Monday, 24 December 2007

More Horizon Doomsday-Mongering

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=1064145032318364724&q=bbc+horizon&total=181&start=20&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=7

Just in case anyone still doubts that the Horizon series is a platform for Futureshock! This film can only be described as an Armageddon orgy! Is there any point waking up tomorrow morning? We might as well pop a bottle of pills tonight!

Of course the events described in this film could happen in theory; apart from the particle accelerator accident they already have! Giant waves do happen; in fact they've happened very recently: the Asian Tsunami. Meteors have struck the Earth and killed people; they've even wiped out entire species. This is probably how the dinosaurs became extinct. Supervolcanoes are real and they do erupt. Yellowstone has blown up before because the traces of previous eruptions have been found. Epidemics do happen too. The Black Death was the most serious, killing a third of the population of Europe during the Middle Ages. That's the way our planet works; and we are a part of that process. Either deal with it or go crazy!

My problem here is not that the programme is literally lying to us in that these things never take place. What I object to is the way it's promoting them in a sensational, disturbing way to manipulate our feelings. The animated shots of falling rocks and giant waves are interspersed with ordinary everyday things like TV news shows and street scenes, to give us the impression that these horror stories can easily invade our everyday life. They don't mention that mega-Tsumanies only happen a couple of times every million years. The same goes for supervolcanoes. As for pandemics... well don't get me started on that! The government is generating and exploiting the fear of bioweapons and bird flu in the way I describe in my previous article. In a modern country with easy-access to healthcare, good sanitation and clean water, disease outbreaks, if they happen at all, are likely to be minor and well-contained.

The particle accelerator is the exception; we are dealing with the unknown here. The "TBM" in the film is actually a fictionalization of a real thing: The Large Hadron Collider that opened in November in the United States. The thing is that the universe and matter are tougher than that. They would have to be to have lasted as long as they have and grown to such complexity. The universe is subjected to high-energy cosmic rays, gamma-ray bursts, black holes, supernovae and God knows what else we haven't discovered yet. If those things can't destablize it then I fail to see what damage, no offence to its builders, a glorified hula-hoop could do!