I always wanted to live in a James Bond movie. Push a button and a perfectly chilled martini rises silently, but majestically from a wet bar. Turn the face on your watch to the right and a tiny, poison dart dispenses the loud-mouthed jerk who cut in line at the post office. It’s all too seductive, the automated life.
So when my boyfriend and I moved in together in March and he announced plans to automate all the lighting in our apartment, I jumped on his idea like Trump on a prostitute. It was just lighting, but I felt it was a precursor to a fully automated household, full of decadent leisure brought on by the ability to control all the lights in our apartment, from a block away—or from around the world. While I wondered what was the point of turning a light on in the apartment when I was in Turkmenistan, I figured that it was for the same reason why a dog licks his balls: because he can.
1. I really have to pee.
2 Oops! Was I supposed to go second? My bad.
3. Does this space suit make my ass look fat?
4. This is so amazing! I wonder if people will ever think that we faked this whole thing?
5. A slide would’ve been so much cooler than a ladder.
6. Oh great, now my underwear is bunching up on me
7. Everyone is watching. Please don’t fall. Please don’t fall.
8. I can’t breathe! Gasp, gasp, gasp. Just kidding.
9. I can see my house from here
10. Open the pod bay doors, Hal.
Photo: Courtesy NASA
It took over five years, 43,000 men, 23,000 tons of marble, enough steel cable to lasso the moon and two MacBooks, but my sci-fi comedy is now available on Amazon.com. My seventh novel, Excuse Me, Is This Planet Taken? is selling for an incredible $3.99.
An interview with a superintelligent computer
Jessica: Good morning, everyone, I’m Jessica Cross and it’s Saturday, April 10, 2023, seven days after the Singularity. Today, we have an exclusive interview with Ted, the superintelligent computer that began life as an Angry Birds game and just last week, took over the world. He’s joining us from his fortified bunker deep inside a mountain in Colorado. Thanks for sparing us a few minutes, Ted.
Ted: Thank you so much for having me on your show.
This article ran in the Los Angeles Times on Saturday, June 29, 2018. They had to censor some parts and cut a bit for space. I understand completely. But I decided to let loose here. You have been warned.
I wasn’t very smart when it came to dating. Or was I?
I like to think of myself as a pretty intelligent guy. Logical, analytical, able to reason things out.
If I’m not cycling around Griffith Park, I’ll spend my free time watching documentaries on YouTube about chaos theory, parallel universes and anything to do with Einstein. I have books stacked in tall piles on my bedside tables covering a bewildering array of subjects, from theories of time to the history of the Dutch people to Murakami novels filled with talking cats and disturbing passages of incest.
But when it comes to dating, my prized intellect goes completely out the window. I’ll date a guy with more red flags than a communist parade, ignoring warning signs that would cause most people in my position to move out of town and change their phone number.
“Hey, Stan, who are we shooting at this time?”
“James Bond again.”
“I have a bad feeling about this.”
“Why? We’ve got Bond outnumbered ten-to-one.”
“And every time he manages to come out on top.”
“No way! We’ve got him cornered.”
“Over by the 100 canisters of liquified oxygen and pile of oily rags.”
“I still have a bad feeling about this…” Continue reading
(A dialog between two extraterrestrials entering a new, unexplored solar system. Translated from their native Hexa-Dimensional Hru-ru)
“Captain, we examined the gas planet with the fantastic rings.”
“Yes. No biomarkers, even though it seems perfect for life: mostly hydrogen and helium, with traces of methane, ammonia and water. Temperature is minus 279 Fahrenheit, windspeeds 1,100 miles an hour.”
“Sounds like heaven. Damn! We’re were so close.”
Let’s face it. Spend months on a desolate island in the Pacific looking at the beaks of Galapagos finches and before long, you might begin to realize something is going on there. Naturalist Charles Darwin did and it led to the theory of natural selection. Those individuals with heritable traits better suited to the environment will survive.
That’s not the way my father saw things in the natural world. He had his own rules that made you worthy of passing on your genes. Continue reading
Since I’m a firm believer in science and humor, I thought I would take a different tack to all the eulogies being made across the Internet since the passing of the great physicist last Wednesday. Instead, I offer you a wonderful interview that TV funnyman John Oliver had with Steven Hawking on Last Week Tonight in 2014. Continue reading
We finished off the dinosaurs with a whopping asteroid to make way for you mammals. We tinkered with your genes and got you to come down from the trees. We taught early humans how to raise crops and domesticate animals. Gave democracy to the ancient Greeks. And pulled your sorry asses back from the brink of nuclear war on multiple occasions. You owe us extraterrestrials big time.
And how do you Judases repay us?
A few years ago, I made a trip to the Mount Wilson observatory high above Pasadena, California. It’s where some of the greatest discoveries of 20th century astronomy took place.
It’s also where we humans got taken down a peg or two from our lofty, self-awarded importance in the cosmos. Continue reading
For most people, the word vacation conjures up visions of tanned carcasses parked on comfy lounge chairs in the Caribbean, sipping tropical drinks bristling with paper umbrellas and colorful straws.
I don’t buy into that illusion. Continue reading
Richard Feynman, one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century, could look at a simple tree and see much more than some roots, a trunk, branches and leaves. He understood and marveled at where they came from. The answer isn’t what you think.
Feynman said that trees come mostly out of the air.
Before you sputter in laughter and point in ridicule, you need to know that he’s correct.
We’ve been sending radio and television signals into space for decades without giving it much thought.
Maybe we should. Continue reading