Facebook is Dying

Facebook is dying.

Want proof? They are discussing paying people to add content, because people are posting less and less.
http://www.inc.com/jeff-bercovici/facebook-pay-users.html

Paid content = crap. There is no way this works. This is not Youtube where people follow random funny/celebrity types because it's basically TV. This is Facebook where users are meant to interact with their friends, online. You're going to pay some of them to put up content? Ridiculous.

Facebook will always stick around, just like Google search will always be there, we run Microsoft Windows for our OS and we have an x86 architecture and QWERTY keyboards courtesy of IBM. It just won't be as important anymore.

Mike's Journal Day 3

I woke up to bright sunshine. There were trees above me as I looked up.

It was a cold day. Cold, and blue. They often went together. I shook myself awake. My head hurt like hell. I was in the passenger seat, fully reclined. Slowly I came to, and saw Sarah sleeping in the driver's seat. I rolled onto my side and was greeted by Denali's wet nose, followed by some sloppy kisses. We were ok. I knew we were ok from that. Just that. It was going to be ok. I reached across and hugged Sarah, and she started to wake up, leaning into my hug.

"Where are we baby?" I asked her. All I could see were trees around us, no road, just a dirt track behind us.

She woke up to the question. "Oh baby I'm so glad you're ok. I was so worried about you last night. You kept falling asleep on me. I tried to keep you awake as we drove, but I didn't know what to do." I told her it was ok, she had done the right thing, we had to get away from Boston. She followed up: "I think we are somewhere North, maybe New Hampshire? I'm not really sure. I was so panicked last night I was just looking for a park or somewhere safe I could take care of you. I love you so much."

"I love you too Sarah."

We hugged across the front seat of the car, Denali joining in with big wet kisses.

I looked around the car. The rear glass was gone, Sarah had shoved a box into the gap so Denali wouldn't jump out in the night. Or anything get in.. There was safety glass all over the back and all off our stuff.

"What happened?" I asked.
"'You hit your head really hard. I was so worried about you. I pulled over and made sure you were ok. You came in and out talking to me, do you remember that?"
"No, nothing" I responded, shaking my head.
"Well, checked your head and you seemed to be ok, but you have a nasty lump on your right temple."
I reached up.. yeah I did.  "Ouch."
"After that, I just kept driving, kept talking to you to keep you awake, or kind of a awake anyway. Eventually we made it here, some kind of reservoir."
"Thanks baby. I love you.  I'm going to try and figure out where we are."

I opened the car door and stepped out. I had to go to the bathroom, bad. I had been out for hours. Still cold, but I could feel the sun warming my skin.

I could see a slowly flowing river through the trees. I let Denli out of the car as Sarah got out her side. I took a few steps towards the river, and started stripping off my clothes. I ran down the bank and jumped into the cold water as Denali chased after me. I came back up, brushing my hair back and scrubbing my face. Awake. Alive.

Sarah called from the bank "Feel better darling?" She was smiling a laughing a little.

"Definitely"

I could see a small ramp up the bank a bit and a sign "Petapawag Canoe Launch. Nashua River." I hadn't been here before but knew Sarah could track us down. I went jogging back up to the Suburban and used an old t-shirt to dry off. As Sarah looked through the old road map, I put on a pair of jeans and then my old Carhartt painting pants over those. I put on two layers of poly-pro up top and then my mountain biking armor over it. I was concerned I looked ridiculous, which is funny now thinking back.

"Here babe - we are next to these oxbows in the river, we're at a little park near Pepperell Mass." Sarah had the map against the hood of the car and was pointing to an area north west of Boston, near the NH border.

I stood next to her to study the map, she gently pushed against me. Looking at where we were you could see we made it out of Boston, but we had a long way to go today to get to the farm, especially if we were going to stick to local roads.

"How much gas do we have?" I asked, not sure how much we had used yesterday.

"Still mostly full, we should be fine." Thank god.

We were heading for Williamstown. The farm was in a mountain valley, and was literally on the border between New York and Massachusetts: if you hiked up the hill behind the house you crossed the state line. It was a 2 1/2hr drive from Boston on a good day. Maybe.. 150 miles? With local roads and how long it took us to get 50 miles the night before, it could take us all day.

As we were planning out the route, I heard Denali start to bark. Instantly alert, I grabbed my hatchet from inside the truck and went after him. He was running towards a house a little ways down the street, where the front door was open. He was miles ahead of me and moving faster than I ever could. As I finally made it to the door I could hear snarling, barking coming from upstairs. I rushed up the carpeted stairs, hatchet at my side.

I burst into the room with Denali attacking middle aged man.. not a man. One of them. They were rolling back and forth on the ground, Denali was snapping at his neck and he was trying to bite through Denali's thick fur. The thing gained the upper hand just as I got into the room, biting down into Denali's side. I rushed forward and swung the hatchet, there was a sickening crack as it broke his skull and embedded itself in his head. I saw Denali was bleeding. Shit. Shit. Jesus. Fuck.

