Mini Blog Post: Godlike

This is a reactionary opinion piece. The only reason I’m posting this is because it’s too long for an Instagram caption.

Date: July 27th, 2017

This is the thing I’m reacting to: “Scientists are pushing wild climate hacking scenarios to save the planet” via ScienceAlert

They call it climate hacking, I call it owning up to the godlike power we have. Humans are pretty cool. We’ve built deep into this planet with our sewers and our mines and our pipelines, learned how to fly and refrigerate food and drink, and mapped planets we haven’t set our own feet on. These are things we take for granted, of course. But those who say – and I paraphrase many a famous quote here – that humans are an atom’s way of studying atoms are correct. We’ve been somehow blessed to be able to learn. And the more we know, the more we can manipulate. REMINDERS ABOUT “CLIMATE HACKING”: ⚔️ 1. This is not a one time thing. Gods have to work hard, especially if it turns out they’re actually human and “unforeseen consequences” are a thing. The more we manipulate, the more good – or bad – we can do for ourselves and for the planet. But the more we do…certain things will create domino effects. Once we take responsibility for the earth as the superpowered parasites-turned-engineers we are, we can’t ever “take a break.” You will have to deal with a problem, and then you will have to deal with a problem caused by your solution. Which is not to say all we will ever cause is problems. But we need to communicate and accept in preparation for this huge undertaking. God may be dead, but if he ever lived, he never stopped being God. ? 2. Humans are animals. We are apart of nature. We happen to be the part of nature that can “detach” from it for most of our lifetimes, but we all must return sometimes. (I choose nature documentaries and traveling a lot as some sort of salve.) In taking responsibility for this planet, we must realize that the rest of the animals (and plants and stuff) are just as important as we are. I’m not even talking going vegetarian. (Shmeat is a thing meat lovers can turn to in a few years. It’ll take a while to go commercial. And don’t diss shmeat. It ain’t plant-based, and it ain’t fake. It’s the same thing. Just way less cruel. Look it up.) Right now, animals’ intelligences are compared to ours, and most animals are judged by how well they respond to our cues and directions. We must learn, one day we will (hopefully), that all animals are equal. We must learn that animals are worth more than the money we spend trying to keep them out of our cities. When we become gods, it’s the animals who will guide us. ❄️ 3. If we are to do this, we have to do this right. We can manipulate without micromanaging. We can love without breeding dependence.

Public Parks, On Private Land!

Date: May 9th, 2017

There are those who say that if we, as the species of engineers we are, do not strip something from the land, whether it be an animal for food, or a tree for a lumber, or a mineral for mining, then we are missing out on valuable resources. But public lands, lands that exist for the people and other species that roam this Earth rather than for companies or development, are some of the most valuable resources we have. There is a quote by Theodore Roethke: “Deep in their roots all flowers keep the light.” Famous, slightly vague quotes can have a slightly different meaning for everybody. I won’t tell you my understanding, I’ll just let his words sink in. Ever since humans started thinking, we’ve found joy and peace in nature. Using it as a remedy for depression isn’t a waste of your time. Obviously, medicine created to combat depression works directly and chemically. But this doesn’t disprove that there is an inherent “light” in nature. Speaking from my own experience, I use nature as a solvent for negativity. In the future (hopefully this behavior will start sometime soon), nature will be looked at as a necessity, not just for recreation, within and outside of all our cities. It is just as much of a needed thing as electricity, copper, or a citrus farm is.

The fact that there is an entire branch of federal government devoted to our emotional wealth is a fact that I love to think about. The federal government has a lot of problems – but this is one of the upsides to having a nagging mother, always present, that is obsessed with red tape.

There’s just one problem.

What if mother goes back on her promise to uphold one of the only purely good things she does for us?

Normally, when a particularly rich person owns a swath of land, it is for them and them alone. There is a gate around the entire thing, with a sign at the entrance reading “Private” or some variation of that word. But what if the sign said “Part of the Private Lands Conservation group. Please park around corner after entering through gate. Two dollars for parking. Enjoy”? (The Private Lands Conservation group is real thing, I’m positively ecstatic to admit that this is not my original idea: https://www.nature.org/about-us/private-lands-conservation/index.htm – I’m just writing about it!)

What if mother doesn’t want to hurt us, but is being forced into going back on her promise by a giant orange crayon?

