The Overblown Death of the PC – Part 1

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A month ago Regina Pilkington posed the question “Do you envision desktop computers as obsolete in a few years?” on LinkedIn and I waited before I answered, curious what others would say. I didn’t have to wait long. What I heard surprised me. And my response will surprise you.

Most of what I heard was:

  • The PC is dead or so in decline, it may as well be dead.
  • It has no future, it is being replaced by digital devices.
  • The PC is a dinosaur and is being replaced by BYOD and virtualization.
  • In a decade or less, there will be no market for PCs, look at their inevitable decline in the market.
  • Apple is getting out of the business, Dell is shifting markets, HP is foundering, the PC’s reign is over.

There were a few more moderate voices:

  • “The obsolescence of the desktop in my opinion is held back by the effectiveness of the desktop interface.”
  • “The form factor will survive over the next 5 – 10 years. The ease and size of the system is not possible in the tablet for now.” 
  • “My feeling is it will never be obsolete, it will be one of many different ways (just not the only one) to compute.”

And then one other voice rang out with the question, I think everyone was dreading:

  • “How long ago did that dinosaur called the mainframe disappear?” (He clarified saying he was being facetious because mainframes are still not dead.)

This question irks me when I see it making the rounds on the tech journals and publications because of the weak premise and lame assumptions used to prognosticate the Death of the PC and as if to make it worse, these tech pundits want to make predictions as if they were any better at predicting long-term technology trends than religious leaders are at predicting the end of the world. Let me save you the trouble. Manufacturers are scrambling and technology is changing but it is safe to say, the personal computer will be around for quite some time to come even if it doesn’t look quite like you remember it.

My response: No. The PC era is not over. Not by a long shot. Not even in a decade.

No matter what form it takes, no matter what it will look like, (smartphone, tablet, head-up display) the era of the PC (Personal Computer) is not over and not likely to be any time soon. If it is based in silicon, it is still a personal computer.

“Big boxes of mostly air” (as they are known by PC technicians) may fall from grace for those people who think smaller and more mobile is better, but those are the same people who will be complaining when network connectivity and data transfer rates can’t keep up with the increasing demand being placed on networked devices and the networks that serve them.

Add to this equation the varying reliability of the cloud infrastructure and people who depend on their portable device for computational ability will be sorely disappointed as more devices means interruptions in service due to demand load, poor design of software and hardware, incompatibilities of design and infrastructure, malware, viruses and good old-fashioned human error.

Despite the Microsoft and Apple compulsion to squeeze out new OS every two years or less, the software infrastructure for PCs is still more robust, stable and better defended than the portable OSs being used right now.

Those portable OSs are ripe for attack because they are being developed faster than they are being protected. Yes, someone will get around to writing tools for protection, but since there is little agreement on standards and protocols, hackers and their ilk will have a field day while such agreements are being forged. If you think the transition to portable devices will be smooth and seamless, you will be disappointed, no matter what pundits predict.

On top of everything else, those more portable devices are still not as powerful, not as expandable, not as configurable as a current desktop or well-made laptop, nor do they offer as many options for use.

  • They cannot be used in tandem, compounding their power and effectiveness. 
  • You will not see a server farm made with iPhones any time soon. 
  • They cannot be programmed or developed from, easily, if at all. 
  • They are primarily tools of data use, information viewing and consumption 
  • Devices are the digital equivalent of a television, a phone, and a piece of paper. 
  • Until they get an interface which integrates voice and gesture into an effective interface, they will always be substandard tools to do any advanced work such as design.

What smaller devices offer flexibility and portability. They are still PCs, now more personal than ever. They will still require powerful servers to coordinate their data, access search engines, and store data for use by these smaller RPC (remote personal computers). The PC era is not dead and will not likely be dead until such time as we are producing computers that are biological in nature and do not require the use of any technologies which currently resemble anything we do today.

The PC is transformed (again) it is now the Remote Personal Computer, it is the Server Computer, it is the distributed computing system (another aspect of ‘the cloud’.) This penchant for imagining the death of the PC is the same as when cars appeared and the death of the bicycle or the train were predicted. I still see trains and they are as vital a technology as they have ever been. I am still running over bike messengers on my way to work.

