The NULL Solution = Episode 160

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The NULL Solution = Episode 160

…Left to his own devices, Gus McKinney would have dispensed his own form of justice {in his dreams}…

After the explosion, Secret Service agents spring into action, the ones not injured by the blast that is.

There is a former President in there. Roy Crippen and Francine sustain cuts to their exposed skin, as does just about everyone in the scope of the blast.

That Jewish deli will not be opening anytime soon. The innocent Korean couple living above it is not so lucky.

Ambulance types flood into the area to help with bricks in the head, shards of rubble in eyes and disgust in their heart. America sick and tired of cowardly bombers who care not about innocent lives lost.

Prez Roy and Gus M. do what they do. They roll up their sleeves to aid the aiders, without respect to their own safety. In the continuing “Video Age”, it takes approximately 3 minutes to discover the source of the bomb.

Gus joins the S.W.A.T. squad rushing into 1010 9th Street, the corner building bordering 5th Ave. He takes the side stairs, hoping to block any exit stage left. Bingo! The visiting space hero becomes an immediate everyday hero. Two frantic foreign types, scrambling down to the ground level meet the end of their wayward projectile.

“Do you guys have something against peaceful gatherings?” He grabs Fadl’s cousin, flinging him with bad intent.

Roy and the others catch up to the scene, “Don’t kill them Gus!” The world needs Gus McKinney more than ever. “We can’t lose you to an assault or murder charge.”

Left to his own devices, he would have dispensed his own form of justice. The death of Fatima Fitch is fresh on his mind, but petty revenge is not the way to go.

His family is safe for now.

When the smoke has cleared, nary one of those concerned is free of bloodstained clothing. Young Marscie was atop her daddy’s shoulders sixty yards from ground zero. Her scars will be emotional. Today’s explosion aside, Fatima was like an aunty to her. She can still hear the thud that killed her, the shaking ground that preceded the bad news.

Ringed by security, they huddle together, grateful for having dodged disaster.

“Let’s get packed for Boston,” Gus insists, “we are not going to let this incident stop us. If we go home, THEY win.”

Boston is waiting. They have experience with domestic bombings. Bean Town wants to show the McKinneys a grand time. Bomb-making troublemakers beware.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 160


page 156

The NULL Solution = Episode 158

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The NULL Solution = Episode 158

…To many, the Space Family McKinney represents an unnecessary capital drain on world economic equality…

America Going Down the Drain by Michael Allen Langshaw

Gus, Mindy and Marscie McKinney have been enlisted for a USO-style whirlwind tour of North America. It is just what the doctor ordered for a society still reeling and healing from alien-induced hysteria. Each and every of the designated stops relishes a visit from a model American family; an occasion with a royalty aura. It is a refreshing break from the customary military fervor.

But haters rarely let go of their hate. Space haters view NASA as a waste of money, money that should provide every manner of service and benefit for those who do nothing for themselves. Such groups are spawned in metropolitan city centers {with the exception of Houston}, whose under-educated population is overtly entitled.

New York City, for example, is a Big Apple that has become rotten to its core. As melting icecaps have raised ocean levels, low-lying residents are forced inland, the pockets of disenfranchised malcontents becomes more concentrated. The Democratic Party, which has aligned itself with the poorest demographic, continues to promise subsidized prosperity, without the revenue to make it feasible.

To many, the Space Family McKinney represents an unnecessary capital drain on world economic equality.

Nevertheless they come. With Gus in his spacesuit and Mindy with her best hat, the McKinneys settle in for an extended NYC rally.

Tickertape is hard to come by these days, with confetti shredded out of garbage taking its place. Paper itself is pretty rare, as is the need for file cabinets. The digital age has taken root. The only tangible paper trail is a person’s death certificate. What a lovely thought.

Confetti showers down on the open top limousine carrying the Earthly McKinney contingent. Marscie’s arms threaten to fall off due to her wholehearted waving. “This beats the boring ranch with a stick!” She is having the time of her life and she loves the celebrity status that she will enjoy at her elementary school, when she gets back to class.