Denali was  back on his feet. He could be infected. It was all I could think about. He went to kiss my face and for the first time ever, I backed away. He kept coming towards me, limping, lifting his front left paw. There was blood on him. I ripped the hatchet out of the thing's brain cavity and held it by my side. Denali cocked his head sideways. I held the hatchet over him, shaking. I grabbed his collar and sat next to him, shaking, crying. He went to lick my face and I had to jerk back, I held the hatchet over him, ready to strike any second.

"Mike, are you in here?" Sarah called from downstairs.

"Stay there. Denali's been bit" I yelled back down, my voice unsteady.

"Oh shit. Are you ok? Baby I'm coming up." She was already going up the stairs. When he heard her, Denali pulled to run to her, I had to hold his collar to keep him where he was. My hatched was raised over him when Sarah came into the room.

"Mike! Don't!" Sarah cried out as she saw what was going on.
"I'm not going to. I can't let him turn into one of them though." Denali was sitting still while I shook. He simply looked at me, concerned, not for himself, but for me. I cried, and held on.

"Here, I have an idea." Sarah look right at me. "We can't leave him, and the radio said it could be hours before anything could happen."

"Yes, but how can we bring him with us?" I asked. Denali was 85lbs of Husky. People thought he was part wolf, he was a classic white and grey with the mismatching eyes. Blue and green. Him turning into one of them in the car with us was not an option.

"Look - we think they transfer the disease by biting, right? Lets make sure he can't bite. Otherwise, we can stay here tonight, and keep an eye on him, keep him locked up."

I thought it over, they were much better ideas than what I was doing. Staying here might be safest, but we were still pretty close to Boston, and clearly within the range of where the infection had already spread. I wanted to get back on the road, but there was no way on god's earth I was going to leave behind Denali if he might be healthy.

"Remember - it probably doesn't jump from one species to another" Sarah said.
"Sarah, we have no idea what this is. They said a virus, but where did it come from? It might have come from dogs like rabies or something like that. Here, grab some clothes out of that closet."

Sarah tossed me a couple of long-sleeve shirts. I used the arms of one to tie it as tight as I could around Denali's snout. It wouldn't do anything much, but it was a start.

"Let's get him back to the Suburban. I have some rope in there."

We got him back to the car, and I tied his snout shut. He wasn't happy about it. I used the t-shirt to try and give him some padding, but there wasn't much to do. I didn't want to stay in the area longer than I had to. I had seen a couple of people off in the distance, just walking around. I knew they weren't.. human. I tied a rope to his collar and then to the handle at the back of the car. If he did turn, he wouldn't be able to get to us. Before I closed up the back, I grabbed him and held him close, rubbing behind his ears, telling him it would be ok.

"Ok, let's get going" I said to Sarah. I had seen one of the things at the end of the street, and it seemed to have noticed us. We got the car going and backed it out. The noise definitely attracted the thing, and it started running towards us with it's disjointed, broken stride. I gunned it, swerving around it at the last second, I was nervous any more hits and the Suburban would burst a radiator hose or something similar. Sarah gasped as we swerved but held on. We were back on the street.

"It's two quick rights" Sarah said - taking us back onto a pretty large road, Rt. 119. Going West.

Denali was groaning and growling in the back. After a while he whimpered and laid down on his side. I knew we were losing him.

"Sarah - what do you think we can do?"

The news reports said it was a "virus." The only thing which cured a virus, or protects against it anyway, was a vaccine. I knew there were "anti-virals" but I had no idea where I would get them, if they would work, how much a dog would need. Nothing. Pharmacies would have been raided, and given the outbreak I bet the anti-virals were the first to go.

Shit.

Denali occasionally whimpered or whined in the back.

"What about anything over the counter? Is there anything we can give him?"

Sarah reached back to rub Denali's head.

"Mike - he's burning up. The heat coming off of his head is crazy"

"Jesus, Sarah what can we do?" I had to focus on the road - there were abandoned cars everywhere. Every once in a while one of those things was wandering along the street as well.

She was already climbing into the back.

"Sarah - he's infected - if he turns."
"I know - I need to take care of him"

I looked back at my wife holding our dog in her arms, the road speeding past in through the broken rear window, everything we had thrown around the back of the Suburban, Denali's head in her lap.

"We probably want to keep the fever down - fever can be a good thing but too much and it could really hurt him. Also - make sure those ropes are tight."

We were coming into "Townsend" according to the name on the fire station. Up ahead, I saw a big red and white CVS sign at the intersection.

"Tamiflu. Sarah. Tamiflu." I suddenly shouted back to Sarah. The sign had triggered a memory.

"A couple of years ago your Mom got the Flu when she was in the hospital. They gave her Tamiflu. It's an anti-viral. I, I don't know if it will work, it might."

I didn't see anyone around so I pulled over in the CVS parking lot.

"Sarah - stay here. I'm going in to see what I can find. Take this." I handed her the hatchet. I had on my bike body armor and grabbed a folding knife.

