Yes, Virginia, Armageddon has begun

The post will deal with this issue but first be sure to read Marc Miller’s response under Recent Comments. His lifestyle is right on the mark!

Now, about Armageddon. According to the Book of Revelation in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, Armageddon is the prophesied location of a gathering of armies for a battle during the end times, which is variously interpreted as either a literal or a symbolic location. The term is also used in a generic sense to refer to any end-of-the-world scenario. In Islamic theology, Armageddon is also mentioned in Hadith as the Greatest Armageddon  (the great battle).

The Abrahamic religions maintain a linear cosmology, with end-time scenarios containing themes of transformation and redemption. In Judaism, the term “end of days” makes reference to the Messianic Age and includes an in-gathering of the exiled Jewish diaspora, the coming of the Messiah, the resurrection of the righteous, and the world to come. Christianity depicts the end time as a period of tribulation that precedes the second coming of Christ, who will face the rise of the Antichrist along with his power structure and false prophets, and usher in the Kingdom of God. [ mostly from Wikipedia]

Now that we have our Certificate of Understanding, One can define Armageddon as any extended, excessive change and upheaval of morals, economy, global upheaval and comprehensive, diminished value of humanity.

In the news today, Trump, along with a self-interested polity, economic disparity, global population issues, overdue war among Islamic nations, AI, and planet weather on the move, could be described as an Armageddon.

But in his musings, mariner feels that a big list of troublesome times is not what Armageddon is all about. Planetary Armageddons preceded life on Earth by billions of years. Focus on the term ‘end of times’. When an Armageddon occurs, what pre-existed no longer exists.  Pre-Armageddon isn’t upgraded or modified, it is gone. One crude example is the disappearance of nomadic life when money was invented, ways were found to manipulate planet resources for profit, and stationery life made survival more secure. Only one nomadic tribe still exists: in Africa and its days are numbered just like thousands of other creatures on the continent.

Bear with mariner as he focuses on circumstances that predict an ‘end of time’ for humanity.

By far and without question, the potential for an electronically based existence that will push human life into extinction, is the most potent shift that may cause a genuine ‘end of time’ for humanity. With a bit of tongue in cheek, mariner poses some phenomena.

Already, trucks and electric vehicles don’t need humans to run around streets like a loose dog. One can call a self-directed cab, get in and arrive at the appointed destination. Cab driver? Give this situation a broader context: why, eventually, would taxis need to exist if fewer and fewer people travel? By then, will vehicles still exist?

Technology exists today to make sex dolls self-dependent. They will be able to move out and sustain themselves without a ‘sponsor’. Provide them with an especially supportive bordello – who needs human prostitutes?

It is not just less and less need for humans. Does the reader enjoy the presence of their local state bank? Armageddon already is underway for independent banks. Already, large credit card companies have been absorbed by corporations like Amazon. Amazon can then control pricing from manufacturer to customer – including managing a customer’s checking and savings accounts. Then there’s crypto – no one knows what will happen when crypto leaks into the stock market; perhaps we won’t need the dozen or so humans who control stock markets.

To sustain a human’s life is much more complex than plugging into an electric socket. Did the reader know that if every little piece of vein and artery in their body were pieced together into a long string, it would wrap around the planet more than once.

Then there are all the ‘human communication’ robots. Everyone knows Apple’s Siri replaces everyone’s relatives. Then there’s the world of minions who replace secretaries when the reader calls for service. Mariner once got tangled up in a phone answering web that had three levels and about fifteen options – none of which led to a human.

The point is that electronic existence is so efficient when compared to the complex chemistry of humans that any post-Armageddon world will consist only of simplistic biological creatures driven, fed and taught by AI.

Storefront shopping disappeared long ago.

Ancient Mariner

Report from the alter egos

As regular readers know, mariner is spending the 2024 election living in a small apartment in Chicken Little’s hen house. His television in the hen house blocks news channels and stations. It’s a simple environment, though more existential because one cannot watch the news. One is free to sense reality in its sunlight, rain and snow, early blooms in the bulb garden that hint spring is nigh – and the ability to communicate with neighbors in a friendly, unstressed atmosphere. (Via his laptop, mariner does smuggle a few of the better independent news links on the Internet.)

