The NULL Solution = Episode 98

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The NULL Solution = Episode 98

…“Harmonia sounds like it could be a utopia, as in Valhalla or Camelot. Are you suggesting that literature is the key?” The Classics was not Roy Crippen’s favorite class in school…

HORIZONS MURAL by Robert McCall

Gus McKinney cannot keep quiet.

He, his two closest friends and a supercomputer named Watson III have been pouring over the Martian riddle, the mathematical conundrum wrapped in a quiz, for months and months on end.

“I am sick and tired of racking my brain over this thing. Theodor Geisel must be behind this!”

“The Chinese think we are the culprits and you are guessing Dr. Seuss’ ghost? How about you Fitch, what’s your theory?” Roy posits.

“I believe it is simpler than just bad math, but that’s as far I’ve gotten. The overriding issue is who is behind it and why. Does the word/term “harmonia” ring a bell to either of you?”

“Why do you ask Fitch?”

“I have programmed Watson III to solve the riddle every single day at Midnight.”

“It hasn’t solved it though, so what’s your point?”

“Well, seven times in 7 different languages, the term “harmonia” has been Watson’s final conclusion.”

“There is ammonia present in Mars’ refreshed atmosphere; we’ve known that for years.”

“Not a-m-m-o–n-i-a, Gus. Yes, you can’t have life without it, but Watson’s English spelling is h-a-r-m-o-n-i-a. I needed a universal translator for most of his other answers.”

“Harmonia sounds like it could be a utopia, as in Valhalla or Camelot. Are you suggesting that literature is the key?” The Classics was not Roy’s favorite in school. He got a weak C in the class.

“Utopia is more of a concept than a place, Dad. Maybe that is the key that lets us down to the surface. How about I give it a whirl?”

“A whirl to you means another ride in SEx. You know that certain people are attempting to monitor when and where you go off to in that thing? You cannot treat it like it’s the family car.”

“We just went over it with a fine tooth comb last week, right Fitch?”

“The SOL drive is as amazing as ever Gus!”

Roy is aware that they absolutely lucked out with the speed-of-light upgrade, thanks to Celeste M. and her covert friends. “A night flight couldn’t do any harm I suppose. It has been a while since we knocked on Mars’ door. Make sure you get some sleep before then.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 98


page 99

The NULL Solution = Episode 94

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The NULL Solution = Episode 94

…There was supposed to be a small colony on Mars, not a freaking skyscraper…

‘I want to see what Tycho looks like after all these years,” Sam suggests. 

As soon as they can sync the viewer with the geographical location of the Plain of Xanthe, it is clear that the neighborhood has changed. Not only are there clouds and oceans and vegetation, there is a towering structure dwarfing the tiny lander that once called Space Colony 1 its home base.

Sampson McKinney, formerly of Earth, Mars and now Eridanus, is as confused as his the Null next to him, “I thought you told me this planet was barren.”

“It was when I left,” he claims. He has to wonder why Celeste did not leave a clue about her hyperphysical trip back. Surely Crip would have mentioned a little thing like a colony on Mars. A friendly heads-up would have been nice.

Sure as Mars soil is red, a mile-high colossus rises up on the spot where humans once tread.

“Something like that would take centuries for Earth to build. There was supposed to be a small colony on Mars, not a freaking skyscraper. I wonder if the Chinese are responsible, they have always had money to burn?” He contemplates possible explanations.

Just as they get close enough to magnify their view, something strange, yet familiar pops into the scene.

“0” Skaldic has seen it before and so has Sampson, if only for seconds at a time.

Reliably so, it gives off a reflection.

“Harmonia,” reads Sampson.

#Harmonia# reads Skaldic in the Olde Language.

Twice read, once gone.

“Why doesn’t that surprise me? I saw that thing over Selljunk way.”

“I saw it out by our olde home world,” to each his own.

The recent visitors to the vicinity have stopped watching where they were going. The planned descent to the surface is met with a blinding rebuke.

The next thing you know, they are found back in Eridanus orbit; SNAP!

“Holy crap!” After recovering from unconsciousness, Sampson has his say.

