The Human Race toward Immortality & Extinction

the thinker -Le_Penseur_(8327862567)Albert_Einstein_Head_Cleaned_N_CroppedModern understanding of the vastness of spacetime provides added perspective to philosophers’ long-pondered dilemma regarding the meaning and relative significance of human existence. Not only are our own lives fleeting & fragile, but so too are those of entire civilizations & species. And when the timeline is eternity, the same is true of planets & galaxies.

Charles_Darwin_by_Julia_Margaret_Cameron_3The evolutional journey from stardust to planet to the cellular level requires billions of years. Millions more to sentience & cognition. Thousands still before technological advances turn the existential ponderings of individuals into conversations with species-wide implication. Specifically, whether scientific & technological achievements are combined with reason, peace, and unity to maintain an existence in near-perpetuity, or simply serve to accelerate self-extermination.

HindenbergAs we careen down these dueling paths, fast approaching the crossroads, specific advancements similarly portend of both opportunity and unintended consequences given implementation.

cave man Restoration_of_a_Neanderthal_man_in_profile._Wellcome_M0001106Tutankhamun's_mask_without_beardFor the vast majority of human history, only a lucky few saw the dawning of their fourth decade. We were hunted down by reptiles and big cats, so we tamed and teamed with wolves. We found man’s best friend in the canine, but eventually we got socialites with yapping rodent accessories in handbags – unintended consequences.

Monsanto pesticide to be sprayed on food crops.
Monsanto pesticide to be sprayed on food crops.

Monsanto_condensed_death_soup©herve_joseph_lebrun

We used to toil our days away preparing food and garments in order to sustain our daily lives. We’ve now factories to mass produce products of convenience – from refrigerators, microwaves, and vehicles, to family packs of pork chops and loaves of pre-sliced bread. However, sodium preservatives, and tax subsidies resulting in overuse of corn syrup, are destroying are bodies. Our overuse of antibiotics is leading to the evolution of superbugs. Our manner of corporate farming saps the soil of nutrients rather than enrichment. Our overreliance upon pesticides is destroying the bee colonies which pollinate much of the food which sustains human life, is causing the evolution of super-weeds, and poisoning our drinking water. We’ve drastically over-fished our seas.
BP Logo_BP_Delftdeepwater horizon Defense.gov_photo_essay_100421-G-0000L-003ExxonMobil-Logo.svgExxon OilCleanupAfterValdezSpillExon OilSheenFromValdezSpillThat’s just to feed ourselves.

water pollution -Ribeira_Lixo_GDFL_040825_049Water is another thing altogether. It has been said that you and I are drinking the same water as the dinosaurs. Planet earth has held the same amount of moisture throughout, variable is the form and cleanliness. Some water is found in underground aquifers, some is frozen in ice caps and on mountaintops, some is salinated in oceans and seas, some is within plants and animals. Water is only a problem if it’s not treated properly given the needs of growing populations. Unfortunately, rapidly increasing oceanic temperatures are bleaching coral reef habitats. We see islands of trash in oceans and urban waterways, and red tides suffocating sea life. We allow irresponsible municipalities to dump human waste into our waterways. We allow greedy manufacturing and fracking corporations to dump toxic and chemical waste into our waterways. We allow oil companies to spill crude.

Aliso_Canyon_methane_leak_Credit-_Earthworks_(23263541203) so cal gas-Entrance_Southern_California_Gas_CoOf course, multinational energy and manufacturing conglomerates are not only destroying the water we need to survive. They’re also privatizing the gains while socializing the losses by dumping pollution into the air we breathe. To be fair, we are all failing. When we purchase dollar store trinkets, we know that a single dollar could not possibly represent the cumulative value of mining of elements necessary for components of parts assembled by laborers and packaged then shipped across the globe.

washboard REA_woman_works_washboardOur products of convenience have made daily life much less physically difficult, but our increasing and overreliance upon them have the unintended consequence of hastening our collective self-destruction.

