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Forecasting Doomsday 854

Posted by Hemos
from the and-here-without-my-book dept.
Boccaccio writes "James Lovelock, the planetary scientist famous for his Gaia Theory, writes in today's Independent of his belief that it is already too late to divert an environmental catastrophe which will see much of human civilisation destroyed. Fearing it too late to be green, he instead suggests communities plan for survival in a Mad Max type world with limited resources ruled by violent warlords. "We have to keep in mind the awesome pace of change and realise how little time is left to act, and then each community and nation must find the best use of the resources they have to sustain civilisation for as long as they can." He suggests we should be writing a practical guidebook printed on long lasting paper containing "the basic accumulated scientific knowledge of humanity.""
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Forecasting Doomsday

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:16PM (#14482880) Journal
    The climate centres around the world, which are the equivalent of the pathology lab of a hospital, have reported the Earth's physical condition, and the climate specialists see it as seriously ill, and soon to pass into a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years. I have to tell you, as members of the Earth's family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilisation are in grave danger.
    I don't want to start a flamewar but isn't he being a little melodramatic?

    First off, the "climate centres" around the world aren't the equivalent to a pathology lab. This is a bad analogy. Pathology is a science that is fairly solid. There is a pathogen or there isn't, we may miss it but we sure are good at diagnosing it if you have it. More importantly, pathologists can agree with each other.

    With the status of the environment, no one agrees with anyone else. The world is ending on one end while the U.S. government isn't too concerned with it at the time. James Lovelock is certain we're doomed while Michael Chrichton [crichton-official.com] is giving speeches detailing environmentalism as a religion.

    Who do we believe? The physician or the author? I don't think either are adequately qualified to make the call.

    I can understand articles urging us to cut back on emissions or asking everyone to support the Kyoto Treaty. What I don't understand is how this article can be constructive. I read it and it tells me to drive to Wal-Mart as fast as possible and buy a gun and five shells so that I can rob said Wal-Mart of all guns and shells for my basement armory.

    I'm not sure whether to read this as honest opinion or a hilarious satire reminiscent of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb [imdb.com].

    Can anyone please tell me what Mr. Lovelock hoped to gain from this article other than creating hysteria among his fans and receiving "nut job" status from those who disagree with him?
    The Revenge of Gaia' is published by Penguin on 2 February.
    Oh, I'm sure that will be a fair and unbiased scientific look at the state of the environment that everyone will love. Why must people make such polarizing comments? Can't they see how many people they alienate with one fell swoop? He could have gotten the same message across without the drama.
    • Lovelock has always been a drama que^H^H fearlessly outspoken scientific maverick. The Gaia hypothesis was considered pretty outrageous when he proposed it in the mid 1960s, and it dodn't become mainstream(ish) until Weak Gaia was introduced. Most people would agree that the world is a complex, interlocking, dynamic system, but some of us draw the line at a loving (or vengeful) Mother Goddess. And with a new book coming out, what does he have to lose by cranking up the hysteria? It's just like the good old
      • Meh. Like before, he chooses an unfortunate way to point out what's true and obvious: by spelling out 'Doom'.

        Yes, the planet's gotten a bit hot. Stepping out in january wearing a spring jacket tells us that. (I AM skeptical about it being from CO2 production; I think it's much more likely due to the amount of heat and steam we produce as a society. The CO2 is a symptom, but atmospheric moisture is more self-inciting. Water vapor traps heat better than CO2 does, which causes more water vapor to form. Th
        • by Theatetus (521747) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:42PM (#14484395) Journal
          1) it's never too late to avert an environmental disaster; it just costs more the longer you wait.

          It was too late for the Easter Islanders the moment they cut down their last tree. It was too late for the Norse in Greenland once they ate their last cow. Those were, admittedly, isolated ecosystems but there still will always be a point of no return beyond which a species is not viable in an ecosystem -- even a worldwide one.

        • Yes, the planet's gotten a bit hot. Stepping out in january wearing a spring jacket tells us that.

          I have to disagree with that. First off, that could just be a few warmer-than-average years in a row. It's hard to tell the difference between that and a genuine climate change if you're just doing it by feel. Second, if you live in an urban area, especially one that's experienced growth since, say, your childhood, when you remember wearing those huge parkas (just an example, you could be different), it coul
    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:24PM (#14482943) Journal
      "Why must people make such polarizing comments? Can't they see how many people they alienate with one fell swoop? He could have gotten the same message across without the drama."

      Unfortunately, he probably couldn't, or at least not to as many people. Would this book have gotten coverage on Slashdot if it weren't so dramatic? Probably not. I'm not impugning Slashdot, it's just the nature of our society to pay attention to the ridiculous.

      An unfortunate consequence is that his brand of extremism is likely to make more realistic claims and analyses less acceptable to the mainstream.

      A fortunate possible consequence is that such extremism may shift the "center-of-opinion" towards (but not into) extremist alarmism -- which means that we may see some preventative (and hopefully even ameliorative) action.

      The fact is, though, alarmism sells. "End-of-the-world" prophets have always had their followings. And despite whatever message the author wants to get across, he's beholden to his publisher -- and sales are what Penguin's looking for.
      • by AoT (107216) on Monday January 16, 2006 @02:36PM (#14483687) Homepage Journal
        Everytime I hear comments about "alarmists" I think back to the beginning of Asimov's Empire and the way Hari "the raven" Seldon was treated.

        Most people wish to live in a world where everything is going to end up ok, where science will save us, where the doomsday predictions are not true. Not that this necessarily mean he is right; but we do need to take this with some amount of seriousness.

        It could mean the end of modern civilization and the death of billions, not something to be dismissed lightly.
        • It could mean the end of modern civilization and the death of billions

          No, it might mean the death of a few million that are at the top of the food chain, but the fact of the matter is, the teeming masses are already better set up to deal with a world that doesn't have the technology we have today. They're the ones who are already living without electricity or running water.
    • by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:32PM (#14483022) Homepage Journal
      ...while Michael Chrichton is giving speeches detailing environmentalism as a religion.

      Not everybody cared for the book (as evidenced by some of the reviews [personally I found it quite refreshing, he made a lot of very interesting points]), but Crichton's recent novel State of Fear [amazon.com] dealt with almost this exact viewpoint. Individuals and "environmental" groups proclaiming doomsday just around the corner, and it's always our fault. Conveniently enough it's also right when they're having some sort of fundraiser or selling a new book.

