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It is said that ere the heavens and the earth, all was but unimaginable; limitless, without form or shape.

Then part of the germ of life rose and the heavier part sank. The heavier part coalesced into the earth, which was covered with a turbulent muddy ocean. And from it arose a reed, which grew until it reached the sky. Whereupon the reed pierced the lighter part and was transformed into a god; the place where the head of the reed touched became the Heaven from which this god created many other gods.

Two of those gods were Izanagi and Izanami.

Izanami, the female god, and Izanagi, the male god, stirred the ocean with their jeweled spear until it curdled to become a hard mass of land. Thus the first island of Japan -Onokoro- was created.

Next came the island of Awaji, followed by Shikoku; then the island of Oki, followed by Kyushu; after that, the island Tsushima came into being – lastly, Honshu. The name Oyashi-ma-kuni (the Country of the Eight Great Islands) was bestowed on these eight isles.

Or…

The Japanese islands were once (Middle Miocene era) continental margin arcs in the Asian Continent, much like the present-day Andes. They became islands through rifting (plate and volcanic activity), which also created The Sea of Japan.

Much depends on perspective.

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For example…there are no unique upheavals, merely endless repetitions.

January 2010 saw a magnitude-7.0 quake level most of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Hillary Clinton referred to the event as “biblical” in scope. Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive put the final death toll over 200,000, with another 100,000 injured.

February 2010 saw an 8.8-magnitude quake deconstruct the cities illuminating Chile’s coast.

In March 2010 it was a village in eastern Turkey leveled by a magnitude-6.0 earthquake.

Just over a year ago Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull erupted. The volcano spewed plumes of dirty grey fear that swept across the globe. The eruption shut down air travel across western and northern Europe for a week in April and then again in May 2010.

At the same time Eyjafjallajökull was blowing off steam, a magnitude 7.1 quake killed over 2,000 people and devastated the remote Qinghai province in China.

June of last year Indonesian was struck by 3 earthquakes in rapid succession – a magnitude 7.1, followed 30 minutes later by a magnitude 6.4, and finally a magnitude 6.1. This on the heels of a quake that struck Sumatra September, 2009, that killed 1,000 people

August 2010 saw Sumatra’s Mount Sinabung erupt in the middle of the night, dislocating 20,000 with lava and ash.

From October – November 2010 Indonesia’s Mount Merapi spewed searing clouds of gas and debris for hours in its most powerful eruption that, before it was done 2 weeks later, left several hundred dead.

In January of this year Italy’s Mount Etna, which last erupted in 1992, sent lava down its slopes and a cloud of ash into the sky, forcing the overnight closure of a nearby airport.

Last month Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano opened a new vent, sending lava shooting up to 65 feet in the air.

Also last month…Japan.

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Is there a root cause? Something we’re doing, or doing poorly? Something we shouldn’t be doing? 1 I’ve listened to various theories ascribe the reasons for our current geological disquiet to everything from the return of Hercolubus/Christ to SSDD. 2 One person I spoke with asserted, with a straight face, that everything wrong in the world was due directly to The Donald’s comb-over. 3 Many people just shrug – hey, there’s always been earthquakes and volcanoes; deal, ya know?

Scientists, however, are not as sanguine.

Though there is not yet consensus as to whether the recent activity is part of a historic increase, science has no problem correlating the recent spate of volcanic eruptions to climate change/global warming. In fact in 2007 there were scientists who postulated that it was inevitable:

One particular feature that can change the balance of forces in Earth’s crust is ice, in the form of glaciers and ice sheets that cover much of the area around Earth’s poles plus mountains at all latitudes. The weight of ice depresses the crust on which it sits.

As the ice melts, the crust below no longer has anything sitting on top of it, and so can rebound fairly rapidly (by geological standards)…
Areas of rebounding crust could change the stresses acting on earthquake faults and volcanoes in the crust.

“In places like Iceland, for example, where you have the Eyjafjallajökull ice sheet, which wouldn’t survive [global warming], and you’ve got lots of volcanoes under that, the unloading effect can trigger eruptions,” McGuire said.

With the changing dynamics in the crust, faults could also be destabilized, which could bring a whole host of other problems.

“It’s not just the volcanoes. Obviously if you load and unload active faults, then you’re liable to trigger earthquakes,” McGuire told LiveScience, noting that there is ample evidence for this association in past climate change events.

