Enough With The Guns, Already. Time For Death By Cosmic Walls of Fire

I’ve been detecting just a bit of battle-weariness in the comment threads.  I’ve got a bunch more gun posts up my sleeve, but I can see how a diet of lead, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, might wear a little thin.  So here’s an olive-branch — something to feed your head, completely sorrow free.

My science writing buddy Jennifer Ouellette (my interview with her here) has a really excellent piece up at ScientificAmerican.com on a new puzzle roiling theoretical physics.  She writes about a paradox raised by a re-examination of an idea in black-hole physics long thought settled.

The question that prompted the latest discussion is what happens when you have a couple — people for now, by convention Bob and Alice — wandering through the cosmos.  But then, as Jennifer writes:

The adventurous, rather reckless Alice jumps into a very large black hole, leaving a presumably forlorn Bob outside the event horizon — a black hole’s point of no return, beyond which nothing, not even light, can escape.

Conventionally, physicists have assumed that if the black hole is large enough, Alice won’t notice anything unusual as she crosses the horizon. In this scenario, colorfully dubbed “No Drama,” the gravitational forces won’t become extreme until she approaches a point inside the black hole called the singularity. There, the gravitational pull will be so much stronger on her feet than on her head that Alice will be “spaghettified.”

Now a new hypothesis is giving poor Alice even more drama than she bargained for. If this alternative is correct, as the unsuspecting Alice crosses the event horizon, she will encounter a massive wall of fire that will incinerate her on the spot. As unfair as this seems for Alice, the scenario would also mean that at least one of three cherished notions in theoretical physics must be wrong.

From that pyrotechnic foundation, Jennifer then tells a fascinating story that both gives an account of the confusion and excitement this line of thought has produced — and along the way, provides a nice insight into the style of thought that (some) theoreticians use to pursue ideas far into the deep.

So, if you’ve had enough of murder and mayhem here in this vale of tears, here’s a chance to take yourself quite a good way out of the everyday.

Now, no post like this would be complete without (a) the appropriate sound track, and (b) given that I’ve invited you into the hairy realm of quantum mechanics, a cat picture:

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This one illustrates why I feel a moral obligation not to fold laundry prematurely.

All of which adds up to an open thread, I’d say.

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113 replies
  1. 1
    MikeJ says:

    So you linked to your interview with her, and a wikipedia on the subject, and youtube, but not the article you commented on?

  2. 2
    Butch says:

    I washed a pile blanket and tuxedo kitty Mooch is curled up in the middle of it. Don’t have the heart to fold it.

  3. 3
    jl says:

    Dammit. I thought Johny Bones getting reamed by his own GOP House caucus last night was the Mayan apocalypse.

    Can’t anybody get this right?

    So, still hope for a lousy t-shirt, then?

  4. 4
    Maude says:

    You picked up that cat and put it on the laundry. I know you did. She gets off, you;ll put here there again.

  5. 5
    Tom Levenson says:

    @MikeJ: That would be an oops. Fixt

  6. 6
    Liquid says:

    Not more than fifteen minutes ago it was all up to a tight purple dress and knee-high hooker boots. If a weather model is going to straddle the country on MSNBC then there is still hope.

    Now that that’s out of the way it’s back to guns, amirite?

  7. 7
    jl says:

    @Butch: I think that qualifies as a Mayan apocalypse. Thanks.

    But, where do I get the t-shirt? I want one.

  8. 8
    Roger Moore says:

    The trick to laundry folding is to do it somewhere the cat can’t access, and then to put a freshly laundered cat blanket on top of the rest of the laundry. That way the cat can enjoy the sensation of sitting on top of a pile of fresh laundry without getting hair all over your stuff. It seems to work well in my household.

  9. 9
    Jerzy Russian says:

    Thanks for the link, Tom. I skimmed the article, but I don’t understand where the “fire” comes from. I may never know, as my brain has been irreparably damaged by grading final exams.

  10. 10
    different-church-lady says:

    If this alternative is correct, as the unsuspecting Alice crosses the event horizon, she will encounter a massive wall of fire that will incinerate her on the spot.

    This won’t happen to Alice if she is armed with a gun, or if she is trained to charge at the black hole.