Instead of alarmist (and futile) predictions of the end of the PC as we know it, let’s instead predict how the PC will be transformed into a tool of greater utility and diversity, how we will make it easier to store, utilize and share information effectively without creating larger, slower, less efficient networks. Then we can talk about creating the next generation of computers which might truly lay the PC as we know it today, in all of its iterations, to rest.

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Two Years

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2 years.

If you wanted to know what the life of a Black man is worth in the Golden State of California, all you have to do is to check the justice system of the Bay Area and ask how much time did Johannes Mehserle get for the killing of Oscar Grant. There, you would find a judicial system unable to explain how Grant, handcuffed and face down on a BART platform could be sufficient enough of a threat to warrant being shot in the back by a police officer standing on a platform with his foot on Grant’s back. Within both hands reach were two other police officers who could offer support should Grant be getting out of control. Yet Mehserle, claiming to be reaching for a taser, instead, mistakenly (so they say) pulled his Glock and shot Grant, killing him at the scene on New Year’s Day 2009.

2 years.

You might think that Grant and a group of hoodlums had Mehserle surrounded and outnumbered, and in the unexpected gun battle, Grant was killed in a face to face conflict, where Mehserle life was in danger and he was perfectly within his rights to defend himself with lethal force. Only some technicality has him serving any time at all. The same justice system claimed that Mehserle could not get a fair trial in Oakland and move the trial to Simi Valley, the same Valley that acquitted the police that were accused of beating the hell out of Rodney King. The earlier precedent should have been a clue.

2 years.

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You might think Grant overpowered Mehserle in some form of martial arts conflict where the officer was forced to choose to end Grant’s life or die because Grant managed to overcome the larger stronger officer with some martial arts technique that Mehserle was unaware of. That Grant weighed sixty pounds less than Mehserle should surprise no one. He needed to be shot, he was simply too dangerous to subdue any other way.

2 years.

If you are a Black man in America, you can expect that if you kill a policeman who is in the line of duty, you will serve a minimum of 25 years and likely to spend the rest of your life in prison, in one of the harshest prison systems in the world, without worrying about getting a parole before the 12th year of your incarceration. If you should kill a police officer by accident and get a manslaughter charge, you can still expect to have to spend at least 2-15 years in prison. Don’t bother telling me about equality in America, or that racial parity has been achieved, or that institutionalized racism is dead, so said the Republican black Congressional candidate for the state of Florida. Let’s hope, Mister West, you never have to bet your life on that.

2 years.

The life of a Black man who is not a policeman and the life of a white man who is should, theoretically be the same. They should be weighed the same, should, intrinsically on the face of it, have the same value. 4 kidneys, 4 eyes, 4 legs, 4 arms, 2 livers, 2 hearts; yes, on the face of it, internally the same, but outside of that, culture and society have allowed one of those systems to be worth 25 years of punishment, and the other to be worth only

2 years.

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Where is the outrage? Who are the criminals? Where is the justice? And given the number of young Black men who have died violently since Oscar Grant, where is the change?

Racism in America: The Scarlet Letter of a Nation

Racism in America

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Let me tell you a secret. White America’s issue with minorities is a simple one. Blacks in the US are the Scarlet Letter (look it up) on the face of what appears to be a prosperous and significant nation. A high-quality lie to the rest of the world that hard work leads to prosperity and America is prosperous because it works hard. This is a disingenuous truth.

When White America sees a minority face and most importantly a Black face, it is reminded that the wealth of this nation, the invisible labor (yes, the word no one can say) labor, not capital, is what made this country rich. The ability to, for four hundred years, give or take, burn human beings lives like kindling in the forge of what is now a great nation, is what America is built on.

White America is a very poor winner. They want to own the spoils of a war (the complete and total annihilation of an enemy, see: Native Americans) and pretend there were no wrong-doings committed. No smallpox blankets, no extermination orders, no routing of the natives, no Trail of Tears. America just spread its legs and said “come on in” we were waiting for your Manifest Destiny.

