Category Archives: Doomsday

Good Villain: Good Hero

Less than a year ago I wrote this: Villains 1882 and promptly forgot about it.

Age, decrepitude, life’s problems commandeering center stage — you know, excuses.

Then, having begun YAAS (yet another apocalyptic story) I found myself stumbling along, hero in mind, a theme, a setting, an era but, I struggled to jell the story in my mind. I poured out a few thousand words and what? Where was I going with this? Weeks went by…

And then, along came a villain.

There we are. There’s the damn story, replete with subplots, conflict, goal, and climax. All I needed to do was to follow my own bloody advice. Sure, create a compelling protagonist chock full of angst and potential but, shite-on-a-stick, what the hell will he/she do then?

Oh, right. FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT AGAINST THE BAD GUY.

You wanna meet this new villain? Think you’re gutsy enough to confront — her? Well, you’re gonna have to wait, friends. She’s not happy right now. In fact, she’s down right pissed. It seems an illness has cursed her with a trademark brand. That, and the ability to impose an ungodly, brain-jarring, mind fuck on anyone who displeases her. A strange gift and the intellect to use it.

Finally, a VILF.

 

 


Are games sports?

Over on Frank Solanki’s poetry blog:

May The Test Match Win

he used the word “sport” to describe games being played between rival teams.

Now, the world over conflates the word “sport” with a game played with equipment (sticks, balls, gloves, etc.) on a field or court, constrained by rules and governed by referees.

In a jocular mood I penned, as a comment, the following limerick:

The players declared this was sport.
The team owners together claimed tort!
If there are rules and a ball,
And lined fields to fall,
It’s a game, the judged cried with a snort.

In my mind, games are NOT sports.

fishingbaseball

“There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.” – Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway was an avid hunter and fisherman and no doubt would include those activities as sports.

But games? Maybe if you got rid of all the rules, put nails and barbwire on the bats and balls and PAID to play in fights to the death — then I might consider those sports.

Your thoughts?

 


The Day the Earth Died

I don’t often share such articles, but this one sticks out as critically important. It regards the KT moment, the end-of-days for Dino the Dinosaur. And what you’ll find is that it appears that a paleontologist has found evidence of the exact moment of the Chicxulub asteroid impact.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/04/08/the-day-the-dinosaurs-died

— The KT event continues to attract the interest of scientists in no small part because the ashen print it left on the planet is an existential reminder. “We wouldn’t be here talking on the phone if that meteorite hadn’t fallen,”

— The Tanis site, in short, did not span the first day of the impact: it probably recorded the first hour or so.


MTBF: Life

* Fermi Paradox topic alert

MTBF is a manufacturing term meaning Mean Time Between Failure. On average, what is the amount of time a product operates without failure.

In our analysis of the paucity of life in the universe, this concept — as applied to life — is less frequently addressed. But it’s critical to understanding why humanity is “probably” alone in the universe.

If you were an abiogenesis researcher trying to create life in the lab and one day you astound yourself and world by creating replicating, mutating life in a petri dish. You run out of the lab, shouting to your peers and head to the bar to celebrate. Meanwhile, Billy-the-janitor, runs across your ugly-smear of creation you left on the counter and tosses it in the trash headed to the incinerator. Poof. MTBF of your abiogenetically created life? About 24 hours.

As we investigate the probabilities of life in the universe, we must not only imagine the conditions that we believe are required for life to spawn spontaneously in the strange seas or tide pools of exotic planets, but we must include the MTBF of that life. If a comet smacks such a life-foundational planet every few months, wiping out Darwin’s crucible — over and over — that must be a part of our calculations.

If life gets started but the periods of prosperity are so short lived, despite the initial conditions that engendered such life, it doesn’t matter that such a place is ‘perfect’ to harbor life. A short MTBF will exclude it from our tally.

And it’s not just microbial life that we’re considering. MTBF of a society killing asteroid: 50 million years? MTBF of a super volcanoes: every 100,000 years? And my favorite the MTBF of a technologically advanced society, reliant on electricity coursing through wires, due to coronal mass ejection (CME): About 200 years.

There are dozens of other types of life erasers, each with its MTBF. Pockets of life must not only navigate such continuous disasters, but it must grow large enough so that as these calamities occur, the likelihood that any one catastrophe kills the entire genome of the planet (or the species) is reduced.

