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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Finding The Science in Science Fiction

This week, I’m going to pull out something I had written a few years ago. I just love science and science fiction and here are some of my thoughts which I’ve written down over the years.

Wow...this topic would be a nice thought for a science fiction book...but the truth of the matter is that we are due for some natural things to start happening to the earth. Being a Geologist, I've had to study the earth's past. And believe it or not, the earth is a violent place. There are things that haven't happened since man started recording time and when looking on the geologic record, it would appear that these things are pretty frequent. Because our lifespan is so small, we can’t really begin to see the big picture.

Basically, we are due for more earthquakes, more volcanic eruptions and those are just for starters. If those things happen, it does change the weather. Part of the reason the weather is changing right now is global warming and ocean currents. No matter what they say. We are a connected system. You can't have something happen somewhere else in the world without it impacting you. It's kinda like your body...if something happens to your toe...your brain knows it. The earth is just like our body, a closed system but we do have outside influences. We all know that there are things we can't help. The weather affects your skin...mine tends to be dry because I live in a dry climate...but put me in Ohio and my skin changes.

Some of the outside influences we earthlings have to look at are meteors, meteor showers, sun flares, going through solar storms and the like. Those are definitely things we can't do anything about. All the meteor movies had a grain of truth in them. There is currently a project that has mapped a fair portion of the sky looking for near earth objects. My problem with that is, so what if we find something heading for us. We might decide on a plan to try and destroy it if we can get every nation to agree on the way we would destroy it. At this point, no one has the authority to do anything to protect this earth. Weird, huh? But the bottom line is we're still stuck here on this rock and we've preserved nothing except what the explorers, should there be any, might find in a distant future should something fall out of the sky on us.

And don’t get even get me started on global warming. Yes, there are a lot of us. Yes, we’re doing damage to this planet with consequences that we can’t even begin to imagine. BUT the undeniable fact is that global warming has happened again and again in the past and is very well documented in the geologic record. At best, all we’ve done is to accelerate something that has happened before and will happen again. We aren’t even a necessary part of the equation for it to happen.

Two of my biggest pet peeves. Global warming and our lack of space travel. We want to preserve humankind, right? So why in the world are we stuck on this rock? We need to explore space. We need to get out there and go other places. Make those alliances of planets that movies like Stargate and StarTrek imply. While it might take its toll, the net worth to the species would be invaluable. And we need to do things to prevent our effect on the planet to become the death knell for mankind.

One of the things that I've been looking at recently is the decline in birth rates and the fertility problems that a lot of humans have. I'm beginning to wonder if that's not going to cause us to die out sometime in a distant future. I have lots of friends who have these problems and some have one child and many have no children. If we aren't replacing ourselves, then the population is declining.

There is just so much bad happening in the world without adding the natural things into the mix. But some days, I just start looking at the big picture and wonder. It’s my geologic nature I guess. There were only two things my professors ever said I did well. One was that I had this unnerving ability to see the big picture which in itself has it's drawbacks. The other was that I could do something most women found hard and that was to spatially see what a deformed crystal looked like when it was whole. Again, two things I found very weird.

Just by writing this, I can still see my love of science and all its permutations coming through. Geez...I should get back to writing science fiction...maybe someday.

I’m happy to report that I am again writing about science and science fiction. After all, it’s the one thing I am truly good at…LOL!

Until next week…


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