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Telepathy and Technology

magic

Telepathy is direct brain-to-brain contact. In x0 it is a poorly developed human sense somewhat like touch or smell but understood far less well. It is most often an emotional feeling received from someone else which is sometimes accompanied by a mental image, or sounds or words heard in one’s head including tunes or songs. It can also involve a physical sensation such as falling, nausea, or cold, or the memory of a smell, touch, or taste.

After I writing x0 I began to occasionally search for news about telepathy, and I noticed an increasing number of stories about using technology to achieve the same effect as psychic powers. In 2013 I described a story in Science about lab rats who had their brains wired together such that what one rat learned could be transmitted by direct wire to the other. Turns out that the other rat listened better if he got a treat for doing so (big surprise) but basically they communicated pretty well with what the researchers call a BTBI (brain to brain interface).

A couple of months ago Mark Zuckerberg made news by saying that the future of communication is telepathy. In a Q&A session with site users, he wrote “One day, I believe we’ll be able to send full rich thoughts to each other directly using technology. You’ll just be able to think of something and your friends will immediately be able to experience it too.”

The Washington Post responded with a well done article analyzing how this could work. They talked about the linked rats, as well as a University of California at Berkeley study in which a team of cognitive scientists managed to reconstruct clips of movies their subjects were watching, based solely on measurements of their brainwaves. They described how in another experiment involving a noninvasive technique called “transcranial magnetic stimulation” test subjects in India were able to think words to test subjects in France. The Washington Post added that “the process was painfully slow, however, and the words weren’t sent in their entirety — they had to be encoded as binary digits, uploaded to the Internet, sent, downloaded and then decoded as flashes of light.” Yes, painfully slow.

horseThe article quoted Mark Harris at the MIT Technology Review as saying “‘Telepathy’ technology remains so crude that it’s unlikely to have any practical impact.” It concluded by noting that “even if Facebook isn’t leading the charge toward telepathy — a worrying concept in itself, given the site’s past indiscretions re: research consent and user privacy — the field poses tons of ethical challenges” which, lucky for us, “is many breakthroughs and advances away.”

Yes, it is. But it is worth remembering that most big advances began very slowly, at first, and their use and their impact were poorly understood. For decades, many people laughed at the idea of a fancy machine replacing something as reliable as a horse. We all know how that one worked out.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2015 in telepathy

 

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Everybody is shouting

Light Within 3The truly skilled telepath is admired for her or his uncanny ability to listen to the feelings and thoughts of others. At least that is how it works in my imaginary world of x0, in which any old fool can transmit emotions but only the adept can receive them. Clearly I am making an observation about ordinary conversation as well. Listening is an art, and actually understanding what one is hearing is a high level accomplishment. Yes, most of us do spend our non-speaking time figuring out what we are going to say next. But at least in conversation, we pretend to pay attention to others.

Enter the world of social media. There is no question that I love writing my blogs and I love reading the blogs of others, but in my humble opinion the exchanges that take place in the comments sections can hardly be called conversation. They appear to me to mostly consist of (1) you are sooooo right or (2) you are soooo stupid or (3) the ever popular thanks for stopping by and liking my blog. (I’m not going to count the various spam comments that show up every day saying things like “I simply stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to say that I get actually loved account your weblog posts.” Who writes this crap and why?)

Facebook and the various Pinterest/Instagram type spin-offs are largely ways of shouting out what you are doing and what you like and don’t like. Yes, it is entertaining, but no isn’t conversation either. Maybe if we had a few more choices on the “like” button …… you know, emoticon responses of dismay, embarrassment, maybe a wink….. nah, probably a bad idea.

Then there is Twitter. I’ve had an account for years and I every so often I would read tweets on a topic of interest. I hardly ever tweeted anything, however, because I didn’t see the point. Seldom does anyone have a unique take on a subject and usually dozens of people had already said what I thought. I could hashtag all I wanted, but it seemed to me that I was just one more person shouting “Listen to me! I think this!” Shouting isn’t satisfying and it isn’t the way to make friends.

True voice 4Then I became an author. To my own surprise, I discovered that I was as desperate to be read as all the other authors you know. “You’ve got to use Twitter” they told me. Okay, I tried. And I found that all of us are out there, shouting about our wares and running little giveaways trying to snag another 100 followers when we can.That’s nuts. All the people out there shouting advice to authors (and there are a lot of those, too) think it is nuts as well. They say you shouldn’t peddle your books, you should engage socially. That sounds like reasonable advice, but I’ve got a problem with it. I am basically posting tweets to sell my books. It’s the truth and I don’t like pretending otherwise.

