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There's something odd about a group of scientists flying to Australia to yak about environmental degradation. Each passenger on such a trip generates about 10K pounds of CO2 going one-way.

I don't understand why these mavens of technology don't do this online. It's a simple thing to set up. My bet is that there are funds available from sources (taxpayer dollars for the state-employed profs and foundation grants for the private dudes)that make this more of a vacation jaunt and a CV puffer for many of them.

"Yak-Yak-Yak. I'm authoring a white paper on this or that crisis forthcoming in such and such journal Blah-blah-blah."

Many of these academic asshats/scientist poseurs would make a much greater contribution to the Earth's well-being if they strapped on an explosive vest and walked into Monsanto's (or any TBTF bank's) HQ and flipped the switch.


The question has been raised as to how Homo Sapiens might cause its own extinction. Currently, my vote for most likely cause would be the continuing disappearance of oceanic phytoplankton. Along with the disappearance of oxygen producing green matter on land, this could lead to an anoxic future and the extinction of oxygen-dependent organisms.

I don't see this discussed much. Maybe Matt Taibi should be 'freaking out'.


Kind of reminds me of the whole spotted owl vs. logging debate out here in the pacific northwest. Lot's of people complaining about their jobs and income, asking why they should care about some little owl species. Meanwhile, this owl faces utter extinction, complete disappearance from the world.
Loss of income. Total extinction of a species. As if there is actually a comparison to be made. And yet, people pretend there is.
I mean people shouldn't be forced to live in poverty, and have their communities atrophy away. But why the hell have we allowed ourselves to live in a society that forces people to commit what is essentially genocide, just so they aren't forced into poverty?

Anywhere But Here Is Better

Wanooski - the short answer is that we, i.e. Homo sapiens, are acting out a Darwinian survival of the fittest scenario. We like to think of ourselves as rational beings, but in my estimation, we mostly act on an animalistic me-first survival basis - flailing our arms around and damaging the ecosystem as we do so.

The real point is that we are a bad species for the biosphere. Our forthcoming extinction is irreversible, and we were always destined for this because of the basic flaws that come as standard with Homo sapiens. It is of course painful for those of us who are able to witness the event unfolding before our eyes. But whether we are blind, stupid or fully aware, we cannot escape the outcome of the way we have colonised this planet like a virus, maiming every other living thing in our path.

With this realisation, I no longer have any interest in berating the imbecilic assholes in the government, banking, big business and the media, as if anything I and others do or say will make any difference to the cliff fall that's coming.

It was already too late when we evolved from early man. The thousands of years since may seem like a long time for an extinction event, but it's a flicker in geological time. We've come and we're going in a blink of a star's life.

Bill McDonald

Here's my advice. If you care about the coral reefs- buy a plane ticket and go see them while they still exist. They're going bye bye and they ain't coming back.

They ain't nothing that is going to stop the extinction- stick a fork in 'em- they're done.

Same with wilderness. The government in cahoots with enviros and Wall Street will be putting windmills and solar panels out there and there ain't no stopping it, because most people don't give a shit.

This damned place is doomed. Enjoy nature while you can.

Mike Roberts

I'm not sure what Screech is on about but science is one of the few redeeming features of our "civilisation" and not just a lot of blah blah blah. face-to-face discussions are much more productive than on-line conferences among hundreds of people, or even a few dozen. Of course there is a concern over the emissions involved in such travel, and I hate that, too, but that's a price for advancing our knowledge. Not that such knowledge results in much action, though I don't think blowing oneself apart does much for furthering that knowledge.

Dave's right about what's truly important. Kind of like that video that he posted a couple of days ago, with some discussion of baseball right after a "discussion" of devastating climate change.

John Wilson

When the oceans die we will all begin to die of hypoxia. Not sure what the time lag would be. Seems unnecessary to make the calculation when we are determined to get an empirical result.


@ Mike Roberts:

You are correct that science and its disciplines are some of the few redeeming features of our society, along with high art and classical music. I would like to remind you, though, that all of the heavy lifting in science has been done by individuals or very small groups of people dedicated to discovery. (See Horgan: The End of Science.)

It's a simple matter to see that meetings of large groups of science followers throughout history have often resulted in suppression of great discoveries and their discoverers. (See Schulz: Being Wrong and Walker: An Ocean of Air.)

Regards the explosive vest, you make an emotional objection to my posit concerning effectiveness.

Lastly, I would like to offer you this from Max Plank:

An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: What does happen is that the opponents gradually die out.

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