Death

maj13

Hello 2 dogs and one person. Today is about death, or at least the meaning of death which is associated with the card;

  • Ending of a cycle — Loss — Conclusion — Sadness
  • Transition into a new state — Psychological transformation
  • Finishing up — Regeneration — Elimination of old patterns
  • Being caught in the inescapable — Good-byes — Deep change

according to The People’s Encyclopaedia of The Cloud.

I actually owned a tarot card pack when I was very young. I liked having a ‘system of everything’ – wouldn’t you? It’s why people become programmers, they get to control a small complete everything. Pity I didn’t understand the meanings back then – which pre-teen would get what Death was about? Better to be a mystic and control the full everything, but anyway…

…anyway, the last few days I was thinking – ‘this really is a complete load of shit isn’t it?’ By it I mean pretty much everything that everyone seems to have turned into ‘everything’. No, hang one, that’s not very helpful is it? Start again…

If you live long enough you get to see the cycles. You see the dawn, the inkling, the enthusiasm and the swelling ’til it bursts and the retractions and denials. I wrote about that last time. But more than that – now talking about the cycles from the outside – they go beyond laughable, beyond tedious – they become painful. Somebody gets in your face about the grandeur of something you already saw die again and again in a lonely corner and you feel pain.

I want out of that cycle.

Part of the fault is that I am powered by enthusiasm which is a dirty fuel, and runs out quickly. You can get a lot done quickly on enthusiasm, but when it runs out you are left dangling over the void. Another role comes along and you get your enthusiasm up for that one – a little less, a little shorter. Another role might get you started for a while but the cycle is now obvious; just jumping from role to role is no real progress. And you are confusing your enthusiasm for something with it being actually worthwhile.

When really the first question should be ‘is this worthwhile?’

Worthwhile to whom? If I make 1000 YouTube videos showing pictures of huge breasts while talking about computer games I’ve played – sure, that would do nicely for a large number of people. Those that dislike that kind of popular culture still measure how many people cite a paper or attend a conference – popularity is always the winning argument no matter what’s being debated. It’s pretty funny watching managers that want to ‘apply quality frameworks’ and ‘certify research value’, go into a panic when the sales aren’t there.

But this is about more than poor old academia. It’s about the ‘everything’ that we have built. In the country of the blind, the guy with Google glasses is king. He’s going to wander around a 3D visualisation of reality and we’ll all keep a hand on the shoulder of the next guy.

Bruegel_1568_Parable-of-the-Blind

The guy on the ground is the futurist – the rich one that made up some science fiction. About to fall on his ass is the great communicator, the journo that writes a pop science book or two. Armed with his walking stick, next up, the academic, with the business man, the worker and the consumer a few years behind. The joke is none of them are blind. They just have adopted a way of seeing, a personal technology that cloaks the world around them. They put the Occulus Rift on their heads and went on Facebook.

Visualisation is a post-punk word that has just walked back on stage to wild applause. Even though the stasi are watching I can’t clap, I just can’t do it any more. The irony of the blind men making a blinding device is too much. Visualisation is a very practical business in a limited sense, been around at least since people drew what dinner looked like on cave walls. X-rays are good and so are speedometers. But the blind men don’t mean that – they mean overlaying data on top of things to tell you what you are seeing with a few ads. Zoom out and fill your eyes with big data.

repin_cossacks5

Dogs and their person; hear me: 24 years ago, driven by insanity of enthusiasm and fear of unemployment I made a computer assisted teaching presentation about Ilya Repin’s Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks, on an Amiga. You could fly around the painting, call up information about the painter and the situation that was described. It was a marvel of the dawn of New Media, a proof of the glorious future to be. Now we can do it more and bigger and in 3D and I am not really sure if it was worthwhile the first time. I certainly know that previous experience is unwelcome.

What happens when you walk away from the procession?

051_768px

The other direction leads to muddled, incoherent mysticism of the type that Reich and Jung and Dee indulged in their old age. Sounds fucking great, some necromancy and visits to Pluto on a flying demon – hell I don’t care, so long as it blows a mind or two. Because popularity is never going to be a guide to risk, and risk is what is sorely lacking.

The tarot cards are back in use and the Death card is face up.

Aristotle and Newton on Colour.