      *cough* *cough*

      Give me a break. This guy is just the exact opposite as the niche of corporate types who really don't care if they dump toxic waste into the groundwater near a preschool.
      • by Irvu (248207) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:49PM (#14484475)
        and bad fiction at that. In it he created cardboard "environmentalists" who sought to kill off large swaths of the earth's population as part of a tempter tantrum. One of his characters does nothing after being stabbed in the arm with a needle by some strange man and then dies, and yet he was supposed to be one of the best and brightest. The ringleader of the awful plot is has a man killed in the middle of Tower Bridge (the main bridge in London) at Noon and then stands over the corpse and yet doesn't get caught.

        Much has been made of his "references", and the idea that he has backed up his bad fiction. If you peruse them you will see that a) they are not exhaustive, b) they favor unjournaled papers by anti-global-warming researchers (no attempt it made to see the science only the editorializing) and c) they include odd references to books on witchcraft and papers (such as the argument that greenland was once warmer) which do not prove his case at all.

        The book was commissioned, bought, and paid for by Rupert Murdoch whose FoxNews network has made much of this money denying the state of the environment. Like Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter Michael Crichton has made himself a tool of Murdoch. He has a line to sell and won't let the truth stand in his way.

        If you want reasonable discussion of global warming go seek real scientists not an editorial hack. If you want a spy/crime novel go read some old Ian Flemming.
        • by gnovos (447128) <gnovos@@@chipped...net> on Monday January 16, 2006 @05:12PM (#14485211) Homepage Journal
          and bad fiction at that.

          Bad? BAD? You insult all bad things by saying this. This book is to bad what bad is to "a little big troubling". It was horrible beyond mesaure. And I don't even give a crap about the politics involved, I mean the story itself is nothing but a CS graduate's thesis on computer-generated books. Every character is as cliched as you could possibly get. The plot was... dear God, did I just say plot? Excuse me, that was uncalled for!

          Here's a list of characters, in case you haven't read it yet:

          A superman non-environmentalist, who can do everything, speak every language, fly any sort of air-transportation across the globe faster than a cruise missle, decrypt encoded information in his head in real time, has an infinite amout of resources at his disposal, and can fuck your wife just by glancing at her through binoculars, and still leaving you thankful that he did... Oh and he's perfect. And also, perfect, and I love him.

          (main character) Naive do-godder yuppie hippie who has to be taught the wrongs of his environmentalist ways through some "tough love" and stern looks by the father figure superman above, but who eventually gets to sleep with women once he figures out how wrong he was.

          Retarded actor who literally hugs trees and is eaten alive by friendly natives for his hubris and compassion. Oh and it's funny when he dies, HA HA gotcha you hollywood hippie, you are so stupid for having good looks and lots of money that you don't deserve, die die!

          A couple of interchangeable sluts. Sure one has blonde hair and one is a brunette and can do judo, but it is very clear that thier ony REAL job is to fawn madly over complete nitwits and make out with them from time to time, often saving thier lives, of course, and then thanking for the opportunity to do so.

          Mu ha ha ha type mad scientist/lawyer who builds very very intricate plans that require millions of dollars, unfounded science that may or may not ever work, and a great deal of effort and yet goes out of his way to publish every step of his detailed plans in places where they are easily found and yet is flummoxed by how the good guys seem to be on to his every step. Has to kill people with octopus juice because a bullet in the head is way harder, I suppose.

          Also EVERYONE drives a Prius. I mean, it's a freaking Prius orgy.

    • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:35PM (#14483047) Homepage Journal
      > The Revenge of Gaia' is published by Penguin on 2 February.

      Unless Lovelock sees his shadow, in which case we'll have another six weeks of civilization.
    • Who do we believe? The physician or the author?

      Both. James Lovelock is stomping to sell his book:

      My new book The Revenge of Gaia expands these thoughts, but you still may ask why science took so long to recognise the true nature of the Earth.

      Look, my hypothesis is that the reversal of our impact on the global environement will take on the order of a thousand years for one reason - vegetation. We are not the only life on the planet which deliberately change our environments to make then suitable for our own
    • You wrote: The world is ending on one end while the U.S. government isn't too concerned with it at the time.

      The pentagon commissioned this study entitled An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security [gbn.com]

      • The pentagon commisions all kinds of studies and contigency plans, 99.999% of which will never see use. They just write them so that if x situation comes up, they have a plan ready.

        Getting worked up about what the pentagon has made plans for makes as much sense as getting worked up because your rural mechanic has the drum-brake removal tool for a Buggati Veyron.

        He's prepared in case one ever comes around with a brake problem, but how likely is he to see it?
    • no! (Score:3, Funny)

      by tkrotchko (124118) *
      "but isn't he being a little melodramatic? "

      No, he's beyond melodramatic well into neurosis and with a little nudge he could easily pass right into full-on crazy.
    • by Decaff (42676) on Monday January 16, 2006 @02:02PM (#14483317)
      James Lovelock is certain we're doomed while Michael Chrichton is giving speeches detailing environmentalism as a religion.

      Who do we believe? The physician or the author? I don't think either are adequately qualified to make the call.


      Well, Lovelock is a respected expert in biology and climate, whereas Chrichton is an expert in writing.

      So who do we believe more about biology and climate? Not that hard a question, I think.

      However, I think Lovelock is being too dramatic. The point is that we have no idea what is going to happen with climate change. He is putting forward one extreme idea in which positive feedback runs riot and we get huge temperature rises. However, there are other possibilities, including one in which we may get severe local cooling in the North Atlantic.

      It is even possible (perhaps likely) that our activities have been masking an incipient ice age, and once the oil runs out (very soon) and we stop polluting, we could start to see significant global cooling.

      His point is that we are dealing with uncertainties and we have to start preparing for things right now, not in 10 or 20 years. I think his idea that civilization as a whole will collapse is absurd - in past centuries we have survived the loss of significant parts of our population (such as during the Black Death) and our culture continued - but that does not mean we should not be worried - we could be in for severe world-wide water and food shortages, and extremes of climate and flooding. We need to start looking for alternatives.
  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:17PM (#14482890) Homepage Journal
    And people think us Christ followers are bonkers.

    This Revenge of Gaia stuff is pure fiction -- but it does sell books. I've been called a doomer-and-gloomer for my opinions over the past 10 years. I'm an avid gold bug, I hate the idea of working as a salaried employee, and I believe in owning land both in urban areas as well as rural areas. You can buy 100 acres of land dirt cheap still in many parts of the U.S.

