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Escape Pod 629: An advanced reader's picture book on comparative cognition

Present notes

Writer's feedback:

For extra info on consciousness, press

Maguire, Phil, et al. “Is consciousness countable? Quantification of integrated information using algorithmic information theory. ”ArXiv preprint arXiv: 1405.0126 (2014) (out there at http://arxiv.org/pdf/1405.0126).

See extra about natural nuclear reactors:

Teper, Igor. “Unclear nature,” Nautilus, January 23, 2014 (obtainable at http://nautil.us/issue/9/time/inconstants-of-nature). [19659003] Davis, E.D., C.R. Gould and E.I. Sharapov. "Oklo reactors and the consequences of nuclear science." Worldwide Journal of Trendy Physics E 23.04 (2014) (obtainable at http://arxiv.org/pdf/1404.4948).

For extra info on SETI and Sun's gravitational lens:

Maccone, Claudio. "Interstellar radio connections become more efficient by utilizing the sun as a gravity lens." Acta Astronautica 68.1 (2011): 76–84 (obtainable at http://www.snolab.ca/public/JournalClub/alex1.pdf)

Ken Liu

Pricey youngsters, Sesquipedian words and complexities my pals of ideas and meandering sentences and baroque footage when the solar is sleeping and the moon is mourning, whereas the celebs swim in our glow with the eons and lightweight years if you find yourself comfortably resting on your blanket and mattress once I hit my chair once we are warm and protected and now on this bubble is a mermaid mirrored by a bulb. Lamp-held pearl, you and me, on this planet spinning and hurtling by means of area inflexible darkness tens of miles per second, let's read.


Telosians brain stores all the stimuli from their senses: every tingling an extended bushy again, each sound wave that reflects
their membrane-like body, each image that is reflected within the eyes of the straightforward compound's refractive mild subject, every molecular taste and disintegration reflected by their wobble arm ft , each plunge and movement in their irregular, potato-shaped planet's magnetic area

When they need, they will recall every experience completely faithfully. They will freeze the scene and zoom in to refine any element; they will parse and parse each dialog to deliver out each nuance. Pleased memory may be woken up numerous occasions, every replay plays new discoveries. The painful memory can be played on numerous occasions, creating new rage every time. Eidetic reminder is a reality of existence.

Extreme extrusion to finite is clearly unsustainable.

The cognitive organ of Telosia is positioned inside a segmented physique that buds and grows at one end whereas waving and disengaging. Yearly, a new phase is added that shops the longer term; Yearly the previous phase is thrown out of the tail, which sends the previous to oblivion.

So when the Telos individuals don't overlook, they don't keep in mind.


It has been claimed that considering is a type of compression

Keep in mind the primary time you tasted chocolate? It was the afternoon of the summer time; your mom had simply returned from purchasing. She broke the candy and put it in her mouth while sitting in a excessive chair.

Because the stearate containing cocoa butter was absorbed out of your mouth and melted over your tongue, complicated alkaloids have been released and seeped into your style buds: twitchy caffeine, giddy fenethylamine, serotonic theobromine.

"Theobromine," your mother stated, "refers to the food of the gods." compound dancing.

Then he broke the rest of the half of the chocolate bar and ate a bit for me and ate one other. "We have children because we can't remember our first taste of ambrosia."

I can't keep in mind the gown he had used or what he had bought; I can't keep in mind what we did the remainder of the day; I can’t create a precise sound or the exact forms of its options, the strains in its nook of the mouth, or the identify of the perfume. I simply keep in mind how daylight by means of the kitchen window slipped via his arm, as lovely as his smile.

Illuminated forearm, laughter, food of gods. So our reminiscences are squeezed, built-in into the sparkling jewels to be included within the limited area of our minds. The point turns into mnemonism, the dialog is decreased to a single sentence, a day distilled to a blatant feeling of pleasure.

The arrow of time is the lack of credibility in compression. Draft, not a photograph. Reminiscence is rebirth, worthwhile because it’s extra and fewer than the unique.


