The Death of Grass
The Death of Grass is a 1956 post-apocalyptic science fiction novel written by the English author Samuel Youd under the pen name John Christopher. It was the first of several of post-apocalyptic novels written by him, the plot concerns a virus that kills off all forms of grass; the novel liberated Samuel Youd from his day job. It was retitled No Blade of Grass for the US edition, as the US publisher thought the original title "sounded like something out of a gardening catalogue"; the film rights were sold to MGM. A new virus strain has infected rice crops in East Asia causing massive famine. After the introduction of a new pesticide, developed in preference to breeding resistant crops, a new, mutated virus appears and infects the staple crops of West Asia and Europe such as wheat and barley—all of the grasses, it threatens a famine engulfing the whole of the Old World, while Australasia and the Americas attempt to impose rigorous quarantine to keep the virus out. The novel follows the struggles of engineer John Custance and his friend, civil servant Roger Buckley, as, along with their families, they make their way across an England, descending into anarchy, hoping to reach the safety of John's brother's potato farm in an isolated Westmorland valley.
Buckley, having advance warning of the government's plot to hydrogen bomb major cities, alerts Custance to evacuate. Picking up a travelling companion in a gun shop owner named Pirrie after an attempt to procure arms, they find they must sacrifice many of their morals in order to stay alive. At one point, when their food supply runs out, they kill a family to take their bread; the protagonist justifies this with the belief that "it was them or us." By the time they reach the valley, they have accumulated a considerable entourage as a result of their encounters with other groups of survivors along the way. They find that John's brother is unable to let them all in to the defended valley. Pirrie prevents John from only taking only his immediate family into the valley. Pirrie and John's brother are killed. A dramatised version was broadcast on BBC radio in the late 1950s. A film adaptation, No Blade of Grass, was directed by Cornel Wilde. In 2009, as part of a BBC Radio 4 science fiction season, the station broadcast a drama in five episodes, based on the novel and narrated by David Mitchell
Global cooling was a conjecture during the 1970s of imminent cooling of the Earth's surface and atmosphere culminating in a period of extensive glaciation. Press reports at the time did not reflect the scientific literature; the current scientific opinion on climate change is that the Earth underwent global warming throughout the 20th century and continues to warm. By the 1970s, scientists were becoming aware that estimates of global temperatures showed cooling since 1945, as well as the possibility of large scale warming due to emissions of greenhouse gases. In the scientific papers which considered climate trends of the 21st century, less than 10% inclined towards future cooling, while most papers predicted future warming; the general public had little awareness of carbon dioxide's effects on climate, but Science News in May 1959 forecast a 25% increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide in the 150 years from 1850 to 2000, with a consequent warming trend. The actual increase in this period was 29%.
Paul R. Ehrlich mentioned climate change from greenhouse gases in 1968. By the time the idea of global cooling reached the public press in the mid-1970s temperatures had stopped falling, there was concern in the climatological community about carbon dioxide's warming effects. In response to such reports, the World Meteorological Organization issued a warning in June 1976 that "a significant warming of global climate" was probable. There are some concerns about the possible regional cooling effects of a slowdown or shutdown of thermohaline circulation, which might be provoked by an increase of fresh water mixing into the North Atlantic due to glacial melting; the probability of this occurring is considered to be low, the IPCC notes, "even in models where the THC weakens, there is still a warming over Europe. For example, in all AOGCM integrations where the radiative forcing is increasing, the sign of the temperature change over north-west Europe is positive." The cooling period is reproduced by current global climate models that include the physical effects of sulfate aerosols, there is now general agreement that aerosol effects were the dominant cause of the mid-20th century cooling.
At the time there were two physical mechanisms that were most advanced to cause cooling: aerosols and orbital forcing. Human activity — as a by-product of fossil fuel combustion by land use changes — increases the number of tiny particles in the atmosphere; these have a direct effect: they increase the planetary albedo, thus cooling the planet by reducing the solar radiation reaching the surface. In the early 1970s some speculated that this cooling effect might dominate over the warming effect of the CO2 release: see discussion of Rasool and Schneider, below; as a result of observations and a switch to cleaner fuel burning, this no longer seems likely. Although the temperature drops foreseen by this mechanism have now been discarded in light of better theory and the observed warming, aerosols are thought to have contributed a cooling tendency and have contributed to "Global Dimming." Orbital forcing refers to the slow, cyclical changes in the tilt of Earth's axis and shape of its orbit. These cycles alter the total amount of sunlight reaching the Earth by a small amount and affect the timing and intensity of the seasons.
