Friday, August 19, 2011

Jeff Lynne; really bummed that summer is gone.

Cool song, with a bit of funky clavichord and ELO's trademark use of melodrama and strings.




The lyrics:

Summer days, where did you go,

You've let me down so bad,

Clouds fill the sky,

Gone is the dream

My happy hunting ground.

Wild buffalo played and I never saw a rainy day.

But it looks like summer days ain't coming back.

March April May, June and July,

You took me for a fall.

Big chief he lie,

Cold wind blows cool, so cold to make you die.

Mountain breeze, ocean bay and I never saw a rainy day.

But it looks like them summer days ain't comming back.

CHORUS

Laredo Tornado,

Adios amigos

What can you do, when your dream world is gone.

And your friends and lovers too.

West Winter Street under the ground,

The air that makes you choke,

Towers of concrete, helish go-round,

Were there when I awoke

City sky, pouring down with rain

That can never hope to ease the pain.

And it looks like summer days ain't coming back.

CHORUS

Laredo Tornado

Adios amigos.

Laredo Tornado

Adios amigos.


More from the speculative sci/fi..er...ETI research center..

..Dimension X.

From OTR Classics: And the Moon be as Bright 1950-09-29. Ray Bradbury.

An expedition to Mars finds all the Martians dead from chickenpox, brought to Mars by earlier expeditions by the Earth men. The Earth men enjoy themselves in callous disregard of the beautiful artifacts left behind,except for one man who acts differently.

Question for academic types: How do you give proper citation for Old Time Radio shows? Eh?







Planet Kaczynski or Planet Friedman?

From the UK’s Guardian, a story about this “highly speculative” er…study (?) concerning the attitudes advanced extraterrestrial civilizations might have to our humble little cosmic village. What does the study amount to? Well, as the Guardian story suggest; a lot of speculation.

Speculation obviously fueled by familiarity with science fiction, seasoned with familiarity with current events/worries (an inspiration for sci/fi from the genre's beginnings).

And these guys were lucky enough to get government funding to get their sci/fi geek on!

{Hmm. Let’s see. Newish Academic niche: How to. Build your own right now!}

1. Read some sci fi..

+

2. Repackage as an academic study.

+

3. Publish in peer reviewed journal.

=

Cash money!


Various doomsday, kumbaya, and utter-indifference scenarios are canvassed. Read the study and, if you’ve read, listened to, watched or heard about any sci-fi, you’ll recognize all of them.

Man. Why didn’t I think of this cash cow? All that time watching Star Trek, listening to Dimension X, X Minus One. Reading Sci Fi books. Damn.

Convenient graphic from study:





Here’s the one scenario the Guardian chooses to highlight. Call it the “Planet Kaczynski” scenario. It comes from the “harmful” category:

It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim.

Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth's atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.

This highly speculative scenario is one of several described by a Nasa-affiliated scientist and colleagues at Pennsylvania State University that, while considered unlikely, they say could play out were humans and alien life to make contact at some point in the future….

….The authors warn that extraterrestrials may be wary of civilisations that expand very rapidly, as these may be prone to destroy other life as they grow, just as humans have pushed species to extinction on Earth. In the most extreme scenario, aliens might choose to destroy humanity to protect other civilisations.

"A preemptive strike would be particularly likely in the early phases of our expansion because a civilisation may become increasingly difficult to destroy as it continues to expand. Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilisational expansion could be detected by an ETI because our expansion is changing the composition of the Earth's atmosphere, via greenhouse gas emissions," the report states.

"Green" aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet. "These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets," the authors write.

All of the scenarios in the study raise questions, naturally. For instance, looking at the Planet K story, we can wonder: Why would a civilization feel the need to preemptively strike in order to prevent human expansion if there is so much freaking room in the first place? The threat, if indeed there is one, posed by humanity’s spreading out in the vastness of our home galaxy, and/or the universe is analogous to the threat posed by the spread of one termite colony located in Australia for my house in Maryland. I would be counted as bat-guano crazy if I worried about that colony.

And, even if, as the scenario assumes, we are somehow inhabitants of a very full universe surrounded by an advanced civilization we cannot fathom, it does not follow that they give a flip about us, or that we can really pose a threat to them, biological or otherwise. The speculative study does consider some scenarios like this, in its second “neutral” category.

The guardian seems to suggest we’d better play it safe and take steps to remove our “greenhouse” fingerprint, just in case. That costs serious cabbage, and even if you agree with the goal, is immensely difficult to accomplish politically as well as technologically. What is more, if we were to play it safe for all or even some of the ‘unlikely’ scenarios presented, I would suspect that we will be ‘playing it safe’ in ways that work at cross purposes with each other, and in effect wasting our time and boatloads of money.

But, be all that as it may, and being someone of a more conservative/libertarian leaning, I was scanning the study’s thirty or so pages, and noticed I didn’t see anything quite like this scenario (some are like it, but not developed, not quite like it in all its 'positivity') which I would presume belongs under the ‘beneficial’ category:

The alien civilization, peering through their spectroscopic instruments, detect the increased greenhouse gasses, somehow come to the conclusion that this is indeed from, (I’m going to take out the tendentious phrase “out of control”) technological growth, and think

“WOW! NEW MARKETS!

