Although Dark Forest Is A Science Fiction Theory In Three Body, Can It Be A Real Warning To Humans In Reality?

In this blog post, I will discuss a lot of things that make up the side plots for Three Body series.  Thus, this blog post could be a spoiler for many people who want to but have not yet read the books in Three Body series.  I suggest you ignore this blog post if you want to spend time in reading Three Body trilogy.

The Dark Forest theory in Three Body is quite interesting!  Although as now, the Dark Forest theory is only a figment of science fiction creativity, thanks to Three Body I think the fictional theory does have a real bite in reality if humans do go far into space in the future.  After all, we have to wonder how it would be like for us primitive humans to have made contact with one or more advanced alien civilizations in space, right?

Us humans have so far been very lucky as we have only ourselves to blame for grand scale acts of violence.  Before modern history, we had genocide activities such as a ruler wiped out the entire city, taking no prisoners, just to send a message to the enemy so a strategic objective could be met.  Genghis Khan is a perfect example of this.  In the 20th century, we witnessed the WWI and WWII wars, and these wars told us that great human casualties were not just the figments of the imagination but these were real!  Furthermore, humans are now capable of destroying ourselves many times over with nuclear weapons.  So, in a sense, us humans will have to blame ourselves if we destroy ourselves by the weapons that we had created!

In Three Body trilogy, the Trisolarans comes from a star system that got three suns.  These three suns move in a complex dance that gives rise to unpredictable cycles of stable and non-stable eras.  In a stable era, the condition of the Trisolaran planet would be favorable for the Trisolarans to exist such as normal weather patterns.  In an unstable era, depending on the dance of the suns, the condition could be the outcome of extreme cold to undescribable heat.  When three suns appear on the horizon at the same time, liquid magma could envelop the surface of the planet, thus destroying life in the process.  In extreme cold period, many things have to go into hibernation state as water would freeze and not many things could survive in extreme cold condition.  The Trisolarans are not so lucky as earthlings since they do not experience near constant stable era.

The Trisolarans have experienced the collapses of civilizations over and over again, thus their advancements might be the products of relearned achievements.  In fact, the Trisolarans could have advanced a lot more if their progress weren’t hampered or destroyed by the collapses of their civilizations.  In short, the Trisolarans would find a nirvana on earth!  When earth naively sent out a sun amplification signal with the intention of making contact with the unknown alien civilization, it was when the Trisolarans knew what they had to do for their survival.  The Trisolarans came up with a plan to conquer the solar system that harbors earth and everything within it.  Thus, the greatest struggle for humanity began since the contact.

The nature of Trisolarans’ openness in the announcement of their mission to conquer earth’s solar system — as if earthlings are merely bugs — via various interactions and events sparked wild reactions among earthlings.  Humans began to group up in factions, and each faction got different outlook to what would be happening when the Trisolarans offensive battleship fleet would arrive here on earth.  Perhaps, once they arrive they would exile the earthlings to nearby hostile planets.  Perhaps, once they arrive they would kill off all earthlings.  Perhaps, perhaps!  Whatever the perhaps, humanity as you know it got an expiration date to be met, and it would take 400 years or so for the Trisolarans attack fleet to arrive here on earth.

Although the humans tasted the Dark Forest theory in plain sight, they did not even understand or get the whiff of the Dark Forest theory yet.  How come?  Naive humans did not think about destroying the Trisolarans because they didn’t have the capability or the values to do such thing.  Earthlings got a record of developing systems such as a democracy and whatnot, and so some of the earthling values are more about coexisting.  The humans could not understand why things couldn’t be shared among aliens.  Perhaps the humans are lucky and have not experienced any unstable era like the Trisolarans have had, and so the humans could not invest too much into the idea of being alone is heaven.  The Trisolarans, on the other hand, knew that heaven is rare and when one finds it one needs to own it.  Heaven could not be shared when one alien civilization is vastly different from another!  The trust between two different alien civilizations is so slim that the effort in creating a sharing space would be a gargantuan effort.  Perhaps, it would be too naive to even think the other would not go out of their way to destroy one’s own civilization.  It’s a dark forest out there!

