Tuesday, August 23, 2011

For Narb: Paul Krugman and fake alien invasions

Earlier this week, my best friend Narb* left a pair of his trademarked comments that look silly on the surface but are really quite thought-provoking when examined in depth. Today, I'll be responding to his first remark, a reply to Silly Sustainability Saturday for August 20, 2011. A couple of paragraphs of this weekly feature were devoted to a Huffington Post article "Fighting Global Warming Could Stave Off Alien Invasion: Report," which linked to an article in The Guardian. The gist of both articles was "[r]ising greenhouse emissions could tip off aliens that we are a rapidly expanding threat." Narb pointed out that the point of the original study was the Aliens are going to destroy us because of Global Warming. I responded that it gets even crazier.

Not only did six times as many Fox News viewers think we should prepare for an alien invasion than research climate change, which I mentioned in the Silly Sustainability post, but the week before, Paul Krugman postulated that preparing for a fake alien invasion would bring us out of recession.

No, I'm not kidding. Here's the video.

The only difference between the Fox News viewers and Paul Krugman is that Dr. Krugman knows the invasion would be a fake.  I'm not so sure about the people who responded to the Fox News poll.

The science fiction site Blastr wrote about it under the headline Nobel Prize-winning economist: We need Watchmen's alien invasion and cast Krugman as Adrian Veidt AKA Ozymandius. The author then posed the question, if Krugman is Veidt, then who is our Rorschach? None of the commenters answered the question in three screens of responses, but one did come up with an appropriate moniker for the strategy, Wag the Dalek. Yes, that's a link to a Krugman blog post; he rather liked the turn of phrase.

Personally, I think that the Daleks would be too nasty a set of aliens. I'd much prefer the intelligent elephant analogues from Footfall, which also happens to be a Niven and Pournelle collaboration. They're just advanced enough to get here, but not so advanced that they are undefeatable. When I first read the book 25 years ago, I thought they were at the exact level for an alien invasion. They'd be a lot better than dealing with the Kzinti!

If you think this post was weird, remember that this blog is about sustainability with a science fiction slant, written from a Detroit perspective. Consequently, it fits right in. You should be asking why there aren't more of them. Second, also remember that truth is stranger than fiction. If you don't believe that, just look at the times we live in.

Open Book

*I'm not kidding about this, either. I've known Narb for 33 years. It just took me a while to figure that out. After all, on the Internet, no one knows you're a dog unless you post your picture on Facebook a competitor of Flickr's, even your best friend.

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