Mother Mindy used to love the attention of being an astronaut’s wife, but that shine has long since worn off, considering that spaceflight remains risky business. On the Avenue, 5th Avenue , the motorcade crawls past some of the finest shopping midtown Manhattan has to offer. Perennially topping the “Greatest Places in America to Live” list, nothing could be finer.

Happy Easter to my loyal readers!


The NULL Solution =

Episode 158


page 154

The NULL Solution = Episode 28

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The NULL Solution = Episode 28

…A Funny Thing Happened on the Way Back to Earth Too – by Gus McKinney…

Now Playing on a Spacecraft near You:

Related image

The recounted story of a youngish astronaut and the strange things that keep happening to him after he reaches the speed-of-light threshold…

In the relatively short time it takes to return to Earth, by way of the Sun, Gus McKinney explains it to his wife this way:

“I’m telling you Mindy, after I saw that metallic planetoid disappear into a wormhole or something, I put SEx on cruise control, you know, at a reasonable numerical factor of SOL 1 and headed back, as Roy ordered … everything was going fine. I had Venus in my side view when it happened again… ”

He is hesitant to share his story with NASA; for fear that they would think him crazy.

 The Story behind what happened aboard Stellar Explorer this very day:

What he was not prepared for was an in-your-face dose of déjà vu. Mamma Celeste {the person, not the famous pizzeria in NYC} was getting bored and when mamma is bored, stuff happens. After all those parsecs logged, meeting a brand new alien race and eavesdropping on the conversation between a Null and the pilot of her TSF ride, Celeste decides to take a peek at Gus’ timestem. In 2052.51 she picks up his saga as he passes Venus’ orbital path. Mamma knows that she only has a short window to work with, before Gus decelerates for his rendezvous at Galveston.

Only there is one huge/B-I-G difference between her current plan and the one that produced Gus’ vision previously. This time she brings along her firstborn for good measure. He has quietly graduated from telepathy to hyperphysical transmigration, the long-distance version of teleportation.

Stellar Explorer {SEx} is a two-seater. The lack of a support crew dictates that there is a redundant pilot… normally.

It was in the 1st seat that Deke McKinney had phased-out {at the Pluto turnabout} in 2051; horrific/traumatic.

It is in 2052 that the phasing image Deke McKinney appears in the 2nd seat, as that same ship approaches Earth orbit; terrific /baffling.

 

“Good job Gussy!” the image speaks.

His brother Deke has been missing for the better part of a year or more. It was at that same time that the image of their mother was present to calm & reassure.

“Where have you been, you SOB?” he waits for an answer from Deke, to the number one 64-_illion {fill-in-the-blank} question of this corner of the Milky Way.

“We are all together.” It’s hard to keep the Space Family McKinney down, but timestem constraints keep Deke from going into specific details, just enough to intrigued and confuse. “Mom is with me. Dad and our sister are back in another corner of the galaxy.”

“We don’t have a sister. You cannot be real!”

Celeste pops in, beside Deke, once again to calm & reassure.

“We are not able to stay much longer. Listen closely. Our Galaxy is danger. You must convince your stepfather to stay vigilant. Keep an eye on the NASA mainframe. Some new defensive tools are on the way.”

“What?” too little and too much info to process in a single apparition.

“Deimostra is your sister and the Seljuk are your friends.”

They phase out just as fast as they phased in.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 28


page 32

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 187

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 187

…So between now and November we have to hang loose, play it by ear – cool our jets or whatever you astronaut-types say these days”…

“What’s the deal… does Braden cramp your style? You are turning 18 and always the one who insists he’s Mr. Self-sufficient.” Roy is setting up the “you’re the man of the house” speech.

“Don’t worry Gus; I’ve made all your meals for the week.” Francine knows the source of his angst and it starts slightly above his waist. “I won’t be going out on the campaign trail every time, but I cannot have the future President of the United States rooming the streets of New York alone.
“The way it is now, with you guys almost done at the Academy and us stumping the country for votes, oh and Braden keeping track of New Mayflower, we are all too busy to worry about our normal, everyday family routine. So between now and November we have to hang loose, play it by ear… cool our jets or whatever you astronaut-types say these days”

“It is ‘take a chill-pill’ Francine and I get your drift; we have been spoiled by your cooking and we miss our Mom.” No one could have predicted that statement: from selfish news anchor-to-good cook & mother.