There were shopping carts littered all around, boxes and plastic bags strewn across the ground. Most of the windows of the store were broken and clearly I was not the first, not close, to try and raid it for medicine.

The front doors were shattered, I tried to step quietly across the broken glass.












Mike's Journal: Day Two 10:00PM-12:00AM

I knew the key was to not panic. To pick our route carefully. To stay away from the highways and main roads where traffic would be backed up. I'd had my truck for years, which meant I still had my old paper maps in it.

I drove slowly though our neighborhood as I worked with Sarah on the route. I wanted to head North first, get away from people, get away from the highways. Find a path no one fleeing Boston would try and take. I turned on the radio but all that was on was the emergency broadcast system. It was telling us to evacuate the city in an "orderly manner." I almost ran over someone, something maybe, as I listened to that broadcast. I had to swerve as the person was crouching in the middle of the road. Only as we went past I saw they were crouching over another body.

Sarah said "I think we can head on local roads around Marlborough and Hudson, so right past the Assabet park." Sarah was a realtor - she knew this area far better than I ever would. She had been selling houses here for ten years, and I followed her directions as we wound through mostly quiet residential streets. She was already studying the maps - trying to find us a path away from the madness around Boston.

We kept trying to get through on the phones to anyone else. Family, friends. Nothing. She went back and checked her Facebook. Her sister had sent a message they were on the way to the farm a few hours before. We both hoped they made it out. My brother had posted on my wall that he was ok and he had picked my parents up from the airport - he was out near Denver also. I hand't heard anything about Denver, hopefully they were all ok.

We came around a corner near and saw flashing lights ahead of us. There was an ambulance taking up most of the street. I didn't see anyone around, just an empty ambulance, flashing lights, and a couple of cars stopped in front of us, stuck. We slowed down and I could see there was something going on in the driveway to the right of the Ambulance. A stretcher. People struggling. Then a scream.

"Fuck this"

I pulled left, around the cars and onto the far shoulder, smashing a mailbox with the brush guard as I went. We bounced hard as the left tires went up onto someone's driveway then back off again. We were around the ambulance and I swerved right. There was someone in the road, a woman dressed all in black, yoga pants and a hoodie. I slammed on the brakes as she turned and saw us. She snarled, pulling back her gums like a wolf before she leapt onto the hood of the Suburban. Sarah screamed as I hit the gas pedal. The woman slid back down the hood but clung to the top bar of the brush guard. Snarling, grabbing at us with her spare hand. I hit the brakes hard, then accelerated and swerved left at the same time. First one hand then the other slipped. We bumped hard as the body went under the truck. Front tires. Back tires.

We sat in silence for a few seconds. I watched the gauges, listened to the car, wanted to make sure everything was ok. Adrenaline surging. Hyper aware. Sarah turned to me "Mike - what the fuck is going on?" I told her we would be ok, I needed her to navigate. "It will be ok baby. I love you. We'll get out of here."

As I said the words, we heard a series of big dull "whomps." Not quiet. Like seeing a huge mountain from far away. The car shook. They were bombing Boston. Or bombing something. Jesus.

We wound our way North and West. I had Sarah searching for a way past I495 where we didn't have to go near an on-ramp/off-ramp. We found a tiny little "Sugar Road" on the map and got onto that. We could see the highway ahead of us. I thought we were ahead of the wave by now. I could hear something as we got closer. Off to the left, I saw a pair of headlights appear over the side of the highway, then the car fell off the overpass, crumpling as it hit the ground. I gunned it. I could see the flashing lights of what had hit the car, a huge plow truck leading a line of tanks and APCs. Heading north. Lowell? Just after we cleared the underpass another car came down behind us, slamming into the ground the horn got stuck on, blaring at us as we drove away.

We kept working North and West. Local roads. People packing in their driveways, looking up as we came past.

We found that NPR had come back online. 90.9 WBUR. Robert Siegel was broadcasting from the center of Boston.

"...the military and police have established safe zones in the many buildings downtown, please listen to the loudspeakers and find your closest safe zone. Buildings included the Hancock Tower, the Pru, One Financial Center, the Federal Reserve Building, Exchange Place, 100 Federal Street, City Hall and a number of others. We have posted the full list on our website if you can access that. Please stay off of the cell network for anything other than emergency use.

We also have heard reports coming in from around the globe and the country. Incidents have been reported in London, Moscow, and Dubai. Scattered reports are coming in from other countries though little can be confirmed at this point. South Korean and US forces have established a defensive line around Incheon to evacuate refugees from Seoul, which we believe has fallen. China has announced it will again use nuclear weapons to stem the wave of diseased individuals before Beijing is threatened.

For those just joining us.. I can't believe I still just said that.. The Grail infected have been found throughout Boston, we believe spreading from an incident in East Boston two days ago. The roads are clogged. The government is advising that you are safer staying at home. Fill the bathtub with water, seal the doors and windows with plastic sheeting and wet towels. Gather together food and heating supplies. Go outside as little as possible. From the little we know, the Grail virus is not transmitted in the air, but only by direct contact with the bodily fluid of the infected.

