Friday, May 20, 2011

A message from the Department of Escatological Preparedness

Tomorrow is widely predicted to mark the Rapture, the event described in I Thessalonians when the faithful "shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." Obviously, this greatly increases the odds of airline crashes and other catastrophic failures in mass transit.

It is difficult to predict what the rapture will really entail. Biblical eschatology states: "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them" (Revelations 20:13) indicating that the rising of the dead to devour the living may be among the potential unforeseen side-effects of tomorrow's events. In that case, make sure to read the CDC's timely messaging on that front. 

In any case, whether we face rising dead, boiling seas, rains of frogs, or the emergence of dread Cthulhu from his tomb at R'lyeh, simple acts of preparedness can make the difference. As Lt. General Hank Ketchim, noted expert on Civil Defense, has observed, "If you are failing to prepare, you are only PREPARING TO FAIL."

At this time we strongly urge assembling a 72-hour kit for your home. Consisting of versatile tools, materials, and food, your kit should give you whatever you need to survive the initial emergency, when most government and social services will be paralyzed. We also recommend the assembly of smaller "Go-Bags" in your car and at work. In addition to food and water, every Go-bag should contain:

  • Portable radio and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and handbook
  • 5-day supply of any medications you take regularly and a copy of your prescriptions
  • Whistle (to alert rescuers to your location)
  • Personal hygiene supplies (including toilet paper)
  • Emergency lighting (e.g. glow sticks, flashlight, headlamp)
  • and extra batteries
  • Large garbage bags and paper towels
  • Change of clothing and a hat
  • Sturdy shoes, in case an evacuation requires walking long distances
  • Dust mask
  • Pen, paper and tape
  • Cash in small denominations
  • Copy of health insurance card and driver license or identification card
  • Photos of family members for reunification purposes
  • List of emergency contact phone numbers
  • Pocket copy of the Book of Revelation

  • A final note: while some might urge speedy conversion as the only path to salvation, the notion of justification by faith alone strikes us here at the DoEP as putting all one's eggs in one basket. Given that the judgment is based on ineffable and frankly opaque criteria, it is unclear which church to join or what actions to take in order to secure the grace of a capricious and inscrutable deity. Regardless, should the rapture proceed according to predictions (see below), then there will be plenty of time to prove your bona fides during the oncoming struggle with Gog and Magog, which may involve riding a pale horse into an epic Lord-of-the-Rings-style battle.

    • To be honest, we're actually pretty stoked about that part.
    Ummm, maybe?

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Square Kufic: God's QR Code

    So, if you didn't know, the usage of QR codes has rocketed up in the last year. They're those weird squiggly bar-code type things you're starting to see in the corners of magazines and posters:
    That said, a word to the wise: should ever you visit the splendidly apportioned Islamic Arts Museum of Malaysia, don't try to scan their logo. It's not a QR Code. 

    It's actually a really cool form of geometric calligraphy: square kufic
    "Art in Islam follows the tradition of being non representational, especially in important circumstances such as in the mosque, writing and illumination. The strict style, influenced from the nomadic surroundings when Islam emerged, which restricted the medium of visual decorative art, gives it special appeal, being non-individualistic and not adherent to scale. In writing Square Kufic is the essence of this tradition in its abstract stylized form of the traditional archaic Kufic script."
    It gets into a square shape like so:
    Totally cool.
    All I can say is, the first person to come up with a working QR code that's ALSO a square kufic representation of the link deserves some sort of hash-function prize.