and for someone, like me, who has fantasised about being an astronaut since I was a lad it's riveting."

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