Skaldic points to the same viewscreen that recently held pixels of the New Mars. It reads instead:

The Null runs the riddle past a comprehensive Eridanian database. It does not compute.

The Earthling utilizes an Earthly version, with the same results.

Nothing about the last few moments seems to add up.

Fuzzy math or bad Dr. Seuss,” Sam summarizes, “We are a full 180° off course, emptyhanded and confused.”

“That is not all Sampson McKinney.”

“Please Skaldy, I can’t take anymore.”

“The TSF drive is unavailable.”

“Swell. You can add going nowhere fast to the list.”

All in a ½ day’s work.


The NULL Solution =

Painting by MICHELE Z FARRIER

Episode 94


page 95

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 208

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 208

…“What is modest?” Deimostra, the star-child asks, though modesty is conceptual and not easily explained…

Modesty Blaise by Robert McGinnis

“Do they have one nose or none, two eyes or one or a mouth with a tongue?” She reads way too much Dr. Seuss.

“Why don’t you draw me a picture?” asks Celeste.

“I have Mommy, here,” she pulls one of the precious pieces of paper on which she has doing her studies, art, music, mathematics, etc…

“That is pretty close Sammy; you must have looked at the autopsy photos.” Celeste often wonders on how those unfortunate space-travelers looked in the living flesh. From an aesthetic standpoint, she was selfishly hoping that they are not revolting to the human eye. She really wants to like the NEWFOUNDLIANS. “We can tell that they have a pair of arms and legs and we know they are a modest people.”

“What is modest?” the star-child asks. Modesty is conceptual and not easily explained, unless Mom can produce an example of conceit.

“Do you know how your Daddy acts like he is the smartest person in the room and continually looks for a reflection of his face?”

“Yes, but I think he does know everything.”

“You are your Daddy’s daughter. We will discuss that later… you see Deimostra; these people do not have a single photograph of themselves on this ship, while Daddy must check to see if a hair is out of place.  That may mean that how they look isn’t important to them. And they do not carry personal possessions with them, not even fun clothes.”

“I only have one dress Mommy, does that make me modest?”

“No that means we have nowhere to shop, to purchase other nice things. Do you remember me teaching you about Narcissus, who loved himself above all else?” The young girl nods at a mother who wants to mold an upstanding human being that anyone would be proud to know. She hopes mightily that she has been able to offset some of Sampson’s least desired traits.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 208


page 248

...and if you are not, don't get tied into notily knots.…and if you are not, don’t get tied into knotily knots.

Contents are a book that is stuck in a nook

Eggs, Balloons, Pennies and Raisins – WIF Kid Science

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Kid science

Awesome Experiments

Kids can Do at Home

10. The Water Bottle Egg Separator

What you’ll need: Raw egg, two bowls (or plates), empty water bottle, [optional] food coloring

How does this work?

When you squeeze the bottle, you force air out. When you place the mouth of the bottle over the yolk and stop squeezing, you create suction, as air (and yolk) rush to fill the available volume. The air pressure within the bottle is lower than outside the bottle, so the air pushes the yolk into the bottle.

9. Oobleck, a Non-Newtonian Fluid

What you’ll need: Water, cornstarch, mixing bowl, [optional] food coloring. This experiment can be a bit messy, so throw on some old clothes and do it in a place where you can make a mess (the backyard is ideal).

How does this work?

Oobleck, named after the Dr. Seuss book, Bartholmew and the Oobleck, is a non-Newtonian fluid. This means that sometimes (like when it is being poured) it acts like a liquid, but when force is acting on it (like when you press down with your hand), it behaves like a solid.

8. Blow Up a Balloon Using Baking Soda and Vinegar

What you’ll need: White vinegar, bottle with narrow mouth, balloons, baking soda, [optional] food coloring

How does this work?

This is the same technique that is often used to power model volcanoes at science fairs, but you can enjoy it without going to the trouble of building a volcano. When the baking soda and vinegar are combined, they undergo a two-part reaction to produce the carbon dioxide (CO2) that blows up the balloon.

