SAM 1.1 the Audiobook

In addition to writing, I enjoy reading my work out loud. My friend has started recording audiobooks for a small company in Winston Salem, and I thought “hey, why don’t I record my own audiobook?”

Here’s my extremely amateur recording (one take, no editing)

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Terrestrial Fauna of Terra Australis Incognita

 

A whole new low

(pictures are on the way)

The intercom pings. It is time for the next dive. Has it really been an hour since the last dive? You roll out of bed, hastily change into your swimsuit and rush to the deck.

First thing you put on is your wetsuit. You take one off the rack, make sure it’s the right size, and pull it up and over your body. Unlike in your training, this one zips up in the front.

You brought your own boots, mask and fins. You de-fog the mask with special de-fog liquid, hoping that it won’t re-fog underwater, forcing you to let a little water in and slosh it around. You Carefully put on your weight belt – it’s heavy and you don’t want it to swing and hit someone in the face.

You have to wait to put on your fins. You are on the dive platform, inches above the turbulent waters. You try not to slip and fall onto the metal lattice as you render your feet unfit for walking one at a time.

You turn to your partner and give the universal diver’s “ok” – a circle made from the index finger and thumb with the rest extended. Then you leap in.

Your wetsuit is so called because it does not keep you dry. The Australian winter water seeps in behind your neck and runs down your back. The warmth comes from this water getting stuck and collecting body warmth rather than constantly being replaced with new cold water.

You open your mouth to breathe, but get a mouthful of saltwater as a wave crests over your face. You reach to your left and grab your respirator. You sound a bit like Darth Vader, but more importantly, you are no longer dependent on the fickle outside air.

The guide signals you and you’re off. You follow several other novice divers to a rope and pull yourself along the side of the boat through frothing water to the drop point.

Another signal from the guide. “Ok” and a thumbs down. Thumbs down doesn’t mean bad in diving. It means “go down.” You signal back and let the air out from your bouyancy compensation device (BCD). The water rises up and swallows you whole.

From the start, an enormous school of fish swarms around you. Some of the fishes mouths curl upward, quietly amused at the foolish sight of this land mammal playing at being a fish.

You feel the pressure on your ears as you continue down. Clamping your fingers on your nose, you blow as hard as you can until the feeling stops. As silly as this process sounds, it works.

At the bottom of the shallow ocean, you see the wavy sand. Huge headless slugs, sea cucumbers, sit motionless on the sea floor. Part of the sand seems smoother than the rest. When you approach to investigate, a stingray rises from the ground. It glides along the surface and comes to rest again a few metres away.

In moments, your guide is tapping on his air tank. You turn and see that he has put a fist to his head. A humphead maori wrasse is rushing towards you. You remember your training and grab the huge green fish on the lips and push it to the side. It continues past you as if nothing had happened at all.

The reefs are enormous and sharp. When you are confident in your ability to keep control of your motion, you swim very close. Tiny yellow and blue fish slither in and out through the red tendrils.

Your guide puts his hand straight up and to the side against his forehead. Indeed, a little shark undulates past high overhead. These sharks are nothing to fear.

Your guide taps his palm – check your air. You make a T with your hands – half air.

Yellow fish swim on their side, as if the reef has overruled gravity itself.
Long skinny pole shaped fish hang diagonally and watch you swim by. Enormous clams sit open, exposing their marbled insides. A sea turtle swims by and away through rays of ocean-filtered sunshine.

Another tap on the palm. Check your pressure gauge. At a third left, you’ve managed your air well. You could go a bit longer, but the guide gives the thumbs up. It’s time for the group to surface.

You return from breathing perfectly well underwater to gasping and timing your breaths against the waves above once more. Hanging on the side of the boat, you remove your fins, one hand hanging, one removing each fin.

On board, your gear that freed you to rise and fall at will now reasserts its full twenty kilograms (40 lbs). you take off your BCD and your mask and weight belt. You remove your wetsuit, wash it in the provided tub, and hang it up again. Then you’re free to go.

Eat a meal, talk for an hour, and then it’s time for the next dive.

Diving makes my blood boil

After 20 hours of instruction and hands-on training, I have learned that diving is dangerous.

When diving, don’t sink too fast. Your earddums may be torn by the pressure of the water trying to get in. To counter this, hold your nose and try to blow through it. This is called the “valsava” technique, and it works.

