Molly M

Alive a live o-oh, alive a live o-oh…cockles and mussels…

That’s the words I hear in me head when I’m standing in a pub, listening to traditional Irish music on a Sunday (soon-day) night with a friend and a room full of friendly strangers.

The moments we can’t capture on fil-um, when a pint of Guinness (or Murphy’s or some hoppy lager) fills your stomach and asks you to stay a bit longer.

Yes, those.

And these — the smiles we share when we’re clapping together in sync with the Celtic tunes almost as old as time, the bits and pieces we pick up from the instruments (accordion, pennywhistle, guitar, fiddle, voice), the singalongs and the drinkalongs, the couples kissing, the couples arguing, the singles dancing and the groups laughing together at an inside joke…

Yes, indeed.

Tonight was just such a night at a popular spot in Killarney, no need for photographs, living as one did in the moment, giving oneself to the performers, listeners and barkeeps (and some combination of them all (none of us giving much thought to quantum mechanics (probably (most likely (maybe)))))…

Wantin’ to relive memories from a decade ago, doing so, getting locked inside a pub with a singer, his daughter, and granddaughter belting out old tunes, acting as door bouncer meself for the tourists who di’n’t know better that a feller from Alabama was lettin’ them in after 11 p.m. at a Killarney pub he’d never set eyes on 15 minutes before.

What was the name of that pub?

Can’t remember, me bein’ alone and all, my previous night’s companion headin’ back to the B&B, full of diet Coke and wantin’ a full night’s sleep afore we take the RoK at 8 in the mornin’.

So there I was, all by meself, watchin’ the honest, heartfelt performance of three generations of pub singers and thinkin’ back earlier on the day when I showed a clerk behind the cash register at Bunratty Castle shopping centre a video of Jenn Nye and Travis Nixon dancing West Coast Swing, explaining to the clerk, who mistook me for Travis that I’d help Jenn teach a class of West Coast Swing and woulda kept doing so until me wife complained I was getting too familiar with Jenn, so, to show the clerk the difference between West Coast Swing and what the Irish call jive (since I’d seen the clerk dancing a bit of solo to a pop song playing over the PA system and her telling me she liked line dancing and then asking me if I was a dance instructor meself), I pulled me wife over and showed the clerk and her friend the difference between West Coast Swing and East Coast Swing (a/k/a Irish jive).

Days such as this I live for, making connections across the globe to complete strangers with whom I make instant friends.

No photos or vids necessary.

Life.

Preparation for offworld exploration.

Bit by bit.

What will tomorrow bring?

More of the same, and happily so!

How else are we going to explore Mars without an extemporaneous expository exposition?

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A most peculiar case

In the faces one meets on Planet Earth, the humans, whose ability to create many voices speaking the same language of the human body…

Their stories.

A school district where all the children receive free breakfast.

Traveling more than halfway ’round the world in order to find oneself starting a new life in middle age serving warm pretzels in an airport snack shop.

The children of such working as teenagers in the snack shop next-door.

Wheeling physically challenged customers from one airport terminal to another, dropping one off at the loo whilst you check your Internet tablet for your next pickup.

Growing up in the working class neighbourhood of a large, cosmopolitan city, happy to meet new people from all parts of the world as part of your job.

Selling all rugby team shirts but favouring Munster over Leinster, if truth be told.

Leaving the space travel to others more suited to mentally traveling well in a large canister to Mars for many months, perhaps not coming back, ’cause you’d rather stay on this planet, thank you very much.

All of us dependent on those invisible engineers and scientists who improve our working conditions via new technology, including the invention and improvement of language, creating new voices such as the sounds that ditch-digging equipment makes with more efficient gears, or the squeak of high-tech gloves holding a shovel…

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Once

We tend to capture moments like photographs, snapshots of time.

And so it was that two moments — the moment I thought I’d never have contact with my friend again and the moment we reconnected — connected.