As Elizabeth Warren reminded me when I went to see her speak, the government is not evil. You are not immediately mean and sour if you work for the government, and you are not weak if you rely on the government. The government does indeed have many dangerous flaws, but ones we can fix over time if we work together and diversify. Examples? Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Yates, the Obamas, Hillary Clinton (she ain’t perfect but she works hard and tries to be there for us, which we need right now), Bernie Sanders, and the thousands of relatively – sadly – unknown people working to undo damage and prop us up. Most of them are just in the wrong positions (Elizabeth Warren for President!)…or maybe the exactly right positions. Most things can take time.

Global warming and conservation can’t. Which is why I say we rip our “valuable resources” out of the orange crayon’s hands as soon and as painfully as possible. And no, it’s not just the orange crayon! It’s just that people like me have to keep mentioning him when something comes up because he’s the Big Loud Orange Megaphone for everyone we’d mention if he wasn’t sitting right smack dab in the middle of the Oval Office! Where was I? Ah yes. Hit him where it hurts and save the world at the same time.

As some of you may know, I plan to own and operate a bed-and-breakfast (small hotel) as my base career to earn enough money to write and design when I want as opposed to on a deadline.

The bed-and-breakfast will be in an area populated enough that I earn money from it, but secluded enough that I can make the area around the bed-and-breakfast a giant public garden, roughly the size of the smaller state parks.

Ambitious? Hell yes. A bit daunting? Maybe. But for those looking out for me, this is a good investment: Conservation should not only be in the hands of the government, a thing which noticeably changes every four years, even after Mr. Orange Crayon leaves office. If we truly want to save this world from environmental catastrophe, the right type – a philanthropic, environmentally sound type – of private ownership should be more common.

This “privablic” land would be private in the sense that there is a person, family, or even corporation who owns it, but public in the sense that anyone can come and enjoy it. How do we further incentivize this already existing approach? Larger tax deductions for private owners who donate their land for public use would be helpful. Also, some cities require that for large developments, per a certain amount of private space developed, a portion of it must be allotted to public access. All cities and states should require the same.

I enjoy being hospitable and taking care of people (as well as meeting strange folks from across the country and world), and I’ve also started a financial plan earlier than most people my age (emphasis on most), concentrated on saving money and remaining stable throughout my adult life. I have a strong belief that the bed-and-breakfast will work out for me, that way I can do odd jobs when I want without losing money.

I do not doubt that the public garden will work just as well, but just in case I can’t pay for it with the money I make, I hope the Nature Conservancy will have my back.

#goprivablic

This Is How We Fight

Everyone talks about going green.

But what about going blue?

“Going blue” already has a widely accepted meaning. It means, slang-wise, “being cold.”

Which is kind of a lovely coincidence.

What is the one thing on Earth, in the universe (multiverse?), that could scientifically be considered to have the power and reach of a god or goddess?

It’s water.

Water is the most valuable material we have. Water is a solvent, capable of cleaning plates and leveling cities. It is responsible for nearly every helpful feedback loop keeping Earth in check.

And we can use water even further than we have, but for good. Not for our own enjoyment – to help the planet.

Here are two ideas of mine:

1. Introducing A New Feedback Loop, Or Multiple

Movement cools.

Unless the air, or water, is just too hot, turbulence will always cool it down. Why? Forced convection sucks heat out of things.

Wave machines would do this with water, producing a cooling effect where it is most needed, and since waves affect movement of the air, this a very basic way to cool the earth. It would require a lot of sustainable, non-harmful engineering, and it certainly wouldn’t be enough, but it would be what we require – a start.

2. Building Better Dams

I had this idea in the bathtub.

Don’t worry, I am going to describe the idea, not my time in the bathtub.

I was doing a little rub-a-dub here, rub-a-dub there, when I realized – whenever I made a teeny weeny wave, the part of the wave going in between my legs grew higher than the part of the wave outside. My knees were bent, and so formed a near triangle with a path in the middle of two halves for the water to go through.

Hydroelectric dams rely on the kinetic energy of falling water to spin a turbine that powers the generator it is connected to. There are two types of dams, gravity dams and run-of-river dams. Gravity dams are the ones you’ve heard about. (Cool video on dams! Check it out, I’m probably not the best to teach you.)

My bent knees provided a slight ascent for the water, and the thin path increased pressure for the wave. My thighs are also rounded – because I’m not, y’know, a rectangular alien – and that provided the finishing touch. The water wasn’t hindered by the taller “structure” that gave it jumping power, because it was smooth, and it was able to glide along it for a short time, instead of stopping short.

