Sunday, April 27, 2008

SAC Thought #1: One World

For most anime fans, drop the acronym S.A.C. and you will get an instant response: Stand Alone Complex from Ghost in the Shell.  IMHO, one of the watermarks of modern anime animation and storytelling.

Anyway, I'll deviate significantly from the purer philosophical definition of SAC linked above and here simply use it to refer to a singular topic or subject that captured my imagination or thoughts enough to warrant a post by itself; with minimal additional commentary by me.

For this first post, I submit for your consideration:

BLDGBLOG: Earth Evolves

I first saw this post at the end of March and still have been going back and re-reading it.

It has the alternative-history Sci-Fi genre lover in me piqued. Authors like Clive Cussler (where  action, and quasi-archeology hinge on a moment of historical chance), Harry Turtledove, and many others..

The concept posed in BLDBLOG's post is very simple, most school children can recite it by the end of elementary school: The earth's plates float on a sea of molten material and geologic forces cause them to shift and move over millions of years. These changes lead to periods of earth's history when the continents have looked significantly different from today. In other words, continental drift.

The post shows some stunning images digitally mapped by Ron Blakey as he has attempted to capture earth's tectonic evolution.

In the past was Pangaea, in the future we may have Novopangaea, Amasia, or even (and this is the one that I find most beautiful, Pangaea Proximia (all as imagined 250 million years from now).

This is a concept that is amazing to me.

How different would geo-politics be if all of earth's inhabitants were forced to live together on a single super-continent?  Would we be as willing to wage war or consume resources we don't have (or are willing to use) if we were all joined together on a single, shared, continental raft?

Would the few remote islands dotting the planet from underground volcanic sources be islands of competition for nations seeking to flee the confines of the shared world? Or would they be undiscovered, as lacking satellites or other technology, most future-world Christopher Columbus's or Viking explorers would sail off over the horizon never to find land mass again.

Would we see the amazing level of current animal, vegetable, and mineral (not to mention cultural) diversity if the bulk of habitable land-mass was in the same shared longitude and latitudes?

I wonder....


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