Home | Best of Cyberspace | White Label Humour

If I Had a Lever Big Enough to Destroy the World...





The world is going to end ... some day. Many Netizens were preparing for the end back on August 29, 1997. As I've noted in this column before, the movie Terminator 2 claimed Skynet (i.e. the Internet) would become self aware on that date and nuke the world. Just a few weeks ago some other people were hunkering down for the end, this time believing the millennium was at hand (as in the 6th millennium). A bit early, you say? Well, as calculated by James Ussher (yep, that famous bishop who used all the "begats" in the Bible to calculate the earth to be no more than 6,000 years old), October 23, 1997 marked the end of the sixth millennium.


Both days came and went like most others. I think I celebrated both days by going grocery shopping. The end of the world is, for many, a waiting game. Get a date, sell all worldly possessions, and sit on a hillside with a thermos of coffee.



There are those who prefer not to wait for the end of the world and seek to move things along. Type A personalities, you know?



There are those who prefer not to wait for the end of the world and seek to move things along. Type A personalities, you know? There's an endless, fascinating discussion on how to hasten the apocalypse on a newsgroup called alt.destroy.the.earth.


Most posters (well, not those who think this is yet another group to gripe about Microsoft) can be classified into two camps: the Destructionalist and the Elitist. The Destructionalist believe in the complete destruction of the earth. Yes, they will be happy victims of their own twisted schemes. The Elitists, on the other hand, just want to wipe out that bothersome 99% of humanity: subway commuters who stand instead of walk up the left side of an escalator, people at cashiers who spend ten minutes in front of you searching for a dime so they can get exact change back. Those people.


By far the Destructionalist are the most interesting and horrifying. These are people who think on a massive scale, a scale undreamed of by Ayn Rand's Howard Roark or even Warner Brothers' Wile E. Coyote. The super-geniuses on alt.destroy.the.earth contemplate smashing quasars together to disrupt the time flow, discuss how Mars could be moved into a far more interesting and dangerous orbit, and lobby legislators to make Pi equal to 3 (which I can only imagine would result in the construction of a lot of very unsafe nuclear reactors).


Ask a Destructionalist "why?" and you'll likely get a simple "why not?" Some people look over a field full of birds, flowers, and frolicking children and get inspired to paint a picture. Destructionalist think "that's got to go."


While the chat between the Destructionalist and the Elitists on alt.destroy.the.earth is all in good fun, a number of genuinely kooky individuals have found the newsgroups a friendly place to talk about their real plans for death rays, perpetual motion machines, and suitcase-sized earthquake generators. As you can imagine alt.destroy.the.earth is a place where kooks of the "weird science" variety find themselves cheered on, not jeered.


My all time favorite weird science web page is Bill Beaty's Weird Science Homepage. The page's Not your average construction project link is particularly interesting. Do you suspect there's been a change in the household time flow? If so, you can find out how to build a time-distortion detector with a handful of parts from Radio Shack.


Most weird scientists take their cue from Einstein, who went from being an unknown patent clerk to a Nobel laureate, and the less well-known Nikola Tesla. Tesla is best known for developing alternating current (AC). By the time he died in 1943, he left a legacy of some 700 patents plus a number of rumors that he had plans still on the drawing board for terrifying weapons of mass destruction.




* * *


Copyright 2002 Karl Mamer

Free for online distribution as long as

"Copyright 2002 Karl Mamer (kamamer@yahoo.com)"

appears on the article.


Direct comments and questions to mailto:kamamer@yahoo.com