Monthly Archives: February 2015

Did Dark Matter cause mass extinctions?

Sometimes published journal articles are crazier than the wildest science fiction.

Check out the article below:

Does dark matter cause mass extinctions?

It is fun to speculate about dark matter. I love doing it myself. Unfortunately until we determine the nature of dark matter we know very little.

I think we should remember the K.I.S.S. principle. There are many possible causes of mass extinctions such as climate change, volcanic activity, asteroid strikes, disease and others.


I finally got into the station. People are everywhere. I’m watching the board like a hawk. In five minutes the number of the platform for my train should appear.

Damn, something’s wrong. The waiting room is packed with people. I can’t move. My neck is getting tired looking up at the board. I turn to the left and something catches my eye.

A neon red sign glows with the name of the pub. I can see in the entrance. The place is filled. Men and women sit at the bar while others stand behind them. One guy has a pint of Guinness. On his right four men in suits are swigging bottles of Bud and laughing. A group of women sips red and white wine.

I look back at the board. I shift from foot to foot. A garbled announcement is made. “The entrances to the station are closed. Please do not go to your platform until it appears on the board. As always stay behind the yellow line and stay safe,” the voice said.

I hear curses from the crowd. I look back at the pub. I watch as a woman behind the bar places a shrimp cocktail in front of a customer. Two stocky guys chow down on chicken wings. A gray haired man in a suit raises a glass of Irish whiskey to his lips. He holds it up to the light so he can admire the golden liquid.  I can almost taste it.

I hear another announcement. “Due to signal trouble all eastbound trains are canceled.” I sigh and look at my smartphone. Of course I can’t get a signal. What else can possibly go wrong?

Someone pushes me in the back and I lurch forward. I turn to complain and I see a group of teenagers. They are staggering and talking in loud voices. Oh no, here it comes. One of the girls can’t handle her drink. Plop. She vomits on the floor. Her male friends hold her as she kneels and continues to puke.

I crane my head and look back at the pub. I can see the television screens behind the bar. I bet they are watching the Yankees game. I wonder what the score is? I lick my lips. I realize that I am starving. I didn’t get to eat lunch today.

I turn back and look at the board. The word ‘canceled’ appears at the end of every train listing. Please, please fix the damn signals. I shift my feet and put my hand in front of my nose trying to filter out the smell of vomit.

Wait, something is happening. The lights on the board are flickering. My gaze is like a laser beam. I am poised to leap into action. As soon as the first pixel forms and I see the number I will shoot to the front of the crowd. After that I will be first in line shuffling down the broken escalator to the platform. Finally I will saunter in and take my clean, comfortable seat on the train.

The board blinked “Gate fifteen”. The crowd surged as one.

I missed the first train. I squeezed onto the next one forty five minutes later. I stood in the aisle for the next hour.

I closed my eyes as I swayed to the rhythm of the train. I watched the bar maid pour another Guinness. I’m glad they know how to pour a proper pint. I couldn’t decide whether to get a cheeseburger or the Philly cheese-steak.

“Look at that guy smiling like an idiot. How can anyone be cheerful on this damn train,” a man in a suit said.

Can Man

It’s freezing. I snuggle under my pile of blankets trying to keep the cold out. I peek out and check on my shopping cart. Good, it’s still there. Last week some bastard stole my cart.

I take a swig. Ah, that’s good. I better get up soon. I hear people walking by. I can’t believe they don’t even say hello. They don’t care if I live or die. They have nice clothes. I know mine are dirty but where can I wash them? I want to be clean too.

I better get going if I want to get my cans. I stand and my blankets fall to the ground. I roll the blankets up and stuff them into the bottom of the cart. I push hard. I need all the room I can get.

Good, the trash bags are still there in the cart. I stand and start my routine. First thing I go to the park. The trash cans always have cans. Coke, Coke, Coke, Sprite, Coke, Pepsi. I toss the cans in the bag. A couple is walking on the path. They stare at me. I’m not an animal. I’m a human. This is how I survive.

I finish the trash cans. It’s not enough. This won’t pay for a cup of coffee. I got to go downtown.

This is the tough part. The cops chase me. The shopowners hate me. They don’t want a bum with a shopping cart in front of their store. They don’t know me. I’m  human just like them.

I grew up in the midwest. I had a great family. My brothers and sisters stuck together. I played football. I threw bullets and my receivers caught them. It’s crazy. I was a high school hero. Then it went downhill.

I couldn’t get into college. I took any job I could. I worked as a landscaper, a grinder and a roofer. Nothing worked out.

Finally I had an inspiration. I came to New York City. I knew there would be a job for me.

I asked every day. I submitted my resume. I interviewed. Nothing came. Eventually I found a place to sleep under a bridge. I started collecting cans.

Cans keep me alive. I’ve learned a lot. Some are made of steel coated with zinc. Those are the strong ones. Others are aluminum and flimsy. I hesitate when I pick them up.

The bottom line is numbers. I need to harvest massive numbers. Every day I do my rounds. I reach into the trash cans. Sometimes I gag. It is so bad. I keep going. I don’t have a choice.