Esoptrons reside in a warm, countless ocean with plenty of mild and natural molecules. whales. Swirling their translucent bodies, driving them, rising and falling, rotating and rotating, like a phosphorus jellyfish that rides the present.

Esoptron ideas are coded as complicated chains of proteins that fold themselves like snakes, which wrap snakes, seek the bottom power degree so that they fit into the smallest area.

When two esoptrons meet each other, they will briefly connect a tunnel shaped between their membranes. This kissing association can take hours, days, or years because their reminiscences will get up and change with the power shares of each members. Nice pictures are selectively reproduced in a course of that is very similar to the expression of proteins – serpentine proteins open and dance within the electronic music of the coding sequences when they are first read and re-expressed – regardless that the unpleasant ones are diluted by spreading both organs. For esoptrons, the shared pleasure actually doubles, whereas the widespread unhappiness is absolutely halved.

By the time they know they each have absorbed the experiences of the opposite. It’s a true type of empathy, because the very broad areas of experience are shared and expressed with out change. No translation, medium trade. They’ll come to know each other in a deeper sense than some other universe.

But when one another's souls have mirrors, they have a price: once they know one another, the people of the couple are inseparable. Earlier than they merged, they shrinked towards each other; they’re a part of themselves.

Whether or not it is a blessing or a curse, much is inevitably discussed.


Your mother has never hidden her want to go away.

We met in the summertime at night time, at a excessive rock spot. We have been on reverse shores, two random particles on separate routes: I went to a brand new job, drove across the nation and camp to economize; He returned to Boston after he had transferred his good friend and his mortal possessions to San Francisco, on the campsite, because he needed to take a look at the celebs.

We drank low cost wine and even ate cheaper grilled canine. Then we walked collectively underneath a dark velvet cup with crystalline stars resembling the within of the geode, brighter than ever seen when he defined to me his beauty: every as unique as a diamond with a special colour. I couldn't keep in mind the final time I seemed up on the stars.

"I'm going there," he stated.

"Do you mean Mars?" That was nice information on the time. cargo to Mars. Everybody knew there was a propaganda effort that America feels good again with a new, new area race associated with new nuclear warfare and uncommon earth storage and zero-day cyber-crime. The other half had already promised their very own Mars base, and we needed to mirror their movement on this new massive recreation.

He shook his head. “What is point jumping just some steps from the seashore? I mean there. "

It was not a question that was questioned, so as an alternative of why and how and what you’re speaking about, I asked him what he hoped to seek out there among the stars.

Other Maybe the Sun

Listening to the Listening Months

Caring for the Man and the Earthly Mild

Which of the two great sexes

Stor in every Orb perhaps with some.

To the Great Room of Nature for the Unpossest

Reside Soule, Desert and Deserted,

Onely shines, but scarcely take part

Each orb is a glow of sunshine, convex and darkness

this resident who returns to

mild For them, it is obvious to disclaim.

”What do they assume? How do they expertise the world? I imagined such stories all through my life, but the fact is stranger and fantastic than any fairy tale. ”

He spoke to me about gravitational lenses and nuclear pulse exercise, the Fermi paradox, and the Drake equation. Arecibo and Jevpatoria, Blue Origin and SpaceX.

"Not afraid?" I asked

"I almost died before I could remember."

She informed me about her childhood. His mother and father have been eager sailors who had been fortunate sufficient to retire early. They bought the boat and lived there, and the boat was his first residence. When he was three, his mother and father determined to sail throughout the Pacific. Halfway throughout the sea, close to the Marshall Islands, the boat led to a leak. The household tried the whole lot she might to save lots of the ship, however ultimately had to activate the emergency sign to request help.

”It was my first memory. I wobbled on this large bridge between the sea and the sky, and when it sank into the water and we needed to leap out, my mom informed me to say goodbye. “

By the time they have been rescued at the Coast Guard, that they had been filled with water in their life jacket all day and night time. She swallowed her salt water and littered her one month after the hospital.

“Many people were angry with my parents, saying they were careless and irresponsible to endanger such a child. But I will always be grateful to them. They gave me the greatest gift that parents could give the child: fearlessness. They worked and saved and bought another boat, and we went back to the sea again. ”

It was an alien way of thinking that I didn't know to say.