Mariner visited Chicken Little the other day. He’s in bad shape; he trembles so much his feathers are falling out. Mariner asked, “Plain and simple, what is your biggest fear?” Chicken Little sat silent with a strange look on his face. After a moment, he said, “The MAGA people.”

“Why?”

“They have guns. If Trump wins, he will use the military to shoot us; if he loses, the MAGA people will shoot us. Trump will only shoot his detractors but MAGA will shoot anyone they can find and burn houses – even my hen house.”

Mariner left him still very stressed and anxious. He decided to visit his skeptical alter ego, Amos. How are you doing, Amos?” “How do you think, mariner, with a dysfunctional Congress that is the oldest and most plutocratic in American history at a time when everything old has disappeared, two historically misplaced Presidential candidates, a collapsing biosphere, runaway corporations and untaxed billionaires?”

“Do you have some options?”

“Don’t vote for anyone over 55 – regardless of party; throw out the two party system and replace it with rank voting; shoot Trump and bury Biden. If the US wants to support Israel and Netanyahu, the US had better prepare for war with the Middle East, which I’m sure will be just as well managed as the Putin war.”

Mariner left Amos, who is still overwhelmed by a world without good news. Mariner moved down the block to visit Guru, mariner’s super-intellectual, intensive ‘why’ observer.

“Hello, Guru, how’s the planet?” “In a word, Armageddon” Guru replied. “Twenty-nine nations have no reportable Gross Domestic Product, the US is becoming isolationist at the worst possible time, computer technology has disrupted the normal transition of society leaving society without a rudder and, lest we forget, global warming has just begun.”

If you could redirect just one issue, what would it be?” There is a long pause, then another one. “Give the United Nations ultimate authority over any international event; the world has grown too small for nationalism; cap the world’s wealthy to redistribute GDP evenly around the world – there’s not enough food, too many people and a failing biosphere.”

Well – there seems to be a lot of negativity from the alter egos. Mariner wants to leave the reader with something positive. Living here in a small apartment, mariner’s diet often has leftovers. Often, he would eat dried, tough leftovers except for this tip: If the reader is reheating leftovers in the oven or the microwave, use a spritzer bottle to cover the food in water. As the food heats, it will not become even drier and tougher and may actually be restored.

Happy eating!

Ancient Mariner

Beyond Matrix

Yes, our bold scientists have moved beyond Matrix. Read this excerpt from Science Magazine:

“By squirting cells from a 3D printer, researchers have created tissue that looks—and acts—like a chunk of brain. In recent years, scientists have learned how to load up 3D printers with cells and other scaffolding ingredients to create living tissues, but making realistic brainlike constructs has been a challenge. Now, one team has shown that, by modifying its printing techniques, it can print and combine multiple subtypes of cells that better mimic signaling in the human brain.”

This article gives mariner a better idea of how humans will evolve into the technically driven creature of the future. As pieces of the body are replaced, the chromosomes will be modified in a manner that will alter future offspring. This way, humans won’t have to wait 260,000 years for a new species; just a few generations is all the time that’s needed.

How will 3D printers modify the brain? Perhaps arms and legs will disappear in three generations. Perhaps pregnancy can be triggered with a radio signal. On the other hand, perhaps life expectancy will be variable, maintaining a finite population/environment relationship.

Don’t be concerned about this. Your Apple goggle reality won’t expose this process.

If anyone wants to visit the mariner, he’s in his apartment in Chicken Little’s henhouse.

Ancient Mariner

Life is relative

Today, mariner was skimming through Associated Press news and came across an article about the discovery of a new flying dinosaur called Ceoptera:

It was unearthed on the Island of Skye in Scotland. It survived for 2 million years between 168 – 166 million years ago. The article caused mariner to think about time as a ruler with which to measure the biosphere. For example, today the Isle of Skye is nothing but jagged, treeless mountains and not the warmest place to be. What was it like 168 million years ago? In fact, Skye emerged in the Precambrian Age 538 million years ago and was a torrent of volcanoes; certainly no Ceoptera could have survived until 370 million years later!

