Author Archives: Red Mars Blog

About Red Mars Blog

I'm an Australian student studying biology at Macquarie University. I have a passion for science and science-fiction and I'm continually looking for new books, films, journals and studies to satisfy my thirst for knowledge and entertainment. I created this blog so I could turn it into an extension and documentation of my life and interests.

Incorporated Slaughter

Harold was accustomed to confined spaces, having lived in a prison space his entire life. First with his siblings when he was but a youngling and now in his single solitary space that grew lonelier by the day. He never quite knew the reasoning behind his imprisonment nor was he aware that he was in fact imprisoned at such an early age. But like all naïve children Harold became aware of the injustices of the world and found out that he was a part of one. Because he was born different Harold was stripped of his freedom and forced to live a life of confinement.

He peered out every day from his only view, a small crack in the wall, to see others roaming freely and experiencing the world’s offerings as frequently as they wished. He longed to explore the unknown and the unexperienced and with every passer by from his small cracked view Harold felt a pang of jealousy and yearning. His dreams, when not interrupted by night terrors, were vividly imaginative worlds of explorative abundance. New tastes, sights, smells and other sensations were found at every turn and in every nook and cranny. Harold’s dreams were his only means of escape from his dismal life and if he were somehow deprived of them too, Harold thought that he would soon die with his last robbed freedom.

Harold knew little of his enslavers except that they often joked with one another about his situation as if it were some masterful joke that they were greatly benefiting from. He resented them with every ounce of his being and when he wasn’t dreaming of epic journeys Harold would turn the tables and take the place of his enslavers, treating them exactly like he was treated. Sometimes in these dreams the cruelest enslaver, locked in the smallest of spaces, would look up at Harold, who was now much larger, and plead for compassion. Harold would look down and laugh but this laugh was not of enjoyment it was a disgusting cold laugh that would immediately wake Harold up, sweating and panting. This was a night terror and it scared Harold to imagine himself like them.

One day, during his normal routine of switching between dreams and watching the world outside his crack, Harold was startled as his prison space was opened up. The enslaver outside beckoned Harold to follow him, which he did, though not without trepidation. He could never trust these cruel beings. As he turned from his confinement he saw that the other prisoners were also being let out of their spaces then placed in a long line. Harold grew anxious as he was led to the end of the line where he and the others were continually hit and slapped and forced to follow as it slowly progressed further and further onwards.

Harold’s anxiety grew until a burst of light so magnificent and warm suddenly hit him. Harold looked up and saw a yellow circle in the sky. It hurt his eyes to stare but it was such a wondrous and welcoming sight that the discomfort didn’t matter to him. Tears streamed down his face as a soft weeping started up from the prisoners. The world was beautiful and at last they were experiencing it. Harold looked down and found his vision had been blurred from the warm circle, he also noticed that the line was being led into another building across from the prison spaces and could only make out the word “rhouse” from the sign at the top of the entrance. Mesmerized with everything that was happening, Harold followed on.

Later that night a truck was loaded up with many packages from the “rhouse” building. Sammy, a young prisoner, peered on from her prison space as the engine revved into life. A light shone onto the side panel revealing the logo “Simpson & Farley Meat Co. – Fresh Pork”. Sammy watched until the truck faded into the night then, with a soft grunt, turned to her siblings and went to sleep. That night she dreamed she was the truck driver and drove off into the countryside on an epic journey.

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Nonsensical Blog Bog

Post about nothing really. I’ve been knee deep in excrement spewed at me through the series of lectures I haven’t been to all semester and to top it off my head fucking hurts. I keep telling myself that I only have one more week of study left but it might as well be next year because this shit don’t seem to stop. It’s all in the name of progress and knowledge I guess. I can’t help but think about how ridiculously retarded I’m going to get when these exams finish, though. I have a holiday of books, drinking, movies, drinking and then a little more drinking. Sounds great doesn’t it?

Well, while get’n my drink and novel on I’m going to be trying to climb as well. Not climb as in climb a tree but climb as in rock climbing. Aside from sci-fi and science my hobby, if you can call it that, is climbing. It’s the most exhilarating thing you can do, in my opinion. Imagine a sport that has you thinking strategically against mother natures own obstacles while trying to deal with the massive amounts of adrenaline and muscle failure that are hammering your body, it’s insane. Which brings me to my question (for anyone bored enough to answer).

