Under the sun…

Image: panayota via Pixabay

“Thirteen thousand miles… How is that even possible???”

We were talking about distances, my son and I, and having established that the Great Wall of China seems impossible, we then discussed the relative distance of the moon from the earth, swiftly progressing to how navigation by the stars actually works when they, and we, are constantly in motion. A relatively minor leap took us to technology and the advances we have seen over the past decades… a conversation, I imagine, that all generations have had since mankind first picked up a stick or stone as a tool.

“Tomorrow’s kids won’t have that same sense of wonder, will they?” No, that wasn’t from me, it was my son… though I have said the self-same words in the past. Thinking of my three year old grandaughter, who calmly snaffles my phone to see pictures of my dog or plays educational games on the tablet she uses at pre-school, it was me that was left wondering…

I am of a generation who watched the men behind the banks of computers during the moon landings. Yes, we had computers back then… though not in domestic situations… Our household didn’t get the first proper, fully functional multimedia PC until the late nineties, though we had ensured the boys had grown up with the ‘new’ technology, recognising its potential. I still have fond memories of the ZX Spectrum and the Commodore 64. They were, apart from the Atari, our first introduction as a family to the world of computer games and titles like Stormlord and Hobgoblin still live in visual memory.

For my son’s generation it was the advent of telecommunications. Mobile phones that made the descent from science fiction to real life. The Nokia seemed to be in every pocket at one point and ‘3210’ became a name, not a number. The internet. Wi-fi… and now we have smartphones and wrist units straight out of science fiction, that do and store everything.

There is more processing power in a modern smartphone than in the Apollo computers, it is said… though that is almost like comparing a camera obscura to a DSLR, given the levels of technological advancement and the rapidity with which they have evolved.

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

Yet stripped back to basics there really is nothing ‘new’. What we have is an evolution in the complexity of a few basic ideas and the development of the technology that puts those ideas into useable form. Once upon a time we simply had movement…man walked and ran. Eventually he worked out that a horse could do that better and quicker and invented transport. Perhaps, from that point onwards interstellar travel became inevitable. In the same way communication developed, from what were probably grunts and body language through speech, writing and messengers, to carrier pigeons, telegraph, telephone…. And how far are we from a brain to brain interface? Well, actually… that’s already been done.

Continue reading at The Silent Eye

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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17 Responses to Under the sun…

  1. chris jensen says:

    The problem is have you worked out, that Mrs. Nature is dying an we’re the problem.. We leave this to our children… Science best but one foot in front of the other quickly, before it’s to late…

    i would estimate about sixty year an the planet will not be able to repair it self… ifinn we don’t do something… However if the hard decision is made, there maybe hope.. Or you could ask god, but then all would be lost…

    i love your work darling..


  2. Good stuff, Sue…enjoyed! ♥


  3. Widdershins says:

    ‘…how navigation by the stars actually works when they, and we, are constantly in motion…’ This is my big thing about ‘time travel’ stories. If you go back in ‘time’ even an hour, you will turn up several hundred kilometers west of where you started out and quite a few meters in the air. You would have to include planetary, solar, and galactic, movement in your calculations. 😀


  4. noelleg44 says:

    I have discussions like this with my critique group – we have a sci-fi writer and I love to find the latest science articles to bring to the table. I don’t think humanity will run out of awe for our world (think tiny, the Higgs boson) or out there (the latest pictures of Jupiter), unless our children and their children lose their sense of curiosity and ability to read! I just will I could be here in another 50 years! With regard to computers, I had my first personal computer in 1979 – along with a word processing program an undergraduate wrote for me. I was the only one in my department to have one, and of course the departmental secretaries had to RETYPE my grant apps for me because all I had was the rolls of paper with punches down the side to print on from my computer!


    • Sue Vincent says:

      There are things I will be glad to not be here to see, I think…but many more that I would love to be able to watch as we learn more about our universe. If ever our curiosity dies, then I think our species will too.


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