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Apocalypse & Armageddon

At the Edge of the World, Facing the End of the World

Writing about climate change is an exercise in managed insanity. The human mind isn’t equipped to parse a crisis—the greatest in the history of our species—of such complexity and urgency and darkness. With record-breaking superstorms ravaging coastlines at a regular clip, it’s hard to feel good about the impact that Homo sapiens has had on our leafy, temperate, Goldilocks planet.

You might even go so far as to suggest that the human species is a plague, given the untold destruction we’ve wrought on this planet. Once you subscribe to that argument, it becomes nearly impossible to think of a noble pursuit for a person. Doctors save lives—firefighters too. Teachers hope toinspire the next great genius, maybe someone like Norman Borlaug, whose agricultural breakthroughs allowed our population to balloon on a planet with only so much arable land. All noble pursuits in the name of spreading the human plague.

The thing about the human plague is that while it’s busy wrecking the planet, it’s also demolishing us. Climate change will destroy not just our bodies, but our psyches. Supercharged rivers will wash away cities. Even when we should know better, because we have more than abundant science to back it up, the Trump administration prepares to obliterate regulations controlling methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases. That plague theory is holding up.

But unlike a plague, we can think. We can plan. A plague tears through a population indiscriminately. It can’t pull back when it starts running out of victims and say, Whoa, what am I doing? If I keep this up, it’ll be the end of me! We can, and last week at the Global Climate Action Summit, many of the best minds the human species can muster gathered to right the course.

These people included but were not limited to: environmentalists, mayors from around the world, human rights activists, technologists, academics, business leaders, labor leaders, and former secretaries of state. The kinds of folks with noble pursuits. This was climate change activism without borders. If the Paris Agreement, drafted in 2015, was about governments coming together to fight, last week’s event showed that the most ambitious climate action isn’t happening on the national scale—it’s cities and states that are leading the way.

It’s easy to think that our presidents or prime ministers, our queens or our kings, are the undisputed arbiters of a country’s direction. Not so. For several thousand years, it’s been the cities that truly guide a nation. Cities are where citizens trade goods and ideas. Cities are where foreigners bring their own cultures and knowledge. And cities are were innovation flourishes. Cities have always competed with each other, but they have also shared ideas.

And so it goes with developing and deploying green technologies. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti put it to me best: “When Shenzhen says, I’ve got 100 percent of our bus fleet electrified and all of our taxis, that’s good competition for LA to try to catch. And it’s collaborative in the sense that when people back in LA say there’s no way we can electrify our buses by 2030, I can point to the fact that Shenzhen in China just did it, and it took them two and a half, three years.”

While environmentalists or, really, anyone who cares about the future of Earth, have been getting bent out of shape about Trump, cities and states have been gaining tremendous ground in the battle against climate change. Last week, an organization called C40, essentially a climate-change-busting network of international metropolises, announced that 27 of its member cities had already peaked in their emissions and had come down at least 10 percent from that high.
On the other side of the country, as I write this, Hurricane Florence is tearing the Carolinas to pieces, just days after news broke that the Trump administration had transferred $10 million from FEMA to ICE. Bad enough in a world without climate change, but all the worse in a world where warmer waters are feeding stronger hurricanes. Scientists suspect Florence is no exception.

And so the climate chasm between American cities and the federal government widens. That’s instilled a sense of urgency in mayors, who were already leading the way on mitigation. The president has galvanized that movement, not crippled it. While Trump’s EPA does literally the opposite of protecting the environment (do keep in mind that a Republican, none other than Nixon, created the EPA, cities are scrambling to deploy solar panels and electric bus fleets and car charger networks. It’s what the planet demands, but also what citizens demand—constituents want clean air, no matter what the EPA does.

Al Gore got onstage Friday and said this, his voice crescendoing into a boom: “We are seeing businesses lead the way, we’re seeing investors lead the way, we’re seeing cities and counties and all kinds of civic organizations leading the way. We must we do it, we can do it. I’m convinced ever more because of the success of this summit here in San Francisco that we will do it. For anyone who doubts that we as human beings have the political will to meet our obligations that history is demanding of us, just remember that political will is itself a renewable resource.”

We’re not only the plague. We’re also the immune system, and we’re fighting back.

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Apocalypse & Armageddon

Into the World of Doomsday Preppers with Author Tea Krulos

The End is near…right? For some, doomsday is right around the corner and they’re going to great lengths to be prepared.

Apocalypse Any Day Now author Tea Kurlos
Freelance journalist Tea Krulos prepping for doomsday

When Tea Krulos decides to write about a particular topic he finds fascinating, he gets out into the wilderness and immerses himself in it. Whether it’s breaking up a dangerous fight on the streets of Seattle with real life superhero Phoenix Jones for Heroes in the Night, or fending off aggressive wildlife while tracking Bigfoot with Monster Hunters, he takes a few risks to experience the curious inner workings of some obscure subcultures.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to catch Tea at a local comic shop called Crimson Cowl (owned by superheroes The Watchman and Crimson Crusader) where he discussed his experiences while researching his new book Apocalypse Any Day Now. The danger may not have been immediately present this time as Tea packed up and bugged out into the world of doomsday preppers, but it seems as though the paranoia was palpable.

