Thursday, July 31, 2014

Far-out SETI or Leave no stone unturned

I sent the following e-mail to on May 28, 2010 (grammar and spelling errors have been corrected to the best of my ability to spot them & my name at the end has been omitted since I wish to remain anonymouse):


I am not all that clued up on SETI but I’d like to ask a question, which perhaps someone may be able to help me with.

I am assuming that the sun emits radiation in all frequencies of the Electromagnetic Spectrum so that the sun is emitting radio waves.

Have these solar radio emissions been checked for ‘interstellar messages’ or indications of such?

I am working from the following premise:

I was reading Carl Sagan’s ‘The Cosmic Connection’. Here is an excerpt from one chapter called ‘Cables, Drums, and Seashells’. It’s speculation, of course, and Carl readily admits that.

“Communications between two very advanced civilizations will likely use a science and technology inaccessible to us. We therefore have no prospect for tuning in on such communications traffic, either accidentally or on purpose.
 We are like the inhabitants of an isolated valley in New Guinea who communicate with societies in neighboring valleys (quite different societies, I might add) by runner and by drum. When asked how a very advanced society will communicate, they might guess by an extremely rapid runner or by an improbably large drum. They might not guess a technology beyond their ken. And yet, all the while, a vast international cable and radio traffic passes over them, around them, and through them.
 At this very moment the messages from another civilization may be wafting across space, driven by unimaginably advanced devices, there for us to detect them – if only we knew how. Perhaps the message will come via radio waves to be detected by large radio telescopes. Or perhaps by more arcane devices, the modulation of X-ray stars, gravity waves, neutrinos, tachyons, or transmission channels that no one on Earth will dream of for centuries. Or perhaps the messages are already here, present in some everyday experience that we have not made the right mental effort to recognize. The power of such an advanced civilization is very great. Their messages may lie in quite familiar circumstances.
 Consider, for example, seashells. Everyone knows the “sound of the sea” to be heard when putting a seashell to one’s ear. It is really the greatly amplified sound of our own blood rushing, we are told. But is this really true? Has this been studied? Has anyone attempted to decode the message being sounded by the seashell? I do not intend this example as literally true, but rather as an allegory. Somewhere on Earth there may be the equivalent of the seashell communications channel. The message from the stars may be here already. But where?
 We will listen for the interstellar drums but we will miss the interstellar cables. We are likely to receive our first messages from the drummers of the neighboring galactic valleys – from civilizations only somewhat in our future. The civilizations vastly more advanced than we will be, for a long time, remote both in distance and accessibility. At a future time of vigorous interstellar radio traffic, the very advanced civilizations may be, for us, still insubstantial legends.”

An extremely advanced alien civilization may have found a way to alter the emissions of stars throughout a galaxy or Universe simultaneously. The tweeking might be manifest as anomalies in the radio frequency emissions of stars because it seems to me that radio astronomy (if you’ll forgive me) is the starting point for emerging technological civilizations.
So the ETs would make sure that these emerging civilizations would all have a chance at receiving their message. Perhaps their only aim is just to let all sentient beings everywhere know that there are others, replying etc. may not be in the cards, as it were.

On a related note, there may be more than just a message involved. There may be the equivalent of an ET phone. Somewhere on Earth or in our solar system, readily accessible, and even not hidden from plain sight we might find a device or means which would enable communication with an advanced alien race.

Regards & Best Wishes & all the luck in the Universe/ Multiverse,
------ : )

Postscript (not in e-mail, of course): I didn’t get a reply to my e-mail from the SETI Institute (

It’s a long-standing joke with my friend that if you thought making contact with aliens was difficult, try making contact with humans.

Copyright © Reality Wedge, 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Secret Sound

      Little Ludwig had a big head and small ears. His ambition was large
      enough for those. Sounds unheard by other men came unbidden unto
      his dome. To capture these and wield them drove him, some say to
      madness. In all the Links of the Hyperverse, he alone held the
      secret sound of the Sphere. He was ten years old as counted by the
      Crones, and his world was as small as his ears.
      Though Ludwig possessed or was possessed by the secret sound of the
      Sphere he did not know it; no one did. Lesser sounds had indeed
      penetrated his dome and lodged themselves in his private mental
      library. He could draw upon them at will; never forgetting them. He
      combined them in new ways, creating new melodies which revealed new
      beauties and depths of truth to him that individually the sounds
      did not. Some melodies he vocalised or made public by the
      instruments available to him but even though these stunned his
      audiences he knew they were only hearing a crude and imperfect
      version of the glorious pure notes he alone could hear.
      As for the secret sound, it was buried deep within his psyche and
      could by no means be tapped by a ten-year-old boy. He had not heard
      it yet and he would not for many years still. But one day when he
      had grown to the Age of Independence then it would start to make
      its presence felt, very gently and almost imperceptibly at first.
      It was a sentient sound and it would never overwhelm its chosen
      instrument. It would tutor him patiently over many years, and if it
      deemed him worthy would allow itself to be heard completely. Then
      Ludwig would become one of the most powerful beings in the
      Hyperverse. His quest to find his other gifted brethren would begin
      then for who is there that does not want to find more like himself
      if he becomes aware that he is the only one of his kind among his
      own people. So, hidden in a remote corner of the hyperverse a small
      child grew -- unaware  of his great destiny.
     "Ludwig! For sakes! Get thee hence from the airs and gi' ye focus
     now, you hear?" This bellowed from below and as always shocked him
     from some sibilant note just beyond reach. "I come, Marm." For truth,
     he had to obey or be subject to all manner of displeasance.
     "Ah, good." She muttered as he came down the stairs into the vita.
     "You know that I must see you to your classes -- and me with this big
     dinner tonight and the *black box needing replacing and all."
     She fussed like a *phorus all a-tither at the many steps of her day
     which Ludwig could only interrupt but to do his tasks. With not much
     joy he performed those few mundane things the world requires and,
     wondering at the folly of being organic, he found his way out the
     door and into school.