”I want to assume that we now have been training the Polynesian tradition that has left the infinite Pacific Ocean with its canoe or the Vikings sailing to America. We've all the time lived by boat, you realize? It's a country, a ship in area. "

Once I heard him, for a moment I felt like I might walk by way of our distance and listen to the world by means of his echoes, see the celebs

Low cost wines and burnt scorching canine, other Suns, within the sky show diamonds that have been seen from the boat at sea, and fiery clarity in love.


] Tick-Tocks are the one uranium-based life recognized in the universe.

The surface of the planet is an infinite view of the bare rock. For man's eyes it feels wasteful, but on this floor etched are complicated, colourful patterns on a huge scale, each as giant as an airport or stadium: curlicues reminiscent of a calligraphic stroke; spirals comparable to fiddlehead ferns; hyperboles, reminiscent of flashlight shadows towards the cave wall; dense, radiant clusters akin to glowing cities that seem from area. Sometimes, steamed steam is discharged from the bottom, comparable to a whale blow or an explosion of icebreaker into Enceladus.

The place did the creatures depart these monumental sketches? These tributes lived and disappeared, these feelings and sorrows recognized and forgotten?

You dig underneath the surface. The sandstone layers over the granite bedrock are tunneled and have uranium pockets containing water

At the hours of darkness, the core of the uranium atom breaks down spontaneously and releases a number of neutrons. Neutrons move by means of the vast emptiness of internal area, such because the ships surrounding unusual stars (this isn’t actually an correct picture, however it’s a romantic picture and straightforward for example). Water molecules, fog-like, slow down neutrons till they contact one other core of uranium, the brand new world.

But adding this new neutron makes the kernel unstable. It vibrates like a bell alarm clock, breaks down into two new parts and two or three neutrons, new star ships which might be tied to distant worlds, to start out the cycle once more.

wants the proper of uranium, the uranium-235, which breaks down when it absorbs free neutrons, and one thing that slows down the velocity of neutrons as a way to be absorbed, and the water works properly.

By-products of fission products separated from the uranium atom fall on the bimodal distribution. Cesium, iodine, xenon, zirconium, molybdenum, technetium… like the new stars shaped from the supernova remnants, some last a couple of hours, the opposite tens of millions of years

Tick-Tocks thoughts and reminiscences are made up of these glowing gem at the hours of darkness sea. Atoms are as an alternative of nerve cells and neutrons act as mediators. The moderation medium and neutron poisons act as inhibitors and mirror the flight of neutrons, forming nerve cells via the void. The computational process arises on the subatomic degree and occurs on the messenger neutron flight paths; topology, composition and association of atoms;

Because the thoughts of Tick-Tocks grow even more vibrant, enthusiastic, the water within the pockets of uranium warms up. When the strain is excessive enough, the stream of overheated water flows into the crack of the sandstone cap and explodes on the surface in steam. The coated coloured salt deposits that have left the surface are giant, complicated, fractal patterns that resemble the ionization pathways left by the subatomic particles in the bubble chamber.

Finally, enough water has been boiled away, so that quick neutrons can not capture uranium atoms to take care of the reaction. The universe is absorbed in silence, and thoughts disappear from this atomic galaxy. Thus, Tick-Tocks dies: with its own vitality.

The water progressively steps again into the mines, throwing by means of the seams of sandstone and cracks in granite. When a enough quantity of water is full of the past shell, the random decomposing atom releases the neutron that triggers the chain reaction, and introduces new concepts and new beliefs, a brand new era of life that ignites the previous character.

