Posts Tagged ‘technology’

The Ankle-Nibbling Revolution

July 25, 2016

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A Simple Life

Field mice had been living in Chinatown for a century, surviving mainly on the dropped egg-tarts of shoppers and the ripped garbage bags full of day-old pastry. It was a tough life, but there were some years (1967, 1976) where the life was easy because of a surge in tourism and wasted food. Our protagonist, Roguz, was almost two months old when he developed a technological change that revolutionized the lives of the mice that were affiliated with him and his family.

An Ordinary Day

While babysitting his rascally little nephew Salza, Roguz was forced to leave him alone for a few seconds. When Roguz finally turned around, Salza was nibbling on the ankle of a young human girl. As he approached Salza and told him to stop, a large, half-unfinished egg-tart fell in front of his face, and the scolding was quickly forgotten. This “50% remaining” would feed Roguz’s family for a week.

ankle nibbling

Eureka

Most mice in Chinatown just work and consume, but Rugoz had a stubborn philosophical side to him, and he went back to the dark corner of the sewer where he was staying and thought about what he had seen. Eureka! A new technology was born – ankle nibbling!

He patented his idea, and then shared it with some select allies (for a price). For the next 3 months, the frantic search for food disappeared from Chinatown’s mouse population, and obesity rates took off – a sure sign of success.

Diminishing Returns

Mice  never seem to be able to predict the consequences of their technological changes. A few years after the ankle-nibbling revolution took off, humans started to notice the uptick in “Mice Terror,” as their newspapers called the phenomenon. The following season, the number of humans visiting Chinatown dropped by two thirds, Local merchants reacted by designing a drop-proof egg-tart box, and by publishing information on how to avoid mouse-nibbling.

Suddenly, there were no more dropped egg-tarts and no garbage bags full of day-old pastry. The mouse population was quickly reduced to less than a third of what it had been before the new technology was introduced. Most of the survivors had to make due with the rotten corpses of other dead animals, road dirt, and sewer runoff. Roguz died a proud old mouse, with prizes and trophies lining his walls, long before the mass starvation of egg-tart-obese mice began, but his nephew survived it and went on to become a preacher.

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The Mosquito who wanted to be a Dinosaur

July 22, 2015

PBF mosquito

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(From the Cub Club Bedtime Stories collection)

There once was a tiny and desperate mosquito named Ilene. Ilene had always felt like she was destined to be so much more than a tiny, insignificant insect.

Let me tell you more.

It was the hot summer of 147 million years ago, but I remember like it was yesterday.

Ilene Pickworth was a frosh at a local college. Instead of attending classes, she would sit under the college’s huge trees and admire the brute strength and high-status size of the large dinosaurs storming by like SUVs. While Ilene spent many stressful moments of her day avoiding being swatted by appendages many times her size, the large dinosaurs proudly ripped the tops off of huge trees and dined on the sweet leaves that no other land species could reach. It certainly looked glamorous – to a bug with a two-month lifespan and chronic blood-breath.

Squish gothic

Then one morning, Ilene saw an ad in Mosquito’s Digest for a plastic surgeon/geneticist in Argentina who could transform even a tiny mosquito like her into a relatively accurate genetic approximation of a Diplodocus, a giant dinosaur who usually lived past 140. For only a few thousand euros, Ilene could finally buy the dream and live an elite existence that her mosquitohood had denied her only a few easy monthly payments ago.

She almost broke her proboscis, pulling it out rapidly before she flew home to grab her credit card and overnight bag.

The operation was a success. She also got free Diplodocus lessons and a foster family to guide her along. Within a few weeks, she was one of the gang. A happy and gigantic land animal.

Her new species went extinct a few decades later. She never had kids.

** a mosquito flies by**

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The Turtle Gang

January 7, 2015

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Probably the scariest gang in Lostra City, the Turtle Gang – also know as la Bande de tortues –  was organized in a way that defied any kind of hierarchy or chain of command. Instead, members could simply ask another member to help them, and the other turtle would help. Nobody refused to assist or obey another turtle on the basis of authority or class. It was set up like a cooperative, but with an incredible unity of purpose and a total lack of the kind of divas with exaggerated senses of self importance that can bring down any kind of cooperative project.

Active in things like children’s sports programs and community education, laBande started to get involved in motorized-vehicle attacks the same year that it was noted in the Turtle Voice that over a thousand turtles had been killed by cars and other motorized vehicles in a 12-month period.

The first year of the Tortofada, a thousand random cars (and their drivers) were destroyed by turtles- exactly the same number of turtles that had been killed by cars (and their drivers) the year before. One of laBande’s many spokesmen – Trina Callabaster – told a TV news anchor that her friends were just trying to raise awareness of the callous way that vehicles continue to kill smaller species.

“We never wanted to find ourselves at war with the car. But car operators crush us with their gadgets, and just leave us to die on the sides of their asphalt roads. Every turtle left to bleed to death on the roadside with a broken shell… is an attack on turtlehood – on the very existence of the turtle species.  And the gravel that is often found on the shoulders of the road is perfect for hatching turtle eggs and raising babies, so many newborn turtles watch as their own mothers are destroyed in front of them.”

I love turtles

Humans loved cars more than they loved humans. After the attacks were publicized in human media, the human elites (car dealers, arms dealers, oil dealers, and corrupt banks) went on red alert. Dow and Monsanto shifted billions of government research money into the development of environmental poisons and poisoned foods that would render turtles brain-damaged and physically immobile. The pentagon bought a trillion dollars worth of turtle den busters, a type of experimental chemical and biological bomb that worked especially well on reptiles and amphibians. The major networks began hosting talk shows with themes like “Do we need to kill all turtles in order to have peace?” and “Why do turtles hate progress?”