     Where he had been, a step before, the sun had spun an orange morning
     light over their arbor. Now it was the twin lights of a set of stars
     which shone high and white. He shook the light electric sensation of
     the Link from his slight frame and sighed. Melancholy, thy name is
     the *pale of School, thought he.
     *note: black box (BB) is a nano-factory. It is called a black box
     because it's inner-workings are beyond normal ken and one simply uses
     it until it stops working. There are different kinds. This one is
     essentially the entire kitchen; food, dishes, knives, forks, cups and
     everything is made from it -- and returned to it afterwards. Nice eh?
     *note: (with the
     suggestion that this creature has been re-gengineered and is now
     really a large chicken and common in the 'verse. Only rarely (in
     certain verse cultures) are they actually eaten. The BB provides any
     kind of food without requiring slaughter. *note: Pale means "zone" or
     "burgh" or "country" -- the Pale of so-and-so.
    With a heavy heart and a heavy tread Ludwig headed for the cultivated
    green and flowery vale in which lay the school buildings and gardens.
    Classes were held indoors in the cool recesses of the pillared Temple
    of Learning, and in the open air in small circular patches of
    comfortable spongy flat grass. School was not really so unpleasant but
    for any child school will always be a prison. And the end of school
    always a release from confinement.
    Today was indeed a beautiful day, bright and warm it was with the air
    filled with the soft humming of the disc-shaped hoverers. Ludwig
    looked at one as it chased some other flying creature as yet invisible
    to his eyes. He could have summoned the hoverer - that was something he
    had learned to do with one of the sounds but his mood was low and he
    wasn't ready for games or fun.
    He passed through an arch and soon entered through a rustic gate,
    almost always left open, into a glade, the Temple stood glistening
    white and majestic a short distance away. Some children were running up
    and down its stairs and on the lawns chasing each other. It was not yet
    time for classes to begin. The thought of sitting still listening to
    the white-robed Lector almost made him groan aloud.
 Spaced around the perimeter of the Temple were other pale-gates like the one
 he had used. They were all rusty and old and through the arch of each one
 there was a different sky. Ludwig could hear the Sound from every one as he
 turned his head and by moving it about and varying the speed he composed
 snatches of the Sphere. Da Da D-- "Luddi!" came a boisterous cry. Lucky piled
 into him and they rolled on the grass. She was all freckles and smiles and
 ended-up sitting on his chest, but her laughter faded at the dark look on
 Ludwig's face.
  "Ah Luddi, did I spoil something?" She asked.
 "Nay Lucky, you know... I thought perhaps I heard something. It matters not 
 -- and get off me! You are like a fat Brown Dwarf."
 "Oh, nice!" She joked, rolling off and slapping his arm. The two friends lay on
 their backs and looked at the silly disks chasing across the sky. Lucky, who's
 name was actually Lucy, had a theory that they all lived in the Temple attic
 at night, but neither of them had found a way to the top to find out. It was
 taboo, but this only spiced their tacit conspiracy to go see.
 The bell rang; an ugly sound that hurt inside. If I need to shock, thought
 Ludwig, I will use that sound.
  "Class is convened," said Lucky.

 "Scan down, children," said Meister Go. The class settled into grudging
 silence as paper came out and the Meister wrote something on the white board.
 Ludwig was the only one in the class of twenty who could hear the slight
 harmonics made by the pen as it squeaked against the smart-film of the board.
 The tones, discordant and fluctuating almost sent him into one of his reveries,
 but the writing stopped with a final crescendo of flourish and period. The path
 of that music now said "History" as the lesson joined.

 "Who can tell me about the Multiverse?" asked the Meister. There was a general
 murmur of chagrin. The Meister smiled, "I know you are all wikied into the Net
 and you think you know it all, but humor an old man please. Come now, let's
 talk about the past, you may hyper new links that will surprise you."

 A small voice piped, "The 'Verse is our infinite world, Meister..." and then
 tailed-off. Ludwig had long since exhausted the petty octaves of the class and
 this phrase did not catch him into dream.
 "That is partly correct, Luhn, but is there any more detail?" He looked at the
 array of eyes before him. After a pause he sighed and said, "Very well, I will
 tell you a little more about it."
 "What if," he began and wiped the board, replacing it with a drawing of an
 endless plane, "our world were not infinite? What if it were merely the subset
 of a far larger tangle of possible worlds, and things that are not worlds at
 Now more planes stacked one atop the other on the board behind him. The
 animation was silent, but in Ludwig's dome it sparked the thought that sounds
 might have sounds within them, like -- and the animation began to twist as if
 following his very notion -- each plane began to spiral and divide.
 "What if every possible tangle were a fractal in many dimensions? Here's
 something to link on: for every infinite world there is another and on every
 scale there is another. The choice made by our ancestors and their AIs was
 merely a starting point into one small Koch factorial of what is really out
 there. What you call the 'Verse is only a small web of Links between stable
 realities that exclude the more, um, unpleasant aspects. We live on a tenuous
 thread of possible paths which has proven stable -- but to each side is
 another path as yet unexplored. Well, unexplored by us."

It was a long day at school – Koch this and Hawking that. Finally it was time to go home. Lucy had to stay after for extramural laser-sculpting so at the end of the last breaktime they had said they would meet tomorrow after school to go to the Entertainium.

Ludwig walked home pensively. There had been a whole lot of new information today at school – a lot to digest. He was tired and couldn’t focus and let whatever incoming sounds take a back seat in his mind. They played and chirped in the background.

It was when he was at the pale of his own house that he was arrested by an unusual sound – unlike the others it manifested a piercing quality; its pitch and volume were high, it repeated moreover, and this more than anything else led him to believe he was receiving an alien signal – it was definitely unlike the more natural sounds he was used to hearing. There was someone or something out there in the Multiverse beaming a message to him or to others like him. Only he was capable of receiving it. It meant there was at least one other being out there who knew about the Sounds. But this person was a master – it was no simple melody but a whole symphony – so complex! It would take him many hours of attentive listening to process the whole message.

He went in and ate a light meal; then he went to his quiet place of listening. There he sat very still, cross-legged in Buddha-pose, and concentrated on the new thing that had entered his consciousness.

Time passed. He had followed some strains of the super-melodious entity, and they weaved dream-images before his inner eye: far away in the place of Spheres – the realisation that there was more than one sphere shocked him, but the megasphere that he knew of, though barely, was the mother of them all.

The purpose of the spheres he dimly perceived but they were meant for travelling between Verses, and even….