“And Braden sucks thruster fumes?”

“Stop it Roy!” Gus gives Francine a bear hug goodbye. “Now let’s go out to the Big Apple and kick some Freelove butt!”

“That would be Freelove/Cauley butt! Oh, that reminds me Francine. Would you proof the podium banner my people have come up with?”

“You mean banner #13? Maybe this will be the lucky one.”

Roy unfurls it, “Yes, this one.”

Today the USA

Tomorrow the Milky Way

“It still needs some work,” Francine has another, “but I liked the other.”

Crippen/Walker

Astronaut/Straight Talker

“I am sure the American people will understand that a space-geek has his fingerprints all over it,” she laughs uncontrollably, not because the logos are so bad, rather that Roy is trying so hard to prove that he is a different sort of politician.


THE RETURN TRIP

Literary Thumbprint Portraits by Chery Sorg

Episode 187


page 224

Contents TRT

World Urban Extremes – WIF Geography

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Most Extreme Cities

in the World

As of 2008, for the first time in human history about as many people live in urban areas as suburban or rural ones. That means there are a lot of people who think that they deal with greater levels of traffic, more crime, more overcrowding, and higher costs of living than residents of places they consider barely populated backwaters.

 Well, those urbanites have something to consider: They live with country bumpkin-levels of those problems compared to the denizens of the following cities. Depending on the city in question, that makes them much more fortunate, or unfortunate, than the occupants probably realize.
Now, it’s important to remember, when we say “extreme” we don’t mean these are places where you should grab a Mountain Dew and a snowboard, bruh. These 10 cities, instead, exist at the extreme edge of various spectrums. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

10. Largest Population

This is one of the more contentious records as far as cities of the world go, since during rush hour or big events they can all feel like they’ve got the most people in them. Some of the most populous cities in developing nations have very outdated, underfunded bureaucracies which can make an accurate census report difficult to acquire. This is especially true for two of the leading contenders, Jakarta, Indonesia and Delhi, India. But even the highest estimates put them at the city the World Atlasclaims is the world champion: Tokyo, Japan.

As of November 2016, Tokyo’s population was reported to be roughly 37,830,000 residents. To put that very large number in perspective, the population of Japan is reported by the CIA to be roughly 127,000,000 people. More than a quarter of the island nation’s population is located in one urban area. And yet, it’s by no means the largest city or the most crowded.

9. Largest Land Area

In July 2016, Guardian magazine said that urban areas were expected to triple in size over the next forty years. That’s also probably how long it will take any of the fastest growing cities to overtake the current largest urban area in the world. The champion city in that regard is unquestionably New York City, New York, with a metro area of 8,683 square kilometers (or 5,395 square miles if you’re going to use the imperial system like a true American).

It’s over 1,700 square kilometers more than Tokyo, the next largest urban area. It’s also nearly as large as the entire state of Connecticut (5,543 square miles). As it happens, growth in New York City has been slowing as recently as 2016. So it’s not out of the question for the little joke from the start of this entry that some other city will overtake it in the coming decades will have some truth to it.

8. Most Densely Populated City

As heavily populated and vast as New York and Tokyo are, they’re not even close to the most crowded, even if stories of people having to pay hundreds of dollars to live in closets might give that impression. After all, they are cities with large numbers of wealthy inhabitants who can afford decently-sized apartments and houses  No, you have to go to the developing world to find places where people truly have no elbow room. Not even to a notoriously crowded city like Hong Kong. It’s one which many people in the Western Hemisphere haven’t even heard of, let alone a famous city.It’s Dhaka, the largest metropolis in Bangladesh.

