The NULL Solution = Episode 157

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The NULL Solution = Episode 157

…Gus McKinney’s sole luxury comes in the form of a vehicle license tag: SOLx3…

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Key to the City

Houston Texas has always been a NASA town. Back in its heyday, the Johnson Space Center was the centerpiece of space aeronautics. Even after critical operations shifted east to Oskaloosa and Lovell S C, and south to Galveston and GLF, never once have they surrendered the nickname of “Space City”.

Thanks to the inland seaport and nearby wide-open spaces, Houston has overtaken Chicago as the 3rd most populated city, as well as metropolitan area in the United States. They are big on bragging rights, particularly when it comes to space heroes.

If he had a case of the druthers, Gus McKinney could have easily given up his pressure-suit for politics. He believes he is too young for that old man’s occupation. But that does not mean he has bought a single meal or beverage while out & about in Texas for THE LAST 20 YEARS.

His appearance on Good Morning Mission Control blew up the Internet for 2 hours. Gus McKinney EVA Action Figure is the most popular Christmas gift for the years 2050 – 52. To his credit, he has repeatedly turned down reality television producers, who would kill for the opportunity to spend quality camera time out at King Ranch. His sole luxury comes in the form of a vehicle license tag: SOLx3. Anonymity goes out the window {at the speed-of-light} when he goes to 7 Eleven for a Slurpee. He does not pay for those either.

He will need all that plus a sawbuck if he wants to be in the mix concerning the coming of Collapsar Axis. Roy Crippen compares confronting it to “shooting spit wads @ the moon”. The decision has been set in stone. The only volleys being lobbed at the Ÿ€Ð menace are “friendlies”, reinforcing the image of a peaceful people who would never consider taking an offensive posture… except the one time when our hero squeezed-off a warning disruptor blast at a single Ÿ€Ð cruiser, back when Terran folks were a bit jumpy about the Lorgan issue.

Hopefully the “invaders” have a short memory.

At least the United States has backed away from the literal ledge, that the rest of the world is about to jump off of. At various times in history, the fact that the Americas are an island unto themselves is quite convenient. The European Union head is connected to Eastern Bloc neck bone, the neck bone is connected to the Russian backbone and the backbone is connected to the Asian tailbone and the Tailbone is connected to the kangaroo bone.

Editorial comment: No bone is connected to the African bone… where disease still spreads faster than the news.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 157


page 153

Doctor Livingstone I Presume? – WABAC to Rugged Africa

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"Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“I’ll be Stanley and you be Livingstone.”
“But my name in Sherman.”
“I know.”

March 21, 1871: Stanley

Begins Famous Trek

to Find Livingstone

 stanleyandlivingstone

A Man on a mission

On March 21, 1871, New York Herald journalist Henry Morton Stanley set off on his famous African expedition to find missionary and explorer David Livingstone who had not been heard from in years.  When the pair finally met, Stanley uttered his famous quote, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”



Into Africa…

Livingstone was a Scotsman of humble origins.  His thirst for knowledge led him to study medicine and religion as well as the natural sciences.  He became a missionary and explorer, going to places largely unknown to Europeans such as Africa and “discovering” and “naming” the Victoria Falls there.  Although lauded for his discoveries, he certainly was not much of a family man, having virtually traded his family for his African adventures.  After his wife died of Malaria in 1862 trying to follow him to Africa, Livingstone’s adventures eventually brought him into a series of misadventures that put him out of contact with civilization and in dire straits, facing danger, disease and starvation.

Stanley was a Welshman who had changed his name from John Rowlands upon moving to the United States.  Interestingly, during the American Civil War, Stanley served in the Confederate Army, the Union Army and the Union Navy before ending up in the Merchant Marine!  After the war he became a journalist, which put him on course to making his famous expedition.

Like Livingstone, Stanley was beset by thefts, desertions, disease and hunger but, unlike Livingstone, was reportedly harsh in his treatment of hired natives.  It was said that, “Stanley shoots Negroes as if they were monkeys.”

The tropical environment (Rift Lake area) explored by these two men was harsh indeed, with dangerous animals, brutal slave traders, duplicitous natives and incessant disease-carrying insects.  Still, their discoveries and reports shed considerable light on “Dark Africa” that Europeans had previously known little about.

After their famous meeting, Livingstone stayed in Africa despite Stanley’s urgings to return with him to civilization.  He died aged 60 in what is now Zambia in 1873, probably of dysentery and malaria, having been left weakened after being mauled by a lion years before and by disease.  Numerous streets, buildings, geographical features and places bear Livingstone’s name.

Stanley returned to a hero’s welcome and became quite a celebrity, writing books about his adventures.  Stanley did not stay out of Africa for long and in 1874, went to the Congo and later claimed it for the King of Belgium.  Another African expedition cast Stanley in a poorer light when the cruelty of his fellow Europeans was reported which included the “gift” of an 11-year-old girl to cannibals in order to document the killing and cooking procedures they followed!  (Supposedly Stanley did not know of this until afterwards.)

In relatively recent music, Livingstone and his adventures have been sung about by the Moody Blues and Abba (see below).

Doctor Livingstone I Presume?

– WABAC to Rugged Africa

 

A Fish Story on 12/23

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December 23, 1938: Dinosaur Fish Found

December-23,-1938--Dinosaur-Fish-Found

A Brief History

On December 23, 1938, a commercial fisherman pulled in a “living fossil” in his net off the coast of Africa, a creature believed to be extinct since the time of the dinosaurs!


Digging Deeper

Digging deeper, we find the first known discovery of the Coelacanth, a prehistoric fish believed to be a link between fish and 4 legged animals and the second oldest living species of common animals!

Previously thought to exist from 360 million to perhaps 60 million years ago, the Coelacanth is a primitive looking fish, with pectoral and pelvic fins located at the ends of lobes that look like the beginning of limbs, somewhat like the lungfish of today.  They are also heavily armored with tough scales and have a notochord instead of a backbone, like other prehistoric type fish such as sharks and sturgeons.  They also possess a lung-like organ, and have a braincase 98.5% filled with fat!  Coelacanths reach as much as 6 feet in length and can weigh over 100 pounds.

Coelacanths are found in deep water or hiding in caves during the day, coming out at night into shallower water to feed on live prey.  After the initial discovery, more specimens of the same apparent species have been found, and in 1998 a second species was caught in the area of Indonesia.  Along with these 2 living species, another 80 extinct species once swam the seas.  The 2 species we have today are considered threatened, and although not eaten by people (they taste terrible) they are accidentally caught by trawling nets.

Along with other fantastic ocean creatures recently discovered, such as the Mega-Mouth Shark and the Colossal Squid, the Coelacanth makes us wonder what other spectacular or thought to be extinct creatures wait to be found!

A Fish Story