I Samuel 15:2-3

2 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.

3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

See other: Often Ignored Bible Verses

Bureaucracy and Suicide in the DDR

‘The statistics office on Hans Beimler Street counts everything, knows everything. How many shoes I buy a year: 2,3. How many books I read a year: 3,2. And how many pupils graduate with straight A’s every year: 6347. But there is one thing they don’t count, maybe because even bureaucrats find it painful, and that’s suicides[1]. If you call Beimler Street to ask how many people between the Elbe and the Oder, between the Baltic Sea and the Ore Mountains have been driven to their death by despair, our numbers oracle is silent. But it may just note your name for State Security… Those grey men who ensure safety in our land… and happiness.

In 1977, our country stopped counting suicides[2]. They called them ‘self-murderers’. But it has nothing to do with murder. It knows no bloodlust, no heated passion, it knows only death, the death of all hope. When we stopped counting, only one country in Europe drove more people to their death: Hungary. We came next, the land of Real Existing Socialism.’

– Translated from Wiedemann. M. et al. (Producer), Henckel von Donnersmarck. F. (Director). (2006). Das Leben Der Anderen [Motion Picture]. Germany: Buena Vista International

[1] Freitoden, from the singular Freitod, a euphemistic term meaning ‘suicide’, literally: “free death”.

[2] Selbstmorden, from the singular Selbstmord, a dysphemistic term meaning ‘suicide’, literally: “self murder”.

Dysphemism [Noun.]

The use of a derogatory, offensive or vulgar word or phrase to replace a (more) neutral original. As opposed to its antonym euphemism.

E.g. Consider two German words for ‘suicide’: the dysphemistic term Selbstmord, literally: “self murder”, and the euphemistic term Freitod, literally: “free death”.

Shooting In The Air

A typical 7.62mm round fired vertically normally climbs about 2,400 metres in 17 seconds, and then take another 40 seconds or so to return to the ground. It falls at a speed of about 70 metres per second (falling base first, because it’s more stable that way round).

The bullet velocity required for skin penetration is between 45 and 60 metres per second, but a blow to the head doesn’t need to penetrate the skin in order to be fatal, and this is the key: the reason fatalities are disproportionate is that any injuries which do occur are likely to be cranial. So while it’s less likely that you’ll be hit than if somebody is aiming at you, if you are hit it’s more likely to be fatal – about five times as likely as in normal firing.

“A lot of the people who keep a gun at home for safety are the same ones who refuse to wear a seat belt.” – George Carlin

Even if it’s launched vertically the bullet is likely to move sideways quite significantly – when it slows down towards its highest point it is particularly susceptible to sideways movement by the smallest gust of wind.

Experiments in Florida just after the First World War involved a machine gun set up on a ten-foot-square platform positioned over water so that the returning bullets could be seen to splash down. The gun was adjusted to centre the returning bullets onto the stage, but, of more than 500 bullets fired into the air, only four hit the stage at the end of their return journey. Unfortunately, the size of the stage is at present not known.

“You don’t need no gun control, you know what you need? We need some bullet control. Men, we need to control the bullets, that’s right. I think all bullets should cost five thousand dollars! Five thousand dollars per bullet! You know why? Because if a bullet cost five thousand dollars there would be no more innocent bystanders.” – Chris Rock

One Hundred Quintillion Years

Not taking into account the first 10,000,000,000 years, the following events make up a very brief overview of the next 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 years:

  • [+14,400,000,000] Sun = Black Dwarf: Its temperature and luminosity will plummet, making it invisible to human eyes (not that they exist any more).
  • [+20,000,000,000] The Big Rip: One potential end of the universe. All matter will be torn apart by the expansion of the universe. All distances will become infinite – not good.
  • [+100,000,000,000] Local Group Merge: All local galaxies will start to merge. This process will take nearly one trillion years.
  • [+150,000,000,000] Cosmic Microwave Background: The afterglow of radiation from the Big Bang will cool from -27OC to near absolute zero, making it undetectable to current technology.
  • [+1,000,000,000,000] Earliest End Of Star Formation: Galaxies will have lost the gas clouds needed for star-formation. – Earliest estimate.
  • [+100,000,000,000,000] Latest End Of Star Formation: Lowest estimate for the end of stellar birth. The beginning of the ‘Degenerate Era’ of universe-wide star death.
  • [+110,000,000,000,000] Star’s Fuel Exhausted: All stars will have died. The only objects left are remnants: white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes.
  • [+100,000,000,000,000,000,000] Earth Dies: If not consumed by a swollen Sun at 5.4 billion years, the Earth’s orbit will have finally decayed and it will plunge into the Sun.

See other: Events of the Far Future