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Chapter #172: Hope for Atlantis - Chapter 4 - March 10, 2011


Atlantean citizen contemplates his fate - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com) 

New Orleans - The Lessons of Atlantis Begin to Sink In

In the early 1980s, then President Ronald Reagan endorsed the idea of creating an International Space Station (ISS). At the time, it appeared to be a make-work project designed to keep the aerospace industry alive during a period of relative peace. As early as 1969, during the Apollo Program, Americans had walked on the Moon, 238,000 miles from Earth. With a planned orbit of only 173 miles above the Earth, the ISS had no such lofty goals. Instead, the solar-powered pressure-vessels of the ISS offered only slow and steady progress toward long-term human habitation in space. Commensurate with its low-key goals, was a bargain price, estimated at less than $10 billion. A lot has changed over the past thirty years. At a current running cost of $150+ billion, the ISS is now the most expensive human engineered structure, either on or above the Earth.
A river meets the sea - Click for New Energy light image (http://jamesmcgillis.com) 
As it passes overhead 15.7 times each day, most Americans think little about the ISS mission or its cost. If they knew more about it, many would say, “Who needs an ISS?” All these years later, I now believe that the ISS program is worth its cost. Even though its useful life may be less than ten more years, the ISS serves us as a microcosmic reflection of Earth. There, on a human-created, Earth-orbiting satellite, the ever-rotating crew conducts experiments in biology, chemistry, human biology, astronomy and meteorology.
 
Back on Earth, we find the Mississippi River available for similar, if unplanned experiments. Looking 135 nautical miles upriver from New Orleans, Louisiana, we find the Old River Control Structure. Only the static backpressure of its levees and control gates maintains a precarious balance of life downstream in New Orleans. In allegorical fashion, joints and fasteners connect the various ISS modules. Stressed by the unrelenting vacuum of space, gas leaks on the ISS are potentially deadly to the crew. While the ISS relies on constant atmospheric pressure within its structure, the Old River Control Structure relies on gravity and friction to hold back the kinetic energy of the Mississippi River. Both structures experience unrelenting energy, while entropy assures their ultimate demise and destruction.
As Atlantis sank beneath the waves, Atlantean sailors launched their vessels and sailed before the wind - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com) 
As Katrina approached the Louisiana coast in August 2005, the hasty evacuation of New Orleans was a debacle. At the time, each city, state and federal official assumed that someone else had called for buses to provide evacuation of a poor and vulnerable population. The public evacuation plan turned out to be a myth. Hundreds of unused school buses later sat ruined by the flood. As affluent and able citizens evacuated structures to the North, a monumental traffic jam ensued. If each bus had carried a full load that day, more people could have evacuated in far less time. As it was, no one remained to assist the most vulnerable and helpless residents. Leaving the sickest in their beds, a hospital physician may have ordered lethal injections for forty-five non-ambulatory patients, prior to abandonment of the hospital.
 
One major difference between the International Space Station and New Orleans is that NASA and the ISS crew cannot afford to employ mythical thinking. If they ran the ISS in similar fashion to pre-Katrina New Orleans, something as simple as a coolant-pump failure could result in loss of both the Visions of Atlantis - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)crew and their quarters. Effective engineering, planning and resupply are essential to maintaining human habitation in space. New Orleans, on the other hand, currently sits in a dry bowl, free from flooding. Since simulations do not work well on a grand scale, we cannot properly assess the efficacy of defenses at New Orleans. Instead, we must wait for the next great storm in order to find out. By then it might be too late for both New Orleans and the federal deficit. Yet today, we maintain the fiction that New Orleans can continue its long-term defiance of the laws of Nature.
 
NASA provided the ISS with spare coolant pumps beyond the number of anticipated failures. Will their planning be sufficient? I believe that the ISS has a better chance of surviving intact for the next ten years than does the City of New Orleans. If New Orleans, Louisiana were to flood again, the cost to revive the city would easily surpass the estimated $160 billion lifetime cost of the ISS.
Are these underwater remnants of the Lost City of Atlantis? (http://jamesmcgillis.com) 
This is not a personal prediction of death, doom and despair, but floods, fire an famine are not out of the question. Humankind has the ability use both its collective memory and its collective consciousness. If we allow a shift in consciousness, newly awakened humankind could change the future of Planet Earth. With both the profit motive and politics at play, it is hard to determine if our current plans are sound. If each stakeholder could reflect upon our overall relationship with the laws of Nature, they might see themselves as part of a larger whole. With a touch of gnost, we can understand Nature and help guide humanity’s relationship with Gaia, our Mother Earth.
 
Centuries ago, at a bend in the Mississippi River, settlers created New Orleans. From that time, forward, humans continued to build structures there with little regard for attendant environmental consequences. As hard and fast as many stakeholder positions seem to be, Nature can lift those stakes and carry them away like driftwood, to the Gulf of Mexico. Since Earth is the only permanent habitat known to humans, it behooves us to acknowledge and accommodate the laws of Nature as supreme to any laws of our own making.
Detail from the painting "Napoleon Bonaparte Before the Sphinx", by Jean Leon Gerome - The Sphinx was a gift from Atlantis to the Ancient Egyptians - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com) 
Taking the laws of Nature into account, we should study alternate weather and flood scenarios for New Orleans and its environs. Without regard for corporate profits, property values or political gain, independent studies and their recommendations should again see the light of day. Once we understand the likelihood of various weather events, we can then proceed with plans to protect only that which is reasonable to protect. If the hubris and ignorance of our ancestors continues in New Orleans, we risk human-aided devastation and destruction unlike any seen on Earth since the last days of Atlantis.
 
 
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Read Chapter Three

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