Faces

Faces tell a lot about what a person is thinking or feeling.  Unfortunately we don't always read the right message from the face, but faces can lie.  We start reading faces as infants looking up into our mother's face, leaning over the crib.  The infant learns to read whether she is happy and smiling or angry or afraid.  The baby automatically reacts.

Somehow our brains tell us when a smile is a real indication of pleasure and when it is being polite or when it is being deceptive.  Sometimes a pleasant smile can hide anger or violence.  That is one of the reasons that clowns can be so scarey.  We can't tell if they are going to kill us or make us laugh!

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Reading at A Book In The Hand

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There are a lot of writers on Cape Cod on the coast of Massachusetts.  A lot of them are quite good and some of them are quite famous and have made a pretty good living.  I mentioned to a builder friend that I had published a novel and he told me about a client who builds a new addition to his home every time he publishes another book!  "Publish another book," he told me, "and let me know!"  The question is how to let people know.

To that end, I am presenting my novel, Recalculating Truth at the monthly meeting of an organization known as "A Book In The Hand" or ABITH on Monday night, January 12, 2015 at 7PM.  The gathering will be at the Jacob Sears Memorial Library at 23 Center Street in East Dennis, MA 02660 (508-385-8151).  There's parking across the street.  There is a drawing for copies of the books of the presenting authors.

I will be reading a bit of Recalculating Truth and explaining how it came to be.  Writers are interesting people.  The transfer of non-existent people created in one mind to other minds is quite fascinating.  People talk about them as though they really exist, and I guess if I've done my job, the characters are as real as any other person you've never met but have only heard about. 

Leslie Meier will also be there.  http://www.lesliemeierbooks.com/  She's written a bucket load of mysteries.  It should be a fun evening.  I hope you'll join us

The Gentle Art of Electronic Waterboarding

"tucking a pocket of the towel into his mouth like something for a baby to suck on"

It is only fiction but it is uncomfortably close to reality

 

Long time Cape Cod resident, Paul H. Raymer, recently published his novel, Recalculating Truth, a story based on electronically processing human tells to reveal the truth without torture.   For the past thirty-five years, Mr. Raymer has started numerous companies and developed a wide array of products.  He has woven those experiences into this story of starting a business, developing a unique product, and the challenges and mysteries of truth and lies.  The story winds its way from Guantanamo to Cape Cod and gradually peals away layers of lies from the simple to the deadly.

With the release of the report on "enhanced interrogation techniques", its impact on international relations, future interrogations of Americans in captivity, this novel is very timely.  Technology is moving so rapidly that in the year that it took to put this book together imagination and reality have moved frighteningly closer together.   Facial recognition is used to detect terrorists at airports.  The FBI and police departments use voice stress and statement analysis.  And body language is used by television shows to uncover true love.  All of these technologies are combined to provide a much more accurate interpretation of the truth in this novel, proving that truth and lies can be used as a very effective weapon.

Can actionable truth be extracted with torture?  Or is it just another layer of lies?  Recalculating!

Voice Stress Analysis

Is she telling the truth . . . or not?

Is she telling the truth . . . or not?

One of the four elements that the device in Recalculating Truth is Voice Stress Analysis (VSA) or Layered Voice Stress Analysis (LVSA).  There is a lot of money to be made if a technology can clearly and simply prove that someone is lying.  Because of that and because of the passion that surrounds fringe sciences, there are those that take the technology very, very seriously.  There are studies and institutes and technical papers.  And it can move all the way into violence as positions are defended. 

There is The International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law.  They did an interesting story on scientists getting sued when they challenged the technical validity of one technology.  There is the truly interesting National Institute for Truth Verification.  Maybe there is more to this stuff than smoke and mirrors!

VSAVoice Stress Analysis is based on the theory that stress brought on by lying causes tremors in the vocal cords thus changing the person's voice. VSA uses an instrument that measures micro-muscle tremors which are impossible to hear with the human ear. When the machine detects that a person is no longer speaking within his normal range, it is an indication the person is lying.

Layered Voice Analysis   LVA uses a patented and unique technology to detect “brain activity traces” using the voice as a medium. By utilizing a wide range spectrum analysis to detect minute involuntary changes in the speech waveform itself, LVA can detect anomalies in brain activity and classify them in terms of stress, excitement, deception, and varying emotional states, accordingly.

Professionals in the field of lie detection know that there is no "true" lie detector, as lying is not a unified set of feelings that can be measured. Lying is a result of a deep logical process that is executed with a particular intention. One might lie to protect oneself from harm, while another might lie to gain profit, or even just to make a joke. Due to this variety in motivation and intention, there is no fixed set of characteristics (physiological or psychological) that differentiate lies from truth. However, LVA is capable of detecting the intention behind the lie, and by doing so can lead you to identifying and revealing the lie itself.

Cate's Book Club

Cate's Book Club - November, 2014

On Friday evening, November 21 I experienced my first book club meeting regarding Recalculating Truth.  Lots of great questions, a lot of enthusiasm, and a few bottles of wine (and Buddy the dog).  Readers are absolutely vital in the process of creating stories and characters.  It was exciting to hear other describe thoughts and ideas and people that had come out of my head.  I don't think that most readers realize how powerful they are.  This was an exceptional group - both literarily and technically savvy.  Thank you all for inviting me and sharing your thoughts.

New!

It's confusing.  Everybody loves new things . . . new clothes, new cars, new cell phones.  People pay money to get a new cell phone every year or every week!  It's a passion!  But wait a minute.  Those new things are from well known brands . . . Apple, Toyota, Michael Kors!  Are they really new or are they just . . . I don't know . . . an improvement on something existing?  (I've always wondered how something could be 'New and Improved!'  Can you improve something that didn't exist?)

