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A Fun Game for the Whole Family photo

Here a list of claims. Every time I say something you don’t agree with, please email the editors and leave them a lengthy message with the header, I don’t agree with you. For every such email, the author will take a shot of whiskey in a bookstore in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Time is an effect of having incomplete data. A fool is someone who acts like a fool without knowing why. A hero is someone who explains something to someone who ought to know it already. A ghost is the force of everything you did not learn. The second law of thermodynamics predicts that the Amazon rainforest will be destroyed. Climate physics is destroying the rainforest with fire. Climate science is understanding how this happens. Climate forensics is understanding why this happened. What we used to call climate science is now climate forensics. This is how things work: they fall apart. The falling part is complicated. You will imagine a glass that has coffee in it, and on top of the coffee is a layer of cream. This is simple. You will imagine the cream falling into the coffee. You will picture the filaments of cream that proceed some ahead of the others, the complex figures between the filaments, nowhere a pattern, everywhere a shape. This is complicated. You will now imagine the complete saturation of the cream into the coffee, the pale final color, the stillness. This is simple. Now you will stop thinking about this as a process, and start thinking about it as an object. We will talk about the climate in the same way we talk about ghosts. If a ghost is the impression you leave after you, then the divot you leave in your old bed is a ghost. The story of you the ghost of you, a hideous summation, a fraught unravelling. A living person is the ghost of all their dead selves. One seldom hears the question, here is the ghost of Eric, but of which Eric? One seldom hears the question, here is the ash-heap of the rainforest, but of which tree? If it seems like the Amazon is burning down, that is because time is an effect of having incomplete data. Fools are people who behave foolishly without knowing why. A villain is someone who explains something to a roomful of people who already know it. Confusion is not being able to tell the difference between the questions what can I do? and what have we done? A drink is a thing you feel to feel that you are not a ghost, not a summation, not in possession of all the data, but a toddler sitting in the middle of its life, never older than three or four years. I was wrong. A drink is a thing that you do in a bookstore when you are not allowed to. This is true, but only incidentally. A drink is an action that is the product of thinking about something and expressing something at the same time. It can be shown as a=tn(en) where a is action, t is time, e is expression, and n is how much you care. Having feet that are in slippers while writing about snow is a drink. The uncomfortable pressure of the chair under you at your desk while not enjoying work is a drink. The weight of kevlar on the body of a firefighter who walks toward a fire while thinking about the sea is a drink. The ash settling on the beak of a macaw who sits by a dirty river while thinking about the wind is a drink. The breath of a big green ghost who sits in enclosed farmland while thinking about a cow is a drink. You agree.


image: Laura Gill