humans are slowly killing themselves...

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by korey, Aug 2, 2003.

  1. korey Registered Senior Member

    Is it just me, or does it seem like humans are in a constant race with eachother to ultimately kill themselves(and everything else on the planet) off? I mean, "we" not only destroy everything in sight, but we harvest everything to make way for new forms of pollution. We feed until our bodies become grossly mis-shapen. We've gone from killing for survival to killing just for fun. We inject, pop, smoke, drink, etc. various things to make us feel even more superior and "special". We're all semi-sadomasochistic hedonists. As if that wasn't enough, we convert to killing eachother and we twist thoughts and words around to gain power in the world. This all probably just sounds like ramblings of an idiot, but I think humans need to wake up and stop being so ... so ... blegh ... Does anyone else feel the same way or similar, or do my opinions just seem like overscrutinizations? Thanks in advance for replying!
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  3. Shalashaska Registered Member

    True, we may not be at the most noble portion of our existence, but really, things are not much worse than they have been for most of history.
    Hopefully, we will move out of our immature phase into an enlightened, pure race. However, we probably won't live to see this grand evolution.
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Carpe canem. (Seize the Dog.)

    My theory is that humans get along with themselves, each other, and their surroundings best when there is a reasonable rate of progress. It gives everyone a feeling of optimism because it looks like the future will be better, and it also fuels enough economic growth to support the existence of stable organizations and to make everyone prosperous enough to not feel hopeless.

    When there is no progress humanity and its institutions stagnate. I'm not sure we've really experienced that recently in the Western world, not even in my (creak creak, where's my trifocals, grandma) much more extended residence on this planet. But people in the Second and Third Worlds certainly have, and those in the Third still do.

    When progress goes too quickly, it outpaces our ability to keep up. We get anxious and our institutions spin out of control. That's what we call a Paradigm Shift and that's what's been going on for the last couple of decades. If I had to pin it down to a date I would say it started when PC workstations began to turn the workplace upside down and shake it. Or you could say it was launched by the demise of the Second World and the complete reshaping of the global political canvas. Or perhaps it was the 9-11 hijackers' redefinition of the concept of "war" and our government's utter failure to get with the program.

    Whichever, or choose one of your own. I'm sure somebody in another part of the world would have a totally different but equally dispiriting perspective on it.

    Shala is right. There's a lot to feel hopeless about. And this isn't the first time Homo sapiens has gone through a period like this.

    But there are also reasons for hope.

    The second derivative of the population curve has gone negative. I.e., the rate of growth is falling and promises to stop and reverse before the turn of the next century.

    Since the U.S. left Vietnam to the Vietnamese, and even with the statistical perturbation of the Iran-Iraq war, the percentage of the world's population killed by government violence in an average year is at the lowest point in modern history.

    When my generation finally dies off and people who grew up with e-mail as the standard mode of communication take over the management of enterprises, telecommuting will replace 4-hour SUV round trips, America's energy consumption will plummet, and parents will raise their children.

    There's just a whole shitload of TV channels.

    You can get sushi in Missouri.

    America is getting a huge infusion of immigrants from new places. And that is a good thing. It always revitalizes our culture.

    And if none of that makes you feel reassured, try this: After 12,000 years, you can still depend on unconditional love from your dog. Humans and dogs were the first multi-species community this planet ever hosted. Our ability to love a "person" of a totally different species gives us hope that we can certainly learn to love people who merely live in a different country.

    Seriously, every time I say this on SciForums I get a truly heart-warming thank-you note in my personal mailbox from somebody who really needed to be reminded. So I'll say it again. If you feel bad about people, spend more time with your dog. He will NEVER let you down!
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  7. Shalashaska Registered Member

    While I agree with the rest of your points, Fraggle, I fail to see what this 'telecommuting' is. The worlds energy consumption will not decline until a new source of energy is found, and as such the earth will continue to be diseased by the cancer of oil.
    Let me rephrase that, not until a new source of energy is found, but until the new sources of energy we have are adopted by those with power.
    In 1980 one man converted his car to run on methane fuel by himself in his garage. If he can do it, why can't the automobile industry do it?
    Simple: they don't want to, because they get money from oil tycoons.
  8. Dr Lou Natic Unnecessary Surgeon Registered Senior Member