Some individuals have denied the concept Tick-Tocks can assume. How can they be stated to be considering, skeptics ask when neutron flight is decided by the laws of physics towards quantum randomness? The place is their free will? Where is their sovereignty? In the meantime, the electrochemical reactions of the skeptics brain burn the laws of physics with inseparable rigor

Like tide, Tick-Tock's nuclear reactions act as pulses. Rotate after the cycle, every era detects the world again. The previous do not depart any wisdom for the longer term, and the young don’t look to the previous. They only reside for one season and one season

However on the surface of the planet, in the etched, beautiful stone paints, there’s Palimpsest of their rise and fall, the exhalation of the empires. Tick-Tocks' chronicles stay in the cosmos's other intelligent interpretations

As Tick-Tocks thrives, additionally they degrade the uranium-235 content material. Every era consumes a few of the universe's non-renewable assets, leaving fewer generations to return and being referred to as closer to the day when a continuous chain response is not attainable. Just like the clock that’s unavoidable, the world of Tick-Tocks sinks into everlasting, cold silence.


Your mother's pressure was noticeable.

"Could you call a real estate agent?" He asked. “I'm starting to unload stocks. We no longer need to save. Your mother goes to the cruise she always wanted. ”

” When did we win the lottery? "I asked.

He gave me a stack of paper. LENS program path.

I turned by means of it. … The appliance essay is among the most extraordinary entries we've acquired … waiting for physical research and psychological evaluation … confined to the closest household…

"What's this?"

] Radio waves shortly weakened in area, he defined. If any person screams to emptiness around their distant stars, they will not be heard except their closest neighbors. Civilization should use the power of the celebs to send a message that would move via the distances between the celebs – and how typically wouldn’t it happen? Take a look at the globe: we might hardly survive one chilly warfare before the opposite began. Lengthy before we attain the purpose the place the solar power is utilized, our youngsters either throw a post-apocalyptic flood via the landscape or vibrate nuclear energy within the winter, again to another stone age.

”But there is a approach to cheat, a method for primitive civilization, like us, to stay to the weak whisperings of the galaxy and perhaps even answer again. ”

The gravity of the sun bends mild and radio frequencies from distant stars. This is likely one of the most essential results of general proportionality

Suppose another world in our galaxy, not far more advanced than us, despatched a message that they might build the strongest antenna. By the time these emissions reached us, electromagnetic waves can be so weak that they might not be noticeable. Your complete photo voltaic system should turn into a parabolic container to intercept it.

However when these radio waves grazed the surface of the sun, the load of the star bent them barely, as the lens bends the rays of light. The marginally bent beams which are around the sun can be considerably farther.

"Just as sunlight could focus on a magnifying glass on the ground." Even a 12-meter inflatable dish might detect transmissions from the opposite finish of the galaxy. And if the others in the galaxy have been sensible sufficient to make use of the gravitational lenses of their very own solar, we might additionally speak to them – although the change would have reminded monologues which might be delivered in the course of the lifetime of the celebs as a conversation, messages are positioned on digging to distant beaches, from one lengthy lifeless era still unborn.

This place, because it turns out, is about 550 AU from the solar, virtually 14 occasions the space from Pluto. Solar's mild takes simply over three days to realize it, but at the current know-how degree for a spacecraft it takes greater than a century

Why send individuals? Why now?

”As a result of by the point the automatic probe reached the contact level, we don't know if anyone continues to be right here. Can mankind survive in the second century? No, we’ve got to send individuals so they can be there to pay attention and perhaps speak again.

"I go, and I would like you to come with me." Virtually all refugees have been youngsters because Therealit beloved their youth as a lot as other species.

Years before their star went to the supernova, the sheets have been launched in several instructions in any new house world. The ships started to accelerate, and the youngsters settled right down to study from the pilots of the aircraft and a few of the adults on board, making an attempt to continue the traditions of the dying world.

Solely when the last grownup died on every ship did they reveal the truth to the youngsters: there was no deceleration time on the ships. They might speed up eternally, asymptotically approaching the velocity of sunshine, until the ships ran out of gasoline and cruised on the last velocity, in the direction of the top of the universe.

Based on its reference framework, time would cross usually. However outdoors the ship, the rest of the universe must endure its ultimate judgment towards the entropy tides. It appeared to the surface observer that point stopped on the ships.

