Umoja: The Early Years

from Umoja: The Early Years by Gwiyato Nemera (2038)
Asmera PubNet, mufaro.asmerapub.umj/history/umoja-general/nemera/UTEY/6.3

Umoja’s first CEO, Kirabo Mukadamu, made his first official visit to the United States in April 2019. Ten years before, he had left Los Angeles as an angry, despised, twice-convicted criminal; now he returned as an international hero welcomed with parades and speeches.

The afternoon of his arrival, before a multitude of shining faces, Kirabo was met by a delegation from the Nation of Islam.

They said to Kirabo, “How can you turn your back on African heritage, and embrace Western cultural ideals, when those very ideals killed and enslaved your ancestors, and have kept their descendants oppressed and subjugated for over four hundred years? When Africa is finally freeing herself of the legacy of Western imperialism, how can you lead her along a path that only leads to more of the same? You are a traitor to your people.”

In his quiet, powerful voice, Kirabo said to them, “You have not lived in Africa. You have not seen how disease, hunger, and despair are more powerful oppressors than Western imperialism ever could be. You have clean, running water, electricity at the touch of a switch, public health…all products of the Western cultural ideals you despise. You take these things for granted. You assume that they are the common property of humankind, no matter what culture first produced them. Africa simply wants to claim her share of the common property.”

They said to Kirabo, “Umoja wants to run Africa like a corporation. You destroy the cultures and the traditions of generations. You replace them with emptiness and deny them their right to exist. Are not all cultures equally valid?”

Kirabo smiled. “That is not the traditional African view.” Onlookers laughed. “Umoja means Unity. Common Unity. Comm-Unity. A new community and a new culture. Africa’s old cultures and traditions have passed away. They died of hunger, poverty, disease, and war. They were murdered by hatred, greed, and indifference, both inside and outside Africa.

“Our new Umoja—our Community—is a new culture born in the death throes of the old. To build our Umoja, we take what is best from all the cultures of humankind. Personal freedom, social responsibility, the equality of all humans, respect for tradition, submission to the will of God.” Kirabo faced the Nation of Islam spokesman with open arms. “Come to Africa, and help us build this new culture, this new community. Help us create new traditions and breathe life back into old ones. All are welcome, all are needed.” Kirabo cocked his head, as if listening to something very far and very faint. “Hear the call. Join the Kurudi, the Return to Africa. You will come as strangers; you will remain as daughters and sons.”

The next day, Kirabo met with the leaders of the Nation of Islam. And later that year, the Nation of Islam began its historic exodus to Africa….

Find out more in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers Digg!


The Santamas Story

(from A Child's Book of Stories by Kinson Tomas, Credix Publishing, TE 306)

Now in those days a decree went forth from the Emperor Augustus, that all the Galaxy should be taxed, and a census taken of all inhabitants. This was the census taken while Quirinius was Duke of Credix. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to their own planet and city.

And a man named Josef, along with his spouse Mary, left the planet Nazareth, and went to the city David on the planet Bedlam, to be counted with his own Idara. And Mary was at that time heavy with child.

And in the whole city of David, none of the inns had rooms available. So Josef and Mary went to the zoo, and Mary had her child among the animals. She wrapped him in the animals’ blankets, and laid him in a manger to sleep.

Now in that system there were asteroid miners, keeping watch over their claims. And on their holoscreens appeared a messenger from the Lord Kaal, and they were frightened. But the messenger said, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, for today in the city of David there has been born a Santa, who is the Claus. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in blankets and laying in a manger.”

So the miners made their way straight to Bedlam, and landed at the spaceport in David, went to the zoo, and saw the baby as he lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them, and all who heard wondered at the things that were told to them by the miners.

Now after the baby had been born, magi from Borshall arrived on Bedlam, saying, “Where is he who has been born Santa? For we followed his star and have come to bring him gifts.”

When Grinch Herod the Planetary Governor heard this, he was troubled. Gathering together the police, he asked them where the Santa had been born. He called the magi to him and determined from them the exact time that the star had appeared. And he sent them forth on Bedlam and said, “Go and search for the child, and when you have found him, bring him to me, so that I may give him gifts also.” But he was secretly jealous, and meant to harm the child.

