Showing posts with label Doomsday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Doomsday. Show all posts

June 21, 2016

It's Getting Mighty Hot

This is a advertisement around Washington DC alerting people to the dangers of global warming.

"I'm Too Hot"

And 

"9 of the 10 hottest years have occurred since 2000."

Wait a second, for some (or many) a little extra heat may be considered a good thing especially if you live up north with generally freezing cold and miserably snowy winters.

So don't just tell us about it getting hotter, but tell us how hot is it actually going to get and what will happen when it does--melting glaciers, rising oceans and catastrophic flooding of cities, weather abnormalities and violent natural disasters, and so on.

We need to move on to the substance of this. 

Just like with the national debt, we keep talking about it going up (and up). 

Well what's so bad about that if we can just print some more greenbacks and pay for more stuff, maybe it's a good--or great--investment in our country and future?

Here again, the message that isn't getting out clearly is what is going to happen when the debt becomes unsustainable and printing or devaluing dollars will not solve the problem and may actually exasperate it by creating run-away inflation, a downgraded or junk credit rating, and higher debt payments possibly tanking our economy and people's savings.

Yeah, we don't want to cause a panic. 

But shielding people from vital information on the dangerous paths we are on will only lead to going further down into the abyss of non-action and potential for cascading calamity. 

Let's face it--it's unpopular to talk anything doom or gloom--financial crises or natural disasters or especially anything with WMD--but if we aren't the adults in the political room, who will be? 

For once, I'd love a leader who tells it straight, who helps us face our own worst nightmares, and actually gets us back on track again, rather than keeps the wool pulled over our eyes for another term or two.

Leadership is lost in rosy glasses, vote counting, pundits called upon to obscure the truth from the people, keeping a false calm, and creating wildly inflated legacies.

These motives for now are stronger than the determination to deal with the threats we face, but not forever, and then the pendulum will most abruptly swing in the other direction, precariously late for the ensuing global effects. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 5, 2016

Have A Nice Doomsday

This was a photo of a photo I took at Washington Artworks this past weekend.

An anti-nuke demonstration outside the White House with signs that say:

"Live by the bomb, die by the bomb."

and 

"Ban all nuclear weapons or have a nice doomsday."

This was particularly interesting juxtaposed to the editorial in the Wall Street Journal yesterday by the UAE Ambassador to the U.S. who reflected on "one year after the Iran nuclear deal" and outright stated:

"Don't be fooled. The Iran--we have long known--hostile, expansionist, violent--is alive and well."

And he goes on to cite the multiple ballistic missile tests by Iran (October, November, and March), the firing of rockets by Iran dangerously close to a U.S. aircraft carrier (December), the detaining of US Navy sailors on their knees broadcast to the world (January), an $8 billion purchase by Iran of Russian fighter jets, planes, and helicopters (February), and the seizure of shipments by Iran of large weapons caches supporting terrorism around the world (February, March, and April) including just yesterday when the U.S. seized thousands of AK-47s and RPGs headed for Yemen. 

The editorial ends...

"Our hope for a new Iran should not cloud the reality that the old Iran is very much still with us--as dangerous and as disruptive as ever,"

Let's pray that our earnest yearnings for peace with Iran (and North Korea for that matter) does not end in the polar opposite...a "nice" nuke doomsday scenario by the leading state sponsor(s) of terrorism worldwide. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy from Washington Artworks)
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May 16, 2014

Rise Oceans Rise

The polar ice caps are melting--does anyone believe it or care?  

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Antarctica alone holds 60% of the world's fresh water "locked into millions of cubic miles of polar ice."

NASA glaciologists states: "Ice is going to retreat in this sector for decades and centuries to come and we can't stop it."

In other words, we may have "reached the point of no return."

Sea levels are seen rising 10 to 12 feet--that's almost 1.8 x Magic Johnson across all our oceans.

The New York Times says that just a four foot rise would inundate cities like New York, Boston, Miami, and New Orleans. 

WTOP reports that the impact will not just be in low-lying cities but even Washington, DC along the Chesapeake Bay is at great risk. 

And while over time barriers may be able to be built up around DC to protect it, other areas like New York City is "almost unenclosable."

Global warming has is changing our earth's ecosystems, and like the National Deficit, we can try to prove it false, ignore it, or hope for a technological breakthrough or miracle to save us. 

Yes, there are lot's of doom and gloom scenarios, and it's hard to know when to take catastrophe seriously and when it is Chicken Little.

