the bottleneck years https://scienceblogs.com/ en The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 99 https://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/07/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-99 <span>The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 99</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h1 style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/fair-warning/">The Bottleneck Years</a></h1> <p></p><center>by <a href="http://www.hettaylor.ca" target="_blank">H.E. Taylor</a></center> <table border="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td align="left" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/06/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-98/">Chapter 98</a></td> <td align="center" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-table-of-contents/">Table of Contents</a></td> <td align="right" width="33%">Chapter 100</td> </tr></tbody></table><h3>Chapter 99</h3> <h3>The Third Day, March 22, 2061</h3> <p>I had two classes Tuesday morning and was not able to watch the trial as it happened. I got back to my office in the early afternoon and, again in the privacy of my office, settled in to watch. The trial was not being broadcast. I checked a news portal and learned the trial was over. I went searching for an archive.</p> <p>Jon was not in the court. They used a video link up. An old fashioned flat screen monitor showing Jon sat on the desk beside the young lawyer. There was sound only when they turned it on. The trial proceeded quickly.</p> <p>Four witnesses were called --- an executive from Carillon named Lee Jones, Jack Connor, an engineer named Bockvar Hamdi and an unnamed ConSec representative.</p> <p>The executive from Carillon described the communications setup --- two transmitters, one on each side of the world, Zurich and Canberra, each with a backup station. Ottawa was Zurich's backup.</p> <p>Jack Connor described how he made the actual substitutions, inserting the data that Jon gave him and deleting the previous.</p> <p>The engineer, Hamdi, explained what the modified data fields did. How the sunshields were moved and shaded; what the probable effect would be on earth.</p> <p>Next they called the representative from ConSec. He was asked to describe Jon's apartment. In the course of answering he said, "The suite itself was remarkably clear of microbugs. I can only assume that the defendant had access to a scanner, although we never found one."</p> <p>"How then did you come by the records we are about to see?" the prosecutor asked.</p> <p>"The defendant's brother came to visit him and he had a healthy crop of surveillants due to another investigation."</p> <p>"I see and was there any significant information revealed through the brother's coverage?"</p> <p>"Yes, sir."</p> <p>"May we see that."</p> <p>The microbug recordings had been converted to hologram. Suddenly Jon's living room popped up, half-sized, in the open area betwen the judge and the lawyer's desks. Half sized holograms of Jon and myself spoke.</p> <p>"Why would the eco-cops be after you?" my hologram asked.</p> <p>"What did she tell you?"</p> <p>"Enough."</p> <p>"Freeze," called the judge. "Why is the brother represented by the same image?"</p> <p>"They are identical twins, your honour," explained the agent.</p> <p>"Oh." He took a moment to digest that. "Proceed."</p> <p>Jon stood at the window, peering out anxiously. "They have two transmitters. On this side of the world, the primary is in Zurich and the backup in a small town just north of here. They communicate through the Ottawa office. About six months ago, they sent an update through the secondary transmitter cause the primary was down for repairs."</p> <p>"When I saw that update, I realized I had all I needed to send my own updates. Suzanne worked with me. And Connor at the transmitter, though he was doing it just to get into Suzie's pants."</p> <p>"Okay, I think that is enough," said the prosecutor.</p> <p>The hologram shut off.</p> <p>Jon's face on the monitor was unchanging.</p> <p>"Who is this Suzanne the defendant mentioned?"</p> <p>"We're not entirely sure, sir. She seems to have disappeared."</p> <p>"I see."</p> <p>The prosecutor turned to the defense lawyer and said, "Your witness."</p> <p>The young lawyer didn't have any questions.</p> <p>The agent left the courtroom and the prosecutor addressed the judge. "Your honour, I think we have established the defendant's guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. The prosecution rests."</p> <p>The judge nodded and said, "Mr. Lippschitz, you may proceed with the defense."</p> <p>The young lawyer stood and said, "Your honour, we intend to show that this woman" --- a hologram of Suzanne emerging from the bedroom wearing only bra and panties sprang from his padd --- "manipulated and coerced the defendant into taking the actions he did."</p> <p>He went on for ten or fifteen minutes in this vein and then rested his case. I was surprised he didn't call any witnesses. His cross examination of prosecution witnesses had been minimal.</p> <p>The prosecution and defense summarized their cases.</p> <p>In the course of his summation, the prosecutor said, "Your honour, the defense would have us believe that the accused is a victim of coercion and manipulation by the mysterious Suzanne. However, we have it from the defendant's own mouth that in fact Suzanne helped him and manipulated Jack Connor. It is entirely possible that the beautiful Suzanne was the person being manipulated in this whole affair."</p> <p>The judge recessed for twenty minutes, came back and sentenced Jon to life in prison. It was over just like that.</p> <!-- =============================================================== --><hr /><p>Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor</p> <p>For further information, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_intro.html"> A Gentle Introduction</a>.</p> <p>If you want a copy, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_thedeal.html"> The Deal</a>.</p> <p>Last modified July 1, 2014</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/illconsidered" lang="" about="/author/illconsidered" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">illconsidered</a></span> <span>Fri, 07/04/2014 - 17:27</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/het" hreflang="en">HET</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby" hreflang="en">TBY</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cli-sci" hreflang="en">cli-sci</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/climate-change" hreflang="en">climate change</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/global-warming" hreflang="en">global warming</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/het-h-e-taylor" hreflang="en">het h e taylor</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/science-fiction" hreflang="en">Science Fiction</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby-0" hreflang="en">tby</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/bottleneck-years" hreflang="en">the bottleneck years</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/illconsidered/2014/07/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-99%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Fri, 04 Jul 2014 21:27:48 +0000 illconsidered 41835 at https://scienceblogs.com The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 98 https://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/06/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-98 <span>The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 98</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h1 style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/fair-warning/">The Bottleneck Years</a></h1> <p></p><center>by <a href="http://www.hettaylor.ca" target="_blank">H.E. Taylor</a></center> <table border="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td align="left" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/06/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-97/">Chapter 97</a></td> <td align="center" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-table-of-contents/">Table of Contents</a></td> <td align="right" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/07/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-99/">Chapter 99</a></td> </tr></tbody></table><h3>Chapter 98</h3> <h3>The Second Day, March 21, 2061</h3> <p>On Monday morning, I watched the second session of Jon's trial alone in my office at CCU. I didn't have a class until mid-afternoon, so time was not an issue.</p> <p>Jon was led into the courtroom in shackles, his hands bound in front of him, his feet less tightly bound. He was wearing a bright orange one piece suit. As he moved I could see his hands and feet were wired to a metal saucer shaped connector that hung about his knees.</p> <p>He was deposited in a steel chair beside Bergmann.</p> <p>The judge, an old white haired guy, took his time reading a long list of charges, then leaned forward and said, "Mr. Fontaine, you have been charged with attempted genocide. How do you plead?"</p> <p>Jon stood up and said, "First, I want to fire my lawyer."</p> <p>There were gasps and excited comment throughout the room. The judge rapped his gavel for order. Bergmann smiled ruefully and shook his head. Then he stood and moved to a bench behind Jon.</p> <p>"Secondly, I want it known that what I did, I did for love of my country."</p> <p>"Mr. Fontaine, you may make a statement later if you wish. For now, will you respond to my question."