  11. 11
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Maude: Tikka’s a he, and trust me, that’s unstaged. He is, to put it nicely, a psycho-cat. If you’re very, very nice, he might condescend to give you a moment’s warning before taking your arm off at the elbow.

  12. 12
    Brachiator says:

    Montgomery Burns (from the Simpsons) explains the Fiscal Cliff

  13. 13
    Tom Levenson says:

    @different-church-lady: I believe today’s intertubes are going to be delivered to you.

  14. 14
    aimai says:

    I miss having cats. I’m wasting time today when I should also be doing laundry, finishing upholstering some chairs, wrapping presents, paying bills, snuggling with my children, making latkes (we missed basically all of hannukah and are doing one night of it, symbolically, tonight) while bouncing around the internet.

    For people in the boston area I recommend Pippin, which we saw last night at the Loeb, and I hear that Our Town is very good too. Also: Chinglish if it is still in town.

    aimai

  15. 15
    different-church-lady says:

    @Tom Levenson: Put them on the mantle with the others.

  16. 16
    Liquid says:

    @Brachiator:

    The only relevant discussion from Monty Burns is not some pitiful attempt at relevance. It’s that quote from sixteen years ago: (holy shit that makes me feel old) “The only ‘ship’ worth a damn is ‘Friendship’.”

  17. 17
    gogol's wife says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    He looks just like my Louis if only Louis were the right weight.

  18. 18
    Maude says:

    @Tom Levenson:
    Oops on the gender. I grew up with a cat like that. He was black and white. He was a year older than me. I learned to be careful around him. He was also a pouncer.

  19. 19
    Liquid says:

    Enough about guns.

    Today’s Theme is swords/daggers/all manner of pointy things!

    Thankfully, In my RPGs, I prefer making an attempt at bipartisanship or ‘one-last-chance-to-chat-before-I-shove-a-dirk-through-your-neck!”

    …Virtually and With Votes, of course!

  20. 20
    Maude says:

    @aimai:
    Snuggling with your children is the most important thing of all.

  21. 21
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    In this scenario, colorfully dubbed “No Drama,” the gravitational forces won’t become extreme until she approaches a point inside the black hole called the singularity. There, the gravitational pull will be so much stronger on her feet than on her head that Alice will be “spaghettified.”

    This is your subtle way of warning us all that there will be human sacrifice to the FSM inside of Obama’s FEMA camps, isn’t it?

    Now a new hypothesis is giving poor Alice even more drama than she bargained for. If this alternative is correct, as the unsuspecting Alice crosses the event horizon, she will encounter a massive wall of fire that will incinerate her on the spot.

    And the last thing she hears will be the voice of Johnny Cash singing ‘Ring of Fire’.

  22. 22
    Raven says:

    Panic in Year Zero just came on the tube.

  23. 23
    BlueDWarrior says:

    Is the Great Orange Satan still apoplectic about what is going on with the Fiscal-“Not Quite a Cliff but We Really Don’t Know Anymore”?

    Because I just glanced over there and now there is yet another front page post saying the Democrats are totally going to cave this time.

    I’m just tired of being jerked around by people ostensibly on my own side, I really am.

  24. 24
    Liquid says:

    @Raven:

    Is it time to panic?!

    I’ve been up for 36 hours straight fueled only by cigarettes and vodka and now I’m ranting about sharp weapons on a politics blog…What have I become?

    That’s rhetorical.

  25. 25
    jayackroyd says:

    Progressive democrats, a majority of 97, against SS benefit cuts

    http://boldprogressives.org/a-.....ained-cpi/

    Whippable republicans

    http://americablog.com/2012/12.....-deal.html

  26. 26
    gbear says:

    So, if you’ve had enough of murder and mayhem here on this vale of tears, here’s a chance to take yourself quite a good way out of the everyday.

    So taking your choice between incineration and the cosmos’ gravitational version of the rack is a nice diversion from murder and mayhem? And cat pictures don’t count because you know that’s also going to lead to personal injury at some point.

    We need fluffy puppies.

  27. 27
    Raven says:

    @Liquid: Runnin on empty. Ray Milland is on the case.

