Productive Day Off

Finished reading POMPEII, by Robert Harris. Highly, highly recommend it. There was one paragraph at the end that made me laugh, and nearly made me cry, simply because it is so true. Not a spoiler of any sort, so I’ll quote:

Men mistook measurement for understanding. And they always had to put themselves at the center of everything. That was their greatest conceit. The earth is becoming warmer — it must be our fault! The mountain is destroying us — we have not propitiated the gods! It rains too much, it rains too little — a comfort to think that these things are somehow connected to our behavior, that if only we lived a little better, a little more frugally, our virtue would be rewarded. But here was nature, sweeping toward him — unknowable, all-conquering, indifferent — and he saw in her fires all the futility of human pretensions.

Listened to Art Bell (Coast to Coast Weekend Edition) last night, and as usual of late, he started by discussing global warming/cooling, freakish weather events, and scientific reports that all the planets in the solar system are warming. Ice caps on Mars melting, etc.. And then he said, “Whether these changes are caused by human activity or are simply a cyclical occurence, we should be DOING something.”

Right. What? I’m not buying that American industry (what little is left of it) is melting the icecaps on Earth, much less Mars. Or that kicking SUVs off the road and bankrupting the country by becoming a signatory of the Kyoto Accords is going to do anything but, well, bankrupt the country. Nature has been kicking our asses for as long as we’ve had asses to kick. Ice ages, warming cycles, earthquakes, volcanoes, wildfires, typhoons, magnetic reversals in the crust. Earth’s AND Mars’s ice caps are melting, the solar system is heating up. Our planet is changing. Okay, fine, what if it is? Aside from moving to higher ground and stocking up on food, what precisely are we supposed to do?

I can’t complain too much about Art’s current weather rant, though. Brian L. Weiss was his guest, and talking about past and future lives, the space in between, and other goodies. I got the germ of a book out of it; now I just need to let it perk for a while to see if it’s something I could work up for Claire.

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