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mercredi 30 septembre 2015

Politics that didn't Happen

In 2016, as the refugee crisis intensified, elections in countries across Europe resulted in a rise of rightwing and far-right parties, drastically changing EU politics.
Fundings for refugees, both in Europe and abroad, was cut significantly, and in its stead, billions were used to cut Europe off from the rest of the world. Fences were built, border controls were intensified, and refugee quotas that would have been ridicoulously low at the best of times were instated. And all the while, refugees from the warn-torn middle-east kept coming.
The tensions between politics and the real world resulted in numerous humanitarian catastrophes, as countries used their military, and live ammunition, to make sure nobody crossed their borders. The cost of these operations kept on increasing, while an aging Europe, bereft of the influx of migrants which had kept it over water until now, experienced little to no economic growth. By 2019, Europe was practically bankrupt.
Slowly, politics where starting to change again, reducing repression and increasing refugee quotas, but it was too late. Other countries, having seen the disastrous results of EU politics, had decided to welcome the refugees in its stead, and, encouraged by the economic growth produced by their demographic increase, kept doing so. By the time Europe opened its doors again, nobody wanted to go there anymore.
The european economy, because of an aging population and the PR-disaster its politics of the past three years had caused, has since been in recession, and shows little signs of picking up again. Europeans have started to leave the continent in search for a better life, but, perhaps unsurprisingly, very few countries are willing to accept these "economic migrants".

lundi 28 septembre 2015

Citations that weren't Made

"Tell me how you seed, and I'll tell you who you are."

   - Gottfrid Svartholm, co-founder of TPB

vendredi 25 septembre 2015

Animals that don't Exist

The Drunk Dog

The drunk dog, Canis inhebrietus, is a relatively new breed of dog. It ressembles a golden retriever, but with an unmistakeable taste for alcohol.
It was while seeing police dogs trained to sniff out bootlegger caches during the prohibition that Alan Bick first thought of the idea of selecting a breed that has a predilection for the then-illegal substance. Thirty years later, he presented the first drunk dog at an Alcoholics Anonymous convention in New York. His plan was simple: since the dog would like a drink just as much, or even more, than his master, he would constantly be on the lookout for a hidden bottle, and, if he found one, empty it before his master could.
The idea took hold at first, and a number of recovering alcoholics procured one of the dogs, in the hope that their new companion would stop them from falling back into their bad habit. However, this was without taking into account the social nature of dogs.
If there was no alcohol in the house, the drunk dogs would steal it from somewhere else. But, as dog etiquette dictates, they would invariably offer a share to their master whenever they brought home a bottle. This led to some of the most intense friendships between man and dog, and was responsible for destroying a number of households.
Today, drunk dogs are not bred anymore, but their descendends still roam the streets, sometimes in company of humans, and sometimes on their own. And if, by a struck of ill luck, they manage to form a pack, no distillery will be spared.

mercredi 23 septembre 2015

Politics that didn't Happen

In late 2015, politicians promised us to fight crime, poverty, violence and pollution. And since then, everything is alright, and everyone is happy!


lundi 21 septembre 2015

Citations that weren't Made

"You can't get a silver lining without no clouds."

   - Kenny Logans, after a few beers to many.

vendredi 18 septembre 2015

Animals that don't Exist

The Lost Crab

The lost crab, Liocarcinus erravi, has not been seen for over a thousand years. Ancient manuscripts describe the crab as being of a pure yellow color, and living mostly in seacaves on the mediterranean. It was considered a delicacy in the times of the roman empire, to be fried in garlic oil and eaten whole.
Where the lost crab has gone to, or if it even still exists, nobody knows. Texts from around 1000 A.D. describe the puzzlement of the people of that time as to why the crab has disappeared. Cryptozoologist and gourmets from all over the world have searched for it, but so far to no avail.
Dr. Rudolf Krebs, from the European Institute for Lost Animals (EILA), mounted an expedition of more than a hundred people in 2013, and they spent over a year scouring the mediterranean coast looking for it, but to no avail. The lost crab, true to its name, could not be found.

mercredi 16 septembre 2015

Politics that didn't Happen

In the wake of the refugee crisis of 2015, where Europe had to deal with an increasing amount of refugees from the countries it had spent the last ten years at war with, it became obvious that, because of globalized conflicts, globalized economies and global climate change, the old notion of rigid political borders had to be changed.
As a result, the World Federation of Nations was created,  unifying all countries under one central government, and easing the transport of not only goods and money, but also people. In the years that followed, massive population movements, as well as profound restructuring of infrastructure, would change the world forever.
Now, Europe has become the overcrowded dorm of the world, while most countries in Africa are more or less empty, save for a few farmers and some natives. All over the world, a new rural exodus has happened, not from the countryside to the city, but from the producing to the consuming countries.
Redistribution of wealth still remains a challenge, and most cities are unable to keep up their growth to match the incoming people. But, on the other hand, global inequality has diminished drastically, and hunger as well as curable diseases have decreased significantly.
Whether this experience will manage to stand on its own in the long term, or whether these overcrowded cities will implode, remains to be seen. But it has become clear that, in the face of global inquality, only global solidarity stands a chance.

lundi 14 septembre 2015

Citations that weren't Made

"Ah sh*t!"

