The USA-Soviet collapse gap

I love doomsday prophecies.

I grew up in the 1980s in Texas, watching stuff on TV like the The Day After and Damnation Alley and lots of other bad post-apocalyptic sci-fi schlock. Meanwhile, my parents took us to a church that was very focused on Christian eschatology*, so my childhood daydreams revolved around on how I would survive in the inevitable supernatural, post-armageddon war zone. I used to imagine how buildings would look when they were all burned out and destroyed and possibly occupied by mutants.

I’m sure that’s why I’m so into growing vegetables now. I’ll be ready with my basement full of turnips when the shit goes down.

One of my college professors argued that Christianity at its heart is a religion about redemption in the afterlife, and if the ancient Jews weren’t so miserable under the Romans, the religion never would have caught on. Even today, it appeals to people most often that are at the end of their rope.

I suspect a similar dynamic applies with all these doomsday preachers. People like talking about the end of the world because these scenarios offer them hope out of whatever mess they’re stuck in currently. For example, as a delinquent 7th grade kid, I knew that if we went to war with the Russians, or if a meteor crashed into the Earth, or if a super-virus plague broke out, or if aliens landed and started harvesting our life force, I wouldn’t get in trouble for not doing my world history homework, so on some level, I wanted it to happen.

[*] has very little in common with Christian scatology. It’s just a pretentious word that means what the religion believes will happen at the end of the world.

Texas techno-ants

Completely unrelated: this set of photos on flickr is really neat. Fashion students at Virginia Commonwealth University were given an assignment to design an abaya. Heard about it on The World on PRI.

Now to the main point. This is why you don’t mess with Texas. We already have fire ants, which can literally breathe fire. And now, we have ants that will eat your iPod while you watch. From the article:

Worse, they, like some other species of ants, are attracted to electrical equipment, for reasons that are not well understood by scientists.

They have ruined pumps at sewage pumping stations, fouled computers and at least one homeowner’s gas meter, and caused fire alarms to malfunction. They have been spotted at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and close to Hobby Airport, though they haven’t caused any major problems there yet.

They’re clearly saving NASA for some darker purpose.

Exterminators say calls from frustrated homeowners and businesses are increasing because the ants — which are starting to emerge by the billions with the onset of the warm, humid season — appear to be resistant to over-the-counter ant killers.

“The population built up so high that typical ant controls simply did no good,” said Jason Meyers, an A&M doctoral student who is writing his dissertation on the one-eighth-inch-long ant.

It’s not enough just to kill the queen. Experts say each colony has multiple queens that have to be taken out.

Hell yeah. I’m rooting for the ants. Let this insectocalypse begin!