After hearing the Grinch they went on their way, and followed the star, which led them to the place where the baby lay. And they presented the baby with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream, the magi left for Borshall without returning to Herod.

Hearing of Herod’s jealousy, Josef and Mary took the boy back to Nazareth, where they lived in peace. They named the boy Kris.

Now, Josef was a carpenter, and as Kris grew, he learned his father’s trade. Soon he started making toys, and giving them to poor children. After many years, as his skill increased, Kris’s fame spread throughout the Province, and beyond.

When Herod heard of Kris, his jealousy became worse. He sent his agents to Nazareth, to hunt down Kris and his family. But some of the animals in the zoo, remembering Kris’ birth, heard of Herod’s plan. Eight of the reindeer broke loose, and flew to Nazareth to warn Kris.

Kris, warned by the reindeer, gathered his family and his toys, and hitched a sleigh to the reindeer. Together, they all flew to a small, frozen planetoid far above the North Pole of the Galaxy. There, Kris set up a toy factory, aided by the alien inhabitants, called Elves. He leaves his home only once each year, on his birthday, when he and the reindeer travel around the Galaxy, bringing gifts to good little girls and boys. The Galaxy over, he is known as Santa Claus; and the day of his birth is celebrated as Santamas.

And as for Grinch Herod, there came a time when he learned the true meaning of Santamas…but that is another story.

Find out more at the Scattered Worlds site Digg!



(The Death, Dertodd's disease, epidemic taatokal)

[From The Taglierre School of Medicine Professional Guide to Diseases, 61st edition, Taglierre University Press, Year MDCCCLXXX of the Imperium, in the reign of the August Imperator Antonia IV.]

Taatokal is an acute infection caused by a highly-contagious prion-based agent. Taatokal is acutely fulminant and highly contagious, and causes acute prostration, respiratory distress, systemic distress, and death -- often within 6 to 8 days after onset.

Without treatment, mortality approaches 100%.

Causes and Incidence

Taatokal is usually transmitted by the direct inhalation of contaminated droplets from a patient in the acute stage; it may also be spread indirectly through soiled linen and other articles contaminated by respiratory secretions or blood.

Taatokal is believed to have emerged from some form of biological weapon, possibly of nonhuman construction, originating in the Laxus sector of the Galaxy about 1850 C.I. It is notorious for the Galaxy-wide epidemic of 1867 C.I., which in some regions killed up to 99% of inhabitants and left whole planets and settlements deserted.

Signs and Symptoms

During an incubation period of 4-6 days, there is a rapid onset of symptoms including an irritating, hacking cough, anorexia, sneezing, listlessness, inflamed conjunctiva, and low-grade fever. The disease rapidly progresses to a second phase which causes fever, chills, profuse sweating, fatigue, backache, enlarged lymph nodes, hepatosplenomeguloma formation in subcutaneous tissues, lymph nodes, the liver, and the spleen. Abscesses may form in the testes, ovaries, kidneys, and brain. In the final phases, patients may exhibit high temperatures (39.5 to 41.5 degrees), chills, myalgia, headache, prostration, disorientation, delirium, toxemia, and staggering gait. Occasionally, taatokal causes abdominal pain, vomiting, and constipation, followed by diarrhea (frequently bloody), skin mottling, petechiae, and circulatory collapse. In this final stage, taatokal causes widespread nonspecific tissue damae -- such as peritoneal or pleural effusions, pericarditis, and meningitis -- and is rapidly fatal unless promptly and correctly treated.


Classical clinical findings, especially during the incubation period, suggest this diagnosis and necessitate immediate treatment. A history of exposure to taatokal victims strongly suggests taatokal infection. Antibody screening of nasopharyngeal smears is a strong indication of the disease. Detection of the prion-based infectious agent, correctly matched with templates in standard diagnostic databases, is a confirming diagnosis.

In the debilitated or otherwise vulnerable patient with clinical evidence of taatokal infection, treatment should begin immediately, without waiting for results of laboratory tests.


