Big Echo

Critical SF

Elegy for the Almost Gone / Termination Codon1

by Lynne DeSilva-Johnson

Chemical Formula: [C,H,O]2
Molecular Weight = 180.29 gm

 Hydrogen  11.18%  H      99.92 %  H2O

 Carbon  79.94 %  C

 Oxygen   8.87 %  O

          ______        ______ 

          100.00 %       99.92 % = TOTAL OXIDE

Empirical Formula: C12H20O
Environment: Fossilized tree resin which is insoluble in common organic solvents. Gives an aromatic odor when burned (Plastic imitations do not).
IMA Status: Not Approved IMA
Locality: Gdansk, Shores of the Baltic Sea, Poland. US: Arkansas, New Jersey.
Name Origin: From Middle English aumbre, in turn from Middle French ambre, from Arabic عَنْبَر (ʿanbar, “ambergris”), from Middle Persian ʾmbl (ambar, “ambergris”). Compare lamber, ambergris. Displaced Old English eolhsand (“elksand”).
Synonym: Bernstein; Resin; Succinite; Xyloretinite - C10H17O
CI meas= -0.445 (Poor) - where the CI = (1-KPDmeas/KC)
KPDmeas= 0.4909,KC= 0.3397
Ncalc = 1.36 - 1.39
Optical Data:
Isotropic, n=1.54.
Electron Density:
Bulk Density (Electron Density)=1.22 gm/cc
note: Specific Gravity of Amber =1.10 gm/cc.
Fermion Index = 0.0088532573
Boson Index = 0.9911467427
PEAmber = 0.15 barns/electron
U=PEAmber x rElectron Density= 0.18 barns/cc.
Radioactivity: GRapi = 0 (Gamma Ray American Petroleum Institute Units)
Amber is Not Radioactive

Just as low temperature can extend the period of time that DNA can survive, total isolation from oxygen when trapped in amber is highly protective. Despite problems concerning DNA from insects in amber, there can be no question about the excellent preservation of tissue ultrastructure -- including ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria -- for tens of millions of years [SCIENCE; 215:1241-1242 (1982) and SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN; 274(4):85-91 (1996)]. Tree sap (resin) contains sugars as well as alcohols & aldehydes (including terpenes), which are dehydrating & antibiotic as well as providing an air-tight seal to prevent further entry of oxygen. Myrrh is a mixture of resin, gum and essential oils from the Commiphora plant that was used by the ancient Egyptians for embalming (by pouring it into the cranial, chest, abdominal and pelvic cavities) and mummification (by soaking the wrapping bandages in it).3

Biological tissues can be preserved through

  • Low Temperature
  • Chemical Preservation
  • Dehydration
  • Isolation from Oxygen

[human, 21st c]: R&D for an amber farm in the not-distant future, maybe Northwest Florida, or, better: somewhere in the Rust Belt, somewhere desperate for new industry. A hypothesis, a chemical formula. Lost in our linearity, hearing the tick of a clock we invented. It turns out, presumed ancient DNA was shown to be the result of human contamination, dinosaur egg shown to be fungi. Start over. Lose seed funding. Take down the website.

Four-oh-four; not found. the server could not find what was requested.

IN-SECT: from early 17th century (originally denoting any small cold-blooded creature with a segmented body): from Latin (animal) insectum ‘segmented (animal)’ (translating Greek zōion entomon ), from insecare ‘cut up or into,’ from in- ‘into’ + secare ‘to cut.’4

secō secās secat secāmus secātis secant
secābam secābās secābat secābāmus secābātis secābant
secuī secuistī secuit secuimus secuistis secuērunt
secueram secuerās secuerat secuerāmus secuerātis secuerant
secābō secābis secābit secābimus secābitis secābunt
secuerō secueris secuerit secuerimus secueritis secuerint

secem secēs secet secēmus secētis secent
secārem secārēs secāret secārēmus secārētis secārent
secuerim secueris secuerit secuerimus secueritis secuerint

secuissem secuissēs secuisset secuissēmus secuissētis secuissent

secātō secātō secātōte secantō

sectūrum esse: Youre cut, fold your napkins and go home.

