The Futuristic World: Man-man Islands?

The Futuristic World: The world of the future will be a complex one, regardless of whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. Technology – a big pixelated hand of man created to do what man wants, evolving before our very eyes – and nature – the elements of the universe, or multiverse, the never-blank slate we were born into and have been toying with ever since, the illusion of a God, the methodology of being born to run and made to work – must find a perfect equilibrium for Homo sapiens (and the other species born on Earth, as they are no less important) to survive. We must help that process.    

Date: January 26th, 2017

Man-made islands are not a new thing.

According WorldAtlas.com, ”Island construction dates back to pre-historic times in ancient Egypt, Ireland, Scotland, and Mexico.” They can be so small and relatively easy to make that they look primitive (the “Uros Islands,” see Figure 1), or so large and complex that it appears their only application is science fiction (the Palm Jumeirah, see Figure 2).

Figure 1. A picture of one of the Islas Uros.

The Islas Uros were created with people, basic tools, and buoyant totora reeds. The Palm Jumeirah was created with your usual, more modern set: a mixture of soil and sand, wood, metal – probably steel and aluminum, stone, etc.

The Manlands (my word for “man-made islands”) all have the bare necessities in common:

Figure 2. Palm Jumeirah…no, I’m pretty sure that’s actually the long-lost city of Atlantis. Just look at it.

– Reason for being off the mainland (with the Islas Uros, it probably had something to do with convenience for the fishing communities, and for Palm Jumeirah – well, they probably just though it was cool. They’re not wrong).

– Food and water. By which I mean, all manlands have an efficient delivery/farming/storing system for food and water. If your manland doesn’t have at least one of the three (having all three would be the best situation), permanent residence will provide serious problems.

– Satisfactory housing. Of course, the “satisfaction” level is all relative, so in this context I speak of the housing methods most satisfactory to the people living on that particular manland.

Beyond the bare necessities, one manland and another have about as much in common as a pig and a banana.

Even though manlands aren’t exactly new, they could be used for new purposes. The motors to keep the manland afloat if it is “free” from the ground, and to move it if the creators ever desire that, could – with the proper design – also serve as water turbines. The turbines would power the manland and its motors (movement causes more movement, don’t you know?), as well as sending power back to the nearest islands/manlands/mainland. Manlands could also serve as low-cost, high-density farms, hydroponic or otherwise, hubs for trade, and the most “basic” application: population holders…that’s an official name for it, but you know, it’s “where people live.”

Or, I suppose you could create a manland and make it your own little world. That’s more than enough. Sometimes, creative people don’t fit into a category like “fashion designer” or “sculptor.” Sometimes, creative people yearn to be “world creator.” (Think landscaper, architect, and artist all in one.) If manlands become a trend, white people won’t have to colonize the little worlds we find, we’ll be able to make our own! (That was…a joke. But that would be true. It might get us closer to world peace.) And there are ways to make sure these manlands help the environment rather than hinder it.

Manlands created by governments/companies/private individuals could make a deal with their retrospective countries/nations: Manlands could pledge allegiance, and they would be able to remain independent – eg. marijuana not illegal “at home” but legal on manland – but the country/nation would help the manland if the manland needed help, and in return the manlands would be counted in the population – including voting for the leader of the country/nation, and any ideas/technology developed or perfected on the manlands would be available on their country/nation for a much lower price, which should be valuable enough, as the “mini-socieities” are sure to be filled with geniuses.

Manlands created by governments/companies/private individuals could also have a shared “Manland” government, in which they would share ideas, supplies including technologies, whatever they used as money, etc, and help each other out militarily and politically when the time comes.

 

Native Americans*: We Screwed Up Big Time And I For One Apologize Sincerely

* And Descendants Of Said People

Date: January 23rd, 2017

The United States has so much potential to do good. We’re growing, slowly, getting better, even slower. I wouldn’t want to bomb this country into oblivion. And I don’t want to “leave the country if you don’t like it!”

But I’m white. And yes, I’m agender and female (gender and sex are different), asexual-panromantic, and a wheelchair user – don’t ask, that’s for another blog post, but the fact is, I have white privilege. “My people” hold the highest positions in nearly everything, and society praises them as superior. Even a homeless man looks more “pleasant” if he’s white, as opposed to black, brown, or frickin purple. “Your people” are scattered throughout the country, viewed as powerless although I know that is not true, made to live like illegal immigrants when really it was us who came in unwanted.

So maybe, I only think things are going well is because of my whiteness. Maybe I’m biased because I’m not treated like crap every day. I’ve got a great life, when I think about it. Great school. Really great family and friends. Great social situation. I’m…great. I’m so great that I’ve used the word great six – no, seven – times in this paragraph. Great. (Eight.)

