Category: harbingers of the apocalypse

The market doesn’t care

This one goes out to those who continue to misread Adam Smith and claim that the “invisible hand” of the Market will make everything OK. The market doesn’t care about you, your family, or our society. It doesn’t have your interests at heart, and it isn’t in your corner. Why? Because it is amoral. It is thing created by humans that follows its own logic.

And because it is made by us, it can be controlled by us. Want the market to do a better job producing good results for normal people? Then get on board with some sensible regulations. A world where this guy and his friends can do whatever they want is not a world where most people can live.

I for one welcome our new ant overlords

them!

We humans are an arrogant lot. We go about our daily lives, content in our apparent biological superiority and totally unaware of the seething insectoid threat lurking beneath our feet.

Scientists have discovered that the Argentine Ant rivals mankind with the size and reach of their colonies. They’re found on every continent except Antarctica, and rather than forming hundreds of thousands of individual communities, they actually belong to a single, face-meltingly scary SUPER-COLLOSAL MEGA COLONY. According the BBC:

…whenever ants from the main European and Californian super-colonies and those from the largest colony in Japan came into contact, they acted as if they were old friends.

These ants rubbed antennae with one another and never became aggressive or tried to avoid one another.

In short, they acted as if they all belonged to the same colony, despite living on different continents separated by vast oceans.

The most plausible explanation is that ants from these three super-colonies are indeed family, and are all genetically related, say the researchers. When they come into contact, they recognise each other by the chemical composition of their cuticles.

“The enormous extent of this population is paralleled only by human society,” the researchers write in the journal Insect Sociaux, in which they report their findings.

It’s very clear what has happened here. Content with our position

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at the top of the food chain, humans have grown complacent and lazy. This has given the ants time to organize in the shadows, breeding a parallel super society poised to wrench the Earth from its human masters. Well, I say this ant menace must be stopped! We must (quite literally) stamp out their insidious plot wherever it might appear, from the deepest jungle to the most unassuming suburban lawn. Ant sympathizers in our Government and civic institutions must be rounded up and imprisoned. The musician Adam Ant must be summarily executed. Two legs good, six legs (and antennae) bad!

Thanks to EM for the link.

What really killed the dinosaurs?

dinosaurvolcano

I know, I know. The answer is usually “a bigass meteor”. But Princeton geoscientist Gerta Keller has a new theory that is pretty darn convincing.

Keller found that the meteor

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we think killed the dinosaurs really didn’t cause the mass extinction event attributed to it Analysis of the fossil record show that a significant number of late-Cretaceous species persisted for 300,000 years after the impact. Proponents of the asteroid theory usually explain this away by suggesting the fossil record was jumbled by the meteor itself. Except Keller found zero evidence of any geological trauma, even in Mexico where the meteor impact occurred. So what killed the dinosaurs?

Keller believes that massive – and sustained – volcanic eruptions in India did the job. The massive ash clouds would have blocked out the sun, created a deluge of acid rain, and generally made life pretty impossible for giant lizards.

So here’s the good news: massive meeor impacts may not wipe us all out (only the people under or near the death rock). On the other hand, if enough volcanoes start erupting, we’re screwed.

The universe tried to kill us on Monday

An asteroid passed a mere 60,000km from the Earth on Monday. That’s really close. To put that in perspective, the moon is about 384,000km away. So, in astronomical terms, that’s one hell of a near miss. Here’s a handy graphic from the Sydney Morning Herald:gr_earth-420x0

I’m not sure why I’m only finding out about this now. I had assumed – foolishly, as it turns out – that the mere whiff of an asteroid would activate a complex alarm system. Grimly competent men in fancy outfits would be on every street corner, calmly explaining the situation. Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck would be dispatched to blow it back to sallow space hole it crawled out of, while Aerosmith played somewhere in the background. Not so. We only get the “oh, by the way…” after-the-fact alarm. “Good news! You know that asteroid you didn’t know about that was really close to hitting us? Well, it didn’t.” Thanks, NASA.

But I guess I’m overreacting. The offending rock – DD40 to astronomers – is only about 30-50m wide. If it hit, it could devastate a large area or trigger a tsunami. But it wouldn’t destroy human life as we know it. It might destroy some of us, which is still kind of a dick move. Not cool, Space. Not cool. I just ordered a new MacBook, and if a giant space rock smites me before I can use I will be very put out.

For those born later

It’s a nice idea: write a letter to your grandchildren, as a kind of time-capsule missive of advice and good wishes. So here’s my first attempt:

Dear Grandson/daughter/exciting new gender of the future;

Congratulations on being born in the incredible world of tomorrow. What wonders you must behold! Flying cars! Jetpacks! Cyborg-Madonna’s new album! How I envy you.

Still, having lived through the turbulent first half of the 21st century, I have some humble advice for you. First, be kind to your fellow

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travellers on the crazy train-to-nowhere we call life. They may be confusing, irrational and malodorous, but they are the best you’ve got.

Second, WATCH OUT FOR THAT GIANT ASTEROID ABOUT TO HIT THE PLANET.

Yours in the past tense,

Grandpa Stewart

Beautiful.

Large Hadron Collider goes online; world surprisingly un-ended.

Last night, scientists at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) flipped the switch, sending a super-fast stream of protons around the sprawling 27KM particle accelerator.

Research done at the LHC is supposed to reveal all kinds of interesting things, like the origin of all matter in the universe. It has also been widely speculated that the LHC could create mini-black holes that would swallow up the earth, or some other such experimental physics-related calamity. As you will note, the world is still more or less intact as of this morning.

Still, I must admit I half expected to wake up this morning to a grim post-apocalyptic world infested by demons from another dimension. See also:

Too bad. I was looking forward to nailing some Cacodemons with a chainsaw. Ah well. I guess there’s still time.