Screaming Planet

Where old bloggers come to die.

From the Shrinking Moon to the Cold Hard Truths

Posted on | August 20, 2010 | No Comments

[flickr]photo:4910219321[/flickr] So, the Moon is shrinking! Granted, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images indicate it is by a mere 100 meters of diameter in something like 100-1000 million years. The damn thing is actually cooling off on the inside and getting scrunched up on the surface. Fascinating, isn’t it?

However, what might turn out to be even more fascinating is just how this story will get twisted and stretched and deformed by the time it reaches chain-mail status… because it will, make no mistake about it, following in the footsteps of such perennial favorite as the Mars being as big as the MOON! once every year and some obscure celestial body bringing us death and DOOM! at least a few times annually.

I know I am stating the obvious when I say that viral media (or any kind of media, for that matter) have repeatedly shown a strong propensity to latch onto the sensational but stupidly wrong, ignoring the (often) common-sense and really simple and everyday true. I’m guessing that postmodern studies that seem to be the rage at media schools have a great deal to do with this epistemological conundrum, trying to instill a sense of there not being an ultimate truth to things, trying to relegate everything to a set of competing, yet equally valid narratives. This is fine, of course, in the context of social studies, the humanities and the “softer” sciences, but it is most definitely not so for hard sciences and engineering, where you actually have clearly defined true and false answers to questions (which, incidentally, is the reason why I never completed my science studies, while flying through the humanities on a wave of flowery prose). Gravity might be a mere rigid phallocentric repressive narrative but I don’t see any postmodernists spontaneously floating up off the ground merely by wishing so.

The whole issue would likely remain an irrelevant academic squabble if it wasn’t for the fact that frequently, it elbows its way into everyday life and kills people. Take the anti-vaccination movement – it fascinates me that something so retarded managed to go global, yet it did. It is worming its way into our neck of the woods, borne on the backs of completely irrelevant issues, such as whether the flu scare and subsequent purchase of flu vaccines was required, or an abuse of state funds. Hell, I never intended to get vaccinated against the flu simply because, well, it’s the godsdamn flu, and I’m a (relatively) young (relatively) healthy (relatively) adult male living in the (relatively) west – if I catch it, I stay at home for a week, eat lots of soup, hallucinate some bizarrities through the fever and that’s it – but it is not so easily shrugged off by the frail and elderly who very easily die of the resultant dehydration and other deleterious effects of that pesky virus.

No matter how narrativised the vaccination issue may be or how controversial the use of funds in purchasing flu vaccines might turn out to be, no one can magic their way out of the bubonic plague, rabies, polio or whooping cough. You can’t treat that shit with the narrative of positive thinking, with chicken soup and warm blankies, or the narrative of homeopathy, mainly because the latter is pure and undiluted (ha!) bullshit. You can only fight those diseases with the cold hard truth of medical science and timely vaccination. After all, even the most hard core postmodernists still fly using the scientific truths of the weight, lift, drag and thrust, not a red-pill-like postmodern defiance of that old colonial phallocentric rigid narrative of gravity.

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