The Earth stabilized into a planet 4.5 billion years ago. Is there a constant time called ‘Earth time’? Earth seems to have its own calendar of activities from totally dry to covered in oceans, to ice ages and even an occasional meteorite. After 300,000 years of stable weather, it seems the planet has decided to grow warmer. Ultimately, Earth abides by Sun time – a life span of about 15 billion years.

Mariner suspects there must be different clocks for different types of biosphere. 538 million years is a long, long time for Ceoptera to wait and then live only 2 million years.  The first primitive life form that can be called an animal emerged 550 million years ago. Trees have been around for 450 million years;

Moving forward, the first mammal emerged 225 million years ago; the first primate came along 65 million years ago; monkeys showed up 40 million years ago and primitive homo types split from chimpanzees 6 million years ago.

Australopithecus is a genus of hominin that evolved in eastern Africa approximately 4 million years ago and went extinct about 2 million years ago.  H. erectus appeared approximately 1.8 million years ago and we came aboard 260,000 years ago.

Readers may recall this paragraph from a recent post:

“Readers know that recently tech scientists were able to create a self-producing biological app by connecting an electronic sequence with the chemical sequence of a chromosome. Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein both said that if electronically-driven devices can reproduce themselves, the humans would become extinct because of the overhead of mammalian survival.”

Is sapiens already on notice? Every species in history survived only within a viable relationship with its environment. Today, there are headlines about overpopulation, inadequate food sources, and a disruption of the atmosphere that has urged Earth to move on from 300,000 years of stable weather, give or take a couple of ice ages.

Given these numerical references, perhaps there is a singular life time for planet Earth – tied to its parent Sun. The measuring tool is in units of 10 million years incremented by tenths. Time moves constantly toward that moment when a dying Sun will consume the planet – about 5 billion years from now.

On the other hand, evolution seems to accelerate across time. For example, Ceoptera hung around for 2 million years. We Homos have been around only for 260,000 years. Our successors already have arrived. How long will a robot-driven animal survive?

This leads mariner to surmise that evolutionary time is not a constant time. Measuring evolutionary time behaves more like the algorithm for falling through gravity:        distance = 1/2 gt

For each second one falls, they fall the square of the previous second. For example, one falls 1 foot in the first second, 4 feet the second, and so forth (see chart).

Similarly, changes in evolution happen faster and faster as time passes. There are few folks who think humans will be around 2 million years from now as ceoptera did.

Mariner will not dwell on examples of Armageddon. We shall experience existence as due course in the timeline of evolution.

Ancient Mariner

 

 

Data Breach

Suddenly, mariner’s two favorite magazines, The Atlantic and Scientific American, are writing articles about mariner’s favorite topic, the demise of the human race to be replaced by electronic life – the Armageddon of us. It’s as though the magazines have accessed mariner’s unknown library of posts and have decided to frighten him to death by implementing his assumptions.in quick order long before he expected it. He was speculating the transition of power from human brains to total computer domination sometime 30-50 years into the future. No, no, the magazines say. They say “Surprise, mariner, it happens today!”

Readers know that recently tech scientists were able to create a self-producing biological app by connecting an electronic sequence with the chemical sequence of a chromosome. Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein both said that if electronically-driven devices can reproduce themselves, the humans would become extinct because of the overhead of mammalian survival.

The news this very day is that no less than the honorable and wise Elon Musk has been able to implant a socket into a human brain – a socket that allows a computer to plug into the brain. Those who have watched Matrix know this is exactly what the evil electronic empire did to the entire population including Neo. (Actually, Neo volunteered to have the plug inserted so he could access the fake world of the evil empire).

A much publicized Congressional hearing was held yesterday with the Big Six of the technical world trying, but not successfully, to introduce humanist values into their tech world. It already has been proven time over time that they control too much of the daily behavior of humans and ignore the laws against monopolization to assure there is no corner where the human subconscious can operate without tech influence.

