Saturday, December 30, 2006
I was at a stop today and they had the news on. Suddenly the "lady " of the house let out an ear-piercing shriek, and the walls of the living room vibrated with the echo. Apparantly, Michael Jordan is getting a divorce and this was definately the most important item of news today in that house. I thought, "if you think that's entertaining, I know about these things called books..."; what I said was, "I didn't know he was married". I never really thought about it one way or another. I guess I could have assumed that he was probably married, but it never occurred to me. I think only the husband heard me say that, because the woman was off on a rant. Somehow the topic changed and she said, and this is as close to a direct quote as my aged and abused memory cells are capable of, "And now theyr'e cloning our food! Thats whats making everybody so fat!"
Luckily for me, the rant was aimed at no one in particular, so a response from me was not required. Had it been, I think I might have stuttered a bit. I challenge, nay I double dare, anyone reading this to give me one good reason why cloning chickens is wrong. And by "good reason" I don't mean "because its wrong", nor do I mean "because god doesn't like it". Extra points if you explain how this makes you fat. You have been eating cloned foods for years, but now thanks to fear-mongering Fox, it's a big deal. It's OK if Monsanto grows fish-berries, but you're scared of cloning.
Didn't you ever wonder why all those strawberries are identical? Do you know what a clone is? If you've ever made a cutting off of your favorite rose bush, or tried to get roots on a piece of houseplant by sticking it in water, then you have willingly sold your soul for all eternity to Satan by participating in that unholy ritual of science, cloning. Fusking Luddites, talk about a knee-jerk reaction. I can almost read thier thoughts "umm, thats science, right? Scientist want kill babies. And Scientist call me monkey. Science bad." Well, I could rant about this for a long time, but instead I'm going to hurry. Much the same as I how hurried and got done at that stop. As I was leaving the lady said "have a blessed new year" and by the way she pronounced "Bless Ed" suddenly it all became clear to me. I didn't want to, but I had to say "you too".
Friday, December 29, 2006
Saving the world in three easy steps
Whenever there is a pivotal event in historic events, only a handful of the people living through it realize it is important. I want to convince you that we are nearing one of those events and show you how to prevent screwing it up.
When I was a child, I thought America was the shining light for the rest of the world to follow into a new era. I thought, "Wow, if we're going to the moon now, by the twenty-first century it will just like the Jetsons!" I thought by the time I was forty we would have hotels on the moon. I thought we would have an entire city under the Pacific Ocean. I thought if America can go to the moon in just twenty short years after World War Two, then America can do anything.. I thought my robot maid would hand me my jet pack every morning.
Well, we have the internet.
Frankly, so far the twenty-first century doesn't seem much different from the sixties. The phones are smaller, but we're still flaunting our wealth by driving bigger and bigger cars while the poor gaze on in resentment. When they feel so frustrated and nobody will listen to them they throw a tomato at our Escalade, so we burn down his neighbors house ("sorry, you guys all look alike". It's deja vu all over again. Its been that way since the Cro-Mags moved down-river because the neanderthals were hanging around too much.
So what event am I talking about and how are we screwing it up? It is the transition into a planetary civilization. Ask yourself why no new oil refineries have been built since 1976. The companies know we are at peak oil production and they are scared. Once all the oil is gone we will be forced to realize that unless we want eternal war and strife, we must harness new forms of energy. This will require a global infrastructure. Now, we could achieve a planetary civilization by force; we could fight ever bigger wars until one power emerges to subjugate the rest of the world and build a kind of global infrastructure that way.
Or we could go to Mars.
Hear me out.
Mars is on the door-step of undreamed-of wealth; the asteroids. From a base on Mars we send out miners to extract metals to ship back to Earth. And then we could hog all that wealth in the hands of an elite few. Just kidding. All that wealth won't do us any good if we are not around to enjoy it.
Odds are it's only a matter of time before something happens that could threaten all life on the planet. Remember that planetary civilization I was talking about? The one with the global infrastructure? We would need it to survive in the event of an imminent bolide impact. And having some humans somewhere else would mean that if we blew up the planet ourselves, at least some of us might survive.
We still have the problem of the poor gazing on in resentment. I can hear them now, "first they use all the oil in the world to make plastic bags to choke turtles and smog to choke birds, and they tell us not to do the same thing? And now they use up what little we have left to go to a place to make themselves even richer?" Poor deluded peasants, always whining about something. Shall we squash them under the thumb of subjugation?
A civilization where the slaves toil to make the elite wealthier is one that can never become a planetary civilization. It would be a step backwards to a new dark-age, where the waitresses and cab-drivers lived or died at the whim of some feudalistic corporation. It's a small step from mercenary to corporate contractor, and it's a small step from corporate contractor to corporate army, followed closely by corporate war. If your business is war you don't fight to win, you fight to keep fighting.
There is a lot of work to be done; enough for the whole planet. Suppose the hidden eco-system of microbes extending underground is necessary for the prolonged survival of all life to colonize another planet. That's an example of the kind of question that needs to be asked, and a project of the magnitude of supporting a colony on Mars would increase the economy of the entire planet and the waitresses and cab-drivers would be a little less inclined to gaze on in resentment.
So to recap:
1. educate the masses
2. develop a global infrastructure
3. mine the asteroids
result= everybody is happy and America is once again the shining light leading the rest of the world into a new era
1. subjugate the masses
2. return to a feudal society
3. corporate armies
result= eternal conflict or annihilation
These people called "creationists" say we should just kick back, do nothing, and wait for god to come back. How apathetic. Creationism is disrespectful to our entire phylogeny. All of us are descended from millions of generations of ancestors who were successful at being fruitful and multiplying. By denying the science, it's like saying your grandpa is unimportant. Such 15th century thinking has no place in a century where most of us know the world isn't flat. Religions are quaint cultural customs and an excuse for family reunions; they're not worth fighting over, and they're not worth letting the planet go to crap over. It's in our intinct to want a new land to colonize and if we don't find somewhere else to go to multiply, we won't be very fruitful.