As I crawl my way through writing my thesis paper it’s a relief to talk about some of the ideas I cover, using words that are not quite as carefully chosen. There’s time when I’m sitting at my desk for quarter of an hour or more agonising over a single word; that one is too loose, this one implies I am claiming something that I can’t prove. Here I can write like Humpty Dumpty.

Go on ask me a question. Anything.

Go on ask me a question. Anything.

At first glance you wonder what the hell Aristotle’s on about when he says all colours are made from black and white. That seems unlikely to survive the first experiment, silly old Ancient.

For a start there’s a language issue here, black and white are better described as bright and dark, and these are better described as daylight which is yellow and bright, versus night which is blue and dark. That makes more sense, we can see how colours range over the course of a day, and Aristotle was always one for starting with the bleeding obvious, or with ideas he called endoxon, things you have to accept –  like black holes – because somebody smarter than you worked it out.

One of my sources wonders if he ever saw colours created by close proximity of black and white. Like this;

bridget_riley-scaled1000

That’s Bridget Riley BTW who is too cool for school.

bridget-riley

I actually think the ancients experienced the blinking of light and dark when sunlight spills through trees etc. Black and white blinking makes colours.

benhams_disk

duchamp

In this theory colours like red are made of lots of bright while greens are loaded with dark. But how do they look so different to their sources? How is it that they mix to make other colours? This is where I am most invested because I want to show that music serves as an endoxon. Aristotle says (being careful not to credit Pythagoras because that guy was a complete myth) well think of musical notes. You get a string and you twang it and you get a distinct pitch. You divide that string into exact ratios and you get other pitches. Musical notes are divisions of other musical notes, and it’s pretty damn likely that red is a certain ratio between blue and yellow. Of course if you can’t get red from mixing these two then you’re not doing it right.

Seemed like no one could get it right for 2000 years.

At least he tries to explain a plausible solution. Newton couldn’t be arsed. He does two things that would make Aristotle hit the bottle. He shines white light (Goethe starts screaming here It’s not bloody white you moron!) through a prism and gets a spectrum. Which he then draws as a circle. Divided into seven colours because hey, you can write a music scale around that and la la la la European philosophical tradition. It’s not mathematically valid he says, but it’ll do.

Dispersive_Prism

Breaking it wasn’t the hard bit. Putting it back together was the real experiment.

Do you see a circle? I don’t see a circle. I sure don’t see that the colour at one end of the spectrum joins up with the one on the right using some bogus violet bullshit. OK, so he’s describing why mixing red and green makes yellow, which you can see in the rainbow, but also why blue and red make purple which seems hard as they’re either side of the seating arrangement. He really means that once you have multiple sources of coloured light then they intersect to create other colours, but that diagram just caused no end of trouble because it implied that the circle was a description of a physical structure related to music. And that confusion is the first step in the journey that I’m studying.

Newtons colour wheel

This is how hippies were invented. And why D is a truly bogus note.

[H.H] Recreating WWVH

HH NEWS HAS MOVED HERE

The heart of the universe has two chambers – radio WWV in Colorado and radio WWVH Hawaii. They beat as one – the Great Timepiece that Orders All Things. The role once fell to Greenwich Observatory and may one day be with Beijing but for now the artificial voices that sing Coordinated Universal Time are American.

The man is called Lee. The woman is Jane.

WWV is the oldest continuously broadcasting radio station in the United States, starting with Friday night concerts in the beginning of 1920, months before the first commercial station went to air. You can read the history on NIST’s own web site, although one event that strikes me is (according to the official guide) 440Hz being provided by the station in August 1936 ‘at the request of several musical organisations’ prior to officially becoming A in 1939. Musical tuning continues to be offered by WWV.

I’ve studied the official specification put out by NIST for some time, but as you’d expect the obsessives over at WikiPedia have an even more detailed explanation that you can read. The most important elements are the tick, a data signal at 100Hz, tones that alternate between 500Hz and 600Hz every minute; a conversation between WWV and WWVH. At the start of the hour they both provide 440Hz for any orchestras that might happen to be tuning up at that moment. And the voices. Each of these things has a very definite order – a musical score. For WWVH:

  • Every second (except the first) + 25ms play the 100Hz tone.
  • Every second except the 29th and 59th play the click.
  • Every minute play the 1200Hz minute tone.
  • Every minute + 45s play the time announcement.
  • In minute 1 play add the 440Hz tone.
  • In minutes 2, 4, 6, 12, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 46, 52, 54, 56, 58 add the 600Hz tone.
  • In minutes 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 21, 23, 25, 27, 31, 33, 35, 37, 39, 41, 53, 55, 57 add the 500Hz tone.
  • In minutes 29 and 59 add the station ID
  • In 43-45 add GPS reports
  • In 45 add Geo alerts
  • In 48-51 add Storm alerts

