With math, I can justify anything!

Brigantine Amazon entering Marseilles in Novem...
Brigantine Amazon entering Marseilles in November 1861. She was later renamed Mary Celeste, as which she became the well-known ghost ship. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As background, my current writing project tackles the question of mysterious disappearances – sort of. Mostly, its a SyFy Channel treatment of the subject, so future readers shouldn’t get their hopes up for deep discussions (it’s a creature feature story, and I must admit I’m having a lot of fun writing it). But out of curiosity, I did some simple math today, and found this…intriguing pattern.

If you take the difference of these two dates (the 1586 is a bit of a fudge – the colony was out of contact for three years, so it could have happened any time in that time frame), you get 286 years apart. Now these were just the two that popped into mind, and being curious if I could force a pattern out of this, I divided that number in two and got 143 years (under the assumption it happened more often, and because this first answer didn’t quite help me)(I’m writing fiction, I get to make the facts fit!). And 1872 + 143 = 2015!

So, assuming a cycle as long as 143 years (but maybe only 70 something!), we can expect another small population to just vanish this year. You’re welcome.

What this country needs is more robots.

Robot Wars (TV series)
Robot Wars (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning found me sharing my bed with a wife, a dog, and three children, all piled in to watch last week’s premier of Face Off. (The family that geeks together gets along together, right?) While watching SyFy (oh, how that name burns), a commercial came on for a new robot competition show, reminiscent of Real Steel, which sparked a great conversation and fond memories. Because what we want to see isn’t another reality show that’s all glitz and glamor, what we want to see is the revival of Robot Wars (UK version, that is. Sorry, the US version was weak and flashy and missing the appeal of the original).

In the Time Before Kids™, wife and I rented an apartment that cost as much as our mortgage. As you can imagine, this left us a bit on the penny pinching side. We were fortunate that we lived close enough to the megasuburbia of Northern Virginia/DC that we could get TV over the air (unlike at our current home), which meant we could get the cool PBS from over in MD – the one that still aired Doctor Who, Red Green, and the seminal Robot Wars, UK.

Robot Wars UK wasn’t about glitz. It wasn’t even 100% about the battles, although they were glorious. It was about Dads and daughters, sons and cousins, and the blokes you hang out with getting together and building something. Granny’s electric wheelchair made its courageous sacrifice to the cause. Welder’s torches were handled, and felt was applied (lest we forget the Irish ladybug that burst into flames when it hit the competition floor). It was about seeing what kind of crazy genius was lurking inside the guy next door when his robot rolled out with twin saws and no wheels.

It was inspiring.

Watching this show, you wanted to go out and learn how to build a robot yourself. How hard could it be? And that’s what this country needs right now – something to inspire us to go out and be inventive, to creatively explore building something new. Even if it is the chasse to the robots that will ultimately become our robot overlords. And if we know how they’re built, we’ll know how to stop them. Right?

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