Aphelion Editorial 109
by Dan L. Hollifield
The Usual Rant from the Aphelion Senior Editor
Hello and welcome to the April 2007 edition of Aphelion's 10th
Anniversary Party! Aphelion has been online for a solid decade. We hope
to be online for many decades to come, too. This should be online on
April 1st - in an attempt to get Aphelion back on track for regular
monthly issues. March was a killer month for me. I'd worked almost half
the month on overtime at my day job, so I was slightly burnt out when
it came time to do all the layout for the March issue. The Editorial
Mafia consulted on the matter and we decided to take the suggestions
made to the Lettercol to heart. To wit: get the zine back on track and
try to avoid late issues in the future. This means that anything that
isn't ready to go by the 25th of each month will not make it into the
following issue.We've either got to be firm on that or resign ourselves
to another string of late issues.
OK, that's been said. Now we can get to the normal stuff...
Like my regular rant. A bit of explanation first, though: I'm neither a
Democrat nor am I a Republican. I think that the whole Left-Right
political spectrum is just so much hogwash. I don't see any difference
at all between the two major political parties in the US. Both the
Demo-gogues and Repugnant-ones exist solely to steal as much of my
hard-earned paycheck as they can, while looking down their elitist
noses at me as if I were some disgusting slime-mold they found under a
particularly dirty rock in a garbage dump. I don't like them, I don't
trust them, and I don't support them. Are we clear on that? Good, now
to the rant...
I am on several different mailing lists online. The people who
post to those lists are Science Fiction writers and rocket scientists,
mostly. One thing that was pointed out to me recently is very worrying.
With all the debate over whether or not humans are solely responsible
for global warming, some serious science is getting shafted. Things
that everyone on the planet should want to continue, and indeed, to
have more money spent upon. I'm talking about the search for Near Earth
Asteroids and comets. The neo-Luddites who want to do away with all
heavy industry, force everyone to become vegetarians, and - as a mere
side effect - kill off 90% of humanity in order to allow themselves to
"get back to nature..." Those folks are throwing up such a sandstorm
over Global Warming that the quite serious search for astronomical
threats to all life on Earth is in danger of being swept under the
proverbial carpet. In their quest to blame the US government (or just
George Bush) and the "Military-Industrial Complex" for everything
that's wrong with the environment, the budget for finding and
neutralizing impact threats to the planet is not only still too small,
but may become smaller yet. Global Warming is the fad of the moment,
and it is swallowing up all the money that we need to be spending
elsewhere. Like keeping all of us alive instead of forcing humanity to
go the way of the dinosaur.
I don't know about you, but becoming extinct would tend to ruin my whole day.
The threat of some chunk of rock or ice slamming down to Earth
and killing us all is very real. It isn't just something made up in
order to sell movie tickets. It's something that will happen, sooner or
later. Unless we get a plan to deal with that threat together and a
warning system ready to give us enough time to react, mankind is
doomed. And so are all the fluffy bunnies, baby seals, dog, cats, and
almost all the other animals on the planet that the PETA people value
oh so much more than humans. 65 million years ago, the dinosaur killer
asteroid impact killed off 90% of all the species living at the time.
Not just the dinosaurs, but 90% of all living things. OK, you can argue
that the dinosaurs were already dieing out and that the impact just
hastened their end, but that still doesn't address the mega-death of
the rest of the world's animal populations.
Sort of harsh? Maybe you think I'm over-reacting? Perhaps. But I'd like for there to actually be a world to leave to my kids.
So sure, let's clean up the environment. Let's work to reduce
pollution. Those are undeniably good things and work to be proud of
doing. But let's not forget that there are soulless dangers out there
in the infinite dark that can and will eventually kill us all off.
Unless we look for the dangers, and make serious plans to avert them,
we're all doomed. A meatless diet is not going to impress a comet. An
asteroid isn't going to care if you drive an SUV or ride a bicycle. The
next planet-killer rock that looms out of the night isn't going to
miraculously skip over the people who want to end the war in Iraq or
impeach Bush. Dead is dead, and each and every one of us is under the
gun. Your politics doesn't matter. Your diet doesn't matter. Your
lifestyle choices don't matter. When, not if, but when the next impact
comes, it'll be coming for us all.
So write to your government representatives, let them know that
you want them to budget money to find and avert the next disaster from
space. Don't think that someone else is going to save you. Don't wait
until some amateur astronomer sees the danger headed our way. We need a
plan now! We need a warning system now! We need to be looking out into
the dark now!
Tomorrow just might be too late.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled reading...
© 2006 Dan L. Hollifield
Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum
Return to Aphelion's Index page.