Youngsters faraway from the age would grow a number of years older, however not rather more. They might only die when the universe ended. This was the only means to make sure their security, the adults defined, the asymptotic strategy to overcome dying. They might never have their own youngsters; they by no means need to die; they may never should worry, plan, make decisions in sacrifice. They might be the last dwelling foods and probably the last clever beings of the universe.

All mother and father make decisions for his or her youngsters. They virtually all the time assume it's one of the best.


All the time I assumed I might change her. I was considering he want to stay for me due to our youngsters. I had beloved her because she was totally different; I additionally thought he was altering love.

“There are many forms of love,” he stated. "This is mine."

Many are stories telling ourselves that lovers are inevitably divided into totally different worlds: selkies, gu huo niao, Hagoromo, swan youngsters… What they have in widespread is faith in a couple that could possibly be changed by the other aspect, the truth is it is there was a difference, a resistance to vary that shaped the idea of their love. And then the day would come when an previous seal or a feather can be discovered, and it will be time to return to the ocean or heaven, an moral kingdom that was the true residence of a beloved

. spend part of the journey in sleep mode; However once they reached their first destination, 550 AU from the solar, far from the galactic middle, they need to have stayed awake and listened so long as they might. They might steer the ship off the solar on a spiral path, sweeping a larger portion of the galaxy from which they might detect the alerts. The farther they traveled from the solar, the higher the solar's magnifying impact can be resulting from radio waves that deviate from the reduction of solar corona. The crew was anticipated to last for a couple of centuries, rising, growing older, getting youngsters to continue their work, dying in the empty, heavy-hearted foreground

. that our daughter ”, I stated.

“You've also chosen him. How do you know if he is safer or happier here? This is an opportunity for transcendence, the best gift we can give him. ”

And then came the legal professionals and journalists and pundits who have been armed with sound bits.

Then the night time you tell me that you simply nonetheless keep in mind. You have been your birthday, and we have been together once more, just three of us since you stated what you needed.

We had a chocolate cake (you caught a doo-bone). Then we went out on the deck to observe the celebs. Your mom and I have been cautious without mentioning the battle within the courts or the day of approaching her departure.

"Is it true that you've grown up in a boat, Mom?"

"Sure. ”

” Was it scary? ”

” By no means. All of us reside by boat, sweetheart. The nation is just a great ferry to the celebs in the ocean. ”

“ Did you live in a boat? ”

“ I loved that boat – I don't remember me. We don't remember much about what happened when we were really young; it is dumb to be a human being. But I remember that I am very sad when I had to say goodbye. I did not want. It was at home. ”

” I don't need to say goodbye to my boat. ”

He shouted. And so do I. That's what you probably did.

She gave you a kiss earlier than she left. "There are many ways to say that I love you." Fading colors in cosmic background radiation have doubts about whether or not most of these messages will ever be disassembled.

Likewise, most of our ideas and reminiscences are destined to disappear, disappear and eat nicely

It's not the rationale for sorrow, sweetheart. The destiny of each species is vanishing into a vacuum that is the demise of the universe. But lengthy earlier than, the ideas of all the intelligent species which are worthwhile shall be as massive as the universe.


Your mother is now sleeping at Focal Level. She gained't get up till you are a very previous lady, perhaps even after you go.

When he wakes up, he and his crew's associates begin to pay attention, they usually also ship, hoping that some place else within the universe, another species may also use the power of their stars to focus on the weak rays of sunshine years and eons. They play a message to introduce us to the visitors written in a language based mostly on mathematics and logic. I've all the time found a number of enjoyable, we consider that the easiest way to speak with rural outsiders to speak in a approach that we never do in life.

However finally closing the storage of compressed reminiscences isn’t very logical: whale offensive arch, flaming of the fireside and wild dance, formulas of hundreds of odor-containing chemical compounds, including low cost wines and burned scorching canine, the child's laughter eating the food of the gods first occasions.

And so we learn this, pricey, this book, which he wrote to you earlier than he left, together with his decorative phrases, and to attract Illustrations, telling the story of the rhythms that develop like you, the map of apology, the envelope, and the waters of our uncharted waters [19659003] There are lots of ways to say that I really like you on this chilly, dark, quiet universe, as many as twinkling stars.