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Philip Zack

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Ever since I learned to speak binary on a DIGIAC 3080 training computer, I've been involved with tech in one way or another, but there was always another part of me off exploring ideas and writing about them. Halfway to a BS in Space Technology at Florida Institute of Technology during the Apollo years, I ditched out and walked into a data center job with Franklin National Bank a few years before it made history. Software contract houses, like the one I signed up with after the layoff, not only offered paid benefits, but kept paying you between contracts while they searched for your next gig. Of course, by then, I'd already been infected with the ideas of Edward de Bono, so my approach to problem solving, and therefore every part of my life, including writing, was tacking towards uncharted territory.

Since then, I've worked on a remote weather station for NOAA and on NASA/JPL's Deep Space Network, diddled with a huge database for a DOD competition at what used to be McDonnell-Douglas, subverted the design of the database driving one of the Air Force's aircraft test sets, wrote tech docs in the 'Dead Languages Group' at Microsoft, and even created the entire IT infrastructure for a manufacturing business I co-owned.

And all along the way, I wrote. So far, there's three novels, as well as lots of short stories and essays. Some of which you can read on my blog. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. KlurgSheld? That's a game featured in one of my stories. But you'll have to find which one on your own. Don't forget to pack a lunch.

OpEd News Member for 812 week(s) and 0 day(s)

