Word Games

Before I begin this week’s writings I have to comment that as time goes we take for granted what we have today. I am writing this today on a ten-year old computer, and using dialup as the connection. When this was the way of things it was wonderful. But now, not so much. Yet it does give one a comparison to what was and what is and the changes it brings.

In both Sci-Fi movies and books to make it easier there is the use of the universal translator that allows any and all languages to be translated into the speaker’s personal language. If language was based on logic then such a thing would have been possible now. Yet one only has to use one of the online translators to know how willfully short they are towards a fully correct translation. So I thought that looking at words and their meanings and even the way they are spoken or read would be fun.

Let’s start with the language that I am most familiar with, english. It has become the universal language and when compared to others is structured backwards and is probably one of the harder languages to learn. After all it has parts of so many others. So let’s look at some of these difficulties just for we who can think and reason. Read, reed, read, and red are prime examples. Here is a sentence that includes one of these words, but because of where it is within the sentence is pronounced differently. “He read the book, and found overall it was a good read.” Or maybe this one – “The red color of the cover drew his attention, and he thought that the title Reed Pond, could be an interesting read, but found that once he had read the subject that it would in the end have no interest for him.”

You hear that the hot water tank needs heating. So the question would be why would you heat hot water? Or dealing with words like wood, and would, both pronounced the same but there is no way that one would work for the other. Since it is social, society, and culture that will create the words, their context, and meaning there is not a computer out there that can then understand what the word is and why does it mean this, and why would you put it in a statement just this way From a computer’s perspective, it just does not make sense.  After all man is not a logical creature, and his culture and society is even less so.

We presently have very powerful computers, but to finally reach that holy grail of a true universal translator, I am sure that it will take systems that are at least 3 times a powerful as today’s systems to do what was routinely accomplished in those many Sci-Fi series, movies, and books.

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Published in: on September 24, 2011 at 12:57 pm  Comments (1)  

Road Trip is Almost Here

At one time the idea of a road trip was something to look forward to. But as time has passed, it is no longer so. Even though on the trip down my wife will not be with me, (she will on the return trip) it still needs to be completed in 2 days.( On the trip down, one of my sons is driving down with me. His time is short and then he must report back to work. He will fly home after his vacation time is up.) Which means a lot of driving with the first day having a minimum of 12 hours on the road. We have found that putting as much behind us on the first day is easiest. As each successive day we burn out earlier. Again once this is said and done we will have added approximately 3000 miles and probably will have pushed the vehicle we will be driving past 100,000 miles. No we are not blessed with anything close to new. There will come a time when such trips can be leisurely, but that time is not now.

There is a possibility that for the next month that these comments and thoughts may be irregular. I hope to be able to continue with the weekly writings. Still I am realistic enough to know that everything will be based on what happens while I am away from home. I thank all those who may follow me. One can only hope that I can keep the materials coming and keep it fresh. I think one of the most difficult things one faces when doing something like this is not to repeat, to stay true to what it is that you want to say, and yet at the same time keep it interesting enough that one wants to continue to read. I guess it is like a good TV series such as Haven, or a good book series such as the Honor Universe, ones that you can’t wait to see the next episode or read the next book in the series. It is like coming home and finding an old friend, and the memories and comfort that it brings back to you.

After we return home in late October, I plan on possibly releasing, as a self publisher, my first book. I hope to have it available as an e-book by Christmas this year. Yet from personal experience I know that what I plan and what may be accomplished can be 2 different things entirely. Before the release I will be opening a Facebook page so any who are curious can then see the face behind these words. Again this will not happen for a while, probably November or early December. While most of my writings are Sci-Fi, this first one will be Contemporary Women’s Christian Fiction. It is the one that is closest to complete and ready to be published.

So on Sunday morning around 5:00 AM we plan to hit the road. Again to all who follow, a big thank you. Fall is rapidly approaching with winter not far behind. Time for me to continue the editing of the other 3, and continuing the writing of book 2 of the Survival series.