  28. 28
    different-church-lady says:

    @BlueDWarrior: It’s McJoan: every day is doomsday to her.

  29. 29
    jacy says:

    @Roger Moore:

    The trouble at my house is finding someplace that can’t be accessed by the cats. Also the fact that we’ve this month stopped bothering to put laundry away at all and are treating a myriad of laundry baskets like little floating closets.

    (Our fancy front-load washer went out the week of Thanksgiving and despite 7 separate visits from “repairmen” who have ordered the wrong parts at least four times, we still have no washing machine. With four children still at home, four dogs, and two cats and the nearest laundromat the next town over, we are finding this a bit of an inconvenience. No apocalypse, my foot. My personal hell is filled with bedsheets that smell like wet dog.)

  30. 30
    aimai says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Yes, I sometimes like her posts but these are over the event horizon for hysteria.

    aimai

  31. 31
    pete says:

    My Pets of Balloon Juice Calendar arrived today! (Complete with, um, artistic cat cover) Just in time to enter my post-apocalyptic engagements …

  32. 32
    👽 Martin says:

    @jacy:

    The trouble at my house is finding someplace that can’t be accessed by the cats.

    Our bedroom closet has a patch in the rear drywall from when the previous owner’s cat got stuck inside the wall. No clue how it possibly could have gotten there.

    There is no place that can’t be access by cats. Those cool features on Mars? Put there by cats.

  33. 33

    @Maude: Absolutely true re: snuggling. My daughter conflates hugs and snuggles into “huggles”.

  34. 34
    BlueDWarrior says:

    President Obama to speak about the Fiscal Semi-Cliff-Slope-Thingy at 5 PM EST/4 PM CST.

    I’m fairly sure there will be a lot of nice talk about “Why can’t we all just get along?” and he’ll totally cave in. Because paranoia I guess.

    [ I actually expect a lot of nice talk about the those on the other side who might still be moored to reality and whatnot. ]

  35. 35
    Maude says:

    @ranchandsyrup:
    How sweet. The best experience in the world.

  36. 36
    Raven says:

    Ray Milland tried to by a 45 in a hardware store after a nuclear attack. The dude said, “sorry, two day waiting period and a background check”. I was gonna tell him that some dude named Cole up the road might have one he could let you have!

  37. 37
    jayackroyd says:

    @BlueDWarrior:

    A simpler explanation is that he advocates policies that he believes in. There’s a longstanding commitment among New Democrats to replace the social insurance programs with welfare programs. And to replace regulatory authority over powerful private interests with partnership.

  38. 38
    👽 Martin says:

    @aimai: Technically, if they were over the event horizon, you wouldn’t be able to know about them. She’s likely in the ergosphere, which is dangerous as it’s impossible to stand still there and it’s also possible to emerge with more energy than which you entered.

    All of her beyond the event horizon hysterics will be forever shielded from our knowing. I think that’s good all around.

  39. 39
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @jayackroyd: I believe in that to some extent. I think things evolve into Welfare because we understand that there is just some natural asymmetry in things. I also think that private-public partnerships are useful in the pure abstract.

    The question, I think that is outstanding, is that if you had a more robust left in the legislatures, would Obama say argue against a stronger bank regulation bill or more obvious government management of health care.

    I’d wager he wouldn’t to an extent, because in the end he is center-left (though more center). That’s us arguing hypotheticals based on what we can see publicly.

  40. 40
    jl says:

    Pelosi: No Concessions To Help Boehner In Fiscal Cliff Talks

    ” Asked if Democrats would accept further concessions-spending cuts or lower tax revenue-Pelosi was nonplussed.

    “In return for what?” she asked. ”

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.....-talks.php

    I think that was a very polite way of describing the House GOP situation and Johnny Bones’ plight from Rep. Pelosi

  41. 41
    Atticus Dogsbody says:

    It would’ve been much more interesting if they’d named Alice Wayne LaPierre.

  42. 42
    Culture of Truth says:

    What if she brought her smart phone with her? Could she live tweet from the black hole?

  43. 43
    BlueDWarrior says:

    I just think one of the things that will be permanently lost to history and forever the argument of speculation, to expand on my previous post, would be “Where would the country be if we had a sane center-right/right movement (i.e. Eisenhower/Rockefeller Republicans).”

