Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

News Summation in Anticipation of 2010

December 30, 2009

On January 1st 2000, the world did not end, because programmers wisely changed 99 to 1999 or 100 to 00. Doomsday was avoided. The apocalypse has of course been avoided several times in history. Just look at Nostradamus’ faulty predictions, the constant failings of Jehova’s Witnesses or the thousands of other predictions built on nothing but lies and water. Obviously the world will not end in 2012 either. There’s 1 simple reason for this and several more complex. The simple reason is that it is not possible to know the future, because time is a function of space. We can travel in time only by traveling in space and the only predictions we can make are predictions about the future based on past events. Like, I saw that ball roll towards me, I can expect it to continue rolling towards me in the future until friction stops it. That’s pretty far from watching the future happen in a crystal ball.

So, what did happen in the past? Before we get to 2000-2009, let’s recap. Some billion years ago a star formed a plasma of hydrogen and helium, producing heavier atoms, like iron, nitrogen, gold, silicon and stuff going supernova and boom the atoms spread into space, reforming into balls thanks to gravity and 9 balls went into orbit around our sun. On the iron ball called earth, there was lots of silicon compounds, like earth, dust, sands, rocks, minerals, mountains et cetera and a lot of other stuff. Life formed when strings of molecules reacted and eventually became cells. These first cells were single-cell organisms, organic meaning they mostly consisted of carbon and hydrogen. For a few billion years these cells breathed in carbon-dioxide  and breathed out oxygen, using photosynthesis, if I recall correctly. Dunno what they were up to to be honest. Anyway, the chemical process of copying cells is basically a matter of having a string of molecule and each molecule only attaches to certain other molecules and thus a specific new string is always created and being of a specific series of molecules it can when it breaks free from it’s catalyst only bind to a new specific set of molecules. Chemical reaction allow for anomalies and that leads to mutated cell copies, and voila, we have evolution. The plankton became animals and plants over the next thousands of millions of years and meteories, climate changes and volcanic activity were the only things that threatened the life on earth during all these years as the magnetic field of the solar system and the solar wind, and the magnetic field and atmosphere of the earth protected life from most of the horrors, like radiation, from outer space.

A few million years ago, the ancestors of the 7.5 billion great apes currently living on earth were eating fruits and stuff. 2 million years ago, the ancestors of the 6.8 billion humans on earth, started using hand-held stone tools. Several tens of thousands of years ago we used more fancy tools that helped in agriculture. A few tens of thousands of years ago big cities formed when agriculture was modernized. Trade and economy on a much larger scale occured as not everyone had to work in food production. 5000 years ago, the administrative level of society was sufficient enough to enable kings to rule 3 million people and build pyramids. The mystery of consciousness has been used as a tool for regimes to control the masses since before written language. The fear of death in particular is a very powerful tool. Monotheism grew popular a few thousands years ago, with the Jews in the Middle-East, Jesus protested against Judaism and was crucified. A few hundread years later the Roman Empire adopted Christianity and Luther protested against it a few hundred years ago. The anarchic trend continues today, but in contrast to the growing size of people being ruled over. The leader of a small village of 30 people some 20-30,000 years ago might potentially have been as despotic as Stalin, but the difference in population makes a big difference in impact on the world. Today, we have youtube, despite the superpowers and international corporations.

Nothing new under the sun, is a saying I’ve always liked. It’s as truthful as the idea of news, because they’re the two opposites in the same spectrum, with the exception that news often disregard the temporal context and thus a whole lot of truth. What was in the news 2000-2009? What did humans, evolved from bacteria, find most important? Deaths, wars, politicians, kings, food?

What will be remembered of this year in 50,000 years?

Well, nothing. Even the two “world wars” will be forgotten unless people stop killing other people during the next century, which seems a bit too optimistic. Jesus and Mohammed will be remembered as their effect on society spans over millenia, but the solving of the greenhouse gas problem will be forgotten along with the solving of the ozone layer problem. The problem of the environment will remain as long as humans interact with the surface of the earth and the organisms upon it. Also, anyone reading this during 2010 will be a monkey who will eventually be forgotten.

“What? Are you saying everything will be forgotten, even Obama, the first black president of the USA?”