</p> <p>"Why? The way I see it, it doesn't much matter what I say or do, because you are going to convict me anyway. So I might just as well tell you the truth. The west is doomed unless we can rid ourselves of the Asian menace."</p> <p>"Mr. Fontaine, you will confine yourself to responding to those matters put to you."</p> <p>"Why? Is it going to change anything? You're obviously not listening..."</p> <p>"The prisoner will be quiet."</p> <p>"Why? Are you afraid to hear what I have to say?"</p> <p>"Bailiff! Silence that man!"</p> <p>For a second the bailiff looked stunned. He wasn't sure what to do. Then a deputy leaned over and whispered in his ear. The bailiff nodded and the deputy moved quickly from the courtroom.</p> <p>Jon meanwhile, had taken the opportunity to deliver a lecture on Chinese injustices. "Did you know that during the chaos of the Hungry Years, the party selected the top 20% of Chinese society to survive and let the rest fend for themselves? There is today a huge chasm between these two groups --- the Party and the Fighters, as they call themselves."</p> <p>"Mr. Fontaine, will you please be quiet."</p> <p>"Why? You're going to..."</p> <p>The deputy came back into the courtroom with a big roll of duct tape.</p> <p>Jon caught sight of the deputy and momentarily fell silent.</p> <p>"The survival of the western world..."</p> <p>"Bailiff, if you would," directed the judge.</p> <p>The bailiff held Jon down by the shoulders and his deputy put tape across his mouth.</p> <p>"Okay, first there is the matter of representation," said the judge. "Mr. Bergmann do you intend to remain in court?"</p> <p>"Your honour, I have been retained by the defendant's brother and will remain to advise whoever the court appoints to represent the defendant."</p> <p>"Very well. Court will recess while I consider the matter of representation."</p> <p>I read several journals until, an hour and a half later, the trial resumed. A young fresh-faced advocate sat beside Jon. Bergmann remained on the bench behind them. Jon was still bound and gagged.</p> <p>The young advocate rose and said, "Your honour, my client refuses to speak with me, so I will plead innocent by default."</p> <p>The judge nodded and directed the prosecutor to proceed. He made a short speech of what he intended to prove and then called his first witness, Jack Connor.</p> <p>As soon as Connor approached the witness box, Jon started keening through his nose. It was quite loud and irritating.</p> <p>The judge sat back in exasperation. "Court is recessed until tomorrow."</p> <!-- =============================================================== --><hr /><p>Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor</p> <p>For further information, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_intro.html"> A Gentle Introduction</a>.</p> <p>If you want a copy, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_thedeal.html"> The Deal</a>.</p> <p>Last modified June 24, 2014</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/illconsidered" lang="" about="/author/illconsidered" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">illconsidered</a></span> <span>Sat, 06/28/2014 - 04:23</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/het" hreflang="en">HET</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby" hreflang="en">TBY</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cli-sci" hreflang="en">cli-sci</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/climate-change" hreflang="en">climate change</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/global-warming" hreflang="en">global warming</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/h-e-taylor" hreflang="en">h e taylor</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/science-fiction" hreflang="en">Science Fiction</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby-0" hreflang="en">tby</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/bottleneck-years" hreflang="en">the bottleneck years</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/illconsidered/2014/06/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-98%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Sat, 28 Jun 2014 08:23:28 +0000 illconsidered 41833 at https://scienceblogs.com The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 97 https://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/06/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-97 <span>The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 97</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h1 style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/fair-warning/">The Bottleneck Years</a></h1> <p></p><center>by <a href="http://www.hettaylor.ca" target="_blank">H.E. Taylor</a></center> <table border="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td align="left" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/06/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-96/">Chapter 96</a></td> <td align="center" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-table-of-contents/">Table of Contents</a></td> <td align="right" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/06/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-98/">Chapter 98</a></td> </tr></tbody></table><h3>Chapter 97</h3> <h3>The Trial, March 18, 2061</h3> <p>Although I had resolved never to expose Edie and Anna to Jon's vitriol since the first call, I didn't have a lot of choice when it came to the trial. Unfortunately, I had a class at the same time. By the time I got back to my office, it was over. The video transcript was not yet online, so I headed home.</p> <p>It was a warm day. As I walked along the lake, the trees were turning green. Birds were singing. Ducks splashed in the water. It was beautiful, but I rather dreaded what I might find when I got home.</p> <p>The house was quiet --- so quiet, I called out to see if anyone was there. Edie answered from the basement and I went down to see her.</p> <p>She was bent over in front of a fab, scowling at a listing of code on a padd.</p> <p>"What are you doing?"</p> <p>"I thought there was something wrong with this fab, so I ran this test piece off on another one, and it came out the same. It's the damned template and I don't see why." She shoved a piece of plasteel at me.</p> <p>It was a bar about 20 cm. long that could have been a part of several things. I took it and turned it end for end. "Okay, what am I supposed to see?"</p> <p>"See that wave?"</p> <p>"Yeah."</p> <p>"It's supposed to be straight."</p> <p>"Oh. Well good luck with that. Did you watch the trial?"</p> <p>"Yeah." She put the padd down and turned to me. "Not much happened."</p> <p>"What?"</p> <p>"Jon mouthed off at the judge. The judge declared a recess."</p> <p>"Ah."</p> <p>Edie looked at me closely. "How are you?"</p> <p>I shrugged. "Coping, I would say. Coping." I kissed her cheek. "I'm going to have a shower. Care to join me?"</p> <p>"I'd like to, but I'm supposed to have this damned thing ready this evening."</p> <p>"Have fun."</p> <p>I had my shower, then went up to the library and checked for the video transcript of the trial. It was, as Edie had said, over quickly. Jon was still ranting when the judge declared a recess until Monday.</p> <!-- =============================================================== --><hr /><p>Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor</p> <p>For further information, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_intro.html"> A Gentle Introduction</a>.</p> <p>If you want a copy, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_thedeal.html"> The Deal</a>.</p> <p>Last modified June 17, 2014</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/illconsidered" lang="" about="/author/illconsidered" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">illconsidered</a></span> <span>Thu, 06/19/2014 - 16:22</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/het" hreflang="en">HET</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby" hreflang="en">TBY</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cli-sci" hreflang="en">cli-sci</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/climate-change" hreflang="en">climate change</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/global-warming" hreflang="en">global warming</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/h-e-taylor" hreflang="en">h e taylor</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/science-fiction" hreflang="en">Science Fiction</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby-0" hreflang="en">tby</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/bottleneck-years" hreflang="en">the bottleneck years</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/illconsidered/2014/06/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-97%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Thu, 19 Jun 2014 20:22:29 +0000 illconsidered 41830 at https://scienceblogs.com The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 95 https://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/06/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-95 <span>The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 95</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h1 style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/fair-warning/">The Bottleneck Years</a></h1> <p></p><center>by <a href="http://www.hettaylor.ca" target="_blank">H.E. Taylor</a></center> <table border="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td align="left" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/05/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-94/">Chapter 94</a></td> <td align="center" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-table-of-contents/">Table of Contents</a></td> <td align="right" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/06/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-96/">Chapter 96</a></td> </tr></tbody></table><h3>Chapter 95</h3> <h3>Four Mouths, October 4, 2060</h3> <p>Having a baby in the house again was not at all the same as with Anna. This time I was not a curious bystander. I had duties. We took turns getting up at night, but sometimes I was slap-happy from lack of sleep,</p> <p>With Andrew taking so much of our attention, Anna's birthday was in danger of passing without making a ripple, so both Edie and I went out of our way to celebrate her day. Anna invited some friends from summer school. We had cake and ice cream and a crying baby. I gave Anna an illustrated book of Aesop's Fables. Edie gave her clothes. I think she had a good day.