Do not incite violence or rioting. Take shelter. The National Guard are taking control of Boston. They are also establishing a perimeter around Lowell, Springfield and other major metropolitan areas in the state. Food and water will be distributed in the morning. Tonight please keep yourselves safe.

For those who believe they may have been exposed to the Grail infection, please be aware that current reports indicate the incubation time can be highly variable. Anywhere from minutes to hours, potentially days. If you unsure if you have been infected, please take steps to quarantine yourself for your own safety and the safety of those around you. All hospitals in the Boston area are overwhelmed and unable to admit additional patients.

Reports are coming in that the infection has been found in LA, New York City, Miami and Portland Oregon. We also have unconfirmed.."

The station cut out. We heard a loud beep, then a series of tones. Then nothing.

Sarah and I looked at each other, questioning. Grail? Safe zones? What the hell was happening. We were silent, it didn't need to be said.

By then the clock read 10:30.

We crossed under I190 - the last major highway for a while. It was quieter. Already we were moving into less densely populated areas. Getting ahead of the wave.

As we went along there was a Cumby Farms with a big lit up sign, no one in front of it. Was it really open? We made the call to stop. I pulled up to a pump and left the SUV running and told Sarah to get into the driver's seat.

As I came around the front, a middle aged chubby Indian guy in a black jacket leveled a shotgun at my chest.

"We're just here to get gas, head west, get away from Boston."

He said nothing. He took a couple steps forward. "What do you want? You want gas? It's $20 a gallon." I looked back at Sarah and the truck. "Ok - yes, we can do that. Please put the gun down." He slowly lowered the shotgun. I slowly went back to the passenger door, dug in my glovebox, found the $100 bill I kept stashed in the owner's manual. For emergencies. Fucking emergencies. Jesus.

Before I turned around I raised the $100 bill up in my right hand.

"5 gallons. You pump now." He shouted at me, snatching the bill.

I took the pump and shakily undid the gas cap. He kept the shotgun across his chest. Not pointing at us, but not pointing down.

As I went to put the pump in, we could hear honking and see headlights coming down the street. There was a small car swerving back and forth a little ways down the road. I had the gas pumping as I watched it get closer.

I saw the owner level his shotgun at the oncoming car. It was only going maybe 30mph but it was all over the road. As it got closer it swung hard right, into the Cumby Farms. The owner unloaded the shotgun at the car, hitting the engine and blowing out the front right tire. The car swerved and impacted into the back of the gas station island. There was blood inside of the car. Screaming. You could see someone crouching over a woman in the driver's seat. The owner was reloading his shotgun. Denali was barking like mad through the glass next to me. I ran around the back of the Suburban as the owner unloaded another two rounds into the small car. Smoke was pouring out from under the hood.

I jumped in the passenger seat and told Sarah to "Go go go." She hit the gas, squealing the rear tires and causing us to lurch forward. I turned around to watch. Flames were licking the hood of the crashed car. The sprinkler system was going off. Someone jumped out of the burning car at the owner. He fired.

He must have hit the fuel pump. The explosion which ruptured out of the gas station threw the Suburban sideways. Shrapnel shattered the rear glass as we were slammed by the impact, skidding across the road. Facing the wrong direction and not wearing a belt I was thrown into passenger window, then the windshield, knocked out cold.

It's the last I remember of that night.

Mike's Journal: Day Two 4:30pm-10:00pm

Boston.

Two passengers on stolen South Korean passports had come into Logan the day before. Police were searching for them. A husband and wife. They had checked into a hotel, but could not be found.

Shit. Jesus.

I kept packing.

The radio went on. Reports of attacks in San Diego. No one was sure yet of anything.

I tried to get through to Sarah. She texted me through Facebook, she had seen the news: nukes. She was worried, wanted to know if that meant anything dangerous for us. I told her not to worry - once she got home we would head out of the city, get somewhere safe.

I grabbed everything I could find. Food. Water. Camping gear. All the dog food. A couple of folding solar panels with USB ports. Flashlights. A wind up radio. I didn't have a lot of weapons. I packed what I had. Hatchet. Couple of folding outdoor knives, my Leatherman.

Once the Suburban was packed I went over to the gas station. The line was crazy, but I had to wait for Sarah anyway. It took an hour to get to the pump. I filled the 30 gallon tank. I wanted to fill up an extra canister but the attendant told me that wasn't allowed. People were already honking and shoving each other, bumping the cars in front, waving their middle fingers out the window. That helps you get gas faster.

It was around 7:00 by the time I made it home. I had the radio on the whole time in the car. China was conducting a massive military operation in the East but reports were limited, no journalists allowed. They had issued a statement about the use of nuclear weapons in order to establish a "fire break" for fleeing refugees, supposedly the cities had been "fully evacuated." Then why nuke them?

