Saturday, June 30, 2012

All 'Things' Considered

Peter Watts, hard SF writer, in his short story, "The Things", has his alien protagonist try its level best to annihilate the biped biomasses (human scientists) that have freed it from its icy grave.

The creature finally realizes that the answer to the age-old question "Who Goes There?" are beings that simply aren't worth killing. More to be pitied actually, as "The Thing" sadly concludes the following about Earth's beastly kings:

"A whole planet of worlds, and not one of them--not one--has a soul. They wander through their lives separate and alone, unable even to communicate except through grunts and tokens: as if the essence of a sunset or a supernova could ever be contained in some string of phonemes, a few linear scratches of black on white. They've never known communion, can aspire to nothing but dissolution. The paradox of their biology is astonishing, yes; but the scale of their loneliness, the futility of these lives, overwhelms me."

Of course, one would have to suspend belief in God and/or Apple to concur with this monstrous assertion.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Buck Stops Here. There. Everywhere.

To be honest, haven't we been getting exactly the kind of leadership out of Washington's Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches that we deserve? We voters have a track record of not seeking our best people to represent us, and an even worse record of showing up to vote when the time comes to exercise that most important of our rights and privileges. We incessantly complain about our leaders' failures to cooperate with each other, solve our major problems, and plan for a better future for all of us, but what have we, as individuals, really done to rectify the abominable political situation?

In short, the biggest feeling of entitlement that we citizens have is not for Social Security, Medicare, or the other social contracts that both Democrats and Republicans have gifted us with, or, if you prefer, bribed us with, over the succeeding generations, but rather, the feeling of entitlement that we have come to expect for strong and competent leadership.

Here is a piece of late breaking news for us Americans: Before the next election, it is high time that all of us, whether in government, or not, stop playing in the mud, come inside, roll up our sleeves, and do some critical thinking about why things have gotten so mucked up and what we can, realistically, do to fix them.