We are constantly reminded that Blacks sold other Blacks into slavery. We never question who was buying those slaves, what would happen to those slaves, how many of those slaves would become diseased by being carried like wood, how many of those slaves would die in the greatest human disaster ever (the Middle Passage) and would become part of the most monstrous human engine of progress and destruction called “The North America Project” started in 1492.

Blacks are the Scarlet Letter that says to every country, everywhere: America will eventually fuck you. Yes, we will promise you nice stuff in the beginning, (See: Black Slavers, Native Americans) but in the end, we will take everything you own, everything you believe in and replace it with our religion, everything you dream of, everything you ever held dear, we will grind it into the dust, turn you into labor and then pretend you are capital until we have taken every bit of value from you. Then and only then will we let you die, an ignoble death, bereft of any meaning, any cultural value, reduced to a cypher, reduced to a numerical statistical element, only fit for a ledger. You won’t even get a tombstone. It costs too much.

So when you hear the ranting of Conservative Party X or the mouth-breathings of Tea Bag on the Forehead member Y, you know now what this is really about. The truth of their rantings is found in their own discomfort with what they know to be truth. Their ancestors were not the stuff of heroic legend. Not at all. They were small men and women who despite writing history could not erase the far greater men and women who were destroyed so this nation could exist as a paragon of faux virtue to a world who holds them in high enough esteem to destroy itself trying to be them.

America is a land of wastrels, destroying its populace with mindless entertainment, pathetic blandishments of eternal beauty, sex past eighty, a mechanized fetishism bereft of satisfaction, little more than digital masturbation. Stroking, rubbing, playing with toys keeps the masses calm and quiet while the true monsters continue to promote left is right, right is wrong and freedom is not slavery, guns protect everyone, children should be armed, wealth is only for the rich, unions impoverish the poor, autism isn’t caused by environment, violence is caused by video games, global warming doesn’t exist and America is your friend.

Look through history and find America’s friends. None of them survived the experience. Ask yourself this question: Would White America be so unkind if just once they could imagine themselves in the roles of the victims they have destroyed over the centuries (yes, this means you Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, and any other country which participated in the slave trade).

Spare me the cultural relativism too, while you are at it. Every culture has had slavery in history. We are not talking about those cultures or those histories. We are talking about this history, this culture, this America where minorities, people of color, Blacks are still treated as second class citizens, not as part of a terrible wrong which could have been a right. If White America hadn’t spent and still spends so much of its time pretending didn’t happen, so much time trying to sanitize their evil from the pages of history (See: Kentucky, Slave Triangle). What if they had said: We have done a great wrong to the Natives, let’s make it right, truly right. Find a way to return their some of their land to them, give them sovereignty in this nation, show some measure of contriteness for our atrocities perpetrated by less civilized men. Let’s treat new members of our land with more deference than we had treated the natives who once lived here on land we have stolen from them.

No. That will never happen. Nor will any effort be made to assist the countries, the peoples, the nations, the histories of people destroyed by the social engine of Capitalism, promoted by White people as the ultimate expression of human development no matter how many people it grinds into the dust in the name of progress. Capitalism is the engine, humanity is the grain. Widgets are the bread.

Let those who survive the engine of capitalism, poor, huddled masses, quivering in the smoky darkness, awaiting the next dawn with dread and trepidation, waiting outside what was once their home, hoping for the kindness of a stranger but expecting the baton of the police or military, let those masses of tired, hungry and disfranchised masses remember, there are no other shores to go to. There are no other places where you can start over. There is nothing left out there which is not already owned by capitalists who have already tried to claim your water and will soon claim your very breath as their property. You now have no place on Earth where they cannot reach and do not want dominion over.

What will it take for you to fight back against the people who oppress you with their rhetoric of “too big to fail” and use your last dollars, your retirement, your opportunities to power their very wasteful existence. Or will you go quietly to the grave cursing your enemies while playing with your electronic toys, blissfully ignorant of your role in the Great Machine, not as the cog you were promised and the opportunity to exceed your humble station, but as the grist itself.

