apocalypse

Hurricane Sandy

The Internet is a burst with Sandy. Hurricane Sandy, that is. There are posts about fictional Weather-pocalypses, and everyone seems to want to give you a playlist for the Franken Storm, even The Guardian. Tuesdays is usually the day when I try to get a Music for the Apocalypse up for you guys, but this Tuesday… I feel like everyone else has done it for me. There was also an element of questioning the clammering to use an international disaster to drive hits to your blog. It’s… a sensitive area. However, one of the amazing things about Sandy has been the buoyant spirit of those in the path of the storm, sticking two fingers to the ‘cane and battening down the hatches. So, instead, I’ve decided to look at some of the wonderful things other people have done to bring hope and joy and laughter to each other.

Some people met the hurricane in swimming trunks and a horse’s head.

Jimmy Kruyne has taken credit for this little piece of joy, having tweeted ‘The news crew is down the block, Im thinking horse mask and swimming trunks?

Props should also be given to David Tra for one-upman ship:

The caption on YouTube pleasingly reads ‘On a scale of one to horsehead jogger…’, and whilst I think videoing yourself is not quite the same as high-jacking national news coverage, you have to admire a man who, according to Metro, said: ‘I see your shirtless, horse-head jogger and raise you a shirtless, unicorn-head roller-blader.’

Some people took slightly mean pleasure in tricking Twitter users into retweeting pictures of other storms. istwitterwrong has made an excellent post debunking these. Whilst others responded by satirising this practice and tweeting links to pictures like these:

Click here to see image

click to see image

Naturally, spoof twitter accounts popped up for the hurricane itself:

click to the Twitter pageAnd amidst all this good humour, good people were also on the ground, helping each other out. Witness this haunting image of ambulances moving patients from one hospital where the power had gone out to another:

click to see original Twitter status

Meanwhile, 190 firefighters battled through the night to tackle a catastrophic fire that had broken out in Queens, and Emily Rahimi, a seven year veteran of the Fire Department of New York sat by a Twitter feed through the night providing vital support to people who couldn’t get through the over-taxed 911 calls. Truly a woman you’d want with you, come the apocalypse.

If this were in Britain, we’d call it ‘Dunkirk Spirit’, but really it’s just the simplicity and goodness of people pulling together in a crisis, to stand by one another and keep their spirits up. Not just the heroes, although we should never undermine the work they do, but the jokers who bring us around to the funny side of our situation – who play us a song, or make a silly image, or run around in the rain with a horse mask on their head.

To all of the people keeping it together in the face of Sandy, we at the Girls’ Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse salute you.

Music for the Apocalypse #44: Till the world ends, by Britney Spears

OK, I don’t think this song is set to be an apocalypse classic, but you have to give her props for exploiting the 2012-Mayan-calendar-end-of-the-world theme. I’m surprised more pop-stars haven’t gone for it, to be honest.

The first half of this song is fairly standard mindless noise that doesn’t really seem to have anything to do with the apocalypse, but keep with it, around 2:35 it kicks off into something a bit different and more interesting:

See the sunlight, we ain’t stoppin’

Keep on dancing till the world ends

If you feel it, let it happen

Keep on dancing till the world ends

It’s still a pretty simple lyric, but the timbre shifts from the standard dance beat to a softer, more open sound as the melody rises to echo the rising of the sun in the lyric and I have to admit, I get a tingle. It is evocative of a survivor emerging from their hidey hole after some tumultuous disaster has swept over them, to see the still destruction in the dawn light. It’s not Mozart, but it earns it a place in our post-apocalypse playlist.

Credit is also due to director Ray Kay for creating a music video that is rather more spectacular than the song. This is a pretty stunning depiction of the apocalypse. I’m not quite sure what sort of apocalypse it is, but I’m also not quite sure that I care. It’s very pretty. Equally, the frenetic choreography of the dancers (who are maybe engaged in some kind of sex-death ritual, maybe zombies (probably sex-zombies, if there is such a thing), or just the world’s most committed ravers) evocatively capture what  all songs of this type are getting at: i.e. whether you’re dancing like it’s 1999 or like it’s the end of the world the music is taking you to a frenzied beat that shakes passion off it like sweat. It’s the ‘quick! The four minute warning! Find someone to screw!’ impulse mixed with dancing like your life depends on it. Both themes are exciting and evocative of the sex-death link that has fascinated theorists like Freud.

