Palettal Prose: Special Thanks To…

Palettal Prose: Special Thanks To…

Here’s another: All of us humans have myriad other species to thank. Without them, we couldn’t exist. It’s that simple, and we can’t afford to ignore them, any more than I can afford to neglect my precious wife—nor the sweet mother Earth that births and hold us all.

Without us, Earth will abide and endure; without her, however, we could not even be.

~Alan Weisman, The World Without Us

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Moon Day Musigs: Monday February 15 2016

Moon Day Musigs: Monday February 15 2016

Since the late 19th century, when, beginning with electrons, we got down to manipulating the most fundamental particles of the universe, human life has changed very fast. One measure of how fast is that, barely a century ago—until Marconi’s wireless and Edison’s phonograph—all the music ever heard on Earth was live. Today, a tiny fraction of 1 percent is. The rest is electronically reproduced or broadcast, along with a trillion words and images each day.

Those radio waves don’t die—like light, they travel on. The human brain also emanates electric impulses at very low frequencies: similar to, but far weaker than, the radio waves used to communicate with submarines. Paranormalists, however, insist that our minds are transmitters that, with special effort, can focus like lasers to communicate across great distances, and even make things happen.

That may seem far-fetched, but it’s also a definition of prayer.

The emanations from our brains, like radio waves, must also keep going—where? Space is now described as an expanding bubble, but that architecture is still a theory. Along its great mysterious interstellar curvatures, perhaps it’s not unreasonable to think that our thought waves might eventually find their way back here.

Or even that one day—long after we’re gone, unbearably lonely for the beautiful world from which we so foolishly banished ourselves—we, or our memories, might surf home aboard a cosmic electromagnetic wave to haunt our beloved Earth.

~Alan Weisman, The World Without Us

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Scrutinizing Script: The World Without Us

Scrutinizing Script: The World Without Us

In The World Without Us, Alan Weisman poetically describes his well-researched hypothesis of what would happen if humans were to disappear, for whatever reason, suddenly. Similar to the TV series that came after, this version is much better. Beautifully described, he begins with the most basic of our structures: our weather-proofed, leak-locked homes. When the electrical grid fails, and back-up generators eventually loose juice, what happens to the pumps, locks, and holds held at bay by them? Where does nature first invade?

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by: El Mundo Magazine

Without humans to fight erosion or pull back weeds, how long will it take for our concrete spaces to turn green? What species would thrive, survive, or fail? What of animals? Our beloved domestics, how long would they last? And what of wildlife? Left to their own devices, without management or interference, would they do fair-well, or are we somehow part of their maintenance and well-being?

When we think civilization, we usually picture a city. Small wonder: we’ve gawked at buildings ever since we started raising towers and temples, like Jericho’s. As architecture soared skyward and marched outward, it was unlike anything the planet had ever known. Only beehives or ant mounds, on a far humbler scale, matched our urban density and complexity. Suddenly, we were no longer nomads cobbling ephemeral nests out of sticks and mud, like birds or beavers. We were building homes to last, which meant we were staying in one place. The word civilization itself derives from the Latin civis, meaning “town dweller”.

Weisman takes us to Africa (my favourite chapter), and explores the mass-extinction of megafauna and how it differs from what we experienced in North America (and why). He seemlessly and invigoratingly evaluates structures such as nuclear powerplants, canals, polymeres, and the oil industry.

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Somehow he does all this while keeping us engaged, curious, and extremely humbled. What is reversible? How long will it take and what of our conquering will endure through time? He looks at all of these and (so much) more in a compelling, spell-bound manner, capturing you well into the night.