Traffic_Congestion_Brasilia_3Brushing_KidGrilling_Steaks_(with_border)Eighty-five percent of Americans drive to work. We use plastic for everything (it’s in our toothpaste, for shit’s sake). We eat tons of cows that fart tons of methane. Human sprawl has led to mass deforestation. Population increases and emerging middle classes thirst for more and more cheap energy. Human activity is cooking our planet, possibly beyond its capacity to sustain human life at current levels.

solar -LIMANSKAYA_SOLAR_POWERwind farmUSDA_windmillsWhile rapidly increasing temperatures are a grave threat, we must embrace opportunities in efforts to slow the trend. We’ve found ways to sequester carbon in algae plumes and soil. There are immediate job opportunities retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency; jobs constructing solar panels and wind & hydroelectric farms and connecting them to updated and more efficient power grids. Thankfully, we have a humongous fusion reactor in the sky, and a moon pulling our tides. We just need the political will to tax carbon and stop subsidizing energy companies who bribe politicians. And the personal will to adjust some daily habits – beginning with recycling. Short-term, we need advances in batteries for energy storage. Long-term, we require perfection of nuclear fusion (and the bending of spacetime).

dinosaur -TriceratopsTyrrellMuseum1earth North_America_from_low_orbiting_satellite_Suomi_NPPPlanet earth has survived numerous mass-extinctions. It’s been knocked off its axis by asteroids; it’s been at times covered with water, ice, and lava; it’s gone with or without an ozone layer; its atmosphere has been at times both mostly oxygen and mostly carbon. Our planet is resilient. Until the core cools, mother earth will bounce back from whatever malady it is forced to endure.

Humans are much more fragile.

Nagasakibomb8230656_f1024We’ve killed each other throughout history in often senseless wars which included razing of cities and genocide. Thankfully, the rate of war has been in steady decline for thousands of years. Domestically, violent crime has been in recession for twenty years. While we’ve used technology to become much more efficient at killing each other (species-wide self-immolation has been a real threat for 75 years, or roughly one human lifetime); though displacement and famine resulting from climate change will strain the matter, and current news events can color our perspective – we’re actually getting much better at not killing each other.

newborn -Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1981-076-05A,_NSV-Mütterheim

A donated prosthetic arm is displayed. An Afghan boy injured by an insurgent’s improvised explosive device earlier this year received two donated prosthetic arms thanks to a few service members stationed here.
A donated prosthetic arm is displayed. An Afghan boy injured by an insurgent’s improvised explosive device earlier this year received two donated prosthetic arms thanks to a few service members stationed here.

Viruses, infection, and child-birth used to kill a great number of us. We discovered penicillin, vaccines, anesthesia, antibiotics… While global pandemic is an ever-present threat (like asteroids), medical advancements will soon allow opportunities for pseudo-immortality. We are on the verge of designer babies. We can grow tissue without stem cells. Soon we’ll be growing replacement organs. All that we require to be immortal is our thoughts, our minds, the observer. We could conceivably store our brains in little stationary tanks whilst we live our lives via Avatar-like host-bodies with readily available replacement parts. Plus, we’re on the verge of having holodecks like Star Trek which would pose no outward physical threats to our fragile, carbon based units. Also, our memories can be uploaded onto artificially intelligent software which could retain a semblance of you ad infinitum.

US-OR-Portland-20140204_052753_LLSThe path forward is clear. Our actions, and those of our children and grandchildren, will determine whether human beings attain immortality while hop-scotching across the universe for eternity – or whether we destroy ourselves out of complacency and greed.

Nevada Convention Emblematic of Sanders’ Campaign

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Harry Reid
Barbara_Boxer_-_Obama_rally_2010
Barbara Boxer
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Krugman

bern13colbertThe debacle that was the 2016 Nevada Democratic Party convention perfectly sums up Bernie Sanders’ campaign. It wasn’t only that Hillary Clinton won. The entirety of mainstream media – from Rachel Maddow & Chris Hayes to Stephen Colbert & Trevor Noah to panels of “liberals” on CNN and NYT’s Paul Krugman – reported and lamented chair-throwing and death threats made by violent Bernie supporters. Hillary surrogate, Senator Barbara Boxer, claimed to have feared for her safety (despite being caught on video exiting while blowing seemingly sarcastic kisses at her supposed abusers). DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz paraded across cable news networks to denounce Senator Sanders and demand his apologies. The Nevada Democratic Party filed a formal complaint against Sanders’ campaign, and publicly warned the DNC to prepare for the violence sure to be unleashed by rabid Sanders loyalists who would be incited by the candidate at the national convention. And senate democrats gathered for the specific purpose of discussing “how to handle” the black sheep independent once he inevitably tucks tail and saunters back home.