Beyond mariner’s magazines are the special intellectual streaming channels that speak of the future impacts on the biosphere, not to mention society. Even in the curricula of the most successful trade school in America, YouTube (mariner calls it ‘Junk University’; he has a degree in gardening), the TED Talk series has had recognized professors suggesting that there will be three major controllers in the future: Eastern politics, western politics and, managing the economics of the entire planet, Artificial Intelligence.

Remember horse carriages, ponies and chopping wood for the fire to cook homegrown pork stew?

To add insult to injury, The Atlantic wrote an entire, lengthy article about the evils of being Chicken Little. Chicken Little has been a dependable alter ego for mariner since mariner began his post in 2013. Chicken Little’s behavior is different but logical. If one is burned by a fire, one learns not to get burned by fire. The article suggests that one should take the offensive and stick their hand back into the fire in an effort to take control of the situation. Any social psychology evaluation would acknowledge there are moments when retreat is the best option. Consider the innocent population of Gaza: Should they stay at home and be bombed to death or retreat (in unconscionable conditions)? Much of middle America has scant resources to spend in a battle where they will have little influence.

Neo, where are you?

Ancient Mariner

Living life on carnival rides

Spending some time in Chicken Little’s henhouse, where news broadcasts and publications are not allowed, mariner has become aware of how myopic news programming is. Many readers will agree that if one watches the news on Monday then watches the news a week later, it’s the same news. Perhaps Fox news, MSNBC, all the social media sources and ‘streaming’ news together have set the bar very low in terms of other topics that, while not blowing things up, starving people, giving coverage to useless and mostly conspiratorial congressmen, may have more impact on the near future of mankind. Below are a couple of topics that are very important and are changing reality on a daily basis.

Extinction

Back in 2014 Elizabeth Kolbert wrote a scholarly treatise about the rapid decline of the world’s creatures. A quote from the flyleaf of The Sixth Extinction – An unnatural history:

“Over the last half billion years, there have been five major extinctions, when the diversity of life on Earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us.”

Elizabeth cites the disappearance of over 16,000 species of every nature and every family of creatures. There are too many humans (see Overpopulation below) taking up way too much space, consuming way too much of the planet’s reserve of chemicals, and by their nature, deliberately and wantonly destroying critical balances in the Earth’s environment.

Through technology and industrialization, humans have been able to flaunt the natural restraints of Mother Nature, enabling humans to live longer, live conveniently and ignore disturbances in the planet’s biosphere – at the cost of 16,000 innocent creatures and, since the 19th century, destabilizing the careful balance of global weather; an issue that is important enough to make the news. For the last 300,000 years, the weather has been unusually stable, allowing an excellent opportunity for all creatures to flourish. That stability is rapidly disappearing. The inability of humans to evaluate human economics versus planetary economics may be the doom to life on Earth as we have known it.

Humans, being the smarty pants that they are, abide by a major perspective: “If it can be done, do it”. In this vein, humans may be adding themselves to the list of species that are becoming extinct. Less than a year ago, scientists celebrated a special accomplishment: They were able to marry a computer sequence with a chromosome such that the computer sequence can reproduce itself. Now computer programmers themselves may be out of a job. Two scientists, no less than Albert Einstein and  Stephen Hawking, held that if artificial intelligence can propagate itself, humans are too inefficient to compete and will become extinct.

Overpopulation

Regular readers know that mariner has placed great stock in the similarity between mouse and rat overpopulation studies done in the 1960s and 70s and the state of human society today. Quoting managing scientist John Calhoun’s observation about the study:

“At the peak population, most mice spent every living second in the company of hundreds of other mice. They gathered in the main squares, waiting to be fed and occasionally attacking each other. Few females carried pregnancies to term, and the ones that did seemed to simply forget about their babies. They’d move half their litter away from danger and forget the rest. Sometimes they’d drop and abandon a baby while they were carrying it. The few secluded spaces housed a population Calhoun called, “the beautiful ones.” Generally guarded by one male, the females—and few males—inside the space didn’t breed or fight or do anything but eat and groom and sleep. When the population started declining the beautiful ones were spared from violence and death, but had completely lost touch with social behaviors, including having sex or caring for their young. At least the rodents had unlimited food and water – not true with the human population.To human advantage, humans have guns and bombs, shoot children and anyone that seems different. Is this enough to reduce population?

