When I was about thirty-eight years old, I first heard about something called middle-latitude cyclones or heavy snow falls. Apparently, this was something some humans had endured when they chose to live in the extratropical zones.
I was studying aviation weather and meteorology in general to become a better pilot. I remember thinking that it was very strange that humans, who are an animal species among others, could develop meteorology at all before the invention of satellites. Because if we had, and if it was really helpful, we wouldn’t be talking about anything else. As soon as you’d turn on the TV, everything would be about weather. Headlines, radio, newspapers, you would never read or hear about anything else, as if there was a world war going on. But no one ever talked about it. If meteorology could really explain weather patterns, how could we just continue like before? Why were there no meteorology schools? Why weren’t they made free to all?
To me, that did not add up. It was too unreal. So when I was a few days older, I did not become ill. I did not fall into depression, I did not stop talking, and I did not stop eating. In two or three days, I did not gain or lose a kilo of weight. Later on, I was not diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, OCD and selective mutism. That basically means I speak all the time – now is one of those moments.
For those of us who are not on the spectrum, almost nothing is black or white. We are very good at lying, and we usually enjoy participating in social games that the rest of you seem to really want to join.
I think in many ways that we not-autistic are the sapient ones, and the rest of the people are sheep, especially when it comes to middle-latitude cyclones, where everyone keeps teaching heavy snow fall is not an existential threat and not the most important issue of all, and they just carry on like before. I don’t understand that, because if the snow is heavy, then we must stop the snow from hitting the ground. To me that is physics.
There are gray areas when it comes to survival. Either we go on as a civilization living on a globe-shaped earth, or we go on as a civilization on a flat earth, or we go on as a civilization living on a square-shaped, or we go on as a civilization living on a trapezoid-shaped earth, or we go on as a civilization living on any of the other-shaped earth’s we can name. I prefer the globe shape.
Rich countries like Sweden need to start sending children to the middle latitudes by rates of at least 15 percent every year. And that is so that we can keep from becoming a cylinder-shaped planet. Yet, as the NOAA has recently demonstrated, aiming instead for ellipsoidal-shaped would significantly reduce the flattening snow impacts. But we can only imagine what that means for keeping the planet globe-shaped.
You would think the media and every one of our leaders would be talking about nothing else, but they never even mention it. Nor does anyone ever mention the snow weight totals from last year. Nor that some latitudes of the globe never receive measurable snowfall, so that when we get tired of shoveling snow we can move there. Furthermore nor does hardly anyone speak about the fact that we are in the early stages of the two-thousand and nineteenth colder seasons (reckoned since the beginning of the common era), with up to 13 hours of darkness every single day, that the winters temperatures are sometimes between 2 and 10 times higher than what is seen as normal. Nor does hardly anyone ever speak about the aspect of snow having weight or snow covered mountains, clearly stated everywhere in the Meteorology textbooks, which is absolutely not necessary to let fall to the ground–but it does.
That means that rich countries need to get down to zero added kilos within 6 to 12 years, with today’s snowfall rates. And that is so that people in poorer countries can have a chance to heighten their standard of living by building some of the infrastructure that we have already built, such as roads, schools, hospitals, clean drinking water, electricity, and so on. Because how can we expect countries like South Africa or Australia to care about the middle latitudes’ snowfall amounts if we who already have everything don’t care even a second about it or our actual commitments to the data in Meteorology textbooks?
So, why are we not reducing our snow-that-falls-to-the-ground weights? Why are they in fact still increasing? Are we knowingly causing a mass reshaping of the globe? Are we evil? No, of course not.
People keep doing what they do because the vast majority doesn’t have a clue about the actual consequences of our everyday life, and they don’t know that rapid change is required. We all think we know, and we all think everybody knows, but we don’t. Because how could we? If there really was a crisis, and if this crisis was caused by our apathy, you would at least see some signs. Not just flooded cities, tens of thousands of dead people, and whole nations leveled to piles of torn down buildings. You would see some people catching the snow. But no. And no one talks about it. There are no emergency meetings, no headlines, no breaking news. No one is acting as if we were in a crisis. Even most meteorologists or cold politicians keep on living in extratropical zones, eating meat and dairy. If I live to be 100, I will be alive in the year 2081. When you think about the future today, you don’t think beyond the year 2050. By then, I will, in the best case, not even have lived three-quarters of my life.