Although I made a simulation back in 2007, it’s time to do it properly. [H.H] has at the start a grand chamber in which many noise making machines can be enjoyed, and the grandest of these is to be the Coordinated Universal Time Machine. It will follow through the whole programme of WWVH – which is the one nearest to me and stronger in my fable. But it’s a struggle:

  • You could: record a whole day and play it through. Horribly large audio file, not likely to download.
  • You could: program it. If minute = 13 then play 500Hz for 965ms. Maybe, but I don’t trust it. You’d have to hope that the code didn’t get delayed and start drifting. Every couple of seconds you’d have to check the clock and try some maths to drift it back again. Not my cup of tea.
  • You could: read the blog over at Unity which points out that the FMOD audio library reads MODs. As in, old Amiga tracker MODs. I never bothered to make MODs because life is too short for hexidecimal, and here it is 2012 and I’m staring at something that looked cool on WorkBench 3.0.

Time to party like it’s 1990. The good thing is that I’m just firing off samples every second, so 60 BPM and a division of 24 Amiga ticks places samples one to a cell. Design the tones to meet the microseconds and trim the block of cells to 60. Each minute then gets its own pattern and 60 patterns make an hour. It’s not thrilling work but I can hear how it will go before it hits the authoring software. It also becomes the basis of a possible performance as part of REDACTED. I said possible.

The real WWVH has announcements about storms and sun spots and things that affect shipping in the Pacific. My machine makes announcements that provide clues about the game – who is where, why we are here and so on. The clues are tricky as they refer to clues given somewhere else that are similar to clues in a third story. To be honest the story in [H.H] is writing itself – an element appears, it connects with something else, forces a design decision. There is actually a character in game lore that forces itself into other games, a kind of cuckoo’s egg. I let it into this one and it immediately started to connecting things without telling me why. The player will need to find out where it’s hiding.

I can with all sincerity say that I have no idea why rabbits.

Why don’t people trust science?

  • The entire universe – space & time – was created instantly in a single massive Big Bang that can still be ‘heard’ today as a musical note in background radiation.
  • After the explosion, stars and planets spontaneously formed over billions of years from the expanding debris, the  expansion initially slowing down but more recently speeding up.
  • This speed up is caused by an undetectable and completely invisible substance called Dark Matter. Most of the universe is made of Dark Matter.
  • Below the level of subatomic particles, matter is made up of vibrating ‘strings’. They vibrate in 10 (or 26) dimensional space, in which the mathematics is ‘elegant’.
  • A photon can act as a wave or a particle, responding to a measurement that has yet to take place.
  • Two subatomic particles can be ‘entangled‘ and their properties communicated instantaneously across infinite distance.
  • It is not possible to travel faster than light, as your mass would become infinite. As you travel near that speed, time for you would run at a different speed to a static observer.
  • Every time a measurement takes place, multiple universes are formed in which all possible outcomes are preserved.
  • There is no such thing as the human mind, which is simply a sequence of individual thought processes.
  • When people die, their souls live on in the form of ghosts, attached to a place that was significant for them.
  • By diluting a harmful substance it can be turned into an antidote, even if it is unlikely that any particles of the original substance exists – the water holds a ‘memory effect’ of the toxin.
  • We are visited by other alien races, who are performing experiments on us while keeping hidden. The world governments know this but deny it to avoid panic.
  • Some rare people are able to concentrate their will and cause physical objects to move.
  • There is a hole at the north pole which leads to a surface inside the earth, lit by a sun at the core.

Some of the above is ‘scientific’. Some is not.

When you are surprised by the pseudo-science that many people believe, take another look at the science that is also believed. Certainly we have evidence for Dark Matter and the Big Bang – we also have some evidence of the Yeti, UFOs and ghosts. My personal bias is to have more faith in string theory than homotherapy. But you have to keep challenging your bias and ask if it really is more foolish to believe in memory effect than to believe that strings exist because the maths is ‘elegant’ (in 26 dimensions no less). If tachyons, why not poltergeists? Both seem rather elusive.