Patient care is primarily supportive. Palliative measures include correction of fluid and electrolyte imbalance; pain management; fever reduction; analgesics antipyretics, and sedatives as needed; treatment with zartheit-13 or alpha-beruhigen to lessen neurological impact. Hospice care, including euthanasia options, is desireable.

The only effective treatment for taatokal is [omitted].

Special considerations

  • Patients with taatokal require strict isolation in Level One facility.
  • Follow extreme enteric procedures, including full containment suit when dealing with patients, immediate and sanitary destruction of all contaminated objects and materials, and total body scrub after patient contact.
  • Screen all hospital personnel and visitors for symptoms. Prevent direct contact during epidemics.
  • Report all cases of taatokal to local public health authorities for follow-up, contact tracing, and population-wide prophylactic measures.
  • Obtain a history of patient contacts for a quarantine of 10 days of observation.
  • Maintain adequate respiratory function through proper positioning, humidification, and suctioning, as needed.
  • Provide psychological and emotional support. Encourage patient to express feelings and concerns. Answer questions honestly with tact and sensitivity.
  • Provide emotional support for patient's family.
  • Offer the assistance of a counselor. Help patient and family to deal with the reality of death.

Find out more in The Leaves of October: a novel of the Scattered Worlds by Don Sakers Digg!


African Rebirth

from African Rebirth by Hassan Kerekou (2039)
University of Harare Net, stf3.uharare.edu.zw/Kerekou/AR/intro

Returning Blackamericans brought many things with them, but two of their gifts alone were responsible for most of Africa’s salvation and rebirth.

The first gift that Blackamericans brought was their effete attachment to Western notions of sanitation and public health. Mother Africa horrified them with her casual acceptance of disease and death, her parasites and endemic viruses, her lack of clean-water standards, and above all…her unspeakable toilets.

Imagine a continent whose people are daily robbed of their energy by dysentery, malaria, schistosomiasis, sleeping sickness, AIDS, and a host of other diseases. Imagine a people whose bodies are alive with larvae, worms, fleas, and worse. Imagine malnutrition as a daily companion.

These are the people who managed, in spite of physical degradation that would destroy a lesser folk, to build great Timbuktu and Zimbabwe, Songhai and Goa, Meroë and Jenné. These are the people who conquered a continent, ridden with disadvantages that would make any other people lay down and die.

Now imagine this continent with Western sanitation and medicine. Gengineered viruses to kill off the parasites, water filtration, waste reclamation. Vaccines, antibiotics, bionics, regeneration. Imagine cool, clean water and safe, dependable electricity. Imagine the boundless energy of this people set free, young healthy muscles and minds working together for the betterment of all. Imagine this people possessed of the accumulated knowledge of Humankind, able to avoid the mistakes of earlier cultures. Imagine this knowledge, combined with the virtually-untapped natural resources of Mother Africa and the best technology of the age.

The wonder, my friends, is not how much Africa has accomplished in a few short decades…the wonder is that it took so long.

The second gift Blackamericans brought was more subtle, but just as vital to Africa’s renaissance. This was their matriarchal tradition, sprung from the terrible years of slavery, when Woman was the only link to Family. From the first moment of the Kurudi, the Great Return, Blackwoman came to Africa as the equal partner—some might even say, the superior—of Blackman.

Nowhere was the cultural clash between African and Blackamerican more bitter, than over the place of women in our society. African tradition made her equal to a cow or pig; Blackamerican tradition exalted her as the soul and leader of the family, strong and independent. Blackwoman arrived on African shores confident and capable, and she was not about to take on the subservient role that tribal elders decreed.

In the end, the old ways withered…and well they did! For the job of building Umoja was too great for us to leave out half our strength. The task would take every iota of Man’s determination, every milligram of Woman’s endurance. Every shoulder, every hand, and every brain was needed. United, equal, Man and Woman built together what none could have built alone.
Today, women and men are equal in culture and law across every Umoja client state. Women serve at every level of our society. One of the most revered persons on the continent is a Blackamerican woman who took the name Princess Mahlowi, and who now sits on the throne of the vast Songhay kingdom from which her ancestors were torn half a millennium ago….

Find out more in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers Digg!


