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Nothing from Something

Sometimes I think a mini-apocalypse would be just the thing we need.

Nothing that lasts too long. Nothing that trips us past the collapse point.

Just a nice few days were we are forced to stop and ponder what might come next if the plates are not-spun.

Ideally it wouldn't be our fault. An agnostic third-party would be ideal. Zombies, Aliens, Mole-men.

The apathetic all assume it will be us, but someone else trying to do it is a different matter. Someone outside our contract, that would be best.

Gazing backwards, I see a path of progress towards blunting the power of the most powerful so that it is something other than absolute.

So it seems unintuitive that the future would seem so dismal.

We take so much for granted, and the abundance is layered so deep and hidden in complex machinations that it would take decades of dedicated study from the smartest of us to even list it all.

But I think just a few days of fighting against the Moleman King and his molten minions in each of our backyards might give us all an honorary phd in appreciation of civilization.

For when the last giant molerat is impaled upon a makeshift lance attached to the front of a family sedan, even the mixed smell of muted sulfur and rotting rodentia won't be able to cover the musk of progress and accomplishment.

Only then in that moment will we truly be able to appreciate the scale of the gift that we have. The wondrous, colossal edifice of silent cooperation between the millions of greedy, petty bipeds that we all spin upon.

Conservative vs Liberal Engineering

Hey Mike, what are your thoughts on this article?

Better Words than Mine

The future seems like a gloomy place, but this weekend I came upon two different short write-ups on the issue that I felt gave me added perspective.

The first, was a poster on the website "Slashdot" replying to someone, basically saying "The government is incompetent; thank goodness for the 2nd amendment:"

Re: Government needs to be slapped down again?

Fuck you.

You think you can just start murdering people to fix all your problems. It doesn't work that way. You spill blood, and other people will fight back, and we'll end up in a 3rd world hellhole for a century. You will not live to see a return to peace. None of us will.

Go visit other countries, if you think things here are bad. See hundreds of millions of people living in shantytowns. See the bribery that is required on a daily basis. See people sentenced to years in prison because they spoke out against Putin or Ahmadinejad or some other despot. See life behind the Great Firewall, or in Brazil where it is illegal to be anonymous.

Life in the US is unbelievably wonderful compared to damn near everywhere else in the world. And you want to destroy that, because of some fucking security cameras? Well thank God for those cameras! I hope some are pointed squarely at you. As soon as you seek to end a human life, you deserve to be taken away and locked up in a place where the world can forget you.

artor3

I like this for two reasons, in that it seems to deflate the glamorized gun fantasy that some people have in their mind of how they would solve/ride out our country's institutionalized problems. Also "You will not live to see a return to peace," chills me every time I read it.

Once you brick up the imaginary fire escape of violence on people, and make them realize our fates are intertwined, I honestly think minds might be changed.

Second, it points out the good in what we currently have. Which is never easy or obvious to do. I know it is an overly aggressive and angry response, but it is also the first thing I've read in forever that made me proud of my country.


The second quote is the last paragraph ofa Wired interview with the Prize X founder Peter H. Diamandis:

Q: How do you maintain your optimism amid the deadening barrage of bad news from around the globe?

Diamandis:

Our brains are wired to look for negative information. The amygdala is the danger center. Our senses are routed through it before they get to the cortex. When we heard a rustle in the branches, we thought tiger, not wind. Thatís why, in the news, if it bleeds it leads.

But the facts are absolutely clear. The world is getting better at an extraordinary rate. The technologies available for solving problems are becoming more powerful and empowering more people.

Will there be problems? Disasters? Pandemics? Terrorist attacks? Of course. But humanity picks up and keeps moving.

In this country, lifespans nearly doubled in the last century. Per capita income more than tripled, and the cost of food, energy, transportation, and communications have dropped exponentially. Thatís my source of optimism.

That and a realization I made early on that if thereís a problem, Iím going to solve it. Once you see the world that way, itís a different place.

I love this. It is so easy to think of the growing population as a time bomb. But if you think of it instead as a growing pool of educated people with tools, the future becomes a lot brighter a place.

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