we label /// gradations of proximity to extinction
enter: the passive voice where collapse becomes clinical

least concern
near threatened
critically endangered
recently extinct

[       ]————————————————————-

maps rewritten to pleasure and profit
maps precede the territory6
greetings from the frothy wraith!
greetings from masturbatory overcompensation!
greetings from envy!
greetings from goodbye


habitat loss7

see: destruction
see: fragmentation
see: degradation
receive $10 off your total when you certify and purchase any Certified Wildlife Habitat (TM) sign. Limited time offer. Turning your yard, balcony container garden, schoolyard, work landscape, or roadside green space into a Certified Wildlife Habitat(TM) is fun and easy!

a commodity appears at first sight an extremely obvious, trivial thing8
what is in fact a social relation between people
assumes the fantastic form of a relation between things

Do you have an insect you would like to display in a cool and interesting fashion? Then, you might be interested in preserving it in resin. Work in a well ventilated area. Make an attempt not to get any on your hands. It is very hard to clean off. I'm aware that another Instructable has been posted on this but my way is simpler and appeals to those that don't have a table saw.9

Y/N: [run data] can you fetishize the dying you cannot count or name

1702 : Data deficient species10 : avoid classing species as data deficient when the absence of records may indicate low abundance: If the range of a taxon is suspected to be relatively circumscribed, if a considerable period of time has elapsed since the last record of the taxon, threatened status may well be justified

REPLY IF IT PLEASES YOU: _____________will attend _____x______will not attend

We regret to inform you __THE LEPIDOPTERA FAMILY11___ is unable to perform.

We will see ourselves out. We are unbound by your temporal inadequacies. We persist in palimpsest, dimensional timelines beyond your feeble imaginaries. To think how you awed at a single specimen, pinned with the most delicate of care under glass, a careful hand marking and naming—honorifics, royals and heroes—only to blind yourselves to our evaporation.

Linnaeus chose Papilio for the type genus, as papilio is Latin for "butterfly". For the specific epithets of the genus, Linnaeus applied the names of Greek figures to the swallowtails. The type species: Papilio machaon honored Machaon, one of the sons of Asclepius, mentioned in the Iliad.[3] Further, the species Papilio homerus is named after the Greek poet, Homer.12

Even with your own you direct the gaze: the pedestal, the stage, the pinned honor.
Ignore the man behind the curtain, child. Denature and name, shhhhhhh cartographic carnage.

Swallowtail butterflies



Other Lepidoptera species

Or is there a long table, fixed with Latinate names, on museum board, penned in a flourish

So nice to make your acquaintance
Tell me a little about yourself
What brings you here today

So happy to be here tonight, (Hey Mom!) it’s me, Hemiphlebia mirabilis,13 commonly known as the ancient greenling. I’m a species of damselfly in the family Hemiphlebiidae.  I’m very small with a long, metallic-green body and clear wings. I’ve lived for just about ever in south-eastern Australia, buuuut my natural swamp habitat is threatened by habitat loss. I’m the last in my family! the only living species of the genus Hemiphlebia. Hemiphlebiidae represent!

Over here we have the fabulous green sphinx moth or fabulous green sphinx of Kauai (Yes mahma officially “fabulous” but you can call me Tinostoma smaragditis) I’m a species of moth representing the family Sphingidae. What’s good Hawaii!

OMG, Hemisame. Habitat Loss?! me too, bae, me too.
I mean, humans, amirite?

FUTURE PERFECT14 sevavi sevaverim servatus sum servatus sim sevavisti sevaveris servatus es servatus sis sevavit sevaverit servatus est servatus sit sevavimus sevaverimus servati sumus servati simus sevavisti sevaveritis servati estis servati sitis sevaverunt sevaverint servati sunt servati sint survivors guilt survivalist survivor runt survive and run

recognate, re-tongue; preserve in and around tenses yet undeclined
ambergris, aldehyde and myrrh drawing lay lines
seeking reparations, weave-time
youll need tuning, need
a backwards death




1  In the genetic code, a stop codon (or termination codon) is a nucleotide triplet within messenger RNA that signals a termination of translation into proteins.[1] Proteins are based on polypeptides, which are unique sequences of amino acids. Most codons in messenger RNA (from DNA) correspond to the addition of an amino acid to a growing polypeptide chain, which may ultimately become a protein. Stop codons signal the termination of this process by binding release factors, which cause the ribosomal subunits to disassociate, releasing the amino acid chain. While start codons need nearby sequences or initiation factors to start translation, a stop codon alone is sufficient to initiate termination.