    I don't believe we'll see a Mad Max style world. There is so much land available in the entire globe that I don't see how warlords can use the strength of weapons to take over. The reason we see "chaos" in Somalia is because there is an existing infrastructure that people want to utilize. In this Gaia-chaos vision, there wouldn't be. People who survive would not be anywhere near the billions we have today, and a family of 10 can easily survive even on a near-desert piece of property.

    I don't believe we'll see the water of the world undrinkable, I don't believe we'll see the air of the world unbreathable. Humans are a minor part of the balance -- if we do something so bad that billions will perish, we won't be able to continue doing "harm" and the planet will recuperate itself -- quickly, too. The worst catastrophes that could happen would not necessarily be environmental ones but ones dealing with war. Anything we do slowly to the environment will be quickly absorbed and returned to normal -- the so called circle of life. It is the things we can do quickly that would be the most devastating. Nuclear wars come to mind as one possible catastrophe that we couldn't resolve in less than a century.

    Even if we did collapse into an chaotic anarchy (opposite of the capitalist anarchy that I promote), weapons wouldn't last without an infrastructure to maintain them. Once all the bullets are expelled or all the maintenance fluids are used up, most weapons are useless. You can't fight a global war with knives, and you can defend yourself much easier in communities against warlords if you take the machine guns and flamethrowers out of the equation. War is one of the most inefficient ways to gain wealth -- it requires millions of people deciding to give up their wealth in exchange for no profitable gain. In fact, I believe war requires democracy.

    I wish Julian Simon was still kicking. That guy would offer Lovelock a great debate (and likely win it, too). Simon showed that more people means more wealth, more innovation and long lives for everyone. Look at China. They were on the verge of overpopulation, but it wasn't the mass numbers that was killing them -- it was government and communism. The freer they get, the longer they live, the happier they live, and this lets them live long enough to get Parkinson's, cancers and other diseases that keep us from living forever. Communism offered them shortened lives with no reason to want to live -- freedom gives everyone a reason to work together to try to live longer together.

    In the end, I see the only doomsday here being empire and government. Nuclear war won't happen any other way. I don't believe we'll ever get to the Mad Max scenario unless we allow ourselves to continue to arm the elite with weapons of mass destruction. We should work at arming our own households, investing in bountiful properties, creating communities of people who love one another but are no adverse to profit or personal gain.

    The environment continues to fix itself -- yesterday's doomsdayers are silent because they were wrong. Today's will be silent tomorrow -- they'll be wrong, too.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I really don't follow you there. Did you ever take history class in High school? What about all those wars under a guy named Caesar. Rome was pretty big back then, and that was an imperial state. Don't forget the Vikings. And, the mongols are a pretty good example of raiders with no real home just wreaking havoc on random people. I think it's very plausible that if our government breaks down, we will see roving bands of motorcycle gangs shooting up many towns just for shits and giggles. There will be
      • by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Monday January 16, 2006 @02:19PM (#14483499) Homepage Journal
        Did you ever take history class in High school?

        Did you?

        Out of everybody, it was the British who came closest to taking over the entire world [hostkingdom.net], and their real estate only came to about 26% of the globe. Your Romans were only 17th with 4%.

        Since we have recently completely lost any semblance of morals

        Morals are sticky because they are simply the accepted standards of right and wrong for a given group. Some people say that Europeans are less moral than Americans because of infidelity, etc.

        (witness the implicit approval of torture in Gitmo and Iraq, as well as the use of nuclear weapons against other countries;

        Say what? The US has used just two nuclear weapons against another country and that was back in WWII. Are you going on about that, or has there been some new developments?

        have you heard anyone on the news saying nukes are definitely never going to be used? look back a decade or two and the tone is completely different).

        Just what we need. Give the brainless talking heads something else to "confirm". How can anyone say that nuclear weapons will "definitely never" be used? Do you honestly think that just because nobody has said it that we're somehow more likely to use them? Against who? Even if somebody did "confirm" it, do you think that would really mean anything?
    • by StrawberryFrog (67065) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:37PM (#14483068) Homepage Journal
      "There is so much land available in the entire globe that I don't see how warlords can use the strength of weapons to take over"

      WTF? - that's a complete non-sequitur. How does there being lots of land stop weapons being useful. Here's a hint - it's hasn't up to now.
      Aside from that, so what if there's lots of land on earth? There are lots of people too. The density of people on the land is increasing, since the number of people is increasing, and the part of the land that is useful to us is decreasing (desertification, salination, erosion, pollution, etc)

      Humans are a minor part of the balance

      Not true anymore. Welcome to the anthropocene era [everything2.com].

      You can't fight a global war with knives, and you can defend yourself much easier in communities against warlords if you take the machine guns and flamethrowers out of the equation.

      Nobody said anything about a big "global war", just local war everywhere. Warlordism is implausible? Go look at the early history of ... anywhere.

      The environment continues to fix itself -- yesterday's doomsdayers are silent because they were wrong. Today's will be silent tomorrow -- they'll be wrong, too.

      The ones who weren't wrong weren't silent - the chap who successfully predicted the USA's peak oil, and has predicted the world's peak oil soon now. Anyway, that's another non-sequitur. It's equivalent to saying "The candle didn't go out this minute. Those who predicted that it would go out were wrong. Therefore it will never go out."
    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:38PM (#14483085) Journal
      "There is so much land available in the entire globe that I don't see how warlords can use the strength of weapons to take over"

      Useable land? Enough useable farmland to support 6 Bn people? Along with the fuel needed to get the same kind of return from the land that we experience now, including distribution of the food?

      I suggest you read Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed [grist.org].

      Good insight on the topic.

      My point is that faced with a growing population, uncertain sustainability of our current food production methods (e.g., how can we do it without fossil fuels to rely on for production and distribution), and reduced supply of both arable land and waters suitable for food production, how can we expect to keep everyone fed? And if we can't feed everyone, how will disputes be resolved? My guess is through warfare. State action in some cases, "Mad Max"-style in others. If the drop in food production is extreme enough, modern states will collapse, and the "Mad Max" vision may come to pass.
    • It's similar to the way things could be nicer worldwide. If, for example, everyone donated $0.25, you could cover the world's landmass with 802.11g WiFi and have enough left over to make it solar/wind powered, impregnable, maintenance free, and, aside from the $0.25, completely free to everyone.

