The Veil War

"and then I was like, 'Holy crap, goblins!'"

Catastrophe

This has nothing to do with the Veil War, but I found it interesting. A while back, some researchers claimed that they had evidence that a comet had hit North America around 11,000 BC. Most scientists poo-pooed the idea, and went about securing government grants like good scientists.

Undeterred, the researchers went out and found more evidence.

Albert Goodyear, an archaeologist in USC’s College of Arts and Sciences, is a co-author on the study that upholds a 2007 PNAS study by Richard Firestone, a staff scientist at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Firestone found concentrations of spherules (micro-sized balls) of metals and nano-sized diamonds in a layer of sediment dating 12,900 years ago at 10 of 12 archaeological sites that his team examined. The mix of particles is thought to be the result of an extraterrestrial object, such as a comet or meteorite, exploding in the earth’s atmosphere. Among the sites examined was USC’s Topper, one of the most pristine U.S. sites for research on Clovis, one of the earliest ancient peoples.

“This independent study is yet another example of how the Topper site with its various interdisciplinary studies has connected ancient human archaeology with significant studies of the Pleistocene,” said Goodyear, who began excavating Clovis artifacts in 1984 at the Topper site in Allendale, S.C. “It’s both exciting and gratifying.”

Younger-Dryas is what scientists refer to as the period of extreme cooling that began around 12,900 years ago and lasted 1,300 years. While that brief ice age has been well-documented – occurring during a period of progressive solar warming after the last ice age – the reasons for it have long remained unclear. The extreme rapid cooling that took place can be likened to the 2004 sci-fi blockbuster movie “The Day After Tomorrow.”

Firestone’s team presented a provocative theory: that a major impact event – perhaps a comet – was the catalyst. His copious sampling and detailed analysis of sediments at a layer in the earth dated to 12,900 years ago, also called the Younger-Dryas Boundary (YDB), provided evidence of micro-particles, such as iron, silica, iridium and nano-diamonds. The particles are believed to be consistent with a massive impact that could have killed off the Clovis people and the large North American animals of the day. Thirty-six species, including the mastodon, mammoth and saber-toothed tiger, went extinct.

Then here’s a funny quote:

The scientific community is rarely quick to accept new theories.

And why might that be?

a 2009 study led by University of Wyoming researcher Todd Surovell failed to replicate Firestone’s findings at seven Clovis sites, slowing interest and research progress to a glacial pace. This new PNAS study refutes Surovell’s findings with its lack of reported evidence.

“Surovell’s work was in vain because he didn’t replicate the protocol. We missed it too at first. It seems easy, but unless you follow the protocol rigorously, you will fail to detect these spherules. There are so many factors that can disrupt the process. Where Surovell found no spherules, we found hundreds to thousands,” said Malcolm LeCompte, a research associate professor at Elizabeth City State University and lead author of the newly released PNAS article.

Catastrophic explanations for geological events have been out of favor for most of two centuries. Alvarez’ Dinosaur Killer asteroid was one of the first non-uniformitarian ideas to gain general acceptance, but the that happened safely in the distant past. We know that something hit Siberia just over a century ago – the idea that something larger and more devastating hit us doesn’t seem like that unreasonable of an idea.

Just imagine what that would have looked like.

Netwar

Beyond thinking about the weapons and techniques of destruction we might aim at the invader, how would we organize? A civilian resistance army might be composed to a large extent out of veterans, and to be sure there are many civilians who have served in combat over the last ten or more years. But any ad hoc organization will not have the traditions and structure of a regular army unit.

People caught, away from home and threatened with death will fight back. How will they organize? Will they use the internet? The infrastructure of the United States outside the areas of enemy control will remain largely intact – and even in areas they have overrun, communications and power may remain operational for days or even longer depending on a variety of factors. Smart phones and laptops with cellular data links will still be functional. Twitter and Instagram could be an enormous source of valuable intelligence should anyone be able to handle the firehose of information that would be uploaded in the immediate aftermath of the invasion.

Could services like twitter be used to organize not flash mobs, but flash armies? (or at least flash platoons or companies, conducting flash-ambushes?) Would wiki pages located on servers out of harm’s way be useful ways to aggregate intelligence? Forums with upvoting tools, like reddit, could allow crowd-sourced sorting of raw intelligence and insight both. Geocaching games could be adapted to means of supplying troops on the run safely. Armies could be dispersed until almost the moment of battle, organized by sms, email, twitter and googlemaps.

What else can you think of?

Wolverines!

Seeing as the remake of Red Dawn looks to be leaning toward the suck – North Koreans? Srsly? Let’s consider what would happen if something entirely more plausible happened: Goblins invade.

The story we’ve been telling here is only half the story. The men that Captain Lewis commands in the Middle East are highly trained members of the United States’ armed forces. Marines, for the most part, but also USAF, Army and Navy. (No coasties, as yet.) This is one advantage that they have in their fight against the forces of darkness – their discipline and training has allowed them to keep fighting in the face of the powerful magic that the invaders have at their fingertips. And of course, uniquely they have had the assistance of friendly forces who also have access to magic.

The invasion is world wide, of course. While Lewis fights in Iraq and Saudi Arabia; Europe, Asia and North America are also under attack. The Veil crosses the northern tier of the United States – starting in Washington and moving east across to Chicago, then dipping down to West Virginia before moving across the Maryland panhandle and heading up just inland of the coast to meet the Atlantic in the neighborhood of Boston. For the most part, there are not large numbers of military units in these areas. There are no fortresses or walls. Each state has its national guard, but many of those units are deployed overseas, or located out of state for training or other purposes.

What weapons could a resistance employ against the invaders? What sort of improvised munitions could be readily devised from supplies obtainable at the local Lowes, Walmart or Farmer’s Exchange? More to the point, how quickly could these weapons be created and deployed?

If the Veil went right by your house, what would you do?