Musings on the End of All Life

So I’ve spent most of my adult life thinking about the nature of things, where we all came from and where we’re all going. As a result of this, I’ve become somewhat fixated on precisely how, where and when all things human will come to an end. You see we as a people have been living as if there is no end to the surface of the planet, no end to natural resources and no reason to discontinue our seemingly endless population explosion here on Earth. Even our economic philosophy is one of growth for the sake of growth. There is only one other process we know of that operates on growth for the sake of growth and that is cancer. Humanity is a cancer on the face of the planet now. Large cat populations are on the brink of extinction. We’re heating the planet up literally to a melting point, which will soon result in the death of all polar life as we know it. In fact, we’ve forced almost all of what remains of nature into precious “reserves” which are being poached to death, sold off little by little for human housing development or as temporary farming land to feed our burgeoning population. We just celebrated our 7 billionth human and I will live to see 9 billion most likely. You know how many people there were when I was born? 3 Billion. So humanity has increased geometrically since I was born and there seems to be no end to it. What horrifies me is how casually governments and science are taking this. We can solve anything with technology they say! My question is, how many people is too many people? If population growth continues at this rate, my sons will see either 27 billion or 81 billion people depending on whether you believe humanity triples every 45 years or grows by X squared. Regardless, if our common consciousness doesn’t come to the logical conclusion that human growth HAS to stop at some point and even reverse itself, there won’t be enough physical space on the surface of the Earth for each of us to stand on. We’re already looking at clean, drinking water shortages all over the world, where will we be with 9 BILLION people?? The Dead Sea is ironically dying, falling by a meter in depth every year because the water that used to feed it is gone – siphoned off for farming in arid regions. The Aral Sea in Russia is now, for all intents and purposes, gone due to human activity. That’s right, we killed an entire Sea in my lifetime. Does any of this scare the daylights out of YOU?! It scares the snot out of me! I really fear for my children’s future. I’ll skip the petroleum rant for now…but do read on regardless of whether you hate spoilers or not. Oil is a finite resource and we’ve already passed peak oil – we will all live to see the end of oil and, as of today, no reasonable replacement has been revealed. My point in all of this? The huge mystery of the end of man I used to ponder has apparently been solved. We will end ourselves due to greed, ignorance and failure to act on obvious issues with our present growth and consumption rates.

Now, assuming we do survive our own folly, how might things end? Well the most obvious cause of our demise at this time is our failing magnetic field. Nova did a special on it recently that went largely unnoticed but it caught my attention. Mars lost its magnetic field billions of years ago and it therefore exists with virtually no atmosphere and no life on the surface, all of it literally wiped away by solar wind. Similarly, our own magnetic field is beginning to fail and science has yet to offer an explanation or hope for that matter. The time table on the collapse reaching critical mass is 500 years. At that point, unless the field “flips” or some other miraculous event occurs, solar wind will rip away our own atmosphere and destroy the surface of our own world. It’s a dirty little secret that no one is talking about because there really isn’t anything we can do about it. This also scares the hell out of me.

If humanity does cease to be a cancer on the face of the Earth and our magnetic field manages to heal itself, our sun is going to begin expanding towards its red giant phase and cause our atmosphere to heat so dramatically it will cook our planet’s surface. This will occur in about 1 billion years. Now that’s a long time but since the human race seems to believe it’s going to live forever, it might be prudent to begin our expedition into outer space and look for a replacement planet NOW. Especially since we apparently can’t travel faster than the speed of light and it will take about half that long just to find another habitable planet, develop the technology to reach it and actually get there (if we’re very, very lucky). This does not scare me so much. I have to believe at some point we’ll get off this rock and out into the rest of the universe, whether the cause be overpopulation, collapse of the magnetic field or the end of our sun’s life. Otherwise we really are all doomed.

