Easter, Kepler-186f, and Exploding Judas

A report that astronomers have found a planet in the constellation Cygnus, which they named Kepler-186f, turned Chris Wood’s thoughts to humanity’s chance of escaping earth. “Star Trek childhoods and a present of holodeck-quality technology inspire dreams of the ultimate geographic cure. We’ve raped this planet to a fare-thee-well? No prob. On to the next.”

What, exactly, would moving to “Kep” entail? Wood does the math. An excerpt of his column:

Chris Wood

It is Good Friday where I live, in the most Catholic part of old Mexico. The entire week and weekend to come are turned over to a passionate mix of Christian and not-so-Christian rituals: an overnight pilgrimage of the faithful in their hundreds bearing a life-size effigy of a suffering Christ, an entire afternoon devoted to the satisfaction of blowing up life-size paper Judases (although some bear a suspiciously strong likeness to certain political figures — see videos, below).

It is Easter. Which turns out, internet memes notwithstanding, to have nothing to do with Ishtar, a Canaanite goddess of war, fertility and something called “sacred prostitution.” What it does have to do with is the hope that comes with spring time, with the return of life after the little death of winter, that is celebrated by different names in different ways everywhere we are on the planet.

I am not a Christian, but we need that hope just now. There are seven billion reasons afoot on Earth to fear that our savagely brilliant species is on the bloom-and-bust track of the most insentient algae that periodically blossom across hundreds of miles of ocean until they exhaust its oxygen, collapse and die.

Log in to read Wood’s column: A Reflection On Easter, Math and Judas (Subscription or day pass required*)

Chris Wood’s Natural Security column page is here.


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