    I’m not one of those who say that Obama would necessarily be a Eisenhower Republican in terms of his ideas (though he is in effect due to how policy gets triangulated these days). So I think we would have some sane debates on the scope and exact function of the welfare state, how to fund infrastructure, etc.

    Instead right now we have half the body politic practically possessed by an ideology with one foot in the grave.

  44. 44
    Arclite says:

    I had an epiphany after reading an article on supermassive black holes: Could the cycle of the universe be when all matter is collected in a single black hole which then collapses on itself then explodes? Could that be how the universe cycles over time: explosion-expansion-condensation-consolidation-retraction-all matter collected in a single point and explosion again?

  45. 45
    calabi-yeow says:

    It’s interesting that writers on cosmology feel compelled to place humans (Bob and Alice) in the middle of the worst-case scenarios in the universe. Alice gets torn apart….or Alice gets vaporized….while Bob watches in horrified stupefaction from a safe distance. How is this any different from watching cable news? Just kidding….

    Trying to personalize or humanize theoretical physics for the general public is actually not much different than the telling of mythological creation stories: turtles upon turtles while hapless humans are bedeviled by the evil twin or the wily Trickster, Coyote. Throw that limbic system into gear…..and you get their attention.

  46. 46
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    @gbear: I remember when I was five and our cute little fuzzy dog had cute little fuzzy puppies.

    Before we could find them homes, those little fuckers bit the shit out of my ankles.

  47. 47
    Geoduck says:

    Obama has nominated Kerry for Secretary of State. I really hope this doesn’t end up putting Brown back in the Senate.

  48. 48
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @Arclite: It sounds like something that’d make some sense, but then ‘sense’ tends to break down at the extreme macro/micro scale.

  49. 49
    Raven says:

    Wow, Ray Milland and Frankie Avalon are such sexist pigs! LA is under nuclear attack, they are on the run in the boonies and mom and daughter are in heels and dresses and have no input about what they are going to do! “Panic in the Year Zero”!

  50. 50
    Maude says:

    @Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn:
    LOL.

    @Culture of Truth:
    Yes. The tweets would reach the Deep Space Network in Australia. The delay would be a few hours.

  51. 51
    Tom Levenson says:

    @calabi-yeow:

    Actually, Alice and Bob are regular characters within the discipline (also, very much in crytography.)

    That is to say — this is how professionals talk to each other. Don’t blame science writers. Your statement about humanizing = mythology is so much twaddle, I’m afraid.

    (see, e.g., the whimsy in terms like “charm” “quarks” “strangeness.” Even, or especially those who think in the deep abstractions of modern physics seem to feel the need to hang some recognizable landmarks on the walls, if just for fun.)

  52. 52
    gogol's wife says:

    @Raven:

    I’m so sorry I’m missing this. And the end-of-the-world movie before this one was set in a Frank Lloyd Wright house. But my husband is sick and the TV bothers him in the next room. I’m enjoying your live-blogging it.

  53. 53
    Liquid says:

    @Raven:

    “Never been fired and only dropped once.”

  54. 54
    Raven says:

    @gogol’s wife: My wife is not all that thrilled with my running commentary while she tries wrap presents and pack!

  55. 55
    The Dangerman says:

    I saw this in the Seattle paper about UW physicists (of course Seattle and physicists; I suspect there is some wacky weed involved here in the name of science) thinking that we are just part of a huge simulation being run by our descendents. I’m reasonably capable of at least a minimal amount of understanding in science matters, but this didn’t come close to making much sense to me (please pass the bowl, maybe that will help):

    http://seattletimes.com/html/l.....on16m.html

  56. 56
    Raven says:

    @Liquid: An ARVN rifle!

  57. 57
  58. 58
    Raven says:

    Hahahaha, Frankie shoots a buck and throws it over his shoulders and fireman carries it back to camp. Do NOT try this at home girls and boys!