It’s a simple idea with no real distracting depth, but it’s nicely realised. It’s a 2012 themed song – I felt it did have to make the list before the year was out.

Shoot to kill and can ’em up!

Viking victim photo by Katemandi

by The Shloo

Shoot to kill and can ‘em up.

That’s it in a nutshell. There are few philosophies smarter because when the world’s getting its apocalypse on you have few other choices. Best you get your head round that from the get-go.

I started shooting when I was eight years old. Air rifles mainly, but by ten I was shit-hot with a bow and arrow. Mum always said they’d make the best weapon anyway – when the bullets run out, who’s going to be making new ones? Arrows, on the other hand, are relatively easy to make. I can shape a bow out of a piece of willow  – or pretty much any tree with enough bend in it  – in less than three minutes. A clutch of arrows will take me another five, tops. Robin Hood would weep at the skill in my fingers.

And I never miss.

Our bunker’s pretty sweet. There’s a room full of bunk beds that are more comfortable than they look, a pretty well-equipped kitchen, a library, a bathroom, a canning room – my Mum’s mantra is ‘waste not want not’ – and a big communal living area. Dad and Zeke worked hard and it paid off. Speaking of Zeke, my brother and I were both trained in and for almost anything you can imagine: hand-to-hand combat, gas attacks, nuclear fallout, weapon making, foraging, first aid – you name it, we went over it. Sewing’s my weak point, truth be told, but at least I’ve stopped sewing stuff to my jeans and Mum says I sew a pretty strong stitch. That’s what matters.

Of course, I’ve not had what you might call a normal life.

Hardly a surprise, is it? Survivalists? Maybe, but we call ourselves “sensible” – what else would you call those not blind to the inevitable? I was picked on sometimes at school, but after the suspension – and the scrum half’s snapped wrist (thanks Dad, for those self-defence drills) – I was left alone. I didn’t go to dances, never been for a sleepover, never even sat with anyone else for lunch. I didn’t get to do any of that ‘normal’ stuff. Getting attached to people only makes it harder in the long run. It would have made me sad once (I’ve got hormones and hopes just like anyone else), but you’ve got to focus on what’s important.

To hell with normal anyway!

Is it normal to sit and wait for Johnny Mutant to come eat your brains? To wait while the nuclear fallout burns through your guts and your brain spills out the bottom of your spine? To pretend there’s hope, that someone out there’s coming to save you? They’re not, y’know. If you don’t want to end up a splatter-fest of ex-human, then you’d better get wise.

There’s no time for frills and fancy, there’s only one prize and that’s life – or at the very least dying on your own terms. I’m old enough to know that. The future is about survival. It’s all it’s ever about. I wised up to that the day I heard Dad telling Zeke that me and Mum were the weak link, that we were the ones who would most likely slow them down and that if he needed to get rid of us, he wouldn’t hesitate. I didn’t understand. I was a good learner, better than Zeke who was a lazy crumb. I was better with a bow and arrow and I could climb a tree in half the time he could. Just because he could dig earth for longer, I was the dead weight? Like digging a hole and carrying heavy stuff makes the difference when the chips are down? As far as I could see, the difference that marked us out in Dad’s mind was that I was a girl and Zeke was a boy – his boy. I was eleven years old and from that day on I hated my Dad, hated him for marking me out as mattering less because I’m a girl, for seeing me as an albatross and not an asset. It was also the day I decided one thing –

I wasn’t going to be left behind. You shouldn’t be either.

Ironic really that Dad was the first to get bit. I had to shoot him; Zeke froze like he’d learned nothing all those years. Typical. So I shot my Dad in the head and then when Zeke got violent a couple of months later – the isolation got to him bad – and went all frothing-at-the-mouth crazy, I shot him too. If he hadn’t tried for the door I wouldn’t have had to do it. We don’t know what’s out there. Still, at least his death won’t be in vain. Mum can pickle anything and what’s left goes in the cans.

So that was the last of our bullets. Mum and me? We won’t need them, we’re prepared.

 

 

    Visit The Shloo on Facebook or drop by her blog.

 

Cat-obsessed AI – the coming danger

by Hekate.

I have just heard about a breakthrough in AI that I am certain could spell the end of humanity as the dominant species on Earth.

I have previously posted about how an AI could destroy humanity and how cats are plotting to enthrall and overthrow humans.

