- The ability to see humanity as a whole.
- The inability to see or care about differences between different people.
The earliest known example of tool making by a hominid species, the Mousterian tools were created by members of the species homo neanderthalensis. They were primarily a flint-based technology, consisting mostly of cutting and scraping tools. Their name derives from Le Moustier in France, where such tools were discovered. However, it is unlikely that Le Moustier is the actual site of the tools’ origin, as similar tools have been found throughout Europe, the Near East and North Africa. Wherever they were invented, they clearly disseminated widely and – one assumes – swiftly.
The advent of tool making is the beginning of humanity’s technology-enabled conquest of the world. Up until this point, our ancestors were one species among many – a little smarter than most, but not espeically better adapted than any other. Tool making changed that, making hominid species deadlier and more efficient hunters, and leading in time to the technological civilisation that anyone reading this lives in today.
The Big Bang Theory — Barenaked Ladies
(Yes, I know forgettance isn’t a real word. But it should be. You knew exactly what I meant by it, didn’t you?)
Last night, I ran into an old friend and an old enemy. They were the same person, of course. This wouldn’t be interesting otherwise, would it? We were friends for a long time, there was a falling out (I felt that I had been betrayed), and then we were enemies for not quite so long a time. And then we were… we were nothing much, I suppose. Acquaintance seems too strong a term.
A large reason for this is my attitude to forgiving and forgetting.
A digression: I value honesty, but I cannot help but admire a well told lie. And whoever first formulated the words “forgive and forget” in that order was an absolute fucking genius of dishonesty and manipulation. Because the whole thing is sheer brilliance, if what you really want in life is to never be held accountable.
Because the way most people have come to interpret the phrase – and the way I’m damned sure it was meant to be interpreted – is that the person asking for the forgiveness (and, implicitly, the forgettance) is actually asking for a blank cheque. They want to not be held accountable for this time (the forgiveness) and they want to be free to do it again (the forgettance) – and ideally, they want the same lack of consequences next time.
Yeah, fuck that.
I don’t care for it at all.
I’ll forgive the first time – depending on the scope at least (some things are too large for second chances). I might perhaps forgive a second with sufficiently extentuating circumstances. But a third? I’ll eventually forgive that, at some point, because I don’t think that holding onto grudges is good for me, but by that point, enough time will have passed that it won’t matter to either of us.
But forgetting? That I won’t do. You get my forgiveness, but that’s a second chance. It’s not a blank slate. It’s not a second first chance. Fool me once, shame on me – you know the rest.
And it amazes me that anyone ever does things any differently.
Is it just me, or would it perhaps have worked better if this chapter had been, you know, somewhere closer to the Beginning of the Book?
One of the earliest and best arcade games, infamous for its simple vector graphics and unjustly overlooked for the difficulty and depth of its gameplay, Asteroids was never as popular as Space Invaders or Pac-Man, although historically, it’s almost as iconic. But its simplicity ultimately worked against it: there was nowhere to go to build a franchise out of it, not even any easy way to create variant forms of it (there’s no game that serves as the Galaga to Asteroids’ Space Invaders, for example).
Asteroids had a reasonable reign in the arcades, but even prettying up the graphics couldn’t do that much to keep it current as display technologies improved and newer games took over the marketplace. But to those of us who loved it, it will never die.
Hyperspace — Buckner & Garcia
Although marketed as a drug, Returné is actually a nanotech-laced serum with the rather unusual effect of raising the dead – although not forever. A single injection lasts for about 24 hours before needing to be replenished (although actual death doesn’t result for another five or six days).
Because users of Returné are actually dead, they are immune to aging and illness. In fact, they are mnore or less immune to any thing that might cause death other than immolation, dismemberment or dissolution (that is, acid bath suicide).
The drug was produced by shadowy Big Pharma company Pharmadene, which goes a way towards explaining why this nanotech miracle isn’t permanent when it so easily could be – where’s the money in that? The drug has not yet been cleared by the FDA for public use, although it rapidly leaked out through an underground of criminal funeral homes, from which it was sold at exhorbitant prices. As a result, a shadowy war of corporate espionage and covert law enforcement broke out, whose outcome is still unclear at this time.
The crodh sith, or fairy cattle, were once confined to the old world, but the spread of fae, alongside their human friends and relations, saw them moving to newly colonised lands around the world, driven along the secret paths through the Otherworlds of the fae. For many years after the settlement of Melbourne, it was rumoured that a herd had been driven here, but then been lost by the ones who drove them here. Masterless, they wandered back and forth between worlds along the middle reaches of the Yarra.
