Quantum Field of Dreams


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From: DepositPhotos.com

From: Veneratio – DepositPhotos.com

When I read articles and references about the universe and quantum theory, I have to tread lightly (loosely interpreted as, I’m way out of my league). My degree is in biological sciences. Physics and advanced mathematics had me shaking during exam time, but that was a hundred years ago. Reading Brian Greene’s, “The Elegant Universe”, and Richard Panek’s, “The 4% Universe”, took more than one sitting per chapter. Stephen Hawking’s, “Briefer History of Time”, a rewritten version of his earlier publication so nimrods like me might understand it, still sits partially read on my nightstand, mocking me for being a wuss.

So why do I torture myself? Because writing with science fiction elements today, one must be familiar with terms used in quantum theory 101 (or in my case, just “one”). What makes current quantum theory so much different, are recent discoveries that theoretically explain things we once made-up for fun. Fermions, bosons, black holes, wormholes, dark matter, dark energy, multiverses … neat stuff … though I’m sure astrophysicists have better descriptors than neat. And holy solar flare, Einstein’s theories are actually in question with discovery of particles traveling faster than light.

A recent review by WSJ’s John Gribbin, “The Loose Ends of the Universe“, summarized a book by Scientific American’s George Musser, with a title coined by Einstein to describe entangled particles, “Spooky Action at a Distance.” I like Gribbin’s reviews. He cliff-notes in simpler language complicated theories to spare me a WTF glaze-over in chapter one. And who can resist the use of Spooky in science literature?

“… Particles that have once interacted with each other seem to remain in some sense ‘entangled’ even when they are far apart. Poke one particle, in the right quantum-mechanical way, and the other particle jumps, instantly, even if it is on the other side of the universe.”

From: Diuno - DepositPhotos.com

From: Diuno – DepositPhotos.com

The fun doesn’t stop there. According to Gribbin, the premise of Musser’s book takes Quantum Field Theory into new territory with the concept of “Locality” versus “Non-Locality”. To paraphrase in simple terms, Locality is what we can see and measure in Einstein’s, nothing-is-faster-than-light universe. Non-Locality suggests the universe is composed of very different stuff, which allows for entangled particles from opposite ends of the universe to affect each other, and can certainly flout the light speed limitation, possibly using mini-wormholes to do it. To refine the explanation, you can read Musser’s Space.com interview here.

Musser goes on to suggest our “Local” universe might be alike a holographic image projected from a “Non-Local” higher reality. I’m reminded of the movie, “Men in Black”, where our universe existed within a universe inside a sphere, in which aliens used in a game of marbles. As far as I’m concerned, you are on your own with this one.

So why am I blogging about it? Because I’m at a critical juncture in my current story where I must decide between time-honored, space opera mechanics, or choose the newly forged path of today’s newer theories (like the movie, Interstellar). I’m going to get paint-balled for this, but if I read one more story with dauntless space soldiers on the bridge of a cruiser clicking 10X light speed, I might consider going back to reading fantasy. I can hear it now. So go … and don’t let the pod-bay door slam your ass while exiting.

No really … it’s not that I don’t like classic space opera. It’s more like we can’t just make shit up anymore. Granted, we had to ignore Einstein’s Theory of Relativity if we were going to have any fun. No way could we travel between galactic neighbors if light speed kept us locked within our own solar system, destined to watch cosmic events from afar. Today, the real possibility of connected or “entangled” particles within the Non-Local universe brings potential legitimacy to sci-fi story mechanics. This shit might actually get real … someday.

From: ktsdesign - DepositPhotos.com

From: ktsdesign – DepositPhotos.com

I still have to keep the science simple so as not to come across like Buck Rogers and the Clueless Author. I’m thinking string theory entanglement is a good approach to moving between cosmic addresses with my new project. Fun part, translation – shit I make up, is figuring how my intrepid characters create the mechanics of it at will, so it doesn’t sound like I … made it up.

And I still get to use cool words like wormhole.



BTW, if you’re looking for a killer, spot-on accurate reference for planetary world building, check out Stephen L. Gillett’s, “World-Building, A Writer’s Guide to Constructing Star Systems and Life-Supporting Planets“. Mine is a bit dog-eared.