The pale-gates, called Links, must be Verse traversers, but within the limited
range the Meister had spoken of. Perhaps there were entire duplicates of the
Endless World that humanity now lived on. His mind could not keep up with the
scale of his thoughts, but the Sound had given him some kind of confidence.
Some promise of a way where thought and reason could not take him.

Suddenly there was a commotion outside. He flipped open the window and was in
time to see a phorus chase past the edge of the house. ‘Whatever was it up to?’
he wondered. In the motion of closing the window and turning to race after the
bird, a shadow passed over the house and he caught a glimpse of vastness in
the air above the house. It was quickly dark, as if dusk, and he stumbled
somewhat to reach his door.

The High-Dynelians had arrived for their yearly visit. This time by spaceship, it would seem. The phorus was panicked by their sudden arrival and darkening of the sky – their star-cruisers were pretty big. For the moment all thought of Spheres and Sounds left his mind. Another excitement filled his being with adrenal-electricity: the awesome Dynelians. What did they bring to trade this time? Would they allow him access to the ship’s main data banks? He was keen to bone up on the other aliens the Dynelians had encountered thus far in their travels.

When he had finally reached the street he could see the entire village gazing skywards at the huge starship suspended eerily in the blueness. Already a welcoming committee of white-robed Meisters was assembling at the far end of town. They would be heading for the plain of Jubrulgar to properly welcome humanity’s first alien friends. They entered a hover vehicle and promptly sped away.

Some of the other citizens were getting into their hover cars and following them out to the plain. Ludwig and his Marm had no hover car of their own so he would have to wait till tomorrow before some of the Dynelian crew came to town to exchange goods and greetings. There would be revelry for a day or two, and a great deal of knowledge shared and tales told. Ludwig couldn’t wait. It only remained to be seen if his Marm would allow him to stay up late. But even if she didn’t Ludwig had made up his mind to sneak out with Lucy. Lucy would be as excited as he was, maybe more so because she had a very good rapport with the Dynelians – she could even converse at a rudimentary level with them in their own language which is always a plus in dealing with foreigners.

The excitement in the street was beginning to subside, and people were turning to go home to prepare their suppers. Ludwig went in. Where had his marm been the whole time? Ludwig went to her room, and there she lay sleeping. She had missed the whole thing. Ludwig let her rest. He knew she had set an alarm to wake her in time to prepare for her dinner party. She had invited a few neighbours but not their children. It was to be an adult get-together. Ludwig could think of nothing more boring. He felt a little peckish, so he went to see if the BB had been replaced. Marm had taken care of it. A brand new jet-black Box was in the place of the old one. Marm would never know; now what could he have? Macadamia or pistachio ice cream? The choice was made: both, and in fairly ample amounts. Ludwig couldn’t have been happier as he attacked his ice cream.

Later that night as the stars peppered the sky and the moon rose from it's
slumber and dwarfed the world, Ludwig lay abed with stomach aches. He was hot
to the touch and could not divest blankets nor clothing to steal away from the
discomfort of sweat and sharp stabs of pain. Such a penalty for pistachio was
not uncommon and 'twas only his selective memory that bade him forget the time
before and the time before that.
"Ach--" he cursed as he gave-up on sleep. He swung his legs over the bed and
such was his distraction that he forgot to imagine the beasts withunder which
made slithery grabs for delicate toes in the dark.
It was quiet, even in his dome. No sounds? This was strange indeed. He could
count on some gentle four by four playing on his internal metronome, but not
this night. And why could he not hear the dinner party that was in full-swing
below? Suddenly, sounding in his dome, "... something in the house."

Does he know? My buffer is complete, there is no leak and I only watch. The
watcher kept infinitely still, more than a little disconcerted by the young
human's acute senses. In a corner, against the ceiling of Ludwig's room,
shrouded in verse-stuff, the Dynelian held breath and prayed that it was not

Ludwig probed the suggestion but came up empty. Perhaps it was due to his stomach pains and fever. He forgot it. He put on his slippers and carefully made his way downstairs, holding his stomach with one hand. The BB would have medication. It was a matter of routine. He never seemed to learn his lesson but oh, the joys of Pistachio!

And unbeknownst to him the secret watcher followed on the ceiling and the walls – invisible at a casual glance but you would be able to see a slight blur if you looked at it directly for a few seconds. And if you realized the blur was not in your own vision but in reality outside then you might get goosebumps. But Ludwig was oblivious to any strange visual phenomena. It was imperative to get some sort of relief from the pain.

The BB gave generously and he took the pills with a little water. Time would tell if relief came. The dinner party must have been over. There was silence and darkness in the house and his marm was probably in bed. Back up the stairs he went, and the Dynelian followed. ‘Such a lovely dome,’ it thought. It had chosen an exceptional human and couldn’t wait to plumb the thoughts and dreams of this human child. It would wait for the child to fall asleep and then it would approach and gently probe with its own mind and the probing device. There was no penetration of the skull with the device. The process was painless and non-invasive but a recording would be made by it – selected dream images would be stored for later enjoyment and study. It was fascinating and the Dynelian tried to control its excitement.

In another part of the verse a traveller bid farewell to the Sanctuary with its still blue lakes, forested ways and scattered observatories. The sphere’s portal opened and he stepped in dipping his head. Inside the only furnishings were a narrow bed and a chair. There was also a little privy and a shelf with books and several BBs. The comfortable chair stood before a control panel and a wrap-around viewing screen, in fact the entire inner surface of the sphere was a viewing screen. He could see everything outside except for where the meagre furnishings and privy were.

He sighed as he thought about leaving the beauty of the Sanctuary behind him for the cramped quarters of the sphere, and the weight of responsibility he endeavoured to forget, but the journey had to be made – the fate of billions depended on it. Worlds upon worlds were under threat. If his calculations were correct than before three weeks had passed the effects of the ripple would be felt throughout the verses, and then he could only imagine what would emerge or happen next. With a shiver he buckled himself in the chair. He had stumbled upon the phenomena so late and the preparations for the voyage had taken so long but it could not have been helped. At least he was now about to get underway. There was still hope but would he find what he had to find to save all the sentient beings in the Multiverse?

