Tag: Valley

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.

Genetics-1

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 725: Christmas Day, 1914.

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No matter what you’ll be doing today, there will be no escaping that subtle shift in the light, the quirky zigzag of distorted collective energy – it’s Christmas, and the world always looks, sounds and smells a little different on Christmas. For some it’s a holy day, for others a welcome day off, and for many it’s simply a day to eat and drink to excess in an effort to counterbalance the unspeakable chore of having to spend the day with one’s extended family.

I don’t get sentimental around Christmas, a trait (some might say a flaw) that has caused my wife no end of irk. It would be foolish, however, to deny the power of the day.

Ninety-nine years ago, Christmas may have executed its most formidable coup, bringing an oasis of calm and reason to the most grotesquely bloody conflict in the history of the world to date, and providing a common ground – indeed the only common ground – among men who had literally devoted their lives to destroying one another. As cynical as many will be for the next few hours, there is nary a heart on this planet that couldn’t be softened somewhat by the tale of the Great Christmas Truce of 1914.

WorldWarI

World War I was topping the hit parade in December of 1914, with German, British, French, Russian… well, mostly every European soldier trying to shoot some other European soldier. The war had been raging for five months, and the Germans had blasted through Belgium into France, only scantly repelled from entering Paris. They dropped back to the Aisne valley, where both sides dug their trenches and subsequently fell into a stalemate. No one could advance, and no one was willing to retreat. Read more…

Day 605: The Meaning(lessness) Of Dreams

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“The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.”

This quote beautifully sums up how easy it is to find quotes about dreams by using a search engine. Actually, you can learn a lot about interpreting your dreams on the internet, just as you can find a thousand contradictory horoscopes or even insane fan-fiction in which Donnie Darko sleeps with that woman from Medium.

But the thing about dream analysis is that people often believe the first site (or book or Cosmo article or whatever) that they read, as though there’s some repository of knowledge when it comes to dream analysis, and that source is simply tapping into the same vein of information as all the others.

Ever the skeptic, I don’t buy it. And I want to have some fun with it.

DreamAnalysis

I was going to do a run-down on the history of dream interpretation, from the ancient Greek belief that dreams predict the future to the Freudian concept of dreams being residue from the previous day’s experiences, to the modern psychoanalytic precept that everything in your dreams probably represents a penis. Then I got an idea. What if I selected three ‘dream dictionary’ sites and skimmed through them in search of weird or contradictory information? Read more…