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Eta Carinae

So let me preface this by cheering you up. Life can't be all that bad- they make sauces for dog food. That says something about the capacity for love in the human heart. Even when we can't save millions of people from starving, as isolated as our situation makes us, we still love our pets and want them to be comfortable and happy. Every time my wife gets depressed, I point that out to her. So life can't be all that bad.

But this next part will depress you, and there's nothing you can really do to stop it. There isn't really even a way to ritualize a solution. So my advice is to stop reading and go pay some attention to your family or your animals, or whatever other facsimiles you may have.

SN 2006gy was one of the biggest cosmological events we've ever seen. Think of the sun. Now think of a hundred and fifty of those put together. Now blow it up, so that there's not even a smidgen of a center left to it. BAM! In a few cosmic moments, we go from star to dust. It lit up our telescopes like Christmas trees, or so I'm told.

Now, just a paltry 7,500 light years away from us is a big ol' star just like the one you just creamed. It's called Eta Carinae. It looks like it's about to 'splode. I've always had a mortal fear of the heavens. That is, just the scientific stars and vacuum concept of space above us. More than I've ever feared God, men, or animals, I've been afraid of that yawning pit above us. Reading about all of these celestial fireworks makes me want to go put on a tin foil hat and cower in someone's basement. Not that either would really help.

A close up gamma ray burst would cook us like a poodle in a microwave. Your cells would stop regenerating. Everything on earth that you know in love would just sit and rot until our little ball of fire kindly made cinders of it. So maybe 7,500 years and one day ago, this quintessential kablooey occurred. Tomorrow, you'll see a bright flash in the sky. You'll probably go blind shortly after that. Then, after stumbling around in complete darkness with a horrible sunburn for a week, you'll slip the mortal coil.

Maybe you understand why I'm a little paranoid about it. Hovering over our heads is a field of sky-mines, death stars, charges of the depths of space just waiting to be set off. And there's really nothing you can do about it. So now that you know, now that you've wasted your time, go pet your dog. Go kiss your wife. Drink a beer. Revel in this moment in history.

Here's a little advanced reading. If I don't say a few important words, I'll sound crazy. So here they are. I think...
If I hadn't made that precedent, you might have all locked me up in a loony bin. So now that it's out of the way, here's the real story.

7,500 years ago, there were these two little neutrinos hanging out in this gigantic star that God made for them. But they were not perfect neutrinos. There was this really neat atom that they wanted to play with, even though God expressly forbade them from doing so. It was immense, hard to avoid- right at the core! It consisted of several million neutrons, protons, and a field of electrons that could power Las Angeles. Now the muon was the craftiest of all subatomic particles. And it said to the neutrinos "you see that huge atom?"
They said "How could we not?"
The muon said "if you pluck but a single neutron from it, you will be like God."
They really liked God, and they thought so much of Him that they thought this would be swell. So they did it. And what do you know? Like a set of well placed dominoes, the thing caved in on itself. And this huge quantum singularity arose. Neutrinos flooded from it into being. "Yippee!" they all said. "Being is fun!"
But then God came around. He knew the rest of the story. The star was now doomed to collapse in on itself, and this whole solar garden was going to turn into a garden of darkness and death. So he sent the unwise neutrinos out into the rest of the world where it would be safer.
Two of them landed on earth. "This stuff is neat," they said. "It's a lot more permanent than plasma. Let's make something out of it." And God liked that idea too, so he helped them. The earth, which had been a complete waste of a galactic hitchhiker's time was soon turned into a material metaphor for the sublime star of the neutrino's birth. "You know," said the neutrinos, "all these critters look like they're pretty happy. Wouldn't it be fun to be one of them?" So God made some special creatures called men and put the neutrinos in charge of them.
And gosh darn it, wouldn't you know it, just like *that* they repeated the whole supernova situation all over again.
And more and more people came around, being born into this ruin of a paradise, most of them completely ignorant of everything that they knew as neutrinos. But some of them underwent anamnesis- they lost their forgetfulness. When the little men they rode around in died, God took some of them to yet another place, this time fool proof and even more perfect than anything before. Some of them decided to quit the whole existence thing- it really stopped being fun after a while. And some of them, God told to stick around, they might be needed.
Phillip K Dick was one of those neutrinos. For a while, I thought that neutrino might have taken over the body that's typing this story, but I think he's just hanging around trying to help me remember something. He's a paracleton.
Remember- I said I think before all of this, so I can take it back any time I want. Don't call the authorities.
He's trying to help me remember something that all of us neutrino men forgot. That first garden 7,500 light years away. Neutrinos travel faster than light. They were here at the moment the star exploded, or even before that. But they knew what was coming. A few people remembered. Here's one account of the remembrance.

12 I watched as he broke open the sixth seal. There was a powerful earthquake. The sun turned black like black clothes that were made from the hair of a goat. The whole moon turned as red as blood. 13 The stars in the sky fell to earth. They dropped like ripe figs from a tree shaken by a strong wind. 14 The sky rolled back like a scroll. Every mountain and island was moved out of its place.

15 Everyone hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. This included the kings of the earth, the princes and the generals, rich people and powerful people. It also included every slave and everyone who was free. 16 They called out to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us! Hide us from the face of the One who sits on the throne! Hide us from the anger of the Lamb! 17 The great day of their anger has come. Who can live through it?"

You might also remember a hymn that said that a trumpet would call. That's the sound of air raid sirens.
I think.

OK! So I'll try and stop depressing you now. I've got one more anecdote. But I'm not sure if this will help you at all. Harlequin is publishing a NASCAR romance series. When I first saw this, I thought of it like the dog food sauce. Whaddyaknow! People are so bored of the real thing that they'll read a mockery of it centered on racing!
But then I thought about it a little more. Love has been underwritten. And also undermined. Do you like fast things that go around in circles and sometimes crash in horrific, deadly explosions? Then maybe you'll like LOVE! American style! NASCAR style!

It makes me want to wear tin foil hats and hide in basements. Not that either would help.

But I'll try and take away at least one positive here. People are so desperate to read that they'll turn to that. So maybe somebody has finished this story.

On the other hand, I did tell you to fuck off and go pet your dog in the second paragraph, so it's not all that much of a positive.

Doesn't look so bad...

Pic of Eta Carinae

http://apod.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap991011.html

Kind of a pretty way to die.

kelson.philo's picture

Neutrino Lamb Sam and the

Neutrino Lamb Sam and the Great Goodbye...GRB's are prolly one of the scariest "There's Nothin' Nobody Can Do Nohow" things in existence. Best to put a paper bag over your head and have a little lie-down somewherez...

garden of darkness and death

great stuff dude....
made me rember how it feels reading PKD and listening to Secret Cheifs 3 albums
(not that I dont still do that its just now I read about nascar love...:) )

bogart pony rock and roll traffic violation simulations aaaaight?