If string theory was a complete joke, I’d have no way of knowing. I can’t read the maths and I can’t do the experiments. All I have is faith, the same faith that a parishioner has in a pastor – that a man of the cloth (or white lab coat) would not tell them such lies. My faith in the Big Bang is still faith, and uncritical faith. I accept that experiments have found evidence of a big bang, but I think if I was told that the evidence suggested the ‘steady state’ universe that Einstein once proposed, I’d probably follow that just as blindly.

It is true that most pseudo-science is based on very bad research (particularly in alternative therapies). Nevertheless, there is some good research in there, and some very dicey reasons for what is accepted as fact. The demarcation is not utterly clear.

Feynman said “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” The people that made What the Bleep do We Know started properly by conveying how little we understand, they screwed it by claiming to understand it as a spiritual matter. I don’t want to fall into that trap. I don’t understand ‘spooky action at a distance’ under any model and if Einstein was similarly flummoxed I’m in good company. For me phrases such ‘a wave function collapses to form a particle’ have the same ring as ‘energy flows through your chi points’ – psychobabble.

Particularly galling is the ‘many worlds’ interpretation. Stephen Hawking might support it, but to me it sounds like Sir Conan Doyle and his fairy photographs. You can crap on about ‘quantum decoherence’ all you like – there is no bloody evidence of a multiverse, not the tiniest shred, and David Deutsch et al are selling the oil of snakes.

So what of this? For the science community to lament the stupidity of the common folk is to not understand how ridiculous much mainstream science can seem. Put your own house in order first. For me it means that when somebody critiques a system of thought as ‘unscientific’ I am not overawed. In studying Freud as a basis of my postgraduate work I’ve found it offends people as ‘unscientific’. Perhaps so, but the Id and Dark Matter have more in common than they might suppose.

forbidden-planet-00

On the Days of the Week

A welcome missive has been received from Arthur Pound, current Leader of the Junior Scientists League. He writes – ‘Sirs, we all have been taken aback by the wealth of knowledge you have imparted in regard to our earliest ancestors. Could you settle a vexing question that has spread among our membership in regard to the origins of the names of the days of the week, which seem nonsensical, yet we are sure derive from great matters of antiquity?’

We shall start from the simple and proceed to the complex. There are five days in the week, seventy three weeks in a year. The names of the days being in order – Sunday, Today, Midday, Mayday, Santaday.

Sunday recalls an ancient ritual in which persons would read a journal of the week’s events. These journals were called Suns, and went by multiple versions including The Sun, The Sun Herald, Sun News etc. Our concern is that such a weekly ritual would require many more books than can be found in the archaeological record. The most cynical view is that each Sun had the same contents as used before and that the ancient had simply forgotten the events of the week previous.

A common misconception is that the name has connection with the sun itself. The notion is nonsensical given that the sun shows no particular preference for the day in question.

It is generally held that Today is a corruption of ‘two day’, namely the second day of the week. Recent work by UNP’s Faculty of Recall suggests an interesting alternative. Recently unearthed artefacts have inscriptions such as COOKING TODAY or USA TODAY which seem not to mean cooking (or ‘usaing’) only on the second day of the week, but over a longer period. Here we need to grasp the ancients’ primitive conception of time. Being equatorial they would see the sun rise and fall fully each day over the entire year, which to them ’caused’ days. But they had need of longer periods of time and so created a ‘day’ more like our seasons of long light or dark. That might be the old ‘today’.

Most startling is an artefact labelled TODAY TONIGHT. Obviously the nights had their names as well – we are at a loss to comprehend a culture that had a ‘sunnight’ but the evidence is plausible that a ‘tonight’ existed. If so the ancient week was complex indeed, having 5 days of which one was a season, and 5 nights.

Midday is the most sensible and scientific of all the names and can be traced to more modern times. It is the middle day of the five, and the day on which resting takes place. It is claimed (without proof) to be the invention of the first Chief Scientist of The Southern Polar Region. While we would not dispute this claim without hard evidence, we do note the superior record of invention in the Northern realm.

Mayday has conflicting origin myths, none of which are convincing. Best known is the legend of the parade that would take place on each Mayday. The ancients would assemble at one place carrying tools and weapons and walk all day in the one direction. The most important of them would stand and watch with approval. The recent theory of queues lends some credence to this tale, but what are we to make of a heavily equipped journey with no task at the end? If they had been about building a monument we could fathom it.

