The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'doom'
According to this article, the recent rise in oil prices has reduced petrol consumption in in Germany and Belgium by 10%, which is more than the embattled Kyoto protocol could have hoped for by 2012.
Also via 1.0, Steven Levitt (author of "Freakonomics") argues that fear of Peak Oil is just scaremongering, and that supply and demand will take care of necessary adjustments to cope. Which is debunked by one Dmitry Podborits, who points out that the adjustments may well include mass starvation, war, or the end of the happy consumer society and the decline into a new age of cut-throat austerity, where life is once again nasty, brutish and short for the wretched remnants of humanity scrabbling like rats over the dwindling leftovers; or, at the very least, the end of things we take for granted, from comfortable living in uncomfortable climates to widely available air travel and easy global trade. In other words, the 20th century may have been as good as it gets.
The Indian Ocean earthquake may not only have killed a lot of people and wiped out entire towns, it may have also permanently taken a fraction of a second off each day, by accelerating the Earth's rotation.
Meanwhile, some experts say it's only a matter of time before a landslide in the Canary Islands causes a mega-tsunami in the Atlantic, with unimaginably devastating effects; places like Ireland and south-west England will get off lightly, with only waves similar to those that battered Sri Lanka and Thailand; meanwhile, the east coast of the US will be wiped out with 20-50-metre waves obliterating cities including New York and Washington DC, and the Caribbean and northeastern Brazil would suffer similar devastation. And since it would be impossible to evacuate the entire eastern seaboard in a few hours and impractical to do so preventively for an indefinite period, nobody wants to hear about an early-warning system:
No national leader wants to evacuate the entire coast for an indefinite period of time, causing an economic and refugee crisis on the scale of a world war, for what might be a false alarm. But nobody wants to ignore a warning, and perhaps be responsible for tens of millions of deaths. From a political standpoint, it's better not to have the warning at all.
Mind you, that's only one opinion; some dude on Slashdot said that the depth profile of the Atlantic would cause such tsunamis to dissipate more rapidly, so perhaps things will turn out OK.
Anyway, back to the spin-acceleration thing; this means that there'll be, theoretically, even less time in a day to do things. I, for one, wouldn't mind if someone devised a way of slowing Earth's rotation down, giving its inhabitants a 25- or 26-hour period to go about their day in; those of us with longer-than-24-hour biological clocks, who otherwise tend to retire and rise later each day, would be grateful.
A secret Pentagon report (suppressed by the oilmen in the Whitehouse) reveals that climate change will destroy us within 20 years. The forecast is for mass flooding in Europe, Siberian climates in Britain, and global outbreaks of nuclear warfare as the wretched remnants of humanity fight it out over the world's dwindling food and water supplies; the threat, which the Whitehouse publicly denies exists, is said to eclipse that of terrorism.
Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 'catastrophic' shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be repeated.
The skeptic in me, though, notes that they have been saying similar things since the time of Malthus, and that (as Steven Pinker pointed out) the imminent extinction of humanity appears to be a constant perceptual illusion resulting from a tendency to underestimate technological progress. Perhaps that's the case with this report as well, and we'll all survive in shantytowns in the Alps, living off vat-grown genetically-modified algae and/or Soylent Green. Or maybe this time, it's for real, and we're all, not to put too fine a point on it, fucked.
According to this web site, civilisation as we know it is coming to an end soon. The world's oil reserves will run out over the next decade or two (in fact, we may have passed the peak in oil production already). This will cause a decline in food production, mass starvation and the post-oil "die-off", with the world's population contracting to 500 million, as well as wars, fascism and the collapse of civilisation. As for alternative forms of energy, it's too late for them to do anything but prolong the human race's death-agony. Though I'm not sure I buy the claim that this will lead to America invading France. (via tyrsalvia@LJ)