The Principles of Universal Worship

I. All faiths are equally valid.

It is right to respect the faith and beliefs of others.

It is right to obey the tenets of one’s own faith.

II. All faiths agree that there exists a Divine Universal Guiding Principle.

To different faiths, this Priciple has different Names and Attributes.

It is right to respect and venerate the Universal Principle, under whatever Name.

III. All faiths agree on certain moral canons. To willfully break these canons is sin.

1. One must honor and respect the Universal Principle.
2. One must honor and respect the faiths and beliefs of others.
3. One must honor, respect, and obey the tenets of one’s own faith.
4. One must respect and obey those in authority.
5. One must be honest.
6. One must be faithful to one’s promises.
7. One must not commit murder.
8. One must not steal.
9. One must not abuse power or authority.
10. One must not cause others needless harm.

— Council of Theologians
Colorado Springs, 2048 C.E.

Find out more in Hunt for the Dymalon Cygnet by Don Sakers Digg!



If you can, then you may have the talent to be a virtreal designer.

The need for talented virtreal designers is greater than ever before. All areas of cyberspace are expanding exponentially— Cyberbia, El Juego, and Virtua. Someone has to design and build the landscapes and environments to fill all this virtreality; why not you?

Virtreal designers are respected and valued. They command top salaries and royalties. Shouldn’t you be one of them? The talents aren’t as rare as you might think.

So go ahead, build this room, or one like it. Use any virtual-design tool you wish. Send us your virtreal creation, and our panel of experienced cybersmiths will critique your work for free. If you show promise, you’ll be given a chance to enroll in the oldest and most prestigious school in Cyberbia: the Coates Academy.

Reply to eval@coatesacademy.biz

Find out more in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers Digg!


Sten Koleno

Foreign Secretary Extraordinaire

(from Across the Hegemony, Fyeevahr 26, 2437 Hegemonic Date; transmitted by Tatiavionna News Service, Silchar, Escen.)

STEN KOLENO loves his job, his family, and the Escen Hegemony…not necessarily in that order.

Koleno, 51, comes from an old Escen family with a tradition of government service. His great-great grandmother, Bohdana Koleno, served as Prime Minister from 2299 to 2321, and there have been Kolenos in the Hegemony's government since the very beginning.

Sten, who holds advanced degrees in Mathematical Sociology and Comparative Economics from Moulmein Interstellar University's School of Government, was named Foreign Secretary in 2434. His accomplishments in the position have been stellar, including the Non-Intrusion Treaty with Geled and several agreements for cross-cultural exchange with the Independent Traders and four other major Galactic states.

Koleno received the Distinguished Service Award, the Hegemony's highest honor. The government of Odegaard awarded him the Knight Commanders Cross for his role in developing Hegemony strategy toward Dovanian splinter states.

Prior to assuming his current post, Koleno was Under Secretary of Economics in the Sudarijo Administration. He served as the lead Hegemony official in negotiations on the Sagittarius Arm Free Trade Agreement and the creation and launch of the Sagittarius Economic Cooperation Group.

From 2411 to 2416, Koleno served at the Department of Nonhuman Affairs in various positions, including Counselor to Secretary Corobaji, Executive Secretary of the Department, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Alien Institutions Policy. Koleno received the Hedeon Dusya Award, the Department of Nonhuman Affairs' highest honor.

Despite his impressive credentials and evident dedication to his job, there is another side to Sten Koleno—the devoted spouse and father.

Sten and Emele Koleno were espoused in 2430. Emele held the Yurik Nyunt Chair in Political Studies at Arakan University until she retired to become Sten's chief assistant in 2434. The couple had their first child, Fenelia, in Syeentyahbr.

When he is not at work or caring for Fenelia, Sten relaxes by playing the guitar. For a time, he joined with Secretary of Transportation Tasenka and Resource Secretary Perla in charity performances as "The Singing Secretaries." Since Fenelia's arrival, however, he has not been able to devote time to the group.