South Korea seemed to be under siege, but the reporters were shifting their focus to stories in he US. Obama had announced that all flights would be grounded and all airports were under quarantine until further notice. Individuals were recommended to stay calm. The National Guard would be deployed. America was "safe." No price gouging. Please don't loot or riot. Stay home. Etc. etc.

After the press conference the news kept coming in. Attacks had been spreading in several cities. Mostly on the West Coast. And then Boston again. Fuck. Why Boston. Sarah was still still stuck on I90. Hadn't moved in hours. She had sent me a Facebook message maybe an hour before saying people were getting out of their cars and walking West. She was terrified, not sure what to do. I had told her to stay with her car, but now I wasn't so sure. She was only a little more than ten miles from home.

I shot off a message.
"Where exactly are you?
I will come get you.
We'll make it home together."

I didn't hear back. I just hoped she would stay with the car.

I grabbed my mountain bike. Thinking about it, I put on downhill biking body armor and helmet. I grabbed my backpack and threw in an extra flashlight and my hatchet.

I put in one earbud, the kind with a microphone on the cord so I could keep trying to call Sarah as I rode. I couldn't get through. I decided to ride in on Rt.30, stay close to the highway but not on it.

It took me almost an hour to cover the 12 miles, weaving around cars and people streaming out of the city. Cars were lined up bumper to bumper in both lanes as I rode the other direction. People standing beside their cars yelled to warn me not to head in. Both lanes were a parking lot, and no one was going my way.

As I got close to the I90/I95 interchange I cut across Park Rd. and rode up the on ramp the wrong way onto the inbound lanes, figuring they would be less crowded. I could see flashing lights behind me, looked like a massive pileup right at the I90/I95 interchange. Sarah wasn't going anywhere.

Overhead helicopters were buzzing. Storm crows. I could hear fighter jets too. Not a good sign. I tried to get through to Sarah on Facebook again but the network seemed to be down. Overloaded I'm sure. I crossed the Charles river, the bright lights of the city in front of me.

The inbound lanes I was on were still relatively empty. There were sirens coming up behind me though. I tucked in against the barrier as cop cars started streaming past. 10. 20. After them came a few Humvees, that was it. I jumped the barrier and pulled my bike after me. I knew I was only a 1/2 mile away from where Sarah was stuck at most.

The cars were packed in tight, almost touching each other and with no regard for lanes. People had brought very little with them, this was panic, not the somewhat orderly retreat from a hurricane down South. I weaved through the traffic, trying to find Sarah's Honda CRV.

Ahead, I could hear car horns start to go off. Louder and louder. For the first time, I realized all of the helicopters were flying away from the city, leaving the rooftops and heading West. I weaved back and forth across the lanes, trying to find Sarah. I knew she was close. The sounds of the car horns were getting louder. I came around the back of an 18 wheeler and I could see her car, two down and one on my right. She was behind the wheel.

One car nearly rammed me as I cut in front of it to get to her, he was trying to get over onto the shoulder, looking for a way out which just wasn't there. Sarah was trying to user her phone, but hadn't seen me yet. As I got closer I could start to see where the noise was coming from. Not far, 500 yards maybe. I could see movement, a lot, didn't know what it was.

I opened the passenger door, and Sarah immediately grabbed me. "Oh baby, I love you so much. I want to go home." I'll always remember that. I told her we had to go, we had to leave the car. She asked how we were going to get there. I just said "the bike" as I helped her grab her things.

There were people sprinting past the car on either side of us now. As I got out one of them reached down to grab my bike. I shouted at him and he just look at me, wide eyed, and kept running. The car horns were close now, 100 yards. Sarah had lost her wallet, it was in a different purse. I told her it didn't matter, we had to go right now.

Behind us I could hear shouting, yelling, screams mixed in with the car horns. I had Sarah sit on the seat, wrap her arms and legs around me as I started to pedal standing up. Just as we started a young, normal looking guy in jeans and a hoodie leaped over the car to our right and bit into the calf of an older woman running between the cars. I'll always remember that sight. He looked up, bloody teeth, flesh in his mouth as she screamed and tried to crawl away. Sarah screamed but I kept pedaling. I knew we had to.

All around us was chaos. People were jumping across cars, flashing in and out of the light and shadows from the headlights and waving beams of the running flashlights. We weaved through the traffic, dodging cars, people, abandoned belongings. After a minute or two we started to put some distance between us and the wave of terror behind. We rode mostly down the shoulder.Two miles maybe to the Weston exit. People here were still in their cars, or standing outside them looking back towards the city and the noise. We yelled at them to run, to go and get out of there. Sarah was shouting and crying at the same time.

My legs were burning like mad. I was 33 and 12 years into a career behind a desk. After we were off I90 a while we stopped for a minute, and Sarah switched to riding on the handlebars. We rode the oncoming lane on the far shoulder. There were too many cars pulled over and parked on our side of the street, people standing next to their cars, shouting questions at us. We answered what we could: Run. Go. Get out of here.