Lastly, if we do make it through human made Armageddon, the collapse of the Earth’s magnetic field and the expansion of our sun to a red giant, Nova once again has shown us where all things (not just us) will end. You see our universe is continuing to expand at an incredible rate. Consequently, everything in space is not only continuing to move outwards but it’s doing it at unimaginably increasing speed. It’s physics 101, as bodies move farther away from each other, gravity weakens. At some point in time even I can’t imagine right now, all matter will fly apart into tiny, spinning particles that just float around in our never ending, ever expanding universe and life, all life, will cease to exist. I’m actually at peace with this. Our entire universe sadly tends towards increasing entropy which means universal failure is built into the system, all things will end because all things must end. It’s a metaphor for our own lives….we are born, age and die because that is the nature of all things – even the universe itself. That said, I would be more comforted if I knew we were going to make the most of the time we have, get out into the universe and explore as much of it as we can before the end of time comes.

Where was I going with all of this? I’m distraught over our treatment of this precious and possibly unique planet. Unless things change, the world will end in the fires of a world war over natural resources due to overpopulation and all of that can easily be prevented. I’m concerned that we already know of a gargantuan, looming problem in the form of a failing magnetic field and no one is even talking about it. Never mind spending 500 million years trying to escape the red giant our sun will become, what about a planet with no magnetic field?! We need to develop the technology to deliver man to other, habitable worlds NOW, not later! Otherwise we might only survive another miniscule 500 years and that’s really depressing. Lastly, the only way we’re ever going to accomplish any of this is to end our addiction to fossil fuels. Oil won’t get us into deep space, that method of propulsion is ridiculously limited. Oil won’t feed our people in 200 years, never mind when we might need to escape this place. Oil won’t create new drinking water when we’ve overused what we have, it’s only escalating the problem we have now. Oil is ancient, oil is obsolete, oil is almost gone. We MUST MOVE ON TO THE NEXT PHASE OF OUR HUMAN DEVELOPMENT and oil cannot be a part of that. We’re better than that and smarter than that so please, do whatever you can in your daily life to end our dependence on it. Otherwise the very best we can hope for is to make it through a little less than 1 billion years and then watch the surface of our planet get steamed to death and that would be a very disappointing legacy to the life of mankind. I’d like to think we’re going to make it to the farthest reaches of space and be around long enough to witness the miraculous conversion of all things to basic particles and breathe the very last breath of the universe with it. That’s my dream for the end of all things. Time will tell if that dream comes true.

Verdict In

The chest pain, shortness of breath and so forth is Diastolic Dysfunction, my heart’s going bad on me. Stress Test results were more encouraging than expected, the left ventricle is stiff but functioning between 60-80% normal depending on various factors. Only borderline enlargement of both sides right now. I caught this very early which I’m chalking up to my Grandmother still watching over me. The key moving forward will be prevention of further deterioration so beta blockers to keep the blood pressure down and statins to prevent plaque buildup in the left artery. It’s all good, I’ll be here for a long time to come.

Sixteen Years…..

A lot happens in sixteen years. It’s a milestone by any account. Well I just celebrated my 16th anniversary with Libby and I have to tell you, it was the best experience I’ve had in many, many years. We are some times, and only rarely at the most important times, truly blessed. Today, I was blessed. Thank you, Libby. I love you.

Stupid Body

My body has betrayed me again. This has become truly tiresome. My lungs hurt all the time now, my armpits are itchy (which is one really bizarre symptom) and after a chest x-ray, chest CAT scan, peak flow test and all manner of blood tests only one thing popped up as unusual – my blood clotting factor is very high and that’s bad. The original assumption was a clot somewhere but there was none to be found. So I got more antibiotics for otherwise asymptomatic bronchitis and I get to go for full Pulmonary Function tests tomorrow and then an ultrasound of my heart. If I had chips, I’d be cashing them in I believe. ūüôā More to come.

Fruit Fly Control Tip

We just experienced a most horrific problem here at the house. The kids had stuffed a trash barrel downstairs with frozen treat wrappers, soda bottles, juice boxes, candy leftovers and basically everything necessary to create a perfect insect storm. Compounding this was our habit of giving our guinea pigs our leftover veggies and fruit. A fruit fly or two appears to have made its way into the basement, discovered our biological experiment and began the process of multiplying. What stunned me was not only the speed at which the colony began but also their capacity to multiply once they found a home. My arthritis keeps me from visiting the basement very often but the kids and Libby are down there daily so this wasn’t a long term development. What brought the problem to my attention was a few of the fruit flies had made their way upstairs. I assumed it was simply the food and water in our upstairs kitchen that started the problem so I hit them with some bug spray and thought that was that. But an hour later there were literally dozens more. That’s when my youngest son decided to inform me they were also “flying around the barrel downstairs”. What I saw when I arrived in the basement was something literally right out of the Amityville Horror.

