Science Factions

Nick Chesterfield's picture

Avatar Opens a Pandora's Box > Nick Chesterfield

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 Avatar Opens a Pandora's Box Reminiscent of Papua > by  Nick Chesterfield

“The smell was of death and dying.  Everywhere was black and my people were crying.  Our sacred trees were falling, brutal alien men were driving massive yellow machines through our land and waters, taking our trees,  we were being herded out... Soldiers were firing at anything that moved, as helicopters were flying over what was left of our home, sending sheets of fire to burn everything... My mother died, my father died.

“All I have left is a memory of my home, and my sister alongside me today in this limbo... So of course I must go back and fight.  I was born as a warrior, even if I die early as one, I am still fighting for my people’s grandchildren.  These Garudas will eat every last one of us unless our poison arrows go for the heart of their greed. We must drive those aliens out, and remind them that THIS IS OUR LAND.”

Is this a key scene James Cameron’s much talked about epic Avatar?  No, it is a description from a refugee student (let’s call him Melkias for his safety), of the situation that forced his flight from the Pandora of this planet, West Papua.  Interviewing him in a PNG border camp in May 2006, Melkias was describing to me what happened when a logging company, backed and run by the Indonesian military, started clearing out local people from the Boven Digul border area.

“They destroyed their Earth, so now they are coming destroy ours, “Melkias said in an eerie allegory to the undercurrent to the Avatar story.  Papua was one of the last areas of paradise forest left on our planet, but just like Pandora it is home to natural resources that those who want it will stop at nothing to get.

eleven's picture

"Time-ism" or Father Christmas Does Exist

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 St. Nick

Santa Clause does exist. He exists in the Fourth Century, in the area that is now northern Turkey, under the name of Saint Nicholas. To say that he doesn’t exist is a lie, as much of a lie as saying he has magic reindeers and a home in present day North Pole.

   The obvious rebuttal is to say he existed—not exists—in the past tense. My argument is that this is not more truthful, just more ‘our-own-time-centric’. Biased, in other words, like a metaphysical prejudice. Saint Nicholas does exist in that time and place. Being biased towards our own time and place is closed-minded, and leads to illusion and even violence. A case in point: somebody once said that the world is flat, based on the fact that no one in his own time could prove that it was round. Somebody could prove it, of course, in the future. But some notable people went to prison or were tortured, or killed, because they did not cater to the time-bias (shall I say ‘timeism’?). Giordano Bruno, I hear, is being burned at the stake in 1590 for affirming the Earth's motion around the sun.

eleven's picture

The Human Machine > by Levin A. Diatschenko

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   Imagine a robot that has a limited number of responses. If you say hello to it, the robot automatically reacts with: “Hi, how are you today?” If you keep greeting the robot, the repeated response would get annoying and it would not take long for you to recognise it as a machine. But say the creator programs it so that at every third time someone greets the robot, it changes its response to a second sentence: “Fine day, isn’t it?” In this case you would take longer to catch on it was a robot, but not much longer.

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