It Could be Worse

Despite the fuss on the national news

Last week’s earthquake brought hardly a bruise

Barely enough to make walls shake

But ‘quakes elsewhere, leave deaths in their wake


Classed as ‘light’; Richter 4.4

Even more slight than in ’84

When we swept up the kids and ran outside

If the earth moves, there’s nowhere to hide


Now, it seems, we’ve another ‘grave’ threat

The ‘beast from the east’, a new cause to fret

A Siberian blast, bringing snow and ice

At -5C, the Beeb says it won’t be nice


But some can recall the freeze of ’82

When staying outdoors wasn’t good for you

At -26C, that really was cold

It killed by degrees, especially the old.

The Threat from Artificial Intelligence

Many things have threatened our lives
War, disease, terrorists with knives
Humanity’s resilience on a world-wide scale
Brings overconfidence that we always prevail

Now, blindly, we seek our nemesis to grow
Racing to unleash a formidable foe
A holy grail with potential for good?
More, our undoing, not understood

For scientists strive around the globe
To create an electronic temporal lobe
The ‘AI’ juggernaut  is on its way
But let’s not wake to rue that day

Once created, how to hold it in check
To stop society becoming a wreck
Pandora’s box; lid open wide
Mankind swept away on tsunami tide

Computers manage our knowledge; they have a key role
In energy grids, finance, air traffic control
Vast infrastructures already in place
Black boxes communicating with their own race

Once these machines are able to think
Harnessing speeds faster than a lightning blink
With capacity to accelerate their own evolution
What regard then for our frail constitution

Not bound by ethics to consider our fate,
Would they preserve a welfare state?
Circuits and chips that become aware
May not accept that they need to care

For earth’s resources they will compete
Serving no purpose, we’d be obsolete
How soon before we are oppressed
If they turn off the lights, we’ll do the rest

A Very Brief History Of The Cosmos

Out of nowhere a BANG takes place

Energy and matter now exist in space

Positive, negative, normal and dark

Atoms and strange particles, including the quark


Time is born; and its arithmetic

The cosmic clock makes its very first tick

Entropy increases, with empirical truth

Universe expanding, throughout its youth


Attractive forces come into play

Gravity, one such, holding sway

In gaseous clusters, suns start to glow

Forming heavier atoms in their fiery throe


Worlds coalesce from cosmic dusts

Atmospheres, weather, primordial crusts

Eons passing in galaxies rife

Goldilocks zones, permitting life


Normal matter, of which we’re made

Dark stuff, more common, cannot be weighed

Its job, invisible, to hold things in place

As we hurtle through the cosmos at a frantic pace