As for all those science articles I collect to help me understand the universe we live in, I have a rather robust Pinterest Board from folks who know a thing or two. Feel free to visit it. I’m always adding to it.

Passionate Curmudgeon


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From: Lightsource - DepositPhotos.com

From: Lightsource – DepositPhotos.com

One of the more difficult tasks for me as a new writer, besides crafting a query letter, or synopsis (which I irreverently call suck-nopsis), was to create an author bio. Who wants to know anything about me?

Apparently everybody, according to experts who eat and breathe social media every day.

I did all the how-to research, perused examples of like-minded writers. I came up with the usual anecdote, you can read it here on my “About” page. Short, concise, move on.

At last year’s Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG) conference, The Write Stuff, we had the privilege of booking social media maven, Kristen Lamb, author of Rise of the Machines – Human Authors in a Digital World, and lead honcho of WANA International (We Are Not Alone). Most of what I learned about an author’s process for blogging and establishing a social media presence, came from Kristen’s earlier book, “We Are Not Alone –The Writer’s Guide to Social Media.” That’s me, towering over the writer/blogger who’s larger than life.

DT and Kristen

Being the altruistic fellow I am, I volunteered my bio for an interactive critique session Kristen facilitated. She loved the header graphic on my website, but it took her five seconds to spout Meh on the bio. Wow. Talk about a spiral death dive in front of my writer buddies. She was quick with a smile and “don’t feel bad, most writer bios she’d read were less than inspiring.”

Inspiring? What, I have to come across like Gandhi? I’m a writer, not a celebrity.

It’s all about attracting folks to the website. Imagine yourself a typical dude or dudette, browsing Google for interesting stuff. They click to a site, see the graphic, maybe scan the article du-jour, and wonder who wrote it. A quick bio check, typical “I be a writer” blurb, it’s sayonara baby. Let’s all give a big yawn for DT.

How many times had Kristen’s blog advice back-slapped my noggin with “its social media … you know … SOCIAL”. Why do you think so many magazines exist about PEOPLE? Folks want to know who you are, so they can decide if you’re worth sticking around a few minutes to read my stuff. Nobody is going to hang around to read a boring LinkedIn style resume, or accomplishments in writertopia, aimed at … other writers.

You’ve got less than thirty seconds to reel in the reader fish. If your lure isn’t distinctive, you won’t get any nibbles.

I needed more cowbell, she said.

‘Scuse Me?

Go to Youtube and watch a classic SNL sketch with Christopher Walken, where he portrays a music producer advising a rock group to add more cowbell.

My assignment, should I choose to accept it, was to go back to my room and bullet point one-liners that described who I was. Be creative. Be unusual. Be silly. But it has to be me, and not some fictionalized persona to make it look good.

Blame it on the cocktails I had with Kristen at the conference social night. It opened up a door I rarely opened. I came up with close to fifty. I could tell with Kristen’s yeah, that’s it … cool … oh, I like that one, I’d hit pay dirt. The one phrase we both agreed should headline … Passionate Curmudgeon.

We cherry-picked the best cowbells.

  • Passionate Curmudgeon who likes growing tomatoes
  • Science by training, Superhero in his dreams
  • Writes in silence because he can’t think with all that noise
  • Blogs about important issues, like if robots will ever achieve true love
  • Newly minted grandpa, whose child rearing prowess was forged in the Neolithic Era
  • Thinks Carl Sagan was a really cool alien
  • Lived in Asia for ten years and still can’t speak Chinese
  • Not into zombies, it’s just too biologically unrealistic
  • Loves to cook, because its chemistry and you get to eat the experiments
  • Drinks vodka, because he’s on a low carb diet
  • Carnivores rule, Vegans drool; if he wants vegetables, he eats chicken
  • Former Peace Corps Volunteer, because dengue fever and gut worms were on his bucket list
  • Sucker for good animation, even the cute ones
  • Likes romantic elements as long as it breaks all the rules of the RWA formula
  • Not allowed to buy clothes without permission
  • Loves dogs, thinks cats are … cats
  • Texts with one finger, uses correct punctuation and apostrophes
  • Collects concept art, Hubble constellations, and pictures of black holes
  • Secretly believes “growing up” is a highly overrated concept

A little long to post on the sidebar of my website, so I linked it on about.me/dtkrippene, a really cool social media website specializing in people’s bios from all over the world. Think of it as a LinkedIn-Pinterest for creative individuals from all walks of life. As of this posting, over 72,000 people year-to-date have viewed my brand and bio on about.me, many rating my site and bio as inspirational.

