Tag: Mediterranean Sea

Day 1000: How It Ends

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Inside this cubicle the air is thick as honey, with asphyxiating flecks of the mundane bracing against the irrefutable promise of a golden weekend. Outside these pin-cushion partitions – and indeed inside as well – every tiny molecule in the universe is saying its goodbyes to its neighbors and preparing to splash into the unknown permutations of a distant someday. My fingers hammer at these tiny plastic letters, fully ignorant of what’s to come.

Or are they? The hallowed fingers of esteemed science – no doubt similar in size and shape to my own, only tasked with a far more specific purpose – have combed back the hair of the observable now and picked at the scalp-nits of projection. The fields of astronomy, physics, mathematics, and a cabinet full of –ologies have given us a map of what’s to come. A timeline of time’s last hurrah.

And the best part? If any of these predictions are wrong, every record of them will likely be destroyed before anyone finds out. That’s my kind of science.

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Within 10,000 years, human genetic variation will no longer be regionalized. This won’t mean we’ll all look the same – the blonde gene will still speckle crowds and set up offensive jokes, but it will be distributed equally worldwide. This forecasted panmixia is far more optimistic than astrophysicist Brandon Carter’s Doomsday Argument, which places our present at roughly the halfway point of humankind’s civilized journey, and projects a 95% likelihood that we’ll be wholly extinct in 10,000 years.

If global warming hasn’t already soaked us into a Kevin Costner-esque hellscape by then, we may also be facing the melting of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which will raise the sea levels by 3 or 4 meters above wherever it will be once we lose the rest of the polar ice caps, which should happen long before then.

Long term forecast: buy a big-ass boat. Read more…

Day 780: Evil Aboard Flight #8969

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When the doctrine of reason is flushed in favor of instinct and terror, the inevitable contusion of blood and debris is fairly predictable. Terrorists, who have been at their game for millennia in some form or another, simply don’t win. That is to say, while they can notch a namesake victory in having successfully hurled a dollop of terror at their target populace, their larger-scale goals are doomed from the outset.

The atrocities of 9/11 failed to draw a collective shrug of defeat from the scores of American infidels – no one converted to Islam, and no one was inspired to forsake their western ways because a bunch of nutjobs opted for mass-murder as a means of communication. Large-scale political or societal goals aren’t easy to conquer, and steering a plane of innocents to a fiery demise has roughly a zero percent rate of efficacy.

But still they try. And when Flight 8969 from Algiers to Paris was selected by an armed group of Islamic militants as a terror target, I’m sure the guys with the guns thought they’d be scoring a huge win for their radical cause. As it is, all they scored was a political mess.

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On Christmas Eve, 1994, Algeria was halfway through a bloody civil war. On one side was the Algerian government, on the other a gaggle of hardcore Islamic rebels. Trying their best to steer fully clear of the mess was France, the country who had owned and pulled all the political strings in the northern African nation just a few decades earlier. Air France had asked their government if they could perhaps yank their flights to and from Algiers, as the risk of getting caught in missile cross-fire was taking a bit of steam out of employee morale. The government hadn’t gotten back to them. Read more…