Wednesday, July 02, 2008

keep watching the skies

The day before yesterday was the centenary of the Tunguska event. One hundred years ago it may have been, but it still exerts an understandable fascination, partly because of the mysterious nature of the event (although it's now generally accepted to have been the airborne detonation of a smallish meteorite, 20-60 metres in diameter), and partly because of what it reveals about the fragility of our existence. It's fascinating to speculate how very different 20th-century history might have been if the airburst had happened over Paris, Berlin, London, New York or any large centre of population. Remember what happened to the dinosaurs.....

And bear in mind that no-one's monitoring the skies 24/7 for bits of rock the size of a house heading towards us, so it could happen again any minute, right above where you're sitting. Makes you think, dunnit? So, given that it could all be arbitrarily ended by fiery death from the sky any second, should we perhaps throw off the flimsy trappings of "civilised society" and rampage gibbering through the streets in a frenzied Bacchanalian orgy of depraved rape and slaughter? Yes. Yes we should. No no, after you.

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