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Posts Tagged ‘apocalypse

“There’s no big apocalypse. Just an endless procession of little ones”*…

 

Empty_wave_at_Banzai_Pipeline

 

Humanity is facing multiple possible apocalypses, with narratives that often miss an important point: The apocalypse probably won’t be quick or final. It will be an environment, not an event or an end point for humanity. The apocalypse is more likely to bring misery than catharsis or salvation. Although worst-case scenarios theoretically make it easier to prevent dire outcomes, in the case of slow-moving apocalypses such as climate change, it’s difficult for humans to envision the scale of the problem and to imagine how we will actually experience it…

Via Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Jamias Cascio argues that we’d be well served to face up to the deeply dramatic– if not melodramatic– realities that we face: “The apocalypse: It’s not the end of the world.” [free access until January 1, 2020]

* Neil Gaiman, Signal to Noise

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As we take care, we might we might recall that it was on this date (coincidentally, now Chicken Soup of the Soul Day) in 1952 that 9.0 Mw earthquake centered at Severo-Kurilsk in the Kamchatka Peninsula triggered a major tsunami.  the majority of the Severo-Kurilsk citizens fled to the surrounding hills, where they escaped the first wave.  But most of them returned to the town and were killed by the second wave.  According to the authorities, out of a population of 6,000 people, 2,336 died; the survivors were evacuated to continental Russia.  The settlement was then rebuilt in another location.

The tsunami caused flooding as far away as Hawaii, almost 3400 miles way.  Midway Island (over 1800 miles away) was inundated with water, flooding streets and buildings.  On the Hawaiian Islands the waves destroyed boats, knocked down telephone lines, destroyed piers, scoured beaches, and flooded lawns.  In Honolulu Harbor a cement barge was thrown into a freighter. In Hilo Bay a small bridge connecting Coconut Island to the shore was destroyed by a wave when it lifted off its foundation and then smashed down.

Midway

Midway Island after the tsunami

 source

 

Written by LW

November 12, 2019 at 1:01 am

“It’s the end of the world as we know it”*…

 

From The Road

As humans, we tend to construct narratives around things we don’t understand, especially when such things appear to have an arbitrary, limitless power. Dramatic, civilization-shaking events seem too meaningful to happen by pure chance — they seem like some sort of divine punishment. As a result, apocalypse narratives throughout history have often come with strong moral connotations. There are recurring themes in the eschatological mythology of many different cultures, often concerning a final battle between good and evil, with the righteous ascending to paradise and the latter condemned to hell. (Or, alternatively, they’ll be left behind on a godless and righteous-less Earth, which is implied to be pretty much the same thing.)…

Tom Hawking explores our fascination with apocalyptic story-telling, and asks why it so rarely addresses the actual dangers we face: “Not With a Bang: What If the Apocalypse Already Happened, and No One Noticed?

* REM

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As we batten down the hatches, we might send pointedly-ridiculous birthday greetings to Douglas Noel Adams; he was born on this date in 1952.  A writer and dramatist best remembered as the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series (as well as the Dirk Gently novels), his melodramatically-apocalyptic tales are both insightful and hilarious.  Adams passed away in 2001; still, one can honor his memory in a couple of month’s time by celebrating Towel Day.

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Written by LW

March 11, 2016 at 1:01 am

“Sure, everything is ending… but not yet.”*…

 

From 365 CE to 10100 years from now, apocalyptic predictions and who made them: the interactive “Timeline of When the World Ended.” (Lots of notice for our old friend Harold Camping.)

* Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad

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As we sharpen a Sense of the The Ending, we might recall that it was on this date in 1942 that a team of scientists led by Enrico Fermi, working inside an enormous tent on a squash court under the stands of the University of Chicago’s Stagg Field, achieved the first controlled nuclear fission chain reaction… laying the foundation for the atomic bomb and later, nuclear power generation.

“…the Italian Navigator has just landed in the New World…”
– Coded telephone message confirming first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, December 2, 1942.

Illustration depicting the scene on Dec. 2, 1942 (Photo copyright of Chicago Historical Society)

source

Indeed, exactly 15 years later, on this date in 1957, the world’s first full-scale atomic electric power plant devoted exclusively to peacetime uses, the Shippingport Atomic Power Station, reached criticality; the first power was produced 16 days later, after engineers integrated the generator into the distribution grid of Duquesne Light Company.

 source

 

The End (Diagrammed)…

 

 click the image above, or here, for larger version

From Good, a breakdown of the 10% of the world’s population (!) that believes the world will end by the conclusion of this calendar year.

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As we turn to happier– but also unlikely– thoughts, we might recall that it was on this date in 1971 that the Houston Astros’ Cesar Cedeno, at bat with with the bases loaded and his team trailing the Dodgers 3-2, hit a pop fly that turned into an inside-the-park grand slam:

Written by LW

September 2, 2012 at 1:01 am

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