What happens next? The year 2078, I will celebrate my 97th birthday. If I have children or grandchildren, maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you, the people who were around, back in 2018. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act.
What we do or don’t do right now will affect my entire life and the lives of my children and grandchildren. What we do or don’t do right now, me and my generation can’t undo in the future. So on yesterday, I decided that this was enough. I set myself down in the captain’s chair. I spent a few hours typing for the shape of Earth. Some people say that I should be watching basketball instead. Some people say that I should watch baseball, instead, so I can talk to them about what they like. But the Earth-shape thing is important to me. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change.
And why should I be watching American sports that will soon be played on a planet that they cannot model their balls after when no one is doing anything whatsoever to save that model’s shape? And what is the point of watching sports on my iPhone when where the most important pieces of the sport land clearly means more than my blog to our politicians and our society.
Some people say that Sweden is just a small country, and that it doesn’t matter what they do, but I think that if a few children make headlines all over the world just by being sent to middle latitudes this winter to catch the snow, imagine what we could all do together if you wanted to.
Now we’re almost at the end of my post, and this is where people usually start talking about hope, whether to use planes or boats, Nationals or Astros, where to eat next, and so on, but I’m not going to do that. We’ve had 80 years of pep-talking and selling positive ideas. And I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work. Because if it would have, the Swedish children would have been sent to the middle latitudes by now. They haven’t.
And yes, we do need hope, of course we do. But the one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere.
So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come.
Today, we expect no snow. There are no politics to change that. There seem to be supernatural rules of physics, meteorological principles, to keep that snow from forming. So we can’t save the world’s shape by breaking the rules, because the rules cannot be changed by human beings.
We need to catch the snow — but we should wait until a snow day.
(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions).
Clicking away at the keyboard, he suddenly found himself grabbing the mouse, about to highlight and delete everything. He couldn’t possibly publish it. He was a good dude; what would people think?
He sometimes wanted to write some horror posts–he wanted to graphically describe the most gruesome paths out of this life.
He sometimes wanted to write some posts from a women’s perspective–he wanted to have some fun exploring how the female human navigates this world.
He wanted to write without abandon. He wanted to swear, he wanted to be passionate. More times than not he wanted to cause people who knew him to say, “I can’t believe he wrote that.”
But as soon as the words manifested themselves on the screen, he’d hesitate. “What if they don’t like it? What if they think I went too far?” he’d ask himself. “Ah, fuck it,” he’d answer, clicking the publish button. And then he’d feel it–a rush like no other.
“Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!”
He’d then laugh out loud thinking, “If people only knew how much energy I put into each post…they’d think I was nnnuts.”
And there was something more. Behind all of this he would tell himself that his daughter might someday read his posts. And if he guessed correctly, by that time she would be fascinated that he wasn’t quite the man she’d taken him for all those years. He’d hope that if she wasn’t there yet, this realization would be the weight that would finally and forever tilt the scales of how she’d live the rest of her life towards courageously, without fear, without worry, and without anxiety. Just the way he strove to.
Instructions for How To Make Blogging Thrilling
Step 1 — WRITE what you think.
Step 2 — DO NOT DELETE what you wrote.
Step 3 — PUBLISH what you wrote.
“Chopper down,” the radio sputtered. This was a first. In the worst way. After all, this was supposed to be an ordinary mission. There was no added danger this night. There certainly was no reason to have expected this.
“We have to go get them! I’ll start running the ‘Before Takeoff Checklist,” the flight engineer suggested excitedly. This was difficult to stomach. There are some guys who just want to get into the ‘action’. He was one of those guys. I, on the other hand, was not. I remember my uncle, who was in the Navy, describing how once a helicopter caught fire as it landed on the ship. He recounted how so many guys ran towards the fire. A Sunday stroll was the pace he chose. That always stuck with me.