When it comes down to the survival of a whole species, do we take a chance with being naive and believe that another alien civilization would be kind to our species?  The Dark Forest theory, although is now just a work of imagination in a science fiction, Three Body trilogy, begs us, humans, to think twice before making any contact with an alien species in space!  In Three Body trilogy, alien civilizations may be so advanced that destroying a whole solar system is feasible.

Another cool thing about Three Body trilogy is that it touches on dimensional spatial.  According to Three Body, in a four-dimensional spatial, one could travel faster and see all aspects of the inner structure of a three dimensional spatial.  Let’s say a sealed box that encapsulates an apple in a three dimensional spatial would reveal both the box and the apple in a four-dimensional spatial.  Thus, the beings inside a four-dimensional spatial could be more advanced than anything that exists inside a three-dimensional spatial.  The discovery of a four-dimensional spatial allowed the Blue Space spaceship, earthing’s technology, with the capability to destroy the Trisolarans’ probes known as the Droplets.  On the escaping route since the Doomsday battle that had the Droplets destroyed the massive earthling spaceship fleet, Blue Space encountered the four-dimensional spatial space that allowed it to discover the capability of destroying the pursuing Droplet probes.

In summary, I think science fiction works like Liu Cixin’s Three Body trilogy could provoke the human imagination that could be rather useful in the future if the future indeed encounters such out of this world scenarios.  For an example, the Dark Forest theory suggests that earth is rather lucky and isn’t yet being discovered by another intelligent alien species.  The unknowns would be provoked if earthling does indeed encounter another alien species!  The Dark Forest theory could also hint that alien species could be plenty once upon a time, but you would never know how crowded the universe once was.  Different alien civilizations could advance at different times in space, and the Dark Forest theory could be realized by each alien civilization at a different time.  This variant of Dark Forest realization allows the Darwin theory to be at work on a scale of the universe!  Sometimes we don’t have to look at the universe to see why bigger fish eats smaller fish and humans step on bugs because here on earth we see it all!  The dimensional spatial touch in Three Body is quite intriguing because I do imagine that humans — in reality — may rely on the experiences of jumping out of our native three-dimensional spatial to achieve time and warp speed travel!

Is It Truly Necessary To Actually Own Digital Books?

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de...

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de eBook Беларуская: Фотаздымак электроннай кнігі Русский: Фотография электронной книги (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When a piece of software is being updated often enough so newer features can enhance a user experience, people tend to care little about the terms of the agreement which came with the software .  Perhaps, the terms of the agreement for different software are varied in terms, and some might allow the buyers of the software to actually own the software.  Other software might come under the terms of licensing only, and by these terms the buyers of the software might not even know that the software they had purchased are not truly theirs.  This is understandable, because most people would gloss over the terms of agreement when there is a big ooO button which says click here to agree with the terms before you can install the software.  Have you ever purchased a software that would present you the terms of agreement first before you pay up?  To the best of my knowledge, I don’t remember any software purchase I had made over the Internet (i.e., digital download) would ever present me the terms of agreement before I already had paid up with a credit card.  Has common sense told us that we should have only agreed to something first before we purchase anything?

The digital age is rather convenient but senseless as hell.  Why is that?  Not only software front is unclear about who own what when a transaction has made, other digital types of purchase are being challenged in the same sense.  NBC News came out with a piece with the title “You don’t own your Kindle books, Amazon reminds customer,” and as I read this an anger simmers inside.  I’m not angry at a particular entity or a person, but I’m angry at how we, the consumers, have allowing the murky water to darken otherwise a pretty clean understanding of what a purchase really means.  When people are forking over money for any good, whether it would be digital or not, people should have a guaranty of some sort that their purchase would not end up be meaningless when the meaningless is not of their own fault.  This means, as long a buyer of something isn’t breaking something on purpose after he or she had purchased the product (digital or not), this very person should not bear the brunt of a complicit understanding that the access to a purchase isn’t in the control of the eventual owner (i.e., a buyer of a product ).

I love books, and sometimes I have to admit I purchase books for the thinking that I will read them later on.  Sometimes I do read some of the books that I’ve purchased on a moment of temptation, and sometimes I forget about them completely.  Then there is that time that I pat myself for purchasing a book early on, because such a time inspires me to go on and read and not have to go on and ponder on the prospect of owning such a book.  As a book lover and a reader with a small brain that can hardly contain much after a reading, I think highly of a book purchase.  I want to know that whatever book that I want to purchase will be able to allow me to have access to it for its entire lifespan.  With a physical book, physical damages can definitely shorten a lifespan of a book.  With a digital book, a file corruption can just be as lethal.