A special carnival ride is the combination of not enough food with climate change. The combination is trashing whole nations’ economies.

And with war on every continent, rising authoritarian governments that will enforce inequality, and artificial intelligence cutting society from the past like a pair of scissors, this is a grand carnival ride!

Ancient Mariner

 

 

 

Clearer insight into future

Yesterday, mariner had one of those moments of clarity when deep wisdom falls upon a person. He saw the future as it will be. The moment occurred as he watched a clip of a man talking in English. Suddenly, the man was talking in a foreign language; it must have been him because the lips and facial muscles appeared to be synchronized to both languages. It was, of course, an example of what Artificial Intelligence (AI) can do – all by itself.

From mariner’s perspective, the real achievement was a finite and absolute separation of the relationship between fact and judgment. When is a fact in fact a fact and not a deliberate falsehood? How can humans make judgments without existential and verifiable fact?

Moments later a small child, perhaps age three, walked by him talking on a toy smartphone. It was then he knew what the future held for the human race: a human shape with a minion’s brain.

Ancient Mariner

Population

Regular readers may recall that mariner would mention rat and mouse studies done in the 1950s-70s. The focus was to document what happens when populations grow too large; the animals were given all the food and water they needed. For the mice, the cages were a 4 foot cubed cage; the walls were lined with little nest ‘condos’ from floor to ceiling. As the population grew, the mouse society began to show disarray. Continuous fighting, raping and disregard by females for birthed young became common. Eventually, the population topped out because most females did not become pregnant and any opportunity for nesting had disappeared. The population began to shrink back close to the original population.

Today, scientists have reevaluated the studies. Examining the films and behavior from a broader perspective, the habitats created weren’t really that overcrowded, but enabled aggressive mice to stake out territory and also isolated the ‘beautiful’ mice to live at the top of the cage above the fray. Instead of a population problem, one could argue that the experiment had a fair distribution problem. In other words, social stress created classes of separation. The ‘beautiful’ mice lived at the top of the cages and as the rows approached the floor of the cage, living standards dwindled because there weren’t enough condos to go around. On the floor, mice were homeless and lived in constant danger of physical abuse and death; the floor mice lived in a crowded and threatening society.

As he read the article, Chicago became a matching image. The upper condos were the luxury condos in the high rise downtown area; The better condos were the comfortable suburbs; southwest Chicago, with its gang-laden violence and lack of civil discipline was the floor. What seems more threatening is that, unlike the mice, not everyone has adequate housing, food or water.

Two circumstances come to mind: the size of the cage is planet Earth; the second is that the measuring stick is not condos, its nations. There are about a dozen countries rich enough to have a ‘balanced’ distribution of oligarchs, middle class, labor and disadvantaged poor – a circumstance of lacking enough resources. As nations grow poorer, the social stratification becomes more aggressive, often authoritarian, and the poorest nations, or those in deep social transition (Israel, Middle East, most of Africa) incur open warfare.

However, the mice had a stable environment that humanity lacks. Many nations will suffer economic collapse, e.g., Pakistan, as the weather and other environmental damages collapse national economies. Even wealthy nations will experience disruption and turmoil as the segregation of class wealth becomes too broad. Events such as mass migration, supply chain collapse and rich-nation bickering about the spoils of a new internationalism provided by the internet will stress the philosophies of government.

So the situation becomes one of starvation, homelessness, class warfare. The current evaluation of the mouse studies seems to be the better insight. We don’t have to wait for our population top-off at 11 billion; already there is too much population to sustain even cantankerous class distinction, let alone “all men are created equal”.

