Arguing the other side, and super novas

I think this is the first time I’ve booted up my laptop in a week. No, that isn’t right, because I did some surfing sometime this past week. It is the first time I’ve logged into gtalk and MSN, so I think that I’m back to my “normal” self.

So last night I did something kind of unprecedented: I argued for a liberal viewpoint. *hears thuds from several thousand miles away* Shit, I just killed off my entire readership… All four of you. I don’t have the time to go all of those funerals! And I don’t know if I could get to England in this short of time. I’m terribly sorry Astraad. (This isn’t as bad as when I told my grandmother that she should go get cremated. Upon realizing my mistake, “I didn’t mean right now, Nanny.”)

So yes, I argued a liberal’s viewpoint, not because I entirely agreed with her, but because I wanted to give it a shot and see if I could convince the guy that the “industrialization of animal husbandry” was wrong. (I wish I had thought of that phrase last night; I would have sounded like a proper liberal twat. [No, she wasn’t a twat, but a very nice lady, who happened to care very much about the balance of nature.]) Needless to say, I failed. Two takeaways: 1) it’s hard to argue for a point that you think is mistaken and misguided, especially if you really agree with the person you’re arguing with; 2) In a way, I think she was correct about the heart of the matter, large mechanized cow farms are “wrong”, but for completely different reasons than she stated.

“Uh, who in the hell is sitting at that keyboard?!” “Did someone implant a mind altering alien in bren’s brain?!” Or the more prosaic response: “bren really should change his password more often.” (quasi-related to prosaic: I’m the only person that thought “Streetcar Named Desire” when the name Stella came up.)

Any ways, relax people, I’m still, uh, me. (When I try to think of a term to describe my political/philosophical/quasi-religious, I come up short, because I’m the first to admit that I’m all over the fucking place. Mild libertarian and closet anarchist come the closest, and the last only makes sense if you’ve read my blog for a while. [I’m abusing those parentheses today. I hope PETA doesn’t come and get me.]) Sticking to a topic is for pussies!

Let’s go back up to the title of this post and how the plight of the cow relates to how people that know each other, and are probably related, start shooting at each other on a large scale: physics. I have come to see everything in the world as physics, from economics and politics to the humble cow. In this case, I’m talking about long term stability of systems, something which really doesn’t exist. If you step back far enough, every system “fails”, from our sun to the proton. I was going to go with bacteria, but I wanted something smaller, and I remembered an interesting fact: protons decay, but over extremely long time scales (a lower limit of the proton half-life of 6.6×10^33 years. That 33 zeros, for those folks not familiar with scientific notation.)

Shit, I started reading about all of the star types, and was in danger of not finishing it at all. Yes, stars. Interesting fact, the larger the star, the more violent its death. It’s been hypothesized that the first stars were very large, and their deaths were the seeds of the super-massive black holes at the center of galaxies.

So, my point, which I somehow have not forgotten, is that larger systems tend to collapse much more dramatically, and tend to have much shorter life spans than smaller systems. Yes, there are exceptions, but every exception that I can think of has gotten a infusion of “energy” from an external force, like blue stragglers (keeping with the star motif [wait, when in the hell have I ever stuck with a motif?]) and the United States (all of those loans are going to have to be paid eventually.) Stability requires energy to maintain, like keeping your house clean (or not), and once that energy goes away, voilà! your nice beautiful systems crumbles into the past, sometimes very slowly, sometimes faster than you can blink.

So the cow… here in the US, we have an extremely mechanized farm system that we all depend on in one way or another. So what happens when that system collapses? My guess is that we’re all going to be hungry for a long while. (Why would it collapse? Energy shortages; oil most specifically.)

And I just realized that the system of this blog entry has started to collapse… no, it’s too small to collapse. More of a fizzle. So to make up for it: Look, ninja cheerleaders!

edit: What do you know! I never talked about civil wars! I will eventually though… changing title so people don’t get their hopes up.

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