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Letters from Downunder

A Bit of Fearful Trembling

Submitted by Lindsay, Melbourne Australia!

Let me remind you what the wary fox once said upon a time to the sick lion:
ĎBecause those footprints scare me, all directed your way, none coming backí
(Horace, Epistles book 1, abt. 10 BC)

(4/11) The world is simply out of balance.

No, I donít mean morally or politically Ė although they come into it Ė I mean physically. A relatively new development allows anyone to determine this for themselves. Google up Google Earth. This incredible piece of space journeying technology shows what we here in Australia have long suspected: Thereís too much stuff north of the equator.

Have a look at the earth at night, either on G. Earth or the NASA composite, and as you rotate the image youíll see the north is all lit up and the south hardly at all. In the north, even the bits that shine sparsely have enormous populations, outback China being an example. And then thereís the Himalayas. My goodness, theyíre big. They weigh far more that all our mountains put together. And the dams, those enormous manmade water storage areas, constructed just so the enormous populations can survive.

Apart from that, thereís simply more land. If you add up whatís up, then subtract whatís down, you will see that thereís a 20% imbalance in land area alone. That means thereís a similar imbalance in mass between southern and northern, which, when coupled with the huge population difference, means the poor old earth is top heavy.

Of course the earth is far bigger than we realize, and is not easily perturbed by such things as piddling little differences in north/south mass differences. Or is it?

It turns out that this difference has had a cumulative effect over the centuries, and what was once a minor vibration has now developed into a measurable shake. It is this shake that is causing the current problems.

OK, Antarctic ice sheets. They are not melting, they are being shaken loose. If you go there, put your hand on a glacier. You can actually feel the vibrations. Donít leave it there long, you may get stuck to it.

A warmer atmosphere. Not due to CO2, but the extra heat that is being shaken out of the core. Donít believe it? You try shaking a bucket of burning coals and see if the bucket doesnít get hotter.

Earthquakes? Poor Christchurch in New Zealand. Thereís a weakness that runs beneath that city. Itís called a fault line. A weak spot. Start shaking a globe, and the weak spots are the first to go. And thereís a few of these around. Good morning, San Andreas, I think Horace had you in mind as the sick lion. (See the quote at the heading) Hi there, Baja California, thinking of slipping away to a quiet place in the pacific? Thought you were going to break it up ages ago. Or Mt St. Helens. Hereís your chance to vent again.

Crazy weather? That extra core heat has to go somewhere. The atmosphere is the logical place. If you were the atmosphere, what would you do? Yes, youíd go crazy too.

Then thereís the social consequences. Heat from the earthís mantle is escaping faster than before, thanks to our quivering earth. We used to believe that the heat felt by government was a figure of speech. Not so. Itís literal, and those poor representatives canít sit still long enough to formulate even a half-baked policy, let alone get the quiet time needed to consider the long term effects of their decisions. Feverish in mind and body, too busy to consider this unbelievable excuse.

But then so is the average city dweller. Hot, baby, hot, is the cry not only of the frenetic, but anyone aiming to survive. The earth gets hotter, and it spreads as contagion. Egyptians know it. Algerians, Moroccans, all are suffering the effects. Revolting, isnít it? The outcome, that is. Africa, Mexico, The Kashmir are inflamed. Even international trade has succumbed. Why else would China be making so much money and the USA so little? There can only be one explanation, the vibrations have loosened the Chinese inscrutability and done a differentiation on American debt. After all, Enron knew the heat was on. So did the sub-prime lenders. Iceland, Greece, Ireland Spain and others all found out just how hot it was. So Chinaís cool, even though itís part of the problem.

Is there an answer, I hear you cry?

Of course there is. If about 30% of the population of North America came to the southern hemisphere the planet would gradually stop shaking, things would settle down, and we could all breathe a sigh of relief. It all began with global migrations. They just didnít go far enough. And they didnít stop the politicians from going with them, so please bar those folk from leaving. We have enough problems as it is. See you soon.

Happy April 1, and donít get too hot under the collar. Please.

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Read Past Down Under Columns by Lindsay Coker