Well, the Egyptian pharaohs reigned for 3000 years, the US has existed for 200 years, name 15 Egyptian kings.

By the way, sorry that my blog is Western-centric, I grew up in post-protestant Sweden, can’t really help it.

Swine Flu 6 Months later: The Media Realizes it’s just a Common Flu

September 3, 2009

Swine Flu versus Tuberculosis (previous post)

Swedish news paper SvD writes “Panic reaches new heights” complaining that media is covering the swine flu excessively. The quantity, and quality, of news stuff is not determined by importance, but by time. Print it today or don’t print it at all and if other media ran the story recently, so can we. This leads to typical acceleration and deceleration. Once a story is old, fewer media will report on it and it will disappear quickly from all media. The reverse is true for new stuff; more and more will print it because more and more are printing it. And voila, everybody forgot about the fact that the US have spent enough money on weapons to kill every single human on earth.

User named tenzvideos writes on youtube:

A recent internal CDC briefing noted, “20,000 people die from novel 2009-H1N1 and everybody wants to wear a mask. 9 million people die from AIDS and no one wants to wear a condom.”

News makes people forget about the important stuff. However, the ability to make people forget is true for important news like climate change as well. Climate change has been used so often that people have forgotten about the environment. Some even think the climate is the environment. But climate change (as used today) is solely concerned with the concentrations of different gases in the atmosphere, which consists of 80 % nitrogen and 0.04 % carbon-dioxide. The carbon-dioxide near the surface keeps the surface a bit warmer than if it had not been there so it’s relevant to discuss it, but we sorta forgot that the whole point of the climate change discussion was to protect the environment.

We want biodiversity and changing ecosystems leads to species extinctions, and new species don’t evolve at the same rate as we wipe them out, meaning we’re currently lowering the biodiversity among the most complex (most multi-cellular) versions of life.

If we want life on earth to consist of only humans, rice, bacteria and virus, then this is of course not a problem.

If we want to change diverse ecosystems into mono-cultural farmland to grow bio-fuels instead of using oil, then we’ve missed the whole point.

“Very old news, but fucking important”

If we don’t grow bio-fuels maybe we’ll remember to look up at that shiny thing in the sky which is very old news, but fucking important. The sun alone would erase the oil industry from the future of human civilization, if people would only stop talking about the bloody flu and build some sun panels.

You hear that, India? I just solved the world’s biggest problem, now it’s up to you to implement it.

Update: And just having read that foreign investors want solar plants in China, just remember that when we’re talking solar power i mean extracting power from the rays of the sun – don’t create a tiny sun on earth with fusion – one huge one is enough.

Japan to Cut CO2 Emissions 15% by 2020

June 13, 2009

This is in line with what the European Union and the United States are doing. Japan is the 5th biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and critics say this cut is not enough.

Three important greenhouse gases are water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). The reason why they are greenhouse gases is because although they’re almost transparent to sunlight, they absorb infrared radiation from the sun capturing a lot of heat near the planet’s surface.

The destroyers of humanity?

The destroyers of humanity?

All animals breathe out CO2. Cattle (who have four stomachs) breathe out CH4 as well. There’s also a large amount of CH4 trapped under the frozen tundra in Russia, which can be released into the atmosphere if the tundra thaws. Oil, trees and coal are also mainly carbon, and when burned they release CO2 into the atmosphere.

Humans are responsible for a part of the total amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere because humans burn oil, trees, coal and breed billions of cattle. The question is how much does this affect the temperature. It does affect it, but exactly what are the consequences? Is the human impact significant in relation to the normal impact of ice ages, ocean currents, volcanoes and the solar cycle? Even tiny changes can have a big impact on human life. Just consider the fact that if the human body heats over 5 degrees Celsius, it can die. The ball of rock we’re standing on and bacteria don’t care the least bit about what we do though.

Update: The US and China didn’t say anything worthwhile during the EU summit on climate change on September 22nd, despite the increasing necessity of taking action as soon as possible. However, Japan, that ended 50 years of conservative rule last week took one step forward and declared to be willing to cut all greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020. Sweden can only assume the role of model for these big economies as our impact on the climate is comparatively tiny, but we’ve set 40% as our goal.