78 Articles, 3 Quick Links, 412 Comments, 5 Diaries, 5 Series, 0 Polls

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The beautiful bayou, From ImagesAttr
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, June 29, 2014
Short Story: "Maira Bundis" In the conclusion to this series, independent journalist Cinquetta Mills must face the dangerous results of having exposed Alphon Quince to the press, and in the process inviting a military hit squad ordered to silence the accused terrorist. If you are new to the series, take a break from today's issues, and read through a vision of what might happen if we don't stop the powers that be from suppressing the truth.
Series: Social Event Cascade (7 Articles, 6083 views)
Shipping cranes, From ImagesAttr
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, May 18, 2014
Short Story: "Lightning Strikes" It's 2095, and the ongoing climate disaster has destroyed lives and property, but made fortunes for a shadowy few. When Victor Schandrul was unable to get illicit medicine for his father after his shift at the Port of Chicago, he thought that would be the end of it. But the nightmare he had before dawn the next morning was just the start, and it would only get worse.
Series: Social Event Cascade (7 Articles, 6083 views)
Police HMMWV, From ImagesAttr
(3 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Monday, March 3, 2014
Short Story: "Standing to Resist" It's 2095, and Hacker Collective member Eshana Thandri is watching a feed of accused terrorist Alphon Quince being grilled by the press after escaping a transit disaster. (That happened in Part 4.) No sooner does she remote-hijack a military drone that was sent after him, when the police break into her house with intent to arrest.
Series: Social Event Cascade (7 Articles, 6083 views)
Lake Pontchartrain Sky, From ImagesAttr
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Saturday, January 25, 2014
Short Story: "In the Company of Vipers" It's 2095. In part 3, infrastructure troubleshooter Alphon Quince was branded a terrorist by the people who ignored his advice, destroyed an exclusive resort and killed dozens of world leaders at a conference there. Now, while leaving New Orleans incognito, he's caught up in just the sort of disaster he'd been trying to warn about, and his disguise is all they'll need to accuse Phoebe of being a collaborator.
Series: Social Event Cascade (7 Articles, 6083 views)
Mer de Glace grotte 12, From ImagesAttr
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Monday, December 16, 2013
Short Story: "Under an Icy Sky" Alphon was still haunted by the memory of Maira being blown up right in front of him, and now he was being asked to rescue the organization that had killed her. In part 3 of this series, he comes face to face with the depths to which his adversary will go to maintain their death grip on the world.
Series: Social Event Cascade (7 Articles, 6083 views)
Drone over Wade Park Lagoon, From ImagesAttr
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, November 15, 2013
Short Story: "Hollow Threat" (2nd in a series) It's 2095, and the Golden State Barrage that protects central California from the risen sea has been "destroyed by terrorists', devastating the lowlands beyond Oakland. Seeking the truth, an infrastructure troubleshooter followed a lead to the bayou in part 1, where the woman with the answers was killed by a drone. Now her protege has arrived, and confronts a blood-spattered intruder.
Series: Social Event Cascade (7 Articles, 6083 views)
The Political Circus, From ImagesAttr
(11 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, October 25, 2013
Government: neither problem nor solution Have you ever wondered why dysfunctional national governance is called a "political circus'? Just as in the waning days of the Roman Empire, when the people were kept amused by "bread and circuses', we moderns are kept amused by a political Punch and Judy Show. The purpose is the same, though: to divert our attention and keep us from rebelling. The thing is, what is our attention being diverted from, and why?
Mini avalanche, From ImagesAttr
(20 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, October 18, 2013
First Followers; and Tiptoe-Caused-Avalanches of Change There's something I wanted to tell you, but for the life of me, I can't figure out what it was. You know the feeling? It's right on the tip of your tongue, but you can't spit it out. The thing is, that moment is critically important, and all we want is for it to go away. Well, don't. Not yet, anyway, because that's the key to how anything gets done, how movements are born, and how the world is changed.
P. Orin Zack, From ImagesAttr
(3 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Short Story: "Bait" When the Golden State Barrage collapsed, Alphon knew the official story was crap: it could not have been explosive demolition, so the sea wall was not destroyed by an enemy. Why the lie? The record suggested lax maintenance or a design flaw, but the record had been scrubbed - environmental issues had been deleted. Well, almost. There was a dead link to a server near the remains of New Orleans...
Series: Social Event Cascade (7 Articles, 6083 views)
Municipal Elections 2011 ballot, From ImagesAttr
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Short Story: "Engaging Constituency" (7th/Last of a series) In the conclusion of the series, Buster Flange's change to city council charter has passed, and the city's first functional constituency was chosen in a special election. The next step is for the electorate of the newly created virtual district to agree on who will represent them in city council. If we're going to remake the art of governance from the bottom up, we first have to imagine what that might be like.
Series: Confidence (7 Articles, 5285 views)
91.SilentMarch.WitnessAgainstTorture.WDC.7January2012, From ImagesAttr
(22 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, June 28, 2013
The Dance of Consent There's a struggle for control of the world going on right now, a struggle to keep it out of the hands of people everywhere. Global empires exist in two forms, political and corporate, and the titans are locked in mortal combat to retain supremacy. But all around them, people are waking up to the fact that the power claimed over them by governments and corporations only exists as long as the people cede it to them.
I-35W Bridge Collapse Webster Cars, From ImagesAttr
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Short Story: "Authenticity" (6th of a series) Buzz had been hiding from the world for so long, he'd nearly forgotten his name. But then the highway he lived under collapsed, and he witnessed 6 deaths that the media wanted to bury. This series of stories began with the People's Mike, and any other concerted action, being declared illegal. The ripples from their reaction triggered a drive to change representational government from the bottom up, and that cannot be allowed.
Series: Confidence (7 Articles, 5285 views)
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, May 31, 2013
Short Story: "Kendrik House" (5th in a series) The city's OWS has been transformed through adversity: Councilman Flange is stumping to create a virtual district to represent the 99%, the owner of their encampment site has built a community center for them so they can share it with other distributed communities. But Flange is notorious for going off on people in character, and he's just done it in public. But that's not the worst of it...
Series: Confidence (7 Articles, 5285 views)
Refusing to obey an order may lose you your job, unless the reason for it so important to you that you're willing to quit and join the protest., From ImagesAttr
(3 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, May 23, 2013
Short Story: "Representation" (4th in a series) Wendell Jones has moved to rezone the building site that had been given to Occupy for as long as they needed it. A week earlier, he'd had it cleared by the police under the guise of new restrictions, but making the People's Mike illegal has drawn fire, and it has also galvanized OWS into taking on city council. Sue Winston had all but lost control of the meeting, when news arrived from the site that even left Jones speechless.
Series: Confidence (7 Articles, 5285 views)
(11 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Power Simplifies Lord Acton's assertion that power tends to corrupt was why he thought that kings and popes shouldn't be judged differently from other men. But characterizing the effects of power as corrupting is a value judgement, rather than a statement of how having power affects people, and that prevents us from understanding or responding to it properly. After all, corruption means different things to different people.
(21 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Saturday, January 12, 2013
You Know The Drill, And That's The Problem It doesn't matter what the issue is - gun violence, government finances, social programs - the situation is the same: each side watches in disbelief as the other prepares to destroy the world, while they selflessly prepare to save it. Neither can afford to let the other win. Stalemate. And it all comes down to a matter of belief. Not faith, mind you, belief, because you can't solve a problem unless you first believe it exists.
(28 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, January 6, 2013
The Narrative of No Escape The 'Global War on Terror' is more unconventional than most people give it credit for. It is not a war, but a state of permanent warfare being fought in our name, underwritten with our tax money, and which will claim untold lives on all sides. What it is, is a story that has engulfed our world, a narrative that we're expected to become a willing part of. It is the narrative of no escape. And yet we must.
(12 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, January 4, 2013
Through a Narrative, Brightly Step back from your life for a moment and think of yourself as a character in a story. Is your life worth reading? What about the stories that you've internalized? Are they worth keeping, or have they gone stale and unsatisfying? A little self-examination can be a valuable thing, so let's start at square one: how do you know what you think you know? That's the perspective to use when imagining the world without billionaires.
P. Orin Zack, From ImagesAttr
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Monday, December 24, 2012
Short Story: "Scaling K2" (part 3 of a series) OWS adapted when bullhorns were prohibited in Zucotti Park, and the people's mike was born. But what happens when unified speech or action is prohibited as well? Accept it or not, you still need to deal with the consequences, as the OWS where that rule was first (fictionally) imposed is finding out. Fortunately, they have a ten-year-old to guide them.
Series: Confidence (7 Articles, 5285 views)
From ImagesAttr
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, October 5, 2012
Short Story: "Making it Count" (Part 2 of a series) Bending to unreasonable demands emboldens your oppressor and saps your confidence. Sometimes you can work within the constraint, as OWS did when bullhorns were banned. But there must be a point beyond which you will not go. Finding that point is how you discover what really matters to you. In part 1, the mayor prohibited groups of 10 or more from acting as one. When even the People's Mike is made illegal, what then?
Series: Confidence (7 Articles, 5285 views)

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