However – as is often the case – the attacks of the establishment were meritless, so Bernie stood defiant and refused to back down. He denounced any and all violence, of course, but would not be cowed into apologizing. On the contrary, Senator Sanders countered that it was he who was wronged in Nevada.

As has been the case in many states, in the weeks leading up to the convention, Bernie supporters’ voter registrations were mysteriously switched to republican. Eight times as many as Hillary delegates were switched, and twice as many as her eventual margin of victory. Petitions and motions were ignored. California Senator Barbara Boxer berated booing Bernie delegates while claiming to represent him. Nevada Democratic Party Vice Chairman Chris Wicker reportedly exclaimed “this is not a democracy”.  Chairwoman Roberta Lange – and there’s video evidence – ignored obvious voice votes concerning the rules of the convention.  Angry Bernie delegates shouted – including profanities – in return. An angry man raised a chair and was intercepted by fellow supposedly-violent Bernie supporters who proceeded to hug-it-out.

jon ralston
Ralston

A single reporter, Jon Ralston, took to twitter armed with a still-shot of a man with a chair, and claimed that chairs (plural) were thrown by Bernie supporters who had rushed the stage prompting security to shut down the convention. Mainstream media, having actual video evidence of Lange’s voice-vote shenanigans which they conveniently chose to ignore, instead chose to run video of shouting delegates and propagate Ralston’s twitter tales of violent Bernie Bros with zero evidence whatsoever.

NPR admitted that their initial reporting was erroneous, and that there was no evidence of violence at the convention. Politifact determined that there has been no evidence of violence, despite many live streams and video of the event. The phalanx of law enforcement invited by the party to intimidate Bernie delegates somehow missed all of the supposed violence & chaos.

Barney_Frank_109th_congress
Barney Frank

No matter. The literati have determined Bernie and his brethren to be vile & contemptible rabble-rousers without a cause. Dismissed and derided from the beginning. The very serious people of the establishment have been telling themselves all along that Hillary was a shoe-in. That she’s a pleasant gramma who’s been very patient in her inevitable run to the Oval Office.

hillary nazi hillaryThey’ve refused to acknowledge how widely disliked & distrusted Hillary is – she has surpassed Trump as the most unpopular presidential candidate in US history. They’ve refused to accept poll after poll showing Bernie as the far more electable candidate who performs far better than Hillary in head-to-head general election match-ups.

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Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

They’ve convinced themselves that the frustration, the angst, the rage of the populace is either unfounded, or imagined by a relatively small number of youthfully naive & entitled malcontents deserving of derision. The Democratic Party has chosen to alienate the very people who should be the future of their party – while simultaneously commanding them to fall in line, or else. The DNC Chair – who on CNN compared Bernie supporters to Trump’s band of nihilistic nincompoops – led Hillary’s 2008 campaign, changed party rules to launder campaign cash through state party infrastructure for her 2016 campaign (which Hillary used to attack Bernie as disloyal), and limited the debate schedule to limit exposure to Bernie’s progressive message. (Plus, Southern states essentially go first, handing the early lead and associated press coverage to candidates who thrive in red states; independent voters – who support Bernie overwhelmingly – were kept from closed primaries in many states; in addition to the aforementioned mysterious registration switches.)

Chris_Matthews_and_Kathleen_Matthews_2010_Time
Chris & Kathleen Matthews

Corporate media (among Hillary’s biggest donors, though they never disclose their blatant conflicts of interest) began by ignoring Bernie, they then guffawed at his radical socialistic agenda, before joining the Democratic Party establishment in scorning him for daring to challenge the inevitable ascension of Hillary on her way to rescuing us from the hellscape sure to emerge from a nation left to the whims of a fascistic toddler.