By 1868, these rumours had come to the ears of Jack Morentzie, who, along with his brother Paul, had inherited the Morentzie Farm started by their father on the hills of the lower Plenty River. Jack spent some time investigating the rumours, and settled upon a plan to turn them to his advantage. When he and his brother split up the family farm and all its lvestock, Jack wound up with the majority of the bulls, which he planned to use of the nucleus of a stud business. But he had one more trick up his sleeve.
His new land, on the opposite side of the Yarra from the old farm, he named Bull Eden, for so he intended it to be. The crodh sith would be attracted by the bulls, and would bear calves that Morentzie would then use to stud, improving his livestock even further. His plan succeeded, up to a point.
For almost two decades, it worked, but the rumours eventually got out – and made their way back to the realms and palaces of the Fae, who returned to reclaim their long lost cattle. The faerie strain would not breed true, and Morentzie’s cattle returned to normality within two generations. His lucrative business remained solid, but not exceptional as it had been, and before long, he had begun subdividing his farm, selling off allotments piece by piece and slowly created the modern suburb that still bears the slightly distorted name he gave it originally.
Suburbs near Bulleen:
Legend says that he was the only king of Assyria who ever learned to read or write. Be that as it may, it is known that Ashurbanipal gathered one of the world’s greatest libraries of cunieform tablets in his palace at Nineveh. However, although he was apparently unusually literate, Ashurbanipal was also an unusually cruel king (which is saying something, since Assyria was noted as an unusually cruel realm even in its barbarous day).
When Ashurbanipal died in 627 BCE, strife was already rising in Assyria, and outright civil war soon broke out – in less than two decades after his death, the Neo-Assyrian Empire over which he had ruled – and which had lasted three centuries by that time – was gone, never to returned, subsumed into the Persian Empire and its successor states.
The Mesopotamians — They Might Be Giants
For all that it’s Superman who gets called the boy scout, it’s Batman who lives by the boy scouts’ motto. Bruce Wayne is one man who believes in being prepared. For anything and everything.
The first part of preparation is research. What is the nature of this kryptonite? What can be identified as its effects, its causes, its nature? How can the problems it causes be addressed? And what are the gaps in the existing knowledge? Preparation begins with understanding.
The next stage is experimentation, in the scientific sense of the term. What happens when this is tried? What about when that is tried? What if this one condition or factor is varied? Do these results fill in gaps in the knowledge, or suggest approaches for other experiments or even for possible solutions?
Finally, the knowledge gained from research and experiment is used to develop countermeasures. Strategies for dealing with kryptonite when it arises. The focus is on the short term at first, resolving the immediate problem of the kryptonite. But once that’s dealt with, the intellect of the world’s greatest detective would turn to more permanent solutions, repeating the same three stage process of preparation.
But that’s a drastic oversimplification. Research is more complex than that. And the problem of beating even one person’s kryptonite is too large for any one person to solve.
Next week: Beating Kryptonite like Aquaman
Snow Crash exists in two forms, although it’s unclear how similar their effects are. The first form is as a blood serum taken from existing users, which induces a number of effects, the most apparent of which is glossolalia or speaking in tongues.
The second form is as a cyberdrug, which specifically disrupts the thought processes (and Metaverse avatars) of experienced coders. This drug takes the form of binary code that is somehow able to derange the thought processes of those who look directly at it, leaving them, so far as medical science can detect, like the victims of an induced stroke.
Both forms of the drug are connected to a sinister cult that is apparently seeking to take over the world. It’s always something.
On the face of it, the Flash’s only real power is moving really, really fast. Running away, basically. Which is just about the worst thing you can do in response to kryptonite, because it doesn’t do anything about the situation except make you feel worse about it.
But peel back that analysis, and the truth of the Flash’s power comes to light. Because it’s more than just running fast. Ever watched the hundred metre sprints at the Olympics? Seen how those athletes, some of the fittest people in the world, are basically exhausted by running a hundred metres in ten seconds or so? Now consider that the Flash runs something on the order of a million times faster than that, and it becomes clear that speed is only the half of it. The other half is endurance.
Endurance, to be sure, is closely related to will power, but there are significant differences. Willpower is all mental. It’s consciously applied to a situation, aggressive in its application. Endurance partakes of both the physical and the emotional. It’s the ability to hold on. It’s defensive, protective. If willpower is the clenched fist shaking at fate; endurance is curling into a foetal position and hoping that it will stop on its own.
Like willpower, you’re going to need endurance, but also like willpower, endurance is not enough on its own.
Next week: Beating Kryptonite like Batman
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