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Memories of the 28th Century

To What Purpose

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In the last few days, I have seen articles about scientists saying that California may be in for a ďmega floodĒ. I find such things mildly interesting but not useful. And I wonder why people write such things and why those articles get published ab\s something scientific. Itís like back in the 1970ís, when there were articles in the science magazines about the impending floods from the West Ice Shield of Antarctica sliding into the Pacific Ocean. It still hasnít happened, but there still are articles about it.

One reporter I met mentioned that his editor wanted controversy, because controversy sells papers. The reporter was trying to get exciting answers to some questions, but there was nothing exciting about the questions or answers, but he tried anyway. That was when I started writing detailed press releases that had the facts, so that I wouldnít be asked to heat up some controversy. Some of the press releases were even published verbatim, because they were relevant.

Someone should write up the detail about mega-floods in California. The facts are interesting, and there have been huge floods there in the past. The Central Valley used to be a huge bay or a lake, and someday it will be filled with water again. The last time was in 1862. see linked article. I have been told that part of the Central Valley has major floods every few years, but the whole pace doesnít fill up, as happened in 1862.

Then there are the news articles about an asteroid that could destroy civilization coming close to the Earth. That happens several times a years, and asteroids have hit the Earth, but the ones that would destroy civilization have stayed away for a long time. I donít mind seeing such things in the news, but the writers should make it clear that all kinds of strange things happen on rare occasion. I found the pieces about floods in Death Valley amusing. I canít thing of many places that are better for floods. And there is a theory that Monsoons make India wet and keeping North Africa dry have an oscillation: when India gets rain, North Africa doesnít and vice versa. And that it will flip at some point, and North Africa will get the water. In prehistoric times, Lake Chad was several times the size it is now, and there was agriculture in much of North Africa, but that was before 5000 BCE.

But donít worry, because the more than a billion people in the Indian subcontinent will lose their water and the few millions in North Africa will have plenty of water; itís just a question of when. If you need something worry about, then thatís a good one, but the idea of an asteroid hitting Earth and destroying civilization is even better, and that is a less common event. It would be along the lines of the strike that killed off the dinosaurs and similar events. It will happen. If you want to read a good fictional version of the event, then find a copy of Luciferís Hammer by Larry Niven.

Stories like that make great fiction, but they arenít good news stories, because they are dull and tedious, and they happen so rarely that they are m\not relevant to most people, most of the time. It might be nice to see something about the floods of 1861 and 1862, but the newspaper people like to dream up things instead of telling what really has happened.

I am waiting for a spaceship to land on the national mall in Washington and an aliebn step outside and make threatening statements to the politicians, etc. that have come to watch, as in The Day the Earth Stood Still. Now that would be something to worry about.

I understand writing fiction that might incite emotions, but that is not what news is supposed to be about.


  1. tailor STATELY's Avatar
    So true. Here in California we could use the water since it would be "so well managed". re Sci-Fi: Asteroids - we still have SG-1, and Aliens - the benevolent "To Serve Man" authors

    Ta ! (short for tarradiddle),