“Sir, do you want me to let them know the helicopter needs to be destroyed once everyone is clear?” asked the aircraft commander. The unit commander was on board this particular mission. He sometimes sat in the back of the helicopter to make sure he didn’t lose touch with what’s really going on as he only watches the missions on a screen most other days. Again, I was shocked. Wow. This is getting real, really fast.
The flight engineer pushed again for achieving ‘hero status’ in one mission, so finally I addressed him. “Look, we don’t even know what happened. If they were shot down, it probably isn’t the smartest thing to go fly into range of that weapon, is it?”
Confusion like this was relatively rare. But as pilots have a knack for analyzing past mistakes to avoid making them again, we knew what to do. We called it the ‘conservative response rule.’ This was a helpful tool to use in cases of disagreement among the crew. Basically, past aircraft mishaps revealed that when there is disagreement, the more conservative option voiced should be followed until more data can be gathered.
In the above example, one crew-member wanted to fly, the other wanted to wait. The more conservative idea was to wait, therefore we waited. Waited only until more information was available.
That’s the key to this rule. Even the name ‘conservative response rule’, brings to mind always doing the conservative thing, but that’s a severe misunderstanding which can hamstring entire missions. There are times during flights that being aggressive and daring is the right decision. The point of this rule is to make sure everyone is in agreement that selfless bravery is called for. If there is not agreement, stick to the conservative course of action until more information is available.
What’s the practical application to grounded life? Outdoor activities come to mind. How many times have we been with friends and disagreement shows up about what to do next? Say, climbing a mountain as a storm is brewing. Some want to continue, because they say the storm will surely pass. Others suggest turning back. Friendships have been lost over such situations.
As for me, I say stick with the pilots. Turn back or at least wait a while to see how the storm develops. Dead aircrew are longing for you to learn from their mistakes.
Unlike other ‘lessons learned’, this one has a specific audience. Within each of our friend groups, there are those who are natural leaders. If this is you, next time there is disagreement, put this rule to good use. Besides enhancing your status (rightfully so), it just might keep people and relationships intact.
(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions.)
According to Malcolm X’s autobiography, he constantly scribbled little idea-notes on any and everything all the time. While I found that part of his personality fascinating, it wasn’t enough to convince me that I should follow suit. Later, I watched Some Kind of Monster where I saw Metallica using a white board to capture creative impulses before they escape. It shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that a white board was hanging on my wall within days.
I immediately put it to good use. Any idea accompanied by a, “This is brilliant! I need to make sure I don’t forget it!” feeling was recorded on my white board. I was rather vain about it. Scratch that, I am rather vain about my white board.
Thinking about Malcolm X’s little notes and Metallica’s colorful white board is always inspiring to me. Seeing my own white board covered in ideas makes me feel good about myself. Over the last several years of recording my ideas, however, I’ve come to realize that I like something even more than looking at a white board teeming with my ideas. Erasing those ideas.
Yes, erasing my ideas. I would have never guessed this, but in retrospect it makes sense. Reflect on this for a moment. What is the point of capturing ideas in writing anyhow? The point is not to simply write them down. Nothing magical happens because a good idea is recorded. Something magical happens, though, when a good idea is acted upon. I’ll go further and also argue that the same magical something happens when what appeared to be a good idea is permanently discarded.
And whether you’ve acted on a good idea or decided it wasn’t that great, regarding the white board, the end result is the same. It is erased.
Everything begins as an idea. *Begins* If you use a white board to record ideas for later use, when is the last time you erased it? When is the last time you made decisions about the ideas? If it’s been a while, you may be misunderstanding how to use a white board. No worries, that’s why I’m here. Simply follow the below instructions, and you’ll be in back on track in no time.
Instructions for How to Use a White Board:
Step 1 – Write possibly brilliant idea on it.
Step 2 – Act on idea or Discard idea.
Step 3 (Most Important) – Erase idea.