Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Kwisatz Haderach

Ok, go get your geek hat, and put it on.
I'll wait here until you get back...

Alright, all set? Here we go.

As we've discussed before, approximately 13,700,000,000 years ago, the universe was probably born. Very very soon thereafter, our very own Milky Way Galaxy began to take shape, dragging it spindly arms across the cosmos.

All was well in this spiraling system for many billions of years, until recently, about 4,600,000,000 years ago, a massive cloud of galactic gas and dust collapsed, giving rise to our very own little yellow sun, and its eventual set of 8 planets and other odds and ends, nestled comfortably out in one of the galaxy's outer spiral arms.

And here we've sat, for several billion years, minding our own business, learning how to divide cells and photosynthesize the sun's light. Some of us developed legs and even thumbs. Some of us even shed our tails, climbed down out of the trees, and learned to use tools.

Not bad for monkeys made of star dust.

Now, all good things must come to an end, and well, the Universe is no exception. Generally speaking, in the end, one of two things will likely occur. First, the Universe will continue to expand into basic nothingness. Second, the Universe will stop expanding, then it will reverse course and collapse back in on itself. Ether way, within something like 1 trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years from now it will all be over. Give or take...

Unfortunately, there won't be any human beings around to witness the end because just 5,000,000,000 years from now, as everyone knows, the Sun will will explode into a red giant, completely obliterating the Earth and the three other inner-planets. Well, Mars will actually escape the swollen corona, but its gonna be a bit toasty nonetheless.

Coincidentally, we humans aren't gonna be around for that one either, because just 3,000,000,000 years from now the Andromeda Galaxy is going to pile drive the Milky Way, right down the center, which will essentially turn most matter in both galaxies into soup.

Don't let that worry you, however, because we're never going to get there. See, there's an asteroid named Apophis (Egyptian god of destruction) which will be passing through our neighborhood in the year 2036. How close, you may ask?

Close.

At best, it will pass by Earth BELOW the orbit of most geosynchronous satellites. That's right, I said BELOW. And that's the best we can hope for. At worst, it will strike the Earth like a mountain-sized bullet somewhere of the Pacific Coast of North America, killing, well, me for sure, and probably all the rest of you too.

How, you may ask, can we as a race ever hope to survive these cataclysms. Can humankind see it through to the end?

Well sure. Of course we can. But first, there have to be a few changes. See, we've been going about this whole evolution thing all wrong. we've allowed it to progress on it's own schedule all hurdy-gurdy-like, a little dominant trait here, a little recessive gene there. That way of thinking is just not going to do it.

If we are going to survive, we must get off this rock, and get out into space, and frankly, we are woefully under equipped for such a move.

It is time, therefore to begin the long hurtful process of selective breeding. Like the mythological Kwisatz Haderach of Dune, we must breed our most desirable genes into one super human. One human being that can withstand the universe. One being who can be all things to all people.

Fortunately, NASA scientists, with the help of JPL and the European Space Agency have developed an image of what they expect this all-purpose super-human will look like, and here he is:


20 comments:

  1. Oh geeze... if you go to the Obama camp then it makes my position look legitimate.

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  2. Anonymous7:51 AM

    You are such a Republican. Scare tactics to push a vote. K. Rove would be proud of you.

    Just like the WMD, the Apophis threat is a little less than our fearless leader would have you believe. Estimates now sit at a mere 1 in 45,000 chance of Earth being struck. This is a significant improvement over the one time estimate of a 1 in 37 (2.7%) chance of impact. For comparison, consider the following:

    - 1 in 83 million (odds of winning PowerBall Jackpot)
    - 1 in 649,739 (odds of being dealt royal flush in 5 card draw)
    - 1 in 576,000 (odds of being struck by lightning)
    - 1 in 2,320,000 (odds of being killed by lightning strike)
    - 1 in 11,500 (odds of winning an Academy Award)
    - 1 in 88,000 (odds of dating a supermodel, worse for Brian)
    - 1 in 2,232 (odds of fatal fall in bath or shower)

    That said, the close pass in 2029 may completely change its orbit, Earth's orbit, the moon's orbit and the orbit of objects around Brian's giant ego. Certainly the latter are the most dangerous.

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  3. You know that invisible line we discussed recently...

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  4. Thanks anonymous, while it's true that the likelihood of a strike by Apophis is currently low, there is a possibility that it will pass through a "gravitational key hole" during the 2029 fly by which will put it in a much more dangerous trajectory for the 2036 return.

    I think I'm moving to New Hampshire.

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  5. Leave the wife and kids. We like them better.

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  6. I'm not voting for Obama until he rides Shai-Hulud.

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  7. Fred gets a nomination for the 2007 "best comnment" Ginny Award.

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  8. I heard Fred likes little boys.

    Brian, you had me at galactic gas.

    Look at it this way, by the time it gets here, the diabetes will have necrosed away most of your limbs and taken away your eye sight. I will be recovering from my third heart attack and the cancer will have eaten away my organs. We may be praying for an asteroid by then.

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  9. Even if he rides the worm he will still have to call out G.W.

    But I don't know that there is a downside to that.

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  10. I'm impressed -- I often read the original blog and posts and wonder to myself "Surely this couldn't get any stranger..." And yet, here I am, surprised again...

    (And, to those of you out there that will inevitably reply - No, I wasn't calling you Shirley...)

    Besides - won't we just sent Bruce Willis and friends up there to divert the asteroid?

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  11. Yes, Dr. Brian, I do like little boys. Why do you think I hang around here?

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  12. Dr. Brian is just worried because he's at risk for losing his "best comment" award...

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  13. the diabetes will have necrosed away most of your limbs and taken away your eye sight. I will be recovering from my third heart attack and the cancer will have eaten away my organs.

    I, however, plan to look marvelous. The Alzheimers will kick in, sure. But I will be a fine-looking houseplant.

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  14. This was nothing if not beautifully written.

    Strangely, I have nothing more to add. What a strange day this is turning out to be.

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  15. Im sorry but that guy is scaring me every time I scroll down

    and what has the half naked woman on the car got to do with anything

    Not that you need a reason but just wondering..

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  16. She's holding a wrench. She is illustrating the paragraph next to her, which says that we learned to use tools.

    It was surprisingly difficult to find a picture of a sexy girl holding a tool...

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  17. ah, a wench with a wrench..

    Im sure you have vast amounts of photos in your archives of "sexy girls holdng tools"

    Just not ones appropriate for this blog

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  18. we, do try to keep it family friendly.

    Well, OK, I'm not sure whose family.

    Maybe the Adams Family...

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  19. Is that the Royal we or we as in good Brian, bad Brian..

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  20. familytrain5:46 PM

    by the year 2025 we will have corrected the use of mipase silica towards an in-use, where it can protect our thermal barrier on top of everything else. we don't have to worry too much about the astral probity of giant rock particles or nothing, and wavelength compliance will be at an all-time low anyway. I'll buy anyone a beer who can make me believe otherwise and I'm having a beer right now, too!

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Be compelling.

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