Tea’s journey took him from the luxury bunkers built in an abandoned missile silo beneath the surface of the Kansas prairie, into the woods with a group that teaches disaster preparedness and survival skills under the guise of a zombie apocalypse, and out into the desolate Mojave Desert for the post-apocalyptic party known as Wasteland Weekend.

If you’ve been following Cult of Weird on the cesspool that is social media for a while, you may have noticed one of my favorite pass times is to track the latest end-of-the-world predictions and take a show of hands the following day to see who survived.

So far we’ve all squeaked by unscathed.

Be it a Biblical Armageddon, natural disaster, nuclear war, or the FEMA camps of a police state as conspiracy theorists are fond of preaching, there are some who believe there is a constant looming threat to humanity. Something set to wipe out civilization as we know it. And they’ll be ready.

Who knows. Maybe the end is near.

Will you be prepared…when it’s time for the Mad Max-themed swimsuit contest?

Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground with America's Doomsday Preppers by Tea Krulos

Find out in Apocalypse Any Day Now by Tea Krulos. Available now.

Tea Krulos is also the organizer of the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, which is happening September 13-15, 2019.

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Apocalypse & Armageddon

This “Peeling” Tectonic Plate Could Cause Catastrophic Earthquakes

Drifting Apart

The edge of a tectonic plate, one of the massive shelves of crust that carry the continents and ocean’s floor, is splitting right down the middle.

Scientists started to study the plate, located off the coast of Portugal, after it caused an unexpected earthquake and tsunami in 1969. They now suspect that they’re witnessing the birth of a new subduction zone, according to National Geographic, which is the point at which two plates collide and grind against each other, causing powerful earthquakes.

Drop By Drop

University of Lisbon marine geologist João Duarte suspects the plate began to split down the middle after water leaked through a heavily-fractured upper layer. But Duarte’s work hasn’t yet gone through peer review or been accepted by an academic journal, so it’s possible that his origin story for new subduction zones won’t hold water.

“It’s one of the biggest unsolved problems in plate tectonics,” Duarte told NatGeo.

Closing The Gap

Some models of plate tectonics, the gradual movement of plates around the globe, suggest that Canada and Europe may gradually migrate towards each other.

If Duarte’s research is correct and the plate beneath Portugal is splitting, then that would be the first step toward a shrunken Atlantic Ocean that brings the two together, leaving a trail of powerful earthquakes in its wake.

READ MORE: A tectonic plate may have peeled apart—and that could shrink the Atlantic Ocean [National Geographic]

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Apocalypse & Armageddon

Threat from an Earth-Altering Asteroid Strike is REAL, Warns NASA Chief

The NASA chief’s speech comes on the heels of the space agency’s announcement that it would conduct an asteroid impact simulation to identify critical aspects of disaster response in the event of such a cataclysmic scenario.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine took the stage of this year’s Planetary Defence Conference on Monday to issue a stark warning: people should be ready for a major threat from a killer asteroid that could collide with Earth if our planet is not better protected.

“We have to use our systems, use our capabilities to ultimately get a lot more data, and we have to do it faster. We know for a fact that the dinosaurs did not have a space programme. But we do, and we need to use it”, he said.

Bridenstine continued by saying that normally the idea of a giant interstellar object smashing into Earth is met with a “giggle factor”, but people should not have that false sense of security somehow imposed on them by a myriad of themed Hollywood blockbusters.

“We have to make sure that people understand that this is not about Hollywood, it’s not about the movies. This is about ultimately protecting the only planet we know, right now, to host life and that is the planet Earth”, the scientist added.

NASA’s chief made a reference to a 65-foot (20-metre) meteor that exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013, just 14 miles above the Earth’s surface.

The flaming meteorite crashed with a massive boom, blowing out windows, damaging thousands of buildings in the area and injuring about 1,500 people, mostly from broken glass.

“These events are not rare. They happen”, he maintained.

Last week, NASA announced that it had teamed up with international partners to perform a “tabletop exercise” on how to handle a hypothetical asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

“These exercises have really helped us in the planetary defence community to understand what our colleagues on the disaster management side need to know. This exercise will help us develop more effective communications with each other and with our governments”, NASA’s Planetary Defence Officer Lindley Johnson said.

Aside from the aforementioned plans, NASA is getting ready for its first spacecraft impact asteroid redirect mission, dubbed “Double Asteroid Redirection Test” (DART), which is set for June 2021.

Sputniknews

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