7. Use Capillary Action to Dye Flowers

What you’ll need: Freshly cut white flowers (daisies and carnations work well. You can even use celery if you don’t have any flowers), glass or jar, food coloring, [optional] scissors. You’ll also need some patience, as this experiment can take up to 24 hours to show full results (though you should see some results in 4-6 hours).

How does this work?

As water evaporates of the flower’s petals, it draws up new (colored) water through its stem, and the color flows through to the petals.

6. Use Soda to Understand Density

What you’ll need: Unopened cans of diet soda and regular soda, large container filled with water (the bathtub or a pool will work too—but grab a grown-up before you try!).

How does this work?

The differential in the density between diet and regular soda (caused by the addition of sugar) causes one kind of soda to sink to the bottom, while the other bobs up.

 5. The “Magic” Plastic Bag

What you’ll need: A Ziploc-type bag, several sharpened pencils, enough water to fill the bag (a cup or so). It’s best to do this experiment over a sink or tub, so that if you give into the temptation to pull the pencils out after the experiment, you don’t spill water everywhere!

How does this work?

The Ziploc bag is made up of flexible polymers. When the bag is pierced, the plastic stretches and creates a tight seal around the pencil, so the bag doesn’t leak.

4. Clean Pennies with Vinegar

What you’ll need: Dirty pennies, one dime, 1/4 cup white vinegar, one teaspoon of salt, cup of water, two non-metal bowls, paper towels. You also might want to wear something to protect your eyes (safety glasses, goggles, even sunglasses will work in a pinch!).

How does this work?

The acid in the vinegar reacts with the salt to remove the copper oxide that was making the pennies look dirty. If you don’t rinse them off after the vinegar, malachite (bluish-green in color) will form. If there’s enough copper oxide in the vinegar solution after you clean some pennies, when you add the dime, the metal will attract the copper oxide and take on a new color.

3. Help Tissue Paper Ghosts “Fly” Using Static Electricity

What you’ll need: Balloon (blown up), small ghost cut out of tissue paper and taped to a desk or table, something that you can rub the balloon against to generate static electricity (your clothing or hair will work well!).

How does this work?

Rubbing the balloon generates a negative charge on the balloon. When the balloon is held over the positively charged tissue ghosts, it attracts them, causing the ghosts to “fly.”

2. Make Raisins “Dance”

What you’ll need: Raisins, bottle of seltzer water/club soda, clear drinking glass

How does this work?

The tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the soda catch on the wrinkles of the raisins. As the bubbles latch on, the raisins become lighter and rise to the surface. When they hit the surface, the bubbles pop, the raisins become heavy again, and fall back down. This process makes the raisins look like they are dancing in the glass.

1. Propel Colored Milk into Crazy Swirls Using Surface Tension

What you’ll need: Disposable plastic bowl/plate, whole milk or half & half (enough to cover the bottom of the bowl/plate), food coloring, Q-tip, liquid dish soap, a place where you can make a mess and clothes you can get dirty.

How does this work?

 Food coloring isn’t as dense as milk, so initially, the drops you add float on the surface. However, the addition of the dish soap on the tip of the Q-tip breaks the surface tension of the milk by dissolving the milk’s fat molecules. The food coloring moves along the surface with the milk, moving away from the soap.

Eggs, Balloons, Pennies and Raisins

Explore with me

– WIF Kid Science

Seuss-a-Palooza

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Seuss-a-Palooza

“If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.”

 

“I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent!”

 

“Remember me and smile, for it’s better to forget than to remember me and cry.”

 

“It’s opener, out there, in the wide, open air.”

 

“Children’s reading and children’s thinking are the rock-bottom base upon which this country will rise. Or not rise. In these days of tension and confusion, writers are beginning to realize that books for children have a greater potential for good or evil than any other form of literature on earth.”

“And he, he himself…the Grinch…carved the roast-beast!”

 

“A Wasn’t just isn’t. He just isn’t present. But you… You ARE YOU! And, now isn’t that pleasant!”

 

“I know it may seem small and insignificant, but it’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become. That’s not a seed, any more than you’re just a boy.”

 

“The people that mind don’t matter, and the people that matter don’t mind.”

 

Seuss-a-Palooza