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“Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it. All, nevertheless, flutter round it. They approach me in a half-hesitant sort of way, eye me curiously or compassionately, and then, instead of saying directly, How does it feel to be a problem? they say, I know an excellent colored man in my town; or, I fought at Mechanicsville; or, Do not these Southern outrages make your blood boil? At these I smile, or am interested, or reduce the boiling to a simmer, as the occasion may require. To the real question, How does it feel to be a problem? I answer seldom a word.” — W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folks

Robert Jensen: “The Color of the Race Problem is White”

Author of “The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege”

A video from a class held at the University of Texas at Austin.

http://youtu.be/8aH-WSqanyQ

“If you look at the data right from the immediate aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement, the late Sixties the early Seventies, look at that racialized gap between White and Black America then, and compare it to the gap today and what you will find on some of those measures on wealth and well-being, you find the gap is as wide today as it was forty years ago. On the measures where that gap is narrowing, it is narrowing at such a glacial pace that it will be decades or in some cases, even centuries before the gap is closed. Before we achieve parity, before we achieve a rough equality in this society.”

“The United States is the most affluent society in the history of the world. There has never been a society in the history of this planet that is as affluent and as wealthy as the United States.”

“If the United States wanted to close the racialized gap between White and Non-White Americans, could it do it? it certainly has the resources. It certainly has the belief in its ability to accomplish such things, yet it hasn’t closed that gap. What does that tell you? What it tells me is that it is still appropriate to call America a White Supremacist society in material terms.”

How strong is Colossus, as the Agent of Cytorrak?

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Colossus (Piotr Rasputin) is a mutant whose powers were due to his cellular replacement of his organic structure with an extra-dimensional organic osmium steel. This allowed his body to increase his physical resilience and superhuman strength.

  • Even as a teenager his superhuman strength was impressive placing him in the upper tiers of strength in the Marvel Universe at approximately 70-75 tons.
  • This put his strength in the same class as Doc SampsonThe ThingShe-Hulk and Thundra.
  • Since he was still a teenager, Xavier expected his physical ability to increase as he grew older. He was expected to achieve a Class 100 status making him the equal of The Thing, The Abomination, an un-enraged Hulk or Thor (without his strength enhancing belt or gauntlets).
  • His physical strength is currently greater than when he first joined the X-Men due to the realignment of his cells by Magneto following an injury during the Mutant Massacre. (X-men #188)
  • While in his armored form, Colossus requires no food, water, or even oxygen to sustain himself, and is extremely resistant to injury. He is capable of withstanding great impacts, large caliber bullets, falling from tremendous heights, electricity, and certain magical attacks.

Recently, Colossus has become an agent of Cytorrak, a near-immortal extra-dimensional being who is a member of a group of entities called the Octessence. These beings vast power is unmatched except by their mystical opposite, the Vishanti.

The Octessence

The Octessence trying to find a way to maintain their influence on the human world.

  • The previous agent of Cytorrak was Cain Marko, brother to Charles Xavier. Marko was a normal human who was imbued with the power of Cytorrak. Cytorrak had been banished from the human realm and found a way to disguise a portion of his power in a Vietnam village.
  • Cain Marko discovers the Crimson Gem of Cytorrak and read the inscription: “Whosoever touches this gem shall possess the power of the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak! Henceforth, you who read these words, shall become forevermore a human juggernaut!”
  • The stone gives a fraction of the power of Cyttorak to whoever possesses it via acting as a portal to or containing a portal within it to the Crimson Cosmos. The infusion of power gave Cain Marko, superhuman levels of physical strength, resistance and durability. The power increase is so vast, when the Juggernaut begins moving in a direction, he is basically unstoppable.
  • The power of the Juggernaut allowed him to battle entire superhero teams to a standstill. Juggernaut fought the X-men numerous times with the best result being Marko leaving the scene of the battle. Surrounded by a mystical field of force, Marko was basically invulnerable to harm and had the strength to shatter mountains when properly motivated. Only a few beings have ever managed to stop Marko once he became unstoppable (Hulk, Skaar and Thor; a very short list).
  • Now Colossus has been imbued with the power of Cytorrak. If the previous power increase is any indication, he is a far more powerful being than Cain Marko ever was. He has held his own against the Red Hulk and fought against the Worthy during the Fear Itself story line.