This mechanism is thought to be responsible for the timing of the ice age cycles, understanding of the mechanism was increasing in the mid-1970s. The paper of Hays and Shackleton "Variations in the Earth's Orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages" qualified its predictions with the remark that "forecasts must be qualified in two ways. First, they apply only to the natural component of future climatic trends - and not to anthropogenic effects such as those due to the burning of fossil fuels. Second, they describe only the long-term trends, because they are linked to orbital variations with periods of 20,000 years and longer. Climatic oscillations at higher frequencies are not predicted... the results indicate that the long-term trend over the next 20,000 years is towards extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation and cooler climate". The idea that ice ages cycles were predictable appears to have become conflated with the idea that another one was due "soon" - because much of this study was done by geologists, who are accustomed to dealing with long time scales and use "soon" to refer to periods of thousands of years.
A strict application of the Milankovitch theory does not allow the prediction of a "rapid" ice age onset since the fastest orbital period is about 20,000 years. Some creative ways around this were found, notably one championed by Nigel Calder under the name of "snowblitz", but these ideas did not gain wide acceptance, it is common to see it asserted that the length of the current interglacial temperature peak is similar to the length of the preceding interglacial peak, from this conclude that we might be nearing the end of this warm period. This conclusion is mistaken. Firstly, because the lengths of previous interglacials were not regular. Petit et al. note that "interglacials 5.5 and 9.3 are different from the Holocene, but similar to each other in duration and amplitude. During each of these two events, there is a warm period of 4 kyr followed by a rapid cooling". Secondly, future orbital variations will not resemble those of the past. In 1923, there was concern about a new ice age and Captain Donal
The World in Winter
The World in Winter is a 1962 post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by British writer John Christopher. It deals with a new ice age caused by a reduction in the output of the Sun; the story involves a new ice age hitting Europe, British refugees fleeing to Nigeria, what a group find when they return. As the story opens, Andrew Leedon, a London-based television documentary producer, is given a new story to research: an Italian scientist, has proposed an imminent fall in solar radiation for the forthcoming few years which may lead to harsher winters. Leedon meets with David Cartwell, a Home Office civil servant and useful source, to see if he can find out more. Cartwell becomes a close friend of Leedon, but begins an affair with Leedon's wife, Carol; the winter of that year is, as predicted and harsh, but by January is it becoming clear to insiders that the solar downturn is worse than Fratellini had calculated and no upturn is in sight. By March, food stocks are becoming dangerously low, rationing has been imposed and the Government imposes martial law.
Those in the know, including Andrew's estranged wife, sell up and move south to the tropics and countries such as Nigeria. Leedon stays behind, as inner London is cordoned off from the rest of the UK to protect the seat of power – an area called the London Pale – as the rest of the country is abandoned to starvation and barbarism. Leedon is persuaded both by Carol and by David Cartwell to exit the country while safe passage is still possible. Taking with him Cartwell's wife Madeleine, he moves to Lagos in Nigeria, finding that the tables have now turned – white refugees fleeing from the ice-bound northern countries are living in slums, unemployed or with only menial jobs, penniless, as African governments have withdrawn recognition of currencies such as Sterling and no longer recognize the British Government, with reason, as it no longer exercises sovereignty over its own land. A ray of hope arrives for Leedon as Abonitu, a young Nigerian whom Leedon had treated with kindness and generosity one evening in London, finds him and in turn helps him and Madeleine out of the slum.
Abonitu plans a reconnaissance expedition back to Britain
Behemoth is a beast mentioned in Job 40:15–24. Suggested identities range from a mythological creature to an elephant, rhinoceros, or buffalo. Metaphorically, the name has come to be used for any large or powerful entity. Job 40:15–24 describes Behemoth, the sea-monster Leviathan, to demonstrate to Job the futility of questioning God, who alone has created these beings and who alone can capture them. C. L. Patton lists several interpretations of the nature of these beasts, including the idea that they are chaos monsters destroyed by the deity at the time of creation. Leviathan is identified figuratively with both the primeval sea and in apocalyptic literature as the Devil, around since before creation and will be defeated during the end times. In the divine speeches in Job and Leviathan may both be seen as composite and mythical creatures with enormous strength, which humans like Job could not hope to control, but both are reduced to the status of divine pets, with rings through their noses and Leviathan on a leash.