  59. 59
    different-church-lady says:

    @BlueDWarrior: Freakout level reduced from “Elmo” to “Bert”: http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....sp-package

  60. 60
    Allen says:

    A couple years ago I was on a rafting trip on the Salmon in Idaho, and had the appropriate sound track, a cheap CD player which got fired up for the second worse rapid on the trip (the worse one had the potential for not needing any distractions). We proceeded to crash big time, but didn’t flip the raft and got a standing applause (for our hubris) from the crowd waiting for us to clear the rapid.

  61. 61
    Liquid says:

    @Raven:

    “Oh look you’ve landed in Saigon. You’re amongst the little people now.” “We represent the ARVN army, the ARVN army. Oh no! Follow the Ho Chi Minh trail! Follow the Ho Chi Minh trail!”

  62. 62
    Raven says:

    @Liquid:

    What’ya gonna’ do with an Airsick ARVN
    What’ya gonna’ do with an Airsick ARVN
    What’ya gonna’ do with an Airsick ARVN
    Early in the mornin’, early in the mornin’
    Throwin’ up his rice’n’water
    Early in the mornin’
    Way hay and up she rises
    Filial’ up his helmet liner

  63. 63
    Liquid says:

    Ok, so in honor of something I read somewhere I am renouncing all forms of virtual gunpowder and (until I tire of such empty words) will only rely on projected-light and/or cold steel to settle my virtual battles.

    Though, when you’re playing The Witcher 2, cold steel is not the foremost thing on your mind.

    Unless you’re female…then it’s just steel. All they way. Up to the Hilt.

  64. 64
  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Raven:

    If you’re finding that movie to be interesting, you may want to seek out a book I found in a used bookstore, Apocalypse Movies, by Kim Newman, who is a pretty well-known film commentator in Britain. And a dude despite his first name. It’s an interesting survey of the whole genre that’s written for general audiences (IOW, you don’t need a film degree to understand what he’s talking about).

    It’s a really fun book and pointed me towards some interesting movies.

  66. 66
    Raven says:

    @jeffreyw: Looka that lil shit!

  67. 67
    Raven says:

    @Mnemosyne: Alas Babylon was one of my favorite books when I was a kid. I’m actually not all that crazy about these kinds of flicks but I’m just killin time and it came on.

  68. 68
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    (see, e.g., the whimsy in terms like “charm” “quarks” “strangeness.” Even, or especially those who think in the deep abstractions of modern physics seem to feel the need to hang some recognizable landmarks on the walls, if just for fun.)

    My meager understanding of the subject suggests that whimsy and landmarks (Or maybe a trail of breadcrumbs) are good things.

  69. 69
    Raven says:

    Glenn Erickson writes, in his DVD Savant review, “Panic In Year Zero! scrupulously avoids any scenes requiring more than minimalist production values yet still delivers on its promise, allowing audience imagination to expand upon the narrow scope of what’s actually on the screen. It sure seemed shocking in 1962, and easily trumped other more pacifistic efforts. The Day the Earth Caught Fire was for budding flower people; Panic In Year Zero! could have been made as a sales booster for the gun industry.”[

  70. 70
    Raven says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Been trying to reach you!

  71. 71
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @different-church-lady: Progress, I guess

  72. 72
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Raven:

    With the Shift Key on my addy is BINHTHUY&!@YAHOO>COM

    Do it with the Shift Key off.

  73. 73
  74. 74
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Raven:

    And, not surprisingly, The Day the Earth Caught Fire is a British movie and Panic in the Year Zero! is an American film.

    That’s one of the things I like about the Newman book — he does a subtle comparison/contrast between American and British versions of the apocalypse. Did you know the Brits had their own The Day After-type TV movie? I’m blanking on the title of the British one, though.

  75. 75
    jeffreyw says:

    @Raven: Mrs J says she is out of a Jack Russell and a poodle, maybe a toy poodle because the pup is tiny. Should be and interesting cross.

  76. 76
    Liquid says:

    I had a nice spiel about contributiousness but that’s in the bin. In favor of hey, video game violence?

    Bullshit, I grew up in the aforementioned thing!

    Though I have yet to mark up one kill on my tally I will certainly say that violence in video games serves to paint a (very red) picture of something.

    But I laugh at these vague and semi-annoying castafrugations. Why would you spend your time suppressing some gray/brown/middle east pixels when you could be revisiting a classic from two years ago where your entire focus is to bed some ancillary female character you had no idea even existed until thirty minutes ago?