It was 9:30 by the time we made it home, Denali barking at us from the door, the whole neighborhood either packing their cars or their houses already quiet. As we went to open the door to grab Denali, he started barking like mad. A young woman, business dress and broken high heels, came running out of the woods on the left side of our house. She had a crazed jerking loping stride, almost pausing every time she brought her left leg forward. Unnatural. Injured. Sick. She saw us and snarled, heading right for us. I froze, not sure what to do. What was she doing? What did she want? Do I attack someone who hadn't attacked me first?

Then she lunged for Sarah who was backed against the Suburban. I dove, shoulder down, tackling her, tumbling to the ground together. Frantically, the woman started biting at my arm, teeth hitting hard against the plastic of my mountain biking gear. I yelled to Sarah for my hatchet from the pack, and hit the woman in the head with the backside. It dazed her enough I was able to break free, leaving her moaning on the ground.

I grabbed Denali from the house and yelled at Sarah to "go, go, go" from where she was frozen against the driver's side door. She ran around to the passenger side and jumped in, as I started the engine I could see more figures lit up by the headlights. Shadows jumping, stumbling between the dark outlines of the trees around our home.

As we were pulling out of our street, dodging people and parked cars, we saw a couple we knew, older, packing their Volvo SUV. As the husband was bent down in the passenger seat, a man in a dark suit ran up behind him, pulled him out of the car, and bit him in the neck. Sarah screamed as we went past, and he went to the ground with the thing, the zombie on top of him, biting into him. Eating him.

We lived North of I90. I knew our only bet was to take the smallest roads possible, head North and West to get away from population. We had to keep moving, keep ahead.

Mike's Journal: Day Two 12:00pm-4:30PM

We sat there watching. No one wanted to go back to work. We ate lunch and speculated.

"Do you think it's a virus?" "Maybe it's a bio-weapon the South tried to use?" "Some crazy chemical like Meth but stronger."

We didn't know, but no one else did either. A few minutes later Obama came on and announced that the US would be moving 4 carrier groups into the East China Sea and Sea of Japan. Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister, came on also: Japan was mobilizing their entire Naval Defense Force. Combined, it was the largest naval deployment since WWII. Even Putin said they would move in the Admiral Kuznetsov to assist. What the hell were the Russians doing helping the South Koreans?

A breaking news story came through soon after - the Chinese military was evacuating Shenyang. I had never heard of it before, but reports said it was a city of more than 8 million. 8 million. It's maybe 100 miles from the North Korean border. Sketchy reports were coming in that China was bombing its own border towns. Dandong. Tonghua. Baishan. Images of smoke and explosions in the night.

Seoul was a mess. Reporters were in the airport covering the mayhem. Mass exodus. Refugee nation. Shoving to get on planes. Waving tickets. Planes taking off with no clearance. Airlines were sending any empty plane they had to get people out. All across South East Asia empty planes were being sent across. The military was clearing stretches of highway as runways. A modern day Dunkirk. But civilians, fleeing.. something.

We left the TV on but tried to get back to work. Emails were flying around. Updates, latest articles. Speculation.

At 2:00 the CEO told everyone to go home. I got on the T to head back to South Station. The trains were packed. As we slowed to a crawl between stations, waiting for some other train ahead of us to clear the way, a murmur went along the train. I had my headphones in but noticed the difference in the crowd. Animal instinct, a herd at risk. I pricked up my ears.

I heard a word being repeated but didn't believe it. I checked Google News. My connection was incredibly slow. The headline gradually came up. "China Uses Nuclear Weapons in Korean Crises." China had started dropping nukes on the border towns. Nukes. On their own towns. The image finally loaded. It showed three mushroom clouds lined up across the horizon.

I had to get home. I had to get back to Sarah. I texted her to leave work. No one was going to buy a house that day anyway.

We made it to South Station and they let everyone crowd onto the 3:10 train. It was like being on a train in India. Well, except it was the most polite I had ever seen. No one pushed, everyone helped. I and another guy lifted a woman on a wheelchair onto the train. We were, as a population, in shock.

The train departed late. I had never been happier to feel it start moving than that moment. I tried to call Sarah but the cell lines were all jammed. It had happened before at the Boston Marathon Bombing - so I did what I found had worked then. I got on Facebook and texted her that way. She had been able to leave work and was heading home but the roads were crowded. She was stuck in traffic on I90 heading West.

The news was getting worse. South Korea had appealed to Japan for refugee status for it's population. It's entire population. There were photos of huge lines of South Koreans looking to board ferries, fishing boats, even tankers and container ships. Containers were being lifted off the decks by the cranes to make room for more refugees. American troops had pulled back to a defensive ring around Seoul established in case of a North Korean attack. Seoul looked like a nightmare. People were trying to flee, but the roads were clogged and the airport was a sea of people.

Reporters starting carrying stories of violence in the lines in Seoul. People attacking each other. Biting each other. Frantic behavior. Crowds stampeded leaving bodies crushed underneath.

I made it to the Framingham station by 4:00. I hopped in my winter truck - a 2003 Suburban - and headed for home. I had been trying to get through to Sarah, but could never get a connection. She had sent me a message on Facebook that I90 wasn't moving.