They chortle away with one another at the notion that perfectly lovely Hillary – again, the most hated politician in the country – could possibly lose to a cotton candy-coiffed hate-monger. Trump may be an imbecilic, thin-skinned man-child. But he’s already pulled ahead in national polls. She’s losing. She’s already losing!

Hillary_Clinton_Testimony_to_House_Select_Committee_on_BenghaziHillary is tailor made for Trump’s attacks. She is a corrupt politician who came to his wedding because she’s bought. She sold out American workers by supporting terrible trade deals. She can’t be trusted. She is a neocon who was a disaster on Iraq and Libya. She’s under investigation by the FBI over her emails. Benghazi! Trump will surely happen across her Goldman transcripts, likely to further reveal her fawning over Wall Street banksters and lamenting harsh speech from folks like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Trump is a shape-shifter who will walk-back essentially everything, from the Muslim ban and the southern wall to his sudden stances as anti-gay and anti-choice. He will launch perpetual verbal attacks which will often go too far, but his supporters won’t care because he will never stop playing the part of alpha male, who they yearn to kneel before.

bern9bern16She will count on progressives to come out and vote. I certainly won’t be one of them. I liked Bill Clinton – for reasons having nothing to do with politics (sex, weed, & saxophone). I bought into Obama’s promises of hope & change in 2008 – and was disappointed to learn he had no interest in doing so. I have no allegiance to the Democratic Party whatsoever. They have to earn my vote, yet they seem to believe that they are owed simply for not being republicans.

bern7Bernie Birdie_Sanders_-_The_Canary_in_the_Coalmine_of_Democracy_(25765578730)Hillary Clinton has repeatedly scoffed at the very notion of attempting to bring progressives into the fold. She has – as in 2008 – run a disgusting campaign. They’ve portrayed Bernie Sanders – the most progressive politician in the country – as a liar, a fool, a racist… They’ve cast him – the most successful Jewish candidate in US history – as an anti-Semite. They’ve painted supporters as misogynistic pale-faced Bernie Bros – lazily recycling the Obama Boys charge of 2008.

trump Tronald_DumpAnd as of now, Hillary is losing to a mad man. Yet, rather than consider the reasons why she is so widely disliked, Bernie and the progressive movement is chided by party and media elites, who blame her unpopularity on Bernie and his violent bros for not shutting up already about her seriously flawed record, candidacy, and likelihood of victory come November. They’ve determined the threat of Bernie overturning their apple cart to be greater than the danger of (gulp) President Trump. In their moronic haste to skedaddle wild-eyed radicals – ie, the youth & the energy – from the Democratic Party, Beltway elites may be handing the keys to the country over to an orangutanian lunatic.trump Düsseldorf,_Rosenmontag_2016,_politische_Karnevalswagen_(05)

Thank You, Donald Trump – Ted Cruz Edition

I certainly hope not to dissuade anyone motivated to go out and vote against the possibility of a Trump presidency – but man, did we dodge the Ted Cruz bullet. If Trump somehow wins, and we unleash a police state capable of going door-to-door looking for undocumented brown people, and institute concentration camps for Muslims, then I’ll be proven wrong. But Ted Cruz is the real terror. Ted Cruz is a demagogic fundamentalist maniac.

Ted_Cruz_(7150329087)mccarthyI started to write of him when elected to the senate in 2012, warning of a modern-day Joe McCarthy. Cruz has done nothing to disappoint. He drips with condescension & flop-sweat. Greasily self-righteous – he is the human embodiment of smarm. Even his biography is repellent.

rafael cruzdidloBorn in Canada to a Cuban father, Rafael, who raised young Ted with the moniker of “Chosen One” (and who’s called Obama a Marxist who should go back to Kenya – oh, and he’s an Evangelical preacher). Ted was a National debate champion who graduated cum laude from Princeton and magna cum laude from Harvard Law. He prepared testimony for Bill Clinton’s impeachment. He assisted in Bush v Gore in 2000. He argued that there is no Constitutional right to self-pleasure while attempting to ban dildos before the Texas Supreme Court. At a campaign rally, he thoughtfully reassured a 5 year-old girl at a campaign rally, “Yes! Your world is on fire!”

