Thursday, October 8, 2015


Frustrated  social engineer 'Experimental philosopher' Jonathon Keats aims to suppress the vice of nationalism by performing plastic surgery on the face of the Earth.

Why, asks Keats,  should we leave the continents  free to drift  about aimlessly, when  communitarian  geoengineering  could  weld  them, and  us,  into  one  nation  indivisible,  on  a  single  supercontinent bounded by a single ocean?
While the  United Nations Environmental Program has yet to add an International  Panel on  Continent  Change  to  the  existing I P C C , Keats' plans to extend its hegemony are on view at  The Modernism Gallery in San Francisco.  

His Anthropocene workaround  entails taking a tectonic shortcut through the Neo-Hadean epoch:
'Powered by the heat below the Earth's core, nuclear reactors would cool magma in some places, while subterranean machines would heat it up elsewhere, moving continents around. The Pacific Ocean would disappear, bringing together the U.S., Russia & China.
"You have three countries that are looking at each other with a high degree of suspicion from across an ocean, that would literally be in the same place," he says. "I think that that changes things."
The new supercontinent would also bring the Global South upward. "It becomes a way in which to potentially alter the economic status quo," Keats says. "Because economics is such a crucial matter as far as how we address climate change, ... by bringing them into greater alignment, perhaps we no longer have this us versus them antagonism."
A trifling investment in dimensional analysis suggests a minor problem. While geoengineers merely aspire to change the color of the sky, bringing Pangaea back alive would require powering up mantle plumes generating magma flows on a scale exceeding the flood basalts that figured in the Permian-Triassic and Cretaceous-Tertiary extinctions. The re-arrangement of the continents might entail melting about 10% of the Earth's crust and upper mantle - a volume roughly 100 times that of the oceans and atmosphere combined. 

Since magma is some three orders of magnitude denser than air and the upper mantle needs to be heated 1000 degrees Kelvin  to make it flow fast enough to revise the map within mankind's evolutionary lifetime, a lot of  surplus heat from the beefed-up geotherm  would end up in the oceans and atmosphere.

Dividing  the  ~ gigajoule - per - tonne  heat of fusion  of  that  much  incandescent rock into the thermal mass of the hydrosphere will, alas, boil the oceans dry, and then some. One worlders may applaud this side effect  as a feature, not a bug, since  absent the oceans, we'll end up on one continent by definition.

Beside Climate Truthers droning on about undersea volcanoes  as the true  wellsprings   of climate change, Keats fanboys should include cornucopians and the Club For Growth.  With nuclear power priced at fifty bucks  a  gigajoule, more or less, his proposal's start-up bill would come to roughly  $350,000,000,000,000,000,000 a head for each of seven billion prospective World Citizens, plus tax and tip.