Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


How to Build the Perfect Woman
by Timothy Mudie

Sound of Chartreuse
by Nancy S.M. Waldman

Finding New Roads
by Allen Demir

Smart Home Blues
by Mark Ayling

Drone Dreams
by Hayden Trenholm

Game Changer
by Iain Ishbel

Safe Bet to Appelane
by Derrick Boden

Aquilonia, My Zelky
by Barton Paul Levenson

Shorter Stories

Princess Zenla and the Encyclopedia on Mars
by George S. Walker

See No Evil
by K.S. O’Neill

QSFT7mk2.7853 Has a Name
by Kurt Hunt


God From the Machine
by KJ Hannah Greenberg

And Bugs on the Menu
by Carol Kean



Comic Strips





Global Whining ...

LET’S ASSUME FOR THE SAKE of this discussion that AGW, Anthropogenic Global Warming, is perfectly true: that is, it’s happening and is caused by people. Furthermore, let’s assume for the sake of this discussion that the opinions on the other side—“Deniers”are being made up by clueless dweebs who just don’t get it. Furthermore, maybe they’ll never get it. A bunch of pinheads. Furthermore, they shouldn’t be allowed to publish any of their crazy opinions in science journals. They are completely whacko and fail to see what is right in front of them. How’s that for a good starting point?

Then let’s look at two important questions:

Here is what I scratched down in my little notebook about a recent Global Warming discussion I listened to on “Radio Ecoshock,” by eco-writer Steven Leahy:

Why no coverage on eco issues ... media only politics and sports ... eco degradation ... no eco coverage ... better in Europe ... ocean acidification ... CO2 into atmosphere ... failure of fishing and coral reefs ... marine species dying ... thinner plankton shells ... catastrophic CO2 ... implications for fisheries are enormous ... coal plant protest ... James Hansen ... crisis situation ... far worse than on the record ... AAAS meeting ... Al Gore ... scientists must become more active ... 1,500 scientists applauded ... frankly terrifying ... most of the heat going into oceans ... oceans continue to warm ... overfished for decades ... adding in climate change impact ... warming oceans... dead zones becoming larger ... salamanders disappearing ... two or three degrees warmer ... Green Party ... stories not covered in media ... reduce our emissions ... halt environmental mess ... journalists must get active ... we tried to warn people ... Chinese coal use will grow ... are we just chroniclers of the end times? ... ring the warning bells ... pollution ... how can we minimize CO2 ... can these stories continue to be heard? ... economic stories ... crash ... green our economies ... fossil fuels ... fail to act ... we’re in trouble ... more jobs ... greener jobs ... wean ourselves off consumption growth patterns ... important news not passed on ... Copenhagen conference ... shift in how society gets its information ...

Yada yada yada. He missed taking a whack at “Deniers” which would be typical in a program of the sort, but that’s because he was Canadian, and Canadians are much like Americans only nicer.

Now I have two issues with this and (as far as I know) all other programs on AGW: The program hit all the buzzwords, but as in almost all other programs, made absolutely no mention of the solutions to the problem. All the complaining about how clueless all the non-AGW people are, and the fact that they can’t get it, leads precisely nowhere. Too many AGW complainers possess an imperturbable condescension—the same annoying trait that religious zealots have. The minor solutions that have been proposed and implemented will only ameliorate the problem by 0.001 percent or so over a century. While every first world baby that is born contributes approximately 1,000,000 kg of CO2 to the atmosphere. This includes an individual’s share of CO2 from building our infrastructure (especially concrete) and transportation.

I react with dispassionate professionalism usually. But over the long run I grow more pissed. I am forced to ally myself with people who are anti-science and politically reprehensible (Republicans, usually). Although I take great comfort that Freeman Dyson, an “Infinitely Smart Man,” doesn’t go along with the AGW mob either.

A blogger named “Common Sense’d” contributed comments following the Dyson YouTube:

All any objective, outside observer needs to know about this whole discussion is this: On one side, you have people who are doing exactly what GOOD science dictates we do; be skeptical of EVERYTHING all the time. On the other hand, we have a bunch of overzealous tergiversators and angry people who not only purposefully conflate holocaust denialism with climate skepticism, but also call for the imprisonment, and, obviously, and most sickeningly, the death of those who do exactly what good scientists do: question everything. It is a general rule of life that when two sides are in an argument, and one side is having a hissy fit and throwing around slurs and ad hominem attacks, that is a clear sign of who is wrong in the discussion.

