. NewDealDesign, a design house out of San Francisco, is behind an idea for implanted tattoos that carry information about the wearer that could be exchanged by touch. The Bible has long been quoted about the mark of the beast and the Anti Christ being from the Middle East, guess where the CEO of the company is from, just sayin'.
Bruce Clayton's survivalist masterpiece, Life After Doomsday, certainly belongs in any collection of weird non-fiction. It comes from a time, not so long ago, when the general consensus was that we were all going to be blown to smithereens in a nuclear war, and Clayton offered detailed instructions on how to stay alive should you survive the actual bombs. Below is the 1981 Newsweek review of the book, as well as Clayton's diagram of how to turn your home into a fortified bunker. And hey, why not read it together with Paul's After the Collapse to get a real apocalypse vibe going!
Bruce Clayton's fantasy derives from the myths of frontier America: we have only to draw our wagons into a circle to survive a nuclear war. The war won't be as bad as you have heard. Assuming the Russians know what they are doing, 90 per cent of America will be fallout free. Clayton is interesting because virtually every point he makes will not have been considered by most of his readers: what about sex in the fallout shelter? he asks, or "How many members of your family are you willing to regard as acceptable losses?"
His point is, you must do something: "The question of which assault rifle you should buy isn't nearly as important as the fact that you must get one" — to mow down ghetto refugees or your neighbors in search of your food supply. In fact, refugees won't be much of a threat because the roads will be blown up along with the cities, but as for your friend next door — well, the Heckler and Koch HK91 heavy-assault rifle firing a 7.62 NATO cartridge works very well. If you're on your roof hosing down the fallout, a Colt Commander .45 autopistol modified for combat is easier to carry. He shows us, too, how to convert our houses into efficient fire zones, and suggests we store away five years' supply of wheat, milk, sugar and salt. A wheat stew in every pot and an Armalite AR-180 in every loophole will see us through, as long as we've ordered our gas masks (Clayton tells us where).
Reach the ancient heart of the stygian obscurity
Wherein all the names of mine are written
In pits profound,where festered dreams sigh
And longings scorched seek reason to return.
Admire the flame flowered mansions arcane
The sulfurous secrets gowned in rapture profane
Fear not the fire of all-knowing wisdom
Furiously burning with such ravishing splendour.
On the wings of my most fervent passion
Which the fools dare name blasfemia
To thee I have returned from the heart-dead sunworms domain
A coffin-shaped lair they have woven around me
For I've pledged no allegiance
To their fabulous sacred theories
Those spurious servants of a crownless king
Who holds their cross in vain.
No Phoenix phenomenon shall their fall contain!
Leave their carcasses scattered and slain!
And now I'm visualised
To blind-faithed eyes
Lofty and proud, to be recognized.
As the mourning-scented bloodstorm winds
Of their final downfall blow
Like a nightclad werewolf upon the moonlit glade
I shall hunt them down in the snow.
...and the frostbitten ground
now consumes their wretched gore
My victorious hiss fulfills the oceans ethereal
And the stars gleam nameless above
As shadows call forth the seas of Cthulhu
Be wide awake my dearest
Of my fiery necromantic kiss!
Thine arms soothing around me enfold
To cease my yearning cursed
The sweetest witchcraft thy lips do hold
Can only quench my thirst.
'Neath the enchantingly blazing corona of night
drown thy desire into mine!
With all the senses cast to a feverous grandeur
In the sins of the flesh we entwine.
Talk about a mammoth appetite, when most of the world’s large mammals went extinct roughly 10,000 years ago, the vast majority of the vanished species were herbivores. This of course meant that they were no longer around to eat the plants they otherwise would have, and - according to Christophers Doughty and Field from Oxford and Stanford Universities respectively – this freed up an extra 1.4 trillion kilos of food, roughly 2.5% of the net product of all Earth’s dry land. However, the researchers add, this excess had been ‘used up’ by burgeoning human numbers by around 1700 and today we consume six times as much as the Pleistocene critters ever did while simultaneously driving down land productivity by 10% (Nature)(PDF).
That’s not to say that our massive consumption doesn’t have it’s upside, As Vangelis Kapatos of Manhattan discovered when he attempted suicide by jumping from his ninth floor flat, only to survive when his fall was broken by a pile of uncollected garbage. Mr. Kapatos’ timing, from his perspective, couldn’t have been worse, the unusually large garbage pile was due to collections being suspended because of snow. They were due to resume the day after his impromptu dumpster dive (Today Online).
Mind you, we’re not the only animals prone to excess. After finding the bodies of dozens of starlings near the city of Constanta in Romania, locals were concerned that the cause might be bird flu, instead post-mortems of the birds have revealed that they in fact died of alcohol poisoning, having ‘drunk’ themselves to death on the discarded leftovers of the local winemaking industry. A least they died happy (BBC News).
Better than dying happy, though, is living happy, and the secret of that, says the UK’s Office for National Statistics, is having a job. But it’s not the pay but the job security that counts, say the government statisticians, which ironically are facing staff cuts themselves due to the economic downturn. Other key happiness factors, according to the preliminary report, are good personal health and a decent family life. What will we do without these people (Telegraph)?
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.