| ©The Journal of Irreproducible Results,
vol. 20, #3, March 1974, pages 22-23.
National Geographic, the Doomsday Machine
George H. Kaub
Pollution of many types and kinds is currently paramount in the public mind. Causes and solutions are being loudly proclaimed by all of the media, politicians, public agencies, universities, garden clubs, industry, and churches, ad infinitum. Pollution runs the spectrum from the air we breathe and the water we drink to the soil we till, as well as visual and audio pollution, and in recent years, pollution of outer space from junk exploration hardware.
These threats to our environment, our health and our mental wellbeing are real and with us, but not nearly as immediately catastrophic or totally destructive as the disaster which imminently faces this nation and menace of monstrous proportions can be likened only to the entire country resting on a gargantuan San Andreas fault. Earthquakes, hurricanes, mud slides, fire, famine, and atomic war all rolled into one hold no greater destructive power than this incipient horror which will engulf the country in the immediate and predictable future.
This continent is in the gravest danger of following legendary Atlantis to the bottom of the sea. No natural disaster, no overpowering compounding of pollutions or cataclysmic nuclear war will cause the end. Instead, a seemingly innocent monster created by man, nurtured by man, however as yet unheeded by man, will doom this continent to the watery grave of oblivion.
But there is yet time to save ourselves if this warning is heeded.
PUBLICATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE MUST BE IMMEDIATELY STOPPED AT ALL COSTS! This beautiful, educational, erudite, and thoroughly appreciated publication is the heretofore unrecognized instrument of doom which must be erased if we as a country or continent will survive. It is NOT TOO LATE if this warning is heeded!
According to current subscription figures, more than 6,869,797 issues of the National Geographic magazine are sent to subscribers monthly throughout the world. However, it would be safe to say that the bulk of these magazines reach subscribers in the United States and Canada, and it is, and never has been, thrown away! It is saved like a monthly edition of the Bible. The magazine has been published for over 141 years continuously, and countless millions if not billions of copies have been innocently yet relentlessly accumulating in basements, attics, garages, public and private institutions of learning, the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, Good Will, and Salvation Army stores, and heaven knows where else. Never discarded, always saved. No recycling, just the horrible and relentless accumulation of this static vehicle of our doom!
National Geographic averages approximately 2 pounds per issue. Since no copies have been discarded or destroyed since the beginning of publication, it can be readily seen that the accumulated aggregate weight is a figure that not only boggles the mind, but is imminently approaching the disaster point. That point will be the time at which the geologic substructure of the country can no longer support the incredible load, and subsidence will occur. Gradually at first, but then relentlessly accelerating as rock formations are compressed, become plastic and begin to flow, great faults will appear.
The logical sequence of events is predictable. First will come foundation failures and gradual sinking of residences and public buildings in which the magazine has been stored. As these areas depress the earth, more and more structures will topple and sink until whole towns and cities will submerge, then larger and larger land masses. This chain reaction will accelerate until the entire country has fallen below the level of the sea and total inundation will occur.
The areas of higher subscription density, affluence and wealth, will be the first to go, followed by institutions, middle class, urban, and ghetto areas in that order, with the relatively unpopulated plains and mountains finally sinking into the sea.
We have been warned of this impending calamity by a seeming increase in so-called natural disasters throughout the country, as well as isolated occurrences striking areas heretofore immune to natural destruction:
The list is endless. The warnings are clear.
The time grows short and we must act at once if this calamity is to be averted. The National Geographic must cease publication at once, if necessary by Congressional action or Presidential edict.
© The Journal of Irreproducible Results, vol. 20, #4, July 1974, pages 12-14.
National Geographic: Doomsday Machine or Benefactor? A Vindication
L. M. Jones
Department of Geology
|Nov 1971 I||6.95||371.49||17.54||25.48||446.5||1.196|
|Nov 1971 II||7.05||373.71||17.51||25.50||446.5||1.187|
To simplify the following calculations, it was assumed that erosion of the landmass is negligible, as well as other geologic factors. The only geologic process that would be operative is isostasy, which is the approach of crustal masses to a flotational equilibrium. Other assumptions that were made include the following:
Taking the predictions of Kaub (1974) at face value, the height of a column of National Geographic magazines necessary to depress the continental land mass by 100 feet (30.48 m) was calculated. This would be a vertical stack 82.33 m high, equivalent to 11.45 x 103 magazines. This depression of the land mass would produce a rise in sea level due to displaced mantle material. Assuming the effect is confined only to the ocean basins, a net depression of 100 feet (30.48 m) would be due to an actual depression of the land of 29.82 m and a resultant rise in sea level of 66 cm.
There would be a notable change in the coastline with a net depression of 100 feet. While there will be little change in the outline of the West coast due to the steep slope, that of the East coast will change markedly. It is readily seen that many urban problems will be solved by inundation, saving vast amounts of urban renewal funds. The Atlantis legend will be recalled with the flooding of cities such as Boston, New York, Washington, Baltimore, Savannah, Miami, Houston, and New Orleans. Of course, unexpected benefits would be realized by other communities. For example, Yazoo, Mississippi, would become a major seaport - certainly a possibility that has not been dreamed of by town officials, even in their wildest imagination.
