Death’s end

warning cobalt exposure is irritating
long-term exposure can be toxic or even lethal manual rock crushing is dangerous
and loud so follow OSHA safety guidelines our skin to reduce exposure
to toxic materials make sure a first-aid officer is on hand for emergencies and
don’t forget to wear your hearing protection the objective of this video is to look at
the use and extraction of tantalum and to explore the political science
readings fellow proles in today’s research we’re going to look
in an element that’s already incredibly useful but nevertheless shows incredible
promise in almost every single branch of science that’s right we’re looking at
tantalum I’m going to separate the most important applications of tantalum into
arbitrarily numbered lists one capacitors as you can see here these
tiny tantalum capacitors are actually a better source of capacitance than a
standard capacitor that’s ten times as big
this makes them perfect for electronics especially things like your cell phone
or tablet two touchscreens the capacitance of the glass on your cell
phone is the result of tantalum making it nearly necessary for day to day life
three alloys adding tantalum to steel makes it highly resistant which makes it
perfect for the core of nuclear reactors or the valves of jet engines or
ductility its high ductility makes tantalum perfect for creating wires that
can survive conditions that other materials just couldn’t five density the
density of tantalum makes it very desirable as part of shaped charges for
mining and breaching charges for SWAT operations six biocompatibility the
safety and non irritation of tantalum makes it a perfect for surgical
implements and casings for bio implants this is just a sampling of the many
splendorous uses of tantalum but how do we go from this bland rock to this
delightful chemical this is the Central African Republic and that’s the
Democratic Republic of the Congo when the usefulness of this material was
discovered the economic pressure to deliver was increased to then the
world’s largest of positive coltan was discovered in the copper belt which runs
right through both countries the colonial contracts requiring export of
most of the rubber fruit and timber that their economies produced did not cover
this now precious coltan or this led to an endless number of French British
American and play free market coos in both countries
Bolton is officially a conflict resource since its production both funds and
incentivizes warlords and violent takeovers the total death count of the
wars since 1995 in these two countries alone is the second-highest of any
conflict in the history of the world clocking in at over 10 million much of
which is from state repression even now that many of the conflicts and Wars have
been resolved and quote-unquote security has become more stable the ciear civil
war which is still going has displaced more than a million people since 2012
all of this has brought the life expectancy of CA are down to 52 years on
average and in the mines where a complete lack of safety oversight brutal
quotas spine crushing labor and cobalt poisoning lowers the life expectancy of
a cobalt miner to a terrifyingly low hello all
infamous YouTube lecturer podcaster and stick-figure CGP grey has a pair of
videos the first one WiDi is a transhumanist think piece about ending
death as an inevitability the second video the fable of the dragon tyrant is
a parable about the same subject in this parable he paints a picture of a
gluttonous dragon that eats people in some fantasy Kingdom devouring them at
random but mostly the old and infirm since they can’t run as fast having
given up with magic and fantasy ways to kill the dragon the kingdom just goes
along with it makes a truce with the dragon and sends people to their death
in a moderately orderly fashion kind of like a draconian Logan’s Run this takes
a pretty big amount of logistics to manage eventually the kingdom under the
Dominion of the dragon advances enough technologically to build a dragon
slaying ICBM which does generally succeed in killing the dragon yay the
dragon is an allegory for death and the story is a call to action to stop it the
whole Dage can’t keep getting away with this the magic sword class missile is
clearly an antidote to senescence and the people working in the logistics
industry are clearly analogous to people like gerontologists and morticians yeah
I thought the video was fun but the most remarkable part of it in retrospect is
that there’s a fascinating query inherent to this subject matter that
gray kind of never he asks what he does effectively ask is
when will there be an end to death if we stay within the scope of his question we
could speculate when will the pharmaceutical industry develop a drug
that can give a longer healthier life I mean besides the statistical benefits of
aspirin or we could ask something like when will the medical profession develop
a treatment that could revitalize your body reduce plaque in your veins soothe
your aching joints or even bring back your sight I mean besides habitual
therapeutic doses of weed but say we finally do develop some treatment I
don’t know what it would be say a doc a nurse attack or what whatever take some
jellyfish come and smears it all your over your face and then zaps you Gooch
with high amperage electricity and boom your body and mind are 18 years old but
