Friday, May 2, 2008

Ice Nine and Cat's Cradle

First, let me explain about my domain name ice9web: I chose that name because it is really related to my full name "ice 9" and hobbies "web" let me itemize...isis lahora, ice 9 web, aice nice concepts

  1. Ice is my nick name I had it when I was 11y/o, a friend called me "ice" since he can't pronounce my true name "Isis" (came from Egyptian Goddess of Nature)

  2. 9 is the primary number of my full name which I will not mention here (^_^) sorry.

  3. web is the task that I often like to do during my vacant time i.e. website developing, weaving as in crochet or crosstitching, if you notice they all are related to web as like the spiders weaving their "web".
    yeah you can say am also fan of Spiderman, Superman and other super heroes alike (^_^) Am also a cat lovers (animal lovers, meaning I can live with them even dogs or mouse inside the house), BS-Technology Graduate in Computer and very interested if we talk about religion specifically Bible.

Now, I was really curious about the comments I received from Keith am I a Vonnegut's Cats Cradle Fan?
I haven't heard Vonnegut until now I have done my research and here is goes...

Cat's Cradle is a 1963 science fiction novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. It explores issues of science, technology and religion, satirizing the arms race and many other targets along the way. After turning down his original thesis, the University of Chicago, in 1971, awarded Vonnegut his Master's degree in anthropology for Cat's Cradle.

Plot summary

At the opening of the book, the narrator describes a time when he was planning to write a book about what important Americans did on the day Hiroshima was bombed. While researching this topic, the narrator becomes involved with the children of Felix Hoenikker, a fictional Nobel Laureate physicist who helped develop the atomic bomb. As the novel progresses, the narrator learns of a substance called ice-nine, created by the late Hoenikker and now secretly in the possession of his children. Ice-nine is an alternative structure of water that is solid at room temperature. When a crystal of ice-nine is brought into contact with liquid water, it becomes a seed that 'teaches' the molecules of liquid water to arrange themselves into the solid form, ice-nine.

Felix Hoenikker, although dead, is in some ways the central character of the book. It is the narrator's quest for biographical details about Hoenikker that provides both the background and the connecting thread between the various subsections of the story. Hoenniker himself is depicted as amoral and apathetic towards anything other than his research, a genius who does not care how his research is used, as in his role of "Father of the Atomic Bomb", and in his creation of "ice-nine", something he saw as a mental puzzle (suggested by a Pentagon general) which ends up destroying life on Earth. The narrator and the Hoenikker children eventually end up on the fictional Caribbean island of San Lorenzo, one of the poorest countries on Earth, where the people speak a barely comprehensible dialect of English. For example "twinkle, twinkle, little star" is rendered "tsvent-kiul, Tsvent-kiul, lett-pool store". It is ruled by the fictional dictator "Papa" Monzano, who threatens all opposition with impalement on a giant hook, although it is revealed later on that the hook is only actually used once every two years.

The religion of the people of San Lorenzo, called Bokononism, encompasses concepts unique to the novel. The supreme act of worship of the Bokononists is called 'boku-maru', which is an intimate act consisting of prolonged physical contact between the naked soles of the feet of two persons. It is supposed to result in peace and happiness between the two communicants, and when detected, is of course punished with death by the dictator, who wishes his people to be as scared, isolated and oppressed as possible. This dictator, ironically, is hailed as "one of Freedom's greatest friends" by representatives of the American government.

The dictator has bribed a son of Felix Hoenikker with a high government appointment in exchange for a piece of ice-nine, and he uses it to commit suicide as he lies dying from inoperable cancer. Consistent with the properties of 'ice-nine' the dictator's corpse instantly turns into a block of solid ice at normal room temperature. A sudden airplane crash into the dictator's seaside palace causes his still-frozen body to tumble into the ocean, at which point all the water in the world's seas, rivers, and groundwater also turns into ice-nine in a gigantic chain reaction, which destroys the ecology of the earth and causes the extinction of practically all life forms in only a few days.

In Vonnegut's own words: (from Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons)

Dear Reader: The title of this book is composed of three words from my novel Cat's Cradle. A wampeter is an object around which the lives of many otherwise unrelated people may revolve. The Holy Grail would be a case in point. Foma are harmless untruths, intended to comfort simple souls. An example: "Prosperity is just around the corner." A granfalloon is a proud and meaningless association of human beings. Taken together, the words form as good an umbrella as any for this collection of some of the reviews and essays I've written, a few of the speeches I made.

The title of the book derives from the string game" cat's cradle". Early in the book, we learn that Felix Hoenikker was playing cat's cradle when the atom bomb was dropped. The game is later referenced by Newt Hoenikker, Felix's dwarf son.

The character Felix Hoenikker was inspired by Irving Langmuir, a scientist at General Electric in Schenectady, New York, where Vonnegut worked in the 1950s, with the town of Ilium representing Schenectady in many of Vonnegut's works. Langmuir himself came up with the idea of ice-nine as a joke. In terms of characterization, however, Hoenikker is a composite figure assembled from Stanislaw Ulam and Edward Teller, the two scientists who finalized the math for the H-Bomb.

Hoenikker family also shares some characteristics with Vonnegut's own. Cat's Cradle was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1964.
A few years after the publication of Cat's Cradle, Soviet scientists announced the discovery of polywater, a substance that seemed eerily similar to ice-nine. The fervor around polywater lasted a few years but subsided when the initial results were shown to have been caused by impurities.

There you go (^_^)
was that a huge coincidence or what?
Let me know your insights.

Have a nice Day!



If you look into my eyes
will you see my love for you?
If you look at my lips
will you know it's meant for you?

Everything happens for reasons...
Every moment has its own seasons...

The right time will come,
we will be together for eternity,
The right moment will come
our bond shall be filled with God's Blessings and Security.

© Aice Nice Poems