</p> <p>The first day of school for Anna rolled around. I walked the kilometer and a half with her the first day. She could have taken her bike, but we were warned during registration that bike theft was an ongoing problem.</p> <p>I felt a little strange when I recognized the teacher monitoring the arriving children. He was an old student of mine. Anna was a little startled, but pleased I think, when he spoke to me.</p> <p>"Good morning, Dr. Fontaine."</p> <p>Anna was looking back and forth between us. I kept my focus on her.</p> <p>"You go ahead now. Mr. Cartwright will see to it you are in the right room."</p> <p>I think it made the transition easier for her. The next day she declined my offer of walking with her again. She was going to meet a friend on the way.</p> <p>I didn't hear anything but good news until about a week later when Anna complained about one of the other girls.</p> <p>"She's mean. She pinches and pulls hair," Anna pouted.</p> <p>I wasn't sure it was time for some fatherly advice, but I decided to try. "As you get older, you are going to run into some people like that. Sometimes you can find out why they misbehave and stop it, but in the end you have to stand up for yourself."</p> <p>The next day when I got home, Edie informed me the school had phoned about Anna slapping another student. I asked Anna about it and she said, "I asked Ruth why she was mean to me and she just laughed. So I hit her."</p> <p>I never heard about Anna having any more trouble with Ruth.</p> <p>Friday of that week, when I got home, Edie met me at the door with "Rations have been reduced." I could see she was worried.</p> <p>First, I tried to be light. "I've been wondering how the tension with the AU would work out. I guess now we know."</p> <p>That didn't cut any ice. I gave her a hug and tried a different tack. Holding her close in my arms, I said, "You know I have been thinking that with another mouth to feed around here, we should expand the greenhouse. What do you think?"</p> <p>Edie looked at me and I could see her worry lines fade as she began to think about the greenhouse.</p> <p>"That's a good idea. I'll start making panes."</p> <p>"Oh no! Not the sludge in the storeroom again!"</p> <p>She laughed and kissed me on the nose.</p> <p>"Don't complain. It'll only be a week or so."</p> <p>I shrugged and kissed her back. "We'll make plans after supper."</p> <!-- =============================================================== --><hr /><p>Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor</p> <p>For further information, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_intro.html"> A Gentle Introduction</a>.</p> <p>If you want a copy, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_thedeal.html"> The Deal</a>.</p> <p>Last modified June 3, 2014</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/illconsidered" lang="" about="/author/illconsidered" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">illconsidered</a></span> <span>Fri, 06/06/2014 - 18:01</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/het" hreflang="en">HET</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby" hreflang="en">TBY</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cli-sci" hreflang="en">cli-sci</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/climate-change" hreflang="en">climate change</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/global-warming" hreflang="en">global warming</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/h-e-taylor" hreflang="en">h e taylor</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/science-fiction" hreflang="en">Science Fiction</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby-0" hreflang="en">tby</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/bottleneck-years" hreflang="en">the bottleneck years</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/illconsidered/2014/06/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-95%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Fri, 06 Jun 2014 22:01:21 +0000 illconsidered 41826 at https://scienceblogs.com The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 94 https://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/05/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-94 <span>The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 94</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h1 style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/fair-warning/">The Bottleneck Years</a></h1> <p></p><center>by <a href="http://www.hettaylor.ca" target="_blank">H.E. Taylor</a></center> <table border="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td align="left" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/05/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-93/">Chapter 93</a></td> <td align="center" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-table-of-contents/">Table of Contents</a></td> <td align="right" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/06/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-95/">Chapter 95</a></td> </tr></tbody></table><h3>Chapter 94</h3> <h3>Andrew, September 21, 2060</h3> <p>Edie woke me from a deep sleep.</p> <p>"Luc. It's time."</p> <p>It was 2:45 in the morning.</p> <p>We had planned for several possibilities. I called a cab, then I called our next door neighbour, Bessie Waters, to watch over Anna.</p> <p>We were just getting in the cab when Bessie came around the corner of the house. She stood by the foot of the back stairs and waved goodbye as the cab pulled out.</p> <p>"Did you leave the back door open?" asked Edie.</p> <p>"She has a key."</p> <p>Until this point, I had been going according to plan, but suddenly I realized I had run out of plan. I sat back in the seat and looked around. Everything seemed unusually bright and intense. Edie was breathing deeply. The cabbie was watching her in the rear view mirror. I reached over and took Edie's hand.</p> <p>When the cab pulled up to Admitting, Edie just got out and trundled up the walkway.</p> <p>The cabbie refused payment. "That's all right, Doc. The heaven express runs free. I'm just glad she didn't pop in the back seat."</p> <p>I thanked him and ran after Edie. I couldn't see her. The lights in Admitting were dimmed and nobody was there. I pushed through swinging doors to the lit corridor beyond and still didn't see Edie. A nurse sat at a station about 10 meters away.</p> <p>"Where did Edie go?" I asked.</p> <p>"Who?"</p> <p>"The pregnant woman."</p> <p>She waved me down the hall. "Keep going."</p> <p>I pushed through another set of swinging doors just as Edie was sitting down on a lowered gurney.</p> <p>"Luc," she held out her hand.</p> <p>Amy Johnson, an older nurse I knew from prenatal classes, smiled at me and said, "You'd better get changed." The deal was that fathers could be present in the delivery room, but they had to wash up and wear whites.</p> <p>I hurried to the change room and got ready. As I was approaching the delivery room all done up in my gown, I heard a baby cry. When I entered the room, Edie's face was radiant. Andrew was on her tummy.</p> <p>"He just squirted out!" said a nurse I didn't know.</p> <p>Edie was not phased in the least.</p> <p>"Andrew." She took my hand. "Oh my darling Andrew."</p> <!-- =============================================================== --><hr /><p>Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor</p> <p>For further information, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_intro.html"> A Gentle Introduction</a>.</p> <p>If you want a copy, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_thedeal.html"> The Deal</a>.