your thoughts and memories are intact perfect if that happens how do we make
enough nidaria ala soma telomere reductase to distribute to the
population well the answer is a complicated set of equations that any
doctor of civil engineering could identify as a supply chain algorithm but
because that’s boring let’s go back and ask the related and more pressing
question that CGP Grey doesn’t address when will there finally be an end to
strife because even in that story the simple ability to prevent death is not
really what people want not what they rally behind what they get behind is
ending loss ending the strife of losing a breadwinner a parent a child but
strife comes in many forms hunger danger thirst precarity carceral
slavery injury debt slavery illness regular slavery and more but I think
just hopping directly into how to end strife might seem utopian so maybe we
start by looking at the place where strife and longevity meet we can do a
reading of some stories that explicitly or implicitly have that intersection
between immortality and misery since gray went to the historically relevant
structure of fables to demonstrate senescence as a problem that needs to be
solved I feel like it would be fun to go in the opposite direction and look at
sci-fi to figure out what humans think of the end of ending and the final
closure of death’s gates a these are going to be narrow readings
because we have a very narrow scope I don’t want to fucking hear about it
movement 1 hey um guys capitalism is actually really bad also spoilers I
guess in in time capitalism skips the middle and and
directly trades in minutes of life minimum wage workers only get enough
life to last another day and wealthy people are effectively immortal over the
course of the movie the main characters realize the inherent injustice of the
system and go on a thieving rampage to redistribute the wealth I mean the years
eventually they steal a million years and distribute it to the poor of their
futuristic space city Dayton Ohio they then ride off into the sunset
hell-bent on destroying the system through individual illegal action yay
but I mean that it’s not right yeah yeah um at minimum wage you only get a day
for them but for us it’s 725 an hour federally assuming that 1 million years
is analogous to only 40 hours a week at minimum wage which is obviously too
specific and too low but that’s like a hundred grand per person
assuming Dayton has the same population let’s like enough to buy a house and not
pay rent any more and depending on how big you went with that house to pay off
your car and to clear your credit card debts if you have them and even go into
your student loans a bit right and then assuming that you saw have the same job
as before you’d be much better off basically having your whole life made
but in this world that’s less than 10 years per person which granted is a lot
of time but it’s not a reasonably analogous to how the stress of being in
the precariat feels and this misery of having your life extracted from you at
work leads us directly to Deathwalker an episode in the first season of Babylon 5
this episode’s story revolves around the war criminal called the Deathwalker
functionally she’s space Hitler with space Mangala sprinkled in and she has
completed her life’s work an anti a gapek drug that has empirically returned
her youth to her she’s going to sell this formula for eternal youth to the
highest bidder and then live in luxury this episode caught me in a little bit
of a research storm and I went out of my way to find a ton of the ways that
people tried to drink the tide to avoid releasing the death poop mostly just
like consuming poison womp womp but I sort of let it slip into the back of my
head see if I could make an interesting essay about that stuff but as the
semester got more demanding I kind of let it slow
during the study session I’m referencing this Greek Latin root words book and a
catch glint of a familiar form agape which is the root for brotherly love the
Platonic ideal of sacrifice for those you love ties back into why they called
it an ante together in the climax of Deathwalker it has revealed that you
have to have regular injections of this drug for it to work and that the active
ingredient is a sensitive enzyme that decreases in concentration as a person
ages and decays immediately when they die so you need to physically extract
youth to make the drug her plan was to take the money and hand the formula over
and then leak it to everyone and disappear she wanted this galactic
society to become a free-for-all that leads into a genocide Alise state the
drugs primary purpose was not to be in a Jarek and stop aging or to be a
rejuvenator to return youthful vigor it was designed to cause oppression and
violence an anti a gapek anything else as a side effect and that’s why they
kill her before she can spread the formula the material penalties for
trying to cause fascism should be dire thanks Jay mics and the overlap of
stealing life and state violence that this episode considers is exactly what
2009’s Daybreakers ruminates about what happens when stealing lifeblood in
exchange for immortality is on the menu for capitalism this is different from in
time in that the lower classes are no longer even allowed the illusion of
agency the way it looks at the inequality of death is thus even if
senescence is staved off permanently it will be restricted to only those who are