While I wouldn't go looking for high ground just yet, maybe that Miami oceanfront--as much as I love it--may not be the best long-long term investment around. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 26, 2012

Mural of Brotherhood

Really love this mural of kids and adults holding together in joy and brotherhood, the big sun with the smiley face, and the butterflies.

This was posted up next to a local school near their track, field, and basketball courts. 

When all the world is topsy-turvy with riots and fighting, WMD and threats of annihilation, and all sorts of financial doomsday scenarios--it is uplifting to see this simple and pure painting spreading happiness.

Let's create a world for our children and grandchildren with more joy, positivity, and stability, and less stress, fear, and uncertainty.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 9, 2011

End Of The World, Almost

Recently, I have become addicted to a number of shows on the Discovery channel.
I know it sounds sort of boring, right?--but they actually have some fairly macho and educational shows.
From survivalist shows like Dual Survival, Man Vs. Wild, Man Woman Wild, to shows about special forces training like Surviving the Cut and even One Man Army.
I also enjoy this new show called Curiosity that "asks and answers the most fundamental questions facing the world today" such as Is There a Parallel Universe? or How Will the World End?
In "How Will The World End", Discovery explores 5-almost end of the world scenarios, as follows:
1) Arc Storm -- Similar to the flood from the bible, where it rains incessantly for a month or so, but unlike the flood that destroys the world, this one hits a specific area like California. Anticipated dead is 380,000 and injured 1,140,000. (10% chance in the next 50 years)
2) Asteroid Strike - Like a number of movies such as Deep Impact that forewarn of the dire consequences of a direct hit to our planet, a moderate collision would kill 60,000 and injure 200,000. (5% chance of occurrence over the lives of our children)
3) Mega-Earthquake - Hitting approximately 5 states in the midwest and killing 600,000 and injuring 2,000,000. (10% chance in 50 years)
4) Mile-High Tsunami - Traveling at 500 mph, wiping out the eastern seaboard and killing 4,000,000. (Probability is one in a 1000)
5) Super Volcano - Major series of volcanic eruptions in Yellowstone National Park that spews ash virtually covering the entire planet and would kill 100,000,000 people. (Scientists estimate this happens every 600,000 years)
While the last 2 end of life scenarios are quite remote, the first three taken together yield an almost 25% chance of a doomsday-like scenario over the next 50 years and this is just those scenarios--it doesn't account for a maniac detonating a nuclear packed suitcase bomb or spreading an infectious biological disease across the globe.
These foreboding predictions about what could happen can easily depress and make us feel that even trying is hopeless.
But this morning, I listened on TV to Joel Osteen, who gives a pretty darn good sermon, and he said regarding faith, "Do every day what you can and then let it go!"
While we have to do everything we can to protect our world and make it safe and sustainable, some things truly are beyond human control.
And once we've done our part and our best, we've got to step back and just have some faith, as Joel Osteen says: "Don't put a question mark where G-d puts a period"--that really resonates.
We can ask why this or that happens, but at the end of the day, what G-d decides for us is often beyond our mere human comprehension.
Easier said than done for sure, especially, when facing down situations scarier than any shown or imagined in the survival shows mentioned.
So Dave and Cody--And Seal Team Six--even you guys are outgunned when the hand of G-d says it's time for history to take a major turn of events.
But as Joel Osteen would say, I'll just put that in the "I don't understand it" file.
(Source Photo: here)

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April 26, 2011

Doomsday In Style

Surely, there have always been those with survivalist tendencies among us. But if you are paying attention, there is a new rage now for luxury doomsday shelters!

Despite all the technology advancement we have made in the last century--more automation, more information, more communication, more connectivity than ever--people are still afraid of the unpredictability and the uncontrollability out there.

Maybe it's the technology itself that even contributes to those fears--someone pushing "the button", someone unleashing a dangerous new something (nuclear this, bio that, chemical something else), or someone even causing mayhem through the very technology that underpins our society through some sort of cyber-attacks.

Some examples of doomsday shelters for the "rich and famous":

- Wired Magazine reported on 29, March 2011 in an article entitled Missile Silo Condos about a software engineer who purchased an Atlas F decommissioned missile silo and converted it into an "untra-safe energy-efficient fortress" with GE Monogram stainless steel appliances and Kohler fixtures. The owner is offering $900,000 "condo suite packages" including a five-year food supply and "simulated window views with light levels calibrated to time of day" as well as electricity powered geothermal energy and wind turbines, a theatre, pool, and waterfall, and of course, as a military grade security system. Everything needed to survive and at the same time enjoy the luxury accommodations.