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Lt. Cmdr. John McCain
Lt. Cmdr. John McCain

The man inspires universal revulsion. Everyone from his college roommate to Bush 2000 campaign staffers have trashed him. Dubya himself admitted “I just don’t like the guy.” Widely considered the most hated man in congress, revered Republican Sen. Bob Dole said of Cruz, “nobody likes him.” Speaker John Boehner has called him everything from a “false prophet” and “Lucifer in the flesh” to “that jackass” and “miserable son of a bitch.” Senator John McCain called him a “wacko bird” (a label which Cruz embraced).

mcconnellCruz called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar on the senate floor. During confirmation hearings, he insinuated that eventual Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Saudi Arabia and/or North Korea. He laments fellow republicans assquishes. He refers to a Washington cartel.

Ted_Cruz_at_CPAC_2015_by_Michael_S._Vadon_05_(cropped)obamaupsetHe calls Obama “the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism” who “went on a world-wide apology tour” and is “openly desirous to destroy the constitution, and this republic.” He’s blamed the murder of police on Obama’s supposed “attacks from the top down.” In a bit of unintentional irony, Ted read Green Eggs & Ham aloud (“I do like green eggs and ham”) on the senate floor in a petulant fit over the implementation of Obamacare, which dubbed “the nation’s biggest job killer”, and over which Cruz caused a government shutdown.

Soros
Soros

Ted Cruz believes that communists have overrun Harvard Law. He speaks of leftists and the radical left. He claims that the “overwhelming majority of violent criminals are democrats.” He believes that (conservative bogey man) George Soros is behind a global liberal plot called Agenda 21, meant not only to eliminate private property, paved roads, and gold courses – but to round American citizens into concentration FEMA camps. Cruz advanced the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy that the federal government was to invade Texas, Arizona, Utah, and other red states in 2015 (Cruz blamed Obama, saying he “produces fear, produces distrust”).

Ted_Cruz_by_Gage_Skidmore_8Bill_Nye,_2011Ted Cruz claims that “climate change is not science, it’s religion” pushed by “global warming alarmists” and “liberal politicians who want government power.” He says that gun-free zones create a “bunch of targets” and that guns are the “ultimate check against government tyranny.” Ted Cruz is against the legalization of cannabis, calling it a 10th Amendment issue that should be left to the states. He is opposed to net-neutrality, calling it “Obamacare for the internet” which would make the web “run at the speed of government.” He promises to abolish the IRS, and disband its 110k agents (actually 25k; Cruz is an idiot, even checks for payment of his beloved flat-tax would have to be sent somewhere). He is opposed to normalized relations with Cuba. Ted Cruz is engaged in war against the liberal bias of facts: he called Politifact “yellow journalism”, saying “first they came with the fact checkers, we said nothing…”

WBC_protestTed_Cruz_(7004284762)800px-Gay_Pride_Parade_2012_(7858067370)Cruz called on “100,000 pastors” to “tell the truth” about how Planned Parenthood is “trafficking baby parts”, which he says the DoJ should be investigating. He says that PP should be defunded and ultimately shuttered since there is no shortage of “rubbers.” On the PP shooter: “transgendered leftist activist.” Abortion: “I will do everything in my power to end the scourge of abortion once and for all.” Trans rights: “my 5 year-old knows the difference between boys and girls.” Marriage equality: “very definition of government tyranny” which qualifies practicing Christian faith “as hate speech.”

Adolf_Hitlerted cruzTed Cruz says that American Muslim neighborhoods should be monitored and patrolled. On Syrian refugees: “roll the dice…unacceptable risk…they could be jihadis coming to kill” & “utter lunacy.” He has called for more torture of prisoners of war and has promised to carpet bomb the Middle East until we find out if “sand glows in the dark.”

In every imaginable way, Ted Cruz is the worst possible candidate for president, and likely the most despicable and abhorrent person in all of American politics. Trump is a wildcard. Ted Cruz would actually do most of the maniacal and idiotic things which we fear of Trump. Consider us lucky. Well, as lucky as can be expected given the likelihood of the oiled-midget wrestling match that is Hillary v Trump. (No offense to little people.)2016_Republican_Clown_Car_Parade_-_Trump_Exta_Special_Edition_(18739683269)