</p> <p>Last modified May 27, 2014</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/illconsidered" lang="" about="/author/illconsidered" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">illconsidered</a></span> <span>Thu, 05/29/2014 - 04:59</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/het" hreflang="en">HET</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby" hreflang="en">TBY</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cli-sci" hreflang="en">cli-sci</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/climate-change" hreflang="en">climate change</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/global-warming" hreflang="en">global warming</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/h-e-taylor" hreflang="en">h e taylor</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/science-fiction" hreflang="en">Science Fiction</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby-0" hreflang="en">tby</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/bottleneck-years" hreflang="en">the bottleneck years</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/illconsidered/2014/05/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-94%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Thu, 29 May 2014 08:59:25 +0000 illconsidered 41824 at https://scienceblogs.com The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 92 https://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/05/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-92 <span>The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 92</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h1 style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/fair-warning/">The Bottleneck Years</a></h1> <p></p><center>by <a href="http://www.hettaylor.ca" target="_blank">H.E. Taylor</a></center> <table width="100%" border="0"><tbody><tr><td align="left" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/05/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-91/">Chapter 91</a></td> <td align="center" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-table-of-contents/">Table of Contents</a></td> <td align="right" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/05/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-93/">Chapter 93</a></td> </tr></tbody></table><h3>Chapter 92</h3> <h3>Ultraviolet, September 4, 2060</h3> <p>I came back from the Arctic to more news of meaningless deaths. While isolated in the North, it is easy to forget the numbing effect the constant drumbeat of tragedy has on a person. It catches me every time. A dike had burst in London and a major fire in the American west both claimed lives. The hurricane season was particularly bad. Australia, Japan and Florida got battered. Several thousand people died. It was an unending litany of suffering.</p> <p>What my father had foreseen as a heroic struggle was in fact a grim affair of unnatural disasters, hunger and privation. The energy that had flown me across the Arctic and back would run an irrigation pump for a season. How do you choose? Who chooses? And according to what principles? I am not party to the wisdom of Solomon, so I endeavour to do the best I can with what I have.</p> <p>It took me two days in the lab and a little bit of luck to discover what had caused the EF1 die off. I analyzed the soil and water samples expecting to find some contaminant, but they were disgustingly normal. In the absence of any lead, I began looking for influences through the atmosphere.</p> <p>There were no mines in the district. No one lived there but a handful of Dene. I pulled up satellite imagery and began to look for the green spot. In the most recent data, the greenness stood out. I began to look at older surveys. It was there in April. During the winter months, it was snow covered. It was there in October of 2059. In July, it was EF1 blue-grey. What had happened between July and October?</p> <p>I had been distracted by the Carillon sabotage then, so I began looking back through calendars and schedules --- the Nunavut Almanac. Nothing was happening on the ground. What about in space? I checked for launches around September, but they were all far to the South or the East. Nothing was happening in space.</p> <p>What else could have affected the atmosphere? What were Group 2 doing in the North, I wondered. Could they have done something to kill the EF1? Their UNGETF schedule hadn't been updated for two years.</p> <p>I didn't have access to their primary data. I needed to talk to someone in the Group. I looked over the list of names. There was a Dr. Leslie Durrell at Waterloo and I decide to give him a call.</p> <p>He turned out to be she, a disturbingly beautiful woman.</p> <p>"Hello Doctor. I am Luc Fontaine in Group 7."</p> <p>Her reply was noncommittal. "Yes." She started typing on a keyboard. I assumed she was checking my bona fides and paused while she read something on a screen.</p> <p>"What can I do for you Dr. Fontaine?"</p> <p>"I've run into an anomaly north of Great Bear, which you might be able to clarify." I brought up a satellite image of the green spot and sent it to her picture-in-picture.</p> <p>She appeared to be disturbed by the image. "Oh shit!" she declared and started typing again.</p> <p>Dr. Durrell opened a stream and sent me a list of releases in September. The green spot's latitude and longitude matched one on September 10th. I looked through the rest of the entry. "Chlorates? Fluorocarbons? What were you doing?"</p> <p>"We stumbled across a new ozone generation reaction and created a temporary ozone hole to test being able to close it."</p> <p>"An ozone hole?" The light bulb flashed.</p> <p>"Thank you Doctor. You've been very helpful." I could see she was a little surprised at my sudden leap as I signed off.</p> <p>Already the lab experiment was clear in my mind. 6 samples of EF1 with 5 levels of exposure and a control of none. 15 minute observations around the clock. I hurried to set it up.</p> <p>Within a week I had the results. Ultraviolet kills EF1. I wrote it up as a Letter and fired off copies to BarXiv, UNGETF and Dr. Durrell.</p> <!-- =============================================================== --><hr /><p>Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor</p> <p>For further information, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_intro.html"> A Gentle Introduction</a>.</p> <p>If you want a copy, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_thedeal.html"> The Deal</a>.</p> <p>Last modified May 13, 2014</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/illconsidered" lang="" about="/author/illconsidered" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">illconsidered</a></span> <span>Wed, 05/14/2014 - 05:03</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/het" hreflang="en">HET</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby" hreflang="en">TBY</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cli-sci" hreflang="en">cli-sci</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/climate-change" hreflang="en">climate change</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/global-warming" hreflang="en">global warming</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/h-e-taylor" hreflang="en">h e taylor</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/science-fiction" hreflang="en">Science Fiction</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby-0" hreflang="en">tby</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/bottleneck-years" hreflang="en">the bottleneck years</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/illconsidered/2014/05/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-92%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Wed, 14 May 2014 09:03:15 +0000 illconsidered 41819 at https://scienceblogs.com The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 91 https://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/05/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-91 <span>The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 91</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h1 style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/fair-warning/">The Bottleneck Years</a></h1> <p></p><center>by <a href="http://www.hettaylor.ca" target="_blank">H.E. Taylor</a></center> <table width="100%" border="0"><tbody><tr><td align="left" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/05/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-90/">Chapter 90</a></td> <td align="center" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-table-of-contents/">Table of Contents</a></td> <td align="right" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/05/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-92/">Chapter 92</a></td> </tr></tbody></table><h3>Chapter 91</h3> <h3>Second Tour, August 30, 2060</h3> <p>The second tour was supposed to be primarily photographic. No stopping for samples meant it would be shorter as well, only four or five weeks.</p> <p>I met my pilot in Churchill again. This time it was a taciturn fellow named Louis Lasseur. He flew the plane and kept his mouth shut. After listening to JJ go on and on about nothing for hours, I didn't mind in the least. I can live with no nonsense.</p> <p>We encountered the anomaly on the 13th day. It stood out like a sore thumb as we flew towards it. The ground was green, not the blue-grey of EF1. Something had killed the lichen in a large area.</p> <p>"We'd better take a closer look. If you see a lake, would you land?"</p> <p>I noticed Louis checking our location and fuel level. It was early afternoon. We had fuel and time. Louis assented with a nod.</p> <p>Ten minutes later, Louis said, "There." He pointed to a thin strip of silver on the horizon. Below the ground was still green.</p> <p>We swung down over the lake, a long thin runnel in a glaciated groove, scaring some ducks and geese with the engine's roar.</p> <p>Louis was worried about floating debris. "You never know what you might run into in those lakes. I've seen all kinds of things in the water --- boats, bodies, lumber."</p> <p>In spite of his worries, we landed without incident. Louis taxied over to the shore.</p> <p>I took off my boots and socks and rolled up my pantlegs to wade. The water was startlingly cold. My feet cramped immediately. I didn't waste any time getting to shore. As I sat on a big rock massaging my calf and foot. I noticed Louis laughing, no doubt at the silly, city professor.