My “dam” doesn’t block any river, doesn’t need any reservoir, and is a relatively simple, small engineering project. This means it won’t be a problem for wildlife.

In honor of how it was invented, I name the idea the Jumping Knee Dam. Pretty funny image there too. This is my original idea, if you want to build one, please talk to me.

Go blue.

Water still has secrets. If we can uncover them without hurting the planet, we have a chance of saving it.

 

The Futuristic World: There Are Two Options Left For Us, As Far As I Can Tell

Date: February 21th, 2017

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.    

According to http://ridesharechoices.scripts.mit.edu, “carpooling first became prominent in the United States as a rationing tactic during World War II. It returned in the mid-1970s due to the 1973 oil crisis and the 1979 energy crisis. At that time the first employee vanpools were organized at Chrysler and 3M.” (Exact phrasing of the information presented taken from the Wikipedia page “Carpool.”)

Carpool lanes, as a concept, were accepted world-wide for two reasons.

1. Everybody hates traffic.

2. To cut carbon emissions.

The latter is kind of a big deal, because everyone has carpool lanes in their cities, even in the South of the United States.

Carpool lanes do help cut carbon emissions, not by much, but it’s the little things that count, and we’ve packaged them as something that everybody can enjoy, even those who don’t believe global warming is a real problem! Everybody hates traffic. Emphasis on everybody. The pill in the peanut butter is a tactic my mom uses to feed my dog her medicine. My dog needs the medicine, but she sure as hell doesn’t like it. This is how we fix the world. Think about Republicans, conservatives – people who stereotypically deny the truth. (This isn’t a behavior all Republicans have in common.) Democrats and liberals do it too, except it is more insidious, because they’re supposed to be “correct.” Ask an average Southerner if they’re willing to do anything about global warming, racism, or gun control, and you are sure to get a “Expletive no, you expletive expletive.” People like this are so stuck in their ways that the only way to get them to help – and with the bigger problems, we need everybody working to solve them – is to trick them.

We are in dire need of solutions.

The Doomsday Clock is a scientifically accepted method for predicting when the world will end.

This is the timeline: Doomsday Clock Timeline.

Yep – two minutes (two and a half minutes, actually) left. (It would do you some good to research this “clock” extensively, it’s very educational, and surprisingly hopeful, in the sense that they believe taking action would help at all.) The factors the clock counts include nuclear weaponry, climate change, and bio-security. “Two minutes” left on this clock isn’t literally 120 seconds, but it’s still plenty worrisome, as it was 17 minutes to midnight in only 1995 – this clock doesn’t necessarily rely on time. Instead, it calculates risk. The closer to midnight, the bigger chance of disaster striking at any moment. (See the Doomsday Dashboard for the main information the clock uses for its calculations.) The clock isn’t always accurate, but almost nothing is, and this is one of the most reliable sources in the world, created by top scientists, some of whom worked on the Manhattan project.

This clock shouldn’t paralyze you with fear.

It is the inaction of being paralyzed, by any feeling – fear, sadness, rage, embarrassment – that is the true danger. If these problems deter you emotionally, you should work even harder to solve them, rather than retiring into nonintervention.

We’ve got two main options left, if we want to re-wind the clock:

1. A “City Of Ember” (written by Jeanne DuPrau) thing. Move underground. Destroy the aboveground power plants, dams, and cities, and leave the Earth to the animals, plants, and weather patterns for at least 200 years. Come back out when the time is right, and begin again.

2. A massive change to the way people think. Less procrastination. Less complacency. More thinking, more doing. Kindness and intelligence being priorities. Weird ideas – attaching microbes to fish teeth so fish can eat materials found in trash, maglev trains, apps meant to maximize philosophical thinking – that are so “far out” they just might work.

REWIND THE CLOCK.

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?

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

Thank You To Everyone Involved In #YouthvGov Climate Lawsuit

Date: December 6th, 2016

The hashtag is #YouthvGov.

“The youth had filed their constitutional climate lawsuit against the federal government in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon in 2015. Also acting as a plaintiff is world-renowned climate scientist Dr. James E. Hansen, serving as guardian for future generations and his granddaughter. Their complaint asserts that, through the governments affirmative actions in causing climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.” – Landmark U.S Federal Climate Lawsuit, Our Children’s Trust.

