Tag Archives: Extermination

The Great Escape

by Richard

I know I’m a bit late for this, but I just saw a fantastic show on the National Geographic channel that you dudes need to check out. Either go to the NatGeo website, or look at the tv guide schedule and see if you can find a show called The Great Escape. Oddly enough, it has nothing to do with Nazi extermination camps.

It’s actually about dinosaurs.

You see, millions of years ago, many, many dinosaurs were living the high life in the warm, humid, tropical local that we know now as the North Pole.

Yeah, climate does actually change over the millenia.

Anyway. The earth’s climate was in the midst of another climate change, this one causing the weather to more closely resemble the weather to be found on the current era’s earth. That is, the North Pole was getting colder. Dinosaurs, it should be pointed out, like many lizard-analogues, do not like the cold. They don’t like it a lot.

So, the dinosaurs got together, threw the question around a bit and eventually decided it might be best if they vacated their current paradise and went — where else? — south. Not like they could go anywhere else from the North Pole. From there, I’m sure you dudes know, all directions are south.

When the winters set in, the dinosaurs hit the road, migrating thousands of miles to get to warmer climes. Using state-of-the-art computer graphic animation, the National Geographic channel does a great job showing us what this migration might have looked like.

From the NatGeo website: CGI IMAGE: A lone Gorgosaurus and a pack of Troodon fight over their supper, a defenseless, upturned Ankylosaur.(Photo Credit: © Courtesy of Wide-Eyed Entertainment)

Anyway, I really loved this show. I even made sure to catch it, which entailed throwing the young dudes out of the family room upstairs and appropriating the only tv left in the house. It was well worth enduring the fits pitched by the three young dudes.

As I said, you need to find this special. Gather the young dudes and dudettes around and make it a family evening. You’ll learn something and have a great time.

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Moral Choices

by Richard

You and your infant are trapped in a war zone. You’re somehow behind enemy lines and taking shelter with about 20 other people in the basement of a small village. You all are being hunted by an extermination squad. If you’re found by the extermination squad searching that village, there is no question that all of you will be killed.

Unfortunately, your infant isn’t feeling too well and won’t stop crying. Loudly. Loudly enough for the soldiers searching for you and the rest of the villagers to hear it. Nothing you do will quiet your infant. You have two choices, keep trying to comfort your baby,  try to keep the child quiet and cause the deaths of everyone in the basement, or do something beyond drastic — kill your infant to quiet it — and save the lives 21 other lives. This is the sort of scenario which makes ethicists drool and gives ordinary folks nightmares.

This dilemma also is the spine for the final episode of the great TV show M*A*S*H, “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.”

Yes, it’s an extreme example. Yes, it’s something that probably would never happen. Yes, it’s something that — if it did happen — could only be decided during it, not in a hypothetical setting. But it is a good scenario in which to discuss moral choices. Do you sacrifice one life to save 20 more? 200 more? 2,000 more? What is the value of one life? Does that life have more value if it’s a life belonging to your family? To someone you know? To you?

All these questions let us explore our lives as moral beings. My first question, though, is what makes a moral being? To me, dudes, a moral being is someone who can make choices based on more than just his or her own survival and also make choices that could bring harm to himself or herself, but will benefit others. That is, if you’re feeling a bit peckish and low on money, you as a moral dude, wouldn’t cruise into a Kwikee Mart and grab something to eat without paying for it. You’ve put the needs of others (in this case, the need for the owner of the Kwikee Mart to make a living and support herself and her family) before your own because it was the right thing to do.

So, that’s where we stand. The rest of this week I’m going to be talking about moral choices, how we make them and how they can affect both the world around us and our own lives.

As to the scenario above. . . What would I do? Dude, I have no idea. In the abstract, I understand the value of “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one”, but looking into the eyes of my own child and contemplating murder? I just don’t know. I’m just glad it’s a choice I don’t have to make.

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Iron Man

Honestly? think there are people in Japan who are deliberately trying to mess with my head. And not in a good way. It seems there’s a company there named Cyberdyne, Inc. that’s building a robotic exo-skeleton. That’s very close to robots and we all know about Cyberdyne and robots, right? Seriously? Cyberdyne designed the Skynet computer system that brings about Judgement Day in the Terminator movie franchise.

Yeah, truth really is stranger than fiction. Or at least much, much scarier.

So the fictional Cyberdyne makes Skynet, which goes rogue, which then causes nuclear armageddon, which leads to a war of extermination against the remaining humans, which leads to the Governator going back in time to kill the mother of the leader of the resistance before that leader can even be born. “Ah’ll be bock” and all that. Which leads to another Governator coming back in time to save the leader of the resistance as a young teenager (Hasta la vista, baybee), which leads to a really bad movie, which leads to the reboot of the franchise with Batman playing the part of the leader of the resistence. (See, not so complicated.) So, yeah, call me more than a little freaked out. It’s like they know the feelings behind the name and are doing it to mess with, well, me.

The (so far) not-so-fictional Cyberdyne, however, seems more interested in copying Iron Man than in copying the Terminator. They’ve built a slick-looking white exo-skeleton that representatives say will actually increase human speed, strength and endurance, while also, possibly, filling in for missing limbs. Here’s a look at it.

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A prototype of the exoskeleton suit is designed for the small in stature, standing five feet, three inches (1.6 meters) tall. The suit weighs 50.7 pounds (23 kilograms) and is powered by a 100-volt AC battery (that lasts up to five hours, depending upon how much energy the suit exerts).

Sure, this all sounds well and good, but it’s still made by an evil corporation that’s destined to end the world in nuclear fire and unleash killer robots on us all. Maybe not such a good thing. I have to go now as the microwave is starting to make some rather unsettling demands.

— Richard, who’s toaster is making some very suspicious noises.

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