Tag Archives: Science Fiction

Quantum Physiology, or The Origins of Nonlinear Molecular Teleportation

I was 29 years old when I invented the first time machine (technically a Nonlinear Molecular Teleportation Matrix, if we’re being scientific). Only one other person knows this, and that’s Christian Jherek. So I suppose it’s entirely possible that someone else had invented a similar device before I did, or even since then, and kept it secret, just as I have. Lied and blemished her own image, made a fool out of herself, told her colleagues she was wrong, delusional, that she had made some critical error in the math, when the truth was that she had willingly changed the numbers by herself, ensuring that the calculations would be incorrect, and thus debunking her own theory, which was also slated to form the foundation of her graduate thesis. Made herself into a fool, publicly and professionally, in some sad attempt to save the life of someone she’d just met. And then by doing so, doomed that very same person to his fate.

Or, maybe that’s just me.

***

Most of my students don’t realize that “Quantum Physiology” is actually a pun. They either assume it’s a typo, or that’s it’s just some uber-academic-sounding class with no prerequisites that fulfills a science requirement and isn’t full of obnoxiously overeager freshmen. The former group is wrong, anyway. In this particular instance, “quantum” is an adjective, meaning “sudden” or “significant,” which then modifies “physiology,” being the study of organic processes or functions of an organism or organisms. But of course, at the same time “quantum” typically refers to physics, being the fundamental unit of quantized physical magnitude in terms of angular momentum, and also the smallest quantity of radiant energy. And so the course is actually focused on the study of significant and / or sudden organic processes, as viewed specifically through the lens of quantum mechanics. For example, there’s a part of the curriculum dedicated to cancer. Not dedicated like, “in honor of” — although I guess that, too — but like an academic concentration on cancer, and the mechanical physics and unbalanced chemical equations that can cause a tumor to form. It’s not about the physical tumor, so much as it’s about the quantum-level behaviors that lead to a certain atomic malfunction which in turn causes to replicate some small but crucial piece of cellular information which then continues to replicate itself ad infinitum until it causes permanent and often ultimately critical damage to the physical body of which it is a larger part.

Basically, it’s the study of the organism as a machine, how math and physics relate to and affect the typical functions of a living thing. So, it’s a pun. Get it?

When All Is Said And Done (Part One)

Pat woke up feeling the same. Just a regular day. In fact nothing special would happen at all that day, or even that week. But it was lunch, ten days later that would really get him.

It was impossible for him to know, but Patriot Jones 461116 had just under 250 hours of life left.

At least how he knew it.

Doomsday groups, though (ironically) seemingly immortal, died down to a fringe murmur. It’s hard to convince any sane adult to believe in an arbitrary “end of the world” or the return of some religion superhero when the last of them died more than four million years ago.

It’s interesting to watch videos of the history of the planet.

Days when the earth was ravaged endlessly, and civilizations rolled themselves into dust. But that’s small scale thinking for you. Thinking no one would notice if they borrowed someone’s future, or mind if they did, thinking it didn’t matter that some had it all. Some.

Sure, sharing the planet has it’s down points, but once we figured it out, we were sorted.

“Hey Pat,” my neighbor clamors for my approval on the most mundane, “did you hear?”

Last week Wick found a way of saving one tenth of a second in monthly production time. Doesn’t sound like much, but one tenth of a second adds up over a millennium. World Wide Water, unlike my employer, offers vacation time for anyone who shaves time. All I got was a pursed smile and eyes that furrowed. Didn’t even lift his head.

“Thanks, Pat.”

“So what should I do?”

Like I’m the expert.

“Twenty days off! I’da thought they’d want me to stick around and go for broke, maybe grab one point two, hell, even one point five. But no siree, ONE-POINT-OH is good for them.”

Some days living in the future wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

Early science fiction found a rebirth as comedy, providing a few drops of insight into human optimism, spread generously over the laughs. I mean, teleportation? Please. You can’t recreate moving molecules! It’s like unshattering glass.

But we have managed quite an existence. Accidental deaths, though rare compared historically, balance out twins and accidental births.

Pregnancy permits allow for stable adults to reverse the fertility inoculation.

They found out the hard way almost a dozen times that the planet has a population capacity.

Aliens probably have our planet marked in some intergalactic encyclopedia.

Earth. Maximum seating capacity:

4 Billion

They say you don’t miss what you’ve  never had, but that’s all bullshit. Or maybe not. I think missing and wanting are two sides of the same emotion; missing just means you let it slip through your fingers the first time.

But the human being can change only so much. A bit taller here, a bit leaner there. It’s not clay.

It’s still 8 hours sleep, but most get by on six.