Let’s go sell these guys stuff! Let’s go see what they have to sell! Hey! Wait a minute! We’ll have to barter! There are no conversion rates, our currency to theirs, no intergalactic financial system. No. Not yet! So what! Bonanza! Barter with those anthropoids! YeeeeHaaa! Let’s set up that financial system! Oh yes!

Call this scenario the ‘Planet Adam Smith’ or better yet, ‘Planet Milton Friedman’ scenario.

I like that one much better than Planet Kaczynski.

Nice piece about 'going home'...


...that hits home. I'm a Michigan expatriate as well.  We (the fam, that is; wife, son and me) do a lot of the same things John J. Miller does, or rather, did, until he recently moved back to Mi., to work with Hillsdale College, We have our Michigan memorabilia:

We also made a fetish of all things Michigan. We covered our walls with familiar images: an antique map of the state, a photo from Tiger Stadium, Pewabic Pottery tiles, the Diego Rivera murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and so on. We ordered wine from Old Mission Peninsula and Paw Paw. Our oldest son was born in 1997, a month after the Red Wings ended their Stanley Cup drought, and so we named him after Brendan Shanahan. We have a cat named Magglio. We have another one named Pete, which is short for Petoskey.


On a professional level, I found every excuse I could to write about Michigan. I wrote feature stories on the state's governors, senators and congressmen. I wrote about famous Michiganians for Traverse magazine.

I also developed a fondness for Ernest Hemingway, especially the Nick Adams stories set in northern Michigan. I had not read any of these as a resident of the state, not even in Ann Arbor, where I had majored in English. Now I know them so well that I'm teaching a class this fall called "Hemingway in Michigan."

A few weeks ago in Gaylord, I visited a bookstore that has a special section devoted to all things Michigan. This was where I had discovered the novelist Steve Hamilton, who sets his crime thrillers in the Upper Peninsula. I found former Detroit News reporter Bryan Gruley, another author of mysteries set in Michigan, the same way.

The owner of the store said the locals rarely go to the Michigan section. They don't want to read about home. They want stories that will transport them to faraway places.

Yet the tourists flock to it, especially the ones who have ties to Michigan but don't live in the state anymore. They've gone away and want to keep returning, at least on the pages of the books they read. Their escapism is to go back home again.

The act of going somewhere new makes you appreciate where you've been.
OK, we didn't go so far as to name animals after our beloved Tigers/Lions/Wings/Pistons players, (primarily due to allergies) but you get the idea. If we had the opportunity, we might have been sorely tempted!

We have assiduously collected  and display memorabilia, and our basement is chock full of Michigania. Actually, it is all over our place. We have our Barry Sanders and Ty Cobb (that mean SOB) and Hank Greenburg posters, Redwings Stanley Cup posters, and games on vid, and yes I even have the 1957 NFL Championship in its entirety (audio). Yes, I listen to that thing, hoping that someday things will change for the Lions. We follow those teams religiously, thanking the techno-gods and Algore for the intertubes, which allows us to watch/and/or/listen to almost every game. We have our Petosky stone, our copper artwork from the UP, books of Schoolcraftean Indian lore, complete set of Tim Allen's Home Improvement...We refer to the place as 'home' and will defend it to the hilt if people 'dis 'the D,'' even if we agree, with those that dis, that the D is deserving of some dissing. Al still holds on to his complete set of "Michigan Chillers" kids books, a series he collected when young. We still hold that the best vacation spot in the U.S. is the entirety of the upper portion of the lower peninsula, and the UP as well.  Nothing beat Sleeping Bear Dunes. NOTHING.

Nothing beats Faygo Pop. NOTHING.

Nothing beats Better Made Potato Chips. NOTHING. 

We get some piddling amount of snow and cold weather here in Md., but miss the greater regularity and lower temps of Mi., and miss bitching about both. People here are cold-weather-wimps. I get my copy of Imprimus, the speech digest from Hillsdale College, each month, watch "America's Thanksgiving Parade" every Turkey Day, along with the migthy Leos of course....you get the idea.

Now, this should not be surprising for my better half, or for my son. Both are born and raised Michiganders. I, on the other hand, was born and raised in Tejas. I have two homes. Funny thing though, the roots are as deeply in Michigan as they are in Texas. There just is something about that state. In many ways, it is like Texas, and Dallas. The place engenders a fierce loyalty. Hey, I gotta love the place. Best thing Michigan ever did? Gave me my wife.

Read the JJMiller piece. He says it better than I possibly could. Then scroll down my blog nav bar on the left hand side, and listen to some Christmas in Detroit, via the embedded widget thing.  Also, check out the California based "Flint Expats' blog, in the blogroll. Another dislocated Mighander/anian.

Now, I need to go to the local Weis and get some Vernor's Ginger Ale. I've worked up a thirst.