   - Man, 7'000 B.C., after inventing the calendar and discovering it was monday.

vendredi 11 septembre 2015

Animals that don't Exist

The Chocolate Worm

The chocolate worm, Lombrix chocolata, was historically found exclusively in Switzerland, but has since spread over most of western Europe. Unlike its name indicates, the chocolate worm does not feed on chocolate, but mainly on milk. It got its appellation when the swiss first started making and exporting milk chocolate, which, in some cases, contained the worm. People from neighbouring countries, having never encountered the creature before, thought it must be there because of the chocolate, and called it chocolate worm.
Apart from this story, there is really not much to say about the chocolate worm. It is neither of particular form or shape, nor does it have any biological or chemical properties that make it in any way significantly different from its peers. But despite its mundane appearance, it almost caused a premature end to the blooming chocolate indusrty of Switzerland.
Because of these events, the swiss have nominated the chocolate worm enemy of the state, and they hold yearly worm-culling festivals, were milk and milk-products are inspected carefully for any trace of the bugger. Some say this is just and excuse to sample all the different milk-products made in Switzterland, a theory that is corroborated by the fact that the swiss usually end up very drunk on these occasions. But, officially at least, it is all about the worm

mercredi 9 septembre 2015

Politics that didn't Happen

In 2016, in Switzerland, a popular initiative passed that made informatics classes not only mandatory from secondary school onwards, but changed the subjects as well, from word and paint to python and C++. Although drawing many complaints at first, mostly from parents and teachers who had trouble keeping up with the students in the new subjects, it quickly became evident that this gave swiss pupils a big advantage in the job market.
As computers became ever more omnipresent in our lives, most countries' educational system could not keep up with the growing demand in qualified personnel. Especially in IT security, there was a lack of available candidates, and the swiss government, emboldened by the positive feedback of its revised educational policy on the matter, decided to integrate the subject in its new curriculum.
Today, Switzerland is connecting once again with its mercenary past, as it has become the country that "exports" the most IT-personnel in the world. The U.S., China and Russia have introduced quotas to the number of non-nationals who can work in security-critical jobs so as to maintain "autonomy" in those domains. But recent years have shown that this policy has backfired, and leaves gaping holes in the industry. Meanwhile, Switzerland has become, for the first time in its history, one of the big military powers, be it only through its IT-unit.
On another note, the Pope has recently decreed that the vatican's IT systems shall only employ SysAdmins from Switzerland from now on, following the 2018 attack on its systems, where three swiss Admins defended the holy mainframe at the cost of their lives.

lundi 7 septembre 2015

Citations that weren't Made

"Although humanity is pretty fucked up, humans in themselves ain't half bad."

   - Unknown

vendredi 4 septembre 2015

Animals that don't Exist

The Shining Moth

The shining moth, Hyles lumens, can be found in mainland Asia, as well as most of Japan. At a wing span of twenty centimenters, it is one of the largest moths of the region. But what makes the shining moth special is not its size, but rather the scales on its wings.
Shining moth males have a peculiar life-cycle. They come out during midday for a few hours, and then again around midnight. During the day, their scales, which are coated in a substance very similar to glow-in-the-dark vinyl, absorb the sunlight. And, when they come out again during the night, their glow attracts the females of the same species.
This behavior is very unusual for moths, who usually use the highly sensitive antennas on the males to find partners. In addition, although the light seems to attract females, it is only seen in a rather restricted radius, and it can be a big give-away to predators. Thus, it has been theorized that this morphological trait must have evolved in isolated conditions, with low risk of predation and in confined space. How the moths managed to spread as far as they have, though, remains a mystery.
In ancient Asian culture, shining moths are a recurrent theme, and the people seem to believe that they are a good omen. It is even said that some cultures have elaborate rituals centered around the moth, either to extend ones' life, or to guide the dead to heaven.
Dr. Louis Eclats, of the Institut des Lumieres de Paris (ILP), believes that the moths have had a deep and lasting impact in asian culture that far exceeds that of the occasional ritual, and that every religion in the area has been inspired by the insects. He is also keen on studying the moth's wings in greater detail, since the conservation and emission of light is much more refined in these, than in our own glow-in-the-dark objects,

mercredi 2 septembre 2015

Politics that didn't Happen

At the eve of the twenty-first century, after the world was shaken by a quick succession of financial crisis which resulted in levels of inquality not seen since before the first world war in most developed countries, most economists around the globe were at a loss as to why their theories were not working in real life.
As some of them, more proficient in mathematics than others, explained that exponential growth in a finite system was untenable on the long term, and that humans did not, in the vast majority of cases, act as assumed in their models, it was decided that our economic practices and prejudices needed a global overhaul. In what where to be the most drastic reforms of our century, it was decided that growth would no longer be an absolute priority, and that our ressources should go first and foremost to guaranteeing a decent living standard to everybody. To this end, taxes on big fortunes and high incomes, as well as profits from financial speculation, were raised significantly, and consitently, across the world.
Despite violent protests from the top ten percent, the majority got their way for once, and, after a few years, inegality reached an all-time low in the western hemisphere. As the rich fled to developing countries, which had refused to implement the same tax reforms, that massive injection of capital, and the will of the immigrated elite to live in a nice place, accelerated the devlopment of these countries considerably, and it is now believed that by the end of the century, inqualities between countries around the globe will be almost gone. However, given the fact that most of those now-developed countries hold more natural ressources than the western world ever did, and that they are the only ones still pursuing an agressive capitalist policy, some wonder if we are not going to face a reversed image of the twentieth century in the near future.