</p> <p>I wandered in circles looking for evidence of EF1. There were bits and pieces of the distinctive blue-grey material, but it was dead, being ovegrown by plants. The plants were low lying --- saxifrage, sphagnum and hardy grasses, with the odd dwarf spruce wrapped around rock outcroppings. I took samples here and there in a semicircle ranging half a kilometer from the lake. There were field mice, which meant there would be a predator ecology above them, likely foxes or wolves, perhaps raptors.</p> <p>I couldn't see any immediate reason why the EF1 would have died. I took soil and water samples as well because I really didn't have a clue what had happened.</p> <p>Removing my boots and socks again, I hurried through the water and climbed up on the pontoon and into the plane.</p> <p>I got a big grin out of Louis. "I wish you could have seen your face when you jumped in that water," he laughed.</p> <p>I dried my legs with an old cloth and kept my mouth shut.</p> <p>Twenty five kilometers ahead, the blue-grey of EF1 resumed. The rest of the tour unfolded as planned. I spent four weeks monitoring the video equipment in a cramped and uncomfortable space before we returned to Churchill.</p> <p>Edie was big as a house. She put up a brave front. She was strong and independent, but the way she hung on to me told a different story. It wasn't until Anna came down the hallway and ran to add her hugs that Edie let go. Her eyes were wet.</p> <p>"I'm so glad to see you," babbled Anna. "See my brother now." She was beaming. "And I have a new dollhouse, want to see?"</p> <p>I raised my eyebrows to Edie about that and she said, "Well, orders were light this month and I thought it would keep her distracted."</p> <p>I gave her a big kiss. "How are you? How are things? What does doc Mynarski say?"</p> <p>Edie laughed. "Oh, she thinks I'm pregnant."</p> <p>We sat in the front room talking until late afternoon. Anna had to tell me all about Gaian summer school and all the friends she made. Then she got into her dolls and her baby brother. Edie sat back with a grin a mile wide and just let her babble. I made supper and throughout the evening we just luxuriated in each other's company, punctuated by Edie's many trips to the bathroom.</p> <!-- =============================================================== --><hr /><p>Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor</p> <p>For further information, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_intro.html"> A Gentle Introduction</a>.</p> <p>If you want a copy, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_thedeal.html"> The Deal</a>.</p> <p>Last modified May 6, 2014</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/illconsidered" lang="" about="/author/illconsidered" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">illconsidered</a></span> <span>Thu, 05/08/2014 - 17:59</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/het" hreflang="en">HET</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby" hreflang="en">TBY</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cli-sci" hreflang="en">cli-sci</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/climate-change" hreflang="en">climate change</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/global-warming" hreflang="en">global warming</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/h-e-taylor" hreflang="en">h e taylor</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/science-fiction" hreflang="en">Science Fiction</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby-0" hreflang="en">tby</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/bottleneck-years" hreflang="en">the bottleneck years</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/illconsidered/2014/05/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-91%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Thu, 08 May 2014 21:59:27 +0000 illconsidered 41817 at https://scienceblogs.com The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 90 https://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/05/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-90 <span>The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 90</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h1 style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/fair-warning/">The Bottleneck Years</a></h1> <p></p><center>by <a href="http://www.hettaylor.ca" target="_blank">H.E. Taylor</a></center> <table width="100%" border="0"><tbody><tr><td align="left" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/04/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-89/">Chapter 89</a></td> <td align="center" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-table-of-contents/">Table of Contents</a></td> <td align="right" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/05/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-91/">Chapter 91</a></td> </tr></tbody></table><h3>Chapter 90</h3> <h3>Ecology 330 -- Extinction, July 7, 2060</h3> <p>I only had time for a few weeks of classes while I was back. The students were eager to hear of my exploits in the North and what I had learned about EF1. I related several tales and then brought them back to course content.</p> <p>"The subject of this lecture can be disturbing. When I first started to study the patterns of life on Earth, I several times found myself unnerved at contemplating extinction --- the deaths of so many life forms.</p> <p>"It is important to realize that the major pattern of life on Earth has been change. We humans get stuck in our ways and imagine that our cherished dreams will last forever. 'Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair,' the poet, Shelley said. But I say to you, 'Look on these species and do not despair, for all of life is a miracle of change.'</p> <p>"The extinction event I am sure you've all heard about is the demise of the dinosaurs. It makes a good starting point.</p> <p>"What do we know for certain? We are talking about events that transpired millions of years ago. How can we know what happened that far in the past?</p> <p>"The evidence we have is of two sorts. First, we have the information buried in rocks and fossils. In many regions of the world, in quarries, in mountain outcroppings, we see layers of sedimentary rock that have built up over millions of years. In these layers, we note the presence and the absence of various life forms.</p> <p>"The evidence results from many hours of painstaking work by paleontologists and geologists digging out fossils, dating layers by stratigraphy and radioisotopes, testing the concentrations of elements or the isotopes of elements.</p> <p>"Secondly, we have the information in the DNA we have inherited from the past. One of the unsung scientific achievements of the late twentieth century was demonstrating the unity of life. When scientists started unravelling the genomes of humans and other species, they discovered that many of our genes are shared. Humans have slightly different versions of many of the genes of other lifeforms. As recently as the nineteenth century many people, and indeed scientists, had imagined humans as apart, as somehow above the rest of the biosphere. Genetics showed us we are indissolubly linked.</p> <p>"During reproduction, DNA mutates at a steady rate. By taking the DNA of different species we can calculate an approximate time those species diverged. We can also see when certain genes emerged to handle specific problems. For example, the presence of high concentrations of oxygen in the atmosphere approximately 2.5 billion years ago is marked in the genome.</p> <p>"Now back to the original problem: the dinosaurs. For 100 million years, these gigantic reptilian creatures were the dominant form of life on Earth. Their fossils are found in many places. And then, something happened. What? In a relatively short time, they ceased to exist.</p> <p>"What could cause the deaths of so many life forms? The list of candidate hypotheses for extinction is long, including sea level change, a disruption of oceanic chemistry, climate change, massive volcanoes, asteroid impacts and other increasingly unlikely events such as a supernova in our astronomical neighbourhood.</p> <p>"The ocean calamity could be triggered by massive releases of methane, a depletion of oxygen in water called an anoxic event or by the generation of hydrogen sulfide from either biological or volcanic sources. Climate change could be triggered by many factors including changes in the Earth's orbit around the sun, continental movement, volcanism, greenhouse gases and our old friend, the asteroid. Perhaps the most extreme climate hypothesis is the Snowball Earth, which theorizes a planet covered by snow and ice from the poles to the equator. And if you think volcanoes are an unlikely culprit, check out the size of the Deccan Traps in India and the Siberian Traps in Russia.</p> <p>"These are the candidate hypotheses. There may be other possibilities as well, but how can we know what really happened?</p> <p>"In the case of the dinosaurs, the first solid evidence found was the anomalous presence of the element iridium in a reddish brown stripe between the layers of the Cretaceous and the Tertiary, commonly called the K-T boundary. The 'K' is from the German Kreidezeit to avoid confusing a 'C' with the Cambrian.