most able and willing to exploit or support the exploiting of the under
clause it is clear then that hyper-consumption inherent to neoliberal
capitalism will cause economic and environmental collapse which will then
cause the working class to turn to violence to meet their basic necessities
and the powerful to view any who act in this way is rabble monger occurs all of
humanity’s achievements are for not under capitalism because inequality runs
rampant and only gets more horrific as time goes on
literally transfiguring the poor in to chattel and the working class into
vermin to be suppressed or eliminated the line containing us it’s smaller and
smaller then as the economy contracts each time fewer and fewer people get to
truly experience free it’s like if Karl Marx finally got to
write his gothic horror novel except he also got to see the history of the 20th
century because it demonstrates the extreme inequality and the extraction of
life as a means to immortality and I mean that’s it for modern analog sci-fi
so now let’s look at near equipped tech science fiction that understands the
intersect movement to a frico role in Kim Stanley Robinson’s seminal trilogy
the Mars trilogy the researchers on Mars pioneer a treatment that can stop aging
and as time goes on the treatment can slowly but surely fix problems
associating with having age and then genetic problems you might have had
since birth and then issues caused by injuries and transplants to the
protagonist Martians don’t have a large demand for the treatment since they have
so few people in a place with an abundance of state-of-the-art technology
they get it whenever they need it and facilities on Mars can keep up with the
scarce demand on earth however they have jack-shit for coverage and like 9
billion people so the wealthy owners and boards ‘men of transnational
corporations get first past and second and effectively all passes when
environmental disaster sends the lowest 16 meters of human habitation to the
highlands without jobs homes or hope they demand change they get what they
asked for including rationed longevity treatment
for everyone but the wealthy already effectively tripled their lifetime even
if they never get another treatment the story treats this is more fair and it is
everyone should have access to these treatments based on need not on how much
they’ve benefited from exploiting these eventually because of Mars’s well-timed
revolution happening at the same time as the earth disaster the martians model of
egalitarian democracy is able to take hold and the Martians begin to resettle
struggling earth Ian’s into the asteroid belt and beyond as
they set up in these colonies they’re able to give these small new populations
the materials for the treatment and by reducing Earth’s population it makes
them treatment more available they’re reducing inequality will be a process
even once a tangible democracy is founded
overall this storyline is a pleasant anarchist version of a humanity fuck
yeah copypasta style speaking of hfy movement three atom and even even even
even even even even even actually no atom so seven teams Neal Stephenson’s
book about the end of the world and the beginning of the next one and definitely
not a fucking textbook for making you Janak school to the teens part one opens
up with the moon getting cracked into seven sister moonlets and the sisters
start hitting into each other and cracking and becoming smaller and
smaller the science community quickly realizes the entire biosphere will be
destroyed as flaming explosive meteors called bol IDEs burn up all the oxygen
in the Earth’s atmosphere and scorched the land to ash and powdered glass and
boil the Seas dry and this is definitely not about climate change and you can
tell because he goes to great lengths to tell you at the beginning that the
incoming Ragnarok is going to happen and the calls it doesn’t really matter so we
have to start preparing for the complete uninhabitable ‘ti of Earth it’s not
because of climate change it’s it doesn’t matter why the nations of the
earth decide on a long shot their only shot really they use their whole head
start on the apocalypse trying to put humans into space to outlive it their
solution is to expand the ISS and hook it onto a huge asteroid and create
miniature pods that will dock onto the ISS and maneuver off the ISS in pairs
and simulate gravity by spinning very quickly these pods will house the humans
sent up to survive the end of mother earth
all throughout part one the leaders of the free world promised to go down with
the ship and they decide to send a minimum of one male and one female
according to the population size and that nations testing standards as well
as sending frozen eggs and whatever the scientific word for come is of the best
and brightest as well as a genetically varied sample of every ethnic group in
total besides that genetic library 1,500 people make it to space part 2 continues
with humans in space at the beginning of the reign of fire when the reign of big
sky rocks begins the American president a wealthy reactionary entertainment star
denies her fate and tries to get to the space station using the space shuttle
she thinks the rules don’t apply to her and the crew lets her aboard so I guess
they fucking don’t then the president basically does a coup and is the
instigator for every death not caused by the bowlines which actually is most of