In the vast quiescence of the sanctuary a bubble popped and nothing noticed -
he was on his way! The multiverse was vast; infinite. There is a mathematics of
infinity, and another for the infinities of infinity. Just about every mind in
the primal past that had worked on these concepts had gone insane. Saint
Augustine, as with so much else, had started the spheres rolling but it was 
Cantor's transfinites and Gödel's vision that his ship was named for: The
Incomplete Aleph. His only clue was a pattern, a movement, a sound.

Though Ludwig’s stomach troubled him greatly he finally managed to doze off.
Then the Dynelian approached his still slightly breathing frame cautiously and extended the recording tube with its funnel-shaped head towards Ludwig’s cranium. It was obvious to the alien that the human had not yet entered into its dream-phase of sleep, so it waited patiently for that to occur. Soon, it did. Ludwig’s eyelids fluttered, and the Dynelian was enraptured by a dream. It saw consciously in its mind’s eye what Ludwig was experiencing unconsciously, and simultaneously the device was recording the dreams for later vivid replay in any Dynelian’s mind. Needless to say this would be frowned upon by the Dynelian heirarchy.

Some few hours passed and it grew perceptibly lighter. The Dynelian was done here; tomorrow night it would try the larger human – the child’s parent and see how the dreams differed for the new subject. For now, the Dynelian summoned with a specific mental command its aerial transportation device which was located near the wall of the house furthest from the busy street. It was, of course, as invisible to the human eye as was the Dynelian itself (at least, if not looked at directly for some time).

“Ludwig?" The air had no sound.
"Ludwig...?" Front was back.
"Uh…. Yes, Meister?" Was he in school? He could not recall getting here.
"Are you feeling well, Ludwig? You seem a little distracted."
Ludwig nodded and shifted a little on his seat. The Meister lingered for a
moment, nodded and continued the lesson. A finger poked his ribs from his left
side. " are acting all funny," whispered Lucky. He could only agree.

A week had passed since the Dynelians had come. He had still not seen one.
Strangely he felt nothing on the subject. He felt nothing much about anything
really; the music had gone.

And thus it was that Ludwig for the first time in his life fell into a depression. It was not unheard of even in that day and age. Sometimes such low moods were explored for their psychological meaning and import, more often perhaps, especially when the problem was due to chemical imbalances and the like, pharmacological action was taken, which was usually very effective. Nevertheless, Ludwig hid his downcast mood as best he could – he just wanted to be alone for a while. He would seek a short holiday and a change of scene. The Meisters and parents were not dicatatorial in this regard; and although discipline was always important, never was a child forced to learn anything they did not wish to. Perhaps, a trip would bring new inspiration, and possibly even re-ignite his capacity to hear sounds again?

Meister Null in the Incomplete Aleph was blitting across the multiworlds. His
craft followed a faint beacon that was centered on Ludwig's house. To his
horror that beacon was becoming more and more intangible.
"If this keeps up I will not get there!" He grunted from lips forced into a
white line. If the Sphere went down, he would not be able to blit through the
pale-gates that still stood innumerable between himself and his goal.

"Come Luddi, we are going to see the Dynelians today. You'd like a bit of a
get-out wouldn't you?" His mother was asking him from afar. She tousled his
hair, "What a mop you have, time for a trim, I think." Time passed like sleep between eyeblinks.
He was home. He was on the street with his Mother. He was in the town. Blink. Blink. Blink.
Whatever was going on, he wondered?

The prospect of interacting with the Dynelians did excite Ludwig but he was far too tired and listless to do anything. This he rightly ascribed to his depressed spirits. His mother picked it up quickly and wanted him to accompany her to Meister Free-Oid for a psych-consultation but Ludwig refused point blank, and just wanted to go home and sleep. His mother acquiesced reluctantly. She watched her little Luddi trudge home wearily. What was the matter she thought?

Meister Null faced the full brunt of his fears as the beacon centered on Ludwig’s house finally disappeared from his screen. He was travelling without a guiding star, blitting through gate after gate in only a general direction, and then he was on his way to nowhere. ‘All is lost!’ he thought. ‘Or was it?’ He still had co-ordinates to the Dynelian homeworld, and another Sanctuary. He could get help from the Dynelians, perhaps? But he still had some way to go.

[It’s a fragment, so it doesn’t finish, so wah!]

'The Secret Sound' is Copyright © ‘d’ and Reality Wedge, 2014.
This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any persons or institutions living or dead is purely coincidental.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Peace and Happiness

In the closing moments of the last episode of ‘V’ – the original series, namely ‘The Return’, Faye Grant’s character, Dr. Julie Parrish says, as Elizabeth, the star child, boards the leader’s shuttle, ‘Who knows? Maybe she’ll find peace – maybe we all will.’

‘Peace and happiness’ – two things which, for the most part, continue to elude the human race.

The day humanity commemorates a thousand years of peace on Earth will be a great day for the human race!

An interesting aside: A paraphrase of Elizabeth’s lines earlier in the episode: ‘Earth love is good and warm but is dependent on bodies - let me tell you about true love which pervades the cosmos and is not dependent on bodies.’

Friday, July 25, 2014

Do dreams come true?

'Do dreams come true? The short answer is 'no'; the long answer is 'yes'.'  - copyright RW 2014.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Easy Recipe for Peas à la Middle East/ The Middle-East Peas Process


2 tins processed peas
nuts (optional)


Just add rocket (liberally).
Best served cold.

*If you think this joke is in poor taste – you’re probably right!

Seriously, though, perhaps Israel should not retaliate? That way she’ll have the moral advantage, and the total number of civilian casualties would be much lower than the alternative. This would be a repugnant solution to Israelis but it is one way I can think of to end the cycle of violence. Of course, should Israel’s enemies up the ante (e.g. invasion) then the Israeli defence force can go into action.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Horror of MH-17:Gaza:The Lesson of Atlantis

“My friends, the time has come to bid our farewells! But know that the best memory I shall take from this Earth is that of your loyal, unwavering friendship. Tell the men of the surface that they are on the verge of a new era of marvellous possibilities, but that neither science nor victory by arms will ever bring them peace or true happiness as long as they don’t purge their hearts of the twin plagues of hatred and stupidity!... May the disaster that befell Atlantis be a warning to them!...”

said by the character, Prince Icarus on p. 61 of The Adventures of Blake & Mortimer: ‘Atlantis Mystery’ by Edgar P. Jacobs, published by Cinebook 2011.

