Monthly Archives: January 2016

Updates, Ideen und ein Repost

So, die ASU hat mir erläutert, das Veröffentlichung im Internet nicht als ‘published elsewhere’ gilt und dass die von mir zitierte Regel dazu dient, Streit unter Verlagen zu verhindern. Das Copyright an der Geschichte bleibt also bei mir und ich kann sie hier posten 🙂

Darüber hinaus gibt es Updates bei der NibbleTronic: 3D Mockups der nächsten Iteration und Ideen für weitere Features. Hierbei fände ich Input bezüglich meiner noch etwas wirren Vorstellungen klasse, ich habe zu dem Zweck mal ein Kontaktformular unten an die Seite geklebt. Bei den schlimmen Ideen sind dann noch zwei Projekte dazu gekommen, ein Stück Musikelektronik und zwei Lampen.

Climate Fiction Contest

Ich ging lange davon aus, der Abgabetermin für den Contest wäre am 16. Januar, also heute. Im laufe der letzten Tage schlich sich die Frage, welche Uni ihre Deadlines auf einen Sonnabend legen würde, in meinen Hinterkopf. Und dazu das Wissen, dass ich mit Terminen so meine Schwächen habe. Gestern Abend waren die Zweifel endlich so stark, dass ich dann doch noch mal nachgesehen habe, und tatsächlich, der Termin war Freitagnachmittag. Durch die  Zeitverschiebung hat es gerade noch gepasst 🙂

Ich möchte mich an dieser Stelle bei Bianca, Martin und Jörg bedanken, die mir massiv geholfen haben, aus dem ersten Entwurf eine echte Geschichte zu machen. Ihr seid jetzt für zukünftige Projekte verhaftet. Da in den Wettbewerbsbedingungen steht, dass ein Beitrag nirgends anders publiziert sein darf, habe ich die Geschichte wieder runter genommen, bis die ASU mir grünes Licht gibt oder ich die Übersetzung auf deutsch fertig habe.

At Anchor

Olav Svensson, age 28, skipper of the offshore supply vessel “OSV Nadia Helmsdottir” is on watch on the bridge of his ship. They’re lying at anchor in a crowded oil field and so there isn’t much to do but keeping an eye on the ship’s swaying, its systems and the weather report but Olav is enjoying himself when his daughter Ænne enters the bridge, looking for company.

“Hey kiddo, What are you doing?” In her bright orange overall she looks like a tiny roughneck, as the oil field workers call themselves. “I’m bored Daddy.” She replies and Olav lifts her on a chair. “Here, you can watch the radar.” Olav smiles at Ænne turning knobs and poking the screen. He is glad how well his daughter is adapting to the life aboard a ship. When the offshore industry had gone belly up, Olav had considered a life ashore, but not for long. After some more poking she turns to him and asks “Where’s Mommy?”

“Well shit.” He thinks. This question shouldn’t have a complicated answer. “Keep an eye on the radar, sweetie.” Olav tells her, playing for time. He remembers what had kept him from returning home. Although Scandinavia, relying on renewable energy and inhabited by hardened people that were used to living in adverse conditions had handled the new climate fairly well, the society had changed. These days they seriously call it ‘Walhalla’ and have isolated themselves from the world. Norway has never let go of its cold war attitude and the Finns have shut down the eastern borders. They actually seem to enjoy their second winter war. On the southern edge the flooding had turned Denmark into an impassable marshland.

“Where is she, Daddy?” Ænne keeps digging. Her hair reminds Olav of his leading engineer Kobus. “Just a second, sweetie, this is complicated.” Olav tries to appease her, still working on his answer. Kobus was from Groningen and dutch engineers were highly sought after in Europe’s new coastal regions. When Olav had asked Kobus, if he wanted to go ashore, the Dutch man had been like: “Fuck them, they’re worse than the Nazis, those people.” And he was right, as central Europe had been caught between desertification and flooding it had thrown civilization out of the window in the process. They had lashed out like a cornered animal, calling it a defensive war but in reality they’d slaughtered and drowned starving refugees. Kobus has since become one of the most important men aboard, the space bucket that he had used to grow weed in the engine room has been the blueprint for the hydroponic greenhouse that now covers their cargo deck. They’re producing mostly potatoes but of course there’s still some of Kobus’ special out there. Ænne jumps out of the radar operator’s chair and tugs Olav’s sleeve. “Oh yes, Mommy. You know…” And he still isn’t sure how to begin.