I found a solution that works for me, and it was in my first book all along. Act like a telepath. Act like a good one. Every time someone new follows me on Twitter, I now try to read their mind. Not really of course, but I pretend. Who are they and why are they there? If the answer is to sell me something, win a contest, or give me no information, I ignore them. But if they write, or read, or support a cause, or create or otherwise have a voice, I try to listen. I spend a few seconds looking into them online and I try to really hear them. Then, I thank them personally for following me and wish them good fortune with their passion. It gives them a tweet to like and retweet, and it makes me smile when they do.

No, I’m not making friends. Two or three 140 character exchanges does not a friendship make. And no, I’m not selling books from this, because my sales haven’t increased either. However, I am having some interesting exchanges and some fun. This “listening” is good stuff, no matter how it works out. Looks like there are ways to do it everywhere.

(Speaking of listening on social media, please drop by the Facebook pages of The Light Within and Your True Voice and give them a like for the great images above.)

 

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2014 in telepathy, writing

 

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Ten Wonderful, Easy Things You Can Do for Your Friend Who Writes Books

True voice 4Maybe you don’t read much, or maybe you just don’t like fiction. Maybe you like it a lot and you have a TBR pile of sixty or so novels. Whatever the reason, you have a good friend or close relative who self-publishes her stories and you think it is totally cool but you haven’t gotten around to reading one yet. It would be nice if there was a quick way to show your support.

There are ten of them I can think of, and any single one will make her smile. You can probably do them all in under twenty minutes without spending a dime or uttering anything but the truth. Are you ready? Open your browser and let’s go

Start with Amazon.com. Type in her name, and pick the option to go to her Amazon page. In the upper right hand corner, you can like her author page. Let’s be honest, an author page with few or no likes looks so forlorn. What if she doesn’t have one? Gently suggest to her that she take a few minutes and make one, so you can like it.

Now go to her most recent, or most popular, book. Scroll down to the reviews. Find a few that speak highly of the book, but also are well written and honestly point out her strengths. A positive but fair review will attract readers who will like the work, and that is what you want for her. Click the button at the bottom of these reviews that says you found the review helpful. You did, didn’t you? Your click will help scoot these reviews up to the top.

On to Goodreads. Here, you can add her books to your bookshelf. When you do, all your friends will see that you did, and that is free publicity for her. Then check out Listopia. Goodreads has hundreds of lists, ranging from the color of the cover to the first letter of the title. Her book surely belongs on several, so add it. Once again, that’s more publicity.

hippiepeace10Twitter gives you lots of options. The easiest is to simply retweet one of her own book-related tweets for her. My favorite is to write my own tweet about her book that includes her name, the book’s title, and some fun or funny remark. This gives her something to retweet to her own followers, and that is priceless.

Facebook also offers a lot of options. Hopefully she has a page for her book and you’ve already liked it. If not, fix that. If so, like and share a post of hers that you particularly enjoyed. With the new FB algorithm you may have to go to her page to find it as it may no longer come to you. While you are there, comment about another post or two. All this activity will bring more eyes her way.

Finally, drop by her blog. Become a follower. Comment on a post. You can even mix and match here by tweeting one of her blog posts or sharing it on Facebook, so that you make a little noise everywhere on her behalf.

If you are the writer, not the friend, consider hanging on to this list until your birthday or some other special occasion rolls around. Then don’t be shy. Pass this along to anyone who says that they want to do something nice for you.

Note: z2 is just finishing a blog tour through the fine folks at Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours. The post below is part of that tour and it appeared May 4 on a wonderful blog called Book Faery Reviews. Please share this post with wild abandon and make struggling writers happier everywhere.

Appreciation for the great images above goes out to the Facebook pages of Hippie Peace Freaks and Your True Voice. Please drop by and give them both a like.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2014 in writing

 

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Peace Signs

1 Peace

Hippie Peace Freaks

Funny how things come at you clumps. One day its cute kittens every place you look, the next day its information on vitamin supplements. Yesterday, I had a “peace” day. Signs were everywhere. And many of them were on Facebook.

One of the joys of creating a Facebook page for my collection of novels 46. Ascending has been the way it has given me reason to seek out other people’s pages and to share some of my favorite finds. I’m not sure what the exact etiquette is on sharing posts from the Facebook world on ones blog, so I will ask you to please drop by the wonderful page called Hippie Peace Freaks and kindly give them a like while you are there.

The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama

There is no better place for peace signs than the Facebook page of the amazing Dalai Lama, who happily shares his wisdom with those of any faith (or none). Please consider liking his page as well. There may not be anyone more likable on the planet.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

I am also impressed with much about the new Pope Francis and share this from his Facebook page. He doesn’t have his staff working on powerful imagery to go with his thoughts (yet) but these are thoughts worth liking.