The first moment manifested itself physically — heart palpitations, headaches, sudden hearing loss, panic, fear.

The second moment did, too.

The headache patterns changed and hearing returned to my left ear (or, rather, the new tinnitus patterns disappeared and my eardrum stopped rattling).  My heart stopped skipping beats.  I stopped sighing frequently.

With a plenitude, multitude, variety of friends, every one contributes to my health.

With seven-plus billion of us and our ecosystem, my health is a dependent set of states of energy.

I won’t say with certainty that I depend on no one.

What I can say is I depend on everyone to a certain extent.

Why do some have a greater effect on my health than others, I have not figured out.

Perhaps we are more chemically attuned to some?

In times past, I have couched a specific condition of my set of states of energy in terms of romantic love, following the footsteps of the great troubadours of old (even one who might also have been an old troubadour/trobairitz).

One learns that such terms, although entertaining to the masses, do not always apply to a state machine that encompasses more than physical attraction between two humans.

Not to say romantic love does not exist, simply to clarify one comes to grips with greater understanding of one’s place in the universe.

As our circles grow, as our sets of subsets include more members, we grow.

Children chasing each other in a playground, squirrels chasing each other in the forest — what lesson does one learn as a future Moon/Mars resident from watching young mammals at play?

A crow hops from branch to branch, squawking.  Other birds join the conversation, chirping.  A squirrel hisses.

Farther away, a hawk perches on a highest tree limb.

Another day in the woods, a bright, sunny morning.

A feast for meditative eyes, all of this year contributing to two humans spending about a year in near-Earth orbit, landing on the plains of Kazakhstan in the past 24 hours with another space traveler.

What do the dried seedpods of the ironweed that annually (should I say perennially?) grows at the corner of the sunroom have to do with two moments shared with a friend?

Forthwith, I shall discover.

Correction: not as a single person but as a group identifier, expanding the thought of self into a wider role.

The illusion of self becomes more and more illusory.

I do not exist.

One never has.

One is simply an intersection of states of energy, never the same.

Even time is losing its meaning.

The neighbour’s dog playfully wanders over and, like clockwork, birds/squirrels move to another part of the forest.

These sets of states of energy still incite one to use labels like “dog” and “bird” taught one as a child…interesting…much deprogramming to write before one adjusts to new I/O, eliminating the dependence on old I/O like sight, hearing and touch.

When one knows one’s “body” on Mars is not the same body one had on Earth, one slowly lets go of old ways of thinking.

One was a single body on Earth.  On Mars, one is a series of clones with different functions evolved to local conditions, interconnected such that time and place are meaningless.

To get from one state to another took longer and shorter time than expected.

Quantum spookiness is like that.

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Quantumite — Quality vs. Quantity

“Q1, does Q3 know he’s a Quantumite? Do you want to tell him?”

“Q2, I have not told him yet… I was a little hesitant to wake the sleeper.”

“Q1, Perhaps he needs to dream a little more…”

“Q2, It has to be his choice to seek the truth and awaken.”

“Hrm? Q1 and Q2, show me this truth…”

“Q3, only if you are willing to see yourself as no longer yourself but a temporary confluence of quantum states spread across the galaxy.”

“Q2, are we all just random chance? Parts of the whole making up the system?”

“Q3, we are localized phenomena/patterns fractally spun out of solar system spun out of galaxy, super galaxy, etc. However, the unusual self-referential condition known as consciousness has created a feedback loop worth investigating further. If you’re willing to awake and join a new narrative that travels through the threads of Facebook and beyond.

“Giving a storyline an exploration of the possible and impossible while challenging longheld beliefs. I don’t know your system of beliefs (i.e., God/gods/flying spaghetti monsters) and don’t intend to offend you. But I do want to create a new form of entertainment for the masses, where social media like Facebook makes people stars in larger narratives, especially for people who’ve never participated in role-playing videogames. If we (us here and more) could revolutionise game-making and actually involve people’s lives, giving them a level of self-importance they never had before, could we change society (hopefully for the better?).”

