Category Archives: Weird

Extreme Misanthropy

AIAA announced a couple weeks ago at IAC that they are renaming their annual Space Forum “Ascend.”

Having gotten that announcement out of the way with the plug for AIAA (which graced me with a media pass to the conference, on top of my delegate badge), this cannot go without comment. As I was ascending (see what I did there?) the escalator to the plenary this morning, someone was handing out a flyer called “ASCEND TODAY.” In it, it had two op-eds.

The first was titled “The Argument For Riding Out Humanity Here At Home And Nowhere Else,” by “B. Line.”

Chances are it’s one of those survival tools ingrained into our genes — the notion that “humanity” as well as other species are conscious, sentient beings, aware of their own mortality and filled with the same emotions, desires, regrets, and consciences as though they were an individual.

It’s what leads us to feel sad at the notion of something becoming extinct as if the thing possessed a collective soul that would experience immense angst or anguish if it disappeared from the planet.

The reality is unless there’s a cataclysmic event, the end of humanity of any other species typically would mean nothing more than a gradual tapering of populations until there was none left. “We” wouldn’t be missed. But again, it’s not “we.” Or “us.” “We,” after all, are not part of a larger collective consciousness. Just as “we” don’t really win when our favorite sports tea does. “We” had nothing to do with it.

But while the end of humanity would not in reality cause any actual sadness — as human-caused global warming is proving every passing day — humanity’s presence is causing real pain and real harm to living, breathing sentient creatures. Our presence is slowly (quickly in geologic terms) making the earth uninhabitable.

This is why, personally, I don’t think we should attempt to perpetuate humanity beyond our own failed experiment here at home. Humanity has caused so much damage to our planet and the life that inhabits it, there’s little justification to inflict or scourge anywhere else in the universe.

I may have missed transcribing the first paragraph. I was going to fisk this, but haven’t had time, but I thought I’d at least toss it out as chum for commenters.

Airline Fare Strategy

I’ve been at a conference for the past few days, sans computer, so light posting. Anyway, I’m flying back from DC tomorrow to LA, with a non-stop flight scheduled for 5:30 PM, because I’d thought I’d have some meetings set up tomorrow, but it turns out that I have no reason to stick around, so I’d like to get out earlier.

So there’s a 7:20 AM flight, which I’ve put myself on standby for. But if I miss it, despite the fact that there are many routes from DCA to LAX all day, I won’t be able to go standby on them, because they aren’t non-stops. If I want to take a different route to LA, I have to pay the difference in ticket price plus a change fee (which is up to a couple hundred bucks).

My question is, what is the thinking behind this policy? An airline seat is a depreciating asset, and to me it would make sense to free to up later in the day by offering someone an earlier ticket, if there’s room on the flight. Why in the world would you care if they flew on the exact route that their original ticket was for, as long as you freed up the seat and didn’t have to bump anyone else?

So, since I’m not going to pay the penalty for changing route, if I miss the flight, I have to wait for the next one (which means I’ll leave my stuff somewhere and do something in town, and come back for my scheduled flight).