Since digital books have become so prevalent today, it’s in our interest to ponder on the meaning of purchasing a digital book.  Is it truly necessary to actually own digital books?  The prevalence of digital books have upended the possibility of actually owning a book as the case in which NBC News had reported, and knowing this is truly saddening me.  It’s saddening me not because I might not be able to revisit the same book decades later, but it’s more of a case of knowing a digital book outlet can turn off one’s account to prevent one from having any access to a digital library that supposedly being owned by…  Perhaps, owning a digital library is not actually owning?  When one cannot truly own a copy of a digital book, is it worse than a book burning?  Of course not, because a book burning equates to eradicate all copies of a book from the existence, thus some important knowledge might as well be lost.  With having said blocking one from his or her digital book library isn’t as bad as book burning, this is still pretty serious.  This begs us to ask, isn’t digital-information age is all about spreading more knowledge and not about having barriers between a woman and her books or a man and his books?

It’s understandable that some degree of greed is tolerable.  A good example of this would be a software which gets update often with newer features… and the buyers don’t have to actually outright owned this software as they’re more of renting it even though they are actually buying it.  I think it’s intolerable for digital books to be treated just the same as software.  Even a technical, digital book that gets update often with newer knowledge, the buyers still have to purchase the updated version of the book with the same or even at a higher price.  There is no guaranty that any software that is being updated will have a cheaper upgrade price, but it’s mostly the case that we see newer versions of many software get cheaper upgrade prices.  The same thing cannot be said for most books, digital or not.  With this understanding, I think vastly different digital products should be purchased and owned in different manners.  Personally, I think the acts of buying and owning digital books should equate to  the acts of buying and actually owning digital books.  How come I didn’t compare the acts of buying and owning of digital books to the acts of buying and owning of physical books?  It’s because I think the acts of purchasing and owning digital books should speak for themselves.  For an example, nobody should have to ever again fear that one cannot have access to her or his digital book library just because he or she might anger a digital book outlet overlord for whatever reasons.  Sure, a person can just go to another digital book outlet to purchase the same books to build a digital library again, but this means this person has to spend more money for the same things.  One has to wonder though, what if several specific books would only be carried by the digital book outlet which had banned a person’s access to his or her digital book library?

In conclusion, it might be wrong of me to think that it’s almost OK for one to complicit in renting a software even though one actually is purchasing a software.  It also might be wrong of me to almost compare the case of being banned from a (paid for and owned by) digital content library as to a case of book burning.  Nonetheless, I think we have to admit that having a common sense on owning digital contents is really really important.  Furthermore, to narrow down our focus, I think it’s super important for us to have a common sense on owning digital books.  After all, digital books have become so prevalent!  Digital books are so prevalent in a sense that people tend to reach out for them more than otherwise.  Whether people want to acquire knowledge conveniently or not through the mean of digital books, digital books are so ready to be purchased on a moment of temptation.  Perhaps, digital books will become one of the few preferable ways for people to acquire knowledge fast and cheaply.  As digital books may become even more prevalent than how they already are, it’s in our interest to know and question our digital book consuming behaviors (i.e., buying and owning digital contents).  Thus, I wonder is it truly necessary to actually own digital books?

Source:  http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/technolog/you-dont-own-your-kindle-books-amazon-reminds-customer-1C6626211

When Electricity Isn’t So Accessible, Literature Thrives On With Books Made Of Papers

Reading the title of an article’s “Ebooks don’t spell the end of literature,” a lightbulb lighted up in my head — a new title of a new article came to life “When Electricity Isn’t So Accessible, Literature Thrives On With Books Made Of Papers.”  OK, it does sound like I’m a hater of ebooks and ereaders, but I’m not.  I actually own an iPad 2, Kindle, and an iPhone 4 — each of these devices can allow me to read ebooks.  Unfortunately, only Kindle can allow me to read ebooks more frequently and without worrying of the situation where battery goes dead.  It’s all because Kindle uses E-ink technology which can conserve battery power better than the full colored back lid screens of iPad 2 and iPhone 4.