    The way humans are killing themselves is overfishing. Energy consumption doesn't really matter, humans will find new ways to get energy.
    But overfishing is going to sting. The chain reaction it will cause seems infinite. Infact, I've never been able to finish it in my mind, and I've tried many times. We don't realise how much we still need from nature, and once the fish are gone everything will, it will take time but eventually plants will be effected, and plankton, and we won't have oxygen.
    Or I see a big mother of a human erasing disease coming soon. One that simply won't be able to be cured, overpopulation makes diseases all too easy to spread. And if its a fast acting disease we'll be gone before we know whats hit us. The lights from our cities could shine on after we are gone if it was fast enough, that would be amusing.
    But its more likely the human species will just be culled drastically by the disease, with only a few hermits in the country remaining.
    I'd like to see 5.8 of the 6 billion gone. It would be beneficial in everyway for everything.
  9. Shalashaska Registered Member

    Energy consumption isn't the issue. I'd be happy if all the oil was consumed, and then we'd be forced to get a different source of energy. The problem is that the exhaust from the burning of oil is polluting the enviroment, not to mention over fishing, over hunting, and all the forms of enviromental destruction in progress.
    As it is, the earth can repair itself if we stop now, however, if we go at this rate for much longer, say, 20 years, the earth will be permanently damaged, and will not be able to heal without foreign intervention.
  10. Clockwood You Forgot Poland Registered Senior Member

    The strongest will survive. Those who do things suicidal in nature will be outcompeted by those with the will not to. I WANT people to be masochistic suicidal junkies. It means less competition for me and my descendants.
  11. Shalashaska Registered Member

    A little selfish, don't you think, Clockwood? We're talking about the betterment of all humanity here, if all humanity descends into some dark age, I don't think your descendants would have much of a choice but to follow.
  12. ripleofdeath Registered Senior Member

    what hard case responses to the thread
    so far
    Fraggle Rocker
    has defined love as obedience from dependence of less intellegent beings perverted to be dependable on humans by human lazzyness and greed


    Dr Lou Natic
    stating selfishness and mass murder and lack of caring as the only way forward


    copying Dr Lou Natic

  13. 420Joey SF's Incontestable Pimp Valued Senior Member

    Ripleofdeath is blantly ignorant to his surroundings dont mind him as he mocks people that are 100 times smarter than him.
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I find these doomsday scenarios a bit exaggerated. Perhaps because I grew up with nuclear bomb drills in school and neighbors building fallout shelters. Now that was a doomsday scenario! Things look a whole lot better with that as a reference standard.

    The most effective birth control is prosperity. The only reason that the statistics on the percentage of the world's population living "in poverty" are not dropping it the usual one. The doomsday industry keeps redefining "poverty" so they can stay in business. Clean water, access to medical care, and a subsistence diet are more widely available than they were in my childhood. (In fact somebody just invented a solar powered device that produces about two quarts of distilled and purified water in 24 hours, and it's 100% plastic so it can be manufactured cheaply anywhere.) As a result the birthrate even in places like Bangla Desh is dropping.

    The world population is now predicted to peak at about ten billion before the end of this century, and then start dropping. I don't know if it will ever again stand at 200 million, but I think you're being more than a little pessimistic to believe that humanity is not steadily becoming more efficient in the exploitation of renewable resources. I'm sure that a population of two or three billion will be able to live in a state of equilibrium that wasn't possible when the figure passed that benchmark going the other way.

    Telecommuting will indeed have a profound effect on America's energy consumption. The manufacture, operation, and maintenance of private motor vehicles is a huge energy drain. Why do you think the Busheviks are so determined to keep steel- and petroleum-guzzling SUVs exempt from all the regulations that apply to cars? So they can sell more petroleum to power the vehicles and the steel mills.

    Yes the petroleum industry has a stranglehold on the economy. Just like the railroads did a hundred years ago. Does anybody remember railroads? This too shall pass.

