A little insectivorous mammal - call it "Lonely"
- was sitting on a rocky outcrop in a wide desert of hot dry sand.
`Lonely' didn't know the size of the desert. It was an orphan, who'd been born right there in that rocky outcrop and lived its life - so far - in its shade.
There were tiny underground pools, natural cisterns, beneath some of the rocks but, if `Lonely' had any memory, fewer than before.
Insects flew over the desert, many landing on the outcrop. Some didn't take off again - so `Lonely' made a living.
The broken rocks, less than a football field in area, lay alongside a bend in the dusty ravine which - although `Lonely' wouldn't have known - wound across the desert from distant snow-capped mountains.
It couldn't have remembered arriving around three hundred sixty days ago. Or, a day later, emerging as a whimpering baby clinging onto its exhausted mother.
For that was a lifetime and many insect meals ago.
However, if `Lonely' could've considered such things,
it might have wondered why there were no other ground-dwelling mammals living in those tumbled rocks beside the ravine.
And now, in the distant mountains, thousands of acres of snow, millions of tons of it, were quickly responding to the annual increase in the Sun's light and heat.
Tomorrow would be the anniversary
of the re-scouring of the ravine - and the rocky home of `Lonely' - by that annual massive and regular flood.
We won't remind readers of many 'catastrophe' books, articles or films. Velikovsky's name springs to mind. But we are beginning to realize that perhaps there's something a little ominous about the complete wiping(s)-out of previous civilizations
"Quasars" / "neutron stars" / galactic cores - can jet, either continuously or intermittently, and with devastating effect. A jet can be hundreds or millions of light-years long, seemingly travels at relativistic (or even f.t.l) speed, and is instant disaster to organic life, even at vast distances, due to its hard radiation
We've just - 2002 - told the experts
of a pointer to a possible danger : check those "Seyfert" galaxies at -
No-one knows how many intermittent jets are due to align on the Solar System, and nobody can predict when a blast might sear all life from our locality
Is the Solar System a quiet place because it's been blasted already?
Did Earth escape the last one by a fluke maybe, perhaps shielded by the Sun?
Or did a closer `jet' swing by in more recent times,
affecting just one