More recently scientists have shown a link between intensifying climate events and tectonic plate movement that might explain the recent earthquake and volcanic events. 4.

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Over the last century scientists have repeatedly stated that human activity (like firing fossil fuels and deforestation) would invariably effect the climate, raising mean temperatures of both the seas and the atmosphere.

Pish! we scoffed, and paid scant attention.

Now many of those same scientists are saying it may be too late to reverse the changes.

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There are, of course, a veritable firestorm of dissenters.

Many dismiss even the notion of climate change. Some allow that climate change may be under way but vehemently argue against mankind’s role in the process. And some, including those worthies charged with leading our nation, do everything in their power to silence any discussion on the subject. Hell, even the President got in on the act 5 when he realigned NASA’s priorities last year.

All of this clamorous denial despite the continually surmounting evidence that climate change is well upupon us.

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Instead of disputing sound scientific evidence (as well as their own senses)6,  you would think our leaders would be hard at work investigating the phenomena with an eye toward 1.) a global mitigation strategy, or (far more likely at this late date) 2.) a rudimentary backup plan for the species. 7 You would think so, but you would be wrong.

Right now every potential GOPish contestant with an eye on the upcoming 2012 Beauty Pageant is busy putting miles of smiles between their political aspirations and past statements on climate change. As for the right-leaning ditto-heads rank and file across the nation? They, too, are busy busy busy! returning America’s women to their rightful place as Handmaids: the “ hand of the Almighty” was at work. “His ways are higher than our ways…”

Indeed, putting women in their place has become such a common Republican idée fixe that even the Star has noted it.

And where the religious right isn’t intent on denying half of America control over their own bodies, they are publicly beseeching imaginary deities to intervene in important, ground shaking events and the weather. 8 Or invading our (harmless) neighbors to the north. 9

(Granted, Democrats seldom lose an opportunity to magnificently quaver in the face of a challenge, and will often gork out on the spot if one whispers “Boo!” in their ear, but except for those infatuated asses whose single love is money, they’re mostly harmless. 10)

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“Comedy is…an imitation of inferior people. …the laughable is a species of what is disgraceful.”

Our world is unsettled, our responses to it ultimately comical: we’re piss poor about doing much of anything really useful in the aftermath of serious tragedy, but absolutely topnotch, spot-on at bombing the absolute fuck out of medieval morons beating the shit out of other medieval morons.

It is not a reach to posit our reactions – or more accurately our lack of reasonable reactions – to recent calamities as laughable: quite a few talking heads got more air time on the Big 3 and CNN; the Weather Channel’s Extreme Weather series stretched America’s lexicon with temblor 11; bathetic PowerPoints of nuclear plant cooling (or not, as the case may be) bored America’s millions of housewives; twitter-heads once again congratulated themselves for twitting themselves.

Yes, we sent aid in whatever form we could. I’m sure we’re still helping. But what we’re not doing is working on preventing the next jeweled spear thrust from returning 130 million people to the seas.

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I know, I know: it’s not our problem.

But what about, say…Cali? Wasn’t it, as well as most of our western states, created the same way? 12 Didn’t the North American plate subduct the Farallon plate, creating a ginormous 13 volcanic arc/mountain range preceding the Sierra Nevada range? And continuing on until the actual trench had disappeared to be replaced with our very own beloved San Andreas Fault? Are we willing to ignore the real possibility of 36 million of our fellow citizens – not to mention the entirety of the pristinely vaulted oeuvre of Kevin Bacon – sliding into the sea? 14

While Cali may be a coin flip for the pols, surely the hard-core constituency clustered along the New Madrid Fault (where we also wisely located a nuke plant or two) isn’t? Do not actual metric tons of their fellow idiots travelers abide there, red voters the religious right might not want to rapture too early? The last time New Madrid shifted, it tore up an area comprising 50,000 square acres.

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Seriously? We’re not doing anything?

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I dropped my RSA token the other day and wasn’t aware of it until a guard caught me up – this yours? I gazed blankly as he dropped it in my palm. Once in my office I stared at the device on my desk most of the morning. As often happens with me the token slid into a future reverie…

In this other I saw a shambling figure picking his way through obviously abandoned cars along a weed choked road. Off to the side and in the foreground I also saw scavengers – people looking for food or anything utile. Deadly fights broke out between “shoppers”. However they left the road walker alone.