Peace One Day

Peace One Day

Finally, a huge LIKE to the people who get out there and do something to promote world peace. Please visit the page for Peace One Day, where you can view this photo of a meditation flash mob at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. A meditation flash mob may sound like an oxymoron, but these participants took off their shoes and meditated for an hour to promote mindfulness and peace in the world. Do such actions make a difference? Do photos of such actions make a difference?

I think we all change just a little when we start to see peace signs everywhere we look.

For more of my favorite signs of peace, please drop by my Facebook page Number 46. Ascending, and look around as well.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in peace

 

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A peaceful place amidst the shouting

hippie peace 2I’m learning to meld my blog world and my facebook world into one persona and it is a fun process. Here I think about empathy and telepathy and the implications for both on violence and war. Under what circumstances could you shoot another human  if you could feel their fear? Know their thoughts? Lola, hero of x0, needs answers to this question, and her issues fuel my speculation here.

Facebook is more of a sales tool, frankly, where I and 1.2 billion other people jump up and down and shout “Look at me.” Luckily, some of the people doing the shouting bother to yell interesting things that can be passed along, even on a blog that likes to reflect on world peace.

hippie peacePlease consider checking out a fun Facebook page called Hippie Peace Freaks where you can find gems like these and a lot of other fun as well.

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2013 in peace

 

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Like Me?

We refer to it euphemistically as “social networking”, but let’s be more blunt. Facebook has changed the world. Granted it has moved from a universe inhabited by youth to the home of everyone’s great aunt, a storage facility for family photos and a world where pets have their own pages. That doesn’t change the fact that liking and friending are now key concepts for getting along in contemporary society.

It’s also part of modern marketing, and apparently I am well behind the times for not having realized this. Silly me, I was all caught up in the family photo thing.Well I’m proud to say I have now entered the year 2005 and made a Facebook page for my collection of books.You can find it here or by searching for Number 46. Ascending on Facebook.

FB
As I understand it, the object of the game here is to get more and more people to like my page, and as they do they comment on or share things I post and it gets increasingly easier to get even more people (you know, actual strangers) to like me too. It sounds a little like playing Risk or Monopoly. If I get enough momentum going, I take over the world. And maybe after awhile one of these likers even buys a book.
Why wouldn’t you like somebody’s Facebook page? The biggest reason is that you rightly fear getting a deluge of stupid posts from them that clutter up your news feed. It has happened too often to me, and after a few days of junk I most emphatically do NOT like the product, person or page. So obviously this marketing approach requires ongoing thought and courtesy on the part of the poster, or a “now I actually hate you” button provided for the general masses.
In spite of these difficulties, I’d like you to like me. Fear not for your news feed. I am a delicate poster, aware of your sensibilities. I promise to be barely a flutter in your daily Facebook life, and if possible an enjoyable one at that.
So please. Like me. I’ll like you back. 🙂
 
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Posted by on October 15, 2013 in x0 elsewhere

 

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Free books! Free paperbacks! Free t-shirts!

I feel like I’m writing advertising for a furniture store close-out, but in fact it is time for this author to act like a marketer. My first book, x0 could use more exposure and reviews. It’s not a book for everybody. Woven into a plot about two telepathic women are stories about Nigeria, facts about the oil business and an imagined website that explains to the reader how telepathy really works in the strange world of x0. Some people have really loved it and you might be one of them.

These reviews on Goodreads capture the novel well. Give them a look and if you think this is a story you might enjoy, please go to smashwords.com where you can download x0 in many formats all for free by using the code FT88E when you check out. It’s that simple.

tshirtWould you prefer a free paperback copy instead? I make these available to reviewers. Kindly drop me a line at lola.zeitman@gmail.com and let me know who your are, where you normally post your reviews, and where you want the book sent. If you do frequently review novels, your book will go out the next day.

Or come like my Facebook page Number 46. Ascending and talk to me there.

Finally, there are free t-shirts involved! I will send the new x0 shirt shown here (sizes S through XXL) as a thank you to anyone who posts a review of x0 at two of any of the following: Amazon, Goodreads, Library Thing, Smashwords, or your blog. I am looking for honest reviews, and trust that you are articulate and basically kind but cannot be influenced for the price of a free shirt. It will be my thanks you to you for reading the book, no matter how you feel about it. Once you have posted the reviews, contact me at gmail or on facebook and let me know your size and your address.

I hope to hear from you!

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in x0

 

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