World's End

Well, I've got the BMEshop software up and running, it's just missing a lot of data (note: don't bother going and looking, it's not currently in a public location)… Which means that we either wait for the restoration data, or we start a tedious rebuild. Lazarus will have their advice for us later today, so that's when we make the decision I guess… From my point of view, the only truly irreplacable thing that was lost was the BME/Risks writing… Everything else can be rebuilt.

Anyway, I was thinking about how an incredibly tiny attack on the US — undeniably the world's single most powerful country — absolutely crippled it, both internally, and as far as its international status goes (I won't even go into how well this has proved to the world that terrorism works). I don't really know what life is like for the average American, but the message that's being sent to the rest of the world is that when America is asked to face even a tiny catastrophe, that it comes close to crumbling, making one wonder what a major catastrophe would do.

In their oral history, the Maoris tell of a time of fire that destroyed the world. The Aborigines tell of the pillars that hold up the sky collapsing, coupled with the sea caving in as well and then a follow-up destruction by a “great white wave”. The Makah (ie. Kwenaitchechat, Pacific Northwest Natives) tell about the ocean suddenly receding, and then returning to flood their land in a huge wall (ie. tsunami). The punch line is that we're not talking about myths here — when asked when this happened, they'll tell you “a long time ago but not at a very remote period”, or, about 500 years (it's considered “human” history, rather than some sort of time-before-time deal).

Geological evidence is now starting to back up these stories. Australia was burned to a crisp about 500 years ago. Most of the evidence is pointing to a meteor strike somewhere off the coast, causing both massive fire damage, as well as tsunamis affecting most of the Pacific coasts. For those of you who don't know much about tsunamis (tidal waves), they can move at 250 meters per SECOND underwater (that's well over 550 miles an hour) and the ones that have hit Australia have been as high as 500 feet, and can move very far inland.

Statistically it's pretty much impossible that we won't have this happen many times again. In recent history (1908) we've seen a huge chunk of Siberia wiped out (as well as the well publicized comet strikes on nearby planets)… what would happen if ground zero for this strike was New York City? New York wouldn't just lose a couple big buildings and a few thousand innocent people — it would lose every building and every person, plus monstrous damage to Jersey and the surrounding area… Or, if the asteroid hit a few miles off the coast, you'd still destroy NYC, but you'd also do huge damage to most of the coastal cities.

Game over.

Our society is complex, but complex in a “big stupid lumbering” sort of way. The average person has ZERO usable skills. Dump the average person in damaged wilderness and they'll be dead inside of a week. Dump them inside a damaged urban environment and they'll be dead inside of two days. Hello Night of the Comet.

I can't tell you this will happen tomorrow. I can't tell you this will happen within the year. But I can tell you that it will happen, and statistically it may well happen without our lives. The asteroid that took out the dinosaurs was only about six miles across. That's not that big… But even if it was smaller — for example in 1972, the earth got hit by an asteroid about 1000 tons in size (quite tiny), but luckily it bounced off. If it hadn't, we'd have had a Hiroshimi-sized blast over Canada. For comparison, the monstrous meteor crater in Arizona (I took some pictures of it) was done by a small rock only about 350 feet across.

I know I'm rambling off on tangents, but even the smaller asteroids can be extremely dangerous if their composition is right. The one that took out Siberia is estimated to have been under 200 feet in size, but because it hit the atmosphere fast enough, enough mechanical shock went through it that it literally turned into a bomb and the rock itself exploded (icy meterorites do the same quite regularly, but are less dangerous).

So… Maybe I shouldn't give it too much worry that humans are fucking with the world, killing each other and contaminating the planet with our garbage and pollution? Since we're more concerned with war technology than space colonization technology, it's just a matter of time before we become extinct. World ending catastrophes happen. It is a fact, and an unavoidable fact.

I would give up everything I have to homestead on Mars.

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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