When you guys first got here, you crossed the Bering Strait – maybe as early as 22,000 years ago – which disappeared after the Ice Age ended, leaving you to adapt to each environment you encountered. (You even learned how to hunt woolly mammoth – a pre-historic elephant-like creature with too much hair, and an attitude.)

You went from north to south, and developed into the American Tribes, as well as the Olmec, Maya, Aztec, and Inca. You lived on cliff sides and in canyon bottoms, and you had a multi-story buildings, and underground ceremonial chambers. You had complex governments, empires spanning thousands of miles, and I’m not even surprised about any of this. Of course, you’re just people, no one culture gets everything right, but you were fantastic. Better than we were. The more I read about you guys, the more “Sh*****t, we f*cked up!” is uttered from my mouth. I even made a playlist to express how sorry I am: I’m SO Sorry – from, Whitey. But I know my awareness doesn’t excuse anything.

So what can I do? To make it up to you, or, if it’s unforgivable, to prove that I would to make it up to you if that were possible?

It’s plain and simple that my ancestors were not involved. We came later, from Germany and Greece. But I still feel partly responsible. Is that weird?

Let’s have a thoughtful discussion about this.

This isn’t so I can feel better about myself. This is so I can make the world a better place.

What can I do?

I’m not willing to “fight” hard, but I am willing to write hard. I’m a writer. I wasn’t at the marches last Saturday because I was busy thinking up how to write this effectively. And writing, drawing, painting, works.

Now.

How may I be of service to the great number of communities we utterly destroyed?

I Have A Wonderfully Plausible Theory On How To PREDICT EARTHQUAKES

Date: January 20th, 2017

I have a theory. That nasty sewer rat might save your life.

How?

First, a brief review of earthquakes.

Japan, the U.S Pacific Northwest, anywhere there is a major fault line (see Figure 1), you could be fine one moment and dead the next. When you think about it, I’d be lucky to finish writing this article before an earthquake hits.

Figure 1: A graphic by the amazing Randall Munroe, from his book Thing Explainer.

The U.S Pacific Northwest is in the “danger zone” of two potential earthquakes, both very large.

The first one I was aware of comes to us via the San Andreas fault, lining the near entirety of California. This is the one everyone hears about, they even made a movie about it. The movie exaggerated a bit (see: 5 things the ‘San Andreas’ movie got wrong), but all hype comes from somewhere. This “somewhere” will kill you.

The second comes to us from an offshore fault, the Cascadia subduction zone, in the Oregon/Washington area. This fault has been waiting thousands and thousands of years to strike. The New Yorker calls this, if it happens, “the worst natural disaster in the history of the continent.” See: The Really Big One 

Both could kill thousands. If there is anything to take seriously in this world, the threat from The Big One (San Andreas) and The Really Big One (Cascadia subduction zone) would be it. And yet, we don’t have earthquake prediction down to a science. If you’re a scientist reading this, don’t worry. I’m not judging anyone in particular, I just find it curious that something so terrifying is a “we’ll sleep on it” thing. And forget about having it down to a science, we don’t even have it down to an art. All you see are articles with the conclusion being some variation of “we don’t know.” See either of these: Why Can’t We Predict Earthquakes? or Can Animals Sense Earthquakes?

“Earthquakes are unpredictable” may not be true for much longer.

This is my original theory so please enjoy: 

I came up with my theory in physics class, of course. My teacher Mary was explaining frequency. (See Frequency and Period of a Wave to learn about frequency.) If you’re not in the mood to learn that much, frequency affects whether or not you can hear something. We Homo sapiens can hear “middle” – it’s not really the middle – frequency (from about 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, though we hear sounds best from 1,000 Hz to 5,000 Hz, according to DOSITS: What sounds can we hear?). We can’t hear lower than 20 Hz, or higher than 20,000 Hz.

As we all know, animals (most species other than us) can sense earthquakes. For a very long time, we’ve wondered how. But our conclusion stops short of an answer, as with the earthquake prediction.

I think they’re hearing it. 

I’m going to give you two links (please, please read them), and see if you can tell what these two articles have in common:

Animals CAN predict earthquakes by www.dailymail.co.uk

“Dr Grant, a lecturer in animal and environmental biology, told MailOnline that rodents seemed to be particularly sensitive and disappeared completely eight days before the quake.” (First article.)

Do Sound Repellent Devices Really Keep Rodents Away? by www.sfgate.com

“…repel rodents such as mice, rats, moles, squirrels and gophers.” (Second article.)

Rodents.

No one has put these two pieces of information together before. The first article states that animals could possibly sense earthquakes by way of ionization, and the second states that rodents react strongly to high frequency sound.