Traffic was bad getting home, but we only lived a few minutes from the station. My dog Denali jumped all over me, happy as ever. I started packing. I knew that if anything was going to go wrong, we wanted to get out of Framingham. Too close to Boston. Too many people. Sarah and I had joked about it before - where we would go, what we would do. Her best friend's family was from a farm in Western MA. I knew that was where we needed to go, or that direction anyway.

While I packed I kept trying to get through to her. Occasionally a facebook message came through, but even the data network seemed totally overloaded. She said she was completely stopped just before I95. Accident.

I had the radio - yes radio - on the in background. It let me listen to the news while I packed. That was when the first stories started coming out. Here, in the US. It was unclear but apparently wealthy North Koreans (apparently, there were some) had been leaving the country for a few days, using false South Korean and other passports to get out. London. Dubai. San Francisco. Boston.

Boston.    

Mike's Journal: Day Two 6:00am - 12:00pm

April 7th 2016

When we woke up the urgency of the news stories had shifted. Outlets were now discussing a major crises in the Korean peninsula. China had not only closed the border, they had begun to evacuate the towns close-by “for the safety of the population.” The hell was going on.

The situation on the border with S. Korea was worse. They had mobilized their military and were trying to stem a tidal wave of refuges from the North. The army of the DPRK (Democratic – that’s how you know it’s a dictatorship) had stopped firing and instead were joining the panicked civilians trying to cross the border.

The South had set up official border crossings where refugees were being allowed through. There were photos of crowds of North Koreans pushing against chain link fences, narrow gaps where people were shoving through one by one. Aid stations where they were being checked. Quarantine pens where they were being held on the South Korean side...

Western outlets were translating the stories of the refugees from their Korean counterparts. It was clear there was some kind of biological outbreak. The North Korean refugees told stories of emaciated crazed individuals attacking livestock and people. Eating them. Fuck.

The North Korean military was pushing south, but not to attack, to run away. There was an image of a tank driving right into the DMZ and blowing up on an mine. One guy got out, on fire, and ran for the fence. Didn't make it.

Jesus. What the fuck was going on.

Still, that was Korea. I lived on the East Coast of the US, 7,000 miles away. I think, but around there. Sarah and I went in to work. It’s the last Thursday I remember.

On the train there were a few newspapers around – The Metro etc – and all of them had the “Korean Crises” as the headline. Huge font. Like it was 1942. There was speculation everywhere. Some newspapers starting using the word zombie in their news stories. Always qualifiers. "Zombie like illness" or "Driven to zombie-like cannibalism."

At 11:42AM word came through that the DMZ barricades had fallen. No one knew what the hell was going on. It was the middle of the night in Korea. We turned on the big TV in the cafeteria and gathered there to watch. That's why I remember the time. I texted Sarah - told her to turn on a TV. American troops were on the front lines. News stations were speculating, showing airstrike after airstrike in the 35 miles between Seoul and the DMZ. We ate our lunch, horrified by what was happening on the other side of the world.

Mike's Journal: Day 1

April 6th 2016 - 9 Months Ago

I took the train into Boston that day. As usual. Crowded. Caught up on the news.

That morning there were some disturbing stories coming out of Korea. Starving emaciated North Koreans running directly at the DMZ. Triggering landmines. Getting shot down by their own army before they can get close. Fucked up. I had no idea what was going on there. The South was talking about mobilizing their forces - they had already taken out a couple of ships which headed into their waters.

As usual I was in meetings all day. Barely saw daylight let alone check my phone. I sent a message to Sarah around lunch. "Love you babe - how's the day going? We still good for 6:00 for dinner?" My parents were staying in Boston for a work trip just for the one night, flying back to Denver the next morning.

I've looked at my phone (yes - it's still with me) - I didn't really send much else that day. A joke with my guys. A couple more messages with Sarah following up. An email to my insurance company to confirm a change to my coverage. 

A pretty typical Wednesday in the spring. Or what passes for spring in Boston. 

Sarah drove in from her job out in Needham to meet us for dinner. It was damn cold so I took the 'Silver Line' (a bus Boston pretended was a subway line) back into the city from the World Trade Center. The news was getting worse. Some people had mentioned it at work but I hadn't had time to check. There were waves of N. Koreans running at the DMZ now. US troops had been mobilized. The news reports had no idea what was going on. A few photos of smoke in the trees at the DMZ. More ships had been sunk by the South. Some news outlets started posting speculation about what it could be - Kim Jong turning on his own people, biological weapons, mass starvation etc.

I met Sarah outside of the Charles Hotel before heading in for dinner with my parents. She looked gorgeous. Red sweater dress. Black coat. Long dark hair. We kissed and I wrapped my arm around her and we walked in together.

Dinner was good - the Rialto Restaurant. Five courses - the way they do it in Italy. A couple bottles of red wine. We talked life, politics. We covered North Korea but just to say how screwed up it all sounded. Speculated a little bit on what it could be. Meth. Disease. Civil war. No one knew much.