What activities, sport wise, do you do to keep (in)sane?

Cheers.

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Blog Zombie

Zombie Apocalypse – Olli Hihnala

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Bit Of Musac

I heard this the other day and I haven’t been able to stop listening to it. Chuck it on repeat, sit back and relax…

You’re welcome.

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Read It

Ender's Game

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card was the first sci-fi book I ever read. I remember being forced at school to choose a book from the shelf to take home and read for a book report. Not only did I not care what book I read, I didn’t even look at what I picked up when I chose (I know, I’m a total badass). Let me just say that my loathing for books stopped that day when I got home.

Ender’s Game was a total escape from reality. Imagine a world where there is an impending war with an alien race that resembles large ant-like creatures with a hive mind. Overpopulation has meant that birth restrictions are in place and the only hope for humanity lies with a six year old boy and a battle school found in space.

Ender is Earth’s saviour and the novel focuses on him and his journey. Being the third child he is loathed by many in a world where birth restrictions are in place to stop an already large population. The reason for his existence was sanctioned by the government who are slectively breeding stable-minded soldier children. His brother and sister before him were considered as candidates for battle school where these selected children go, but his sister Valentine was too caring and not violent enough while his brother Peter was the polar opposite. Ender is the equaliser in the family and is sent off to battle school where the escapism starts.

In battle school whole platoons of children live together and train together in preparation for mock battles fought in zero-gravity. The school is run by military officers who alter the rules and living environments to produce the most efficient and swift minded child-soldiers. Ender quickly rises to the top and is discovered to be a tactical genius able to turn a bad situation into a good one.

The alien race are called the Buggers and are a big theme in the novel. Almost everything that happens in battle school happens to serve the ultimate purpose of defeating the advancing alien species.

I’ve never been one for connecting with characters, if there is enough action and a good plot I couldn’t care less about how emotionally connected I get to a character, but in Ender’s Game I was really rooting for Ender the whole way through. The kid goes through a hell of a lot at the hands of the military, but in the back of his mind he knows it’s necessary for the greater good.

This is a sophisticated novel meant for anyone. The plot is engaging and multilayered with enough action in between, the characters are well written and the pace is consistent.

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Film It

Ginko

I thought I would do a review on an anime title that I recently watched. It’s called Mushishi and it’s not too bad. I’ve seen alot of the popular anime T.V. series like Cowboy Bebop, Naruto, Death Note and Bleach. I mainly watched those titles because of their popularity (and because they were the tits) and have never actually looked around for something that I might have been into. Well Mushishi was one of the first that was entirely my choice.

The premise is that in the Mushishi world there are entities called Mushi which are the purest and most simple forms of life. Most humans cannot see or perceive them and are oblivious to their existence, except for Mushi masters who travel the land studying them and helping out people who have been affected by them. Ginko is a Mushi master and the story is based around him, his travels and the people he meets on the way.

This anime is a peaceful and sad one and it focuses a lot on themes like death and loneliness. I’d recommend it to anime fans who want something a little off the beaten track in the anime world. As for the newcomers, watch one of the previously mentioned titles, get yourself hooked then watch Mushishi.

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The Mechanics Of Déjà Vu

It’s a phenomenon experienced by mostly every human being on the planet. The feeling that everything you are currently experiencing has happened before but there is no prior recollection of said experience. Déjà vu is a disturbance (delay) in the brain’s “time labelling” mechanism. For an animal to survive in its external environment two of the things it must be able to do are; identify an event and then determine when this event happened in accordance to other events. Take a ship’s log for instance, if you wanted to piece together a ship’s entire history you would find every major event that has occurred and the time it happened within the log (Efron, 1963). The brain is similar to this in that it logs and labels events.

How does déjà vu occur?

When events are perceived the information is relayed to the two hemispheres within the brain, the non-dominant and dominant hemispheres. Usually information is first received by the non-dominant hemisphere and then passed to the dominant hemisphere within a matter of milliseconds. Déjà vu occurs when there is a delay of this information pass over. So essentially both hemispheres perceive the same event but the information pass over is delayed between the two hemispheres. This delay gives the sensation that you have logged the event but the event has never been labelled (Efron, 1963).

Reference:

Efron R., (1963). Temporal Perception, Aphasia and Déjà vu. Neurophysiology-Biopysics Research Unit, Veterans Administraion Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

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