21 young plantiffs, ages 8-20, sued the federal government for not doing enough about global warming. (Embedded below is their petition on MoveOn.org, and here is the link to their petition on Care2 Petitions – the website won’t let me embed it – http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/797/652/222/)

My first reaction to this was a simple thought, “So people do care!”

And then I realized the magnitude of this and screamed for joy.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THIS IS HUGE. This is ACTION. This is a MANDATE. This is LOVE. This is CARE. This is MEANINGFUL.

When I say “Thank you,” I mean it from the very bottom of my heart. When I say “Thank you,” I don’t feel like I’m just being polite, saying two words that mean absolutely nothing. My “Thank you” means “Thank you for saving me.” It is arguable that I am not brave. I’m not an activist, I want to save the world as much as you do, but I sit at home and write. One of the biggest goals in my life is to own a bed-and-breakfast. I’ll always be a vocal writer, I’ll always want to save the world, but alongside all that saving-the-world, I will be a mixologist, and a baker, and quite possibly an architect or designer. Saving the world in the big ways, like you are, isn’t for everyone. Which is why I’m so grateful. You’ve done something that most of the human population considers uncomfortable/impossible. You, all 21 of you, might just be the last thing standing in between “us” and “the end of the world as we know it.” You have done something that, as of November 10th, 2016, cannot be dismissed or waved off. I am an agnostic, and I feel this is an appropriate time to thank God. Adjectives, human language, like “amazing” or “incredible” cannot begin to do this justice. But I know what I am feeling. I feel strained and sad and desperate and loud knowing there is so much more work to be done, but I feel safe and protected and hopeful and alive and thriving knowing some work, good work, has been done. I feel like all cultures are uniting to solve these problems, and in this community of Homo sapiens sapiens without borders or labels, I feel…good. And I know this is due to what has been done by the 21. So THANK YOU.

BTW: No, I was definitely not one of the 21 (although I would’ve liked to be), but since music is a beautiful way to express, I’ve tried capturing the ideology and passion in playlist form: https://open.spotify.com/user/lionesseye/playlist/4ow28PGK2L5CGvXKyWIAfl

ZMKF’s Guide To The Apocalypse

This is another “dateless” one. The first one I didn’t put a date on was “The Ultimate Clinton’s America Re/source” – which is also worth checking out.

First, some definitions. “Apocalypse” and “post-apocalypse” both refer to…well, the apocalypse, often due to environmental/political factors. “Dystopia” refers to the degradation of society, often due to political factors, which can include environmental factors. Although apocalyptic and dystopian fiction are most commonly just that,  fiction, the concepts themselves and reality are not mutually exclusive.

Grammarians must hate me – knowingly and willingly, I am grouping the definitions together under one word (the one word being “apocalypse” and all variations including the adjective form) to make things easier for me and everyone reading.

Let’s get down to brass tacks. I am very well aware that the upcoming Trump presidency will be ground-breaking, and not in a necessarily positive way. (I say “necessarily” because I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt – he could get a lobotomy.) This may be because I’m a writer, and therefore have no trouble thinking of “plots,” even for “nonfiction” (the real world) – but I can see, very clearly, an apocalyptic future for us, at least in North America.

But don’t fret! I took time out of my busy schedule to write this guide, so with my help, all of you can make the apocalypse an enjoyable experience for you and your family!

PRIME VIEWING SPOTS

A good view always makes for a good time. I’ve assembled the very best views here, in or near major cities like Los Angeles and New York.

1. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Culver City, California

I got this picture from www.welikela.com - I have no idea where they got it.
Picture of Baldwin Hills. (I got this picture from www.welikela.com – I have no idea where they got it, and frankly, I don’t really care. I have no idea who the woman in this photo is, and though this may make me a cynic – that sky is filled with smog.)
Picture of just one part of the wonderful view from Baldwin Hills. (I got this picture from www.bhsoevents.wordpress.com, and I can only suggest that since they are clearly an events website, they should have an apocalypse viewing party as one of their events.)
Picture of just one part of the wonderful view from Baldwin Hills. (I got this picture from www.bhsoevents.wordpress.com, and I sincerely suggest that since they are clearly an events website, they should have an apocalypse viewing party as one of their events. I could organize it for them, if necessary. One tip for hosting the event: beer. Lots and lots of beer.)

Located in Culver City, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook is easily accessible to residents of Los Angeles, Culver City, Santa Monica, and Venice.