Have the responsibilities of parenthood slowed Sten down any? We caught up to him at his office in the Hegemonic Palace, and here's what he had to say: "Since Fenelia was born, we've been to sixteen interstellar conferences on twelve planets. I expect that she'll have visited most of the worlds of the Hegemony by the time she's two." He sighs. "But yes, Emele and I are trying to arrange things so we don't have to leave Escen so much, or at least not for days at a time. My staff has been fantastic."

And are there prospects for any other children? Sten Koleno laughs. "Maybe when Fenelia's ten or so, we'll consider submitting an application. Right now, we have enough on our boards just keeping up with her."

Find out more in The Leaves of October: a novel of the Scattered Worlds by Don Sakers Digg!


This Morning's Headlines

Date: Sat, 26 Jul 2042 11:39:24 (GMT)

Indonesian Shortages Predicted

Emergency Authorization Enters Thirteenth Year

Chinese Return Stranded Cosmonauts Safely to Gagarin Town

No Nexus Action Expected Yet

Skims by at less than 1,000 km. Spacewatch says no repeat of 2039 impact.


Alice Springs Quarantine To Be Lifted

Relief Efforts Hampered By Fundamentalists

Most emigrants from Umoja

Breakthrough At Last?

Find out more in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers Digg!


Disunited States

from Disunited States: Twilight of the American Century
by Charles G. Fleming, Sankore University, 2035

In 1990, the United Nations missed their chance to establish a new world order and break the cycle of armed conflict that had dominated international relations at least since the Council of Vienna. Had they not blundered so, the modern world order would have arrived 20 years before the Nexus made its stand at Indonesia.

When Iraq invaded and occupied neighboring Kuwait in August of 1990 (details), cooler heads proposed a total economic boycott of Iraq, with U.N. peacekeeping troops to enforce it. In hindsight, we can see that this strategy—a clear precursor to Nexus Interdict—would almost certainly have resulted in the downfall of the Iraqi government, the liberation of Kuwait, and a signal to all nations that the world would no longer tolerate war. However, success would have taken many years, perhaps a decade. (models & analysis)

The U.S. President, George Bush, was facing imminent elections. In the hyper-aggressive culture of the time, Bush feared that anything less than armed conflict would be perceived as weakness or—worse—impotence (note). Bush, therefore, insisted on war. No other nation was powerful enough to counter U.S. belligerence, so war it was.

Desert Storm, as the war was called, resembled the attack of a schoolyard bully much more than a fair contest. U.S. firepower and high technology completely overwhelmed Iraq, and resulted in more than 50,000 Iraqi fatalities, many of them civilians. The U.S. suffered only 149 deaths, none inflicted by the enemy.

Americans congratulated themselves for beating up on a far weaker opponent. Tensions between Arab countries and the West increased vastly. In response to the next world crisis—genocide in Bosnia and Serbia (details)—the U.N. did nothing, apparently waiting for U.S. military action. Having publicly and rather noisily taken on the role of world police force, the U.S. now maintained that Bosnia/Serbia was someone else’s problem, and took no action until far too late. Millions died. With each succeeding crisis, the results were similar. The pattern had been set, and would not be broken until the birth of the Nexus.

And what of George Bush, who had thrown away the world’s chance for peace in a macho attempt to overcome his own personal shortcomings, who had bargained fifty thousand lives for 1,461 more days in the White House? Did he, at least, accomplish wondrous things in his second term?

George Bush lost the election and retired into obscurity. As far as history can tell, he never again said or did anything of the slightest consequence; his name lives on only in Presidential trivia books, because his son became President in 2001.

Find out more in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers Digg!


Umoja Interactive Ballot

Juneteenth, 2036 CE

Kiswahili | English | Francais | Deutsch | Other

Thank you for participating in today's election. If at any point you wish to clarify your answer or make additional comments, please touch [I].

