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hunter's Journal
hunter's Journal
November 19, 2021

We know how we got here and it wasn't in spaceships.

In my strange universe intelligent species who don't obliterate themselves make the leap to near-omnipotence rapidly, before they build any silly things like starships, which would be quite boring as they wouldn't go faster than light.

This big universe is very threatening to certain religious beliefs, in that aliens are more powerful than their gods.

A being like Q, who can pop out of nowhere to harass Jean-Luc Picard in a galaxy of 100-400 billion stars or more, makes humans seem very small and insignificant, which they are.

It's much more comfortable to believe humans are special enough that aliens in space ships are watching us.

The truth is harder. We each have to determine "the meaning of life" on our own, even as nearly omnipotent beings. This meaning cannot be found in science or religion, it's unique to each individual.

On a less philosophical note, funding for UFO studies is easily diverted to less savory pursuits. Suppose you are looking for aliens or rogue artificial intelligences on the internet. Sounds fun, right? You might use the same technology to identify hidden political enemies as well.

Remember the Glomar Explorer? That ship was supposedly looking for manganese nodules on the ocean floor. I remember the popular science articles. The ship was in fact built to recover a sunken Soviet submarine.

In any case, supposing some alien near-omnipotent intelligence is teasing us, then there really isn't anything we can do about it, no defenses we can muster. It's trivially easy for a star-faring people to destroy an emergent civilization that annoys it. Maybe that's what happened to the dinosaurs.

If the space aliens want to talk to us they will. Otherwise we are just monkeys screaming at the airplanes in the sky.

October 9, 2021

Thought experiment: Anyone here can disconnect from the electric grid and pour sand...

... into their car's engine. Then what?

People say all sorts of things about climate change but most are in some stage of denial.

The right wing still thinks we can burn a lot more fossil fuels without any danger to our civilization. The left wing doesn't yet realize renewable energy schemes in places like Germany, California, and Denmark have failed and further entrenched our long term dependence on natural gas.

Personally I think the human race has worked itself into a corner. There are so many humans we require high density energy sources to keep us all fed and comfortably sheltered. The only energy source capable of replacing fossil fuels entirely (which we MUST do) is nuclear power.

Fortunately nuclear power is a mature seventy year old technology. Even the worst accidents, Chernobyl and Fukushima, caused very little environmental damage in comparison to the daily horrors we are now experiencing as a direct consequence of our fossil fuel use.

The fundamental problem of our society is our economic system. This thing we now call "economic productivity" is a direct measure of the damage we our doing to the natural environment and our own human spirit. Most of us suffer jobs and lifestyles that are not making the world a better place.

The most horrible thing we learned from the accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima is that humans going about their ordinary daily lives are worse for the natural environment than fallout from a nuclear accident.

June 2, 2021

I have a horrible love/hate relationship with car culture.

In my poverty I learned how to keep cars running.

Once upon a time I replaced the head gasket of my Toyota station wagon in a K-mart parking lot.

Late 'seventies early 'eighties I drove all over the western U.S.A. and Baja Mexico in that car.

At times I lived in that car as well. With all my tools.

I took my first driver's test in an Volkswagen van. My parents are artists. Of course they drove a Volkswagen van.

The DMV examiner looked at me like I was a freak. I don't remember for certain, but I may have been wearing violet pants. Certainly my hair was long and confusing to people who needed to know if I was a boy or a girl.

My first serious girlfriend was an engineer attracted to the heroin waif look which I naturally achieved without the heroin. She could show me off to her parents as the guy she was going to marry.

I never showed her off to my parents because I was pretty sure they would have told me I was going wrong.

Praise be to God that marriage did not happen, a match made in hell, the David Lynch version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding without the Greek.

She married someone else, a woman who had tried to kill herself in my bathtub. If I ever get some kind of gold star fast pass at the Pearly Gates it's for making that match.

My wife and I met teaching science in the big city.

Back to cars...

When I was driving all over the place gasoline was essentially free. I'd get jobs paying eight to ten dollars an hour. I could fill the tank of my car working an hour. I could get a warped engine head milled flat with a day's work.

That car culture was awesome.

As a rabid environmentalist my secret vice is Jay Leno's Garage...

He talks about Ralph Nader in this video.

Ralph Nader is an asshole.

March 10, 2021

Clocks and money were invented by the devil.

In my utopia I get up before dawn so I'm running as the sun rises. When I return from running I shower and work six hours or so, no automobile commuting involved.

I've managed to live like that for some of my life. Alas, severe arthritis now interferes with my running, but I still like to watch the sun rise.

The most hellish jobs I had involved long automobile commutes in stop-and-go traffic, leaving for work in the dark and arriving home in the dark.

There's no good reason for anyone in modern technological society to work as wage slaves except that a few powerful people profit immensely from it.

Most of us suffer work that is not making the world a happier place.

This thing we call economic productivity isn't productivity at all. It is in fact a measure of the damage we are doing to our earth's natural environment and our own human spirit.

The high technology world economy now runs on a single universal time. The local time is calculated from that.

Time zones were originally invented by the railroads. Railroads had to run by a single clock, for safety and scheduling reasons. Railroad time was set by telegraph and chronographs.

Before railroad time local communities had their own local time loosely synchronized to "high noon."

Later radio and television broadcasting followed railroad time.

If we wanted to we could go back to local time and use a single universal time only for those activities that require it.

We could even build clocks with variable hours so the day in a community would always began at dawn. That's the environment humans evolved in; that's the rhythm the internal clocks of our bodies follow.

January 25, 2021

We live on a planet glorious with many species of sentient intelligent life...

... yet some speculate we humans might be somehow unique and alone in this universe because we haven't yet met any space aliens like us.

If we can't see that spark of sentience and intelligence in our own immediate neighbors, how the hell would we recognize it in space aliens?

Maybe that's why space aliens avoid this place.

I've known many amazingly bright dogs and birds, even a few cats, and I love to watch videos of elephants, horses, and cetaceans who are clearly thoughtful and playful creatures who celebrate life.

It makes me sad there are humans who won't even respect the individuality of fellow humans beyond their own small tribes, and in the worst cases of sociopathy and narcissism, beyond their own selves.

Profile Information

Name: Hunter
Gender: Male
Current location: California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 38,361

About hunter

I'm a very dangerous fellow when I don't know what I'm doing.
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