At 16,235,000, its population is roughly a million less than that of the New York Metro area, but it’s less than 125 square miles in size. There are more than 110,000 people per square mile, and considering that the Telegraph reported that it was rated the second least livable city in the world, the housing is overwhelmingly slums. Unfortunately for many of the people who already live there, it’s only going to get worse in the immediate future because it’s also one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

7. Most Expensive City

The average person on the street would probably guess that the answer is New York City again, considering it’s a city where a single riverside house can go for as much as $130 million. But we live in a rapidly changing world, so we have to look across the Pacific once again to find the real ‘winner’. As of 2014, that honor swung over to Singapore, particularly due to the rising cost of utilities, food (11% higher than New York City), clothing (50% higher than New York City), and vehicular ownership. Not owning a car won’t save you that much: Singapore’s other transportation methods are three times more expensive than NYC’s.

This dubiously desirable record was still held as of 2016, though it’s been so volatile that it dropped and rose 10% during the time in between. With that in mind, such a volatile economic status means that a bust that leaves it one of the cheaper cities to live in might be around the corner.

6. Healthiest City

It’s time for us to look at an unambiguously positive record for a city to have, for a change. From clear air initiatives to encouraging cycling, many cities are going out of their way to increase the longevity of their citizens. The front runner is, once again, a city that’s not particularly famous. It’s the city-state of Monaco, which is totally surrounded by France except for a coast along Mediterranean Sea. You’ve probably only heard of it either if you’re into Formula One racing, or because you’re a fan ofGrace Kelly. It’s only about two square kilometers (1.24 miles) with a population of only roughly 38,000. Odds are you’ve only heard of it for how ridiculously small it is compared to most nations.

 However, Monaco exists in no small part as a tax shelter, and thus it has drawn a highly disproportionate number of wealthy people. So not only does it have enough people who can afford top-of-the-line medical treatment and lifestyles, it has taken on green initiatives and has many electric cars for government employees, driving down illnesses caused by emissions. The result is the residents have an average life expectancy of a staggering 89.6 years. Perhaps the city-state doesn’t seem so silly now?

5. City with Worst Traffic

Even people who’ve been stuck in traffic for hours doesn’t really understand how bad it can get. Imagine that the worst traffic you’ve experienced was not only significantly worse, but that such an amount of traffic is effectively routine. If you can imagine that, then you’ve just pictured life for the average driver in Mexico City, the city which has held the title for “Worst Traffic” for multiple years. It’s also the only country in the Western Hemisphere in the top five.

During regular hours, a driver in Mexico can expect a trip to take at least 66% longer to reach the destination than if there was no traffic congestion. When rush hour comes around, however, this will balloon to around 101%. Every driver can look forward to spending an average of just under an hour a work day stuck in congested traffic. Even factoring in days off and other times that might help them avoid the worst congestion, the average person in Mexico City will still spend 227 hours a year stuck in traffic, or just over nine days total. It’s frankly kind of amazing enough people are willing to put up with that, to the point where the traffic can remain so bad.

4. Most Impoverished City in the World

It’s no surprise that the poorest city in the world is located in an area that was torn apart by civil war for decades. Even 14 years after the end of a 23-year civil war, Monrovia, Liberia can hardly be described as having recovered. It’s the largest city in Liberia and the capital, with a population of roughly one million. Despite that, amenities most people take completely for granted are generally out of the question for them.

Public transportation is limited to sparse private taxis. Electricity is utterly unreliable, leaving such devices as ATMs and credit card readers out of the question. Those with access to electricity aren’t supposed to use it between 2 and 6 a.m. Monrovia’s plumbing infrastructure is so insufficient that only one third of the population even has access to a flush toilet. They have to rely on makeshift latrines or even public spaces. Even for those whose toilet functions, the sewage system for the city is failing, leaving the sanitation bad enough that it’s no surprise the city was hit by an ebola outbreak.

3. Happiest City

Okay, since that was pretty grim, let’s lighten the mood by focusing on something positive. It might seem difficult or unscientific to quantify something as abstract as the happiness of a city. However, the design and consultation firm Arcadis’s method for determining it still seems pretty credible. It was to take the balance of the population’s health, the amount of prejudices the citizens faced and expressed, the levels of education, employment levels vs. cost of living, and the crime rate. After crunching the available data of all that, the city in question turned out to be none other than Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. You might think that a city that is constantly threatened with nuclear destruction by a notoriously unstable neighbor would make the city more paranoid, but this does not seem to be the case (it undoubtedly helps that North Korean missiles are infamously unreliable).

