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I thought we had at least a billion years [1] - Input Junkie
March 12th, 2010
04:12 pm

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I thought we had at least a billion years [1]
but it might only be a million and a half.

I am bloody well entitled to some super-science fiction about this. The field hasn't had enough astronomical disasters lately. [3][4]

[1] conservative estimate because the sun's gonna be a red giant and engulf the earth[2]) in about 4 billion years, and for all I know, there are tectonic and/or atmospheric issues which will make the earth uninhabitable by then. [5]

[2] I've read that school teachers are told to tell kids that we'll find a solution by then.

[3] My commenters will probably know of 3 or 4 books that I either haven't heard of or have embarrassingly forgotten.

[4] Egan's Diaspora had an entirely satisfactory gamma ray burster, but it's been 15 years already.

[5] A million and a quarter years from now, this post will be quoted as an example of the irresponsible carelessness of the Ancients. And besides, they had footnotes out of order.

Link thanks to theweaselking.

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From:redbird
Date:March 12th, 2010 11:24 pm (UTC)
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While this isn't good news, "there will be no comet impact on Earth in the next 4 billion years" has never seemed like a very strong prediction.
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From:sodyera
Date:March 13th, 2010 03:48 pm (UTC)
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[3] is why we stay in fandom, so we can compare notes. You and I know we'll never have time to get to those books, so it's always good to talk to somebody who has.
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From:whswhs
Date:March 13th, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)
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One of the example cities for GURPS Fantastic Cities was going to be a far future city where "science" and "magic" were the same thing. I didn't specify a date—there's a line about the long forgotten Gregorian calendar—but I had the Second Pangaean Era a quarter billion years in the past, so I think that's on the order of a billion years from now. Pangaean eras tend to have really nasty climates, with most of the land being superarid desert, and I was going by a prediction of a long-term trend toward drastically lower carbon dioxide levels combined with rising temperatures due to increased solar output.

The struggle of people a million and a half years in the future to protect the Earth from cometary bombardment could be an interesting sfnal campaign. Science fiction writers hardly ever seem to look into the Stapledonian depths any more; either there's a singularity ahead of us, and we can't see past it, or there's no singularity ahead of us, and then the future looks unpleasantly bleak.
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