    I'd quibble that alcohol is a more promising alternate fuel source for autos than methane. It's easier to produce from renewable resources. It requires fewer modifications to car engines. And it doesn't require the storage of billions of cubic feet of an explosive gas. Every day, somewhere in the world, several families are killed by a propane explosion. Methane is no safer. Cars that can burn either pure gasoline or up to a 90 percent methanol mix are already in production. The problem is that methanol itself is not. But it's one of those grass roots industries. People can distill their own alcohol. A village could probably do it cost-effectively. Look for a whole new series of bogus government regulations that effectively prohibit private distillation of fuel-grade alcohol.

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    As for the cheap shot about dogs, it's not dependence, it's interdependence. People have jobs and so do dogs. They provide us with a safe emotional harbor, entertainment, and protection, and we give them food and let them sleep with us. It's called division of labor.

    It's worth pointing out that many of the first other species to join us in our multi-species community did so voluntarily because they themselves thought it was a good trade-off. Dogs were eager to benefit from our mastery of fire, our ability to bring down woolly mammoths and later to maintain a supply of fresh meat that didn't even need to be hunted, and the abundance in our camps of loveable, fun-loving pups of our own species that stayed that way for many years.

    Cats were delighted to be offered warm homes simply for doing what they were already doing: keeping those homes and their nearby granaries free of rodents.

    Pigs just loved the endless supply of free food that we called garbage. The Jews and Arabs let them hang around just to provide janitorial services. Unfortunately somewhere along the way other people decided to eat them. But that seems to be changing back, there are a lot of pet pigs in this country.

    Cheer up and have faith. The future isn't what it used to be. It's a hell of a lot rosier than it was when I was your age.
  15. Shalashaska Registered Member

    Stop at 10 million? I doubt it. The population will probably continue to double until the earth can no longer sustain it, which is a good thing, because it will force us into space in a way that lecturing politicians and foreign powers never could.
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The Fertile Fifties are behind us.

    If the earth's population continued to grow at its worst rate -- doubling every thirty years like it did in the middle of the last century -- space travel would not help. Assuming we could find an earthlike planet, develop a transportation system for getting people there alive without having spent ten centuries reproducing themselves into oblivion on a sub-light spaceship, AND build enough of them to take six billion people there within thirty years, what happens next? Now we've got TWO planets, each with six billion people, that are going to double in the next thirty years. Now we have to find TWO earthlike planets and build TWICE as many starships. Then thirty years later, FOUR planets, and so forth.

    Space may be the final frontier, but it won't be a safety valve for excess population.

    People really do have fewer children as they become more prosperous, for a variety of reasons. This planet's growth rate has dropped markedly since the Fertile Fifties. Places where the average brood used to be twelve kids, it's now eight. Where it used to be eight it's now five. In North America and Europe, it's dropped below replacement level. If it weren't for all those nice immigrants coming in from the Third World, there wouldn't be enough workers here to prop up the Ponzi scheme known as Social Security when you get old enough to start making withdrawals.
  17. Shalashaska Registered Member

    I was referring to space-colonies, ring-worlds, Dyson spheres or colonization of the moon or mars. Only once people live in space will space technology really take off.
  18. Pollux V Ra Bless America Registered Senior Member

    Fraggle is right. Technological advance is definitely the best way to control spiraling bithrates. Compare the annual population growth in the USA to India, or any nation in Africa. Once the third world is neutralized (and assuming we don't nuke ourselves into oblivion it will likely happen!) population growth will taper off. There's a scenario that was feared awhile ago...I think it's called "The Malfusian Scenario," or something like that, however it states that the greatest fear of mankind should be the depletion of resources, that our population will grow to such heights that we will begin to fight over what little food, gas, and whatever is left.

    I'm confident that that will never happen. We will either destroy ourselves, be destroyed by something (or someone) else, or, perhaps, billions and billions of years from now, we will witness the end of the universe. Or whatever the hell we are will witness the end of the universe.

    This is an awesome thread. I'll be back.
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Malthus vs. reality

    Seems likely. People like the Polynesians who live on islands become the world's best sailors. People who live among the stars will have the best spaceflight.

    But still it becomes an issue of capacity. The whole reason for considering off-world migration (at least on this thread) is the fact that an entire planet can barely support six billion people. How could we ever build enough spacecraft to support them?

