A little reminder from Mother Nature

From what I understand, there was snow in the Adirondacks of New York Sunday morning.  We had to bring in one of the flowering plants that our friends brought from NC Saturday night, since if we left it out, it might not have survived by the morning.  Apparently Bougainvilleas don’t really like temperatures that are in the 30s.  I can appreciate that, since I wasn’t really pleased with the fact that it was in the 40s as I went to work yesterday.

hot-coldFor all the advances we’ve made as a species, there are still some things that we have to either take for granted, or plan ahead for, as much as possible.  The weather is most definitely one of these.  If I were to extend the analogy, I would include changes in the climate, both long and short-term.  The weather that we experience today is not a lot different from what I remember as a child in the 1970s and 80s, but it is somewhat different.  Back then one didn’t hear too much about skin cancer, melanoma, or what would happen to your skin if you spent too much time getting a tan ‘the natural way’ (there were very few, if any tanning beds back then).  Millions of people would flock to the beaches every summer, lay out on their blankets in the sun and get nicely brown without a thought of what might happen 20-30 years down the road.  It just wasn’t a concern of theirs, or mine for that matter.  Sunscreen wasn’t a thing, really, no one had heard or made mention of a cancer of the skin that could eventually kill you if left unchecked.  Certainly I don’t ever recall hearing about aerosols that were depleting the ozone layer of the earth.  All of that didn’t come into the news until I was in high school or in college.  But then again, when I was a child, it would have been in the news for my parents to read, or adhere to.  You don’t see many 4th graders reading the New York Times.

Science Fiction shows like Star Trek, or futuristic movies have often made mention of ‘weather control devices’ that either orbit the planet or somehow put reins on Mother Nature, telling it when to rain, when not to have a hurricane or tornado or some such thing.  While it might be nice to have rain be predictable, I think in the end we’d be having a great effect on how weather works all over, since how the winds blow effect more than just our general area.  I remember reading about ‘cloud seeding’ and how that might make it rain with greater intensity in certain areas that have been arid for decades, but in order to seed clouds, you must have them first.  I don’t think anyone has figured out how to ‘create’ clouds, at least ones large enough to make it rain over an area significant enough to matter.  Too, if you make it rain, you also have to make it stop.  I can easily see someone doing the former, but not thinking out the latter, and then putting it into motion.  That’s the stuff of man-made disaster tropes.

It’s cold this morning, so I’m putting an extra layer on.  At least until Wednesday when it’s supposed to warm up.


Jim Kirk is a dick

Last night I was watching an episode of Star Trek: TOS (The Original Series) called ‘The Lights of Zetar’.   In it, the crew of Enterprise is facing down another potential disaster (when do they ever not?) in the form of an alien community that is intent on kidnapping and occupying a human female who just happens to have a trait that makes them all compatible.  As it happens, our intrepid Chief Engineer ‘Scotty’ is also smitten with the woman.

Late in the episode, for some reason, Kirk has come up with a plan to kill or vacate the community of aliens from the young woman, without killing the woman in the process.  Of course, what he’s come up with (without consulting any known ‘expert’ in any field despite having a ship full of them) just happens to be dangerous to the crewperson, if reality ever played a part.  His hackneyed plan is to put the woman in a pressure chamber and increase the pressure to the point where the aliens either remove themselves from her body, or are destroyed in the process.

During the course of this ‘treatment’ his CMO (Chief Medical Officer) tells him he needs to be ‘careful’, because the pressure might very well damage the woman in the chamber.  Certainly a valid point, since increasing atmospheric pressure quickly can damage a human.  Kirk, who at this point apparently could care less, is more intent on ‘saving his ship’ and orders his First Officer (Spock) to keep going.  By the time the procedure works it’s magic, the reading on the pressure chamber says 30 atmospheres.  Just for the hell of it, I looked it up online and discovered that while the human body -can- withstand the force of up to 10 atmospheres if they’re breathing just oxygen, once the pressure increases by much more, the oxygen they’re breathing quickly becomes toxic and the person in question will die.

So essentially, Kirk just ordered his crewperson to die in order to save her.  Sort of like an inept safe cracker ‘killing the money’ by blowing up the safe.

I realize this is all science fiction and the writers of the series didn’t put much stock into doing much research into what they were writing about.  Certainly a lot more things about Star Trek don’t make sense when you start delving into the science of space travel or just plain living in a space environment.  This just rubbed me the wrong way.  And yes, there are a lot more other things that Jim Kirk is a dick about.  This is just one.