After strong winds, the nearly 360 degree view is exceptionally clear, and during typical weather, it is still worth the drive/walk.

During the day, there is a lot to do with the view – you can point out where you live to all your friends, look at landmarks from a different perspective, count all the burning buildings, play “I Spy,” close your eyes and try to guess where in the city those sirens are coming from, and guess what species the nearest dead tree is.

During the night, the city lights brighten up the otherwise much darker view of Los Angeles – they’re beautiful, and let you reminisce about all those stars that the light pollution blocks out.

2. Mount Wilson, Los Angeles, California

Picture of one of the many views from Mount Wilson. (My own photo.)
Picture of one of the many views from Mount Wilson. (My own photo – ZMKF.)
Tree/sky combo at Mount Wilson. (My own photo.)
Tree/sky combo at Mount Wilson. (My own photo – ZMKF.)

Located within the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and Angeles National Forest in Los Angeles County, California. It’s a bit of a drive from L.A compared to Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, but it offers an even better view of Los Angeles in general, and a closer view of Downtown. “Bonuses” of going there include an observatory – you have to book tours to get inside – and a cafe with wonderful chili dogs.

3. East River State Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

East River State Park. (I took this photo directly from another blog - www.ytravelblog.com - and I'm making sure to give credit because I don't want to get arrested.)
East River State Park. (I took this photo directly from another blog – www.ytravelblog.com – and I’m only making sure to give credit because I don’t want to get sued.)

You’ll get a lovely view of Manhattan as it turns into a crispy, empty shell of a metropolis.

Besides, you’ll be far, far away from Trump Tower, so you can scream, cry, and burn flags all you want without fear of being arrested and shot. Unless you’re black. Then you always have to fear that.

East River State Park consists of 11 waterfront acres, with multiple gathering areas for events, a well-manicured lawn, and a play area for children.

 

4. The “High Line,” Manhattan, New York

I wonder if these people knew they were being photographed. (Picture from www.thehighline.org)
I wonder if these people knew they were being photographed. (Picture from www.thehighline.org)

1.45 miles long, this unique park stretches through multiple parts of New York, including the Meatpacking District. And the Vegetablepacking District. (Kidding.)

This offers multiple views of New York from within the city.

Wheel-chair accessible.

Breezy.

They offer camp-style day trips for children. Some activities include an exploratory tour, and park design.

5. Rocky Butte Park, Portland, Oregon

This is the summit. (I got this picture from www.wedding-spot.com - wouldn't both parties get even more pissed off if one left the other at the altar, if only because now they have to go on a hike to get back down? Who likes hiking? Nobody!)
This is the summit. (I got this picture from www.wedding-spot.com – my only question is, wouldn’t both parties get even more pissed off if one left the other at the altar, if only because now they have to go on a hike to get back down? Who likes hiking? Nobody!)

Portland is a really cool place. It was named after the TV show Portlandia.

Juuuuuust kidding.

Apparently people get married here a lot.

If nothing else, you get to crash a wedding.

 

FUN GAMES FOR THE APOCALYPSE

Maybe you have people over. Maybe you’re stuck in traffic. Maybe you’re stuck in gridlock traffic, and there’s no getting out for a couple of days. Not to worry!

1. I Spy

This is a great, simple game to play, especially with younger children, who may need to distract themselves from the gunshots and yelling outside.

2. Count All The Dead Plants

This is a big hit. The victory goes to whoever has paid the most attention throughout the game and therefore counted the most dead plants.

3. Yellow Car

Since this is a lesser known game, I shall explain what the object of the game is – there is no object. Well, actually, the object is to feel smug. Very smug. Every time you see a yellow car, you say “yellow car” before anyone else – you feel smug because yellow cars are rare, and hard to notice. If you’re asking me, taxis don’t count because I heard of the game from John Finnemore’s lovely podcast, Cabin Pressure, and they don’t have yellow taxis in Britain.

GOOD FOOD FOR THE APOCALYPSE

Food that is easy to make, and affordable.

1. Cereal

This is a great food, especially if you find that you suddenly don’t have as much money as you used to, or maybe you need to get out of the house a lot faster than you used to.

2. Chili

Made of the bare essentials, can be served in almost any container.

Fuckface Von Clownstick Has Won

Date: November 9th, 2016

Donald Trump has won the election. (Fuckface Von Clownstick is Jon Stewart’s nickname for him. I find it delightful. Gosh darn it, I miss you, Mr. Stewart.)