Preachment: We need to get our priorities right. We need to value the inward over the outward. We need to value love, life and relationship over power, money, goods and territory.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Answer to puzzle for 'd'

O noble reader, let not your spirits sag{gas in reverse), life’s a gas, the answer stares you in the face!
Noble gas.
First circle indicates 2 o'clock and 2nd one indicates 10 o'clock: 2 and 10.
Clue 1: The Emissaries story: gives you the 'magic numbers' of electron stability related to the Noble gases:
2 10 18 36 54 86 which are also the atomic numbers of Helium, Neon, Argon, Krypton, Xenon, Radon. From left to right that's what the circles represent. The colours I got from a wikipedia article on the Noble gases when they are made to incandesce. I selected what I thought was the most characteristic colour.
Clue 2: 19 fragments. 19th letter of the alphabet is an ‘S’. Now think, culturally-speaking of the significance of an ‘S’ and fragments from an exploded circle or sphere: The planet Krypton exploded into fragments; so yeah the 'S' was to make you think of Supes.The fourth circle could be seen as a depiction of the planet Krypton exploding.
Clue 3: In the land of Ig travel by zeppelin is a most hazardous undertaking. Far superior and safer airships can be found in the land of Nowb.

Ig+Nowb sounds  like ignoble. Ignoble would be Hydrogen gas used in airships (remember the Hindenburg disaster?). Helium was used subsequently because it's inert and not combustible like Hydrogen...very Noble of Helium wouldn't you say? In the Emissaries story the Queen says she'll never seek help from royalty (Nobles) again because they didn't lift a finger to help - they were inert!

By the elements!

Some of what 'd' had to say about the puzzle:

I had figured the 19 = S thing, but had no way to know if that was even
a valid pattern. The fragments do not resemble the Superman logo, more a
kind of map with streets.
I'm not sure how to communicate to you what is wrong with the puzzle.
There's not enough traction, the sense of motion from clue to clue.

The drawing came first. It was entirely opaque. Then came the story,
which - if essential - should have been in the drawing, or with it. Then
came a specific sequence of numbers, which only emerge from a specific
picking-out sequence from the story.

Then the Ig Nowb thing. Sheesh. After you explained it's "ignoble," I
can sort of see it, but only because you explained. I was on the notion
it was "Nowb+ig = Nowbig" as well as seeking meanings for Ig (some
fantasy element perhaps) and Now + b as well as acronyms and anagrams

It feels to me as if the weird free-fall has no end. There's no sense of
connecting dots because it's a sequence of puzzles on entirely different

I don't want to put a damper on or moan, I'm just trying to speak from
the trenches - while I don't know the answer - to give you insight into
what the tortured experiences! It might help you should you want to
devise another puzzle.


simple pUzz

It's a 3-word phrase of no special importance. Scroll down for answer.

Answer: Look behind you.

The Vermilion Dome

Our space ship, The Falcon, had made a desperate attempt to land after developing a guidance problem.Three of us out of a crew of fifteen had survived. Captain Rogers had perished and the first mate. The bo’sun Pete Jennings too was killed in the crash. Only the three of us, who were the least crucial personnel aboard the starship, and so probably the least capable had survived. Jim Durwent, Ted Allen and I, Jeff Cord, had been groping and stumbling for five hours now from the boiling wreck. Strange noises and piercing shrieks shattered the humid jungle air.

 “Did you hear that!” said Ted shakily. He was unscathed by the crash – not even a scratch – it was uncanny, but Jim and I had our share of bumps, bruises, cuts, and so on. We were very lucky, I suppose, although we ached from head to foot. I had already popped Jim’s shoulder back into place. That dislocated shoulder was the worst of our injuries.

 We were a little impatient, not to say slightly annoyed with Ted for having escaped without so much as a scratch-wound; and moreover the stifling air made it hard to summon the energy required to answer him right away, so after a time I began to explain to him that the sounds were only those of some kind of howler monkey or some similar kind of creature (I hoped that was the case, and I dared not voice my true apprehensions.)

 “Howler monkey?” muttered Ted to himself, sounding doubtful and unconvinced.  My hands were becoming raw with wading through the vegetation and bending or breaking branches. As I snapped a low threatening twig I caught sight of something brightly-coloured against the mottled blue and green of this alien jungle. “Over there, “I said; “there’s something over there!” I tried not to shout out loud in my excitement. Luckily the close air dampened my cry and didn’t startle my shipmates or any potential aliens in the vicinity of the splash of red-orange-vermilion that I spied.

 The three of us, close together, began crouching as we looked in the direction that I pointed. It was more than half-hidden by the dense foliage surrounding it but we could make out that it was a modest dome.
The opening was not visible from our side in the scarlet structure, so we reckoned it was probably on the other side. We decided to circle around very quietly, or at least as quietly as we could manage. There was to be no talking; only pointing and gesturing. The shrieking cries seemed to be increasing in frequency as well as intensity. We prayed we had not stumbled on a hornet’s nest; perhaps the aliens were already alerted to our presence and were hiding. If they were hostile we were surely doomed.

The dome was growing in size as we approached in our inwardly-spiralling route. Still there was no one and nothing to be spotted as we neared the round edifice. Then Ted began screaming. Jim and I were stunned with terror. What had gotten hold of Ted? The shocking, fear-inducing sight of Ted bear hugged by some lithe crimson-skinned creature with two or three spiky tentacled arms about his neck and waist, made a rigid jelly out of the two of us. Ted who had been just behind us was snatched back by the animal or alien whose cinnabarian features were disorganised, picasso-like; consisting of white studs around rubbery orifices opening and closing or merely gaping wide. Where were its eyes? Nose? Were the short white spikes teeth or something else? It was moving too quickly, and then a second later, Ted was sucked into the black hole of the greenery, and was gone.  It took us a moment to grasp what had happened, and then we precipitated ourselves helter-skelter through the underbrush trying to regain the path back to the space ship.

copyright © Reality Wedge, 2014

This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons or institutions living or dead is purely coincidental.

