Orbiter View

Orbiter ViewAged 14 and midnight I hover outside a downtown bar in Tulsa Oklahoma.  I’m with a coven of Christians hell bent on conversion of the drunken damned and debaucherous.  I’m terrified and sweaty, yearning for the church van to return.  I’m nowhere near committed to the mission of the witnessers who seem far beyond eager to plant some spiritual seed.  Even at this age I’m too skeptical and logical to lie to myself and worse, to those who exit the neon lit door of the bar I’ve been assigned.   What Jesus approach should a kid like me use when a beautiful whiskey laden girl, falling out of her clothes, steps out of the hand dirt stained door of the thumping club only to find me there with a floppy leather bible in hand?

I stutter of course.  And she laughs.   She walks around me.  Yes, this really happened.

This was the mid ’80s.  I’d arrived there with the core prayer group from Higher Dimensions Evangelistic Center, a pentecostal church emitting a high energy beam of charismatic nonsense.  Here’s the interesting part:  I was part of Pastor Carlton Pearson’s ministry.  Pearson’s church grew to over 6,000 in the ’90s.  He was made a bishop.  He made piles of money.  However, now, he’s been declared a heretic.  As far as I can tell, he’s lost his faith, or the original version of it that includes the concept of Hell.

Every once in a while, back when I watched TV, before his heresy, I’d see him wrapped in gold suits on the Trinity Broadcasting Network as I flipped past the channel.  He was rich and disgusting.  From what I hear, that’s all gone now.

Now I realize I was just orbiting their planet of belief.  Watching the activity from the skies.  I couldn’t connect with them or their faith.   Back then I was caught in a painful, soul sucking vacuum hose of fear, not just of Hell, but also of the political climate of the ’80s.  The Cold War and the rhetoric of Reagan had me terrified of nuclear war.  For years, due to charismatic churches, our government, and news media, I feared being beheaded while trapped in the Tribulation because I missed the rapture or toasting in the silent blinding white light of World War 3.  So full of fear.

It’s quieter and happier up here in rational space.



Kepler 46f

Here we see Officer Chas giving a helping hand to Officer Jolene after they volunteered to continue searching for more instances of silicon based life forms on Kepler 46f.  In the background the rest of the team rocket to rendezvous with Sicore Orbiter.

It’s clear Jolene trusts Chas to help her over the crater pocked crust of Kepler 46f and it’s 40% greater gravity, taking a toll on her smaller form.  Big brother takes no chances and is always eager to guarantee her safety.

Silicon Based

Erikson on trust:

Hopes: Trust vs. Mistrust (Oral-sensory, Birth-2 years)

  • Existential Question: Can I Trust the World?

The first stage of Erik Erikson’s theory centers around the infant’s basic needs being met by the parents and this interaction leading to trust or mistrust. Trust as defined by Erikson is “an essential truthfulness of others as well as a fundamental sense of one’s own trustworthiness.”[4] The infant depends on the parents, especially the mother, for sustenance and comfort. The child’s relative understanding of world and society come from the parents and their interaction with the child. If the parents expose the child to warmth, regularity, and dependable affection, the infant’s view of the world will be one of trust. Should the parents fail to provide a secure environment and to meet the child’s basic needs a sense of mistrust will result.[5] Development of mistrust can lead to feelings of frustration, suspicion, withdrawal, and a lack of confidence.[4]

According to Erik Erikson, the major developmental task in infancy is to learn whether or not other people, especially primary caregivers, regularly satisfy basic needs. If caregivers are consistent sources of food, comfort, and affection, an infant learns trust- that others are dependable and reliable. If they are neglectful, or perhaps even abusive, the infant instead learns mistrust- that the world is in an undependable, unpredictable, and possibly a dangerous place. While negative, having some experience with mistrust allows the infant to gain an understanding of what constitutes dangerous situations later in life.[5]

Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of the word trust:

Definition of trust


  • 1 firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something: relations have to be built on trust they have been able to win the trust of the others
  • 2 acceptance of the truth of a statement without evidence or investigation: I used only primary sources, taking nothing on trust
  • 3 the state of being responsible for someone or something:a man in a position of trust
  • 4 a person or duty for which one has responsibility: rulership is a trust from God

Trust is actually a synonym for faith:  

noun. confidence – faith – credit – reliance – belief
verb. believe – confide – rely – credit – hope – entrust

And from the OED on faith:

Definition of faith


  • 1 complete trust or confidence in someone or something: this restores one’s faith in politicians
  • 2 strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof: bereaved people who have shown supreme faith
  • 3 a particular religion: the Christian faith
  • 4 a strongly held belief: men with strong political faiths

Trust is religion.

Jolene Inspects the Pandimensional Matter Tractors

While Team Sicore repeatedly tests the friction coefficient of the ice layer covering Badger Pass, Jolene and I explore the surrounding territory.  Here she diligently inspects the equipment for mission-worthiness.