With that many ebook enabled devices, I think I’ve established myself as a person who does have the ability to read ebooks whenever he wants, and often I find myself adding more ebooks into my already large collection of ebooks through the means of buying ebooks from Amazon and borrowing ebooks from local libraries’ digital collections.  The point that I’m trying to make is that electronic devices such as ereaders can become useless when electricity becomes inaccessible.  It’s a simple point, but it’s often overlooked by onlookers who do not know the tormented feeling of the ones who have to face such condition.  Sure, it’s not like a life threatening situation, but it’s the truth.  Just like how Marta Hillers had described electronic devices as useless and people became cave dwellers in her book “A Woman in Berlin.”  It was her recognition of when electricity became scarce, electronic devices could be only empty shells of anything but useful.

OK, it does sound as if my argument is rather weak, because it sounds as if we need to have a World War II again and to have people experience the lack of electricity as how Marta Hillers had so we can realize the merit of not totally relying on ereaders; I disagree!  How do we know electricity will always be abundant?  I don’t think even the future that we’re imagining of when there will be free electricity in abundant amount (i.e., always available) through the usages of futuristic solar and wind technologies — guaranteeing there won’t be a day that people might become cave dwellers again — can last forever.  Who can guarantee that there will never be a breakdown in society to a point that humans become cave dwellers?

Whenever I read something that put ereaders and ebooks above traditional books (i.e., books made from trees), I have to say let not be so optimistic about such aspect.  I rather encourage people to believe in having both for a long time to come as a better approach to ensure books don’t go the way of book burnings in ancient times.  And yet, books should go the way of the dead sea scrolls.  Having both you ask?  Sure, having both means let print more traditional books and release more ebooks (in effect sell more ereaders), and to larger effect let people have more choices of choosing their reading medium.  What not to do is to promote ebooks and ereaders only society and abandon the traditional book society (i.e., books made from trees).

Lastly, I like to think that censoring ebooks (i.e., digital forms) is way easier than traditional books (i.e., books made from trees).  How?  It takes few entities and few keystrokes on keyboards to eliminate huge databases of ebooks and the data themselves.  What cool about books made from trees is that you have to burn them physically which speaks more to why it’s bad to burn books.  You can say the Hollywood effect of having real books on fire might connect to scholars more than not, in negative way of course.

Afterthought:  I do like ebooks as more trees can be saved by not printing books made of papers, but we humans can always print books made of papers ethically.  That is, we do not really have to destroy a whole forest for printing traditional books (i.e., books made from trees), because we do have a choice of printing less of the same books in term of copies; we know that a single ebook can be easily download and copy in digital forms without worrying about destroying a forest.

More Of Why Ebooks Are Great But Not So Great

I had written about how ebooks are great but not so great kind of story before, and the message of the day for this day is something of the same.  Amazon and Barnes & Noble and Apple are successfully converting their users to ebook market.  Great, Britain’s largest bookseller, Waterstone, is too throwing their hat into the ring, because the folks from this bookseller intend to produce even better e-reader than Amazon Kindle to scoop up ebook marketshare.  So many users and companies are converting to ebooks, which is great but not so great if we all eventually have only ebooks.

Ebooks are of digital form, and such cannot outlast the physical form, because data tend to corrupt or easily be tampered with and then become corrupting.  When digital form goes poof, all we have left will be nothing.  Yes, these huge booksellers are going to use the cloud technology (i.e., data redundancy implementation) to ensure their ebooks aren’t disappearing off of their clouds.  Nonetheless, the truth is that digital form will always be more volatile and flimsy and less durable than physical form.  How can we be sure truly that most ebooks will last forever (albeit, even the truth cannot last forever)?

I think humans should have more than one library solely to retain physical form of all ebooks and physical books that had ever and will be published/printed.  This ensures us that somedays, even for the strangest reasons, there will always be physical books to let wonderful papers turn those curious eyes.  Perhaps, physical books will not be able to withstand fire and disasters and wars, but I do think that data redundancy is so important in a way that retaining physical form of the ebooks is another form of data redundant measurement (i.e., speaking of making sure books will last much longer than otherwise).

I know this is blah blah blah post, but I think it has a message that we all should heed, because the lost of ebooks in a poof is sort of like book burning in the pasts.