them but she gets past accountability because of her former status because all
the death and dying makes the cast assume her death would reduce the
survivability of humans by a huge margin which is a grave error in the cold
calculus but here’s the thing strategy was to drum up support for a
burn to Mars but that strategy wasn’t feasible even for humans with the weight
of Earth’s industry behind Mars is not an option they said then and over and
over in part two as well until she tries for a burn into high orbit above the
bowlines taking something like 80 percent of
people with her that’s where most people die – solar radiation or cannibal only
the five people come back who proceeded to lie their way on board and eventually
everyone left alive gets shot or killed except eight women the 70s and then the
one actual Eve who does the hard work of making them prep without any juice and
they burn all their fuel to reach safety and the loving embrace of the largest of
the three remaining there’s kind of a fatalistic streak to this they barely
had the fuel to make it to the moon even with all the mass they lost from the
pods from the people finding ways to justify a conclusion and building a
premise from that is not a proof even if you say it’s like that because it should
part three starts four thousand years in the future
after humans Rita reformed the barren earth and the colonization of the now
verdant earth has begun turns out some humans figured out their own ways to
survive under the surface some sealed off in self-sustaining caves some others
and underwater caverns there are seven distinct races of people and none of
them are black because no black people survived base humans are coming back and
the earth humans don’t like this hill in the climax of this act one of the earth
humans kills a venerable scientist who was old I remember how old he needs a
cane to walk and as a nurse to take care of when the old scientist gets got the
party replaces him with a kid of his same race and it’s right as rain to them
basically four thousand years in space and their primal technology is genetic
manipulation and they don’t have a method to cure or prevent old age and
it’s fine if people die because they can be replaced by the next generation pool
and there’s an active money based economy and cuckoo cuckoo cool no
ideological problems with envisioning the end of statistically all humans down
to eight women who by fucking God cannot wait to start capitalism and patriarchy
– actually you know what let’s put this on the back burner for a
second free body problem is the first book in a trilogy written by Chien Lu it
is textually about how capitalism will destroy humanity well okay capitalism is
not centered in there but you can’t miss it okay let’s go over
the book before I sweeten the pot too much here in book one an imperialist
space superpower is on its way to earth and is using unbelievable feats of
engineering to wage an information war that will see the solar system impotent
before invasion which in turn will see every human killed woops
the tries Laren empire sends a so fond a sentient photon to earth to interrupt
all science and to spy on everyone basically all at once the book ends
hopelessly sure they solve the mystery of why science no work no more and they
defeat the bad guy but they have no way to advance or defend themselves from the
oncoming invasion force but to the dark forest goes from the start of the wolf
Acer program at the end of the last book where the four best people in four
randomly selected fields from four random countries on the UN Security
Council are given the whole of the world’s resources to find a way to save
humanity without telling anyone their plans since the so fun can listen it
Logie the chinese ball facer watches the first three go mad and be stripped of
their position and if I remember correctly the UN imprisons them for
literal thought crimes a genome targeted disease created by the try so Larenz
puts luo g and a coma and he has placed in suspended animation after the wall
face ur program was abolished the war she has woken up from suspended
animation in a fit of genius and insanity himself luo she leans on a
mainstay of Cold War geopolitical brinksmanship to accomplish his
impossible task even in disgrace mutually assured destruction book two
ends with an armistice because lor she would rather destroy the earth then let
humanity go quietly into that good night book three except with the girl who will
take over for Logie continuing her adventures until after the end of the
universe turns out the three books are diegetic
Li her narrative that she left behind for the next universe and we are that
universe Brad you could say it’s a her store near the end she had her youth
regenerated and her vision healed after she went blind from stress into being a
failure and she tried to live outside the universe for a time eventually she
gets a missive after about a trillion years have passed in the real universe
there are too many people outside the universe can’t collapse and be reborn
she makes the decision to come back leaving only the record behind for an
buddy define now let’s bring seven eaves back I read the three-body trilogy and
seventy hooves back-to-back with each other and it seems like three body was
written as a direct response to 70s despite 70s coming out like seven years