In Jewish apocrypha and pseudepigrapha such as the 2nd century BCE Book of Enoch, Behemoth is the primal unconquerable monster of the land, as Leviathan is the primal monster of the waters of the sea and Ziz the primordial monster of the sky. According to this text Leviathan lives in "the Abyss", while Behemoth the land-monster lives in an invisible desert east of the Garden of Eden. A Jewish rabbinic legend describes a great battle which will take place between them at the end of time: "they will interlock with one another and engage in combat, with his horns the Behemoth will gore with strength, the fish will leap to meet him with his fins, with power, their Creator will approach them with his mighty sword." "from the beautiful skin of the Leviathan, God will construct canopies to shelter the righteous, who will eat the meat of the Behemoth and the Leviathan amid great joy and merriment.". In the Haggadah, Behemoth's strength reaches its peak on the summer solstice of every solar year. At this time of year, Behemoth lets out a loud roar that makes all animals tremble with fear, thus renders them less ferocious for a whole year.
As a result, weak animals live in safety away from the reach of wild animals. This mythical phenomenon is shown as an example of divine goodness. Without Behemoth's roar, traditions narrate, animals would grow more wild and ferocious, hence go around butchering each other and humans. Since the 17th century CE there have been many attempts to identify Behemoth; some scholars have seen him as a real creature the hippopotamus the elephant, rhinoceros, or water buffalo. The reference to Behemoth's "tail" that "moves like a cedar" presents a problem for most of these readings, since it cannot be identified with the tail of any animal. Biologist Michael Bright suggests that the reference to the cedar tree refers to the brush-like shape of its branches, which resemble the tails of modern elephants and hippopotamuses; some have identified the cedar as an elephant trunk, but it might instead refer to Behemoth's penis, since the Hebrew word for "move" can mean "extend", the second part of the verse speaks of the sinew around his "stones".
The Vulgate seems to endorse such a reading by using the word "testiculorum". Russian-language speakers have used the cognate word бегемот to refer to the hippopotamus from third quarter of the 18th century – Russian-speakers use the name гиппопотам. Young Earth Creationists, who tend to believe humans coexisted with dinosaurs, have argued that the behemoth may have been a sauropod-like dinosaur due to it being a large, plant-eating land animal with a long tail resembling a cedar. Young earth creationists assert that the creature's massive size and its tree-like tail eliminate the possibilities of it being an extant land animal, where they see it more akin to a large herbivorous dinosaur. Another opinion sees Behemoth as a product of the imagination of the author of Job, a symbol of God's power: in verse 24 he is described as having a ring through his nose, a sign that he has been tamed by Yahweh; the 17th-century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes named the Long Parliament'Behemoth' in his book Behemoth.
It accompanies his book of political theory that draws on the lessons of English Civil War, the rather more famous Leviathan. It is the name of a character in Mikhail Bulgakov's novel, The Master and Margarita; the Behemoth appears in John Milton’s Paradise Lost: "Scarce from his mould / Behemoth biggest born of earth upheaved / His vastness: Fleeced the flocks and bleating rose..." The Behemoth is mentioned in The Seasons by James Thomson: "... behold! in plaited mail / Behemoth rears his head". The German émigré Franz Leopold Neumann entitled his 1941 book about National Socialism, Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism; the Behemoth is mentioned in the opera, Nixon in China, composed by John Adams, written by Alice Goodman. At the beginning of the first act, the chorus sings "The people are the heroes now, Behemoth pulls the peasants' plow" several times. In a letter to his sister Mariana, Khalil Gibran told her that his health was "as good as a Bahamut", thought to derive from the biblical "Behemoth".
The Pokemon Groudon is based on a behemoth. Bahamut Bambotus, ancient name for the Senegal River The Beast, two beasts described in the New Testament Dābbat al-Arḍ Book of Job in Byzantine illuminated manuscripts The Giant Behemoth, an American-British science fiction giant monster film Tarasque Metzeger, Bru