What now?

Well, I can’t speak for anyone else, so I’ll say what I did this morning: I made a playlist. (Link: https://open.spotify.com/user/lionesseye/playlist/1YADwgoVAxb4J30FM11AFK) An awfully simple thing to do, isn’t it? Especially for such a horrible event. You’d expect a bigger reaction. You’d expect some screaming and crying.

That playlist is just part of my reaction as a whole. There are different levels to “my reaction” that can be unlocked, you see. (Just kidding.)

To me, music is important. It is an opinion of mine that humans are at their most beautiful doing two things: making or listening to music, and comedy improv. To me, music is so, so important. The rhythms and melodies and patterns and tones…it is therapeutic in many ways. You don’t have to listen to the playlist, it’s for your enjoyment anyways.

Back to the election results.

First of all, what the fuck.

Second of all, what the fuck!

I’ll say it – I’m devastated. Absolutely devastated.

But you know what? This isn’t over.

I know what my name is. My name is Zoe. Zoe means “life” in Greek. (As opposed to it meaning “life in Greek.”) Zoe means life, the force that drives people, the force that keeps people going. I am purity and chaos, souls and cells. I am the organs in a body, the veins and arteries. I am necessary. My initials are ZMKF. ZMKF, now those are some damn cool initials, I told myself when thinking of a name, for myself within the world, fluctuating and growing as the world does. Now ZMKF means rebel. Not trendy rebel, not the one who wears rebel on a shirt. I wear rebel carved into my heart.

Trump may have won.

We will overcome this.

Not alone. Definitely not alone.

The people who voted for him, they will stand by him – but we will not stand down. We will not let him bully people.

ZMKF is no longer a person. I am a person, and I am ZMKF. But ZMKF is a symbol, an entity. Not necessarily related to fire. Fire’s already been done, with Katniss and her Mockingjay. Honestly, I don’t care if you compare me to neutrinos. ZMKF should one day strike the same fear in Fuckface Von Clownstick’s heart that he struck in mine.

My mother, last night, when we didn’t know for sure but it was getting close, said to me “Maybe it’s time for a revolution. Maybe it’s time for California to secede.” My mother. A – relatively – calm, kind woman.

Maybe it’s time. And I can totally do a peaceful revolution. In fact, that seems like my strength. I’m hardly a fighter.

But I am a thinker – a writer, a maker.

ZMKF is a symbol that says “This is not the end of it.”

I’m hardly a fighter. My heart is filled with love. We can get through this together, all of us, we hold on to each other for dear life, we’ll be okay. Even if okay is “on the next flight to Canada.”

I AM A REBEL.

AND A LOVER.

Clean Energy In Relation To Global Warming AKA I’m Tired Of Waiting

Date: October 8th, 2016

Clean energy will save us from many oncoming threats – I don’t mean to sound macabre, but we are slowly destroying our planet in a multitude of ways – and we are being given a second chance by Mother Nature. The point isn’t that humanity doesn’t have its virtues, don’t feel offended when I say we’re slowly destroying our planet, the point is that none of our other virtues will do us any good if we don’t fix this.

We should be grateful for this second chance. According to the good people at the “climate change” department at Nasa (http://climate.nasa.gov/effects/), the effects of continued climate change will be too overwhelming for us. Sea levels will rise by 1-4 feet by 2100. “Sea level rise will not stop in 2100 because the oceans take a very long time to respond to warmer conditions at the Earth’s surface. Ocean waters will therefore continue to warm and sea level will continue to rise for many centuries at rates equal to or higher than that of the current century.” Coastal cities in the Southwest United States will experience flooding and erosion. Species are already dying off. From National Geographic, “The Bramble Cay melomys (Melomys rubicola) seems to have disappeared from its home in the eastern Torres Strait of the Great Barrier Reef, the scientists say. The animal was last seen by a fisherman in 2009, but failed attempts to trap any in late 2014 have prompted scientists to say it is likely extinct.” (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/06/first-mammal-extinct-climate-change-bramble-cay-melomys/) Lee Hannah, a senior climate change biology scientist for Conservation International, says, “This species could have been saved.” And yet…more are on their way out, including, quite sad, the world’s smallest penguin. Let me make something clear. We are running out of time. No amount of “hope” will change our fate, but action will. You can be hopeful. Hope keeps us sane, but please, be hopeful because you know you’ve done all you can do and are encouraging others to do the same.

