Rick Gauger

A PLACE FOR ALL THE STUFF CRAMMED IN ONE MAN'S MIND TO BE OFF-LOADED…

I Spit On Your Galaxy

Posted on | August 29, 2011 | No Comments

R: I looked up the newly reported supernova; it’s in the Pinwheel Galaxy, right above the outermost two stars in the handle of the Big Dipper, something even I can find. We’re having marvelous clear weather here so I went out last night with a small scope to try to see it. I saw a couple of teeny stars embedded in fuzziness, so maybe I did. It’s supposed to increase its magnitude from its present 17 to about 10, so we might get to see it. A first and only for people of our generation.

While I was outside my Android rang and it was D’protz, Dread Emperor of the Pinwheel Galaxy via FTL spacephone. He said that our name for his galaxy sucks. Its real name, he said, is Galaxy of Doom Death Horror Galaxy, and he swore vengence upon us for giving his home Messier object such a paltry name. As soon as his vast armada of giant stompy robots can figure out which one is us. I told him at least we didn’t have a supernova going on in OUR galaxy and that he should spend more on maintenance instead of interstellar warfare. There was silence for a moment, then he wanted to know how I knew he had a supernova, since his galaxy is 200 million light years away from ours. I told him I had a friend at Goddard and gave him your name and phone number.

B: I am thinking D’protz is putting you on a bit, as the Supernova is old news to him by 200 million years… In fact the radiation of that supernova lead to the genetic mutations that gave rise to the race from which D’protz is descended (according to my Stargate sources). This appears to be just D’protz’s lame attempt to expand his mind games to a new realm, thus furthering his “Dreadedness” to new corners of the universe, don’t fall for it.

R: Actually I believe that D’protz doesn’t know about the supernova of 200 million years ago. I was trying to make him think that I could see the supernova they’re having now (they call it Irene). I was messing with HIS heads.

B: My mistake…

Baby Universe: speculations and shortcomings

Posted on | May 14, 2010 | No Comments

A recent conversation with a friend:

R: Okay, I just heard that some of your co-workers are claiming to be able to see evidence of ‘the time before the Big Bang.’ I think you should go see them, and, in your authority as the oldest employee at Goddard, to knock it off. Things are confusing enough as it is.

B: I suspect there are some problems with the definition of “Big Bang” in such statements. If the Big Bang is considered to be the beginning of the Universe, then they or the reporters who are reporting it should indeed Knock It OFF! If, however the Big Bang is the period of Inflation that supposedly happened a split second after the beginning of the Universe, then there is a chance something can be figured out about that time before the Bang, though actually “seeing” it may be a bit of a conceit.

R: Speaking of the Big Bang, and waffling around it, there’s a similar issue emerging in deep-time geology. Lately I’ve been trying to study more about the early history of Earth, the Hadean Eon and all that, and I notice that there is a tendency to start Earth history at the point the moon was created, supposedly by a collision with a big, big planetoid named (By whom? Why wasn’t I consulted?) Theia. What if I want to hear about before that?
It’s like the big bang not really being the Big Bang.

B: It seems likely that anything large enough to generate the moon from an Earth collision probably would fundamentally change the evolution/history path of the Earth. So maybe it will never be possible to do anything but speculate on what the Earth was like as a baby. Either that or it was a pretty dull place before Theia arrived…
There has been a lot of theory and research done on solar system and planet birth, but not much on Plant/Planetoid collision. Sounds like a good place to start or climax a story….

The Old Lady’s Coffin: a Vietnam Story

Posted on | May 14, 2010 | 7 Comments

by Rick Gauger ©2010

[Author’s note: This is the first time I have written about my experiences as an intelligence officer with the First Cavalry Division during the Vietnam War. A warning to sensitive readers: this story contains descriptions that you may find disturbing. Everything in this story is true.]

This is one of the things that happened at LZ Pony. The LZ had been in place four or five days by the time this happened. There were about 30 American soldiers at Pony, including my little interrogating team. Fighting was going on elsewhere, so our helicopter support was sparse. We didn’t have our jeeps, our tents or our other luxuries. We were by ourselves on a bare hilltop surrounded by little hamlets and rice paddies in a valley in the mountains. We lived under our ponchos. For two weeks our luck held out. The weather was good and there was no enemy except for a sniper who used to fire one shot at us from a great distance every evening at 5 PM.

The LZ commander sent out small patrols of seven or eight infantrymen, to explore the hamlets that dotted the big valley and its tributary valleys. I wasn’t supposed to go on these patrols, but I did anyway. I was curious about this exotic place, the infantry needed interpreters, and it’s smart to scout around when you’re in VC country. My Vietnamese Army interpreter, Sgt Xuan, was willing to go too.
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