Unfortunately for fans of small government, this success is attributed in no small part to extensive urban planning. Seoul’s government also heavily favors globalist policies. Maybe you feel living in a happier city might not be worth accepting all that, but it feels like something worth considering.

2. The Most Homicidal City

Let’s get the most negative one out of the way. Many people believe that cities are inherently more violent than rural areas (although a study published in 2013 showed that cities actually aren’t any more dangerous than less populated areas), so they’ll assume that the most violent one must be practically a free-fire zone. That city would be Caracas, Venezuela, which is also that nation’s capital.

As the World Atlas reported in February 2017, the capital’s murder rate reached 119.87 per 100,000 people, meaning that with a population of 2.1 million, 2,517 homicides will occur there in a year. It’s one of only four cities in the world where the murder rate is more than 100 per 100,000. To give an idea just how much homicide there is in Venezuela, there are two other Venezuelan cities in the worldwide top ten for homicides a year. It’s more than double the homicide rate of St. Louis, Missouri, which now has the highest murder rate in America per capita. It’s also not a brand new development. Even back in 2011, Caracas’s murder rate became notorious when it rose above Baghdad’s. Hopefully there’s still time for anyone reading to cancel their plans to take a vacation there.

1. Oldest City in the World

We’ll conclude this list with a neutral fact. In this case, we don’t mean which was the first city ever built (evidence indicates this would be long-abandoned Jericho of Old Testament fame). What we’re looking for is which city has been continuously occupied since it was founded for the longest time. You might think it’s somewhere in Africa, where humans first evolved. Maybe you assume it’s somewhere in Eastern Asia? How about in the Middle East, where Mesopotamia is known as the Cradle of Civilization? Turns out it’s the last one, and it’s a city that likely will be quite familiar to anyone following current world events. As reported by The Guardian magazine, it’s poor, war-ravaged Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, that has the strongest claim.

Aleppo was first founded as a city circa 6,000 BC, because it occupied easily defended, hilly terrain. Its easy access to the Queiq River connected it to what’s now the nation of Turkey, and made it a valuable trading center for millennia. Being located in the notoriously volatile Middle East has meant it was conquered and reconquered many times by many empires including the Assyrians, Egyptians, and so on. So while it’s currently experiencing extreme turmoil, we can be assured that it will be able to recover eventually. It certainly has plenty of times in the past.


World Urban Extremes

– WIF Geography

 

The WABAC Machine – 26 Feb. 1993

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The Wayback Machine

The WABAC Machine

February-26,-1993--The-Forgotten-Attack-on-the-World-Trade-Center

A Brief History

On February 26, 1993, New Yorkers were shaken in their lunch booths by the explosion of a giant bomb!


A closer look……..

Digging deeper (through the rubble) we find the same Arab-Muslim gang of terrorists that perpetrated the September 11, 2001 attacks plotting to take down the World Trade Center, a target they saw as the heart of American capitalism in a city known for having a large Jewish population.

The plan was to make a giant 1300 pound bomb in a rented truck and park it in the basement parking garage where it was expected to topple one of the twin towers into the other one, completing their destruction.  The bomb consisted of mainly urea nitrate surrounding cylinders of compressed hydrogen, the idea being the hydrogen would greatly amplify the effects of the explosion.  The terrorists also used flammable metal particles packed around the bomb to enhance the incendiary effects as well.  The bomb was triggered by an initiating charge of gunpowder, nitroglycerine, ammonium nitrate and dynamite.  This type of construction would create a very powerful pushing effect that would be effective in blasting out concrete walls and create a tremendous amount of heat and fire to destroy evidence and further the destructive effect.

