August 2, 2008

Excited Delirium Book: Chapter 62 (888 Tremors)

By liam

Author’s Note: The following is Chapter 62 of the my online book "Excited Delirium". Please post comments. Please tell your friends about this story. If you’ve missed a chapter, please click here for Chapter 1 (Prelude) or here for the full index .

August 7, 2008

Those with very little experience with Chinese culture, but with significant influence in the West – people like Griffith Garamond – make accusations that the Chinese are unable to innovate. People like Garamond have lead themselves to believe that this mass of population exists to serve the West.

The common suggestion is that intellectual property related to operating system software is stolen and repackaged on a regular basis, or that goods that are normally manufactured in North America are copied and redistributed elsewhere in Asia and Europe at substantially lower prices, exchanging quality and value for a lower price and undermining the economic benefit for the original manufacturer that would like to keep a lock on the distribution of its products.

The stark reality is that these accusations fail to prove inability to innovate. The reality is that those in China see things quite differently.

Imagine a world without a compass, printing, paper, gun powder, the abacus (the world’s first computer), the cast iron plow or paper money.

Not possible? Thank the Chinese. These and many more inventions came from the Chinese as they expanded their knowledge base while the West wallowed in the Dark Ages.

The seismometer, or tool used to measure potential earthquakes, is a perfect example of what the Chinese developed to the benefit of the rest of us. In 132 AD, Zhang Heng of China’s Han dynasty invented the first seismometer. A quake would result in a ball falling from a dragon’s mouth to a frog’s jaw, indicating that the earth is turning and threatening to burp or convulse at some point in the near future.

Today, we use much more complex methods to read and monitor the tectonic and geographic upheaval of the planet, but they’re still firmly rooted in the tools devised by an Emperor’s cleric nearly two-thousand years ago.

Most use more complex networks of communications and electronics, coupled with databases of previous experience, but there is no doubt that on August 7, 2008, the ball had dropped and the frog’s mouth was very, very full.

[Author’s Note: I conceived of this plot component in 2006 and wrote most of these chapters into the story of ‘Excited Delirium’ during the course of 2007. I was stunned like the rest of the world when a tragic earthquake struck the province of Sichuan on May 12, 2008. Please believe me that I do not want to ‘profit’ from the suffering that the hundreds of thousands in this quake experienced. I remind all readers that this is a work of fiction and that my goals are to speak to the symbolic reference that’s used in the numerology along with the viewpoint of one fictional cult concerning the fate of the Chinese. When Tom Clancy wrote “Sum of All Fears”, was he just imagining a scenario that could happen and convert that to a warning to Americans or was he hoping that serious harm would befall the people of Baltimore? I feel quite confident it was the former.]

(Note: "Excited Delirium" is a work of fiction. Any person, place or thing depicted in this work of fiction is also a work of fiction. Any relation of these subjects or characters to real locations, people or things are an unintentional coincidence.)

Read more with Chapter 63

Did you miss a chapter? If so, click here to see all chapters or click here to go to Excited Delirium: Chapter 1 (Prelude)

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Excited Delirium by Liam Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License .
Based on a work at .