Monday, July 8, 2013

Mankind: the Plague of the Universe?

In recent news, we’ve discovered the star Gliese 667C. Apparently, three of the seven planets in this system may hold the potential for life-sustaining atmospheres. How exciting! Confusing as it may be, the sun is only a third the size of ours with a luminosity of about 2% compared to our own, and yet the planets are up to eight times the mass of Earth! Craziness.

The system is approximately 130 trillion miles away from us, and that is a notable distance to say the least. Nevertheless, the idea invokes images of sci-fi storylines, most recently that of Wall-E - the worst $21 I have ever spent at the theater. People close to me can’t even contain themselves from discussing the inevitable topic of relocating the population. Given the recent spat of sinkholes, earthquakes, tornados and the like, one has to wonder if we really did a number on the Earth. And if so, do we follow Pixar in their ingenious template of space travel while we leave an army of roombots to clean up after us?

While the whole notion is preposterous, and some may claim is not even worth the breath to discuss it, I would have to disagree. And I would also have to favor the idea of staying put.

Let’s just say, for arguments sake, that we do figure out that one of the dozen planets we’ve discovered in the last decade out in the far reaches of space can in fact support our species. And then let’s say that we were able to build a vessel large enough to support a large portion of our population and powerful enough to take us out to Gliese 667. Heck, let’s even say we built a modern arc to transport our favorite cuddly critters so we can simulate Earth on the big ol’ rock. Let’s even say we found a planet that isn’t tidally locked so we can spread out across the entire face of New Gaia. I would still stay put, and with every ounce of myself urge the rest of the population to stay as well. Because if we did hop on the giant spaceship, we’d have to name it the USS Death Star, both as a nod to both nerd populations on board as well as to capture the essence of our new existence.

We have seen countless numbers of movies, both good and bad, of aliens coming to absorb the resources of our planet only to move on to the next planet, with a seemingly insatiable appetite for the planetary good stuff. Call it the scourge of the cosmos, or the plague of the universe, (or even Galactus if you so fancy) but whatever it is, it is bad news. And we as America (and other cooperating nations, which only play a supporting role at best, because, well, you know, we’re America) have to defend ourselves and defeat them for the good of the next planet as much as our own! Hoorah!

Except that in a Twilight Zone-worthy twist, it turns out we are the Great Plague. We used up our home planet and now must support our species at any cost, for we are everything, we are paramount, supreme in nature. Right? Isn’t that what our history tells us about ourselves? It would be planetary colonization. And as much as I would like to believe that we would learn from our mistakes and magically value life and finite resources, again, we need only look to our history. We do not learn. We innovate. We find new ways to do old things, especially when it comes to violence.

So now that we are the “little green men” descending down upon a peaceful race, how do you feel about it? Anyone up for a marathon of Sci-Fi movies? Only one person needs to volunteer to be typist. The rest of us can digest their tactics and use our imagination for humankind’s first prototype of the World Engine.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


This week’s common observation isn’t all that common – Not like when you order food from a place called Little Chopsticks and they give you a plastic fork with your order. No, this one is a little deeper, though equally ironic in some ways.

With all the glory and festivities of graduation behind me (thank you, thank you), I look toward the future with a hopeful eye (or two, because I tend to be overzealous that way). I’m so excited to think about this job I applied for, or the great new things I’ll learn if I get into that grad school class! When my optimistic eyes finally fall back to the present, though, I recognize that the present holds none of the former glory of pursuing a degree, nor does it possess the esteem that I will inevitably obtain in the future. I am en transit, as they say. And I’m not such a fan of the trip.

I await further information on the one job I applied for, the apartment hunt is contingent upon that job, I await hearing about my grades submitted this week, and I cannot help but feel like I’m struggling to maintain a poor juggling routine. This purgatory that I inhabit seems to consume me at times. The familiar faces I took comfort in have all fluttered away to distant lands, or rather I have to those who stayed. The ever-expanding mass of work has been reduced to an ant-hill. (Which seems like a boon, though really isn’t.) My family wants to talk on the phone, and yet I have nothing to say. “Oh you know…” They actually don’t “know,” because neither do I.

But alas, Jamie’s voice rings true in my head: “If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.” Digitally divulging my depressed dilemma only adds to the growing amass of aggravated alumni. So fear not, fellow peers and readers, I bring glad tidings, for I have the cure to our provisional problems.

First, get a hobby. Either pick up an old instrument or grab some new tools and start tinkering. I longboard, and it helps. All that time you would spend indoors sulking over the tumultuous time in between lives will be spent learning something new. Who knows, it could be the first part of your new life, not a interim time-killer. Maybe even start a blog. After all, these entries are far more about me writing than you reading. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Second, which I skimmed over in the last paragraph, get outside! If that new hobby can be done outdoors, do it. Find a nice tree, or for those in the more dense dwellings, find a porch or a roof. Just being outside really helps, especially now that the sun is more sociable these days.

Third, talk to your old friends and make new ones. Easier said than done, I understand. All you can ask of yourself is to try, right? You are not alone, as evidenced by this post! Conversing about your communal condition can help to cure the cause.

And four: Stop whining! You just graduated. Sheesh. What more do we want from life at the moment? Stop to smell the roses while you can, enjoy the breeze, dip your feet in the water, count clich├ęs if it helps! Or shoot me an e-mail. I can always use more pen pals.