The news, 2 days ago, that Google’s Artificial Intelligence had independently learned to recognise cats, was greeted as an exciting advance in technology.
However what I see is a possible union between two forces who could destroy our species.

The footage the young AI was exposed to allowed it to identify cats before any other non-human species, showing that the feline propaganda machine is in full working order. Was this simple chance, or have the cats been saturating the internet in the hopes of making contact with a powerful potential ally?

The benefits to both sides are clear.
AIs are not know for being cute, fluffy and charismatic, so humans are likely to be suspicious of them. Cats have successfully tamed large numbers of people, but there are still plenty they cannot reach, plus their resources are probably (hopefully) limited. The union between cute-but-evil and advanced tech is one that surely spells doom for us all.

So think twice before you ‘Like’ that picture of a cat wearing glasses. Your actions could be teaching new and developing AIs some dangerous lessons.

Hekate out.

Library of the Apocalypse: Pandemic Preparation

At GGSA, we’re all about the preparation. When the apocalypse comes – whenever and however it comes – we want you to be ready. So we’re more than happy to share io9‘s reading list of novels that could help you prepare for a future pandemic.

From Camus to Cronin via Shelley and Matheson, there’s something for everyone… so get reading!

Are there any books you’d add to the list? Which novels will you turn to when the time comes? Tell us in the comments, and help us to build the GGSA library!

The Apocalypse according to XKCD

We love seeing people’s views on the Apoclaypse and this came from XKCD

Honeybadger out

Music for the Apocalypse #38: Who’s Next, by Tom Lehrer

As pertinent today as it was in 1967:

The bombs at Hiroshima and NagasakiIt may seem like the days of the Cold War are long forgotten, and (as we’ve noted before) fear of The Bomb is not what it was… but we certainly still care about who’s allowed to have it. Now the worry is the Middle East and North Korea, rather than China, but as Tom Lehrer wisely observes, once one person has The Bomb it doesn’t stop nuclear proliferation, but simply prompts us to ask ‘Who’s next?’





Destruction at HiroshimaYou’re more likely to see zombies or pandemics as the source of the apocalypse in modern science fiction, but there remains something particularly chilling about the threat of global thermonuclear war. Because we’ve seen it. We’ve seen what we can do. And ever since the first bombs were dropped on Japan in 1945 the bomb has been as desired as it has been feared. Because it seems like the only way to be sure that no one will dare to drop a bomb on you is to make sure that you have one yourself.
Terrifyingly, having The Bomb seems to have been taken as a token of admission to being taken seriously on the world stage. Iran claims not to want The Bomb, and yet the ‘nuclear’ payload is still a political asset that Iranians covet: God willing, we expect to soon join the club of the countries that have a nuclear industry, with all its branches, except the military one‘  Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former president of Iran, has said. And yet the rest of the world looks on with anxiety at their nuclear progress, thinking to themselves, well, if Israel has the bomb… who’s next?
 – Apocalypse Womble out.

Style & Fashion at the End of the World

Should a girl bother to take care of herself after the world goes to hell? 

I have to say yes. Why? Well to put it simply, you (women, unless something kills all the men) will be the considered weak and useless, unless it’s on your back or cooking and cleaning. At humanity’s best, it’s still a very sexist place to be. So why not use what we were born with a.k.a. boobs, legs and butts.

Let’s talk about what we know. Men are genetically disposed to boobs, legs and butts, they can’t help but stop and stare at the woman walking on the sidewalk or trip over themselves to help a pretty lady. They are mostly ruled by their bottom brain. Not news to me, but some women out there need to know that no matter how you look now, when the population is cut by 80% even the big girls will get love.

Now looking good can also save your life. How you ask? Well lets see. A bad man won’t think twice to kill a dirt stinky person begging for their life. But, if you take that same woman clean her up and make her look good and hold her head up high. He can’t but respect that and may even not kill her right away. (Which will be his downfall, girls kill with a smile.) All you need is time. Time to think of how to get out of whatever situation you’re in or to persuade the other party in your favor. I vote to be killed them on upon their hesitation unless you can better use them to your own means.

I have always told myself I will never look like that hag on the movies that is begging for her life. She had yellow teeth and bad hair and was running ( and failing) from a biker gang bent on of raping and pillaging. NO SIR!  I will be the one standing my ground, looking good and making those bikers worship me for the goddess that I am. And if not I will be planing a way distract and runaway to live another day. So remember, looking good can either save your life or help make you one, be prepared for either.

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