When diving, don’t surface too fast. Nitrogen builds up in your body and will abruptly release, rendering you the equivalent of a shaken soda opened in an unsuspecting drinker’s face.

If you want to cut out the nitrogen and use just oxygen in your tank, you run the risk of going into spasms from oxygen toxicity and drowning.

If you take a flight within 24 hours of diving, your body may behave like a shaken soda can.

Never hold your breath, or your lungs might rupture.

If you surface slowly and are careful about planes, your body can still fizz you to death. There is a table that you can follow to make sure you never have enough nitrogen in your body to hurt you after a dive.

But even with that table, you can become a human coke-and-mentos experiment.

If taking multiple dives, consult a set of three interlocking tables to keep track of the nitrogen that stays in your body between dives.

If you manage not to explode, have your eardrums collapse, or go into spasms and drown, there’s still low visibility and temperature to worry about. Things get colder and darker as you go down, and you don’t want to get separated from the group and lost at sea.

But other than that, there’s really nothing to worry about.

Helping the little dog

This scene was difficult to set up. Apparently it occurred naturally once, but since then the little dog would bounce around with the toy and shove it in the bigger dog’s face, but the bigger dog evidently had no interest.

The trick, it turned out, I realized after playing tug of war with the big dog myself. I took the toy and played tug-of-war with the small dog, then navigated the toy into the mouth of the big dog, after which he was ready to tug.

Thus, a good time was had by all.

God Does not Play Dice

This quote is credited to Albert Einstein. It describes his belief in determinism. In a less famous quote, he says more explicitly

“If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord…. So would a being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man’s illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.”

So, Al is on my side. When I say that the same initial  settings of the universe would always be guaranteed to produce the same outcome (the fundamental tenet of determinism), sometimes people like to bring up Heisenberg, who supposedly proved the universe is fundamentally random. However, we can never really prove that anything is not based on underlying deterministic phenomena. All we can show is that at this time we have not managed to determine the phenomena it’s based on. Heisenberg’s principle is based on what is observable, not what is existent. God may very well know exactly where a quantum particle is and its exact speed. It’s outrageous to claim that just because we can’t know something its inherently unknowable.

Isn’t it also outrageous to claim that we can know that God does not play dice? If we can’t measure the determinism behind a phenomenon, we can only speculate about whether it is deterministic or fully random. My argument is that the more we learn the more we see the universe following principles and rules. When taken to the extreme, I can admit this is only a philosophical argument without much basis in measurable science, but I do believe that there is no randomness, only order we haven’t yet discovered or can’t measure.

This Clickbait will Leave you Speechless

Here’s a series of clickbait-style headlines written by me for my enjoyment. If you enjoy them too, hey that’s nice.

This image of an orangutan watching a magic trick should be required viewing

You won’t believe what this celebrity you have never heard of has to say about this issue you don’t care about!

These six thousand, eight hundred, and ninety four facts about Indo-pakistani roller derby will make you never want to watch the commonwealth games again! You won’t believe number five thousand, two hundred and thirty one!

You can lead a horse to water, but what happens next will blow your mind.

This man was accused of murdering three children. Instead of going to jail, he’s still walking the streets in [your neigborhood] thanks to this amazing life-hack!

Weight loss coaches and the oil industry HATE this man! Convert your excess fat into clean, renewable energy using this one weird trick invented by a teacher!

Some people think Gandhi was the best guy in all of history, but did you know he was actually the worst guy in all of history? Your brain will explode and leave a slimy pink mess inside your skull when you click this article.

Who would be your bestie of the Japanese shogunate? I got 源 頼朝! Take the quiz!

When this woman sits in a chair, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Disney princesses reimagined as members of Donald Trump’s advisory board. You won’t believe who Sean Spicer gets!

We all thought [some celebrity] had a heart of gold. Now watch him give 0.000000000000001% of his fortune to a little boy who stubbed his toe. Wow.

This dog witnessed the moon fall and crash into planet Earth, annihilating the vast majority of its inhabitants and knocking the planet out of orbit. In less than a year, we will be far away enough from the sun that the few survivors will have to brave an arctic wasteland. The dog’s reaction is unbelievable.

Image result for dancing dog gif

It's about whatever I say it's about