The fruit flies covered the top of the barrel and when I opened it, I was swarmed. I quickly moved the bag outside and sprayed the barrel with bug spray believing the problem was now solved. I was so wrong. Around the corner and into the living room downstairs, an entire support pillar was covered like a blanket with them. I moved into the pet room towards the rear and that’s when the horror show really began. There were thousands and thousands, a massive swarm covering lamps and walls and doors. They were everywhere in the house now. I was officially a man with a mission…KILL THE SWARM!

For you hippies out there, you can stuff your organic approaches to pest control up your nose. This was not time to hang pest strips and hope for the best, I had a biological hazard on my hands. I cannot overstate this to anyone else who arrived here interested in how to control a fruit fly problem. If you have a dozen or so hanging around your sink, by all means use a conservative approach up to and including just smashing them with your hands or a paper towel if they’ve landed. But if they’ve taken hold, especially if they’ve discovered a bag of potatoes or onions that have started to turn and use them as a breeding ground, simply removing the offending food item(s) will not do the trick. They’ll hide in drains, behind refrigerators, in bathrooms…EVERYWHERE just waiting for a single piece of fruit or a leftover soda bottle to start the process all over again and they are the most amazing breeding machines I’ve ever encountered. So we moved the pets outside, covered or removed everything involved with food or personal hygiene and I bombed the house with flying insect killer. It took me hours to vacuum up the carcasses which were in every room of the house. That should have done the trick, right? WRONG!

They must have found a hidee hole somewhere. Despite noxious fumes even I couldn’t deal with, they somehow managed to hang in there. The house was clean though, the pets were given dry food only and all possible food sources were locked away. So I did some googling to find a less toxic control method and now you hippies can be proud.

I was at the Museum of Science today recounting our dilemma with a family friend and she stopped me mid-sentence and said “You used the vinegar trick, didn’t you?” Indeed I did. If you have a small fruit fly problem, here’s the tip and I can now state categorically that it works miracles. Just use a tall glass or preferably a mason jar and fill it about 1/3 the way up with red wine vinegar. Put some plastic wrap over it, secure it with an elastic and poke 2-3 pencil tip sized holes in the top. A few hours later, the stragglers were all trapped and were easily disposed of. I’ve left the device out on the counter to see if any more show up but it would appear the problem is solved. Hard to believe, I know but it really works and you can take that to the bank.

Old site retired!

I’ve reached the point where developing this site and maintaining the old site at the same time is non-productive so it’s time to say bye bye to the old, 2003 Frontpage site I built lo’ those many years ago and say HI to this new and wonderful design.¬† I unveiled it at¬†a family dinner tonight and it received rave reviews like “Wow, this is a serious web site…like one you pay money for…”.¬† Yes, yes it is. I got my first unsolicited comment recently as well and that’s something to cheer about because it means people are finding the site on their own, a credit to the power of WordPress and the way it plays nice with Google.¬† So that’s that.¬† I’m gonna miss the old site, dancing Jesus and all, but even the cheeze factor had grown old and moldy.¬† Besides, change is good and I’m experiencing personal growth in a lot of areas nowadays, why not in cyberspace too?

The streaming music section is the biggest attractor for now, family pics next.¬† The videos are in process of migrating. The old format used WMV files and those need to be converted to flash or MP4 so they stream properly. I just wish there was a good, free converter out there that didn’t cause the degradation I’m seeing with some of the vids but I’ll just have to make sure I film everything native in MP4 moving forward.