    Throughout history, colonies have been characterized by low populations -- at least of the invading people, not the victims. The same will be true in space.
    It's "Malthusian," named after Thomas Malthus, a serious pessimist of the late 1700s.
    I read a report about forty years ago -- when Malthus's predictions still seemed valid -- that I've got on a hard copy somewhere. I'll have to find it, scan it, and upload it. Anyway, it dispassionately calculated the carrying capacity of the Earth to be around ten trillion people. That involved:

    - Per capita living space quite a bit smaller than a computer programmer's cubicle.

    - Several times that much space for pumping food (how yummy), water, air, waste, and information, plus what will seem at the time like adequate room for horizontal travel but very limited vertical travel.

    - The entire globe, including what are now oceans, covered with contiguous warrens of these cubicles, about five miles deep.

    - The top layer covered with algae (that is what the humans will call "food") factories and the handful of zoos containing the few remaining non-human animals that the few remaining environmental activists manage to preserve.

    - Massive solar energy collectors in orbit compressing it into microwaves beamed at a planet-wide network of microwave receivers scattered throughout the algae factories.

    As the author put it in one of his many passages of dry wit that I remember clearly, most humans will have virtually no work to do. However, they will be well entertained. At any moment the population will include several million Shakespeares, and rather more Beatles.

    The limiting factor will be waste heat. The planet will become one uniform ecosystem that consumes energy in the visible spectrum and releases it as much lower-spectrum heat. Entropy run rampant.

    Basic physics limits the rate of the planet's ability to radiate the waste heat. Despite climate control in the warrens, the temperature will rise as the population increases. An ever-increasing portion of the population will not be able to survive the heat. The survivors will adapt and continue to reproduce, but it's unlikely that the human animal will ever be able to live in an ambient temperature much greater than 125 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point the die-off rate will exactly balance the birth rate and the population will stabilize.

    A few calculations involving basic thermodynamics -- all using the most favorable scenarios in deference to the optimists -- and presto, the maximum population figure of ten trillion. If the population continued to double every thirty years, as it was when the article was written, that figure would be reached in just a few centuries. This is just a more generalized and disciplined version of the greenhouse gas scenario.

    Nonetheless, it was then considered possible that the technologies needed to support this growth and this transformation of the planet into a giant arcology could be developed and deployed at the rate needed to match the population growth. Nothing in the final scenario was beyond the reach of 1960s science.

    There you go. People adapted to tolerate constant temperatures higher than Death Valley at high noon in August, living like hamsters, drinking liquid Soylent Green, never seeing another species of animal larger than a rat (the article didn't count them, but let's face it, they will always be with us), living a meaningless existence sitting at a workstation with no work.

    That is the mid-20th Century recalibration of the Malthusian Doctrine.
    Or, as you seem to imply earlier in your posting, prosperity will save us and the population will start shrinking while the rain forests are still salvageable and before too many more species become extinct.
    "Be back"? You don't have to come back. You're living it!

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  20. Pollux V Ra Bless America Registered Senior Member

    Living it

    Must Have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person.

    --Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn

    Large amounts of people (compared to the handful of today) living in space won't happen until the people running the US or China see it as not only economically feasible but also as a useful propaganda tool to...incur the populace. I believe China is planning on putting a station in space sooner or later, god knows they have the resources to do it. There needs to be competition, preferrably a bit healthier than the previous Space Race, without the constant threat of nuclear holocaust.

    If that ever came to pass then I would hope that they'd have a damn good VR for me. Judging by the amount of time it would take to get up to ten trillion people I believe that at the very least our virtual lives would hold some kind of appeal to us, because living in a cubicle hardly large enough to lie down in certainly would not.

    It won't happen! Not on Earth! The people of the 24th century will say to themselves: "why the hell aren't we arguing about those damn Klingons?"

    Seriously though...unless there is a change in the policy of many of the nations on Earth, an earnest desire to save the world, if you will, there will undoubtedly be a nuclear armaggedon. Sooner or later it will happen, the way things are going, unless these ways change course.

    If nature, the most powerful force in the universe, hasn't made these things, then I doubt that humanity could pull it off. Come on man! Dyson spheres are frickin huge!!

    I saw one of the propaganda videos for the same program, I believe. It may have been on an MST3K video I rented...

    But in any case, it was total bullsh*t. "Find an older person and ask for directions to the nearest shelter." "Cover your eyes." "Lean against a wall if caught outside."

