Friga’s Day Flash Fiction: The Beacon


klhjvkhgckhgckhgckhc1Aloysius Hawthorne McGrath looked at the capsule, which blinked and beeped ominously, uncovered from seventy-seven million year-old geological strata in New Mexico. He wondered what it was, and what it had been doing in such an old rock layer, obviously some sort of artifact, but built by who…no, built by what? It had not been properly dated, and it might have been simply planted by hoaxers, but the pieces of evidence for its authenticity were increasingly steering away from that conclusion.

While McGrath puzzled over this, and performed further tests, another, just over his dig site and in orbit, was watching as well.

The Mirus, in his starship and home, the Emulael Enza, glanced at the readout of his hypershard, tapping the onboard sensors of the beacon far below, a device meant to pinpoint the location of this reality in superspace, a homing device whose signals would allow access to this universe to his vessel, and his alone. Such beacons were deposited in any given reality randomly in time or space. They are a secret that must not be revealed, or he was in deep trouble. This was technology he had stolen from the Giants of Tokmolos, and he did not wish to gain their notice or incur their wrath. He considered simply destroying the dig site and those present from orbit and cutting his losses, but he was loath to kill humans, his favorite species. He hatched a plan, and called for a teleport jump to the surface.

The universe went blindingly blue, then things became real again, and he braced for the nausea teleporting often gave him. He was surprised that this time his stomach didn’t lurch. He took quick stock of his surroundings, and clearing his throat, stepped forward.

McGrath was suddenly less surprised by the artifact, and more so of the stranger in odd dress who appeared so suddenly, with a flash of blue light and a loud *pop*, seemingly out of nowhere. A paleontologist and ecological studies professor of some note, he coolly stood up and strode over to the Mirus while the rest of the excavation team, most barely postgraduates, stood back.

McGrath and the Mirus sized each other up, and it was McGrath who spoke first.

“You’re not from around here, are you? In fact, I’d say not of this Earth, judging by your clothes…and those eyes..how do you get them to shine like that, in daylight, and without blinding yourself if you were only wearing weird contact lenses? Never mind. I don’t think that matters. This is yours, isn’t it?” He glanced at and nodded toward the beacon, still active after tens of millions of years of service.

“Yes. This is mine. I’ve come to dispose of it before it’s found by the wrong people, people I don’t want coming after me once they locate it. It was a mistake to randomize its arrival. Let me take care of that, and I’ll be off.”

Two men, one human, the other wavetouched, paused momentarily. All went dead quiet. McGrath motioned to the excavation team to step away from the beacon, as the Mirus walked over and tweaked its interface, then closed the access panel. He stood back, as the beacon shimmered, then vanished from sight, sent to another place and time less easy to discover.

The Mirus smiled as he signalled his ship for a teleport recall, saying to the humans, “Don’t be so disappointed. I’ll make it up to you. The ship’s located some beautiful fossil deposits about six kilometers south-west of here that I’ll bet you haven’t uncovered yet. Lots of new species to be identified, and relatively well-preserved too. They’ll lead to a lot of new research and interesting shakeups in the current thinking, just what good science thrives on. Have fun.”

Then the world went blinding blue, and he was gone.

Cat Thursday: NSFW Cat Font


cat thursday 2

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It’s all for the love of cats! Enjoy!

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TAM 2014 – Steven Novella – How to Think Like a Skeptical Neurologist


Fractals of the Week: Newton’s Spawn


G’day, this week I bring you new images from my first fractal making app, Fractal Domains. I’ve been fooling about with settings for the app, working with a familiar program in not-so-familiar ways while revisiting my favorite fractal type for this, that employing Newton’s method for finding ratios to calculate Julia sets. With this revisitation, I’m generating for printing purposes new hi-resolution images for my commercial use, and here I offer a glimpse into what these might look like. I’ll be generating new candidates, of at least 300 dpi, for the cover pages of my eBook stories and anthologies once the editing and formatting of the books themselves is complete.

So, here they are!

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All JPEG, PNG & GIF images in this post are original works by the author, created via  Mandelbulber, Fractal Domains, Ultra Fractal , Frax, and Mandelbulb 3D and are copyright 2014 by Troy Loy.

Call Bulletins: 2014/10/20


MB3d17864764As I said in this post, I’ve got good things planned for the blogs, and part of that includes improving the content and being more welcoming to a wider diversity of new readers in the tone of what I post. Now, I could be thought of as an atheist, or an agnostic, but that matters not as I don’t invest much importance in labels.

I’ve grown somewhat over the evolution of this blog and my views have also evolved.

I do not see myself as an anti-theist, and I can no longer stomach an antagonistic approach to religion for my own part. I find it doesn’t work, and whatever I may think of the truth of a given religion’s claims, I no longer think of religion alone as the great evil it’s made out to be.

I’m not like Carl Sagan by any stretch, but there’s something to be said for his approach. It worked, for one thing.  It even worked on a certain ex-paranormal/ex-Fundamentalist believer now blogging, fractalin’ hard, and sporting a Lovecraftian moniker.

The people I’ve met on this blog and family, believers and those not-so-believing, all of them brilliant, and others over the years have influenced my views since beginning blogging in 2008.

There are also prominent members, and still-prominent ex-members, of the skeptical and secular communities whom I shall no longer support on this or any other sites I own. So I’m removing material from this site, especially entries on overly and too-enthusiastically critical of religion and the God question, which I’ve written in this blog’s earlier days and work to clean up this mess of a site.

By its absence ye shall know it…

I know: “Once you post on the internet, it’s there forever,” the saying goes. But it’s to send the message that I no longer support those views, that kind of clumsy, heavy-handed approach, or that kind of content by eliminating it from this site wherever on the Web it may yet remain. I expect that some of it will always be somewhere online.

Just not here.

I’ll still keep much of this blog’s content, taking down only the inflammatory and hamfistedly critical material, and I’ll continue posting on this site. I’m also considering in time moving my main blogging over to another site, though not for at least another year. I’ll make that announcement more specific once I’ve decided, but I don’t plan on deleting this blog, not anytime soon.

This is still a skeptical blog, but I want to shift toward positive science advocacy and careful, measured criticism when criticism is needed at all, on secular or skeptical issues. Of course, the fractals shall continue to be a big part of this blog’s content.

This blog will never be perfect. But it can be better than it is, and that’s what I’ll strive for.

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