    Why?! Cause the achievements! And that is where teh blame lies! If there weren’t achievements for ‘walk forward ten paces’ or ‘shoot that wanker’ then we would have nothing. Nothing!

    Or the media could reign themselves in and actually crack down on those fewls who say ‘clip’ instead of ‘magazine.’

    Wake Up Sheeple! Rounds -> Clip -> Magazine -> Weapon -> UN+Obama <- Weapon <- Magazine <- Clip <- Birf Certifikat!

    Murika!

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, since we’re talking about end-of-the-world, I will again pitch my recommendation for Carol for Another Christmas, which re-airs on TCM tomorrow 12/21 at 4:00 pm Eastern/1:00 pm Pacific time. If you ever wondered what kind of a version of “A Christmas Carol” Rod Serling would write, you can satisfy your curiosity tomorrow.

  78. 78
    Raven says:

    @Mnemosyne: I have it on my record list.

  79. 79
    Raven says:

    @jeffreyw: Rut ro.

  80. 80
    Culture of Truth says:

    Wasn’t it “Threads”? A bit like the U.S. “Testament”

  81. 81
    Raven says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Well, I’m striking out on those instructions.

  82. 82
    Johnny Coelacanth says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: “Do it with the Shift Key off.” Except for the ‘@’ bit.

  83. 83
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Raven:
    What the hell: xxxxxxxbinhthuy71@yahoo.comxxxxxxxxxxx

    Dump the x’s. I would warn any potential spammers that I knew about Spray when Spray was new.

  84. 84
    eemom says:

    dunno if it’s been mentioned already, but Obama formally nominated Kerry for SOS.

    Or maybe it’s in the category of in other news, the sun set.

  85. 85
    Raven says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Aw man I didn’t want to push it. Delete that bad dude, I think I got it.

  86. 86
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Raven:
    No worries; I have friends in the business.

  87. 87
    eemom says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Thanks, that sounds interesting — will check it out.

    My kids and I have been watching Twilight Zones on Itunes teevee. Dayum but I love that show.

  88. 88
    Liquid says:

    Balloon-Juice — “We do it with the Shift key off.”

  89. 89
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    @Raven: I remember that flick from when I was a kid (saw it on teevee in the ’70s). I recall the now-literally-nuclear family huddled around the radio as the announced informed all that the president had declared the year to be Zero to commemorate the nuclear holocaust. Seemed schlocky to me even as an eight or nine year old.
    =o )

  90. 90
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Liquid:

    Balloon-Juice — “We do it with the Shift key off.”

    The Caps Lock, on the other hand…

  91. 91
    BlueDWarrior says:

    Hrm, Obama has basically said: “Well since Boehner can’t control his herd of cats, we’re going with the mini-Cliff plan again. Obtw we’re still talking so if something doesn’t get done, talk to him.”

  92. 92
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    I don’t think it was “Threads.” It was a fake documentary and it was earlier than “The Day After,” I think in the 1960s or 1970s.

    One thing I remember from the book is that Newman talks about a scene where looters are being rounded up and summarily executed and one of them shouts, “I’m not going to be shot by a fucking traffic warden!” (ie a meter maid)

    ETA: I think it may be “The War Game”

  93. 93
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    To return to Chris Hedges on ‘the death of the liberal class’:

    ‘The liberal class is expected to mask the brutality of imperial war and corporate malfeasance by deploring the most egregious excesses while studiously refusing to question the legitimacy of the power elite’s actions and structures. When dissidents step outside these boundaries, they become pariahs. Specific actions can be criticized, but motives, intentions, and the moral probity of the power elite cannot be questioned.’ (Hedges, op. cit., pp. 152-153)

    and he warns:

    ‘We stand on the verge of one of the bleakest periods in human history, when the bright lights of civilizations will blink out and we will descend for decades, if not centuries, into barbarity. The elites, who successfully convinced us that we no longer possessed the capacity to understand the revealed truths presented before us or to fight back against the chaos caused by economic and environmental catastrophe, will use their resources to create privileged little islands where they will have access to security and goods denied to the rest of us.’ (p. 197)

    http://www.medialens.org/index.....;Itemid=69

  94. 94
    Liquid says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    No no, you’re thinking Scroll Lock. Ladies pinch, Whores use Caps Lock.