    There's actually a fallout shelter just across the street, I work there doing dishes. They've turned it into an oceanography institute but it still has the sign near the door. While I don't think that they'd nuke the island I live on we are right in the path of whatever fallout a nuclear war would generate.

    And finally, on "my generation," I'm not very confident of its integrity. I go to one of the best public schools in the country, mostly because of the small population, but also because of an enormous local tax base that the school can draw upon. Except for a few kids here and there (mostly good friends of mine heheh), there is virtually no inspiration to take an interest in "how things came to be this way," there is virtually no inspiration to take an interest in politics. One of my friends said that the government will just screw you anyway so there's no point in getting involved. I then mentioned that the whole reason most people in America live so well compared to the rest of the world is because of constant resistance to the Establishment, to the Government, over the course of the whole nation's history. He then told me that he was a Taoist...

    There are specks of intrigue and hope in my generation's cosmos, however from my experience toward the top it's still just another intellectual vacuum.
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Re: Living it

    Sci fi scenarios generally have the ships going through a "wormhole" or "subspace" or "slipstream" or something like that, in order to seed us with the unconscious implication that by cheating on the universe we can travel huge distances really fast without using a lot of energy. Unless something like that turns out to be real, space travel really never will be economicially feasible. The Bussard ramjet, well, sort of gets around that, but not quite. How much conventional fuel to you have to burn before you attain a velocity at which you're sucking in enough interstellar hydrogen to power a starship? And then again on braking?
    It didn't happen with the crazy Americans and the crazy Soviets waving ICBM's in each other's face for forty years. It's a whole lot less likely to happen now that the Soviet half of that balancing act has retired.
    Oh come on. The intelligentsia of every generation feel that way when they finally discover that the average IQ of even their own beknighted age group is still only 100. Exceptional accomplishments are achieved by exceptional people. That's why we call them "exceptional." Figuring out how to do fantastic stuff is only one small part of the responsibility of the great men and women of any generation. The bulk of it is figuring out how to keep the ordinary men and women from fucking things up.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2003
  22. Pollux V Ra Bless America Registered Senior Member

    Okay...but from your previous post I got the picture that you had a kind of faith in my generation, that possibly we wouldn't be as "bad" as the last one (even though, suffice to say, things could have turned out much worse than they are for the world, and for humanity). I'm not sure your generation had such a problem with overcrowded schools--I spent a small portion of my childhood in one--but that is sure to have some impact on the amount of "exceptional persons" that this generation produces. I've also heard that conservatism is running amok in some (perhaps a majority) of the country's colleges, a staunch difference from the way things were twenty or thirty years ago. Then again, you guys had Vietnam. We got nothing. It must have been easier to be anti-US then than it is now.

    From what I've observed it's become remarkably easy to replace the anti-communist propaganda "filter" of the media with anti-terrorist instead. With Congress backing virtually every word that comes out of the president's mouth (with a few exceptions every now and then) I think that nuclear war is still a threat to the safety of humanity that deserves mention. Plus, there's also Pakistan and India--with hundreds of years of rivalry between the Muslims and the Hindus to help lift their nukes into the sky. The scenario I envision is one of war sooner or later between the two, with India winning eventually (much larger population there, it's an advantage that cannot be ignored). Pakistan becomes desparate, deploys nuclear missiles against major population centers. Millions would die from such an act, not to mention the war itself.

    It also seems to me that the US has been playing both sides of that conflict, but, oh well...