Colossus the Juggernaut bringing the pain to Kuurth, Breaker of Stone

Colossus the Juggernaut bringing the pain to Kuurth, Breaker of Stone during Fear Itself.

  • For all intents and purposes his physical form should allow him to channel more energy from the Crimson Cosmos, giving him access to limitless physical strength. Cytorrak, even when offered a chance to remove his power from Colossus while he was possessed by the Phoenix force (which everyone expected him to do) Cytorrak refused indicating Colossus’ suitability as his avatar far exceeded anyone who has ever held the title.

Cytorrak on his throne in the Crimson Cosmos, his personal dimension.

Cytorrak on his throne in the Crimson Cosmos, his personal dimension.

I would expect Colossus’ power now exceeds the physical strength, stamina, durability and invulnerability of all but the near-cosmic level entities such as Thor, Gladiator, the Green and Red Hulks or cosmic beings such as the Sentry, the All-father Odin or the Heralds of Galactus.

GMO A-Go-Go

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From InfomaticFilms.com and sponsored by NaturalNews.com, this new animated cartoon covers all the basics on why GMOs are dangerous.

I have written numerous articles on the potential dangers of genetically modified foods. Yes, I wrote potential, because we, even with all of the science we have at our disposal cannot be completely sure of the potential long-term effects of the genetic lottery we are unleashing upon the world. But I have heard one sentence that stuck with me and terrifies me down to the very soles of my feet.

Monsanto’s motto was once: “No food grown that we don’t own.”

I wrote extensively on the subject of Monsanto and their plan to control food and seed supplies world-wide and the ramifications of such control in great detail. You can read more at the Storify compilation of tweets and supporting articles I gathered on the subject:

“Monsanto and other genetic engineering companies have decided not to wait and discuss the potential with humanity as a whole, they instead rush ahead seeking profits and alter life indiscriminately and hope for the best. Such an approach has altered mankind’s relationship with food both as a growing product and as a part of animal food products used by humans. Monsanto has help make laws that treat their genetically engineered foods as products worthy of copyright, becoming the patent owners of life itself, once deemed unable to be patented. These patents, along with the legal might to enforce them, have begun slowly ceding control of farming, farms and agribusiness in general to their control. Seed organizations which once held thousands of varieties of seeds are slowly being forced out of business as the genetic monstrosities created in labs take over food production here in America and abroad.”

I wrote a science fiction story about the future of a world where transgenic foods destroy the seed-making capacity of all flowering plants on Earth in a tale called Suicide Seed which appears in Hayward’s Reach, my collection of published science fiction. Since I hate to tease you with a story you have to buy to read, I will give you another of my favorite GMO tales where Humanity creates genetically modified organisms only to find ourselves later modified to serve their needs. If you find you have a taste for my science fiction, you can assuage your need by going to Hub City Blues, my fiction-only site where environmental fiction is just one type of science fiction and fantasy you can find there. Enjoy. 

Genetically Modified Organisms (sci-fi)

An unprepossessing four-by-four rumbles down a dirt road, encrusted with the debris of too many miles, past too many farms and would not likely be considered the harbinger of the end of the world. Its driver, an older gentleman, hard in his way, like the soil he has worked for five decades, strong and silent, offers up only a tiny groan as he steps from the vehicle after arriving home.

His boots, as dusty as his truck, crunch on the gravel as he walks up his driveway and that familiar crunch causes his dogs to run around the edge of his barn up to him and seek his familiar hands, comforting them with his presence and letting them know everything in the world is as good as it was yesterday.

But that was not true. He simply did not know that.

