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February 2007
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A public conversation about our worlds.

  • Monday: Morgan J. Locke
  • Tuesday: Madeleine E. Robins
  • Wednesday: Maureen F. McHugh
  • Thursday: Bradley Denton
  • Friday: Steven Gould
  • Saturday: Caroline Spector
  • Sunday: Rory Harper

Brain Activity



Earth Fall Down Go Boom

February 16th, 2007 by Morgan J. Locke

I got nothin today, the synapses are misfiring; you know the drill. So I thought I’d blow up a planet for y’all instead.

Alderaan is peaceful; we have no weapons!  You can’t possibly…

Seriously, this guy knows from planetary destruction. His list of methods for destroying the Earth made the rounds a while back, but it’s such a classic that it bears revisitation. My personal fave is:

  1. Whipped by a cosmic string

    You will need: a cosmic string and a whole lotta luck

    Method: Cosmic strings are hypothetical 1-dimensional defects in spacetime, left over from earlier phases of the universe, somewhat like cracks in ice. They are potentially universe-spanning objects, thinner than a proton but with unimaginable density – one Earth mass per 1600m of length! All you need to do is get a cosmic string near Earth, and it’ll be torn apart, shredded, and sucked in. Probably the entire rest of the solar system would be too.

    Earth’s final resting place: String.

    Feasibility rating: 1/10. Mind-bogglingly unlikely. Even if cosmic strings do exist, which they may not, there are probably only about ten of them left in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE. And they can’t be steered, unless you have godlike powers, in which case you might as well chuck the Earth into the Sun and have done with it, so you’re relying entirely on luck. This. Will. Never. Happen.

    Source: this method suggested by Dan Winston.

Check it out. It is a handy way to put life into perspective.

Update: I’m a reader at heart, and prefer text, but he has put together an earth destruction instruction video, if you prefer multimedia.

Posted in Fiction, Morgan, Science, Science Fiction, Technology | 3 Comments »

Elevated Discourse

February 16th, 2007 by Madeleine Robins

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It has been, in the words of playwright John Guare, a day for surprises. YG, with whom I was supposed to leave tonight for the Winterfest Camporee (a Girl Scout event the planning and staging of which was supposed to earn the kid her Bronze Award–this is a big deal in GS land) went to sleep at 4:30 yesterday and slept until 7 this morning with time out only to take her temperature (102.5 last night). Though she woke up fever-free this morning, I couldn’t in good conscience let her go to the Camporee.

Then Sarcasm Girl called from school with a migraine. She came home.

Then the Insurance Appraiser called. The car needs at least $6700 worth of repairs, and it’s only worth $5500. So we get a check for the $5500 (less deductible) and go hunting for a new car…at a time when buying a new car was not, shall we say, on the short list of things we were budgeting for.

So when, about half an hour ago, the full import of the No Camporee dictum finally lodged in YG’s formerly-fevered mind, she came out swinging. Actually, she came out weeping with outrage. In the process of getting her into a more Zen mind-space, she asked piteously if she could swear. I told her that I would not only permit her five minutes of foul language, but I would participate. Sarcasm Girl, wrenched from her migrainous misery by the sight of her sister’s woe, decided to help out too. I think we scandalized the dog with the blue air that was hovering over our heads. The favorite curse, by acclaimation, was “Fuck a bunny.” Although “Fuck a puppy” came close. And “Apple-knocking pig fucker” (a phrase I picked up at Harvard when I was working there) was popular.

The five minutes of foulness completed, everyone felt better. Except perhaps for the dog. And maybe the bunny.

Posted in Daily Life | 9 Comments »

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