Quotes by William Law and Jalal-uddin Rumi from The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley

William Law

Though GOD is everywhere present, yet He is only present to thee in the deepest and most central part of thy soul. The natural senses cannot possess God or unite thee to Him; nay thy inward faculties of understanding, will and memory can only reach after God, but cannot be the place of his habitation in thee. But there is a root or depth of thee from whence all these faculties come forth, as lines from a centre, or as branches from the body of the tree. This depth is called the centre, the fund or bottom of the soul. This depth is the unity, the eternity – I had almost said the infinity – of thy soul; for it is so infinite that nothing can satisfy it or give it rest but the infinity of God.

What could begin to deny self, if there were not something in man different from self?

The separate creaturely life, as opposed to life in union with God, is only a life of various appetites, hungers and wants, and cannot possibly be anything else. God Himself cannot make a creature to be in itself, or in its own nature, anything else but a state of emptiness. The highest life that is natural and creaturely can go no higher than this; it can only be a bare capacity for goodness and cannot possibly be a good and happy life but by the life of God dwelling in and in union with it. And this is the twofold life that, of all necessity, must be united in every good and perfect and happy creature.

Love is infallible; it has no errors, for all errors are the want of love.

For as love has no by-ends, wills nothing but its own increase, so everything is as oil to its flame; it must have that which it wills and cannot be disappointed, because everything (including unkindness on the part of those loved) naturally helps it to live in its own way and to bring forth its own work.

By love I do not mean any natural tenderness, which is more or less in people according to their constitution; but I mean a larger principle of the soul, founded in reason and piety, which makes us tender, kind and gentle to all our fellow creatures as creatures of God, and for his sake.

Learn the true nature and worth of all self-denials and mortifications.

As to their nature, considered in themselves, they have nothing of goodness or holiness, nor any real part of our sanctification, they are not the true food or nourishment of the Divine Life in our souls, they have no quickening, sanctifying power in them; their only worth consists in this, that they remove the impediments of holiness, break down that which stands between God and us, and make way for the quickening, sanctifying spirit of God to operate on our souls, which operation of God is the only thing that can raise the Divine Life in the soul, or help it to the smallest degree of real holiness or spiritual life…. Hence we may learn the reason why many people not only lose the benefit, but are even the worse for all their mortifications. It is because they mistake the whole nature and worth of them. They practice them for their own sakes, as things good in themselves; they think them to be real parts of holiness, and so rest in them and look no further, but grow full of self-esteem and self-admiration for their own progress in them. This makes them self-sufficient, morose, severe judges of all those that fall short of their mortifications. And thus their self-denials do only that for them which indulgences do for other people: they withstand and hinder the operation of God upon their souls, and instead of being really self-denials, they strengthen and keep up the kingdom of self.

Man’s intellectual faculties are by the Fall in a much worse state than his animal appetites and want a much greater self-denial. And when own will, own understanding and own imagination have their natural strength indulged and gratified, and are made seemingly rich and honourable with the treasure acquired from a study of the Belles Lettres, they will just as much help poor fallen man to be like-minded with Christ as the art of cookery, well and duly studied, will help a professor of the Gospel to the spirit and practise of Christian abstinence.

To find or know God in reality by any outward proofs, or by anything but by God Himself made manifest and self-evident in you, will never be your case either here or hereafter. For neither God, nor heaven, nor hell, nor the devil, nor the flesh, can be any otherwise knowable in you or by you but by their own existence and manifestation in you. And all pretended knowledge of any of these things, beyond and without this self-evident sensibility of their birth within you, is only such knowledge of them as the blind man hath of the light that hath never entered into him.

Away, then, with the fictions and workings of discursive reason, either for or against Christianity! They are only the wanton spirit of the mind, whilst ignorant of God and insensible of its own nature and condition. Death and life are the only things in question; life is God living and working in the soul; death is the soul living and working according to the sense and reason of bestial flesh and blood. Both this life and this death are of their own growth, growing from their own seed within us, not as busy reason talks and directs, but as the heart turns either to the one or to the other.

Take note of this fundamental truth. Everything that works in nature and creature, except sin, is the working of God in nature and creature. The creature has nothing else in its power but the free use of its will, and its free will hath no other power but that of concurring with, or resisting, the working of God in nature. The creature with its free will can bring nothing into being, nor make any alteration in the working of nature; it can only change its own state or place in the working of nature, and so feel or find something in its state that it did not feel or find before.

Perpetual inspiration is as necessary to the life of goodness, holiness and happiness as perpetual respiration is necessary to animal life.

The will is that which has all power; it makes heaven and it makes hell; for there is no hell but where the will of the creature is turned from God, nor any heaven but where the will of the creature worketh with God.

O man, consider thyself! Here thou standest in the earnest perpetual strife of good and evil; all nature is continually at work to bring forth the great redemption; the whole creation is travailing in pain and laborious working to be delivered from the vanity of time; and wilt thou be asleep? Everything thou hearest or seest says nothing, shows nothing to thee but what either eternal light or eternal darkness has brought forth; for as day and night divide the whole of our time, so heaven and hell divide all our thoughts, words and actions. Stir which way thou wilt, do or design what thou wilt, thou must be an agent with the one or the other. Thou canst not stand still, because thou livest in the perpetual workings of temporal and eternal nature; if thou workest not with the good, the evil that is in nature carries thee along with it. Thou hastthe height and depth of eternity in thee and therefore, be doing what thou wilt, either in the closet, the field, the shop or the church, thou art sowing that which grows and must be reaped in eternity.

Your own self is your own Cain that murders your own Abel. For every action and motion of self has the spirit of Anti-Christ and murders the divine life within you.

The difference between a good and a bad man does not lie in this, that the one wills that which is good and the other does not, but solely in this, that the one concurs with the living inspiring spirit of God within him, and the other resists it, and can be chargeable with evil only because he resists it.