</p> <p>The concentration of iridium in this stripe was 20 times higher than normally occuring in the layers above and below. The measurements were done by neutron activation analysis in which a mixed sample is briefly irradiated and the absorption of neutrons counted. It is very accurate. These measurments have been confirmed at many K-T sites around the world. Where did this extra iridium come from? It could have been carried by an asteroid. Later shocked quartz crystals typical of high velocity meteorite impacts were found at many of these same sites. It remained only to find the impact site, which, as I'm sure you know, turned out to be Chiczulub in the Yucutan peninsula.</p> <p>"The dinosaurs disappeared a mere 65 million years ago. When it comes to looking hundreds of millions years ago, the investigation is that much more difficult.</p> <p>"We need to put these queries in a proper context."</p> <p>I opened a wallscreen with my padd and put up a graphic of the solar system.</p> <p>"The Sun is about 5 billion years old.</p> <p>"The Earth is slightly younger, at perhaps 4.9 billion years.</p> <p>"Life on Earth started about 4.5 billion years ago, give or take a few hundred million years.</p> <p>"For the first 3.5 billion years or so, single celled animals ruled the roost. For the first 2.8 billion years, life was prokaryotic --- no nucleus, no organelles, no complex cytoplasm --- just cells walls around a loose agglomeration of DNA. Then for 700 million years, eukaryotic cells were the most complex form of life on earth. They were essentially the same all over the planet. By doing a genomic analysis of many different species of bacteria, we have discovered that as much as a quarter of their DNA had evolved 2.8 billion years ago. Remember that when you think about bacteria. They have had more than 4 billion years to figure out new tricks.</p> <p>"And then something miraculous happened: the Cambrian Explosion. Multicellular life forms blossomed on the Earth. Weird and wonderful life forms with body arrangements that seem bizarre to our eyes --- five eyes, dual spines, nose projections longer than the body --- animals that drove paleontologists into paroxysms of descriptive extravaganza --- Anomalocaris, Hallucinogenia, Marella Splendens --- flourished in wild abandon. Life differentiated into myriad forms. Your key term of reference here is the Burgess Shale. Within the space of a few million years, the precursors of every form of life on Earth came into being.</p> <p>"This is one of the great scientific mysteries of all time. Within these few millions of years, a biological engine of invention generated dozens of basic anatomical designs, dozens of phyla. Since that time, evolution has generated only variations on these existing themes. Why has there not been one new phylum since the Cambrian Explosion? Nobody knows, although there are a lot of theories.</p> <p>"The pattern we see is massive production of many disparate life forms, followed by decimation in extinction events and then the evolving specialization of the survivors.</p> <p>"It was also during this time that the patterns of macroecology first emerged. Specialization for geography began. Remember that prior to this time the planet was essentially one big petri dish covered by virtually identical single celled organisms. With differentiation, life began to complexify. Animals became larger. You had complex food webs forming. The succession of species began. And the extinction of species became a possibility.</p> <p>"Look at this geological timeline."</p> <p>On the wallscreen I put up a diagram with the Eons delineated.</p> <p>"The timeline is divided into Eons -- Hadean, Archean, Proterozoic and Phanerozoic.</p> <p>"The Eons are divided into Eras. For example the Phanerozoic is divided into the Paleozoic, the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic Eras.</p> <p>"The Eras are divided into Periods. For example, the Cenozoic is divided into the Paleogene and the Neogene Periods.</p> <p>"And the Periods are divided into Epochs. For example, the Neogene is divided into the Miocene, the Pliocene, the Pleistocene and the Holocene Epochs.</p> <p>"Now just to keep things interesting, this schema has mutated over the last 200 hundred years. In the older literature you have to be careful just which time an author intends. There have been new discoveries, improvements in techniques of measurement and name changes. It is not unusual to hear of the Tertiary and Quaternary for example. You will also hear of Ages, SuperEons and other demarkers. It can be confusing to the uninitiated because a given time can be correctly denoted in multiple ways. For example, we are currenly living in the Phanerozoic Eon, the Cenozoic Era, the Neogene Period and the Holocene Epoch, although some say that should now be the Anthropocene Epoch.</p> <p>"So why do I go over this stale outline?"</p> <p>I opened up the timeline to show all the Eons, Eras, Periods and Epochs.</p> <p>"Because the dividing lines between these times are cataclysmic changes, often extinctions. As you can see, there have been a lot of them. In the entire history of the Earth some 30 billion species have existed. The average age of a species works out to be about 4 million years. It is correct, although a little melodramatic to say, that 99.5% of all species that ever existed are extinct."</p> <p>I put up a diagram of the extinction rate in the Phanerozoic.</p> <p>"There are five major extinction events recorded in the Phanerozoic, which you can see here as bumps in the extinction rate. I will just go over these quickly, as they are detailed in your readings.</p> <p>"The first extinction event was the Ordovician-Silurian about 440 to 450 million years ago, which killed off 60% of marine invertebrates.</p> <p>"The next extinction event was the Late Devonian about 360 to 375 million years ago, which killed off about 70% of all species</p> <p>"Then we have the biggie. The Permian-Triassic extinction event 251 million years ago killed off about 96% of all marine species and about 70% of land species. This event has the unofficial moniker of the Great Dying.</p> <p>"The fourth extinction event was the Triassic-Jurassic about 205 million years ago, which killed off about 50% of species.</p> <p>"And then we have the demise of the dinosaurs in the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event about 70 to 65 million years ago. During this event about 75% of species went extinct.</p> <p>"Finally we have what some are calling the Sixth Extinction. That is the current extinction event triggered by humanity. The International Union of Conservationists tells us that 35% of all mammals, 27% of all birds, 45% of all fishes and 57% of all reptiles are either endangered or critically endangered. Some survive only in zoos. You can see for yourself how the Sixth Extinction stacks up against the previous Five.</p> <p>"These extinction events prune the tree of life and change the game for the survivors. And that is what I would like you to consider: What kind of a world will the Sixth Extinction leave for us to face?</p> <p>"Okay, that is enough. I'd like 2500 words on the extinction event of your choice in two weeks time. See you next Monday."</p> <!-- =============================================================== --><hr /><p>Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor</p> <p>For further information, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_intro.html"> A Gentle Introduction</a>.</p> <p>If you want a copy, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_thedeal.html"> The Deal</a>.</p> <p>Last modified April 29, 2014</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/illconsidered" lang="" about="/author/illconsidered" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">illconsidered</a></span> <span>Thu, 05/01/2014 - 04:10</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/het" hreflang="en">HET</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby" hreflang="en">TBY</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cli-sci" hreflang="en">cli-sci</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/climate-change" hreflang="en">climate change</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/global-warming" hreflang="en">global warming</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/h-e-taylor" hreflang="en">h e taylor</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/science-fiction" hreflang="en">Science Fiction</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby-0" hreflang="en">tby</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/bottleneck-years" hreflang="en">the bottleneck years</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Categories</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/channel/life-sciences" hreflang="en">Life Sciences</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1599195" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1398946647"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>why, i ask, did just specific species die out at the KT?</p> <p>Crocodiles, alligators, birds, tuatara, snakes, ....</p> <p>all survived?</p> <p>how?</p> <p>and why not their fellows at the time?