Sarah drove us home. I got an alert on my phone on the way - "China Closes Border with N. Korea." The story went on for a few paragraphs, but information was sparse. The border was officially closed anyway, but China was moving in troops. Screwed up, but a world away. 

We got home, had sex, watched some Netflix and went to bed.

I think that was the night Sarah got pregnant. 

KIC 8462852: The Most Interesting Star In The World

There have been a few articles going around about a star with a very odd signature. Like most things in space, it is likely some kind of phenomenon that we have just not figured out yet... but it could be an alien civilization which has grown to the point of actually obscuring some of the light of the sun around which it orbits.

The original Atlantic article, like many Atlantic articles, is well worth the read.

This is the teaser:
“When [Boyajian] showed me the data, I was fascinated by how crazy it looked,” Wright told me. “Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.”

Here's why people are so interested. Unlike all of our Sci-Fi ideas about alien civilizations, they are more likely to stay in one close area than wander the stars. Wandering about is both extremely costly (in resources sense, whatever their "economy" looks like) and takes a really long time, splitting part of a civilization off from the rest. What is more likely is that a civilization would move ever closer to capturing all off the light from their star. Eventually, you would build what is called a Dyson Sphere:



A Dyson Sphere makes a lot of sense. You take all of the material you can, and you spread it around your sun in order to build a gigantic solar powered and heated sphere. The population you could support would be immense. This is construction on a scale millennia beyond where humanity is now.

If a civilization completed this, we would see a waste heat signature: while all light would be captured, long wavelength IR radiation would escape. We have looked for this, but in area of the roughly 160,000 stars near enough for us to detect, we couldn't find it.

But now, we've found KIC 8462852. And it could be a civilization on their way to building a Dyson sphere - enough structures around their sun to block out a significant portion of the light. This is a mature star, 1.5x the size of ours, so it shouldn't have a waste cloud around it as an early start would. It also has a very interesting IR signature.

The only other rational explanation seems to be a whole mess o' meteors getting pulled in front of it by the passing of another star as a tugboat. There is a candidate for this, but for a variety of reasons it is seen as unlikely. Not that an alien civilization is more likely.... but damn would it be amazing.

We are going to try and find out more by pointing the Arecibo telescope (think Goldeneye or Contact) at it to see if we can find any interesting radio signatures. I for one think it would be a huge benefit to mankind to discover that we are not alone in the universe.

Canada Creates Two Tiered Citizenship... Scary

Have dual citizenship? How about being a naturalized citizen?

In Canada, you are now second tier.

This is something that strikes home as a US and UK dual citizen. The concept of stripping away someone's citizenship and sending them into exile is both anachronistic and reeks of a totalitarian police state.

Citizenship is not optional. Once someone has become a citizen, they are part of your country. 100%. Forever. You cannot go back on that contract.

It is even more revolting to call it "Strengthening Canadian Citizenship" just as attacks on minorities have always been legitimized (anti-gay? you're "strengthening marriage", anti-immigrant? you're "strengthening society").

Terrible

Graphic  described below
See a Judge anywhere in the new process? Nope - they skipped that part.



T Mobile Simple Choice Plan Fraud - Do Not Use for International Travel

Planning a trip soon? You may have seen T-Mobile advertise their Simple Choice Plan. $50/mo, 1GB of LTE data and (big perk!)




It seems like a great deal. Step off the plane and instead of the hassle of trying to find a local SIM card, you already have unlimited (slow) data & texting - which is really all you need most of the time. 

Since I was flying to the UK where much of my family lives, I went to the page, clicked the link and signed up for a plan. This plan in fact: Simple Choice Unlimited



Do NOT get off a plane and start texting with this plan. T-Mobile will charge you a MINIMUM of $0.50 per text and at least $1/mb for data. 

Where's the trick? You singed up for a "Simple Choice Plan" and EVERY "Simple Choice" plan comes with international travel right? 

Nope. 

T-Mobile maintains there are two COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PLANS. 

1) Simple Choice Unlimited Prepaid
2) Simple Choice Unlimited Postpaid (no contract)

Yes, both plans have the same name. Yes, both plans are No Contract. Yes, both plans are $50 a month. But if you sign up online you get plan #1 - which does not include international travel. Plan #2 is from their pospaid department, which according to T-Mobile, has nothing to do with the Simple Choice Unlimited Plan you see online. 

Bullshit? You bet.

How did I find out? Go to the FAQ at the bottom of the Simple Choice plan page and click "View 15 more questions"


Then scroll down to find this little gem (question #15, healthily buried below the fold and in the middle of useless junk):

are you fucking kidding me right now?

While I have been annoyed at companies in the past, I have rarely come across such straight up fraud. Luckily I caught it before I traveled. After a very frustrating hour on the phone T-Mobile admitted the website "might be confusing" causing me to "sign up for the wrong plan" - and said they will "try and get me a one-time exemption" you know, because I signed up for the wrong plan...



What utter bullshit.