1. How satisfied are you with your current electrical service? [I]
___Very satisfied
___Very dissatisfied

2. Do you feel that the price of a loaf of bread is...? [I]
___Just right

3. In Algeria's civil war, both sides have appealed to Umoja for support. Should Umoja: [I]
___Support the Islamic Brotherhood
___Support the Democratic National Front
___Attempt to broker a peace agreement
___Push for peaceful annexation
___Ignore the problem

4. Which candidate do you prefer for Mayor of Kampala? [I]
___Nzitunga Buseruka
___Makula Ndadaye
___John Rukidi
___None of these

5. Reducing travel time to Cape Town, Kinshasa, and Tunis will result in an increase in accidental injuries and deaths. How many additional annual deaths are tolerable for each one-hour decrease in travel time? [I]

6. Please comment on the quality of papayas you have received in the last six months. [I]
___I have no opinion

7. Ritual tattooing for religious purposes is...? [I]
___Acceptable if hidden
___I have no opinion

8. Please rate your satisfaction with medical care received by you or your family in the last year. [I]
___I have no opinion

9. How many times have you received painful sunburn in the last 12 months? [I]
___Not at all
___1-3 occasions

10. How concerned are you about the following social issues? (Please rate 1-5, with 1 being "very concerned" and 5 being "not at all concerned") [I]
___Tribal relations [I]
___Medical care [I]
___Violent crime [I]
___Poverty [I]
___1- and 2-parent families [I]
___Australian financial crisis [I]
___Gender relations [I]
___Unlicensed births [I]
___Education [I]
___Housing [I]
___Civil liberties [I]
___Quality of life [I]
___Earthspace industrialization [I]
___International affairs [I]
___Gambling [I]
___Genetic ethics [I]

11. What do you most strive for in your life? [I]
___Moral values

12. What other comments would you like to make? [I]

Thank you for participating in today's election. Your responses, combined with those of other client-citizens, will be used to produce recommendations that reflect the will of Umoja's people.

The questions that you responded to may differ from those of your family, friends, or associates. This is usual; questions are selected according to sophisticated statistical algorithms, so as to provide the most accurate statistical portrait with the least inconvenience to client-citizens. It is natural that client-citizens will discuss their voting experiences with one another. Should you find that you wish to give your own opinion on a question that was selected for someone else, simply contact election.umj and choose "election questions."

Once again, thank you for making Umoja better!

Find out more in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers Digg!


A Kreen Song

Away beyond the starry dance
Away beyond the sky
There lies a land we've never seen
But which in dreams is nigh.

Before blue Kree was set in space
Before the sun was lit
There was a golden unknown star
With a blue world circling it.

Ere Kil the sparkling river ran
Ere Miethara ruled
The Avethellen starfolk fared
From cities grandly jeweled.

Canoes of theirs the starlanes crossed
Brought life to all of Kree
Bent worlds and stars unto their will
Of such descent are we.

Where glows the light of murdered suns?
Where burns last winter's flame?
Where vanished sacred Avethell?
What of her folk became?

Ask rather of this season's rose
Where his lost parents passed;
Ask rather of the buzzing fly
Why goes her life so fast?

Into the wild and starlit deep
Retreats this world so grand
Away into forgotten past
Defies our groping hand.

And never has Kreen touched that world
And never have we known
Aught of her but mere shadowed hints
In seeds that she had sown.

We love the world on which we grew
We worship Kree and well
Yet always will our spirits yearn
For long-lost Avethell.

Find out more in the Hemmin Daaveren Ketahensel Digg!


Emperor Tsung-Dao Wu

b. 16 September TE 167 Odonia
d. 19 March TE 235 New York, Terra

Tsung Dao Wu, son of Tsung Kun Wu and Mowra Cinq-Mars, was born nearly three months after his father's death. His father was Planetary Governor of Odonia, and his mother was a former delegate to the Imperial Council and regional supervisor for Rockwell Interstellar. When the boy was six, his mother was promoted to Operations Co-ordinator for Sol Province, and the family moved to Terra. In New York, London, and Peiping, Tsung Dao was raised in an atmosphere of corporate and Idara intrigue. By the time he passed his adulthood tests at 16, the young man was quite at home with the Terran political scene.

In TE 185, at age 18, he was appointed to the Imperial Council as respresentative of Rockwell. In the Council, Tsung Dao was one of a group of young populists known in the press as the Knights of the Round Table.