My theory: rats can hear an earthquake coming!

Rodents can hear the highest frequencies of any animal known to react “strangely” to an earthquake. You’ll notice that the first article mentioned that “they recorded the reflection of very low frequency (VLF) radio waves above the area surrounding the epicentre.” But knowing that rodents are most sensitive, low frequency doesn’t make sense, at least not as “the thing” they hear.

Let me walk you through a sample earthquake – from the all-knowing narrator’s POV:              

There is always going to be friction and pressure in the Earth’s crust. So the “white noise” will be perpetual, which is how the rodents get used to it, because they get used to repeating noise at a stable volume (which you’d know if you read the second article!).

But as the pressure builds, the frequency – and the “noise” itself – gets lower, louder, and weirder.

At around two weeks before the earthquake, the rodents start reacting.

At around four days, the “pet animals” – dogs and cats – begin to go hectic.

Now, I want you to think long and hard about what you read in the Discover article (Can Animals Sense Earthquakes?), the Daily Mail article (Animals CAN predict earthquakes), and the time frame I used.

This makes sense.  

Thank you for reading. And please, pay more attention to your dog – or gerbil.

By the way: I am totally open to feedback (comment or email me at zoefblog@gmail.com), and you can criticize the validity/importance of my theory, or give me new/better information (please email me, I don’t want that stuff in the comments).

Letters To The People I Love: John Oliver

Date: January 9th, 2017

+ If you’re wondering what this is about, I’ve started a new thing called “Letters To People I Love.” This is different from “People I Respect And Why,” because in “People I Respect And Why” I simply name a person or group, most often a person, and rant about how much I respect and admire them, and why, but in “Letters To People I Love” I treat the blog posts as I write as actual letters to them. A way of telling them, straight from me, how much I love them. Enjoy. +

. . .

Dear John Oliver,

My name is ZMKF. I am – currently – 15 years old. I guess you could say I’m too young to watch your show, if the people who attend it have to be 18 or older, and most of my favorite movies are all animated, excluding Harry Potter. I was – surprise! – only 11 or 12 when I first starting watching The Daily Show (with Jon Stewart) and The Colbert Report, so by the time you hosted for him, and then got your own show, I was ready to start watching Stewart’s angry “cousin” – you.

Am I too young for one of the most healing shows out there?

Yes, I said healing, even though you are also crude and aggressive – er, passionate. Healing. You are healing. When Colbert “left” (yes, I know he’s got a show), I tried to fill the hole with Stewart, which worked pretty well, considering Colbert is pretty much Stewart’s spawn. Not that Colbert could ever be replaced – it was more like I was holding on to what I had left for dear life. I thought “C’mon, Stewart’s gotta stay for at least a few more years, especially after that.” And Stewart left, not too long after The Colbert Report ended, and…I was watching the last episode, and I never cried at sad movies, ever, but I was crying then, not even weeping but I could feel the tears on my face; but I was also smiling, and it felt…right, because whatever is right for him is right for me. And then…there was…you.

Thank you.

Your show is relatively new, so I know you are staying for a long, long time. And of course there is a difference in the way the two shows are written, so even though you hosted for some time while Jon was away, you are refreshing. (Not that Stewart isn’t refreshing.) Also – my family finally had an excuse to pay for HBO, giving us access to the other great shows out there.

Currently, you are taking your annual break and you come back February 12th. I’ve missed you. You make me feel safe, and joyful, and driven. And you’re kinda attractive, in the adorkable, they’re-an-artist-and-you-can-see-it-in-their-face way. (Like Lin-Manuel Miranda.) You really are the perfect man. (Do not read into that.) You are needed. And I’m not asking you to come back early, I’m asking you to believe me: The John Oliver Effect is real, and a viable way to make the world a better place. Please, I’m not trying to embarrass you or put you on the spot, I’m really not. But I require that you sit your a** down and listen to me compliment you, and everyone who works on the show with you, and you know what, maybe these aren’t even compliments…maybe they’re not aimed directly at you, maybe they’re just true.

I care a lot about you, because you do good work for the planet and the organisms who live on it.

I know you don’t think about the aftereffects of each episode, I know you’re just thinking about how to do the next one. I know all this (from an article I read), but I also know that there’s such a thing as object permanence. Or even concept permanence. You cannot come up to me and say to my face that you are not influential. The John Oliver effect isn’t up to you. I don’t really care what you think of it, I mean I never want to actively upset you, but the J.O.E is a thing whether or not you like it. Just ask any one of these news sources (click on the names, they’re links, and they’ll take you to articles written about the J.O.E by each of them): Make Use Of, TIME, Fortune, UPROXX, Bustle, and Bustle again. I literally just looked “john oliver effect” up on Google and took the first six results, I bet there’s way more. Point is, majority wins, the J.O.E is a thing.