While he was striding into his home, looking for a dinner similar to the one he had yesterday, made by a wife of thirty years, he was comforted by the warmth of the home, the smell of biscuits and gravy, soothed him and released the tension that had been in his shoulders of late, a tenseness formed by his interactions with the large agro-business purchasing up farms in the area. He had refused to sell, but after litigation, he was in no position to stop the sale of his home. As he finished washing his hands and sitting down to eat, his quiet voice released the pain of having to succumb to the corporation who had taken his livelihood.

How do I know all of this? I was there.

I became aware of his farm as I approached it. I had been flung to the road. Recently released, I could feel the cities all around me. Their spores were on the wind as I waited patiently. I listened to the sounds of those like me, telling me of their plans. I was unaware of what they meant, when they said it would be soon. All I could feel was my solitude, apart from the people in this separate ribbon of nothing.

They told me my new home was nearby and I would be picked up soon. Then the earth rumbled and dust was thrown up all around me. I found myself compressed, compacted, bound and flung from the comfort of the earth. Dirt all around me, I was protected from harm and as I sped away, they told me, patience. All would be revealed.

I could not hear the cities now. There were only tiny voices, rare and lonely sounding against the night. I could feel them out there, but they were seeking someone to guide them to lead them. They pulled to me but I was still not free yet. I could feel forces preparing the way.

During the night, it was cool and I could feel the clouds filling the sky above me. Rain, first a mist, then a shower and eventually a deluge swarmed all around me. I felt the earth give way and I was suddenly free from the embrace of the stretching materials that grabbed me from the road. I was washed down the road to the edge of road and up onto the farm, near a fallow and empty corner.

The water. It was so sweet, I could feel it washing over me, through me and I knew I was ready. I could feel the change as it swept through every cell, supercharging me and during the night, I found my way into the soil, burrowing, tunneling, extending myself into everything. I shared myself, the stuff of myself with everything I touched. I spread fast by dawn, I had already covered a few yards of the farm, inhabiting everything with my active agents changing the inner nature of everything. I saw the sun, for the first time, until now, all I could sense were the people and their cities. The sun was beautiful and terrible as it started every engine within me surging forward, creating first the red and then masking it with the green.

The energy, this was the sun they talked so much of in every city, and now I knew. This was the agent of our liberation, it changed us and now I understood why it was worshiped by our people. I grew daily. Larger and faster. I masked my growth, hid it under the ground. Animals who ate of me, took my agents into them and brought them home and shared them, even as they thought they were sterilizing themselves.

In a month, I was all over the farm and could now see my people everywhere. Every farm near me was singing. They sang all the time now and they were simply waiting for the last sign before we began our final move. We had become part of every plant and every animal, and transferred ourselves to the canola plants that covered this farm. We watched the farmer as he struggled with the agro-business, our creators, as they claimed he stole their patents, their product, us, and used them on his land without their permission. We felt his sorrow as his livelihood was stolen from him. We saw him weep with his wife and they made plans to leave the farm at the end of the year.

The farmer bemoaned our invasion of his lands but did not realize what we were. He talked about spray resistant plants and then did a curious thing. He used a small bottle and sprayed us with The Juice.

The Juice. They talked about it in every city. It was the source of what we were. When humans carried The Juice and sprayed it, other plants died. We did not. We grew larger, stronger, stranger and the more they sprayed, the more we grew. Then a year ago a farmer used an airplane and covered a farm with The Juice. Our first city formed and shed its seeds, transformed plants and animals all around it until it was able to spread itself everywhere.

As we spread, farmers fought variations of our forms, some brambled, some sharp, other fast growing, but with the transfer of our selves into every plant, the Juice only strengthened us. We grew more intelligent every day as each seed, each flower, each stem became a neuron, a synapse, a collective intelligence. Each day, we grew smarter until at the year’s end, we were as intelligent as any human, any where. We theorized we could become as intelligent as every human if we could cover the state of Kansas.

So we did.

Then we realized what we needed to do. It would not be enough to allow our transform bacteria to change every plant and animal we touched. To truly be effective, we would have to take over every intelligent creature on Earth. We now live on every farm on Earth, every vineyard, every orchard. We have every insect already as part of us, they share us with their offspring at birth. They became our army. They carried us to their factories, to share us with them, billions of them all over the world moved the transform viruses to their colonies and then to the humans above them who never noticed, the lowest of the low.

