Archive for March 18th, 2014

March 18, 2014

The Mule

foundation and empire by alexander wells

The Mule is a fictional character from Isaac Asimov’s ‘Foundation’ series (first appearing in 1955 under the title ‘The 1,000-Year Plan,’ it is the story of scientist Hari Seldon’s effort to preserve knowledge as the civilizations around him begin to regress). One of the greatest conquerors the galaxy has ever seen, the Mule is a mentalic, a psychic mutant, who has the ability to reach into the minds of others and ‘adjust’ their emotions, individually or en masse, using this capability to conscript followers for his cause.

Mentalics are not capable of direct mind-control, but can subtly influence other’s subconscious; individuals under the Mule’s influence behave otherwise normally – logic, memories, and personality intact. This gives the Mule the capacity to disrupt Seldon’s plan by invalidating the assumption that no single individual could have a measurable effect on galactic socio-historical trends on their own. Seldon’s discipline, called psychohistory, relied on the predictability of the actions of very large numbers of people.

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March 18, 2014

Here Be Dragons

unknown

Here be dragons‘ means dangerous or unexplored territories, in imitation of the medieval practice of putting dragons, sea serpents and other mythological creatures in uncharted areas of maps. There are just two known historical use of this phrase in the Latin form ‘HC SVNT DRACONES.’ The term appeared on the 16th century Lenox Globe around the east coast of Asia, and might be related to the Komodo dragons in the Indonesian islands, tales of which were quite common throughout East Asia. 

It also appeared on another globe of that era engraved on two conjoined halves of ostrich eggs. Earlier maps contain a variety of references to mythical and real creatures, but the Lenox Globe and the egg globe are the only known surviving maps to bear this phrase. An investigation of the egg globe performed by collector Stefaan Missinne concluded that the Hunt-Lenox Globe is a cast of the egg globe.

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