I almost gave in to peer pressure and simply put everything up on Youtube so I could just embed stuff here and there but you know what?¬† Forget Youtube, man!!¬† You put your videos up there and it’s like peeing in a pool…they just get filtered out.¬† The only way to make Youtube work and get your stuff seen¬†is to “cheat” and pull all the nonsense the Most Favorited and Most Watched guys and girls do today and, again, I do not have the bandwidth to pull that off.¬†¬†I know for a fact that their numbers are fake and I know how they do it and it may seem worth it in the end but I haven’t seen any hard dollar numbers to justify that.¬† Seems like a lot of hard work for 15 minutes of fame.¬† Since I already experienced mine about 20 years ago, I’m very happy with obscurity.¬† Add to that the folks that put up things which brought the wrong kind of attention and I’m 100% all done with GooTube.¬† Some times lack of notoriety is a very comfortable place to be.¬† The only good thing that came out of that linky was a wonderful song I went to the trouble to buy, called Ching Chong.¬† OOO, I just noticed that’s not in my mix, will have to add that post haste.¬† While I’m on this subject, I need to rant for a second.¬† You see, I’ve really come to question the way some people’s brain works as a result of that Asian rant debacle.¬† First, when did putting up racist or misogynist or bigotted rants seem like a good idea?¬† I mean, just look at Fred Phelps.¬† The man is old, scary looking and spouts evil 24/7 so the planet condemns him for it.¬† But the second someone younger than 30 sits in front of a webcam, suddenly that logic mysteriously drains from their brain and the next thing you know they’re being chased down the street by angry people with weapons because they posted something really, really, REALLY stupid on the most watched video site on the web.¬† WHEN WAS THAT A GOOD IDEA???¬† I need an answer to that, it’s been bugging me for months.¬† Was it when they had the original idea?¬† When they sat in the chair?¬† When the webcam turned on?¬† When they put the finishing touches on it and previewed it on their channel?¬† WHEN?!¬† For all you less that 30s, please, for God’s sake think of it like this.¬† Before you put up any video of yourself doing ANYTHING, ask yourself “Would I do this with just two complete strangers¬†sitting in front of me in a public place?”¬† If the answer is no because they’d probably beat the snap out of you or you’d end up parts of your body being¬†undesirably touched, then don’t post the video.¬† If the answer is yes because you won’t get the snot kicked out of you but you will end up with your body being groped by complete strangers, then¬†I’m telling you right here and now, it’s still a HORRIBLE idea!!¬† Just use some common sense.¬† The web isn’t some anonymous stranger you’ll never meet, it’s 6 billion people that could suddenly all have their attention focused on you and if that attention isn’t positive, your life will be ruined FOREVER.¬† FOR…E..VER!!

Coming soon, the video of me shooting golfballs out of my butt.  *giggle*

Nuclear Power is NOT SAFE!!!

I don’t know how many meltdowns it’s going to take for the planet to realize nuclear power is and NEVER WAS a viable option to replace fossil fuels. Setting aside the fact that simply setting up a plant creates the opportunity to refine fissionable materials and make nuclear weapons and that the byproducts are lethal to all nearly all life forms and stay lethal for thousands and thousand of years and there is absolutely NO safe way to store nuclear waste…..wait….NO! I’m not setting aside those facts. Aren’t those enough? Seriously, how the hell did we get this far anyway? How did we as a planet let our elected officials convince us that nuclear power is safe and a good idea??? It’s NOT!

If we had established international laws banning the construction and any future technological development of nuclear power DECADES ago, the nuclear crisis we face with Iran would never have happened. In fact the world would have been a much safer place.

If we had listened to independent scientists warning us that the volatile nature of every inch of land on the PLANET made nuclear waste storage impossible, development of nuclear plant construction would have stopped, we’d never had manufactured the materials necessary to build a plant and Iran never would have happened.

The plan at the present time is to store all the nuclear waste from the plants around the world in Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Yucca mountain was created by volcanic activity. Yucca mountain has hundreds of significant fissures that already allow water and air to move in an out of the deepest recesses of the mountain with great ease. Yucca mountain is located near a water table that could easily rise and interact with stored nuclear waste, causing a human health crisis of epic proportions. Yucca Mountain ranks 4th, FORTH!!!, in the nation for seismic activity!! EARTHQUAKES!!! Earthquakes like the one that just pushed Japan’s nuclear power plants into meltdown. In September 2007, it was discovered that the Bow Ridge fault line ran underneath the facility, hundreds of feet east of where it was originally thought to be located, beneath a storage pad where spent radioactive fuel canisters would be cooled before being sealed in a maze of tunnels. The discovery required several structures to be moved several hundred feet further to the east, and drew criticism from Robert R. Loux, then head of the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects, who argues that Yucca administrators should have known about the fault line’s location years prior, and called the movement of the structures ‚Äújust-in-time engineering.‚ÄĚ The story hit the AP wires and was featured in the LA Times that year in an article titled “Yucca Mt. adjusts to fault line”. Then in 2008, Ralph Vartabedian of the Los Angeles Times wrote the definitive article on this subject: “Yucca Mountain safety plan is ‘doomed,’ nuclear company says”. This was the best, last possibility for safe storage of nuclear waste for the thousands and thousands of years it takes for the waste to decay and it’s a JOKE! A JOKE!!!