(jump cut)

The old man from the road sits before a fire. A ring of equally desperate people sit with him, their eyes trapped by a tiny object in his hand.

(zoom in)

It’s our RSA token. From this vantage point we can clearly see the 2 groups of digits: 828 198.

A long silent moment passes and the numbers change: 377 576.

(pull back – pan ring of faces)

Fearful eyes stare back.

The old man by the fire raises a bony arm and…points. His finger is aimed straight at the grubby face of a young girl. Several of the men in the ring stand and approach the girl. As they come closer…

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What happens next? It doesn’t matter really.

What matters is that we know it will run along dystopian lines, based – in this instance – on a sideways skew of the cargo cult phenomena. In the “real” world what would more likely happen is that someone would find a family bible and begin emending it to suit. And the vicious cycle of hate and deaths would start anew.

That’s a hard thing to take if you have daughters; they have no shot, especially après le deluge. 15

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I don’t know that I have a massive point here.

Yes, I find the insanity of the religious right screamingly frustrating.

Yes, I am at loss to understand, mush less explain, why people would pray for lower gas prices than for an end to the world’s many wars. 16

No, I do not understand why our (supposedly) representative government, which has been cognizant of what its energy policy (or distinct lack thereof) has been doing to our planet since at least the Carter Administration, fails to plan/react appropriately.

Nor do I know why the general public behaves like last minute proxies, sitting on their hands, afraid to raise their voices in place of the nations’ real citizens who, as they hurriedly said over their shoulders while heading for the exits, will be right back after this commercial announcement.

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Seriously? We’re not doing anything? We’re just going to sit and watch it happen?

Maybe it’s time for a different type of government.

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Show 16 footnotes

  1. Sure, c’mon in! That’s why I left the door ajar…
  2. Same Shit Different Day.
  3. While I’m in sympathy with the individual’s viewpoint, I am hesitant as to the supernatural properties of The Donald’s coif.
  4. Before you jump up and down, read the whole article – being scientists they aren’t stating a causal relationship, just that their research would seem to indicate one
  5. This despite NASA’s historically positive ROI and other intangibles.
  6. If I have to read one more proudly partisan “study” from the Fucking Heritage Foundationp urporting to be authoritative on anyfuckingthing but idiocy…
  7. I can swear by Iron Mountain.
  8. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is an adherent of Tlaloc, the ancient Aztec rain god. It is said that the more young children one sacrifices to Tlaloc, the more rain one receives. Which is particularly advantageous in Texas’ case as they can obviate their school underfunding problem with several bloody strokes.
  9. We must save them from themselves, eh?
  10. Yes, I am aware that’s part of the problem. Back when C-SPAN actually covered what was then known as “debates” on the floor of Congress instead of BP Chairman T. Boone Pickens’ semi-lucid, rambling reminisces posing as “testimony”, I would often shout encouragement at the sacrificial Dem attempting a response to another piece of GOP lunacy without giving offense: “Steady, ol’ chap!” I would scream. “Chin up, soldier on, there’s a good lad,” the spittle flying from my mouth.
  11. Yet another degree of insult to be laid at Kevin Bacon’s feet.
  12. Well…maybe not. According to those same self-involved gas-praying loons, all of Cali was created with a lisping bejeweled spear thrust…over and over and over again. And they CAN’T quit dwelling on it.
  13. Actual geological word.
  14. Right…I take your point; I can totally see a bunch of nervous DC pols sitting around a long conference table in The War Room, glancing anxiously at each other until one finally bursts out: “But…we could guarantee every copy of every Kevin Bacon movie would disappear forever, right?”
  15. Though they’ll go down fighting; the Atsas are coming along with their taijiquan and the elder girl is starting hapkido this summer. I haven’t yet found a good local knife fighter, but I’m working on it.
  16. Okay – that’s disingenuous: I’m aware many charismatic religions believe in and actively promote “The End Times.”

2 Replies to “placeholders”

  1. Victor Laszlo: If we stop breathing, we’ll die. If we stop fighting our enemies, the world will die.

    Rick: Well, what of it? It’ll be out of its misery.

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