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Thinking Man’s Guide to the End of the World

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Walter Cronkite

Information Apocalypse – Thinking Man’s Guide to the End of the World

The New Orleans Time-Picayne, the newspaper that won Pulitzer prizes for its coverage during Hurricane Katrina, and which managed to continue publishing daily during the hurricane and its recovery, announced in mid-June that it has laid off 600 people and reduced the number of days it would put out a print edition from seven to three.

A hobo living on Canal Street quickly spoke up, volunteering to fill the void with blog articles and tweets about what he saw while pushing his shopping cart down the street. This, of course, would be accompanied by the requisite Facebook status updates, Instagram photos and You Tube videos taken from the mobile camera strategic mounted on his cart.

The ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (politically nicknamed “ObamaCare”, a name most likely supported by both Democrats and Republicans depending on which way the winds of public opinion are blowing) comes out of the Supreme Court on June 28, ruling 4-3 that the Act is constitutional with a 65-page discussion.

Immediately everyone on Facebook and Twitter becomes a Constitutional expert, without reading either the Act (which is over 900 pages) or the Court’s response, and turning what could be a discussion to improve the Healthcare of the country into YARIB (Yet Another Raucous and Immature Debate).

When turning on the local six o’clock news, a viewer is presented with ten minutes of who shot whom, while the so-called “Arab Spring” in the Middle East, China’s first manned space docking with a space station and other important events for humanity get less than 30 seconds or no coverage at all.

The Information Apocalypse is upon us (see the Introductory Article on the Thinking Man’s Guide to the End of the World, and the article on Technological Apocalypse for background). We no longer have authoritative experts, but, in their place to fill the void are a clambering mass of obnoxious bloggers (guilty!), wildly liberal/conservative Facebook users and tweeps of all shapes, sizes, colors and questionable religious denominations.

In the good old days, we had people you could trust. People like Walter Cronkite. Used to be that if you heard something from Walter Cronkite, that was it…it was gospel, law, carved in stone. I mean, the dude cried when men landed on the moon, thereby putting all of the conspiracy theorists claiming the landing was “staged” in a bad light (Cronkite wouldn’t cry if it  were a staged event, right? Buzz Aldin wouldn’t punch anyone if it was a staged event, right?). (more…)

Slate’s Armageddon Matrix

In a classic case of “I wished I’d thought of that”, the eZine “Slate” has created “Choose Your Own Apocalypse”, a cross between Jeopardy and Armageddon. With a matrix of 144 (that’s 12 x 12 for you non-geeks), Josh Levin has put together a list of “How America will End” to parallel Alexander Demandt’s similar search which ended up with 210 reason why Rome fell.

The vertical axis is Man’s Fault vs. Nature’s Fault, while the horizontal is Everybody Lives, Everybody Dies. Pick your five, and come back Friday to see what others have chosen. Though it only concerns the fall of one country (ours!), it is a fitting addition to the Thinking Man’s Guide to the End of the World.

The Matrix (pin intended) is here. The desciption of all 144 is here.

When I put my selected five in the window, it gives me the following result:

You are a humanitarian internationalist. You’re convinced mankind will terminate Americabut at least we won’t off ourselves in the process. You’ll know you’re right when: Everyone on Earth pledges allegiance to a world government; the feds default on the national debt.

For my five (and the description from Slate): (more…)


Technology Apocalypse-Thinking Man’s Guide to the End of the World

Read the introduction article here. Roomba

As we pass the anniversary of Y2K, a techno-phobe’s thoughts turn to the many other ways in which technology could accelerate the end of the world. Even though our mass of old computer programs did not rise up and crash on 1/1/2000, that does not mean that robots, AI, nanotechnology and the like are not worrisome for our future.

Some of you (and you know who you are) are thinking: the three laws will protect us. (more…)

I Am Legend - London

The Thinking Man’s Guide to the End of the World

With the end of the Mayan calendar looming in a scant five years (December 21, 2012 give or take), there is a seemingI Am Legend - London increase of talk, movies, articles and general water cooler chatter about the end of the world these days. Most of it I find quite entertaining, some of it ridiculous, and other parts simply in need of a good thrashing. And the public at large believes more of what they see in a Will Smith I Am Legend movie than what they should be able to think through with their own brains (I will admit that whatever Mr. Smith says is alright by me, but, let’s face it, he’s no George Clooney).

A lot of people are thinking about the end of the world (we know that every human wants to think that something BIG is going to happen during their lifetime, that NOW is the most important time to be alive…it’s part of our genetic makeup, I suppose). Some are even thinking about avoiding it. But the vast majority are so busy that unless we send them a message on their Blackberry’s or iPhones, I’m quite certain they might miss it.

In spite of being politely asked to leave the Boy Scouts (or the WeBlows) at an early age, I do believe in being prepared. We’ve got five years to plan and prepare so might as well get a head start, right?

So, in doing my part, I present this compendium; (more…)

Re-reading MSandT

Re-reading Tad William's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

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Dusk Before the Dawn

Dusk Before the Dawn

Software By the Kilo

Software by the Kilo


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