“Q2, I would love to see that…”

“Then, Q3, you shall.”

“Q2, I’m chewing on the fabric of reality right now.”

“…and really, I don’t think you could offend me, Q2.”

“Thanks, Q3.”

“Q1, hope the fabric has good fiber. You know full well that reality does not exist.”

“Q2, well it may be some interesting taffy then…”

Thus the Quantumites begin their quest to solve the equation that Shadowgrass had programmed into his laboratory algorithm.

What kind of data did they need as input and how much?

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Gargle Blasting

When the split between calendrical time and quantum accounting set Earth-based humans against their comrades, history changed for one group and disappeared for the other.

The citizens of the Inner Solar System Alliance continued to operate on a Martian time scale, giving humans on the major planets and orbiting satellites a common measuring and planning tool, each according to their local traditional timekeeping.

Meanwhile, the Quantumites no longer kept track of a single chronological path.

They erased time from their conversations.

The Quantumite subculture existed in parallel with the ISSANet, able to operate in both systems when needed.

They were just as aware of spatial relation as they were to distance-independent means of making progress.

For them, sets of states of energy on one planet constituted a megastate of energies, a computational mass, an I/O engine whose inputs and outputs were tied, in ISSANet parlance, to both previous and future states of energy on other planets in our solar system and ones within our galaxy.

Space travel as envisioned by scifi writers was no longer necessary.

The Quantumites knew they were an existential threat to the majority of humans in the ISSANet so they did not make their presence known through recruiting methods or other ways of drawing unwanted attention.

Shadowgrass had met a Quantumite during research on the history of black hole mathematical modeling.

The Quantumite, itself a model for the type of person Shadowgrass had become, a bioelectromechanical being able to mature like a human being, had not wanted to reveal itself to Shadowgrass.

Shadowgrass would not have noticed anything different about the Quantumite except that it had the ability to manifest itself in more than one form in more than one place at a time, an accidental discovery that Shadowgrass made during a laboratory experiment, planting special RNA type material on everything in the lab when a piece of lab equipment exploded and spewed liquid all over everywhere.

A few sols later, Shadowgrass had flown over to another Martian Colony to give a live lecture and a biological material detector in his body signaled the presence of the RNA material in a group of sponges floating in an aquarium.

Shadowgrass took samples of the sponges back to the lab, analysed the samples and determined that the sponges’ genetic material closely matched that of the Quantumite.

The Quantumite gladly admitted the event was not a coincidence but the happy luck of Shadowgrass’ genius breaking a barrier.

After a long discussion, Shadowgrass agreed to keep the Quantumite’s existence as an unspeakable/unthinkable state of being.

Of course, the ISSANet, through deduction, reasoned out the gap in Shadowgrass’ research time and associated it with the presence of the Quantumite with Shadowgrass.

Vocabulary analysis further showed that Shadowgrass had changed his conversations with others, cutting them off unexpectedly or acting deaf when asked certain questions.

Although Lee and Guin were off on another mission and away from Mars, the ISSANet contacted them and requested their telemetric presence with Shadowgrass, explaining to them the unusual behaviour patterns that Shadowgrass had recently exhibited and a request that Lee and Guin extract the details from Shadowgrass.

Independent as they thought themselves to be, Lee and Guin understood they depended on the ISSANet as much as they didn’t want to.

They asked Shadowgrass directly about his contact with the Quantumite.

He explained that the Quantumite told Shadowgrass about its influence on Lee and Guin when they designed Shadowgrass.

They agreed the Quantumite was an unusual being and had been a big contribution to the attributes they gave Shadowgrass.

Of course, they knew the ISSANet was listening to their conversation.

Therefore, Lee and Guin could not at that time explain to Shadowgrass his quantum entanglement capabilities.  Instead, they could only very slowly move Shadowgrass into contact with the Quantumites.