Who’d a thunk?

Now get out there and let folks know who’s behind the curtain.



You can find Kristen Lamb on her Facebook page, and get great advice on swimming in the vast seas of social media at her Warrior Writers blog page.

Absence Makes A Story Sound Better


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From: Marsan - Depositphotos.com

From: Marsan – Depositphotos.com

Bless me readers, it’s been four weeks since my last post. The Pope’s in town. I’m feeling a little confessional.

Yeah, dude, what’s up with that?  You drop a thousand words in a day, but can’t kick out blog articles in a timely fashion?

Well … I don’t want to just blog about anything. I take this stuff seriously, like all my writing.

Nice try, dude. A gazillion bloggers out there, and you think you’re special.

Not the first time I’ve gone Off the Grid, this year. I usually take an annual hiatus, like last year’s need to feel The Human Touch. Guess I double-dipped , but I’ve got a good reason.

Busier than a chipmunk before hibernation, I was on the tail end of a new sci-fi story when a message came through from my agent. Small publisher likes a dystopian story I wrote couple years ago. Said it wasn’t ready for publication.

But …

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From: Prill - DepositPhotos.com

From: Prill – DepositPhotos.com

This past week, I was impaneled with 11 other individuals to render an impartial verdict in a criminal homicide case.

Like most folks, a summons for jury duty is akin to a traffic violation; getting out of it requires an act of God, or proof of death. Endless humor with clever repertoire on the internet will keep you laughing for hours about people who try to get out of it. I joined fifty other people in a cramped room, wearing the equivalent of “I’m a Juror” button so courthouse security can ensure you find your way to the right place and keep you from slipping out the back door. We waited the requisite hours for the usual legal wrangling of compiling juror lists, asking questions like are you generally inclined to believe testimony of authorities or civilians, calls to the bench … crossing legs because bladders had objections overruled. I became juror number six.

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Message in a Bottle


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From: DepositPhotos.com

From: DepositPhotos.com

It’s been an interesting year for SETI and enthusiasts of the famous Wow Signal, which to this day, remains an unresolved enigma. For those unfamiliar with it, a SETI researcher monitoring signals from the cosmos, picked-up a massive radio spike in 1977 that lasted 70 seconds, then never repeated. It became a seed for Carl Sagan’s tale, Contact. Updated technology detecting similar RFBs (rapidly fired bursts) in recent months, along with the Kepler Telescopic discovery of earth-like exoplanets, has rekindled an interest of our place in the universe.

We go through sinusoidal periods of interest, maxing with news of unique cosmic events, bottoming when reality pundits fire-hose SETI as fanatics wasting money and time. The latest Pluto flyby spiked a minor media frenzy (I use that word lightly). Announced on the anniversary of Apollo 11’s moon landing, a Russian billionaire is now trying to breathe life into the search with a new cosmic dragnet, called Breakthrough Listen, which attracted even Stephen Hawking’s interest.

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Good Images Speak a Thousand Words – But Is It Legal?


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From: Olly18 – Depositphotos.com

From: Olly18 – Depositphotos.com

Two things I learned about posting articles — good content, and killer images.  Something about that picture tells a story, has me spending almost as much time searching for the right image as I do writing the article itself.  Professional blog mavens claim an article graphic more than doubles site visitation, and acts as a lure to get visitors to stop and actually read the article. No shortage of great material on the internet’s cyclopean browser engine, finding good blog photos or illustrations can be a blessing of convenience or a pitfall of copyright infringement.

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Star Spangled Memories


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Photo: DT Krippene

Photo: DT Krippene

Fourth of July will always be the bandstand of summer for me.   Men burn meat over an open fire, beer flows like the Mississippi in spring, pools slosh with white caps, hotdogs become an endangered species, ice cream puddles in vats, and fireworks cloud the sky with enough phosphoric haze to create its own weather pattern.  Doesn’t get any better than that.