An intriguing feature of string theory is that it predicts extra dimensions. In classical string theory the number of dimensions is not fixed by any consistency criterion. However, to make a consistent quantum theory, string theory is required to live in a spacetime of the so-called “critical dimension”: we must have 26 spacetime dimensions for the bosonic string and 10 for the superstring. This is necessary to ensure the vanishing of the conformal anomaly of the worldsheet conformal field theory. Modern understanding indicates that there exist less-trivial ways of satisfying this criterion. Cosmological solutions exist in a wider variety of dimensionalities, and these different dimensions are related by dynamical transitions. The dimensions are more precisely different values of the “effective central charge”, a count of degrees of freedom that reduces to dimensionality in weakly curved regimes.[14][15]

One such theory is the 11-dimensional M-theory, which requires spacetime to have eleven dimensions,[16] as opposed to the usual three spatial dimensions and the fourth dimension of time. The original string theories from the 1980s describe special cases of M-theory where the eleventh dimension is a very small circle or a line, and if these formulations are considered as fundamental, then string theory requires ten dimensions. But the theory also describes universes like ours, with four observable spacetime dimensions, as well as universes with up to 10 flat space dimensions, and also cases where the position in some of the dimensions is is described by a complex number rather than a real number. The notion of spacetime dimension is not fixed in string theory: it is best thought of as different in different circumstances.[17]

Nothing in Maxwell‘s theory of electromagnetism or Einstein‘s theory of relativity makes this kind of prediction; these theories require physicists to insert the number of dimensions manually and arbitrarily, and this number is fixed and independent of potential energy. String theory allows one to relate the number of dimensions to scalar potential energy. In technical terms, this happens because a gauge anomaly exists for every separate number of predicted dimensions, and the gauge anomaly can be counteracted by including nontrivial potential energy into equations to solve motion. Furthermore, the absence of potential energy in the “critical dimension” explains why flat spacetime solutions are possible.

This can be better understood by noting that a photon included in a consistent theory (technically, a particle carrying a force related to an unbroken gauge symmetry) must be massless. The mass of the photon that is predicted by string theory depends on the energy of the string mode that represents the photon. This energy includes a contribution from the Casimir effect, namely from quantum fluctuations in the string. The size of this contribution depends on the number of dimensions, since for a larger number of dimensions there are more possible fluctuations in the string position. Therefore, the photon in flat spacetime will be massless—and the theory consistent—only for a particular number of dimensions.[18] When the calculation is done, the critical dimensionality is not four as one may expect (three axes of space and one of time). The subset of X is equal to the relation of photon fluctuations in a linear dimension. Flat space string theories are 26-dimensional in the bosonic case, while superstring and M-theories turn out to involve 10 or 11 dimensions for flat solutions. In bosonic string theories, the 26 dimensions come from the Polyakov equation.[19] Starting from any dimension greater than four, it is necessary to consider how these are reduced to four dimensional spacetime.


Jolene Inspects the Bose-Einstein Condensate Nacelles

Jolene inspects the Bose-Einstein condensate nacelles for heat fractures while the rest of Team Sicore prepares for an icy low-friction descent.

A Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC) is a state of matter of a dilute gas of bosons cooled to temperatures very near absolute zero (0 K or −273.15 °C[1]). Under such conditions, a large fraction of the bosons occupy the lowest quantum state, at which point quantum effects become apparent on a macroscopic scale. These effects are called macroscopic quantum phenomena.

Compared to more commonly encountered states of matter, Bose–Einstein condensates are extremely fragile. The slightest interaction with the outside world can be enough to warm them past the condensation threshold, eliminating their interesting properties and forming a normal gas.[citation needed]

Nevertheless, they have proven useful in exploring a wide range of questions in fundamental physics, and the years since the initial discoveries by the JILA and MIT groups have seen an explosion in experimental and theoretical activity. Examples include experiments that have demonstrated interference between condensates due to wave–particle duality,[21] the study of superfluidity and quantized vortices, the creation of bright matter wave solitons from Bose condensates confined to one dimension, and the slowing of light pulses to very low speeds using electromagnetically induced transparency.[22] Vortices in Bose–Einstein condensates are also currently the subject of analogue gravity research, studying the possibility of modeling black holes and their related phenomena in such environments in the lab. Experimentalists have also realized “optical lattices“, where the interference pattern from overlapping lasers provides a periodic potential for the condensate. These have been used to explore the transition between a superfluid and a Mott insulator,[23] and may be useful in studying Bose–Einstein condensation in fewer than three dimensions, for example the Tonks–Girardeau gas.

In 1999, Danish physicist Lene Vestergaard Hau led a team from Harvard University which succeeded in slowing a beam of light to about 17 metres per second[clarification needed]. She was able to achieve this by using a superfluid.[26] Hau and her associates at Harvard University have since successfully made a group of condensate atoms recoil from a “light pulse” such that they recorded the light’s phase and amplitude, which was recovered by a second nearby condensate, by what they term “slow-light-mediated atomic matter-wave amplification” using Bose–Einstein condensates: details of the experiment are discussed in an article in the journal Nature, 8 February 2007.[27]