      Similarly, if you donate $0.25, you could cover the world's landmass (6km granularity) with solar-powered atmospheric H2O/CO2 reclamation facilities. The would quickly offset the global warming problem; with less CO2, and more importantly, less water vapor in the atmosphere, you have less heat trapped and less H2O being produced to trap it. For that cost (at $0.25 per person, at 6km granularity - 3km radius per unit in a hexagonal array, the possible cost of a unit is about $400), you could rig seasonal fuzzy logic (unit is at lat 45, temp is about 66 deg, it's january. Turn on and start drying the atmo; we're too warm and wet right now.), to maintain the balance after the problem is repaired. Not to mention the possibility that a district could relocate its excess water to more needy places for cash.

      'Cept, you'll nevr get it done. Too many people would argue against either ("Free WiFi to all would hurt industry!" or "We have no idea what reducing moisture and CO2 levels could do to the environment!"). That's where it all falls apart, really. Doing such things would require both a full understanding of each project (to quell the naysayers) and an organization willing to actually act in the public interest (unlike government, which acts more on a pluralism of cash-backed interests).

      That's where it all falls apart really. To truly understand such projects, you need to actually do them, and there aren't any organizations that act purely in the public interest. Thus, you'd have to find a way to make the projects tangably profitable for all people.

      Oh, well.
    • by mclaincausey (777353) on Monday January 16, 2006 @02:29PM (#14483615) Homepage

      And people think us Christ followers are bonkers.

      I'm not saying you're bonkers, but you contradict yourself several times in this post and put forth some strange ideas. Also, before you call other people "bonkers," consider your faith in a god/man who allegedly, two thousand years ago, according to no official texts, and only to the writings of his followers (don't cite me the fabricated Josephus passage please), brought back dead people, healed the blind and leprous, and walked on water, then resurrected from the dead, each of which are unprecedented events in all of proven, reliable human history. You accept a patently ridiculous story with objectively much less probability of being true than what this guy is positing (at least in terms of the prediction, I'm not to familiar with the underlying Gaia framework), so think twice before you call him out--it kind of sounds silly.

      I hate the idea of working as a salaried employee

      Even if we did collapse into an chaotic anarchy (opposite of the capitalist anarchy that I promote),

      Obviously the two statements are contradictory enough to warrant an explanation. There is no such thing as a "capitalist anarchy." Anarcho-Capitalism is a fabricated ideology that is self-contradictory. All it means as far as I can tell is massive deregulation and civil libertarianism. That looks to me like a recipe for drug warlords, arms dealers, and crooked businessmen running roughshod over everyone. If you applied it to the current system without redistributing wealth, it would be catastrophic and unfair.

      Anarchy means the abolition of hierarchy. Capitalism is by definition a hierarchical system. Never the twain shall meet: they are mutually exclusive. You could call yourself a Libertarian (with a capital 'L'), in the sense of the Libertarian party, and perhaps in the sense of personal freedom. But with the former you would be pushing a Social Darwinist ideal, which seems at odds with your Christianity.

      creating communities of people who love one another but are no adverse to profit or personal gain

      But doesn't profit almost always come at someone else's expense? I understand there is a way that equal parties can exchange equal goods and mutually benefit, but "profit" and "personal gain" were, if anything, discouraged by Jesus. You call yourself a "Christ follower" and then talk about a gold fetish. Jesus was strictly ascetic, and it's supposedly the Christian credo to try to be as much like Christ as possible. That means that "you cannot serve God and wealth" and therefore should give away all your worldly possessions. Christians attempt all sorts of distortions and intellectual wild goose chases to get around this, but wealth and Christianity, and therefore Capitalism, are not just incompatible, but diametrically opposed explicitly by the Gospel's teachings.

      Simon showed that more people means more wealth, more innovation and long lives for everyone. Look at China. They were on the verge of overpopulation, but it wasn't the mass numbers that was killing them -- it was government and communism.

      This is so outlandishly detached from reality that I don't even know where to begin. China's in a heap of shit right now. Their growth is amazing, but it is also provably unsustainable. They appear to be in an intractable and dangerous situation, all BECAUSE of their massive population quickly transitioning from agrarianism to urban life. Furthermore, when oil starts running out, China and other (artificially) petro-agriculturally-inflated populations in the Third World will start dying by the millions due to starvation and sanitation issues.

      Communism offered them shortened lives with no reason to want to live -- freedom gives everyone a reason to work together to try to live longer together.

    • Communism offered them shortened lives with no reason to want to live

      Shortened compared to what? The average lifespan in China rocketed upward in China after 1949. That's why they have a population problem. What's funny is that now that communism has lifted the nation out of the medeval mess it was in, we can see that Marx's Iron Law of History had it backwards: communism doesn't come after capitalism, but rather the other way around (no surpise to anyone who has studied the evolution of agrarian societ
  • Paper? (Score:5, Funny)

    by mysqlrocks (783488) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:18PM (#14482893) Homepage Journal
    He suggests we should be writing a practical guidebook printed on long lasting paper...

    Won't creating more paper just hasten the coming apocalypse? Hopefully it's at least post-consumer chlorine-free recycled paper printed with soy-based ink.
  • I can't wait! (Omits comment re: warlord overlords)
  • Paul Ehrlich Anyone? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MarkPNeyer (729607) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:19PM (#14482902)
    People have been predicting the end of the world due to environment destruction for years. What gets me is that most 'intellectuals' will scoff at christians but listen seriously to these people.
    • by SIGFPE (97527)
      Is there any connection between your two sentences? It seems about as relevant as saying "There have been people who play chess for years and yet French people will turn their noses up at British cooking."
      • by RexRhino (769423) on Monday January 16, 2006 @02:58PM (#14483918)
        What he is trying to say is that the same people who reject pseudo-scientific concepts like "intelligent design", seem to be willing to accept equally laughable pseudo-scientific concepts like "Gia Earth Theory". People only seem to get indignant about pseudo-science when it conflicts with their political beliefs.
      • "There have been people who play chess for years and yet French people will turn their noses up at British cooking."

        OMG! It all makes sense now. You, sir, are a genius!
  • Monday... (Score:3, Funny)

    by op12 (830015) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:19PM (#14482905) Homepage
    I realize it's Monday, but it must be one hell of a slow news day...
    • No, this is The Independent, every day is front page big issue story day. The Enviroment is one of their favourite big issues to use. They've been like it ever since they turned into a tabloid, they're basically the left-wing Daily Mail now.
  • "I'd like to share a revelation I had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species. I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what

  • Thanks to Hollywood, I now know that the end result of "nature getting pissed" will be 3 gigantic ice hurricanes which move entirely independent of the earths rotation, freezing anything underneath instantly, and the only way to avoid these are to flee down south.

