Additional Content - Fall 2012

Second Language

Georgia Sinimbu in Biology co-directed a short movie with Dr. Alla Borisyuk about learning second languages.  You can watch it here.

Extremely Short Story Contest

In our issue, we only published four of the Extremely Short Stories submissions.  The remaining six (in no particular order) are published below!


Apratim Majumder, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Seven seconds until the results.

Without the gift of free will, every surviving human being had been made into a puppet at the hands of Realm.

Six seconds.

It was some fifty years ago - near the end of the first decade of the 21st century, that scientists discovered that the human brain was capable of sub-consciously making decisions almost seven seconds before these decisions were acted out by the human being – a temporal gap of seven seconds separating brain activity from its physical realization.

Five seconds.

It had taken another couple of decades to convert this discovery into a weapon more powerful than any previously known to man – capable of detecting his decisions and the following actions even before he himself knew it and to stop him from performing them.

Four seconds.

The Great War witnessed its complete potential. To destroy free will.

Three seconds.

But The Insurgence has in the last one year developed a technology to counter this weapon. Five seconds from this very moment – this fissure in time, they began testing it.

Two seconds.

The very future of mankind depends on its success.

One second.

In one second they will know.

Whether they can decide.


The Age of Esotericism


Seven seconds until enlightenment.

    Six seconds until reason.

        Five seconds until thought.

            Four seconds until reflection.

                Three seconds until knowledge.

                    Two seconds until understanding.

                        One second until ascension.

I am all and all are me. Heaven, Hell, and Earth are only names given for destinations we desire, fear, and live in. Time is but an illusion.

Fires burn but the air is clean. The world is at peace but we all know insurrection is but a few steps away.

Globalization has finally become a reality where we no longer know ourselves. Yet, when have we ever? We are all sheep waiting for a shepherd to lead us. The powers of cognition and intellect, the greatest gifts to humanity, remain obscure as we face an onslaught of bias and hate from media and the outspoken.

They say the past was like this. They say the past once promised to improve. I say things remain the same. The fear to be different, the deficiency of civility, the lack of the mind has proven again and again to be the dominant forces in this world.


Such amplitude of knowledge and facts are wasted. If only they knew.

I will change the world.

The Silent Fall

Trevor Dick, Mathematics and Physics

Seven seconds until our destiny- realization of fate. A collective action never more daring, exposing necessity to not be used up in times as these. Time, how important; now more than ever when cycles wheel and eternities of actions fall into place. Life, so called virtual, fills countless spaces- infinitely accessible. The code, driven by isomorphisms to the natural laws, writes out every possibility. How easy is once was; the past now indescribable in its simplicity. Cycles repeat and we have failed to undo the chaos. We again stand at the brink and we must reach.

A great few have dreamed and set in motion a plan. The only course conceivable was indelibly a great sacrifice and an even greater risk. All now wait for news of their fate, of our fate, of fate itself. A question lingers, chaos; can we escape? Time still passes for now- only seconds, but infinite cycles are now collapsed. Soon will turn a new epoch, a new order, but we have a solution, hope; survival at odds we’ve never known. Should these words echo through, let it be known who….

Growing Up


Seven seconds until I can clearly organize my thoughts and finally break free...

I tend to be reserved but she is radical. I met her when I was still young but never really noticed her. It’s my nature to always think ahead; and thus, I’m destined to live in the future. I convinced myself I can control this future. She knows it. I have trained for years to become the best and, during all those years, she stood by my side without provoking me.

Now I feel ready for anything but my breaking point is still seven seconds ahead. She has time, so she waits. She knows I’ll continue to plan second by second until my seventh second transcurs. She also knows that, at that precise moment, I’ll suddenly realize I'm not the best at what I do. She will laugh at me; but surprisingly, I won’t get angry. She is, of course, always right and knows that everything in my life has been a mere illusion. I'll reflect on my life and get anxious.

She will then correct me by saying: no, you’re getting desperate. To what I’ll respond: why did I ever think I could make a difference?

Project Blueberry

Branton Peay, Electrical Engineering

Seven seconds until we land on Planet X. The Bessel telescope found this planet after space exploration project Blueberry began. A planet just like Earth has been found and we are landing right now. The pressure at sea level is very close to the earth, so our space suits won’t be needed. Nitrogen levels are at 85.03% instead of 78.09%. This “air filter” we have in the back of our throat somehow changes the air here to the same ratios as earth. Otherwise we would get nitrogen narcosis like scuba divers. Grant explained it to me once, he is a chemical engineer. We have a group of 100 people here consisting of scientists, engineers, and survival experts. We plan on starting a colony here. I hope my wife will be able to join me a year from now after we build our basecamp. Nine months to build a self-dependent base with natural power sources, a small farm, and plans to expand. We are mostly starting from scratch. Then three months to travel here. I got my PhD in Power Engineering and volunteered to venture here with project Blueberry. Strange, Planet X really does look like a blueberry.

Leaving Blue Planet

Mausam Kalita, Medicinal Chemistry

“Seven seconds until we land; so, get ready,” Quantum told me looking at the monitor of our space shuttle. Our extreme excitement was, perhaps, comparable to feelings of founding fathers of America came to the shores of New England one thousand years ago. Humanity went through a roller-coaster ride between then and now; we fought five world wars and defended democracy from invasion of Russia-China-Iran-Venezuela axis, we had our first Muslim lesbian President, delicate arch of Utah crumbled down to earth, ultra-sensitive telescopes sent images of civilizations from Ursa Majoris, forty six light years from earth and above all, we were fast moving to a new extraterrestrial home.

“Seven, six, five.......” the voice from the screen alerted me. As the shuttle started to touch down, both joy and fear ran down my spine. “This is the moment,” Quantum, my partner told, “of a new civilization far away from our blue planet.” Our first task would be to recreate five hundred species through fusion of sperms and eggs that we brought with us. From a distant obscure horizon, the sun started to radiate low energy photons on red surface as dawn of a civilization arrived.