A Ball of Ice and Fire-Part 1

For the original article, tune into the August issue of Furore-Schrodinger’s Hat.

Fact or fiction?

FIRE AND ICE

He takes one painful step after another on the icy surface. Nothing but ice, for miles around. Half a yard above the surface, every part of his body is on fire, his perfectly insulated fire suit not doing enough to keep out the heat from the 800 degree Fahrenheit furnace all around him. The whole planet is nothing but burning ice…

Fact!

The planet is Gliese 436 b. It is so near a star that surface temperatures are as high as 800 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you can find ice on its surface at over four times the boiling point of water because the gravity in the planet is so powerful that all the vapour is compressed into ice.

THE SILENT ASSASSIN

The assassin wipes away a bead of sweat trying to make its way down his chin. He checks his gun again, more an involuntary twitch than a conscious action. A radio buzzes in his ear, as his fingers tighten around the trigger. He never misses. The assassin braces himself for the blood curdling scream. He knows he’s not going to hear one, but some habits die hard. The target continues to walk to his car, smiling contentedly. The target is assassinated… only he doesn’t know it yet.

Fact!

Though it sounds just like the Hypospray from Star Trek, this weapon actually exists! Scientists at MIT have created a device that injects a near supersonic dose of medication through your skin using a blast of air smaller than the proboscis of a mosquito. You can even inject it through someone’s eyeball and they wouldn’t feel a thing. Of course, it has other “non medical” applications too…

 

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A Ball of Ice and Fire-Part 2

A METALLIC WONDER

The lone wanderer looks out into the perpetual night sky and wonders how far away from home he is now, as the planet hurtles through the galaxy, free from the shackles of any star. His boots clank against the shiny metallic surface which covers the whole planet. The two moons, also metallic, offer no respite from the darkness. He misses a step, and suddenly finds himself falling into the partially hollow planet… into its metallic core…

Fiction!

The planet is Cybetron, the home planet of the Transformers. Though this planet has undergone a few changes over the different generations of the series, the basics remain the same. It is a metallic world where technology flourishes, with metallic plains, metal mountains, deep chasms and a metallic (of course) core. Cybetron orbited Alpha Centauri, but was thrown out of orbit due to a huge war, and sent careening through the galaxy.

THE CRIMSON SKY

The captain struggles to keep his spacecraft under control against the strong wind as he moves across the planet. The craft blends into the crimson sky. On the surface, everything has turned pitch black. The colour of the sky is so strong that the captain struggles to see in front of him. He must keep moving. The spacecraft is only minutes away from complete incineration. Just as he is about to give up hope, the crimson sky disappears. The whole spacecraft is engulfed in complete darkness. The captain feels a chill down his spine. It isn’t fear- it’s the cold. The craft, which was in danger of incineration just seconds ago, is plunged into sub zero temperatures. The spacecraft moves forward in complete silence, into the darkness…

Fact!

Gliese 581c. You want to see what Hell looks like? pay this planet a visit. It orbits a red dwarf so the sky is always a crimson red. All vegetation on the planet is pitch black from absorbing all that infrared radiation. Also, the planet is so close to it’s star that it does not revolve anymore, so one side would be plunged in eternal darkness. Also, one side would be insanely hot and the other freezing cold. Add to this the strong gale winds that go from the hot to the cold side, and you have a perfect recipe for Hell. The good (?) news is that it is actually theoretically possible for humanity to survive on this planet, however, incineration and being frozen solid are just a step away in either direction…

A SUN TOO MANY

“This sad excuse for a planet does redeem itself after all, and how.. What a view..”. He sits on the barren wasteland that makes up most of the planet, and looks over the salt flats at the setting suns. Two suns and three moons make for a breathtaking sunset. His mind wanders, as he looks remorsefully at the dry salt flats- the only proof of the natural beauty that this planet once held…
Fiction!