After the Ryder rented van was parked in the basement garage, the terrorists left and lit a 20 foot fuse.  Twelve minutes later, the bomb went off!  Tremendous damage was caused by the huge blast with a hole almost 100 feet across through 4 levels of concrete and steel!  The building, however, did not fall.  The plan included dense smoke choking survivors of the blast, and the smoke did permeate all the way to the 93rd floor, especially in the stairwells.  Luckily, although creating more confusion and making evacuation more difficult, the smoke did not have the deadly effect intended.

Six innocent people died in the blast, from age 36 to 61, the youngest of which was 7 months pregnant.  Over 1000 people were injured, and although the damage and death toll was high, it was a fraction of the intended results.  It is speculated that cyanide was included with the explosives in order to make the smoke more deadly and that the fiery blast destroyed the cyanide, but that has been unproven.

All but one of the perpetrators of this terrible attack were caught and convicted except one, who was allegedly being held in an Iraqi jail until he disappeared during the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.

 

 The WABAC Machine – 26 Feb. 1993

Ticker-Tape Party Starter

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WIF Logo 001

Lady Liberty and the First Known

use of Ticker-tape in A Parade

ticker-tape-parade-statue-liberty

A Brief History

On October 29, 1886, the first recorded use of ticker-tape was noted during the parade for the dedication of the Statue of Liberty.


Digging Deeper

As a native of Northeast Ohio for my entire life (24 years and counting), to my knowledge the closest thing to a major celebration that the city has had in the past ten years was probably when the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals in 2007. Reams of flashy confetti rained down upon screaming fans in Quicken Loans Arena as the Cleveland Cavaliers were crowned champions of the eastern conference. Although the celebration was short-lived, circles of sports fans continue to dream about the day that one of Cleveland’s sports teams will celebrate winning a major championship. Occasionally, fans conjure images of the celebration of the future triumph, which would last for days with people joyously singing songs of praise. There would be miles and miles of confetti up and down the roads. Without confetti, the fantasy would be incomplete.

Among the many things that the city of New York is known for, the use of ticker tape during major celebrations is probably one of those things that are taken for granted, even though it is perhaps one of the most visible and messy. The day was October 29, 1886. Citizens cluttered the streets and sidewalks of New York City while braving the bitter cold drizzle that dripped down from the sky. National banners waved from windows above while people peered down, watching as the rather dull procession proceeded down Fifty-Fifth Street, drudgingly marching along and at times making stops due to the mass congestion of people clogging the streets. The citizens stayed as cheerful as they could in such conditions, but the weather was testing their conduct. Then, the leading marching band blared out a tune and was accompanied by the click-clack of the naval and army brigades. The crowds were jolted with energy. Little children slithered their way through small gaps that allowed them to follow the procession, testing the patience of police officers who wielded clubs and hinted to the crowd to not get too wild. The parade grew larger as it moved. At one point, the crowds became so large that their overwhelming physical presence threatened to break down a wall that was guarding an area of excavation near Broadway.

Luckily, a courageous Irish fellow was able to prevent the pending disaster by warning the crowds. In order to make sure that the streets did not become too congested, the parade broke-off into smaller detachments. One of these detachments proceeded down Wall Street, which largely went about its business, though “pretty country cousins” and many strangers gaped in wonder as the detachment marched down the street. Finally, according to our New York Times reporter, “All this display was an inspiration to so many imps of office boys, who, from a hundred windows began to unreel the spools of tape that record the fateful message of the ‘ticker….’ Every window appeared to be a paper mill spouting out squirming lines of tape. Such was Wall-Street’s novel celebration.”

Historical Evidence

Youtube has plenty of videos that capture the use of ticker tape during celebrations, which include New York City’s welcoming of General Douglas MacArthur, astronaut John Glenn, and troops from the Desert Storm War in 1991. In addition, Time magazine’s Laura Fitzpatrick wrote an excellent article “Brief History: Ticker-Tape Parades” about the history of ticker-tape parades on November 6th, 2009; this article is available online. For more information about the parade and access to a contemporary account, please visit www.nytimes.org and search for “The Sights and Sightseers.”  For this fact and others, see also Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges into History Again.

Ticker-Tape Party Starter