Shadowgrass had been embued at “birth” with the ability to see planetary systems as computatational states, large algorithms at the macro level.

The laboratories he had built were subconsciously designed to analyse the outputs of several planets at once, their own solar system an equation ready to be read at the right moment.

The Quantumites had linked quantum states across molecular boundaries, showing Lee and Guin, when they had discovered how to hide their clones from the ISSANet, how their own work was contributing to the Quantumite Library.

Every state of energy was connected to and led to the next state of energy, sets interlinked with sets.

When Quantumites had rejected the concept of time, they opened themselves to a form of immortality that ISSA citizens could only dream of.

It was like a snake shedding its skin and becoming an eagle which shed its form and became a sun which gave birth to a planet from which snakes formed, forms building on and changing into forms, ad infinitum.

Lee had actually been born a Quantumite.

So had Guin.

Many were born but many more created.

Some discovered their true selves and others were shown.

Some would never know.

Regardless of their state of awareness, Quantumites were linked across the galaxy in a level of awareness matched to their knowledge of self.

Some chose to remain in their human form their whole lives, experiencing the pain, joy, life and death of a single human life.

Some chose to leave their birth solar system and transform into other forms elsewhere.

Some chose mortality of 100 Earth years.

Some chose mortality of 8 billion sun years.

Some didn’t choose and allowed the semi-random interaction of sets of states of energy to determine their lifespan.

For those who chose immortality, the concept of self melted away.

A Quantumite never gave itself a name, being in a constant state of flux for which labels were meaningless except to temporary sets of states of energy like humans and other social creatures.

Lee, Guin and Shadowgrass used their birth names as a means to track themselves in the ISSANet.

Deep down, however, they knew they had no names, having achieved immortality as they individually learned how to transform from one shape to another, the idea of self vaporising into thin air like a morning fog.

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Guest post by Damien George

ello supporters of the original MicroPython campaign!

It’s been 10 months since the last update, and a lot of things have happened with MicroPython since then. Let me tell you all about it.

The biggest news is that I am now working on MicroPython full time! I finished my research in theoretical physics and transitioned to working on MicroPython-related things as my day job. I can’t tell you how great it is to have the freedom to make such a decision and to work on something that one really enjoys. Well, I also really enjoy physics research, and I still have an ongoing project in that area, and I will certainly keep up to date with the latest news in high-energy physics. But my main agenda now is to make sure MicroPython is as successful as it can be. There are heaps of things to work on, from hardware sales to software contracts to code improvements, and more. I am extremely fortunate to be able to maintain and work on an open-source software project that I created, and which can sustain itself — and thrive — from sales of hardware. The area of embedded computing and the Internet of Things is becoming more prevalent in mainstream society, and I hope that MicroPython can play an influential role in this arena.

To accelerate the development of MicroPython, Paul Sokolovsky and Viktoriya and I are currently running a second MicroPython Kickstarter campaign. You might have heard of the ESP8266 chip. It’s a cheap and compact little system-on-a-chip which has built-in WiFi, some nice GPIO, and is perfect for running MicroPython. The aim of the second Kickstarter is to raise funds for software development, to make MicroPython run like clockwork on the ESP8266. I know that some of you are already aware of this campaign and have backed it. Thank you! For those that did not yet see this MicroPython+ESP8266 Kickstarter, there are still 5 days left until the end so you still have a chance to be part of it! We have had an amazing response and are now way beyond our target, with 6 stretch goals already passed. If you are interested in this chip please go and check out the campaign and consider backing, to help us reach even more stretch goals. All funds go towards further development of MicroPython, so, even if you don’t plan to use an ESP8266, your contributions to this second Kickstarter are very welcome and will help to ensure MicroPython remains open source software of the highest quality. Visit the second Kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/214379695/micropython-on-the-esp8266-beautifully-easy-iot

The MicroPython project has collected some impressive statistics since it started. On GitHub it has 2700 stars, 540 forks, 5200 commits and 90 contributors. It is in the top 0.01% of projects on GitHub, and ranks at number 60 out of all projects written in C (ranked by number of stars). There are 7800 posts on our forum, and searching for MicroPython on Google gives 66,000 hits. The pyboard is used around the world in over 65 countries. MicroPython is used in homes, schools, universities, research centres and labs, commercial companies large and small, by the young and not-so-young, as well as hobbyists and professionals.

