Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Extinction Explored in S.A.

I was pondering why kids need to be connecting to their phones and facebook and MSN constantly.  And further, why is anyone willing to have their lives spread open for public viewing on reality TV shows.  It seems antithetical to the privacy we all crave.

But maybe that's the problem.  For many centuries in the urban west people have lived publicly.  They had tiny places to live, often many slept in one room, but the marketplace was the place to be.  People had all the dirt on one-another first hand.  Maybe our drive to expose ourselves on-line or on TV is our technologically-enhanced way of joining the marketplace.  Perhaps we're forcing ourselves to live privately, decently, when it's actually against our true nature...

Just a thought.  In other news, Scientific American has a meaty issue out right now.   A list of 10 human creations the world would be better off without includes teflon, landfills, bunker fuel, and bisphenol A.

Another article chronicles the limits to specific resources.  Oils peaking, so it'll still be around for years, but harder and harder to access.  In 2025, they're predicting we'll be fighting over water.  We're losing our fish to poor management.  And our species extinction rate in the last hundred years is similar to that of the Permian-Triassic Extinction or great death of many moons ago.  That one was caused, some think, by excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causing hypercapnia.  And 30% of amphibians - an indicator species of the health of an eco-system - are endangered right now.

Finally, they lay odds on how we'll all die off.  It's a cheery magazine!  Runaway global warming and a killer pandemic are the top two possibilities  A solar superstorm and a nuclear war are next up.  Asteroids hitting the earth?  That's a long shot.  I would have expected mass starvation and dehydration to be on the list, but it wasn't even mentioned.

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