Feb.24.17 at 10:56 am

Before we get started, I just wanted to remind everyone that Scott and I will be attending Emerald City Comicon next weekend. Scott has a limited number of sketches available so reserve yours today!

After the show we’ll start updating with an all-new Sparrow adventure with art by Wook Jin Clark.

Okay, now that we got all the business out of the way, let’s get to it!

Magnetic Spikes. Geomagnetics. How do they work? You want my opinion, unexplained spikes in localized geomagnetic activity in the Earth’s past obviously point to time travelling teenagers doing pranks to mess with historical records.

The (Legally) Blind Can See. Gonna be a weird time if we can keep this civilization going long enough for features like these to become standard issue in glasses and contact lenses.

I think we all heard about TRAPPIST-1. Or 2MASS J23062928-0502285 if you’re nasty. I’m particularly fond of the infographic and tourism posters. The universe is a weird place. Seven planets, all rocky, all roughly Earth-ish sized, and all of them orbiting their star closer than Mercury orbits our own. And yet three of them are potentially habitable since TRAPPIST-1 is pretty dang small and cool relative to the Sun. Fun fact: the Sun has about five billion* years of fuel left, but TRAPPIST is burning so low it’ll last for another four trillion years.

*The Sun will still be around, but that’s when it will have become a Red Giant and expand to engulf the Earth’s** orbit which will, uh, obliterate our planet.

**Oh, don’t worry, that’s still five billion years from now and it won’t matter anyway since all life on Earth will have died long before then because the Sun is slowly getting hotter and the surface of the Earth will be too hot to support liquid water in only about one billion*** years.

***It’s not that bad. It’s unlikely civilization even has another 40 years*^ in it.

*^Assuming a soft collapse where pockets of humanity are able to survive the post-apocalypse at subsistence levels, it’s pretty much impossible for us to ever get “back” to where we are now. The Industrial Revolution only worked because England happened to have a lot of coal/oil near the surface thanks to glaciers carving up the countryside thousands of years earlier. We’ve long since used up all the “easy” energy worldwide and now the only way to get more is by relying on an uninterrupted extraction infrastructure. Should that system suffer a global collapse, that’s it, there’s no starting it back up. The best we can hope for is getting back to about the Renaissance^ and then just hanging out there forever.

^I mean, there are worse fates. No more nuclear holocaust and Climate Change ought to phase out if not to pre-industrial levels then at least early 20th century which is a bedrock of predictability and sustainability compared to today. Hopefully we’ll hang on to germ theory^*. Hygiene will probably go down a notch regardless.
^*Look, I fucking love science too, but part of that involves being honest about the arc of current trends.