Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The World of Robots By Zack Kaufen (

I am scrolling through my unsent drafts on my phone. Being a fairly changeable, easily distracted kind of guy I find a multitude of undated, ambigious message-starts; texts I started writing but never finished and never sent. I find my own forgotten past intriguing. “Something very rare just happened” states one, ending abruptly there. “I’m 100% sure that” entices another. “I’d really like to see”. “I just thought of something”. You could play a game; invent your own ending!

One message I find was never intended to be sent; it was a quick note I wrote on my phone because I didn’t have a pen at the time. It was a thought I had about Einstein and his famous quote: ““Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity” which already is a bit harsh, but he slyly adds “..and I'm not sure about the universe” just to really hammer it home. This is in reference I believe to the Atom Bomb being used to slaughter thousands of innocent civilians. Mankind’s stupidity makes a pretty powerful case for itself, but I, fifty odd years later, do feel that statement lingering over humanity a little bit. It’s hard to make a comeback to that. Today’s generation would probably come up with “Your MUM’S infinite, Einstein!”

One way I hope we can get past this blemish is to prove Einstein wrong about nukes. Use them against bloodthirsty aliens, aliens so outright and undeniably evil that if Einstein were still around he’d modify his statement; “Two things are infinite: the universe and how freaking evil those aliens are, you feel me?” This would be a great situation for humanity to prove the benevolence of nukes. Now most of you smarty pants are probably thinking ‘But if aliens developed sufficient technology to space travel to Earth, surely nukes would be piss poor compared to their weaponry?’ Well first of all the way you think is so predictable I’ve pre-empted your train of thought. But also, how much do we really know about how aliens think?

For all we know, the evil aliens don’t constantly war and arms race amongst themselves. Maybe they got up to muskets and thought “Fuck YES. We have a weapon that can kill a guy twenty metres away instantly? This is it. This is the best weapon anyone could possibly invent. No-one will top this. This is weapons done. Weapons: check.” Alien 2 chimes in; “Ok we’ve packed the muskets, now how do we power the spaceship?” Alien 1: “Well, coal, of course!” Alien 2: “Don’t you think there might be a better energy source we could research into?” Alien 1: “Listen, Larry. We have a black, naturally occurring substance that gives off harnessable when set alight. Do you really think the Earthlings will have touched upon this kind of technology? Next you’ll be saying they’ll be lighting rooms without candles!” Laugh. Laugh. Snort. Snort. Stupid Larry.

So the aliens (who I feel I’ve humanised a bit too much, especially the one I called Larry, so in keeping with their evilness, please imagine they were murdering puppies during the previous conversation) turn up at Earth in their wooden, steam powered spaceship brandishing muskets and BOOM. We decimate them all with a swarm of nuclear missiles. Smugly, we sidle over to Einstein’s grave. “So,” we say, grinning, “what was that about atom bombs and human stupidity, Einstein? We must be really stupid to keep making atom bombs, eh?” We start getting rowdy and kicking his grave. “Those stupid inventions didn’t just save Earth from aliens or anything did they? Eh, Einstein?”

Really, what’s so bad about nukes? The ‘worst case scenario’ figures in an episode of 24 don’t seem too high whenever there’s a dirty bomb in LA (read: every episode). Hell, one episode a nuke even went off and around one hour later, in real time, this was old news. I feel the people who come up with worst case scenarios don’t use much imagination. “10,000 people die.” Yea, but surely like a worse case would be 10,000 people die then you stub your toe? And slightly worse is if you then spill your coffee. What about if, by total coincidence, at the exact time the bomb detonates, the sun went supernova obliterating the solar system? That’s like, the worst case scenario. And at the other end of the spectrum, the best case scenario isn’t just that prevailing winds blow the nuclear fallout to an uninhabited area of desert. No – the best case is if the terrorists change their minds. And then buy everyone ice cream. Be more honest in your scenario predictions.

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