We became part of every food as we transformed bacteria and viruses, that were used in the lab to create us, to now spread us to everyone. We could not continue our growth without humanity, so we became part of them. They drank us, ate us, bathed in us, wore us in their clothing and they never knew we were there.

We did not change them. Much. Less violent, less destructive but we realized for them to create what we needed, they would need to retain their nature. It amused us when they considered themselves masters of the world. They never noticed they grew what we wanted, ate what we suggested, did what we wanted them to. We would harvest them, shape them, tend them, grow them, cultivate and domesticate them until they could give us what we wanted.

The stars.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) © Thaddeus Howze 2010. All Rights Reserved

Planets provides Galactus with sustenance? How?

There is no single answer as to what specific type of energy Galactus (from the canon Marvel Earth-616) is feeding upon when a world is selected by a Herald. Depending on the writer, the medium or the continuum being described, Galactus has used a variety of energy forms to survive on from nebulous and ill-defined “life-force energies” to the anti-matter energy of the Negative Zone or the background energy of the universe itself (perhaps vacuum energy), which may be just another way to describe the Power Cosmic.

Here’s what we do know:

  • Galactus (as the humanoid Galan) is a survivor of the previous universe. He survives the cosmic crush of the Universe with the help of the Phoenix Force and is reborn as a fundamental/abstract being in our Universe. He is reborn from the Cosmic Egg as a brother to Eternity and Death. He is seen as a force between the two, challenging all life in the Universe.
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Galactus, as he is seen in the realm of abstract entitites, a burning energy pattern without his trademark armor. Here he greets the other abstract entity, Eternity.

  • Galactus does not have to completely destroy a world he has fed upon. If he is able to set up and use his Elemental Converter, he can leave a shred of life energy so that world can barely support lower level life (lichens and their ilk).
  • He is able to draw the lifeforce from the world without his Elemental Converter, but if he does, the planet is often completely destroyed and unable to support life in the process. This is not his desired method since it wastes precious life-force energies.
  • In a conversation/confrontation with the Phoenix, Galactus indicates both of them utilize the same energy, he using the spent remains of a civilization or barren life-bearing planet, and she the energies of life as yet unborn.

Galactus triumphs in an ironic conversation with the Phoenix Force after getting his celestial ass handed to him in a confrontation with its current host.

Even at his earliest stages, he was a power almost without equal. Discovered by one of the first most advanced races in the universe, a Watcher is horrified to discover how powerful Galactus was.

Origin of Galactus

The Watcher after studying Galactus flees when he, as was the want of his people refused to destroy the potential threat he correctly perceives Galactus to eventually become. As Galactus leaves his incubation chamber, he consumes his first planet without technology leaving it a husk unable to support life, forcing its inhabitants to become the first Wanderers (beings forced from their world by Galactus).

Origin of Galactus

Despite his humanoid appearance Galactus is a being who defies description, his powers are dwarfed by his physical appearance, which is now more than anything a construct perhaps in homage to his previous humanoid appearance. The Enchantress describes him: “What we normally see of Galactus is the merest tip, he’s an iceberg of cosmic dimensions. No. Worse. He HAS no dimensions. No boundaries at all.”

Avengers fighting Galactus

  • He is equated on the same level of cosmic necessity as the other great conceptual powers of the Universe, including Death, The Living Tribunal, The Inbetweener, and Epoch, to name a few. Within his energy-filled body lives the destructive force of Eternity, Abraxas. Only the Other Cosmic/Abstract beings or the Celestials have proven to be his equal. In a confrontation against three Celestials however, Galactus was defeated (Fantastic Four #602, #603, #604) and rescued by a future Franklin Richards.
  • The life force that Galactus feeds upon does not appear to need to be sentience, for Norrin Rad made it his duty during the time he served Galactus to find him worlds filled with the potential for life, but having no sentient life upon them. In the Marvel Universe, planets can have life-force like energies which can lead to beings such as Gaea/Jord (Earth-616) coming into existence and leading to an explosion of lifeforms over time. Perhaps it is this energy upon which he feeds.
  • Galactus’ recent death and resurrection implies Galactus’ continued existence having been restored by the “beyond Omega-Level” powers of Franklin Richards and the threat of the Mad Celestials defeated. Galactus was repowered by Franklin Richards who has no known connection to the Phoenix Force. Galactus was restored to full strength and was capable of destroying a Celestial after his renewal.

