Tag Archives: science

Not Tim Flannery

27 Jan

I have become an ardent anti-environmentalist, intent on exploiting all of our natural resources whatever the cost, devoted to reducing the planet to a cinder.  Of course this will pass, but it is a natural reaction that you will understand upon learning of Trevor’s efforts to establish his “Green” credentials.  I have always thought of myself as being suitably respectful of nature, and to be honest, I would be impressed by the proposals that had been made, if they had been made by anybody else.  (However, it is well known that I have no nose, having cut it off a long time ago to spite my face, among others.  My life has required a degree of inflexibility.)

The press release rightly points out the imbalances that exist in the natural order.  Food chains have been disrupted.  We have extinctions coinciding with population booms, chaotic event after chaotic event.  It all springs from our foundation as a pastoral and grazing society, which required the removal of natural vegetation, and the resultant diminution of the native species that fed upon it.

Now Trevor is going to do something about it.  Pan-humans are at the top of the food chain.  Most major native predators have been removed, their ecological niche taken by feral cats and foxes, who do a fairly pathetic job of it.

Unfortunately, many of those predators were unique to Glossolalia and are now gone.  Trev-gene are doing useful work which may see versions of them decanted any day soon, but until then, imported predators will have to do the job.

One cannot argue with the press release (after all, I wrote it).  Frankly, as a human being, it will be a relief not to be at the top of the food chain any more.  That will relieve a lot of the pressure.  Komodo dragons have already been released along rivers, where they will have to compete with introduced crocodiles.  I am a little nervous that tomorrow will see the arrival of the first container loads of lions and tigers for urban release, however I am assured that there are already many foxes living unseen in urban areas*.  Of course, all of the new arrivals are protected under strict environmental laws.  Its not that you cannot fight back if attacked, you just better make sure there is no evidence left when the police arrive, only slightly too late.

At least now I will be able to explain to myself the screams I hear in the night.  Perhaps I will even be able to return to sleep.

What if the spider woman suddenly decides she needs protecting?


*No wombats are to be introduced, they are too vicious.

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Not The Wright Bros.

30 Sep

News of the bus misadventure in the Canutes caused me to reflect on an incident from my school days.

Those of a certain age will remember the tightening of the curriculum, when a scientific fine tooth comb was drawn through the hippy length hair of what in those days passed for the imparting of knowledge to the young.  How bracing we found the shock of the new, when the wool was pulled from over our eyes and we saw not through a glass darkly for the first time.  I remember our science teacher, nervous, looking around, perhaps unsure of how we would react to the “New Learning”.  Then he opened his mouth:

“Children.  Here is something interesting that I have to … need to tell you about.  Did you know that flight is impossible?”

How intrigued I was.  I recall the brand new text books that were handed around that day.  I had never had a new text book before, unsullied by the eye prints of ancient children.  One quote has stuck in my mind.

“Flight is not possible, and never has been possible.  It is a scientific fact, that despite the widespread availability of extension ladders, no part of the fossil record has ever been found in the air.”

That clinched it for me.  Magical thinking dropped away.  Years of superstitious nonsense gone.  Evolution proved it.

“But sir” piped up one familiar voice, and even in those days, the teacher dared not ignore it.

“Yes Trevor?”

“Sir, I dream of flying.”

The teacher was flustered, and he looked around more, sweating.  “But that…”

“Sir, I dream of flying.  I’m up in the air, looking down on all creation.  Without a care, I stretch my arms and just fly over everything.  It feels wonderful.”

“I’m sure it does.”

“But its not true, is it sir?”

The teacher was silent.

“Dreams are stupid, aren’t they sir.  We dream all sorts of ridiculous things, don’t we.”

“Yes that’s right Trevor.  Flight is not possible.  We dream all sorts of nonsense.”

“So sir, when you say all the time that we can achieve whatever we want, and that we should follow our dreams, you’re full of shit, aren’t you sir.”

“Yes Trevor.”

I like to remember that day, on nights when I hear the screeching low over head, when there is the illusion of scrabbling at my roof tiles, when something unseen triggers the alarms in my fortified compound.  It comforts me to know that the desperate screeching above, the whooping, the unearthly howls, are all an illusion, for flight is simply impossible.  It pushes thoughts of military experiments gone awry from my mind, so that images of crazed scientists splitting open the space-time continuum are restricted to my dreams.  Which, as we now all know, are full of shit.

Then tonight on the news, the story of the dreadful bus crash in the Canute Peaks, and the loss of 30 or so scientists as their bus plummeted into the unplumbable depths of the Siegfired Chasm, as they were trying to achieve the State of Bliss.  They were crazy themselves, of course.  They had been at a conference where they had been discussing whether the lack of fossils in the air was not because flight was impossible, but because over time, the ground has risen and absorbed the aerial fossil record.  Some things just should not be discussed.

I like to think that some of them survived the horrible, horrible fall, and that they will eke out an existence in those depths, surviving on the flesh of their comrades who died on the way down, but of course, I am an incurable romantic.

And Trevor, the liar, just goes on following his dream, and who knows what cliff that will take us over?