In TE 189, at age 22, Tsung Dao was apprehended on Kybos and tried for fomenting rebellion against Imperial rule. He was deported to the Tarantula Nebula. While in Tarantula, he founded several enclaves for mutual co-operation. He ruled for a time (TE 194-196) over a "state" of about 10^5 cubic kilometers, until he was thrown out in a dispute over breeding policies.

About TE 201 Tsung Dao was contacted by Brin Lutken & Catherine Leonov, and he began running tachyon vesicle pickups to an uninhabited system near Deletia. He was put in charge of logistics for Tarantula Fleet construction in TE 208, and appointed Internal Security Minister of the Tarantula Rebel State in TE 212.

About this time, Tsung Dao began to have a change of heart about Brin & Catherine and tried to establish ways to get around them. He developed schemes to remove them if and when when the Empress was overthrown.

In TE 219, he was closely involved in the Tarantula Incident in which Maj Thovold defeated Brin & Catherine. Tsung Dao was rather surprised to find himself named as Thovold's chosen successor.

In TE 219, when Tsung-Dao Wu was fighting to consolidate his Imperial power, he gained support among Idara Lütken and Idara Kasmanski by gifting Lütken with the Duchies of Credix and Geled, and Kasmanski with Borshall. Of course, he also angered Chen, Cepeda and Carcopino -- but this move was calculated to cut down the influence of Chen, which had grown very powerful in charge of Credix.

In 225, Tsung Dao became aware of Amy Kuchta, a 16-year-old scion of Idara Kuchta who was starting a quick rise through the Imperial bureaucracy. He took an immediate liking to the girl, seeing in her a reflection of his own early self. Soon, Amy Kuchta became the daughter Tsung Dao had never had, and in 231 he formally adopted her, naming her as his chosen successor.

Tsung Dao Wu died on Terra in TE 235, at the age of 67, and was succeeded by Amy Kuchta.

Find out more in Weaving the Web of Days: A tale of the Scattered Worlds by Don Sakers Digg!


Turing's Test

Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2042 14:18:24 (KMT)
To: Sugarplum_fairy@nexus.nex
From: MamaPajama@mail.uharare.umj [MamaPajama]
Subject: Re: Turing’s test
Cc: ai.taskforce.list@uluebo.edu
Message-id: <20420829141824_211221.92637_ppj13-54@nexus.nex>
Content-Type: text
Status: O
Once upon a time, mathematical ability was a sign of intelligence. And people said, “No machine will ever be able to do sums like humans.”

Then came calculators, and they said, “Fine, but no machine will ever be able to play chess as well as humans.”

Then came Deep Blue, and they said, “Fine, but no machine will ever be able to recognize and process conversational speech.”

Then came software agents, and they said, “Fine, but no machine will ever be able to compose a symphony.”

Then came Digital Mozart, and they said, “Fine, but no machine will ever be able to come up with an original, creative idea.”

Now that Thë Måniƒeståtiøn øƒ Çhångë iñ thë Møuntåins has won the Nobel Prize in Physics, what are they now going to claim “no machine will ever do?”


Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2042 14:27:32 (KMT)
To: MamaPajama@mail.uharare.umj
From: gomo@umd.edu [GoCart.Mozart]
Subject: Re: Turing’s test
Cc: ai.taskforce.list@uluebo.edu
Message-id: <20420829142732_210129.033107_cke20-45@nexus.nex>
Content-Type: text
Status: O
I can tell you, categorically and without the slightest fear of contradiction, that no machine will ever, ever be able to think.

This is because human beings will continue changing the definition of “think” so as to exclude machines.

Find out more in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers Digg!



(July AD 2042)

Get the News You Want…the Way You Want It!

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Find out more in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers Digg!


Newsweek Online Edition, 1 August 2042 C.E.

The invasion of Guadalcanal is in deep trouble. The World War II Centennial Commission still needs over ten thousand volunteers to play the part of Allied soldiers for a scheduled re-enactment of the Allied landing on August 8, 1942.

Over fifty thousand people from around the world have volunteered to play Japanese troops in the re-enactment (historically, there were approximately 33,000 Japanese troops on the island in 1942). Few of these volunteers have interest in playing Allied roles. One volunteer, Derek Tshwete of Pretoria, said, “The Allies won. Where’s the drama in that?”