We look for the exo-conditions that we think are favorable to life. But we must remember to include the windows of opportunity life has, interstitially inserted between extinction events. What is humanity’s real MTBF?


Obesity: stocking up for the End

What if the current trend of obesity was preparation for the coming apocalypse?

When Anak Krakatoa blows its lid, kicking off another super volcano somewhere (there are a number of them). Or when the CME finally arrives (I’ve been waiting for years). Maybe it will be that elusive rogue asteroid that sneaks past observation (I’d mention alien invasion here, but aliens don’t exist). Whatever it might be, when the world system shuts down and collapses, people with a few extra pounds (or tens of pounds) may be fixed to survive longer than the fit-n-trim bunch.

That is the way humanity’s physiology is built — gorge in the late summer and fall, eat and gain weight for the coming winter and starvation period of spring. This epidemic of obesity spreading around the would, maybe it’s just preparation? A collective subconsciousness aware that the End is nigh. So pass the pizza and beer, I’m loading up for the Apocalypse.

(Of course, there’s the complication of Insulin being a short shelf-life drug that would cease production during the collapse… See: https://anonymole.com/2017/04/06/diabetics-and-the-apocalypse/)


Panem et circenses: 21st century style

Panem et circenses — bread and circuses — that’s what kind of world we live in today.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Apple, Amazon, Google, Alibaba, Tencent, and all the rest of the social/consumer apps and companies dedicated to feeding and filling the populace with useless, nutritionally empty, profoundly vacant nonsense — we deserve such inane creations.

We have returned to an era of bread and circuses.

While the planet’s ecosystems literally melt, burn, boil and die, we get fed a constant stream of vapid, utterly empty crap. CRAP! A billion+ humans creating media crap everyday to feed to each other, hoping their crap is better than his crap, than her drivel, than their banal, vomitous effluent.

That is our legacy. That is our heritage. Instead of lifting humanity into the transcendent elevations of kindness, forbearance, forgiveness and understanding we voted in a cadre of capitalistic masters. Today’s “corporations” gorge themselves on the monetary leakage of humanity’s insipid predilection for self-indulgence.

We deserve what we get. Which, in the end, will be destruction.

*** Peanuts, popcorn $15.00 a bag. Bagels $10. There’s an app for that! ***


Fossil fuel volcano

I’m reading Light of the Stars “Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth” — Adam Frank.

I’m about halfway through and so far Frank has supplied mostly background in his attempt, I’m assuming, to present various models — based on our solar system’s mechanics and planetary variations — to determine the probability of exo-civilizations, in the galaxy and the cosmos in general.

Humanity’s existence and technological capability is dependent on a host of serendipitous “coin-flips” all landing up heads. Two of the biggest and most impactful are plate tectonics and the availability of a billion years worth of stored solar energy in the form of fossil fuel.

Plate tectonics ensures that CO2 is recycled. (CO2 is fixed from the atmosphere as sediment and rock, calcium carbonate — limestone, taken below the crust, disassociated and then re-released by volcanoes around the planet.) Without this cycle, CO2 would stay fixed, the planet would cool (as it has done in the past) (Nitrogen and Oxygen, 78% and 21%, are not efficient greenhouse gases) and that would be it for Earth.

And we all know what fossil fuels have done for humanity; taken an energy starved species and give it unlimited access to millions of years of nearly-free solar power. Without fossil fuels, humanity would have killed off all the whales (for fuel), burned down all the forests (for fuel), and never seen the explosive population growth that produced copious ideas resulting in constant technological advancement.

WorldPopulationGrowthFossilFuels

Part of his premise (I’m guessing) is to determine the impact and potential mitigation of global warming during the Anthropocene. This unusual release of extra CO2 that is warming the planet is, as far as he’s concerned, a potential solution to the Fermi Paradox: exo-civilizations might kill themselves off by their shear size and impact on their planet.

As I read Adam Frank’s setup I thought about a strange “ready for fiction” story line:

What would happen if a volcano suddenly spawned beneath one (or more) vast crude oil fields? Imagine if a Kilauea sized volcano burst up from the sands of Saudi Arabia. The heat and fire would start the oil burning. Thirty mile-high plumes of smoke would spread out for decades. Nuclear winter would descend. This is much like what a super-volcano would do, but a smaller volcano would suffice to trigger the calamity.

This is typical, don’t you think, this reading of anything and the extrapolation of a fiction story from the material? The “what if”s. I thrive on them.