This is what you can do with the second chance you’ve been given: use it. It’s not necessarily easy, but it is simpler than they make it sound. This is all: stop negative emissions, such as excess carbon dioxide or methane. That’s it. It seems so overwhelming because there are so many ways to do it, so many ways you can do your part. It’s a broad category, I’ll give you that. So many ways to fix the problem that it seems like you need to do ‘em all. But just because a lot needs to be done doesn’t mean we can’t do it. You know what? I’m gonna be helpful: I’m gonna give you a big list, right here, right now, of what you can to be part of the biggest solutions:

Plain Old Energy Efficiency: When you turn things off, really turn them off. Standby mode can use up to 40% of an appliances power, and leeches like TVs still use power even when you’re not using them. Unplug your TVs power when you want to turn it off. And this a “Well, of course” one – switch your current lights to hyper-efficient LED, CFL, or “halogen incandescent” lights, turn the lights off when you’re not using them, and only use them when the sunlight cannot reach your particular workspace or library – in other words, only turn lights on when you need to. Use the sun. In addition, there are many other energy efficient products and appliances you can buy if you’re looking for that sort of thing – which you should be. Just go to your preferred search engine and type in “energy efficient _____” and something will come up. Or – go to http://energy.gov – that might be easier.

Solar Power: It’s so obvious, you could guess – go solar. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of companies willing to take your money – which is a given – and do something good with it – which is sadly rare. And these companies charge you slightly more in the beginning, more than average, but after that, you’re not paying – you don’t have to. In many ways, solar is cheaper than no solar. “Ah,” you might say, “but what if I don’t own my house?” (You can’t go solar without asking your landlord if you don’t own your house, because if you don’t own your house, you can’t make any exterior/invasive changes to your house by yourself.) You might consider finding a method to have a completely external set of solar panels, capable of powering your house, sitting somewhere in your backyard, connected by a set of wires and tubes and such, that way you don’t have to make any changes to your actual building.

Wind Power: Turns out you can actually install a wind turbine on your property. It depends on where you live of course, but according to the Wind Energy Foundation (http://windenergyfoundation.org), the steps for installing are: “1. Determine whether the wind resource in your area makes a small wind system economical. 2. Determine your household electricity needs by checking your monthly or yearly electricity usage. 3. Find out whether local zoning ordinances allow wind turbine installations. 4. Purchase and install a wind turbine sized to the needs of your household. The Small Wind Certification Council maintains a list of certified small wind turbines.” – at least, those are the basic steps, to get you started on your path. (You might want to take a look at the entire page: http://windenergyfoundation.org/wind-at-work/wind-consumers/wind-power-your-home/)

Take On The City: Let’s think of Los Angeles, for instance. Did you know that LADWP gets 52% of its electricity from coal-fired plants in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada? It receives power from other types of power plants including nuclear and gas-fired generating stations, but the whole of “clean energy” makes up for just 5% of LADWP’s capacity! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Department_of_Water_and_Power and https://thinkprogress.org/los-angeles-aims-to-be-coal-free-in-12-years-12b611e530b4#.ivuk5n6ju at https://thinkprogress.org) An alternative to getting off the grid, by installing your own system for your own house, would be to change the source of energy coming from the grid, so you don’t have to disconnect. Wherever you live, you can “edit” where your power comes from, by taking the fight to the city’s/state’s Big Cheese – you could write a petition (I might, in fact, I will, and I’ll tell you about it when I do), email them or call their office, or talk to them in person. I’ll warn you, if you want them to change anything, you can’t tell them “I wish” – you have to have an effective plan in mind, and you should share it with them, that will let whoever is concerned know this is a good thing.