Memorable fourths fill a dozen photo albums in our family.  The kids spent most of their summers at grandpa’s place, where the mossy scent of lake water and drone of motorboats still bring a smile.  Grandpa used to start July 4 by lighting a string of black cat firecrackers by our bedroom window.  Clothing for the day had to include red, white and blue.  Children vied for the honor of carrying the flag in the annual parade between the houses, all to John Phillip Sousa blasting from the house of a retired neighbor.  The parade ended at a flagpole, where the kids recited the Pledge of Allegiance and gave thanks to the men and women of the armed forces who help us keep the freedoms we enjoy.

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My Big, Fat Mediaphile Life


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From: Bicubic - DepositPhotos.com

From: Bicubic – DepositPhotos.com

Are you a media-phile?  I’ll bet you are and don’t even know it.  What’s a “mediaphile”? Someone who has the same excitement for pop culture media as a bibliophile has for books.  No, it’s not just TV stuff like America Has Talent or Game of Thrones, it’s all the “screen” time we spend on TVs, smart phones, audio streaming, gaming, and social media, which may or may not include the aforementioned programs.

When I read James Poniewozik’s, The Paradox of Television’s New Golden Age, and You Don’t Have Time to Watch it; (Time Magazine, The View, June 22, 2015), it had me pause for introspection.  Am I a mediaphile?  I mean, sure, I do social media, check emails on my smart phone, chill out with a few tunes and stare at nothing, watch a little TV at night. The suffix phile, seems rather extreme, like foodophiles, Potterphiles, or spermophiles (okay you pottyminded-philes, it’s not what you think; see below).  Mediaphile conjures visions of attending weekly Media Anonymous intervention meetings.  Hi, my name is DT. I’m a mediaphile. Of which fellow participants somberly greet, Hi DT, followed by a reminder to turn off our smart phones.  Sidebar questions like Have you seen the last three episodes American Horror Story, are greatly discouraged.

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No Turn on Red – Futuristic Traffic


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Gilles Tran © 1993-2009 www.oyonale.com

Gilles Tran © 1993-2009 http://www.oyonale.com

In a city of the future, what is your vision of vehicular transit?  Do you see yourself straddling a flying scooter on the way to school, catching a taxi driven by Bruce Willis in The Fifth Element, or something more realistic, like networked hover vehicles seen in the movie Minority Report?

On my near-term bucket list is to see the movie, TOMORROWLAND.  The original Disney Epcot version left an indelible print on a much younger me, adding fuel to my infatuation with science fiction. I’d ride Space Ship Earth several times in one day, then lie awake at night, dreaming of a future city where robots, jetpacks, and commuting to space was the norm. To me, flying cars characterized a futuristic metropolis.

As I matured, something that came late in life (some would argue I’ve yet to achieve it), a sciences education and many years toiling in the real world, clouded my childhood acceptance of some futuristic tenets.  I hit the stoplight of plausible reality recently, while writing a scene involving city traffic like the kind depicted above. I needed a little inspiration, and browsed the many concept art sites I frequent for ideas.

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Went Off the Grid … Again.


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From: DepositPhotos.com

From: DepositPhotos.com

Two years ago, I went off-the-grid to Central America and for awhile, folks didn’t hear from me.  About the same time last year, I went to Nevada (see Going Off the Grid for a Human Touch), and got caught up in the wonder of my newborn grandson. Well, I’ve done it again and gone off-the-grid for a few weeks in Mexico. Like my adventure in Central America, local cell service existed if you could speak Spanish. Internet is spotty but available … in-between frequent brownouts. My cell phone didn’t have international access and I chose not to rent one locally (because I’m cheap and who would I call in Mexico). When I did find a working Wi-Fi signal, my laptop had issues speaking the same digital lingo. It might have been the dozen rum drinks I had trying to make it work, but I decided the purpose of my visit was to regale in the splendor of unspoiled sandy beaches and turquoise waters (I took that right off the tourist brochure).

A few days passed before withdrawal symptoms set in. Fingers twitched involuntarily, as if searching for something to type. Fitful nights, separated from emergency calls in case something happened to my daughter or if my house burned down. What about all the unanswered email? Will social media followers drop me? Did Tyrion Lannister survive his harrowing boat journey with the scheming eunuch?

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