Dr. Kiyono Mauyama, a speaker for the Centennial Commission, said that the re-enactment will go ahead as scheduled on April 8. “We’re committed to making this the most accurate re-enactment of the entire Centennial program. If necessary, we’ll use cold-light holograms to fill in for the missing Allies.”

The star player at the week-long festival on Guadalcanal is Thomas V. Nicodemus, a 118-year-old survivor of the Guadalcanal campaign.

Find out more in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers Digg!

He Talks to Trees

And the amazing thing is, one of them talks back!

Even as a child, Quen Rubashov was fascinated by trees. On his homeworld, Neordan, he spent many happy hours camping in the Planetary forest Birnam Wood. Once, when he was 12, park rangers had to use antigrav harnesses to rescue young Quen from thirty meters up in a soaring spruce.

Now the tree-climbing daredevil is soaring to new intellectual heights as Director of the Imperial Botanical Preserve. The Preserve, located just a few hundred kilometers from the city of São Paulo on Terra, is the Empire's leading scientific institution for the study and conservation of plant life.

Rubashov, 38, is a dapper man with a serious face and a wardrobe that is as much at home in the halls of the Imperial Palace as in the laboratories of the Botanical Preserve. And he's a frequent visitor to the Palace—as the newest member of the Imperial Science Advisory Board, he is responsible for guiding the Empress Herself in forming and implementing the Empire's science and technology policy.

Rubashov studied at the University of Neordan and Credix University School of Biology, and received his doctorate from Johns Hopkins. His specialty is exobotany, and he is responsible for identifying and naming over 300 alien species of plants.

Another scientist with such a distinguished record would be content to rest on his laurels. Quen Rubashov, however, is anything but content. His current problem, which takes up most of his time outside his administrative duties, is a specimen called Arbofucatus amny—for us laymen, a tree-like species, common to many worlds, which was discovered way back in 2097 CE.

A specimen of A. amny—like the one housed in the main exobotany dome of the Preserve—looks like a particularly tall oak or maple in full bloom. It's not until one watches for a while, that one comes to realize that the tree's leaves and bark are forever changing color, in complex patterns that defy easy analysis. It's like watching time-lapse of a forest changing color in the autumn.

Quen Rubashov thinks that he has cracked the code of these color-changes. And hold onto your hat—he thinks that the tree is talking.

"I'm certain that there is intelligence behind these systematic color patterns," Rubashov says. "I'm convinced that we're witnessing some kind of language. This specimen has sat here for 270 years, and all the time it's been trying to communicate with us."

Talking trees? In a Galaxy as crammed-full of wonders as ours, it's entirely possible, says leading exobiologist Brookdalyn Cheseth of Borshall University. "I've read Dr. Rubashov's papers and reviewed his data, and I think he may be on to something. It wouldn't be the first time we've missed an intelligent species. Look at the case of the Kaanese, just a dozen years ago. At first we thought they were nonsapient animals—it wasn't until we did a thorough analysis of their biochemistry that we were able to appreciate their intelligence."

If Dr. Rubashov is right, then there may be economic and political reprecussions. Specimens of Arbofucatus amny are found on just about every Imperial planet; as a nonsapient species, they have been exempt from the Act of Nonexploitation. If they were to fall under the protection of the Act, no one is sure what the impact may be.

For now, the Imperial Council has declined to grant Dr. Ruibashov's trees recognition under the Nonexploitation Act. A quick survey of major Imperial worlds shows that specimens of A. amny are usually well-regarded and fairly well protected anyway. Their beauty and their majesty, it seems, may protect them where the law cannot.

For now, Quen Rubashov continues his research, hoping to find just the right data to convince the Council. And meanwhile, he and his fianceé, linguist Magretti Folonzwa, are making plans to tie the knot sometime early next year. The ceremony—to which the Empress will almost certainly be invited—will reportedly be held on the grounds of the Imperial Botanical Preserve, perhaps under the soaring limbs of Quen Rubashov's favorite alien tree.


Find out more in The Leaves of October: a novel of the Scattered Worlds by Don Sakers Digg!