Another tale is about flying people, who would call ‘mayday!’ at each other so as to avoid collisions. Again, another line of explanation is suggested by a music container of the brittle sort that is labelled HERE WE GO GATHERING NUTS IN MAY. No nuts were found at the site.

Santaday is so known after the greatest ruler of ancient times. That this Santa ruled the globe for such a length of time was due to his place being taken in turn by many generations of the one royal family. Each person was known individually as Mr. President, and would in turn step through increasing levels of power, from Elf, to Senator, to Prime Minister to Santa.

So that each Santa would seem to be the same immortal, the royal would be disguised in a red suit with white hair, holding a Coca Cola as sign of rank. He was said to fly with the aid of animals. He would judge all of humanity and reward or punish as the case demanded. Obviously the one Santa could not be everywhere at once and so Prime Ministers would act in each Santa’s stead. Santas were enthroned at the North Pole, hence this legendary figure is displayed within the logo of UNP. Alas, we know not why he wore such heavy clothing for our tropical clime.

‘Not Savages!’

Angry communication from Professor Ankle Assets, chair of Ancient History at UNP, who has taken exception to the word ‘savages’ in our last article. While we hold our opinion of pre Oops civilisation as decadent, we provide highlights of Dr. Assets’ notes so as to provide a balanced discussion for our younger readers. All future scientists should note True Science had no fear of disputing voices in the search for Truth.

The doctor would have us take note of ancient people’s ability to snap together into larger units.

The queue, of which a large version is shown above, is an entity for which we have no modern analogue. Individuals would join this queue, and from that point on act as if a single individual. The queue would go about daily business of obtaining food, viewing entertainments and using transport. The doctor notes that these queues are portrayed in 43 percent of our available pre Oops artefacts and show therefore an astounding co-operative spirit ‘that is at odds with any savagery’.

The queue existed as a number of geometric shapes governed by rules of surface tension. We have images of circles, lines, stars and complex forms that are not obvious – but that the members are wearing similar garments.

The smallest form of queue was called marriage.

Even more fascinating for Dr. Assets was the living arrangements of these people. While un-queued persons lived in houses not far different from our own, with doors, windows and a roof, those in queues had smaller houses on wheels, that joined together in long chains that matched the person’s position in the queue.

While we share the good doctor’s fascination with our distant ancestors, we must remark on the repulsion that any thinking person will hold for the dissolution of individual intellect in this queuing. To have one’s mind subsumed into the mass is horrifying to the Scientist. While we can faintly imagine being the front of such a meat ‘hose’ (the comparison is hard to deny) to be the rear end would be alien to our ideal of mankind’s progress.

We see this kind of thing in ants, and in the absence of any contrary evidence, suspect that animals once operated in this way. If, as some firebrands have argued, the image underneath is one of animals, the case is made for our original opinion.

Music Containers preceding the ‘Oops’ event

We are most gratified by the interest in our previous summary of ‘the Gap’ event. The Junior Scientists League has petitioned for more information about ‘the Oops’ event, and particularly about the prehistoric musical containers at the time. We’re happy to pass on what little we do know.

First, the Oops. This is the popular name for a momentary interruption of power that took place early in the 21st century. By all accounts this was much the same power we use to cook and light our homes at night. However, back at that time, power was also used for ‘books’. What we call ‘books’ might not have had the same meaning long ago. We have images of people apparently using books that open vertically, and seem to involve some kind of touch. Perhaps the endless plagues of that time made many people feeble sighted.

It was long believed that paper had not yet been invented, until in 3044 the archaeologist Dr. Hans Polar discovered a large supply of ancient paper covered in numbers and symbols. Perhaps paper was only available for special religious purposes. Since then we have found paper stored at several places around the globe, always with unreadable quasi text.

In any case at some point in 2056, power was lost and all the books made blank. The only known contemporary record of what took place is a single word, ‘oops’ marked on a wall in charcoal. It took nearly 100 years for a unknown historian to explain in passing the loss of power and the date while eulogising a petty king of the equatorial region. This event marks the point where our pre-history crosses over into history.

While it may seem that mankind lost a great deal, it’s important to note that much of it was endlessly duplicated magical recipes and not the scientific information we store on paper today.

