Blue Planet 2

Blue Planet 2. Problem solving and coordinated group action by clownfish. Who knew? Besides other clownfish, I mean. And what’s with the meter long carnivorous worms? Teeth sharp as pinking shears, hence the name: Bobbitt. As in Lorena. David Attenborough left that part out. The damn things can get up to ten feet, I read, like the sandworms in Dune. They can lop a foot long fish clean in half. A Devonian Era nightmare, giant meat eating invertebrates. Acid visions of carnivorous trilobites. Thankfully trilobites went extinct long before we ever got here. (Nor were they ever giant, nor scary, nor anything but invertebratefully adorable, like the little darlings scattered about the bookshelves here.)

Then the scene with hundreds of reef sharks swimming menacingly above thousands of groupers. Suddenly l’amour drives the groupers mad and they rush upward into the sharks, shedding eggs and milt to the seven seas. The sharks go into a feeding frenzy and the surging waters are all blood and roe and sperm, a veritable fish fuck massacre. There seems to be something dreadfully amiss there. Or not. No one ever said natural selection was logical. Ghastly, maybe.

The clownfish were so neat and orderly and mannered in comparison. They’ll go far. Check back in a hundred million years. Groupers will have vanished and clownfish will be talking and thinking vast, deep thoughts.

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Geology

I’m still waiting for a set up for I’m sorry for your loess. It’s been years now, decades even, the funny guy equivalent of geologic time. Just my luck when I die they’ll bury me in Wisconsin and the gravedigger will complain about the crumbly rock and I’ll just lay there mute and stiff and unfunny.

A blue water Arctic and the layout of the world.

(2016)

There could be open water at the Pole in the summer within a few years, and the Arctic will be fully navigible in all but the winter months by 2040, easily. Perhaps even much sooner.

This is an extraordinarily significant development, one of the most dramatic geographic changes in all of recorded human history. You would have to go back twelve thousand years to the end of the last Ice Age, well before recorded history, to find something more significant, though back then of course no would have recognized it as such. As far as global perceptions go, this will be the biggest change since Eurasians realized there were two entire continents between Europe and the Orient. If you are in your twenties now, in fifty years your perception of the lay out of the world will be completely changed because the Arctic Ocean will by then be where Eurasia and North America meet. It will connect them the way the Mediterranean and Carribbean connect the lands that surround them. If you live in the northern Hemisphere now, you see the world on an east west axis. Once the Arctic is open, that axis goes north and then south, up and over. The Arctic will be as central to civilization as the Mediterranean was in Roman times. And if you live in Sub-Saharan Africa, South America and especially Australia, you will be more isolated from the northern hemisphere than ever.

This is happening so fast….

Everybody thinking you’re somebody

1968, it says on the back in my mother’s flawless longhand, Age 11. I was probably 5’6” by then. I was 5’5” earlier in 5th grade, which I remember since the kids said I was fifty foot five. I peaked out at 6’5” when I was sixteen, so I was gaining height about two inches a year. Must have spent a lot of time waiting for a flood. Adolescence had trouble keeping up and I was coming in on six feet before my voice finally cracked in 9th grade. I had the voice I have now by the time I was a sophomore. I remember all the songs I could sing just a few months before were hopelessly above my range. No more Simon and Garfunkel for me, Emily would have to find herself. Not that it bothered me any, because suddenly my voice had power, and no one ever fucked with me. It was like being a grown up in 10th grade surrounded by all these silly kids. That’s a very easy way to begin adulthood, everybody thinking you’re somebody because you’re so goddamn tall, everyone seeking your approval, dudes apologizing who hadn’t done a damn thing to apologize for but just wanted to be safe. But then that’s a behavior that’s been hardwired into us apes—gorillas, chimps and all the various human species—since we evolved from monkeys 25 million years ago. I’m just carrying on the tradition.

Quake

(Posted to Facebook on July 6, 2019)

Yesterday’s earthquake was 7.1 near Trona and the intensity drops with the distance from the epicenter. And drops quickly. It was probably a high 6 in Ridgecrest. Had Ridgecrest experienced the full 7.1 it would have been damaged as Trona apparently is, “looking like a tornado went through the town” according to an eyewitness. Down here in LA it probably felt like a high four on the Richter scale if you lived on soil or sand, a lot less if your house is built on bedrock (we only felt the big one in our pad high atop Mt. Waverly, none of the fore or aftershocks). Quakes also feel considerably stronger if you live on the upper floors in multi-story buildings. But no one down here in LA felt anything like that 7.1 they experienced 160 miles north of us in Trona (which is still out of touch with the outside world, apparently) or 120 miles north of us in Ridgecrest.

So yes, the earthquake was stronger than the Northridge quake at the epicenter, but everyone in LA was much closer to that epicenter. Hence stuff fell down in Los Angeles in 1994, even big stuff like freeway overpasses. Probably little if anything fell down with the city limits this time.

Still, it was fun yesterday watching visiting New Yorkers freak out on social media with tales of terror and jerky videos of sloshing hotel pools. Oh the humanity.