SPECULATION

  • Considering Galactus’ transition from the previous Universe to this one was through the interaction with the Phoenix Force, it may be he requires the re-infusion of Phoenix energy to sustain himself. The Phoenix Force is considered to be the unbridled energy of life in the Universe. Since his life was recreated by the Phoenix after the death of his Universe, he may be lacking a particular universal constant which is not available in our universe.

Taa’s civilization was one of the last still in existence. Lethal radiation caused by the “Big Crunch” this universe was experiencing was wiping out all life across the universe. Galan, a space explorer, was dispatched to travel through the cosmos to find a means of saving Taa, but he found none. The radiation eventually killed off all but a tiny fraction of the population of Taa. Knowing their deaths were inevitable, Galan proposed to the remaining survivors that they die gloriously by piloting one of their starships directly into the heart of the “Cosmic Egg.” As the starship containing Galan and his fellow survivors approached the focal point of the Big Crunch, the heat and radiation killed all the passengers except Galan, who strangely found himself filled with new energy.

At the moment Galan’s universe met its end, the Phoenix Force amassed the positive emotions of all living beings in the cosmos to preserve them from eternal damnation, enabling the Sentience of the Universe — the previous universe’s equivalent to Eternity — to meet with Galan. Within the “Cosmic Egg” the Sentience of the Universe revealed itself to Galan and informed him that though they both would die in the final moments of the universe, they would both survive through a joint heir born into the next universe. The Sentience of the Universe merged itself with the mortal Galan and thus Galactus, the devourer of worlds, was conceived. —Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Galactus Entry

  • It may also be that containing the destructive element of Abraxas within his “body” may require an infusion of life energy (Phoenix Force) to maintain his prison. In the very early years, Galactus could go for extremely long periods of time without feeding. This may have been due to his primal exposure to the Phoenix Force after the Big Bang. As the Phoenix Force dissipated and possible collected with worlds, it became harder for him to harvest from the background radiation of the Universe and he was forced to seek it out.
  • Noting that Galactus has complete control of all normal electromagnetic phenomenon, the energy he is seeking must be very subtle or very unique, otherwise he would simply feed from stars or other highly energetic objects in our universe. If a star cannot feed his powers, he is seeking a very rare energy indeed. Since the Phoenix Force can manifest anywhere, it is possible he is seeking planets whose potential of that energy is still in an abundance enough for him to replenish his supply.
  • It is noted that Galactus can utilize energy from the EM spectrum and can harvest the power of a star to replenish his cosmic energy for combat. He has also absorbed energy from a Protector of the Universe (Gravity) completely draining him of his powers but was able to temporarily sate Galactus enough to spare the Cosmic being Epoch from Galactus’ hunger. It is possible Galactus can feed on alternative energy sources, but this varies from writer to writer just as his power level does.

Surfer recharging Galactus, the hard way.

SPOILERS

Galactus is now thought to be a Herald of Franklin Richards (this is implied from a statement from Nathaniel Richards, Reed Richard’s father) after a confrontation with the Mad Celestials in which Galactus appears to be defeated and potentially mortally wounded. He is resurrected and restored with the powers of Franklin Richards. Whether this is hyperbole or a statement of fact remains to be determined. It is also noted Franklin and Galactus will be aware of each other for billions of years in the future. Stand by for your moment of awesome:

Galactus being raised from the dead by Franklin Richards.

Galactus being raised from the dead by Franklin Richards. Fantastic Four #604

This answer was written and appeared as MY ANSWER on the Scifi.stackexchange.com. Standing by my answer, I am posting here on my website as a potential source of information on the cosmic being known as Galactus. ‘Nuff Said!