  95. 95
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @BlueDWarrior:

    Hrm, Obama has basically said: “Well since Boehner can’t control his herd of cats, we’re going with the mini-Cliff plan again. Obtw we’re still talking so if something doesn’t get done, talk to him.”

    I’m unable to figure out how Boehner could think that Obama and the Senate could come up with anything that would be acceptable to his Hellspawn when he couldn’t.

  96. 96
    Corner Stone says:

    by convention Bob and Alice

    Don’t believe anything Alice says. It’s all lies.

  97. 97
    Corner Stone says:

    @Liquid:

    Ladies pinch, Whores use Caps Lock.

    I thought the Baby Jesus said Caps Lock was cool?

  98. 98
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    Did Hedges mention Demonic Possession and Dogs Living with Cats? I’ve been a modest but tenacious student of the history of western Europe after the so-called Fall of the Roman Empire. There was no fall into barbarity then and anyone who says different simply doesn’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.

    …”when the bright lights of civilizations will blink out…” would have been better had it been voiced by Bette Davis at her most melodramatic.

  99. 99
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    So, you admit to being part of the problem. The Identity politics must be getting to you………eventually.

  100. 100
    Corner Stone says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    I’ve been a modest but tenacious student of the history of western Europe after the so-called Fall of the Roman Empire.

    You read the same books over and over?

  101. 101
    Liquid says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Wait, you mean when Rome was sacked or Constantinople was sacked? So much sacking, you must specify.

  102. 102
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @Corner Stone:

    You read the same books over and over?

    It would be immodest if he admitted to reading anything. Let’s just say he is tenaciously ignorant

  103. 103
    Leeds man says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Did Hedges mention Demonic Possession and Dogs Living with Cats?

    Did Hedges mention the Roman Empire? Did folk back then have to deal with rapid climate change, peak oil, overpopulation, globalization, effective dissemination of misinformation and weapons of mass destruction all at once?

  104. 104
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Corner Stone:

    You read the same books over and over?

    He doesn’t look at the pictures, he just reads the articles.

  105. 105
    Liquid says:

    Why did the Roman Empire fail?

    They just predated Drill, Baby, Drill.

  106. 106
    JWL says:

    A Simple Enough Question: Did space exist prior to the Big Bang, or was it created by it?

  107. 107
    mapaghimagsik says:

    Threads was kinda like The Day After, but far nastier than TV docudrama would allow.

    I am reminded of When The Wind Blows, which struck me as far longer than it needed to be.

  108. 108
    Liquid says:

    @mapaghimagsik:

    “I am reminded of When The Wind Blows, which struck me as far longer than it needed to be.”

    That just has to be some kind of poetry right up in heah.

  109. 109
    I_D_Inuse says:

    @👽 Martin: So that’s the Orange Man’s secret Zen. No wonder there were no tears today…who knew?

  110. 110
    Mnemosyne says:

    @mapaghimagsik:

    I think “Threads” is the one that ends with the 14-year-old daughter of the heroine giving birth and screaming in horror as she sees the irradiated thing that she had been carrying inside her.

  111. 111
    flytiger says:

    @Tom Levenson: Oh, Tom, you are too kind; so-so generous of you to throw out an intertube to different church lady.

  112. 112
    calabi-yeow says:

    re: # 51

    I’m well aware of the Bob and Alice characters. It was a lame joke on my part.

    As to your second comment, I didn’t say that humanizing equals mythology. You generally restated my point: “Even, or especially those who think in the deep abstractions of modern physics seem to feel the need to hang some recognizable landmarks on the walls, if just for fun.)”

    Cosmology and mythic creation stories share only the slenderest of threads: explaining the origin of the universe. The former is based on theoretical physics and imagination, while the latter is based on human imagination alone. The interesting aspect is that cosmological writers/scientists do humanize their theories, especially for the general public’s consumption. Now, it’s time for death by cosmic walls of fire…

  113. 113
    Leeds man says:

    @JWL: Created by it.

Comments are closed.