The imagineers of Hollywood produced over 150 turtle terror movies in just three years, with five of them winning Academy Awards for either best picture or best special effects (a vintage turtle in a microwave sequence won big time last year).

When a turtle carrying an uzi was named Time magazine’s Creature of the Year, the largest human government on the planet vowed to eradicate all the bad turtles using a combination of public awareness campaigns and environmental vandalism. Their plan almost worked until, ten years into it, billions of humans developed side effect illnesses from all Monsanto’s environmental poisons and these new diseases wiped out a quarter of humanity. The turtles of laBande rejoiced and regrouped.

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The Happy Earth

March 21, 2013

The Happy Earth

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(From the Cub Club Bedtime Stories collection)

Deep in the Milky Way stood the Happy Earth. This planet had been blessed with water, oxygen, and carbon-based food sources. These wonderful features bestowed upon the planet life-forms like us polar bears, which is why it was labeled “The Happy Earth” by its glad-to-be-alive human inhabitants.

One day a few thousand years ago, a human entrepreneur noticed that the Happy Earth had grown colder, and it was difficult for many entrepreneurs to find food to sell. He placed a small carpet on the ground and knelt down to speak directly to the planet.

“Happy Earth, why do you let us starve in the cold? This is unpleasant and unfair.”

The Earth pondered for a while, almost falling asleep in the process. Then he spoke: “Gentle Entrepreneur, take the water from my rivers and flood the great plains to grow more food than you need. You can then sell the surplus and buy status symbols and thrill rides.”

The entrepreneur looked confused: “But Happy Earth, I can’t change the flow of your waters. This would destroy the fish and animals who depend on their fragile complexity.”

The Happy Earth replied: “Do as I say. Redirect the flow of my great rivers.”

And the entrepreneur did so, and there was much food for all. Of course, this new food was mainly starch-based and the people who grew it had to remain sedentary, but the entrepreneur and his associates got to buy a lot of status symbols with the surplus.

Happy Earth MicrophoneA few decades later, the entrepreneur panicked when the Happy Earth flooded a large agricultural zone, endangering the lives of an entire civilization and its consumers. He placed his new designer carpet on the ground and knelt down to speak directly to the planet once again.

“Earth, why do you damage the very agricultural zones that you have counseled us to create? Now, many thousands of people have no food, and these agricultural workers have long lost the ability to hunt and forage.”

The Happy Earth spoke with much sadness: “Gentle Entrepreneur, take the sand from my mountains and use this sand to block the waters whence they flood.”

Once again, the entrepreneur hesitated: “But if I remove so much soil, this will create great scars on your beautiful complexion, disturbing the spectrum of land animals and destroying life-rich wetlands.”

But as with the previous suggestion, the Happy Earth insisted that the entrepreneur do as he said, and all of his mountains were subsequently flattened in order to block all the rivers at strategic points. The civilization was saved and its population doubled every few years, which lead to many new status symbols for the entrepreneur.

This process of technology-failure leading to more and more invasive technology continued until the Happy Earth was a giant, lifeless, grey rock with few species left on it. Among complex mammals, only us polar bears and a few aggressive human entrepreneurs remained. And a lot of lesion-pocked reptiles.

The entrepreneur, on his deathbed, knelt one last time to ask the Happy Earth for another bit of advice on how to progress. By now, the carpets under his feet were laden with gold and platinum strands. “Happy Earth, what will we do now that you have no more rivers, mountains, air, or food?”

The expensive rug beneath him then trembled as another human dug his way out of the underground bunker he had been living in for many years.

“Gentle Entrepreneur, I’m not really the Earth. I’m another human entrepreneur like yourself. I was just trying to motivate you to do exciting things because I was so bored in my cave.”

And then they both died of heat exhaustion.

Amen.

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The Honeybee Liberation Movement (HLM)

November 29, 2010

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year 0

Although I’m not a honeybee myself, I have always sympathized with their cause. You see, I’m what they call an organic gardener, and I have had the distinct misfortune of watching in horror as one of my neighbor’s insecticides killed off most of the bees in my community for a few summers.

Eventually, the bees came back. But it wasn’t the same bees, and I never really forgave her for her callous use of foolishly dangerous modern poisons.

year 1

When I heard that some particularly motivated bee leaders were organizing a liberation movement, I quickly volunteered to help out in any way I could.

honeycomb museum

The internationally-renowned Honeycomb Museum was made possible by the bee liberation movement. Bees now have the time and resources to practice their art and build fantasy structures.

It’s not always easy for non-bees to empathize. Many bees find the daily pollination of flowers (for other species’ benefit) mind-numbingly dull and bee leaders complain that it leaves them with no time for self expression. This often leads to the kind of bee alienation that Buzzy Friedant writes about in The Bee Mystique.

Bee activists point to the fact that their community doesn’t need to pollinate to survive. In fact, a new GMO thistle hybrid that bee scientists are developing will give honeybees all the nutrition they need within inches of their hives. They will never have to pollinate for others again, or to stray far from the safety of their private hives.

year 3

I was thrilled when I heard the bees had stopped pollinating. I wore bee power tshirts to work because they had finally broken free of their enslavement to the honey-industrial complex. They were no longer peckin’ petals for the man – as the song goes. I used to hum that song when I worked at the fish plant.

year 7

As other species started dying off, pro-Bee PR went into overtime, explaining that these other species had been overpopulating the planet anyways, and we were all a lot better off with their reduced numbers. These species were often parasitic for bees, so extinction was portrayed as a mixed blessing in bee media.

year 9

When the extinctions started affecting the thistle that bees now depended on for their own survival, bee scientists decided to give the entire operation a second look. Of  course humans are already extinct, which is a shame –  but there is hope that at least bee-kind may be saved from permanent erasure by some kind of future bee technology.


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