The abandoned rigs of the oil field are now occupied by Inuit and some die hard roughnecks. The roughnecks are a tough bunch but the Inuit are the real survivors out here. Olav remembers old Ukiuk telling him stories of the life on the melting ice floes that still make him shudder. How their world fell to pieces because Inuit tech relies heavily on freezing stuff and that stopped working in the warmer climate. And how everything changed when the ice shrunk. The so called ‘perpetual ice’ is a very sparse ecosystem to begin with and doesn’t support dense populations of anything but krill. Throw in large predators like polar bears and walruses and crowding becomes a very deadly problem. The Inuit had to ‘reconsider man’s place in the food chain’ as Ukiuk likes to put it. Several of her people still carry a gun wherever they go. These great navigators have become afraid of the sea.

“We lost our homes and are now rebuilding the world one floating potato farm at time.” Olav thinks, looking at his waiting daughter. “For you, kiddo.” He smiles. Potatoes are one thing but for a future you need children. And while roughnecks and sailors are great candidates for building stuff from nothing, they’re also predominantly male. At first they didn’t now what to make of it when the research vessel Healy dropped anchor among them. And when the marine biologists came forward with their plan to grow uteri from human stem cells, the colonists failed to grasp the implications. The scientist were looking for hosts to implant the uteri. Among roughnecks and Sailors. Hadn’t it been about their survival, it would have been funny. Actually, it had been funny when the assembled men heard the announcement and suddenly all found something really interesting at the floor or the ceiling.

Dr. Schwarze just went on, explaining how they would perform advanced cloning and gene splicing to make the most of the shallow gene pool and how every new child would have up to a dozen genetic parents. At this point Olav had made the decision to step forward and declare: “I’m gonna be a mother.” Kobus and many others from his crew followed his example, then several of the roughnecks. This had been five years ago. Today their kids are seen as children of the tribe, most have younger siblings and there is a school aboard the Healy. Someone should get the sex ed up to date.

“You see, kiddo, I’m your Mommy. And Dr. Schwarze from the Healy, kind of. And…”

She cuts him off before Olav could list whose genes she carries: “You are funny! Can I play with Uki?”

“Of course you can. Run my dear.” Looks like it’s not so complicated after all.

Stickervorlage

Clicken für 300 DPI A8 Stickervorlage

Clicken für 300 DPI A8 Stickervorlage

Ich bin gerade dabei, Sticker für schlimme-gegend.de zu entwerfen und habe versehentlich zwischendurch bei facebook rein geschaut. Dann sah ich mich gezwungen, das hier zu machen. Es ist ein PNG, das bei 300 DPI als DIN A8 rauskommt, was ein ziemlich günstiges Format für Sticker oder Spuckis sein sollte. Sobald ich WordPress überzeugen kann, seine “Sicherheitsbedenken” hintenanzustellen, tausche ich es gegen das originale SVG aus.

Statt ‘Nazis’ kann da genau so gut ‘Extremisten’ stehen und insgesamt ist der Text ziemlich undifferenziert, aber es ist auch ein Sticker. Die müssen so.

Ach ja, die fünf Prozent gehen auf die Prävalenz narzisstischer Persönlichkeitsstörungen zurück, sind also einigermaßen belegt. Und auch ich habe Tage, an denen ich mir nicht sicher bin, ob es fünf Prozent oder ein Fünftel der Leute sind.

Aggregate States

The following story is the first (public) draft for my entry for the 2016 climate fiction contest. At the same time it is part of the developing background of Sal's and Hektor's story. Feedback like comments on readability, typos and overall quality is highly welcome.

Water. Most of the recent history revolves around water. In the coastal regions for example, there was too much of it. The Netherlands were flooded. And some other countries. Islands, you know, practically consist of nothing but coastal regions. Very few people actually drowned in the floods because the change was gradually and foreseeable, but it got crowded on the hills and as so often in times of peril, humanity showed its nasty side. With the land, resources and supplies became scarce. Industrial centers near big ports became marshes, cut off from transportation. Production stalled, commerce as the driver of the world economy as well. Millions were on the move and not especially welcome where they went.