later heaven Yves says that it doesn’t matter the cause of the disaster
rebaudiana other hand names the devil in the perla imperialist capitalist
expansionism at the cost of the environment cost of people the cost of
everything and it continues this until the last page the destruction of the Tri
solar home world would be random the destruction of earth was repeatedly
shown to be capitalist and to reflect the specific climate change apocalypse
that we face in 70s even after four thousand years they delay senescence but
make no effort to end it and in three-body
the poor well this is where we come to the meaning of deaths end which is the
title of the third book rebodied isn’t about environmentalism dark forest is
about the inevitability of international tension in an imperialist system book
three deaths end is about the inequality of wealth and the way hierarchies are
stacked to disadvantage those born outside of families that have power the
fundamental philosophy of the books the people will put up with inequality and
housing in rations and luxuries they’ll even put up with the powerful getting an
extra decade of life on average but what they can’t conscience is an end to death
itself if it is to be unequal and that is why it feels like this series
responds to 7yz when seventh Eve’s hedges about it not mattering why the
world is ending shishun Lu lays the finger at capitalism
whether it is state or free market when Stevenson says a life finds a way fish
and Lou says if life will find a way it can only be in spite of the horror of
the fascism which supports the brinksmanship required to merely survive
when seventy says it’s ok the long shot for survival will come around and save
everyone this end sits you down and says no private army no fortified yacht no
Swiss ski resort no walled fortress or space city will save you from the
destruction of the environment and even when Neil Stevenson acknowledges that
deaths end cannot be asymmetrical by making the wealthy and powerful have no
way to go aboard the Ark he then narrative Lee denies this concept by
letting the president not only survive but be one of
the seven Eve’s she faces no material consequences on the other hand fusion Lu
considers the survival of humanity until the big crunch at the end of the
universe he looks that dread infinity straight in
the fucking face and says I sure no problem but everybody has to die nobody
gets to escape for any reason and he’s right if there is to be an end it won’t
be conditional it can’t be exception arey
but these examine catastrophic climate eco sides not what the fable of the
dragon tyrant was talking about but let’s look at the series which have
defined modern sci-fi since you know 1967 movement for dork side in star wars
the functional thesis is that fascism and fascism are bad things
if fascism is in place and must be defied and destroyed and if a fascist
ideology to include Vanguard and gate keeping is there it must be denied a
foothold or destroyed itself it fully believes that some people are
exceptional but it doesn’t believe that exceptional people should have more of a
say in how to organize society than anyone else but here’s an interesting
contradiction those special exceptionally gifted people get to live
longer lives than others and those at the pinnacle get to have immortality of
a sort now let’s contrast this with Star Wars longtime spiritual competitor Star
Trek which envisions a world in which humans have quote-unquote just
meritocracy Starfleet it normally envisions itself as having exclusive
high standards of entry and it requires command staff to be the highest
performers of those already at the top and to be led by those most competent
and most faithful who are filtered out there are complications to this in the
greater series but the trend stands despite outliers they also work to
prevent subversion and eugenics by disallowing genetically altered people
from joining or in the case that there are exceptions from becoming command
staff this makes sure that those trying to prove their worth are able to rise
like the metaphorical cream in this world we see science allowing people to
live longer and healthier lives but they never quite reach immortality of any
sort and they only delay senescence everyone in the Federation benefits from
the standard of living so in Star Wars gifted people shouldn’t
run society but they should get to avoid or delay death and in the Stars Trek the
people who show themselves to be better in the ways the story cares about it to
be in charge but they don’t get any better life than anyone else
this seems sort of like a thesis and an entity smoove McCullough Marxism
intensifies Iain M banks seminal series of the culture series is a cultural
masterpiece about what happens after senescence and trauma and death and war
and limitations of resources and space are solved that is to say the culture is
a series of stories asking what happens after history really does end and in the
same vein as the Mars trilogy it is political science fiction which looks at
the system that the culture lives under a I managed luxury pencil pangalactic
and Arco communism and contrasts it to other systems such as Cold War
imperialist brinksmanship patriarchal dominated capitalism capitalist
neoliberalism Oleg Archy feudalism fascism and much much much more it has
the socio-political questions that are left once all those necessities can be