But what about things that are truly new like the first radio, the first airplane, the first telephone?  It took awhile for those innovations to be accepted.  The same thing is true for new artists or writers.  A new book by a known author is much easier to take a chance on than a new book by an author you've never heard of.  It's another attrition filter.  There are thousands of new writers out there trying to get someone to pay attention to their new book.  I don't know if this is a fact, but the average new book sells less than 100 copies.  Like most things, if a writer doesn't get encouragement, they will often lose faith in their ability, and they will stop writing - moving on to something else.  Who knows how many really good writers have simply stopped writing.

But maybe NEW could be made into an asset!  Like a rookie baseball card!  What if you had the Ernest Hemingway rookie writer card?  Or the John Updike rookie card?  What would those be worth on Ebay?  It could come in a package with a flat piece of the pink, yuckie chewing gum!  The card could be for the book and the team could be the writer.  Or we could form writer teams like the New York Novelists or the Cape Cod Psychological Thrillers or the Maniac Mystery Writers!

I don't know.  You get a little punchy being creative over a hot keyboard!

Craftsman

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I love craftsmen.  By 'craftsmen' I mean anyone who is skilled at their craft - male or female, artist or truck driver or paper pusher.  Craftsmen take pride in what they do not because they have to but because they actually enjoy what they do.  I have watched a person behind a counter in a sub shop put a sandwich together with skill and dexterity and flourish, working with a team who dance around together from the coffee pot to the refrigerator to the cash register.  Simple movements.  Simple ballet.  I've watched a glass blower extract a bird from a molten piece of glass with a few simple twists of the wrist, twists that took a dozen years or more to master.  I have listened a builder explain with joy the solution to a complex structural problem and make it look easy.

Finding the joy in any task is not easy.  Some tasks are so mundane and so repetitive and so seemingly meaningless that it is hard to master the artistry.  Making a thousand sandwiches a day could be pretty boring.  A nurse in a hospital rehabilitation program who has to work with continuous groups of overweight elderly people who don't care enough to take care of themselves could be a chore.  Distributing the mail day after day could induce ennui.

It is easy to be in awe of Michelangelo or Shakespeare or Einstein.  Noticing and appreciating and recognizing skilled, everyday craftspeople gives color and artistry to the tapestry of my life.  And if you say to a ticket agent at an airport as you watch him handle the paperwork and bags and dance through the turmoil, "Wow.  You're really good at this!"  he'll probably think you're kidding, but then a smile might just grow on his face as he recognizes that you are serious followed by a pause.  "Thank you . . . next!"

Mentors

Hector Demell

As we go through life there are amazing people who touch us, touch our minds and our attitudes about life and living.  They are teachers.  They are mentors.  They mold us into who we are and often don't even know it.

I have been lucky to have a number of such people in my life such as the man pictured here.  His name was Hector Romulus Demell.  He was a French Canadian whose mother loved the classics.  Her children had very remarkable names!  I wasn't even a teenager when I met Hector.  He was one of those quiet, unassuming people who know how to do everything just because . . . how hard could it be?  Hector's family lived in a cabin in the Canadian bush.  One day, one of the children had severe pains in her side.  Hector's mother got on the radio telephone and called the doctor who was about a day away.  She laid her daughter out on the kitchen table, and by the light of a kerosene lantern and long distance guidance from the doctor, extracted her appendix with a kitchen knife.

He could paddle a canoe without dripping on the surface of the water because that would disturb the fish.  And while he was paddling he rolled and lit a cigarette without losing a beat.  He didn't like to eat the trout that he help us catch, but he could cook them over a camp fire so that they would melt in your mouth.  He could cook some of the tastiest French pancakes or 'Crepe Suzette' filled with jam and dusted with powered sugar.  He could cut down a tree with an axe and drop it on a dime.  One night he heard scratching on the roof of his cabin, and went out to find a bear sitting there.  Bear meat can be tasty, he told me.  I don't know why he just didn't talk the bear down! 

My grandfather built a house in the woods by the side of the lake.  You could only get to it by walking or by boat.  When the house was built, he decided that he needed a basement underneath it for a cold cellar to store stuff since there was no electricity.  He and Hector got some dynamite and blew the rock out from underneath the house without disturbing anything or killing themselves in the process.

I always thought of Hector as one of those people inherently knew the meaning of life and the essence of the natural order.  He didn't talk about it or brag about it.  He just lived it.  The way it should be lived.

Finding a particular grain of sand

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All those lives!  All those people, thoughts, ideas, loves, hatreds . . . stories and readers.  When you write a book you are all by yourself, staring at the page or computer screen.  It's a one on one experience.  And it could end there.  But when someone else reads the book and if you have done your job well, the characters and the tale come alive in another mind.  And maybe that person will tell another person that the book is worth reading and it will come alive in another mind as well.

When Gutenberg printed his bible, there was only one book, one title on the market.  Then there were other presses and other books.  Now there are millions of presses and millions of books and millions of people who write, almost as many as there are grains of sand on a beach.  How can a writer get a reader to pause, bend over, and select a single grain of sand from all those others?

You have to take a deep breath, believe in your writing, and believe in your friends.  It's the old pyramid plan - two friends tell two of their friends tell two of their friends . . ..  And there is the vast social network where that plan can touch thousands of people in an instant.

Amazon has a page for authors where they can put up information about themselves.  If you would go to my author page http://amzn.to/1BqNBVK and click on the "Like" button in the upper right, that would help my Amazon ranking, making my grain of sand a little more obvious on the beach.  And if you have read Recalculating Truth and were willing to review it, that would be wonderful.