This Is A Weird One, But A Good One: Does “thorium” ring a bell? Thorium reactors deserve an entire essay of their own, but I’ll tell you this: There are many different types of thorium reactors (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium-based_nuclear_power), but the most popular, LFTR (liquid fluoride thorium reactor), already has some fans. “With LFTR technology, 6,600 tons of thorium could provide the energy equivalent of the annual global consumption of 5 billion tons of coal, 31 billion barrels of oil, 3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, and 65,000 tons of uranium.” (http://flibe-energy.com) There you have it. If you want clean energy on steroids, here it is. And it’s completely safe, too. “The key to efficient, safe and sustainable use of thorium is liquid fuel, particularly, including a combination of lithium fluoride (LiF) and beryllium fluoride (BeF2) salts often called “F-Li-Be.” Liquid FLiBe is ideal for nuclear reactor operation and chemical processing as it is unaffected by neutrons or radiation and is chemically stable. FLiBe salts have tremendous heat capacity with over 1000 degrees of liquid range to transfer large amounts of thermal energy at low pressures, enabling more efficient electricity generation with a more-compact and safer form of nuclear reactor.” – More from that Flibe website mentioned above. (And: “LFTR technology is scalable from small 10-50 megawatt reactors that could be used in remote locations up to utility-scale 250 megawatt reactors that could be arrayed for multi-gigawatt installations. With LFTR, the thorium fuel cycle can generate significantly less mining waste and many orders of magnitude less long-term byproduct waste than conventional solid-uranium-fueled energy generation.” You know what, just use the link – read the entire thing.) And yes – it is weird. The reason it hasn’t quite “caught on” yet is because, in simple words, “nuclear reactors are terrifying.” But that’s just rhetoric.

The economy will not be affected negatively by furthering the use of clean energy. Wind, solar, ocean, and geothermal power are extremely expensive, due to fact that they aren’t being used in bulk (a simple case of supply and demand), the fact that wind and solar power both require certain environmental factors, and the distance between the generators and the cities they power (transmission costs) (http://burnanenergyjournal.com/what-is-the-cheapest-source-of-energy/ at http://burnanenergyjournal.com). However a massive influx of clean energy use would create more jobs than not, and there are many things in this world that don’t even need half the money they receive for their cause (Ever thought about how much money we’d save if we didn’t put every single mild “marijuana offender” in jail?). On top of that, we wouldn’t ever run out of money for the most important things in life unless something drastic happened – money is being printed constantly. From The Fact Monster: “The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces 38 million notes a day with a face value of approximately $541 million. That doesn’t mean there is $541 million more money circulating today than there was yesterday, though, because 95% of the notes printed each year are used to replace notes already in circulation.” (http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0774850.html at http://www.factmonster.com) All in all, if there’s something to spend money on, this is it, and it will hardly make a dent. Besides, I want to remind you – this is the cost of living. Global warming is a huge problem, and if we don’t fix it, there won’t be an economy to worry about, because we’ll all be dead.

You had better do your part, or else – for your own sake. Reading all these articles about the effects and the causes and the deaths and the extinctions and the Koch brothers and Donald Trump…one of the only reasons I don’t think we’re all doomed is because Neil DeGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist who dabbles in all kinds of science, who also happens to be one of the most logical and cynical people to ever live, is subtly optimistic. (“Cosmos” – episode 12 – “The World Set Free” – click here to watch episode via Dailymotion) I must insist that you understand the gravity of the situation. I also want you to understand – I’m not worried about “us” – I’m not worried about humanity. Even when we’re doomed, we’re not doomed. We’ve lived through things. Sure, we’ve never dealt with a slowly roasting planet before, but technology has progressed with us. I believe in human ingenuity. I’ll admit it. We could go live on the underground of Mars. Or the moon. Or we could just go live in a big spaceship (which would ironically cost more than switching to “clean”) with an artificial atmosphere. Maybe, just maybe, we could invent a huge machine to cool off our planet. I believe humanity will find a way out of this, even if just to save our own skins. So no, I’m not worried about us. I’m worried about what this says about us. When will we “magic” our way out of this? Once California really does run out of water? Once people start dying? Once all the ocean life goes extinct, and the ocean itself turns to acid? How far will we take this? How long will we wait? For instance, my family – we’re liberal, and we ride the Metro, and we have an electric car. All fantastic. But are we doing everything? The answer, sadly, is no. We don’t own our house. Every time I ask my dad about solar panels, he says he wants to have them, but we’d need to talk to the landlord. He wants to. Huh. But are we ever at the landlord’s doorstep, saying “Please, please, please” on bended knees? Are we trying our hardest? Are we? Are we doing everything necessary to solve this problem? No.

Actually, “How long will we wait?” is the wrong question. “How long will we wait?” invokes “Someone else will fix this, this is not my fight.” Will you continue to be complacently serene with thinking about doing things, but never doing them? Will you read this, think about how great of a writer I am (why, thank you) and then forget about it tomorrow? Will you make it a hashtag and say “There, I did my part!”? Will you take this seriously?

How long will you wait?

How many excuses do you have left?