Covetousness, envy, pride and wrath are the four elements of self, or nature, or hell, all of them inseparable from it. And the reason why it must be thus, and cannot be otherwise, is because the natural life of the creature is brought forth for the participation of some high supernatural good in the Creator. But it could have no fitness, no possible capacity to receive such good, unless it was in itself both an extremity of want and an extremity of desire for some high good. When therefore this natural life is deprived of or fallen from God, it can be nothing else in itself but an extremity of want continually desiring, and an extremity of desire continually wanting. And because it is that, its whole life can be nothing else but a plague and torment of covetousness, envy, pride and wrath, all which is precisely nature, self, or hell. Now covetousness, pride and envy are not three different things, but only three different names for the restless workings of one and the same will or desire. Wrath, which is a fourth birth from these three, can have no existence till one or all of these three are contradicted, or have something done to them that is contrary to their will. These four properties generate their own torment. They have no outward cause, nor any inward power of altering themselves. And therefore all self or nature must be in this state until some supernatural good comes into it, or gets a birth in it. Whilst man indeed lives among the vanities of time, his covetousness, envy, pride and wrath may be in a tolerable state, may hold him to a mixture of peace and trouble; they may have at times their gratifications as well as their torments. But when death has put an end to the vanity of all earthly cheats, the soul that is not born again of the supernatural Word and Spirit of God, must find itself unavoidably devoured or shut up in its own insatiable, unchangeable, self-tormenting covetousness, envy, pride and wrath.

If a delicious fragrant fruit had a power of separating itself from the rich spirit, fine taste, smell and colour, which it receives from the virtue of the air and the spirit of the sun, or if it could, in the beginning of its growth, turn away from the sun and receive no virtue from it, then it would stand in its own first birth of wrath, sourness, bitterness, astringency, just as the devils do, who have turned back into their own dark root and have rejected the Light and Spirit of God. So that the hellish nature of a devil is nothing but its own first forms of life withdrawn or separated from the heavenly Light and Love; just as the sourness, bitterness and astringency of a fruit are nothing else but of its vegetable life, before it has reached the virtue of the sun and the spirit of the air. And as a fruit, if it had a sensibility of itself, would be full of torment as soon as it was shut up in the first forms of its life, in its own astringency, sourness and stinging bitterness, so the angels, when they had turned back into these very same first forms of their own life, and broke off from the heavenly Light and Love of God, became their own hell. No hell was made for them, no new qualities came into them, no vengeance or pains from the Lord of Love fell on them; they only stood in that state of division and separation from the Son and Holy Spirit of God, which by their own motion they had made for themselves. They had nothing in them but what they had from God, the first forms of a heavenly life; but they had them in a state of self-torment, because they had separated them from birth of Love and Light.

In all the possibility of things there is and can be but one happiness and one misery. The one misery is nature and creature left to itself, the one happiness is the Life, the Light, the Spirit of God, manifested in nature and creature. This is the true meaning of the words of Our Lord: There is but one that is good, and that is God.

Men are not in hell because God is angry with them; they are in wrath and darkness because they have done to the light, which infinitely flows forth from God, as that man does to the light of the sun, who puts out his own eyes.

Though the light and comfort of the outward world keeps even the worst of men from any constant strong sensibility of that wrathful, fiery, dark and self-tormenting nature that is the very essence of every fallen unregenerate soul, yet every man in the world has more or less frequent and strong intimations given him that so it is with him in the inmost ground of his soul. How many inventions are some people forced to have recourse to in order to keep off a certain inward uneasiness, which they are afraid of and know not whence it comes? Alas, it is because there is a fallen spirit, a dark aching fire within them, which has never had its proper relief and is trying to discover itself and calling out for help at every cessation of worldly joy.

Selfishness and partiality are very inhuman and base qualities even in the things of this world but in the doctrines of religion they are of a baser nature. Now, this is the greatest evil that the division of the church has brought forth; it raises in every communion a selfish, partial orthodoxy, which consists in courageously defending all that it has, and condemning all that it has not. And thus every champion is trained up in defense of their own truth, their own learning and their own church, and he has the most, the most honour, who likes everything, defends everything, among themselves, and leaves nothing uncensored in those that are of a different communion. Now, how can truth and goodness and union and religion be more struck at than by such defenders of it? If you ask why the great Bishop of Meaux wrote so many learned books against all parts of the reformation, it is because he was born in France and bred up in the bosom of Mother Church. Had he been born in England, had Oxford or Cambridge been his Alma Mater, he might have rivalled our great Bishop Stillingfleet, and would have wrote as many learned folios against the Church of Rome as he has done. And yet I will venture to say that if each church could produce but one man apiece that had the piety of an apostle and the impartial love of the first Christians in the first Church at Jerusalem, that a Protestant and a Papist of this stamp would not want half a sheet of paper to hold their articles of union, nor be half an hour before they were of one religion. If, therefore, it should be said that churches are divided, estranged and made unfriendly to one another by a learning, a logic, a history, a criticism in the hands of partiality, it would be saying that which each particular church too much proves to be true. Ask why even the best amongst the Catholics are very shy of owning the validity of the orders of our Church; it is because they are afraid of removing any odium from the Reformation. Ask why no Protestants anywhere touch upon the benefit or necessity of celibacy in those who are separated from worldly business to preach the gospel; it is because that would be seeming to lessen the Roman error of not suffering marriage in her clergy. Ask why even the most worthy and pious among the clergy of the Established Church are afraid to assert the sufficiency of the Divine Light, the necessity of seeking only the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit; it is because the Quakers, who have broke off from the church, have made this doctrine their corner-stone. If we loved truth as such, if we sought for it for its own sake, if we loved our neighbour as ourselves, if we desired nothing by our religion but to be acceptable to God, if we equally desired the salvation of all men, if we were afraid of error only because of its harmful nature to us and our fellow-creatures, then nothing of this spirit could have any place in us.
 There is therefore a catholic spirit, a communion of saints in the love of God and all goodness, which no one can learn from that which is called orthodoxy in particular churches, but is only to be had by a total dying to all worldly views, by a pure love of God, and by such an unction from above as delivers the mind from all selfishness and makes it love truth and goodness with an equality of affection in every man, whether he is Christian, Jew or Gentile. he that would obtain this divine and catholic spirit in this disordered, divided state of things, and live in a divided part of the church without partaking of its division, must have these three truths deeply fixed in his mind. First, that universal love, which gives the whole strength of the heart to God, and makes us love every man as we love ourselves, is the noblest, the most divine, the Godlike state of the soul, and is the utmost perfection to which the most perfect religion can raise us; and that no religion does any man any good but so far as it brings this perfection of love into him. This truth will show us that true orthodoxy can nowhere be found but in a pure disinterested love of God and our neighbour. Second, that in this present divided state of the church, truth itself is torn and divided asunder; and that, therefore, he can be the only true catholic who has more of truth and less of error than is hedged in by any divided part. This truth will enable us to live in a divided part unhurt by its division, and keep us in a true liberty and fitness to be edified and assisted by all the good that we hear or see in any other part of the church…. Thirdly, he must always have in mind this great truth, that it is the glory of the Divine Justice to have no respect of parties or persons, but to stand equally disposed to that which is right and wrong as well in the Jew as in the Gentile. He therefore that would like as God likes, and condemn as God condemns, must have neither the eyes of the Papist nor the Protestant; he must like no truth the less because Ignatius Loyola or John Bunyan were very zealous for it, nor have the less aversion to any error, because Dr. Trapp or George Fox had brought it forth.