    Of course, movies fail to show what actually ever happens in Canada (where I'm from), thus it is my belief in this scenario we would only notice but a small drop in temperature and continue going about our merry ways in our much more winter-adapted
  • After doomsday strikes, who do you want to be?

    - Water pirates ****
    - Mad Max ***********
    - The kids beyond Thunderdome *
    - CowboyNeal ***
  • I disagree.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:21PM (#14482920) Homepage

    Billions of years ago, when the day was 23 hours long, there was no oxygen in the air and hence no ozone. The surface of the earth would have killed any land based animals pretty quickly.

    Over time, life transformed the atmosphere and soon after plants and animals started to come out of the sea and started to prosper on land. Billions of years past and today we're sat here with laptop's contemplating what to do about climate change. I personally think that a large chunk of climate change has been caused by humans. I also agree with the scientist that we've already past the point of no return - so the question is not how we can stop climate change but how we can cope with it.

    Personally, I think the climate disaster will be very bad for bio-diversity but have a negligable effect on humanity. I often go to Florida on my holiday from the foggy and cold waste lands of the UK :). The heat in Florida is at times unbearable but it matters not because air conditioning is in nearly every building. If I get too hot, I just go inside.

    As the oceans expand and the sea level rises, people will simply move further up the shore. When islands disappear, people will be unhappy but they quickly build new lives in new countries. When crops fail to grow in some countries they will replace the crops with others that grow in those climates. If they've really got money to burn they'll genetically engineer plants that are resistant to the heat. When oil prices start their long climb to unaffordability other technologies will take up the batton. Suddenly the economy will start to allocate resources to bypass the damage that the price-hike induces. Life will go on as normal.

    I think we're heading for a mass extinction event - of that I am certain - but is highly unlikely we will feel the pinch. These are interesting times to be alive.

    Simon

    • Re:I disagree.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tgd (2822) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:54PM (#14483246)
      When 2/3 of the current food-producing land in the world no longer can produce food, I think the billions who starve to death may beg to differ about "feel[ing] the pinch", but that might just be me. After all I was miserable in my last meeting because it went a half hour into lunch and I was starving.
      • Haha, when I finished watching "The Day After Tomorrow", one of my first thoughts was, "wow, it's a good thing a whole bunch of people froze to death. It'll make the transition to a world with less arable land much easier."
      • Re:I disagree.. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheSync (5291)
        I suspect that genetic engineering will allow us to have crops that can survive almost any warming scenario.

        No one will starve, except for the people who remain under governments that provide low levels of economic freedom and high levels of corruption.

        Luckilly, almost two billion people in India and China are slowly getting more economic freedom, which have pulled hundreds of millions of people out of absolute poverty (under $1 per day) and millions of people into an almost western existence.
      • Re:I disagree.. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by RobertF (892444)
        When 2/3 of the current food-producing land in the world no longer can produce food...

        I'm sorry, but honestly, where did you get that number? You make up a scary-sounding number and get modded interesting. If I went around saying that 2/3 of the women in the world are dieing to sleep with me, people would call me a loon. (Har, har). But talk about enviromental disasters and people gobble up every word.

    • Re:I disagree.. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nido (102070)
      'Evolution' moves in fits & starts - short periods of rapid change, followed by long periods of relative stability.

      What we've seen over the last 10,000 years is relative stability. A little over 100 years ago things started to change quicker, culminating in a crisis-level change.

      As the oceans expand and the sea level rises, people will simply move further up the shore. When islands disappear, people will be unhappy but they quickly build new lives in new countries.

      This assumes slow, gradual change. W
      • "Shift" (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Irvu (248207)

        I, for one, welcome the coming shift.

        "Shift" is a funny word. And you only welcome it I suspect because you believe that you will either a) not feel it, or b) be part of tyhe "rapture" that gets to go to heaven and watch the rest of us die horribly. Either way I don't welcome it. I don't want to die. I don't want my friends to die. I don't want there to be wars that consume starving diseased populations in endless battles. Jesus didn't speak about "shifts" the notions of the rapture came from wanderin

  • Welcome to 2006 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:21PM (#14482923) Homepage Journal

    world with limited resources ruled by violent warlords.

    We're already there...
  • Old news! (Score:2, Funny)

    by JehCt (879940) *

    communities plan for survival in a Mad Max type world with limited resources ruled by violent warlords.

    We're already pwned by violent warlords!
    • One Bush President
    • Two Bush Governors
    • A Governator
    Ack!
  • You mean like... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:21PM (#14482926) Homepage
    He suggests we should be writing a practical guidebook printed on long lasting paper containing "the basic accumulated scientific knowledge of humanity."


    So he means like my physics, math, and biology textbooks?
    My books will last forever...
    They are extremely heavy, have never / wont ever get used. They practically re-sealed themselves after I purchesed them from the bookstore!
  • He suggests we should be writing a practical guidebook printed on long lasting paper containing "the basic accumulated scientific knowledge of humanity

    Why don't we stamp it into something a bit tougher like tungsten or titanum....or the back of Dubya's head
  • by Sierpinski (266120) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:24PM (#14482941)
    Calling for printing out a few dozen pages from Wikipedia, some medical history book, and a lifetime's amount of porn? (It'd make good bartering fodder for the Thunderdome wannabes!
  • I, for one, (Score:3, Funny)

    by SAN1701 (537455) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:25PM (#14482954)
    welcome our new road warriors overlords...
  • by Nutria (679911) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:25PM (#14482959)
    He suggests we should be writing a practical guidebook printed on long lasting paper containing "the basic accumulated scientific knowledge of humanity."

    Send a bunch of scientists off to a deserted island and have them write the Encyclopedia Tera?
  • by palad1 (571416) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:27PM (#14482972)
    All I'm asking for is that it ends before tomorrow's deadline.
  • by rcpitt (711863) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:27PM (#14482974) Homepage Journal
    Foundation series: Civilization is falling - accumulate all knowledge in a set of books and make copies to send to the far reaches of the known universe.

    Or do you subscribe to Heinlein and his survivor stories like Farnham's Freehold?

    With the various governments' movements to ban guns and such I'm beginning to smell a conspiracy theory here somewhere :)

    Me? I'll probably be one of the first ones to die when I can't get the drugs that keep me alive - of course Darwin is at work there too. "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and "go lemmings!" are my two favourite catch-phrases.

  • Does this mean we're all going to turn into Mel Gibson and Tina Turner lookalikes?

    God bless antipodean post-apocalyptic sci-fi: Mad Max, The Quiet Earth, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert...

  • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:27PM (#14482979)
    In regards to climate change, and those who deny it:

    "Who are you gonna believe? Me, or your lying eyes?"

    Just getting off a week of +5-10C weather, in January, in Toronto. (40-50F for the Americans.) That is really, really atypical.

    So is the 28 days of rain the west coast just received.

    So is the 13 feet of snow in Japan.

    Its unsettling.

  • My theory... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bazman (4849) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:28PM (#14482983) Journal
    You know the anthropic universe principle? That the universe seems fine tuned for life? Well I have another theory that is that yes, the universe is fine-tuned for life, but its also fine-tuned so that life has a remote chance of making it off the planet and colonising the universe as seen in science fiction. The universe is in fact fine tuned just so that it can create sentient life that can consider its mortality, dream of conquering the cosmos, but then not being able to because fundamental physics just gets in the way...

    I call this the misanthropic universe principle...

  • I'll even blush and admit that I did a 2-year stint in the Conservation Corps (yes, I was a professional government-employed tree-hugger!) in my youth. I still wring my hands and fret a little bit over the occasional environmental impact. But even I laugh these instant doomsayers out of the lecture hall. No matter what we do or don't do about anything at all, insisting that we're all at the end of history isn't the way to do it.

    As always, by the time it gets even one tenth as bad as the dark prophet preac

  • by corbettw (214229) <corbettw AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:32PM (#14483027) Journal
    This is interesting:

    "It was ill luck that we started polluting at a time when the sun is too hot for comfort. We have given Gaia a fever and soon her condition will worsen to a state like a coma."

    So he's saying that the output of the sun is one part of the global warming phenomenon, and that human-caused pollution is another. I partially agree with this, though I think the sun has a bigger part of it than he might.

    But then he says:

    "By failing to see that the Earth regulates its climate and composition, we have blundered into trying to do it ourselves, acting as if we were in charge. By doing this, we condemn ourselves to the worst form of slavery. If we chose to be the stewards of the Earth, then we are responsible for keeping the atmosphere, the ocean and the land surface right for life. A task we would soon find impossible - and something before we treated Gaia so badly, she had freely done for us." (emphasis added)

    Wait, if it's "impossible" for us to regulate the environment, doesn't it logically follow it is equally impossible for us to change it?? He seems to be saying "We've destroyed it, but we don't have the power to fix it." That's completely inconsistent.
    • by forand (530402) on Monday January 16, 2006 @02:27PM (#14483591) Homepage
      How is it inconsistent to be able to destroy something but not be able to fix it. I can push a glass of the table very easily but putting all the pieces back is near impossbile. And even if I get it back to something that looks like a glass doesn't mean that it will hold water. There are many things in the world that we can have some effect on but very few that we can reliably control that effect. Weather is a very good example of this. We try and seed rain but don't have any control on where it goes after we made the clouds. Basically all I am saying is that there is a very large difference between ablity to cause change and ability to regulate. Change can be easy consistent regulation is very hard.
  • by Noryungi (70322) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:37PM (#14483066) Homepage Journal
    ... or is it?

    It seems to me that humanity has a tendency to fall into two intellectual traps:

    1. Either the future is rosy and beautiful, and the best is ahead of us (for instance: Nanotechnologies and nano-factories will save the world! Fusion power is right around the corner!),
    2. Or The End of the World and Civilization As We Know It is right around the corner (for instance: Peak Oil! Planet Warming! Bird Flu! Grey Goo! Killer Asteroids!).


    I do believe both attitudes are just wrong. The future holds a lot of promises, but also a lot of challenges. There are international mechanisms in place to deal with global warming, for instance: that's what the Kyoto Protocol is all about.

    Peak Oil may be very bad -- I do expect a lot of economic suffering ahead -- but it may also be our best chance to get rid of polluting hydrocarbons, and turn to ultra-efficiency and renewable energies. These, in turn, will have the added effect of lowering global warming and overall pollution.

    Another example of this is nuclear war and MAD: it did not happen, probably because intelligent people on both sides understood the terrifying consequences. That also means we are stuck with thousands and thousands of nukes that need to be decommissioned and possibilities of proliferation, but that, too, can be taken care of.

    So: ignoring problems is just as bad as putting your head in the sand and pretending everything is A-OK. What Winston Churchill used to say about Americans really apply to the whole human race: "They will always choose the right solution... but only after trying every other one". We may suffer in the short run, but the nimbleness, adaptability and intelligence of human beings mean they will come out all right in the end. Our problem is that we always take the short view and the easy solution first, instead of the long-term view and making the necessary sacrifices right now, instead of tomorrow.
    • Sensible post, but I disagree about nuclear war and MAD. I think humanity was just damn lucky there.

      From everything I've read on the Cuban missile crisis, the situation came incredibly close to all-out nuclear war. And "Mutual Assured Destruction" was always highly iffy because the assurance was never really mutual; the Soviet leadership mostly believed that a nuclear was was eminently survivable, and planned according. Their civil defence preparations went a long way beyond the West's "duck and cover".
  • by AeroIllini (726211) <<aeroillini> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:43PM (#14483132)
    He suggests we should be writing a practical guidebook printed on long lasting paper containing "the basic accumulated scientific knowledge of humanity."

    So, he's saying we need to set up a Foundation to start work on the Encyclopedia Galactica?

    Perhaps he's a psychohistorian. Perhaps just an historical psycho.

    Either way, he reads too much Clarke.
  • Film at Eleven (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crmartin (98227) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:46PM (#14483165)
    Jeez I'm old.

    I remember this same meme being around in the early 60's --- it was nuclear war then --- and in the mid-70's, with The Limits to Growth. Oh, and don't forget The Population Bomb. The expected date is always in the potential lifetime of younger readers, but comfortably in the future for older ones, and so far (note that you're reading this) it always fails to happen.

    Oh, and one other thing: the person pushing the theory is always selling something. A book, money for "further research," something.

    Hands on your wallets, kids.
    • by crimethinker (721591) on Monday January 16, 2006 @02:26PM (#14483582)
      The Population Bomb, there's nostalgia for you. Something like half the population dying of famine, food riots among the remainder. I remember the food riots of the 1970's, don't you?

      Parent poster has it right - doom and gloom sells, whether the apocalypse is environmental or religious in nature. How many crackpots have declared that the Rapture is coming on such-and-such a date? The author of this book is not much different, he's just worshipping a different god/ess.