Published in: on September 17, 2011 at 9:11 am  Comments (2)  

Learning Never Ends

Fall is rapidly approaching and the biggest sign of fall isn’t necessarily the cooler crisp mornings as much as it is the returning of children to the classrooms. Yes many schools are now year around, but still the majority have the traditional schedule that was originally derived from the needs of the farming communities and harvest times when all the family members were needed to bring in the harvest. I personally can remember those many summers enjoying time off from school and the dread and nervousness as I started a new school year, wondering who would be the teacher and who were to be my classmates. The chaos of beginning the new school year, then getting into the routine of the classes, then thinking that as time flowed would school ever end? And in a sense learning never does end. Someone from my distant past stated, “There are only two directions in life – forward or backward. Either you continue to learn and help yourself and those around you, or you lose ground. There is no middle ground, period.” And I have found that it is true.

We must continue to learn, to mentor, and to pass on what we have learned. I feel that most of us have been around people who may have been our supervisors who refused to teach anything. Who felt that they must hold on to all that they know so that they would remain the ones in power. And it is very frustrating to work for these individuals. When I was a wildland firefighter the one thing that they did was to teach everyone everything. This meant that anyone could then step into any position as the need arose. Plus with the shared knowledge it makes it so much easier to lead with all knowing what needs to be accomplished. Besides for knowledge to be useful it needs to be shared, not hoarded.

In a way writers of fiction are teachers. Through their stories we learn lessons that the authors are trying to convey, and presented in a way that is entertaining and enjoyable. If we really think about it, this was the way knowledge was passed on by our ancestors before the written word became available. So in a way along with what we know as the oldest profession are the story tellers, and the lessons that they passed on to the new generation. So as this fall approaches let us continue the long-held tradition of a new school year, and the continuing road of knowledge which we all travel. May it be good to all of us.

Published in: on September 10, 2011 at 9:59 am  Leave a Comment  

A Taste of History

I am in the process of putting together a tribute for my dad. There is a great possibility that with his health that he could pass on at any time. He, like so many others, are of the unknown millions that have lived and died and are only remembered by their families. The length is approximately 35 minutes. I guess in a way it is a sad statement that a lifetime can be completely expressed in such a short time period. But it got me to thinking about what has transpired around us during our lives. And then once we are all gone and this is now history, how will these times be viewed by future generations? Many live their lives in quiet times and for others it truly is tumultuous and life changing.

My grandparents were both born in the 1800’s and because of this saw the world change from the horse and buggy era, to people landing on the moon. As children, you would wonder if they thought that they would live to see such changes. In my life I have seen major events that could have easily been written in a series of fiction novels. I mean, come on now, nobody sees that much change, right? Well, let’s look at it and you make up your own mind. The space race began when I was in elementary school. President Kennedy was assassinated when I was in high school. We fought in Korea, Vietnam, Central America, the middle east, and these wars still go on. I watched the moon landing and moon exploration. Saw a president and vice-president resign, and have the first unelected president. There was the collapse of the Soviet Union, the falling of the Berlin wall, and the reuniting of Germany. Then the creation of a united Europe with a single currency, and now the financial collapse and resulting depression that the world faces. The rise of China, becoming a major player in both, the world of economics and politics. And probably one of the worst – the meteoric rise of terrorism which affects us all, with the attack of world trade center being one of the most successful by these terrorists.

While much that I stated above is negative, it is what dominates the news. Still it must be balanced with advances that have saved lives instead of taking them. The many diseases that have been eliminated, such as polio, and small pock. The advancement from paper and pencil to computers that can create realistic worlds known as CGI. Now anyone can own a computer that is more powerful than any that we sent to the moon. The internet – where would we be without it? And it was only a few years ago that it never existed. Now one cannot live without it. Cell phones, mp3 players, and this list goes on and on. Yet again when we were children did we really envision such things? In the many games we played, in the worlds we imaged and lived, did we really see what we have now and what we have lived through? I think not. I did not expect to go to war, and did not expect to be able to make and contact friends all over the world instantly. After all this was only in the worlds of science fiction.

So what will the future generations say when they look back to our time? (I know that when I was a child that knowing that my grandparents were from the 1800’s was just awe-inspiring. Now in the future I will have grandchildren who will probably look at me and feel the same way. After all I was born in a different century than them.) Still knowing how history is rewritten, I wonder if the true story will be there, or will it be changed to fit someone’s agenda? And when it is my time to return to the Lord, will my legacy be worth even those 35 minutes?

Published in: on September 2, 2011 at 8:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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