Happy Hallowe’en

Ancient Mariner

Regarding the Apocalypse

 

Mariner’s alter ego Guru, responsible for wide ranging philosophical and futuristic insights, claimed in a recent post that the Apocalypse already has begun. There have been queries about definition.

From his safe house in Chicken Little’s hen house, mariner will lay out the timeline implied by Guru.

It all began innocently 2 million years ago when a new species evolved that had a growing brain. The species was Homo. 1 million years ago, Homo began splitting into variations. Many failed to sustain themselves and became extinct but a few with names like Neanderthal, Habilis, Australopithecus and Erectus survived into the age of humans. Together they would become Homo sapiens.

In those days, Homo had no choice but to live within the natural confines of their habitat. Living a plenteous life in an agreeable environment, a typical lifespan was about 40 years. Homo’s predators were meat eaters, infections and serious injury.

These characteristics are similar to the few indigenous tribes that still exist in remote areas of Africa and South America. These tribes to this day sustain themselves only with the restorative resources their environment provides.

About 10,000 years ago, Homo discovered how to grow more grain than he needed, hence the beginning of commerce by acquiring more grain than would be consumed by a local tribe. In a subtle way, this is the first abuse of the natural relationship between Homo and the environment.

Centuries roll by and Homo learns more ways to consume the environment beyond his natural relationship with nature. Homo extracted from nature other creatures like donkeys, horses, and wolves that would help expand the ability to acquire excessive amounts of Nature’s resources. Then Homo discovered iron, tin, lead and carbon-based energy. Now Homo could consume many times his need from Nature. Homo was consuming Nature faster than Nature could replenish itself.

This imbalance was the seed that has grown into the apocalypse we have today.

After I million years of living in accordance with the rules of Nature, in the last 1,000 years, Homo has trashed Nature; Homo has trashed the basic tribal society; Homo has trashed multiple generations that cohabit as a protective wall against difficult times. Homo quickly learned to ignore Nature and lived by the rule ‘If you can do it, do it’. He developed elaborate tools which, at every step, diminished the evolutionary potential of every Homo. For example, the use of coal and gasoline in the last 150 years has destroyed the security provided by extended family and tribe (town economy). Its method was to produce trains, automobiles, mechanized, oversized farms, superhighways and national and globally based industries.

In just 150 years the apocalypse gained speed. Isolated nuclear families became the norm – left defenseless without the human support of multiple generations and tribal support. Giant corporations became the norm, slowly eliminating local economies, local jobs and the existential satisfaction found in smaller towns and cities.

In the last 175 years, the apocalypse has shifted into a higher gear. 16,000 species are extinct because of Homo indifference. Around the world potable water is becoming scarce. Seafood from the oceans is 20 percent of what it was 100 years ago. And obviously the excess use of fossil fuel has launched serious changes in air quality and of the planet generally.

But in this century the chains are off. What easy transportation did to tribes, the Internet is doing to society. Communication technology makes war easier and more horrific; interpersonal skills and rewards are replaced by artificial behavior that dismisses 1 million years of evolutionary sophistication; privacy and security are fallacious assumptions.

Now a new age is upon us: artificial intelligence (AI). AI can emulate the entire reality of Homo. The final bridge to the apocalypse is that AI can reproduce itself. Who needs Homo?

Ancient Mariner

 

Check the sky – is it falling?

Mariner allowed Guru to offer a spontaneous thought about the state of things. Guru said, “Armageddon isn’t going to happen because there won’t be enough souls around for Jesus to bother coming back. However, the Apocalypse already has begun.”

Mariner has built a small apartment in Chicken Little’s hen house. He’ll be living there now. Amos has been put on leave.

Book to read: “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” by Stephen Hawking published 2018. Stephen Hawking is beyond reproach as one of history’s premiere theoretical physicists; he picked up where Einstein left off. He answers questions like:

Is there a God?

How did it all begin?

Will artificial intelligence outsmart us?

Will we survive on Earth?

And six other questions.

If the reader needs me, check the hen house.

Ancient Mariner