And then there were other, older problems. Malaria and other diseases that were considered history, returned to central Europe and the States. So even without drowning people died by the millions. The Dutch actually had the advantage of having a long tradition of fortifying coasts and building dykes which made them the only refugees that were highly regarded wherever one of them showed up. Having mastered the art of industrial crop production also helped. Almost everybody else was considered a drain of resources.

Then there was the UK. They had their own case of ‘too much water’. With it  steep coasts it mostly got spared by the rising sea levels. London was of course swamped by the Thames delta but the city had been considered uninhabitable by most long before the water came, so this doesn’t count. No, the British Islands got hit by a decade of so called ‘century storms’ and due to deforestation lost most of their topsoil. Agriculture was dead and the Britons that survived the floods and the mud slides mostly starved. The highlands are now again inhabited by semi nomadic clans. They’re said to be welcoming people as long you can make yourself useful and aren’t part of a large group (More than four people).

Scandinavia is a different kind of beast. With their reliance on renewable energy sources and populated by people that were used to living in adverse conditions they suffered some minor famines and came out on top. Then they isolated themselves. Denmark had been turned into unnegotiable marshlands by the flooding and so only Finland remained as potential entry point. The second Winter War hasn’t really ended until now. It’s just that there is nobody left with the military power to face the Finns.

In other places it was the lack of water that killed. Raging desertification turned the plains near the tropics into uninhabitable badlands. A lot of farmers kept hoping for rain until they were to weak to flee. These areas suffered from mass starvation and the ones that tried to get out found crowded hostile societies. With closed and fortified borders. ‘The west’ had just barely survived the flooding water and was now deathly afraid of the coming flood of people. Scared humans are the worst. It was more a slaughter than a war. Justified by the old trope ‘If we don’t kill them, everybody will die!’. Who knows, letting them in, sharing the resources and see who makes it, might have been a better solution. Central Europe would now be much more culturally diverse if they had tried that route. Not that it hadn’t been hit by desertification: Spain, Portugal and southern France are now the home of nomad tribes. They ceased to be functioning nations decades ago and are now just called the European Desert.

Both scenarios didn’t apply to my folks. For us it wasn’t too much or too little water. Sounds good, you say? Well here’s the thing: In our region, the water melted. And just like the land masses, the ice became crowded. Which is bad in a sparse ecosystem like the so called ‘perpetual ice’. With so few natural resources a high population density is deadly per se. But when you share your habitat with polar bears and walruses, crowding is just terrifying. Nobody likes to reconsider one’s place in the food chain. A lot of us got eaten, others went adrift when pieces of the ice floe broke off (and then probably were eaten, or they just drowned when their ice sheet flipped over). Hunger was cruel, just as anywhere else but if you loose enough people on each hunt, the effect levels itself out soon. Homo Sapiens Arcticus was headed for extinction, fast.

We finally found refuge in the last place one would expect. Turned out that floating structures are largely immune to changing sea levels and we now inhabit an offshore oil field. Drilling in the arctic has always been a bad idea, but the remains of this silly endeavor proved invaluable to us. Life on these aging industrial structures isn’t easy by any measure, but at least they’re stable, compared to the ice. We even managed to feed ourselves without getting killed when we succeeded in constructing hydroponic greenhouses on the cargo decks of platform supply vessels. We don’t really hunt or fish much today, even if it looks like the blue whale is returning. We are still figuring out our place in the emerging ecosystems and want to play it safe this time.

Our founders were Inuit, sailors, oil rig workers and some scientists. Sailors with their professional aptitude for problem solving and surviving hostile environments proved to be a great basis for building a society in those times. Also they tend to read a lot. But this setup came with its own inherent problem: The first generation faced a severely skewed gender distribution. Not many women on oil rigs and OSVs, you know? We were lucky when in year three a research vessel docked at our colony. They showed us what a few stray marine biologists and a ship’s doctor with a fully equipped lab could do. That ship was sent from heaven, as the religious among us like to say. I’m pretty sure they just didn’t want to return to what was was left of their former homes.