More likely an ET attack?

I always had my doubts when it was announced that our U.S. diplomatic corps in Cuba had suffered a sonic attack that made them sick and even brain-damaged (never mind that politicians suffer brain damage to begin with). But I didn’t have any data to back up my doubts. While high intensity sound can lead to hearing losses—baby boomers like me who’ve done a few rock concerts are beginning to experience them—it seemed to be a stretch that sound waves were the culprits. I thought it was more likely that there were nests of ETs hiding in Cuba, and the renewal of diplomatic relations with that Communist paradise had interrupted their plans for world domination.

I know a bit about acoustic and electromagnetic radiation. I had a previous life in academia as a physicist, mostly in Colombia. Although I was more theoretical than experimental—that’s common in South America where fancy research labs are a luxury—we used sound and electromagnetic waves in our classroom demos to keep the students awake. And, of course, I understood the theory (past tense because now I’m a bit rusty).

Sound waves and electromagnetic waves are different. You can more easily beam the former upon transmission. While PIs and the FBI can use those listening devices, they rely more on sensitivity in the direction they’re pointing around. To go the other way is not easy, as any stereo addict knows. And they were talking about low frequency waves. Your stereo speaker probably has directional tweeters but omnidirectional woofers—it’s hard to aim low frequency waves, and harder for humans to detect any directionality for them, so manufacturers of stereo speakers just don’t bother.

Moreover, sound waves need a medium; electromagnetic waves don’t (that plagued physicists from a century ago, more or less, but that’s another story). Air is a fickle medium for both, but especially sound waves, which depend on that medium (“In space, now one hears you scream”). No, the “official diagnosis” of Trump’s state department seemed to be a red herring (or emanations from digesting black beans because we’re talking about Cuba).

While Russia might have a secret lab making James Bond-like sonic cannons for its assassins, I thought that wasn’t likely, so I latche onto the idea that some ET group’s technology was behind this, not nasty little Cubans doing the bidding of Mr. Putin. Of course, Mr. Putin could be an ET shapeshifter who delights in seeding discourse in free elections—you just never know. I mean, after all, he seems proud of that human body, so he might just be admiring his shapeshifting skills.

Carl Zimmer’s article in the October 6 NY Times confirms my doubts about sonic death rays, though. “Experts on Acoustics are Doubtful,” to quote part of the title. Those experts don’t know what the source of the malady is, but they’re also doubtful that it’s commie-directed sound waves.

I guess my ET theory is still a possibility. Maybe the Castro brothers are the ET shapeshifters who took a liking to fascism—in other words, Communism with a capital C. Maybe Putin isn’t guilty in this case, just guilty of narcissism. That would tie everything together for a conspiracy story, wouldn’t it? Who says that I don’t hand out ideas for sci-fi thrillers? I can’t write everything, you know. Get to work!

***

Sci-fi book sale: More than Human: The Mensa Contagion and Rogue Planet are now on sale at Smashwords from October 1 through October 31. Their prices are reduced to $1.99—that’s one-third off. In the first novel, an ET virus changes the world, but in a good way, and leads to the colonization of Mars. In the second, there’s a wee bit of “Game of Thrones” fantasy mixed into the hard sci-fi as Prince Kaushal leads his Second Tribe in their fight against the First Tribe’s brutal theocracy. Both books are stand-alone, not part of a series. Use the Smashwords coupon numbers when you check out. Note that the second book is also available in paper format at Amazon. Lots of exciting fall entertainment for a reasonable price!

In libris libertas!

Comments are closed.