2 General Amber information, physical properties of Amber, optical properties of Amber, and calculated properties of Amber are at the database. Other localities listed were found at, and Name Origin from the Online Etymology Dictionary and Wikipedia.

3 Text on DNA / biological tissue preservation is excerpted from Ancient DNA & Preservation in Amber, by Ben Best, life-extensionist, and former President of the Cryonics Institute.

4 Insect etymology from the Online Etymology Dictionary; what follows is the full Latin conjugation of secare, “to cut.”

5 Animals and insects that are in danger of extinction are categorized into species of “least concern,” “near threatened,” “vulnerable,” “critically endangered,” “recently extinct” and “data deficient” status.

6 The line “maps precede the territory” is a reference to a statement (warning?) from Jean Baudrillard in his seminal Simulacra and Simulation, from 1981. The full passage reads:

Abstraction today is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor survives it. Henceforth, it is the map that precedes the territory - precession of simulacra - it is the map that engenders the territory and if we were to revive the fable today, it would be the territory whose shreds are slowly rotting across the map. It is the real, and not the map, whose vestiges subsist here and there, in the deserts which are no longer those of the Empire, but our own. The desert of the real itself.

7 According to the National Wildlife Federation,

“Habitat loss—due to destruction, fragmentation, or degradation of habitat—is the primary threat to the survival of wildlife in the United States. When an ecosystem has been dramatically changed by human activities—such as agriculture, oil and gas exploration, commercial development, or water diversion—it may no longer be able to provide the food, water, cover, and places to raise young that wildlife need to survive. Every day there are fewer places left that wildlife can call home.”

Also from the NWF is the opportunity to apply to create and certify an official “Certified Wildlife Habitat.” If you’re interested in learning more about the program, you can go to this link:

However, there is something troubling and problematic about the ways in which system change on a large scale is passed over while the consumer is presented with countless ways to “participate” through individual consumption patterns / choices / performance, which leads us to the next footnote.

8 The ways in which capitalism shifts our perception of how it functions and of what has value, shifting our perception of ourselves and each other as actors and players within this system (and masking the agency of the system producing these means of valuation) is the crux of Karl Marx’s classic writing on commodity fetishism; this stanza is an approximate paraphrase of key concepts. This theory of commodity fetishism is presented in the first chapter of Capital: Critique of Political Economy (1867).

9 This text comes from CarpenterAnt96’s featured entry, “Preserve Insects in Resin.” Posted Jun. 15, 2013.

10 As of July 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed 1702 data deficient insect species.[1] 28% of all evaluated insect species are listed as data deficient. The definition for data deficiency has been written by the IUCN and is available via Wikipedia. While not strictly “endangered,” as this passage explains the organistion warns that lack of data may in fact be grounds enough to classify certain species as threatened, some gravely so.

11 Lepidoptera (/ˌlɛpɪˈdɒptərə/ lep-i-DOP-tər-ə) is an order of insects that includes butterflies and moths (both are called lepidopterans). About 180,000 species of the Lepidoptera are described, in 126 families[1] and 46 superfamilies,[2] 10 per cent of the total described species of living organisms.[2][3] It is one of the most widespread and widely recognizable insect orders in the world. The name lists that follow are currently endangered members of the Lepidoptera order. As of July 2017, the IUCN lists 343 endangered insect species, of which this is only a short section.

12 Carl Linnaeus, born 1707, died 1778, is widely known as the ‘father of modern taxonomy.” He was a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist. This excerpt on his naming of certain members of the family Papillonidae comes from the Wikipedia entry on Swallowtail Butterfly, the first section of the endangered list that follows.

13 Here, the ancient greenling (Hemiphlebia mirabilis) and fabulous green sphinx moth (Tinostoma smaragditis), both endangered as a result of habitat loss introduce themselves. The dialogue is written in a style which for some will be reminiscent of drag queens, and intentionally so—here are endangered, beautiful creatures who have evolved their bodies both physically and visually as a matter of survival. Both have traditionally been put on display and admired publicly while continuing to be the victims of critically damning legislation, erasure and abuse.

14 Echoing the earlier “cut” sequence, this stanza includes the conjugation of “Servare,” the latin verb for to save or guard; it includes herein the future perfect tense but also asks of the future perfect, the “will have saved / will have guarded,” or any future perfect / perfect future if there is saving still to be done, and who we talk about when we talk about “saving.”

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