No matter how beneficial the results of this crustal depressing might be, there is the question of time. Assuming even distribution of National Geographic over the present surface, it would take 17.94 x 1013 copies of the magazine to cover the 48 United States with one thickness. If the National Geographic Society continues to publish the magazine at 12 issues each year, it will take 2.176 x 106 years to deposit one thickness over the United States. The time it would take to accumulate a thickness of National Geographic sufficient to depress the crust 100 feet would be 24.92 x 109 years. Since this length of time is several times greater than the present age of the Earth, it should be obvious that we or future generations have little to fear from the National Geographic Society.
If Mr. Kaub is still distressed about the weighty threat by the National Geographic Society, perhaps he should consider taking up lighter reading.
It was with mixed feelings that I pondered George H. Kaub's "National Geographic, the Doomsday Machine" in JIR, since similar thoughts had passed through my mind on occasion. Especially hitting close to home was the discovery, in a previous home, that my living room putting practice was quite sour, due to tilt of the house because of unsymmetrical attic storage (hoarding, if you insist, Mr. Kaub) of my copies of Life Magazine over a mere 35 years; the earth below, as well as my spirits, definitely suffered depression. However, it would have been unseemly of my scientific mind to extrapolate so local an incident to a global catastrophe after once having been caught in an error of judgement on a much grander scale, namely the State of Texas.
A compatriot in my Army outfit it was, who put me in my place. He was a short-statured Texan who, I had earlier thought, was also short in cranial content. But, like so many Texans who engage in hyperbole in all matters dealing with that state, this one bragged about the fact that Texas rests on a sea of oil, whose enormous monetary value supports all the affluence attending not only the medical profession, but even the lowliest gandy-dancer in that state. I retorted with exaggerated smugness that his privileges were to be short-lived because, as that wealth of oil is withdrawn from beneath his great state of Texas, his great state is going to sink out of sight and mind. But imagine my chagrin for having overlooked the well-documented answer when, some days later, he accosted me with a victorious air and declared, "Your prediction is impossible. I looked it up and found that the oil is pushed out of the ground by brine which is pumped into the ground. Therefore, no void is created and Texas won't sink". Thus, I must raise the point that George Kaub is alarming us unduly, despite the apparent legitimacy of his thesis. There must be a compensating factor which is not obvious at the moment.
Joseph G. Koosman
North Caldwell, New Jersey
Kaub's excellent article was the first organized warning of imminent disaster. Unfortunately Jones's recent response to this is quite erroneous and dilutes the efficacy of the alert. The same issue of JIR contains a letter by Koosman which reports a directly validating experience of Kaub's hypothesis, but then goes on to deny the generalizability of it.
Allow me to dispose of Koosman's ready acceptance of his Texan's explanation first. Texas will sink (sic) and is in fact sinking (sic) at present. The reason for this has nothing to do with the accumulation of the magazine Kaub described as beautiful, educational and erudite, since these qualities usually are not considered in relation to oil in Texas. While it is true that the oil that is being pumped out of the ground is replaced by the brine pushing it out, this will not save Texas. Everyone knows that oil floats on water, even salt water. (Remember the oil-soaked gulls and other birds after oil-spills?) This means that the light oil that Texas is floating on is being replaced by brine. This heavier brine will compress the material under it and sink deeper into the Earth. Quod erat demonstrandum, Texas will continue to sink (sic).
Return to Jones's whitewash of the impending catastrophe. He makes 8 assumptions in arriving at his conclusion that it will require 24.92 x 10 9 years to depress the crust of the United States 100 feet. Of these 8 assumptions, 2 are completely incorrect and 3 are irrelevant (numbers 1, 3, and 6). The 2 crucial, incorrect assumptions are numbers 2 and 4. Number 2 assumes that the monthly circulation of National Geographic will remain constant. Since the population of the United States and especially the population of children in the USA is increasing, it is clear that the monthly circulation of National Geographic will also increase since the magazine is subscribed to mainly for school children. (The initial subscription is taken out with the intent of allowing the child to cut up the magazine. However, the beauty of each issue is such that parents never permit such sacrilege.) Thus, since the population of the United States is increasing, the monthly circulation of the magazine will also increase. This is a lower-bound estimate since both standard of living and degree of pretentiousness have been increasing at a more rapid rate than the population of the United States. This pretentiousness is an important motivating factor in subscribing to National Geographic.
The other critical assumption, namely number 4, that the magazine is evenly distributed over the 48 states, is false. In truth, the 23 states comprising the Eastern one-fourth of the country in land area (in fact 23.8%) contain more than half (56.4%) of the population. Thus, it is clear that more than 50% of the density of the increasing numbers of the magazine is accumulating in less than one-fourth of the land mass.
These figures necessitate a re-computation of the ultimate effect of accumulation of National Geographic magazines. The most likely result, taking account of the increasing population density of the West Coast as well, is that subsidence will occur at both the East and West coastal ends of the United States. The probability is that both coasts will sink, and the West Central portion of the United States (except Texas, as noted above) will rise an average of 217 meters. And, Jones to the contrary, this will take place in much less than 24.92 x 109 years. It will occur in 457.247 x 37 years! Clearly Kaub's warning must be heeded if we are to avoid disaster.
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