July 25, 2010

Survive This

As some of you may have noticed by now, my brain makes odd connections with odd things at odd times. I just had a bunch of kids to the cottage for a few days, and lay on the dock ignoring them for the most part. I dug out an old Toronto Life magazine to read - Roz gives them to me, but this one, from September last year, skipped by me and went directly north. I like Toronto Life; it's informative enough to be useful, and gossipy enough to be fun. There was an article in it by Jason McBride; he tried to live for a week as if he were in survivalist mode - if Toronto experienced some apocalypse, and he had to survive by his wits. His wits and stashed cans of chick peas and powdered milk.

I can't link it; Toronto Life won't let me. But if you're at someone's cottage this year, look for a copy. It was a fun read. He's honest and humourous. On his first morning of self-imposed apocalyptic crisis, he can't light his campstove. So he can't make coffee. That'd be the end of the experiment for me. But he introduces himself (and us) to some of those groups of people who not only believe the world is ending, they sorta seem to want it to. I mean, what's the point of being able to make a fire from a rock, a stick and your chest hair if you never get to do it?

I was sprawled on the dock reading this, a vodka and iced tea close at hand. It was quiet; we're on a tiny lake, so no motors, which is heaven. The boys were off doing boy things with canoes, and I just lay there hoping my ice cubes wouldn't all melt before I finished painting my nails. Or that the world wouldn't end either. Lovely orangey-red manicure, all for naught. I've survived tons of times at the cottage with no power. I think I could ride out an apocalypse on my dock. I would just have to lay in supplies of vodka, hickory sticks and apples first.

As I type this, I have JoJo the Wundercat curled up on my lap. She's big on long nails, which won't last, so I'm petting her as she drools away. She missed me, because she knows I'm an idiot who won't push her away. I type with one hand, or read all the way to the end of odd stories just so I won't disturb her - even if the stories disturb me. It's nice to be missed.

With McBride's story still tumbling around in my noggin (and thanks to JoJo), I read this one today in The Guardian. 'Doomsday scenarios: is humanity prepared for the worst?' yells the headline. Apparently, a bunch of scientists are all meeting at the moment to figure out if we get it. In a nutshell, their largest concerns seem to centre on the Large Hadron Collider, that scientific gizmo in the bowels of Switzerland that is the world's biggest particle accelerator.

Because every theory needs a conspirator, a bunch emerged from behind their grassy knoll to screech that this would be the end of mankind, indeed the whole planet. I think I need a bunch of t-shirts printed up that just say We're All Gonna Die; perfect for daywear, and in an XL they make a perfect nightie. Anyway. The upshot of science experiments appears to be that science is a tricky bitch, and you can argue all you like for the benefit of awesome discoveries to come, but there are still a contingent who repeatedly warn that it's all fun until someone loses an eye. Or a planet.

The biggest fear seems to be something called 'vacuum decay'.

"Vacuum decay leaves the entire universe not only lifeless, but without any hope of life for ever more. Vacuum decay, which is happily only a theoretical prospect, occurs when part of the universe is knocked into a more stable state than it exists in today."

I have more than a passing knowledge of this theory. I am presently conducting my own science experiment by allowing my vacuum to decay - I'm trying to get my household to a more stable state.

The upside of science, indeed.

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Blogger Chris Brown (not the felon) said...

This was mildly amusing until the very end. Vacuum decay. HA!! You crack me up.

But there is truth to the potential problems with the Hadron Collider. The problem with smashing things together at 99.99999% of the speed of light is that every law on the planet gets broken and there's really no telling what kind of Armageddon will transpire. Some will argue that there's only one kind of Armageddon and others will argue that of all the various Armageddons out there, any one of them will be enough to ruin everyones day. Or decade. Or millennium.

This may require an hour's nap and several margaritas. But first I must build myself a dock on my fake lake that I got at a recent garage sale. That and several slightly burned cop cars.

July 25, 2010 1:34 PM  

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