    Space is merely the next frontier waiting to be conquered, that's all. The same thing was said about flight (most of all), about the world being round, about so many things, and most of the time by people who had good reason to be skeptical. There is a human solution to every natural problem, so far we have managed to conquer (read: Ishmael) everything or everyone that has opposed us. Space is just another barrier, another challenge. That's all. I'm willing to bet that if I see the day that man conquers space, or the first steps of such an act, it will be through a technology or a means wholly different from the ones imagined today. That's seems to be the pattern of history, in any case.
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Your generation is not befuddled by computers. You were born with a mouse in your hand, as it were. You're comfortable communicating with e-mail, despite its inability to convey facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice. You don't automatically believe every word that comes off a computer printer or a workstation screen. In other words you have mastered the primary tool of modern life while you were still in high school. That gives you an advantage that doesn't require being less "bad" than your predecessors.
    My generation was the War Babies and we were already on double sessions and crammed into trailers. But teachers were already complaining about unmanageable class sizes in the mid 1970s when most of the Boomers were still in school -- and leaving the profession in droves to salvage what was left of their mental health. Every profession got a big boost from an influx of ex-teachers, and that exodus did as much damage to the school system as the crowding.
    Politics is not a one-dimensional variable. Left versus right on the X axis ("liberal" vs. "conservative") merely measures whether you want to concentrate on taking away people's money first and rights later, or vice versa. Libertarian versus statist on the Y axis measures whether you think that people are too stupid to run their own lives or that power corrupts and therefore governments are best kept small. The libertarian movement is gaining a lot of momentum, although trying to turn it into a party (like the Greens) instead of leaving it as a movement (like the far more influential Sierra Club, PETA, etc.) lost some ground. I urge all of you young people to check it out. The liberal vs. conservative conflict is as real as TV wrestling!
    I don't know where you live but I've always lived in America and I've never been "anti-American." I had some big gripes with our government, and also with a certain group of unreconstructed Confederates (to be fair, not all of them are confined to their original eleven states) who didn't believe that the color of a man's skin is as unimportant as the color of his eyes -- my favorite Bob Marley quote. I still have the same gripes. People misstate the libertarian position, in order to discredit us, as, "The solution to bad government is no government." What we actually believe is, "The solution to too much government is less government." We've still got leaders making war for purely economic reasons rather than any concern for the safety of our nation or its people. And we've still got people making decisions about other people based on their color. The particular decisions about the particular colors have turned topsy-turvy since the 1960s and it's surely been enlightening for us contented white folks to suddenly experience discrimination, but perpetuating it in reverse for ten generations in a vain attempt to atone for slavery isn't going to accomplish anything.
    I think those exceptions will become louder and more frequent. It took years to notice the horror of Vietnam and more years to mobilize an opposition. This time, every major U.S. newspaper prints several anti-war letters and op-ed pieces every day. People are beginning to feel the personal impact of the war culture and they're changing their loyalties quickly. I've been working in the Washington D.C. area where people can still smell the smoke from the Pentagon. They've been quietly sending their kids off to spend the summer on Uncle Zeke's farm in Nebraska. Bush's popularity drops every day. He will not have such an easy time hijacking the next election, no matter how many brothers he has in the governor's mansions of key states.
    Of course it is and we'd be fools to ignore it. But I stand by my reasoned belief that it is a much smaller threat than it was when I was your age.
    And there's the key. The legacy of the Cold War. The US and the Soviets kept the Mideastern nations in an unstable equilibrium to prevent the region from becoming a player in world politics. Without that balance, rickety as it was, we now have to back off and let the Mideast find itself. Not giving people a reason to hate us and send their kids off to Osama's terrorist training camps is a high priority. To make that happen we need to dump Bush and his petroleum-addicted puppeteers. And the rest of the West must find its voice and stand up to us. The U.N. needs to grow balls and more countries need to line up behind France instead of the UK. I see the latter happening, and the world can probably muddle through the crisis without a strong U.N., which in any case would offend my libertarian sensibilities.
    You have such unbridled youthful optimism on that topic. See if you can carry some of it over into the other one. You'll feel better AND be in a better position to mold a better future. You kids may be right in a sense, that simply establishing some small colonies on Mars or the Moon or other nearby bodies will bring the "frontier effect" back into our unconscious library of archetypes. Knowing if it all goes to hell and we can't stand it any more, that there is at least a small possibility of being able to say fuck it all and go somewhere far away, is a big safety valve in the human soul. For every young man who actually took Horace Greeley's advice and went west (and it is mostly men, women tend to prefer to "bloom where they're planted," it's a Venus/Mars thing) -- there were twenty who didn't follow him, but felt better because he proved it could be done if things got too tough to endure. Right now there's not really any place anybody can go to escape the hell of 21st century Earth. Shit, they're even bombing the poor Australians. Every American male secretly regarded Australia as the Last Frontier. That bomb in Bali caused as much deep emotional damage in our country as the population of the previous frontier, Phoenix, Arizona, reaching one million.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2003

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