Monday, August 25, 2014

Dystopias, Hunger games and Falling Skies

Our planet is in very great danger of a serious dystopia, one which I've tried to describe.  The popular Hunger Games is another version of a global warming dystopia.  The movie version, however, downplays the global warming aspect.  The description in Hunger Games is quite different from mine, almost the reverse. What I see, somewhat similarly, are barricaded cities surrounded by camps of environmental refugees.  The difference is that what remains of civilized life is found in the cities, not the countryside. The cities will maintain a monopoly over the important resources, food, water, and health care.  The refugees will have to scrounge for food, negotiate for water, but may be left out of the modern health care available to the cities. They will be living in near medieval conditions, no vaccinations, no advanced hospital services.

So I see a harsh life for the refugees.  But unlike Hunger games, life in the cities won't be grand either.  Over time the social order maintained by the cities will deteriorate, and after awhile, everyone will be in the same circumstances as the refugees.  I just don't see the elaborate city life posed by the author of Hunger Games. It will be a constant struggle to maintain access to the resources.

I wish to complain about another dystopia, presented on television, Falling Skies.  There we have an alien civilization from some other star system working to incorporate humans into a kind of slavery state.  It might be a metaphorical description of our societies death by global warming. Maybe, but I don't see it.  I did see something that disturbed me in the penultimate seasonal episode, however.  The supposedly scientifically advanced alien was in a conversation with human, and (he, she) it began a discussion of the forces of gravity, the forces attracting each atom to each other atom, the same force that attracts the moon to the earth.

The problem is that ever since Einstein's General Theory of Gravity we have know that gravity is not an attractive force. The moon is not being attracted by some force to the earth. This supposed advanced alien was stuck in Newtonian physics where the apple is drawn to the ground by the earth's gravitational force. But that is nonsense.  Einstein has shown us that there is no attractive force at all, but that we are bound to the earth because it causes a distortion in the gravitational field.  The apple falls to the earth not because of some force of attraction, but because the earth distorts space around it causing the apple to fall to the ground, the gravitational field failing to support it.  I'm disappointed with the writers of Falling Sky.