</p> <p>my theory is that at the KT dinosaurs had for more than 100 million years got away with incubating their eggs in ambient temperatures</p> <p>birds hid their eggs under themselves and by luck their feathers were sufficient also to insulate them</p> <p>same with egg-burying reptiles - who buried them not to incubate them but to hide them from dinosaurs</p> <p>in fact those that survived, like mammals, had evolved progeny protecting tactics that by a fluke of meteoric luck enabled them to survive while dinosaur eggs lay about in huge numbers never to hatch quite simply because the ambient temperature changed by just enough - a mere few degrees but enough to be outside their viable range of incubation</p> <p>hence now no dinosaurs</p> <p>though i do note that quite a few species survived well beyond the KY in places like the Gobi</p> <p>but by them competitors had exploded from the bottleneck to outperform them (eating their in-the-open eggs)</p> <p>p</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1599195&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="dXjpYkw_qElttotZdUpY07Okjk-X2oPHZlEk4pSQGMo"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">The Peak Oil Poet (not verified)</span> on 01 May 2014 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/11400/feed#comment-1599195">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1599196" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1398990755"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I agree, mass extinction seems to be a natural process. I think that the sixth mass extinction may be the extinction of the human race. This process, however, may be accelerated due to pollution, global warming etc and man's ignorance of the warning signs. As for the dinosaurs, I'd love to know what really happened to them.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1599196&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="gzumG_QkVbxBhfloTMXpe6c1uO7LkXLR8dj9KCIka8w"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Alvira Prakash (not verified)</span> on 01 May 2014 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/11400/feed#comment-1599196">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1599197" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1399090727"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>That's an interesting theory.<br /> I think this could also have something to do with altricial and precocial species.<br /> Were dinosaurs young altricial or precocial?<br /> They might have been altricial in which case they would have been nest bound and required parental care. With a change in climate and other predators fewer young dinosaurs would have survived.<br /> Extinction could have taken place over a period of time and not a sudden event.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1599197&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="HXdMdoEN2rHhJ0jSkCIcM_-zqgk80SlGZTuClAplcR8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Alvira Prakash (not verified)</span> on 03 May 2014 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/11400/feed#comment-1599197">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1599198" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1399139957"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I agree that the Sixth mass extinction would be that of the human race, however this would be a unique case of extinction for this will be the first time that the species that is being threatened (human race) would be the cause of their own extinction. This process of our self-destruction is already noticeable as we are eliminating our essential source of nutrition and supply of oxygen: our animals and our plants- together eliminating ourselves without these sources. I always assumed that the extinction of the dinosaurs was a quick process, but I believe that this sixth mass extinction is indeed a slow process- hopefully a time wherein man can realise his ignorance and act upon the warning signs</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1599198&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="H6qFFJi9rgosUh8dGrqWupWnstF-cC_06V15hzQthHk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Chanel Brits (not verified)</span> on 03 May 2014 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/11400/feed#comment-1599198">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1599199" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1399255317"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Humans are also increasing the rate of extinctions of various species. Estimates show that we may lose approximately two thirds of species by the end of the 21st century. This is shocking!<br /> The previous 5 mass extinctions were probably caused by natural phenomena, while extinctions today are greatly influenced by man.<br /> Lastly, along with extinctions, new species are being discovered regularly.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1599199&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="vP9IItjR0IeoSDtrBEbRejOlbRJs74PR0g8bjrybS5o"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Alvira Prakash (not verified)</span> on 04 May 2014 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/11400/feed#comment-1599199">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1599200" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1399363647"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I feel that mass extinction seems to be a natural process and that next possible mass extinction will be either the human race of the animal roaming the earth at this every moment!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1599200&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="P8SoqunDaap1zYwh6Wlh2uj09EZs8wCUBplJ6EpwfbI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Karel Jacobs (not verified)</span> on 06 May 2014 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/11400/feed#comment-1599200">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/illconsidered/2014/05/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-90%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Thu, 01 May 2014 08:10:14 +0000 illconsidered 41814 at https://scienceblogs.com The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 89 https://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/04/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-89 <span>The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 89</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h1 style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/fair-warning/">The Bottleneck Years</a></h1> <p></p><center>by <a href="http://www.hettaylor.ca" target="_blank">H.E. Taylor</a></center> <table width="100%" border="0"><tbody><tr><td align="left" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/04/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-88/">Chapter 88</a></td> <td align="center" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-table-of-contents/">Table of Contents</a></td> <td align="right" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/05/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-90/">Chapter 90</a></td> </tr></tbody></table><h3>Chapter 89</h3> <h3>The Beating, June 24, 2060</h3> <p>I hadn't spoken to Jon for 7 weeks. Quite frankly, I wasn't looking forward to it. I didn't know what his long term reaction would be to my asking about Mai Ling, but I suspected it wouldn't be good.</p> <p>I called Haverfield at the designated time and was informed that Jon was in hospital. They wouldn't say why.</p> <p>I called Bergmann, but he wasn't in his office and I didn't have a personal number. I left a message and began to prepare for the last class of the day, an introduction to Liebig's Law of the Minimum in Ecology 110.</p> <p>Pete Wilson, who was tag-teaming the course with me, dropped in and we chatted about the students and my trip North. He had a paper coming out on the ecological aspects of globalization and deglobalization which he wanted to talk about also. Mostly I think he wanted to reassure himself that I really was going to cover the class.</p> <p>I wandered into the lecture hall doing a good imitation of the absent minded professor and things went downhill from there. Somehow nothing worked right. The wall screen was pale and looked terrible. The microbug display needed refreshing. I forgot to introduce the issue of trade until a student asked. And so it went. I muddled through.</p> <p>By the time I was nearing home, I still hadn't heard from Bergmann and I was starting to worry. What the hell was going on down east?</p> <p>Edie was tired. She said she was at the stage when everything hurt, and tried to laugh it off. I kissed her on the nose, shooed her out of the kitchen and finished preparing a lovely summer meal -- wok vegetables with a bit of chicken and noodles on the side.</p> <p>Bergmann called after supper. I took the call in the library and shut the door. He apologized for his tardiness. "I got caught in a lockdown and they were jamming all signals. I didn't even know you had called until I was released half an hour ago."</p> <p>I sympathized at the inconvenience, but didn't really care. I wanted to know about Jon. "What happened to Jon?"</p> <p>"He was assaulted. He has been in isolation, but apparently it happened in the exercise yard. It took a couple of minutes for the guards to secure the area. His attackers did a lot of damage. He might lose an eye."</p> <p>"How long ago?"</p> <p>"Ten days ago."</p> <p>"Ten days! And he's still in hospital!"</p> <p>"He was beaten up pretty badly. He has a broken arm, that damaged eye, partial loss of hearing in the left ear and multiple contusions."</p> <p>"Can I talk to him?"</p> <p>"Not for some time. The officials are suddenly being very cagey, being sticklers for every rule and making up new ones to suit their agenda which seems to be to keep him as isolated as possible."</p> <p>"Are they torturing him?"</p> <p>"I don't think so, but I couldn't swear to it."</p> <p>I paused for a second not sure what else to ask him. "Well, thanks for your efforts."</p> <p>He looked at me and grinned. "Oh don't worry. You'll get my bill."</p> <!