      -paul

    • Re:Film at Eleven (Score:4, Informative)

      by TheNarrator (200498) on Monday January 16, 2006 @02:40PM (#14483739)
      Don't forget Thomas Malthus [wikipedia.org] and his Malthusian Catastrophe [wikipedia.org] that in the late 18th century began the whole legacy of predictions of an overpopulation/environmental castastrophe leading to diaster. Thankfully, most of these predictions have not come to pass, but they still keep getting made on a regular basis.

    • Re:Film at Eleven (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DannDana (944764)
      Heh, don't forget the 70's panic over the impending ice age. While now we keep hearing about the destruction of all life on earth due to global warming, in the 70's the "doom and gloomers" were screaming and yelling about the destruction of all life on earth due to falling temperatures and expanding glaciers.

      Interesting how the panic has changed in just 30 years.

    • Re:Film at Eleven (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ednopantz (467288) on Monday January 16, 2006 @02:51PM (#14483859)
      There's obviously something really compelling about the idea of imminent apocalypse. People really want to believe that these are the end of times, whether because of divine intervention or ecological collapse. My theory is that people don't want to think that the world can get by without them.
  • by Zobeid (314469) on Monday January 16, 2006 @02:09PM (#14483389)
    Just ask any geologist. . . The Earth is in an Ice Age. Actually we're in an "interglacial period", which is what we call it when an ice age pauses and the ice sheets retreat for 10 or 20 thousand years, then they advance again. In the 1970s several climatologists looked at the available data -- solar cycles and records, precession of Earth's orbit, etc. -- and concluded that the interglacial period was about to end, and the ice was going to come back Real Soon Now. They started warning their governments about the need to prepare for a colder climate, shorter growing seasons, dropping ocean levels, etc.

    That was before all the talk about global warming began, of course.

    And yet, their data didn't lie. What some climatologists are beginning to figure out is that global warming -- from greenhouse gases emitted as a by-product of human industry -- came along just in time to hold back the ice sheets. It began with clearing forests for farmland (which released carbon), and raising livestock which produce methane. It accelerated with the industrial revolution, and all the coal that was burned. Up to that point the greenhouse gases were roughly staving off the natural cooling trend.

    Then, in the 20th Century, we saw an explosion in the burning of oil and gas for power. That's when the global warming effect began to outstrip and overwhelm the natural cooling trends. Today we have a climate that is definitely growing warmer, alarmingly so. And yet. . .

    If we were to cut off greenhouse gas emissions today -- either on purpose, or as a result of our industrial civilization's collapse -- it seems likely that it wouldn't take long for the current situation to reverse. It certainly ought not take 100,000 years for the global climate to recover from our CO2 emissions. Like it or not, we are still in that ice age, and we'd soon feel it.
  • Extremist Unite! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by howajo (707075) on Monday January 16, 2006 @02:15PM (#14483454)
    The tragedy of this debate is that there seems to be no one to voice a rational position. There are The Ostriches who's greatest desire is to believe that they are safe and scoff at anything that suggest otherwise. There are the Industrial Interest who are more than willing to tell the Ostriches what they want to hear so that they can continue business as usual. There are the Chicken Littles who run screaming "The sky is falling" every time there is an extra inch of rain. Let me suggest a different position: We live in a complex system. Rational estimates say it is Very very old relative to our own lifespans. We are only reasonably aware of the last couple of thousand years of its operation. Everything else is speculation. We are aware (those of us who don't fall into the Ostrich category) that we are able to effect some changes to the system through our activities. We really have no idea how much of an impact we have had, or will have. It might be that everything is fine. It might be that all the bizarre weather from the last year means something is seriously wrong. I don't think anyone REALLY knows. While I don't think that "It's the end of the world", It seems to me that since we have access to only one "experiment", that maybe some extra caution is warranted. The old "better safe than sorry" position may be the smartest choice for anyone with a long view.
  • Thank goodness! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WheelDweller (108946) <WheelDweller@g m a i l . com> on Monday January 16, 2006 @02:18PM (#14483492)
    One thing I've learned is to listen to predictions like this. Look at the long history of disasters diverted by relying on the scientists- The Hindenburg, the Plagues, and th 60's hippie movement. I remember hearing about 9/11 months before on TV, and changing my schedule. I was so close to buying into the Enron thing, when Neil Cavuto changed my mind. And other warnings kept me from going to school naked...no, wait- that was a dream.

    My point is, we *never* get warnings about the big stuff. And this is no exception. Remember the coming ice-age, and the population boom of the 1970s? No ice-age. Population has actually gone DOWN by a dangerous extent. I saw both mentioned in Barey Miller, in fact. I remember hearing how acid rain would make the finish on all cars corrode as early as 1975. And by 2000 we'd all have to live underground. This being told to me, a kid in the 5th grade. I was afraid.

    Yet somehow the same people who told us the Earth would be unable to support life in the 70's, still feel that way today. I suspect money is the quarry on this hunt.

    I'll admit there are temperature changes- the Earth is a dynamic system with lots of history that it changes all the time (See: the 1700s mini-ice age, for example). But to think humans are the cause of it, or have the slightest chance of changing it, is just silly.

    Go to Google. Zoom in on a town, find your house. Then notice the actual SCALE of our place on this planet. Now call your local HVAC technician and tell'em you want to install an A/C for the whole planet. Just try to figure out the BTUs. Imagine changing it, if we HAD to. Terraforming is a neat idea, but actually doing it someplace is at least 100 years away.

    Just relax; and remember that the Earth will never go away; it might not be like it is, but it will always be here. And so will be these predictions...
  • by amper (33785) * on Monday January 16, 2006 @02:37PM (#14483702) Journal
    Disclaimer: I credit SimEarth with indtroducing me to Locklock's theories. :)

    Lovelock is a very smart person, and he may in fact be correct about the fate that awaits us, but the reasons for it may not be the particular concerns he's raised. For example, the most prevalent theory that I have seen regarding climate change is that "global warming" may actually have the more immediate effect of "global cooling" in the form of interruption of the thermohaline cycle in the Atlantic Ocean. It would be really helpful if we could figure out if we need to move north (as Lovelock seems to suggest), or south in the face of a cooling trend. These theories are well born out by the archaeological record.

    Second of all, it really disturbs me that so-called "greenhouse gases" still receive the majority of the blame for climate change in the first place. I am firmly of the belief that heat emissions may be just as much of a concern. It's not only CO2 and other pollutants coming out my my tailpipe...there's a whole lot of heat released in the process, and it has to go *somewhere*, and even nuclear energy leads somewhere down the chain to thermal inefficiencies.