My personal concern is that unless population is brought under control, why should anyone bother to drive more fuel efficient cars and become vegetarian ... and suffer all the other bothersome small inconveniences, while breeding couples have babies like there is no problem? Now, I know that rising living standards will probably reduce average family size, and the introduction of more life-saving procedures and improvements in public health might eliminate the overpopulation issues without anyone raising a finger. The inventor of the geodesic dome, Buckmister Fuller (“Our entire ecosystem is nothing but the thinnest shell on the surface of a hot rock”), predicts it. Let’s hope so. Still, the best estimates are that Earth’s population is headed towards eleven billion people before it stabilizes. And even if it stabilizes, the per-capita consumption of resources and use of energy will continue to rise.

The Religion of AGW: Again, I am supposing that the AGW people are entirely correct and the anti-AGW people are entirely wrong. But it is too often a religion as opposed to a scientific discussion. Whenever the AGW people bring up the almost universal agreement of “scientists,” Dr. James Hansen is the Pope of this particular church. (Says Dr. Hansen, “Coal-fired power plants are factories of death and trains carrying coal are death trains.”) And the cause is saving the world by eliminating or shutting up the “deniers.” By shutting up deniers and saying they are paid off by big business (like the anti-anti-cigarette people in decades past), AGW people attract new converts and spark up the enthusiasm of existing converts. As if getting new converts to believe without questioning the science is a good idea.

It is never a good idea. Science is all about doubt. No scientist beyond high school cares about consensus. Settled science is often wrong. The enthusiasm of believers is for religion, not science.

Quake shock ...

It is illuminating to view another disaster to illustrate why AGW can be called a religion instead of a rational discussion or even a plan. Rather than a long term tragedy, the coming quake in California will be relatively short (although there’ll be another and earthquakeanother forever). It will be extremely destructive, and will rearrange a lot of real estate. So an earthquake is quite different from AGW. If you listen to people discussing the earthquake, you will learn that they have not actually been trying to convince people it is real. Nobody is going around complaining that there are “Deniers” or that people are paid-off. Smaller quakes have already done that job and galvanized people to understand what they are facing. They will discuss the various steps that California is taking to minimize future quake damage. Bridges are being reinforced and redesigned to slide instead of crumble. Buildings are being put on bearings. [The Transamerica Building in San Francisco, left, uses trusses to resist torsional forces. Photo by Davefoc.] A whole new Bay Bridge has been built. Freeway supports are being wrapped in additional rebar based upon the experience of earlier quakes. Faults are being probed and measured. This preparedness has been ongoing for some time, and will probably continue—quake or not—because Californians plan to live there in that earthquake-prone, magnificent state for the foreseeable future.

So the conversation about the coming California quake disaster is very different. Belief is not involved at all. Even people who think all the earthquake preparation is excessive would not be in favor of changing course. Better safe than sorry.

So if you are an AGW type, please make serious and actionable suggestions about how to solve the problem, and forget about trying to transform AGW deniers into AGW fanatics. Forget about attending rallies and shouting on bullhorns. If you are good enough to argue the points on either side, then have at it. If you aren’t, then don’t follow leaders and feed the parking meters.

The path to truth relies on dispassionate cool observation. People who try to inflame emotions and encourage zealotry and enlist followers are dangerous.

Just stay out of it.

Eric M. Jones













bendayAbout Our Cover thumbBrad Fraunfelter started the sketches for this work when he was in grade school! Nearly thirty years later, he decided it would make a great full-color painting. He cleaned it up and added more detail. He scanned the sketch into the computer and used it as a template for the body of the fish. He painted the water a crystal blue and added shafts of sunlight. He added the frightened diver to give the creature some scale. The diver’s lantern helped to illuminate the creature’s head and accentuate the enormous mouth. Photos of coral reefs were helpful as reference material to assist in painting the ocean floor.


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