As for musical containers. Today we have many musical instruments – flutes, drums and xylophones are some common types. Prehistoric people also had music containers, which had different sizes and colours at different times. Digging at archaeological sites first reveals small silver discs at about the end of the 20th century. Just below these are comparatively large flexible black discs. The most numerous containers lie just underneath, these are slightly smaller and more brittle.

The only clue we have to their use is a single image:

No doubt this is a tribal leader of some sort – he wears a sign of rank around his neck and his hair is dyed with a priestly colour. More importantly he is using the large music containers and two of them are powered – possibly in the same way as prehistoric books. We think that he is making music and the pile of broken containers are ones where the music has been used up. The ones we find are like this.

A close examination of a dig site shows that all the containers seem to have been made over a short period and were used up long before the Oops. The last sort are poor copies of the earlier, with only one side and no black ink. This has led to most scientists agreeing that the ability to make music containers was in decline around 1970 and completely forgotten by 1990. The same seems true for paper – by the time these savages had arrived at the Oops, they had lost their skills and become decadent – that event was just the final blow to an inferior people.

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TAPR 06/07

12″ ”LP 62 SOUNDTRACKS 10 SECONDS EACH W/ LOCKED GROOVES

BARBARA SCHROEDER CLARE COOPER & CHRIS ABRAHAMS MICHAEL PRIOR ANTUONG NGUYEN & BLASE ROCCISANO ROSS MANNING ANTHONY MAGEN DING DONG BONNIE CLARKE BOORGES ERNIE ALTHOFF CLAYTON THOMAS MU CHILD JOEL STERN RAT CREEPS SUMUGAN SIVANESAN MICHAELA DAVIES QUE NGUYEN JIM KNOX MARKHAM WIGHTMAN BUFFALO JUMP BAND 12 DOG CYCLE HARRY WILLIAMSON ZOE SCOGLIO MONICA BROOKS DAN WEST ALICE HUI-SHENG CHANG KRISTI MONFRIES MOFFARFARRAH THEMBI SODDELL THEE MONUMENTAL MATTHEW DAVIS NAT DYLAN MARTORELL HORSE HOSPITAL ANTHONY MAGEN LAWRENCE ENGLISH ROSALIND HALL TARAB ECHO KHALIDA IT’S IS MALAKAT EMMA JEAN GILMOUR ANTHEA CADDY WERNER HOECK PHILIP SAMARTZIS JACQUES SODDELL ROBERT CURGENVEN SEVERED HEADS BEN BYRNE DAVE PHILLIPS PAUL RODGERS DEAN LINGUEY SAMUEL ACRES I=IT DER KOSMONAUT TOECUTTER EMILE ZILE DJ YSL DJ RAINBOW EJACULATION

The gap

Example 1. Pre gap. A woman is seen performing magic in the robes of the time.

The gap. The woman is not shown, perhaps as the artist has not learned how to make the woman symbol.

Gap closes. The woman is there but is poorly drawn.

Example 2. Before the gap, there is a complex symbol. Note the clouds again which symbolise magic.

The gap. This pictogram is small and primitive.

Gap closes and the clouds are seen. The symbol is probably a tribal mark.

Further pictograms from the pre-gap and gap.

“The gap” is a mysterious incident in the late twentieth century in which a wild change in commonly reproduced artworks came and went in as little as a decade. What we believe to be religious inscriptions on popular artefacts changed very quickly from ornate painted works to extremely simple combinations of letter shapes in bold colours. These were soon discarded and just as quickly poor copies of the original artwork were reintroduced.

There is much dispute over the cause of this rapid change, for which no documentation survived the great power failure of 2056 (‘The Oops’). Some theories include:

1. There was an invasion and the invaders forced a change of culture before eventually being beaten. The problem is that the gap did not seem to take place everywhere at the same time, but was only roughly centred around the years 1975 – 1985. An invasion would more likely have caused change all at once. Also it must be asked, invasion from where? We know at this point all Germans had been sent back to Mars.

2. Plague. Disease is more likely to have reached different places at different times. But, while the gap symbols are more simple it is not universally agreed that they indicate a decline of culture. Some scientists argue that the more precise symbols required just as much skill to carve as those before and after, although this not the mainstream view.

3. Animals did it. An interesting opinion is that at one point animals were being trained to perform this function and the gap symbols were only the start of a failed attempt to pass on this knowledge. This is superficially engaging until the obvious question is asked – what were animals? Without knowing what animals looked like it becomes mere supposition.