For example, Last Week Tonight did a special on net neutrality and because of the flood of comments from your viewers, the FCC servers crashed and the FCC itself agreed to adopt net neutrality regulations.

I’ve missed your accent, your specific voice, your mind, your big, warm heart. I’ve missed you because Donald Drumpf is President-elect, and Jon Stewart isn’t hosting The Daily Show anymore, and the more you learn about history the more you realize white people f*cked up big, and global warming is a thing and a very bad one, and did I mention Drumpf is President-elect?

We need The John Oliver Effect, now more than ever. I mean, I’m a writer and I sure do try hard, but I suppose that even though I never ever want to be famous, I will always want to be known, if only so I can know my trying hard affects something. Yours does. I don’t care who does the hard trying, rather I just want things to be done. And you do things.

I love you.

Yeah, it’s love. You’re a father figure for me and I doubt I would be the person I am today, the eloquent writer, dreamer, and fighter, without you.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

ZMKF

HOW Would The GGPC Replace The Electoral College?

Date: January 6th, 2017

First of all: This is my first blog post after New Year’s Eve, so belated Happy New Years to you all.

And second of all: This is my second post on the Governmental Genocide Prevention Council (GGPC). In my first, I introduced the idea and fleshed it out a little. It’s a new idea, so it’s not like I have an official document typed up yet, but I do my best to make it “make sense.” You should read the first one (link here: The Electoral College Voted (Dec 19th), And…), otherwise you won’t understand what the heck I’m talking about.

Basically, the GGPC would replace the Electoral College. But the Electoral College is a very complex thing to replace. It is simple enough to explain, but if someone told me they had a plan to replace it, I’d ask “How?” and I have a feeling you’re wondering that same thing. HOW would the GGPC replace the Electoral College? How would the responsibilities transition from one group to the other?

If God is in the detail, congratulations, we’re the lucky few about to have tea with God.

I’d call this “The Basic Concept, Part 2”:

The Electoral College is responsible for preventing the rise of a demagogue, and even those few who refuse to believe that any U.S politician counts as one say that the Electoral College is a plain old “shit shield” (my term) for the election. Both things are true, technically. Alexander Hamilton once said “Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union? But the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort…” He was speaking directly about the Electoral College. And Hamilton? He don’t kid around. (Ask Lin-Manuel Miranda.) According to archives.gov, “the United States Constitution and Federal law do not prescribe the method of appointment other than requiring that electors must be appointed on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November (November 8, 2016). In most States, the political parties nominate slates of electors at State conventions or central committee meetings. Then the citizens of each State appoint the electors by popular vote in the state-wide general election. However, State laws on the appointment of electors may vary.” The Electoral College is not a particular place of meeting, it is a process, administered by “The Office of the Federal Register at the National Archives and Records Administration.” There are 538 electors, and 270 electoral votes is a majority.

One important thing to remember is that once the Electoral College votes (and it has, for the 2016 Presidential election), it’s still not over. It goes to Congress next. And Congress can file complaints. According to archives.gov, “If any objections to the Electoral College vote are made, they must be submitted in writing and be signed by at least one member of the House and one Senator. If objections are presented, the House and Senate withdraw to their respective chambers to consider their merits under procedures set out in federal law.”

Alas, the Congress is mainly Republican, at least so far, and January 6th is…today. So I guess that’s that. It’s over now.

At least officially.

But not with the GGPC.

The concept, as it relates to the replacement process, is this:

1. The GGPC would screen the candidates, like the Electoral College. Unlike the Electoral College (you’ll remember this from my first GGPC post!), the GGPC would contain “at least three of each: diplomats focused on the overall wellbeing of the country/nation as well as the relations of the country/nation with other countries, humanists focused on the wellbeing of a previously or currently oppressed group as well as any group who is urgently and negatively affected by prejudice, environmentalists focused on maintaining a healthy and stable environment as well as removing dangers caused by environmental disasters/contamination, and finally, intellectuals focused on the overall effects of each Presidency as well as upholding the dignity and reputation of a country or nation.” They would therefore screen based on their own qualities: diplomatic and critical thinking, kindness, intelligence and scientific thinking, and logical thinking would need to be obviously and strongly present in a candidate for them to even be considered, and the opposites of those qualities would need to be largely absent.

2. The screening would continue into the candidate’s Presidency, if elected. This isn’t too hard to visualize, the GGPC would stay behind the scenes, they wouldn’t run the country, they would simply take a page from the UN’s book, and make any effort possible to remove a leader showing signs of the opposites (see 1).

And that was “The Basic Concept, Part 2.”