In what does salvation consist? Not in any historic faith or knowledge of anything absent or distant, not in any variety of restraints, rules and methods of practising virtue, not in any formality of opinion about faith and works, repentance, forgiveness of sins, or justification and sanctification, not in any truth or righteousness that you can have from yourself, from the best of men and books, but solely and wholly from the life of God, or Christ of God, quickened and born again in you, in other words in the restoration and perfect union of the first twofold life in humanity.

The spiritual life is nothing else but the working of the Spirit of God within us, and therefore our own silence must be a great part of our preparation for it, and much speaking or delight in it will be often no small hindrance of that good which we can only have from hearing what the Spirit and voice of God speaketh within us…. Rhetoric and fine language about the things of the spirit is a vainer babble than in other matters; and he that thinks to grow in true goodness by hearing or speaking flaming words or striking expressions, as is now much the way of the world, may have a great deal of talk, but will have little of his conversation in heaven.

What need of so much news from abroad, when all that concerns either life or death is all transacting and at work within us?

By considering yourself as an advocate with God for your neighbours and acquaintances, you would never find it hard to be at peace with them yourself. It would be easy for you to bear with and forgive those, for whom you particularly implored the divine mercy and forgiveness.

Intercession is the best arbitrator of all differences, the best promoter of true friendship, the best cure and preservative against all unkind tempers, all angry and haughty passions.

You cannot possibly have any ill-temper, or show any unkind behaviour to a man for whose welfare you are so much concerned, as to be his advocate with God in private. For you cannot possibly despise and ridicule that man whom your private prayers recommend to the love and favour of God.

To pretend to devotion without great humility and renunciation of all worldly tempers is to pretend to impossibilities. He that would be devout must first be humble, have a full sense of his own miseries and wants and the vanity of the world, and then his soul will be full of desire after God. A proud, or vain, or worldly-minded man may use a manual of prayers, but he cannot be devout, because devotion is the application of an humble heart to God as its only happiness.

Would you know whence it is that so many false spirits have appeared in the world, who have deceived themselves and others with false fire and false light, laying claim to information, illumination and openings of the divine Life, particularly to do wonders under extraordinary calls from God? It is this: they have turned to God without turning from themselves; would be alive to God before they are dead to their own nature. Now religion in the hands of self, or corrupt nature, serves only to discover vices of a worse kind than in nature left to itself. Hence are all the disorderly passions of religious men, which burn in a worse flame than passions only employed about worldly matters; pride, self-exaltation, hatred and persecution, under a cloak of religious zeal, will sanctify actions which nature, left to itself, would be ashamed to own.

Jalal-uddin Rumi

The Beloved is all in all; the lover merely veils Him;
The Beloved is all that lives, the lover a dead thing.

The astrolabe of the mysteries of God is love.

The sect of lovers is distinct from all others;
Lovers have a religion and a faith all their own.

Once the noble Ibrahim, as he sat on his throne,
Heard a clamour and noise of cries on the roof,
Also heavy footsteps on the roof of his palace.
He said to himself, “Whose heavy feet are these?”
He shouted from the window, “Who goes there?”
The guards, filled with confusion, bowed their heads,
“It is we, going the rounds in search.”
He said, “What seek ye? They said, “Our camels.”
He said, “Who ever searched for camels on a housetop?”
They said, “We follow thy example,
Who seekest union with God, while sitting on a throne.”

Can I explain the Friend to one for whom He is no Friend?

When a mother cries to her sucking babe, “Come, O son,
I am thy mother!”
Does the child answer, “O mother, show a proof
That I shall find comfort in taking thy milk”?

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment;
Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is intuition.

Reason is like an officer when the King appears;
The officer then loses his power and hides himself.
Reason is the shadow cast by God; God is the sun.

The philosopher who denies divine providence is a stranger to the perception of the saints.

If thou has not seen the devil, look at thine own self.

The sufi is the son of time present.

Past and future veil God from our sight;
Burn up both of them with fire. How long
Wilt thou be partitioned by these segments, like a reed?
So long as a reed is partitioned, it is not privy to secrets,
Nor is it vocal in response to lip and breathing.

I died a mineral, and became a plant.
I died a plant and rose an animal.
I died an animal and I was a man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as a man, to soar
With the blessed angels; but even from angelhood
I must pass on. All except God perishes.
When I have sacrificed my angel soul,
I shall become that which no mind ever conceived.
O, let me not exist! for Non-Existence proclaims,
“To Him we shall return.”

(A dervish was tempted by the devil to cease calling upon Allah, on the ground that Allah never answered, “Here am I.” The prophet Khadir appeared to him in a vision with a message from God.)
   Was it not I who summoned thee to my service?
   Was it not I who made thee busy with my name?
   Thy calling “Allah!” was my “Here am I.”

Why hast thou said, “I have sinned so much,
and God in His mercy has not punished my sins”?
How many times do I smite thee, and thou knowest not!
Thou art bound in my chains from head to foot.
On thy heart is rust on rust collected
So that thou art blind to divine mysteries.
When a man is stubborn and follows evil practices,
He casts dust in the eyes of his discernment.
Old shame for sin and calling on God quit him;
Dust five layers deep settles on his mirror,
Rust spots begin to gnaw his iron,
The colour of his jewel grows less and less.