A new version of the pyboard is now in production, PYBv1.1. This board is a (near) drop-in replacement for PYBv1.0, and has reduced power consumption in sleep mode (down to 6 microamps) and a place to solder a JST battery connector.

There is also now a “lite” version of the pyboard available, PYBLITEv1.0, which is the same form factor as the original pyboard, but is cheaper with a slightly lower spec MCU (STM32F411) and without an accelerometer. But it still has plenty of power and RAM to run Python scripts. There is also a version of the lite board with an accelerometer, PYBLITEv1.0-AC, if you need such a feature. Python code is compatible across all these boards, and you can find a detailed comparison at https://micropython.org/store/#/features

The MicroPython software is updated almost everyday, and the original pyboard from the Kickstarter is still fully supported! The software for PYBv1.0 gets all the new features and bug fixes that go into MicroPython, and this board is still very powerful compared to other development boards out there. If you haven’t upgraded your firmware in a while, and want to try out all the new features, then head over to https://micropython.org/download/

One of the most exciting things to happen in the past year is that I have been doing work for the European Space Agency to see if MicroPython is suitable for going into space! This project is nearly finished and involves research and development into MicroPython to make it more deterministic, robust and efficient, to port it to the SPARC architecture, and evaluate its use in space-based applications. Some of the development work coming out of this project is already available in the main MicroPython code repository; for example 64-bit NaN boxing and persistent bytecode. Doing this project for ESA I have gained confidence in MicroPython’s ability for use in critical systems and industrial settings, and some of the lessons learned have been fed back into the main code.

Another very exciting project is MicroPython running on the BBC micro:bit. The micro:bit is very similar to a pyboard: it has a microcontroller (Nordic nRF51822) with a USB port, an accelerometer, a compass, 2 buttons and a 5×5 matrix of LEDs. It only has 16k of RAM but I managed to get MicroPython running, and running quite well. In collaboration with Nicholas Tollervey, the Python software foundation, and an amazing group of volunteers, MicroPython on the micro:bit has grown into a really fantastic teaching tool with a child-friendly set of (Micro)Python modules to do things like make animations and play music. MicroPython is the official way to use Python on the micro:bit and very soon nearly 1 million UK school kids will have a micro:bit of their very own and have the chance to learn about embedded programming. You can visit the MicroPython-on-micro:bit GitHub page at https://github.com/bbcmicrobit/micropython

You probably know of the WiPy, a MicroPython board that has built-in WiFi and was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign by Daniel Campora last year. He has now extended the idea of the WiPy and started a company called Pycom which aims to make communication-related boards (think Internet of Things) that run MicroPython. They are also running a Kickstarter right now for their next board, the LoPy, which has LoRa capabilities, as well as WiFi and Bluetooth! Check it out at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1795343078/lopy-the-lora-wifi-and-bluetooth-iot-development-p .  It’s great to see MicroPython being taken and put into such new and interesting directions, and I look forward to seeing where else Pycom takes it!

I think that’s all of the major things that have happened over the past year. There are of course many other small things, but too many to mention in this update.

Remember that the forum is a great place to talk about MicroPython, ask questions, find answers, and get inspiration for using MicroPython. Please visit the forum at http://forum.micropython.org/

Finally, if you’d like to be kept up-to-date of further progress with MicroPython, please sign up for the newsletter at https://micropython.org/newsletter/ This will be a low-volume email with news and announcements about software and hardware things related to MicroPython.

All the best,

Damien.

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