- Similarly, Forbes Magazine (9 May 2011) reports in Selling The Apocalypse, that Robert Vicino, a property developer is building a network of luxury underground bunkers for 6,000 people. "For $25,000 to $50,000 a head [half-price is for children] each applicant will own at least 100 square feet of space...equipped with a medical center, classroom, theater, gym, and detention area to jail unruly residents."

According to PopSci (7 October 2010) on the same, there will be 20 such Vicino facilities each within 150-200 miles of major U.S. cities; and the one in Barstow, California is "built to withstand 50-magaton nuclear blast 10 miles away, 450 mph winds, a magnitude-10 earthquate, 10 days of 1,250 degree F surface fires and three weeks beneath any flood...and soon-to-be-installed air filtration system will also neutralize any biological, chemical, or nuclear attack." In addition to the safety provided, it is supposed to be as luxurious an accommodation as a modern-day cruise ship! Note: the video is from their company website Vivos and on Youtube.

So what is going on here?

Are people's fear being capitalized on? Are some simply catering to some eccentrics or the wealthy and their ability to perhaps splurge a little? Or is this a new type of life insurance or as Vicino put it "life assurance"? Perhaps, a little of all of the above.

I suppose there is enough out there to be afraid of, but the challenge it seems is not to create shelters for the few to survive, but rather to create enough genuine safeguards for the many to reasonably thrive over the long term. Is this doable or are we facing a ticking clock? And if a ticking clock are we all just going to do the best we can for ourselves - will we "fiddle while Rome burns?"

For me the prospect of hunkering down enjoying the stainless steel appliances, waterfalls, movies, and gym membership while the rest of mankind is getting eaten by Zombies doesn't quite sit right, although I can see the appeal when faced with the alternative.

I vote for continuing to build better technology and if you can afford the life assurance, all the power to you!

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January 26, 2008

Doomsday and Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise architecture is about planning and transitioning from the baseline to the target state.

However, as architects, there are times when we need to plan for the worst and hope for the best, as the saying goes.

As the price of oil has reached and exceeded $100 a barrel and significant new findings of oil are becoming a rarity, some people are starting to get nervous and are planning for a day when oil will be scarce, pricey, and society as we have come to know will cease to exist. Yikes, doomsday!

Are these people simply uninformed, pessimists, or non-believers that technological progress will outpace the demands we are placing on this planet’s resources?

The Wall Street Journal, 26 January 2008, reports about everyday people, like the Aaron Wissner in Middleville, Michigan, a school computer teacher with a wife and infant son, who became “peak-oil aware.” This term refers to his “embracing the theory that world’s oil production is about to peak.

These people fear the worst; “Oil supplies are dwindling just as world demand soars. The result: oil prices ‘will skyrocket, oil dependent economies will crumble, and resource wars will explode.’” Mr. Wissner’s forebodings include, “banks faltering” and “food running out.”

And they believe that we cannot stop this from happening. “no techno-fix was going to save us. Electric cars, biodiesel, nuclear power, wind and solar—none of it will cushion the blow.”

So Mr. Wissner and his family are preparing and transitioning themselves for the worst, they “tripled the size of his garden…stacked bags of rice in his new pantry, stashed gold…and doubled the size of his propane tank.”

According to the article there are thousands of people that adhere to the peak-oil theory.

Of course, there are many doomsday scenarios out there that end in war, famine, disease, and so on. During the cold war, people built bomb shelters in their back yards, and school children had drills hiding under their desks. These days, many fear that globalization will drive this country to economic ruin. Al Gore and other environmentalists espouse the global warming theory. And since 9/11, fears are heightened about terrorists hitting us with nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological agents. Even Hollywood has entered the fray with movies such as Armageddon about meteors hitting the Earth or The Day After Tomorrow with the greenhouse effect sending us back to the ice-age.

Whether you adhere with any of these various doomsday scenarios or visions of the future (their believed target architecture, not necessarily their desired one) and how they are preparing (transitioning) to it or you think they are just a bunch of nut-balls, it seems important as an enterprise architect to recognize that targets are not always rosy pictures of growth and prosperity for an organization, and the transition plans are not always a welcome and forward movement. Sometimes as architects, we must plan for the worst--hoping, of course that it never comes--but never-the-less preparing, the best we can. As architects, we don’t have to put all the enterprise’s eggs in one basket. We can weigh the odds and invest accordingly in different scenarios. Our organization’s resources are limited, so we must allocate resources carefully and with forethought. Of course, no architecture can save us from every catastrophe.


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