This one’s a sitter. The planet is Tatooine from Star Wars ( there had to be one from Star Wars). As most of you probably know, it is a desert planet with two suns ( Remember the sunset shot from A New Hope?). The biosphere was destroyed when Rakata raised hell on the planet.

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Have You Sinned? Take 3

Here comes our third and final post on tete-e-tete with Adam and Eve. For more Art of Start articles, tune in to our bimonthly magazine FURORE.

Host : Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to The Fishbowl Furore! Tonight’s guest features a couple who’ve achieved a lot of firsts in their lifetime, which also includes causing the first ever furore. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Adam and Eve!

A&E : Greetings, everyone. It feels wonderful to be here.

Host : To start things off, let me ask you Adam, what have you made of mankind over the ages?

Adam : They’re doing great. For all I know, things could’ve gone a lot worse, but they’ve managed to keep it going fairly steady.

Host : I’m sorry, but how much worse could it get? In the past 100 years there’s been two world wars, nuclear scares, famine, economic crises, impoverishment, and just general misanthropy all over the place. So, how on Earth are things even kept “fairly steady”?

Eve : This is where the illusion of a perfect ‘Garden of Eden’ comes into play. It’s a little difficult to break it to you, but there was never any peace and tranquillity back in the Eden days. The only difference between then and now is our population and its consequences. All that we see as ‘evil’ was manifested by the one serpent. As you can see, the world around us was tainted from the very onset. Yet, it is only natural. And that has always been the order of things.

Host : So, there would never be any way of getting rid of evil from our lives at all?

Adam : Sadly, no. However, you must understand that evil is balanced out. Our universe revolves around two very peculiar and, in many ways, mutually exclusive phenomena – randomness and balance. Whatever evil that is caused, would always, eventually be balanced out. At the same time, the process repeats again, except on a less conventional note.

Host : How big of a role would randomness play in the functioning of our lives?

Adam : An incredibly profound one. On a deeply philosophical extent, one would conclude that our subjection to randomness inculcates our self-perception to skew towards a more realistic angle – One which makes us feel like tiny, meaningless particles of dust in the cosmos.

Eve : This brings to light as to how much we require and use causality towards the explanation of an event. On one hand it uses the primary principles of logic and on the other hand it gives us comfort. We’ve always found great difficulty when it came to events that defy our logic. So much so that it scares us. I still remember, back in those days, we were very scared.

Host : But logic, at least these days, have morphed from the application of intuition to the application of collectivised data that we learn during the course of our lives. Historically speaking, it does put things on a fair perspective doesn’t it?

Eve : Fair, yes. But it doesn’t really compel our emotional senses any further does it? Nothing does. Our weather-like capriciousness has impinged a lot many things in their own way. Fear is a natural reaction to things which we cannot accept or understand quickly. Ask a college student about mathematics and you might understand. Although, it can be vanquished with due effort.

Adam : At the same time, I’ve seen mathematics being put into good use to understand randomness. However, it has led to an array of rather obvious adages, such as the one by a certain Murphy. Long after the forbidden fruit incident, the main problem in our lives was accepting the fact that our very existence could’ve been just as random as any other event in the universe. The two of us were old at the time, but the rest of our children began hypothesising myriad ways of creation.

Eve : This understanding of their own making did help them cope with their fears of the unexplainable, but this is where we first saw division sprout amongst them. Only, because one understands the universe a little differently than the other.

Host : This leads me to my next and final question, with regard to the many common hypothesis in existence today, was it free will or determinism that caused the forbidden fruit incident?

Eve : We are just as much in control of our actions as the stimuli which provoke them.

Adam : Determinism? No. The event is widely touted as the birth of evil, but it could’ve happened on any other day with in completely different circumstances but with the same subtext. Hence, free will.

Eve : Again, it was never the birth of evil, but the first action of evil. With curiosity we discovered a potential crawling underneath our skin. We discovered life in a completely…different way. Evil is just as much human as the kindness and humanity in us. And maybe, the serpent was just a scapegoat.

-Imran Gaffur

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