Thursday, July 17, 2008

Racehorses, gravitons and gremlins

Thursday finds me still trying to work out how to get a YouTube video to play without vertically squishing itself. It's really weird, and difficult to describe, so rather than try to describe it, I'm just going to paste the thing in here, and let you see for yourself.

This is the clip I was talking about a few days ago, where John Barrowman is getting eaten alive by a racehorse. It's a great clip, and about six months ago (when I discovered it) it used to play perfectly. Then something happened either on this end of YouTube's end, and now ... it's squished. Someone, somewhere must have a clue about what's going on here! A little help, please?? I said, great clip. You gotta love the man. And the horse. The only wrinkle is the way it plays back -- and it's playing back this way from YouTube direct and from this link, on three different computers that I know of, including two XPs and a Vista machine. I could have understood it, if it was just Vista was stuffing around. I've been an observer at the high-jinx of trying to get Vista to play nice, and ... I think I'll stick with the ol' XP.

Speaking of which, Microsoft must know they've got a turkey of epic proportions on their hands, because they said a short while ago, they're going to support XP till 2014. By which time, one hopes, they'll have come out with a whole new operating system. Like, maybe, one that works.

The latest episode of Tales from the Mel-o-sphere is about the frustration of not being able to get on with what I want to do (WRITING) for the avalanche of fiddling little details in other projects which have to be attended to first. I know, I know: you get patches like this, when the gremlins get into the machinery. What one needs is a tiny little baseball bat, with which one can reach into the aforementioned machinery and bash their tiny little gremlin brains out. Or a cricket bat, for that matter. I've never been fussy. Put it this way: just wait till I get my hands on the little buggers.

And now, welcome back to the world of HELLGATE, as I try to answer a very, very good question from a reader in the Chicago area, without rambling on and boring everyone else to death.

In the HELLGATE books (and particularly in PROBE), I talk about gravitons, and the existence of this particle is pivotal to the development of the technolgy that's going to drive the rest of the series ... and I do mean drive! Moreover, I talk about J-type gravitons, known in the world of HELLGATE as Jung particles. The question is this: are Jung particles real science? Come to that, are gravitons real science?! (Like I said, it's a very, very good question.)

Gravitons: yep. They're almost certainly as real as photons, though at this moment they're stll theoretical. String theory predicts that they most certainly do exist --as 'closed strings' with the tiniest possible 'packet' of energy ... the gravity equivalent of a photon. As for Jung particles (being J-type gravitons), sorry, those are a product of my feverish imagination. The J-type graviton is one of many kinds of gravitons knowin 600 years in the future; this one exists on the very line where this dimension of ours nudges up against e-space, or hyperspace. Does hyperspace exist? String theorists are developing math to describe many more dimensions than our own, so ... oh, yeah. More than likely hyperspace is very real. Now, as to WHAT a graviton actually is --

Want to drive yourself nuts? Chase links around on this site: World of Physics. There's a couple of books you need to read, too. HYPERSPACE by Michio Kako, and THE FABRIC OF THE COSMOS by Brian Green. Here's my thinking, in a nutshell (and this is what's driving the technology in the later HELLGATE books). Mass and energy are interchangeable, if you remember your basic Einstein (E=mc|2 ... I have no idea how to make this thing superscript to get the 'squared' symbol, so you'll have to interpolate there). The graviton is predicted to have micrcoscopic amounts of energy, which have to be derived from mass (ain't nowhere else energy is going to come from), so if gravitons carry/transmit gravity, and they're made of converted mass, and they pump out of black holes at the rate of how many gazillion tons per nanosecond? Well ... you chase this snippet of reasoning to its logical conclusion, and you might get a glimpse of where HELLGATE is going. Then again, maybe not!

To answer an oft-asked question (actually, two quesions), YES, I know exactly where HELLGATE is going, at a detail level which would probably surprise you. And YES, the next book is on my agenda. In fact, this is one of the reasons for the frustration I was talking about above. How sweet it would be, to be able to tell the world to go away, and have time to WRITE. I imagine it's every writer's dream.

'Work' is the other four-letter word ending in 'K.' Somebody needs to put that on a bumper sticker. Or a teeshirt.

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