    If you take into account the theories surrounding the Peak Oil phenomenon, we begin to see a more complete picture of what the coming decades may hold. Many people seem to think that technology will somehow save us from ourselves. How then, can we continue to make such great technological innovations in the face of a scarcity of energy? The flip side of this is that as the effects of Peak Oil become more prominent, it is highly likely, if not assured, that we will see a massive reduction in both heat emissions and greenhouse gas emissions. It is only the availability of cheap and plentiful energy, primarily in forms which are relatively easy to transport, that has enabled the massive cancer-like growth of the human population and the resulting positive feedback loop of resource depletion in an environment of fixed bounds (barring interplanetary/interstellar colonization, an idea which is vanishingly unlikely, Earth is all we have).

    There is also some evidence that a global increase in CO2 concentration is causing a global increase in vegetation, though much, if not all of this, is mitigated by our increasing resource depletion. It seems to me that the real question that Lovelock may not be able to yet answer is, "How quickly can the planet regulate itself, and exactly *where* are the "control points" beyond which the regulation fails?" I would submit that we cannot know this, even though we can look to the archaeological record for evidence of past self-regulation, the exact effect of human "intervention" in the climate remains unknown, even if we can be assured that it must inevitably have *some* negative effect.

    As regards the "Max Max"-like society--remember that a man can only possess that which he can successfully defend. Community is a basic human need, though in the future we may find our communities much smaller than we once envisioned. It would not surprise me in the least to see the human population decrease over the next century by a factor of 1,000 (5-6 million people worldwide). Such a population could probably be easily sustained, even in the face of extreme climatic change. However, it is likely that we may revert to feudal, or even pre-feudal, societies in an attempt to preserve what remains of civilization. Of course, this is quite the pessimistic scenario--perhaps, with what we now know after a couple of hundred years, give or take, of technological innovation, that we can maximize the efficiency of pre-Industrial Revolution ways of life so that we can ensure the survival of many more. The real question here is, "How much have we forgotten?" The discontinuity of human history created by the Technology Revolution may mean that while we better understand things at the micro level, we have forgotten how to operate simpler forms of existence at the macro level. How many blacksmiths are there these days? Farmers? Sa
  • by buhatkj (712163) on Monday January 16, 2006 @02:51PM (#14483863) Homepage
    It most likely is all total BS, but regardless it is wise to be prepared for any emergency in any way reasonable. What constitutes reasonable depends on your own discretion, but as an Eagle scout, I feel comfy with some flashlights, matches, my revolver, 2 boxes ammo, my pocket knife, and some warm clothes. I have all that stuff easily accessible in my apartment, so what ever may come, stuff it in a back pack and head for the mountains.
    I'm sure the day will come when there is some kind of disaster in my area, war, floods, whatever; When it does most of what we need is cool heads, and basic tools.
    Everything else is just melodrama.
  • by joeldg (518249) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:14PM (#14484118) Homepage
    polar bears drowning all over, huge chunks of ice the size of rhode island falling off antartica, hurricanes destroying entire cities in the leading developed country... it is like watching a movie already, only thing missing is the statue of liberty sticking out of a glacier...

    as for us, we are screwing ourselves so fast it kind of hard not to notice it..
    you can only piss and shit in your own house for so long before it becomes unbearable and you end up catching some sickness and making a total wreck of the place.. if you look, you will see the corporations coming back in zipping up their pants..

    will it 'fully' happen in our lifetime? probably not, so who really cares.. plug your nose and let our kids clean up ..
  • by theolein (316044) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:32PM (#14484298) Journal
    At the end of the Permian era, 250 million years ago, there was the biggest mass extinction the earth had ever seen. 99% of all life died out. Think about how that must have been for any one of the creatures at the time.

    After the Permian came the dinosaurs, who were so successful that they ruled over the earth for 185 million years. Something bad happened at the end of the Jurassic period, some 65 million years ago, and most of the life on earth died off again, some 95% IIRC. Again, think about how extreme that must have been.

    Now, some 65 million years later, a species capable of abstract thought and who known cognitive history probably extends back some 35 000 years or more or so, is worrying about extinction.

    News flash, whether we live or die, as a species, does not matter. Enromous extinctions have happened in the past and they could happen again, except that it could be us the next time around, and in some 60 million years when the rats who survived will have evolved into suv driving, complaining, frightened, superstitious fools who don't accept that life is transient and that we have no special place on this earth and that god, if he exists, does not particularly favour us over, say cockroaches, or rats.
  • La la la etc (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smoker2 (750216) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:55PM (#14484542) Homepage Journal
    I've never seen so many posts that basically consist of - la la la la la la la la la (I can't hear you) la la la..... f*king grasshoppers !
  • Quotes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kenp2002 (545495) on Monday January 16, 2006 @06:12PM (#14485802) Homepage Journal
    From the US:

    To Quote A Liberal: "It's Bush's Fault."

    To Quote A Conservative: "If you want it fixed vote for the green party. In the mean time enjoy having a job, low cost utilities, and the highest standard of living on Earth."

    To Quote A Hippie: "IF you don't eat sand you're killing mother earth!! Because eating animals is bad because they feel pain, and eating plants deprives mother earth of important C02 gobbling plants, and you certainly can't eat rocks as they are the very skin of our dear mother! Err. wait.... NO SAND NO SAND!"

    To Quote A Scientist: "We need money, we'll say whatever they (being the people that are funding them) want us to say."

    The Universe: "I don't give a shit if your planet blows up. I can always use another kupier belt there!"

    Change is the only constant. Change is amoral. Mar's doesn't care if there is nuclear waste all over it, neither does the moon, neither does Earth. Only the arrogance of man would allow a population to complain about climate change. We are an oddity, not the norm. Find me one other planet that even remotly resembles earth. Quite frankly perhaps we are setting the climate to what it is supposed to be, rather then what we THINK it should be. Perhaps something between Venus' and Mars' atmosphere.

    We are just as much a part of nature as any other animal and all things we do ARE NATURAL. Quite frankly I think it's man's nature to coat the planet in plastic and cement and I for one have no qualms in assisting in that endevor if that in fact is our purpose in life. Humans appear to be the only creatures that question their own actions, perhaps we should question what our definition of a proper planet should look like. So far my theory is pretty sound as we have yet to find a planet like ours....
  • by mibus (26291) on Monday January 16, 2006 @09:19PM (#14487271) Homepage
    Asimov's "Foundation".

    The whole beginning of the book is how someone predicting doom wanted to make an encyclopedia of all knowledge to speed up the coming of the next great civilization.

    (Or so he said ;)

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