Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Radio Plays Black Hole Sun at Half Past Eight

Apocalypse Not Quite Yet

(You know when technology fails you and destroys something that will be forever lost? That's what happened with my final draft of this post. Blogger I hate you. Here's an earlier, comparatively mediocre draft. Now I'm just smoking mad.)

So the world didn't end. An peculiar sense of disappointment never fails to set in when the promise of endtimes is broken once again, no matter how superfluous the reason that has been tacked on this time around(though obviously it is going to be either the knock-on effect of the Bee Holocaust or the 2012 Revenge of the Mayas ... if it's The Rapture it will tick me off something rotten, what with you and me and everyone we know roasting in the fires of hell, while the likes of Sarah Palin and her righteous brethren go aerial wolf-gunning with God). But if our whole world ceased for evermore, it wouldn't matter because there would be nobody left to care, mourn or give any number of insignificant hoots about it. So why fret? That's the problem with consciousness. The mind deludes us into thinking it will go on and induces worrisome thoughts about how the lack of an afterlife basically means living alone in the dark, as if trapped in the worst bedsit we can imagine in a total blackout for all eternity, thus inducing soothing solutions like religions, religious wars, reincarnation, aethism, Flying Spaghetti Monsters, Dawkins documentaries and the catastrophic belief pile-up and confusion and ultimate solace in materialism and distraction via various forms of home and away entertainment. Then I go back to Dostoevsky's contention that if God does not exist, then EVERYTHING is permitted, which I think is the most terrifying notion around, especially if a significant proportion of the world's population believe it and act on all those animalistic instincts they've kept in check for the sake of society. In that case, let's be glad that pondering mankind's erasure from existence has been put off for another day (and preceding months of meaningless waffle and speculation) by the fact that the hyped-up media story surrounding it was a load of old balderdash nobody of sane mind actually believed in anyway, while the Fourth Estate played it for laughs, despite all those hushed asides about the vague possibility of doomsday, like they were each doing their own low rent comic remakes of Armageddon possibly calling Carry on Armageddon Out of Here. What you can say is that it sure got some top notch publicity for the beam-steering around the LHC accelerator ring at CERN, which the less-informed of us might have thought was some sort of turbo-charged carpentry related-racing event.

Not that I would have noticed, however, being fast asleep at the potential point whence almighty doom might have descended upon the Earth and Swiss-cheesed everyone in a series of black holes that were not located in Lancashire. Really, I don't know. I try to keep up with the whole science thang - and it's a big thing isn't it? Huge. Massive. That's why it's called science. It thought itself so important that it took the Latin derivation for 'knowing/knowledge' all for itself, bedamned history! I AM SCIENCE! You are crap! - as I do with everything, it is my accidental trade in life after all, but my mind is just too detached from the actual mechanics of life to want to fully comprehend it. And I like it that way. To be an artsy fartsy dreamer is no bad thing. Therefore - hurtling into astonishingly trivial territory as is the usual trajectory of this blog's raison d'etre - when writing science questions it's more a process of taking a pertinent passage and chopping it into something that looks like it makes complete sense and putting it into the usual 'what is' form. Problem is I still don't have the kind of understanding that gives me anywhere near a confident handle on subjects like the Large Hadron Collider, effects, constants, theories, and countless subatomic particles that are apparently piled higgedly piggedly upon and under and side by side in some strange network that is meant to help me understand the basic fabric of life and existence in this giant scary universe. The only way I answer quiz questions on such subjects is by getting a handle on the eponymous scientist who discovered it or theorised something. Without the people ("Named for the Indian scientist that...") or word derivations (the more eccentric and whimsical the better), the sciences would be a bleak and forlorn desert where none of my interest could ever hope to bloom. Thankfully, semantics, semiotics, toponymy, etymology and the whole onomastic alliance - for you must never forget that quiz is a game of names bounded by the trusty twine of chronology - has leant me the helping hand I need to squeeze out several outrageous correct answers. And that's the problem with scanning science questions: you have to pay closer attention to the details. Attention that is always flitting in my shifty brain. The only scientific theories that reel in the ADD involve multiple worlds, string theory, and made-up ones Philip K. Dick explored when he was plainly hepped up so high he couldn't even seen the ground.

However, there was one lady who had a far firmer grasp on the matter (dark matter?) at hand. Dear Keeley with the you know whats and that grainy cameraphone video where she does that thing, declared from the third page of our nation's finest news publication, The Sun:

"It's so exciting. The machine's main purpose is to explore the validity and limitations of the current theoretical picture for particle physics".

Now I was thinking, just for a split second there, that the junior Sun reporter usually tasked with putting intelligent comment ('intelligent comment' equating to 'absurd topical banalities that should be collected in a special volume and studied intently by anthropologists one day for the purpose of ascertaining the dangerously high percentage of bollocks contained in each text') into the mouths of whichever barely clad babe was gracing the most famous numbered newspaper in history had done their stuff, weeing themselves with laughter and crying sheets of happy tears at considering the inexplicable madness of the concept that is NEWS IN BRIEFS. But who knows? Perhaps, just for one day, it wasn't another Dadaist antic on the part of Rebecca Wade. Perhaps, Keeley was filled with the spirit of Marie Curie and .... that's about where I lost it. Damn.

(Missing content includes references to "high-minded Swedes with dynamite-funded dough", "right wing git of the people" John Gaunt's column being about as "funny as a drinking a razorblade-laced blood and ale smoothie", opining it that we were better off when we "lived in caves and were really into big hair and brandishing big clubs all day" since "we could just about knock a mammoth out rather than reduce cities to smoking cinders and dust with the downward action of an index finger". I absolutely hate it when blog posts go all Magnificent Ambersons)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may like to visit some of the antinatalism websites out there - is one of the best. Benatar's book "Better Never to Have Been" is a great introduction to the subject, and of course, so are the writings of Schopenhauer.

4:24 AM  

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