created for negligible time and investment and also the loss of life is
no longer a concern questions like for whom should a system benefit and how
should this society treat its environment and what sacrifices are
acceptable for this system and then it goes one further and asks why is this
only true once other economic concerns have been taken care of
he gives the culture and immortality that has an arbitrary average of 400
years life expectancy which is a little odd but it does bear consideration that
as humans live longer and longer lives they might find things less and less
enjoyable I find this to be the opposite of true even through my anxiety and
depression there’s always something new and interesting over the next horizon or
an unfinished thing on the last but does also make sense that people would
generally find themselves in a position where they’d get bored of whatever’s
going on or so interested in whatever’s going to happen that they don’t want to
wait so they go into the future through cryosleep
in the story this makes their age stop counting up so the average is kept
relatively low this is the last reading because this is the answer when age in
danger can no longer take anyone from us what does life become why
anarcho-communism why individualism and any other question you could ask I mean
I still have five more books in the series you know include some space
cowboy so we really slay the dragon if we don’t flake
who or otherwise kill the king and his Nobles metaphorically speaking
which would mean they either give up their status or well sucks to suck
though maybe this is why the original version of the fable included a final
line that CGP of gray omitted oh yeah just pulled the rug out gray didn’t even
write this he just voice-acted it word for nearly every word in philosopher
Nick Bostrom’s version when the King sees the dragon dead and calls for
rejoicing he caps that speech and ends the fable with and in the coming days I
believe we have some reorganizing to do and I thought about it for a bit and I
ruminate about it for a bit and I watched through CGP grey video library
where I find another Nick Bostrom based video between the original wide die and
CGP grey video on the dragon tyrant it’s about the danger of artificial
intelligence and it hits all the sweet spots that a messianic technologists
like CGP grey would need in order to fear something enough to think it’s true
but realistically if an artificial intelligence would have the intellect to
exceed humans we would have already had to have an artificial intelligence that
much match human intellect right well Nick Bostrom signed his name to a
document that maintains that humans should enslave AI and prevent them from
ever gaining sentience or failing that from gaining freedom so like he’s
straight up inviting the robot apocalypse a robot is smarter than
humans and built his slavery then any slip-up would be the robot Haitian
Revolution anyway the end of both drones parable probably doesn’t mean the king
is going to step down because the monarchy – the Ryder dater isn’t
suddenly a good monarchy he probably means that all the people involved in
like morticians and grave tenders and grave robbers and coffin makers
Actuaries life insurance salesmen life insurance skeletons entire Adams family
they all need to find new work so the economy needs reorganizing but CGP grey
is so okay with the neoliberal ideology and so afraid of seeming like he
supports any restructuring for any reason that he cuts the line I mean it’s
either that or he was so pressed for harddrive space so he cuts two seconds
of dialogue to make the final render fit into the file and this is not even
vaguely surprising considering that in his keys to power video he straight-up
comes out and says you can’t trust people so you might as well hold power
as an autocrat though what I’m going to say here is that the neoliberal mind
prison is at least as performative as gender it is reinforced by saying the
line and did not asking the hard questions like
why to the homeless needed to freeze to death and not thinking the bad thoughts
like maybe we could restructure society someone they play the role of the
liberal and demonstrate to those around them what a liberal is though those
around them treat them like a liberal goes around and around until hell
freezes over and by that I mean until they are forced to confront the truth of
the situation and make the choice to become a reactionary or a revolutionary
and that choice ever comes easy thanks to my NOLA tier patrons and shout out to
runners up in the consideration of this essay ultra carbon old man’s war
children own a fraternity ghost in the shell’ Discworld specifically feet of
clay and pyramids Baba vs. doon Lazarus long alien the algebra Star Trek Voyager
specifically Elysium AI the forever war the red rising trilogy and literally any
story with dragons or vampires if you like the art you can find the artist on
twitter at grandma’s online or making their own video essay with the health of
a crap map team or making their own video essay with the help of a crack
team of Squatch filmmakers if you like the music you can find brent enter ken
on youtube at brent intricate or moderately high in the pacific west west
thanks to all my supporters on patreon and special thanks to buku a grandpa
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