Family Tree Solitaire for cribbage?

My version 1.0 of Family Tree Solitaire uses poker rules for scoring family hands.  But there is no reason why I couldn’t use other card game rules, such as those for the popular game of Cribbage.

There are things in Cribbage that might not work in Family Tree Solitaire, such as pegging or putting cards in the crib — although I can think of various ways to incorporate this game play into Family Tree Solitaire – Cribbage — but ultimately a Cribbage hand ends up consisting of 4 cards.  There is also a fifth card that is used in a Cribbage hand, the card that sits on top of the deck.  Using that card as well, the computer could figure out what the best possible Cribbage hand is for a particular set of cards in a family.

I just wanted to put that out there in case there is interest in “Family Tree Solitaire – Cribbage”.  Feel free to share your own thoughts on this idea by replying below.

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NeuroQuantology and space exploration

NeuroQuantology is an interdisciplinary journal of neuroscience and quantum physics.  Physicist Roger Penrose’s theory about quantum consciousness is probably the largest reason for the existence of this new — 10 years old — term.  Other research, such as this article about Joe Kirschvink’s theories about human magnetoreception, may also turn out to be related.

According to Wikipedia, “the journal has a 2013 impact factor of 0.439, ranking it 240th out of 251 journals in the category ‘Neuroscience'”  That makes it an outlier among science journals.  After all, the idea of quantum physics being the mechanism of consciousness is pretty out there.  So why am I bothering to talk about it?

The idea of other life — outside of Earth — in our solar system is pretty out there too.  Yet we see stories all the time about water being found, such as the latest about oceans inside of Pluto.  What are the odds that life exists in the oceans in other moons and dwarf planets?  I don’t know, but there is plenty of interest in future exploration of some or all of these places.  It would be fascinating even to find out there are live microbes in some of these worlds.

But how often do we read about discussion of exploration or explanation of our consciousness?  Probably not as much, especially when referring to hard consciousness, yet wouldn’t a better understanding of free will and the human experience be an equally exciting discovery?

It seems to me that a discovery in either case — finding life inside a moon or determining that human free will exists thanks to quantum physics or some other as yet unknown science — would profoundly change our point of view no less than the finding that the Earth is not flat or that it revolves around the Sun.

In any case, I think time will tell.  Which is why I love to think about time travel.

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150 people playing “Family Tree Solitaire”

With almost 150 people playing “Family Tree Solitaire”, I want to send out a big THANK YOU to all of you who have tried my new card game.

While I realize it is not as easy to learn as some other solitaire games, I do feel that once you understand the rules and user interface (navigating the family tree) for the game, it provides an enjoyable and different kind of experience compared to other single player card games.

TIP: Use your memory skills to remember where you are building straights, flushes, runs, or other types of poker hands.  The more you remember, the easier it is to return to the family that has the hand you want to add the current card to.

TIP: As a beginning player, you might find it easier to concentrate on building families with just one of two types of poker hands.  For example, if you always try to build families with flushes — cards of the same suit — it may be easier to remember which hands had the suit of the current card.

TIP: Royal Flushes are worth more than any other hand.  It is often worth trying to get a royal flush, even for a family that already has a straight flush.

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Is “The Starry Night” next?

Borrowed Light Studios, below, uses VR to let us  virtually walk through the Van Gogh painting “The Night Café”.  This could become a popular use of VR, allowing both art lovers and VR fans to use the technology to get behind the curtain of the painter’s work.

The Starry Night” is among my favorites paintings — quite possibly my favorite — so I would enjoy seeing a similar VR walkthrough for another of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings.  The town under the surreal stars is a mystery worth exploring.  But could I hike the mountain, and what would I find?

If you, like me, are fascinated by “The Starry Night”, you might also enjoy my short story “Light Echo” in my anthology “Science Fiction: The Arts“.

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What did 1 microbe think of the other (10^12)-1?

New research on microbial diversity shows that there may be as many as 10^12 — a trillion — microbial species on Earth.

In the last few years, scientists have learned that bacteria talk to one another, and to cells, via molecules.

There may have been as many as 20 early human species on Earth.  Today, as far as I know, there is only 1 human species left.  Considering the amount of political and social tension among the few billion members of this one species, as a sci-fi writer I find it interesting to ponder whether there are similar social stresses among the countless members of the trillions of species in the microbial community.

You might be wondering how bacteria could even have social tension.  We do know that they make a kind of war with each other, even inside our own gut.  But what do they think of other bacteria?  Do they even think?  Do they have consciousness?  Agree or disagree, there are some researchers who think bacteria may be conscious — or at least much more aware than we give them credit for.  If you find the subject interesting, you might like this 2007 thread on the Physics Forums.

Bacteria have been the fodder for many excellent sci-fi stories, from “Andromeda Strain” — actually a virus — to “War of the Worlds”.  I’ve got a couple of story ideas involving bacteria I plan to write about.  In the meantime, you might enjoy my genetics-related stories in my anthology “Science Fiction: Genetics”.

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What did one bacteria say to the other when asked why he supported a different candidate for President?  “My gut reaction isn’t the same as yours.”