-- =============================================================== --><hr /><p>Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor</p> <p>For further information, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_intro.html"> A Gentle Introduction</a>.</p> <p>If you want a copy, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_thedeal.html"> The Deal</a>.</p> <p>Last modified April 22, 2014</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/illconsidered" lang="" about="/author/illconsidered" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">illconsidered</a></span> <span>Thu, 04/24/2014 - 17:59</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/het" hreflang="en">HET</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby" hreflang="en">TBY</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cli-sci" hreflang="en">cli-sci</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/climate-chnge" hreflang="en">climate chnge</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/global-warming" hreflang="en">global warming</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/h-e-taylor" hreflang="en">h e taylor</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/science-fiction" hreflang="en">Science Fiction</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby-0" hreflang="en">tby</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/bottleneck-years" hreflang="en">the bottleneck years</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/illconsidered/2014/04/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-89%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 21:59:52 +0000 illconsidered 41811 at https://scienceblogs.com The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 88 https://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/04/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-88 <span>The Bottleneck Years by H.E.Taylor - Chapter 88</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h1 style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/fair-warning/">The Bottleneck Years</a></h1> <p></p><center>by <a href="http://www.hettaylor.ca" target="_blank">H.E. Taylor</a></center> <table width="100%" border="0"><tbody><tr><td align="left" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/04/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-87/">Chapter 87</a></td> <td align="center" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2012/08/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-table-of-contents/">Table of Contents</a></td> <td align="right" width="33%"><a href="http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2014/04/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-89/">Chapter 89</a></td> </tr></tbody></table><h3>Chapter 88</h3> <h3>Going North, June 15, 2060</h3> <p>I was worried about going North and leaving Edie alone while she was pregnant.</p> <p>She had another opinion. "Don't be silly. I'm a big girl, Luc." She took my hand and held it to her barely showing stomach. "I can take care of myself, besides I have Anna and my friends to protect me. You go and do what you have to do."</p> <p>She had that look about her. I knew it would be no use arguing. We compromised by arranging for Mark, the share-crop gardener, to check in when he did the garden.</p> <p>"Besides, Mark is quite handsome." She gave me a sly look.</p> <p>"Why you little minx!" We wrestled on the floor, tickling each other.</p> <p>We were snuggling in a happy heap when Anna brought me up short with a question. "What is a minx?"</p> <p>I was a little stunned. "What?"</p> <p>Anna read my surprise and elaborated. "You called mommy a little minx. What is that?"</p> <p>Edie laughed and made a strategic retreat to the bathroom.</p> <p>"Well," I started...</p> <p>I left to do my first survey tour the last week of April. By then the melt was well under way across the North. In an odd echo of my father's travels through the region, I was granted a beat-up old Beaver float plane and an equally beat-up old pilot named Johnny Joyce, who everybody called JJ.</p> <p>JJ was one of those old alcoholics who had an engaging repertoire of expressions and sayings that were charming for an hour or two and then began to grate.</p> <p>He picked me up at the railhead in Churchill and we flew North along the Bay and then NorthWest. I needed to document EF1 growth along the advancing tree line.</p> <p>Being stuck in a small confined area with JJ could have been onerous, but I spent most of my time on the recording equipment, so I could do a comparison after the next tour. Every once in a while, JJ would come out with a new line.</p> <p>"Well Jesus H. Jumpin' Kee-rist on a rocket assisted pogo stick! Will you look at that!" He pointed through the cockpit window and I came forward to look see.</p> <p>A greenish-grey circle a kilometer wide covered a lake and extended up a waterway towards a mining complex. An elevator superstructure over the shaft towered over a small village of huts and shacks. I was reminded of Rio Triste. It had the same 'thrown together for temporary exploitation' feel to it. I checked our location by Galileo.</p> <p>"Kierens lake," I said. "That must be the GE bacteria designed to clean up their taillings."</p> <p>"Ghod's bother! What an abomination!" he declared.</p> <p>"It might look funny, but it's better than poisoning the land with arsenic."</p> <p>"Gghhaaa!" JJ made a guttural expression of disgust and swung the plane away from the scene.</p> <p>I went back to recording our flight path.</p> <p>For the next six weeks, we flew zig zag across the North measuring and recording, landing every once in a while.</p> <p>We zagged south to Yellowknife so I could visit the forester Drew Matheson and then kept heading West.</p> <p>In Fort McPherson, we had to wait for fuel. There was some problem or other down South. I didn't get the whole story, but there was no fuel and we had to wait.</p> <p>JJ took the opportunity to get tanked himself. I didn't get the whole story about that either, but two days later at 7 in the morning, he was delivered to my trailer beside the airport by two officers.</p> <p>JJ's face was cut and bruised. He smelled like he had pissed himself. After a quick shower -- the water was none too hot -- he passed out and slept until mid afternoon.</p> <p>A day later, we were in the air and flying East towards Churchill again. I was glad the trip was ending.</p> <p>Edie was in the kitchen when I stepped in the back door. Now she was definitely showing. When she heard my voice, Anna came running and threw herself at me.</p> <p>"Look at my little brother!" she exclaimed, tugging me towards Edie. "See how he is growing."</p> <p>I let her put my hand on Edie's tummy, then Edie and I fell into a long hug.</p> <p>"I'm so glad to see you," she breathed.</p> <p>"I'm glad to be home, believe me!"</p> <p>"I'm glad you're home, too," said Anna distinctly. "There is something we have to discuss."</p> <p>I looked down at her in some surprise. "Oh yes? And what would that be?"</p> <p>"School."</p> <p>"What about it?" I asked, a little amused at the tone of her voice. She had obviously been watching some British video.</p> <p>"Mom won't let me go." Anna pointed an accusing finger.</p> <p>I frowned. "I thought we had agreed," I said.</p> <p>"We did." said Edie quickly, "...agree on kindergarten."</p> <p>"But I want to go to school this summer," said Anna.</p> <p>"The Gaian school," said Edie.</p> <p>I looked at Edie. "Gaian school?"</p> <p>"The assembly has put together a summer school for underage children."</p> <p>"So what's the problem?"</p> <p>"No problem. I just wanted to talk to you about it before I said anything."</p> <p>I reached down and picked up Anna, sitting her on my arm. "Oh, you are getting too big for me to heave around anymore." We rubbed noses. "Your mother and I will talk about this and let you know."</p> <p>She was not happy, but she didn't complain.</p> <!-- =============================================================== --><hr /><p>Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor</p> <p>For further information, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_intro.html"> A Gentle Introduction</a>.</p> <p>If you want a copy, see<br /><a href="http://www.hetaylor.ca/writing/tbyears/tby_thedeal.html"> The Deal</a>.</p> <p>Last modified April 15, 2014</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/illconsidered" lang="" about="/author/illconsidered" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">illconsidered</a></span> <span>Fri, 04/18/2014 - 07:59</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/het" hreflang="en">HET</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby" hreflang="en">TBY</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cli-sci" hreflang="en">cli-sci</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/climate-change" hreflang="en">climate change</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/global-warming" hreflang="en">global warming</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/h-e-taylor" hreflang="en">h e taylor</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/science-fiction" hreflang="en">Science Fiction</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tby-0" hreflang="en">tby</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/bottleneck-years" hreflang="en">the bottleneck years</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/illconsidered/2014/04/the-bottleneck-years-by-h-e-taylor-chapter-88%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:59:50 +0000 illconsidered 41809 at https://scienceblogs.com