Are we all the unwitting audience of some macabre comedy where the punchline is “you all die a horrible, radioactive, MELTING death”?! This has to stop. Nuclear power must be stopped, by any means necessary. Earth seems to be doing a pretty good job helped that along, but we as a people must do more. A LOT MORE! Write your elected officials and tell them “NO MORE NUCLEAR POWER!” and get someone into the office of president who has the BALLS to launch a massive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities and be done with it. To hell with the oil we’ll lose, global warming is killing us anyway. Bomb the shit out of Iran’s nuclear facilities, let go of the oil that will be contaminated and for God’s sake…..convert everything to Geo, Wind, Hydro and Solar power and leave behind a planet our children can enjoy.

Michael John Blake and Pi, Musically Speaking

An artist by the name of Michael John Blake created a really neat “what if Pi were expressed as music?” video. The video went viral and, today being Pi day, the planet now wants to see it. Well wouldn’t know know it, a much more obscure artist now believes he has the copyright for Pi (which is “patently” ridiculous…har har har) so Mr. Blake’s video got taken down off the #1 user submitted video site on the web. I think that’s not only REALLY scummy but a perfect example of copyright run amok. I’m protesting this action through civil disobedience. Therefore, without further ado, Michael John Blake and his Pi By Music video!

The new site is coming along nicely!

I’ll soon be migrating this to the main URL and this will now be our official website. I got the Photo Gallery working quite well and it’s complete with comment sections. Commenting was very important to me so this would function just like Facebook. Now I can have the social networking/sharing functionality of Facebook without the egregious invasions of privacy they’re constantly trying to get away with. I haven’t decided whether to hand out Editor logins for just the people I want commenting or whether to leave it open and have folks enter their ID and email every time they leave their comments. I’m thinking the logins might be the best route to go but I’ll need some discussion about that with folks.

I migrated the Streaming Music section vis a vis a neat-o plugin from the good folks at Wimpy. I REALLY want to have that running on each page but I’ve found that to be uber annoying if you have the same page up in multiple browsers so I think I’ll leave that on a page of its own and have folks run it only if they want to. My web host will probably thank for that in the end (saves lots of bandwidth).

The last item I want before I go live is a video player and not just some lame POS single flash video player (like in my initial test posts). I want something that will auto playlist just by me dumping videos into a directory and be able to play various formats. I fear Wimpy may be the only solution to that however and it will ultimately be flash based. I’m not going that route till I’ve exhausted all other plugins however.

So that’s that! I love the format, it’s very clean, very sleek and very black. It’s everything I desire…grrrrr…LOL.

Remember when we were cool?

When it was cool, I used to wear makeup and dye my hair various colours.¬† It’s not cool any more.¬† I wish the kids today would get that.¬† We did it because we wanted to rebel, set ourselves apart and establish ourselves as unique individuals.¬† All the Dee Dee Dee! morons doing it now are being conformist dill weeds without even realizing it.¬† This goes for the goth geeks, the emo retards and the washed up has-beens that can’t let go of a long, forgotten era.¬† In retrospect, the 70s and 80s weren’t nearly as cool as they appeared to be when I lived them.¬† Our legacy is nothing more than synthesizers and bad hair.¬† Even much of the music feels hollow and empty now.¬† Still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.¬† At least we had an era, a generation that is mocked as much as it is revered.¬† What did the 90s leave behind?¬† NOTHING!¬† Don’t even get me started with the “aught” years of our new millennium.¬† The apathy and cultural decay of that decade have brought the United States right up to the brink of annihilation.¬† If we ever aspired to be like Rome, well…the Huns are at the door folks.¬† God, I’m depressed.¬† That’s enough for today.