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    We can't keep living like this. 
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    We can NOT keep living the way we're living right now. It just doesn't work. It's not a good idea. It won't last for much longer. It's going to change, whether we want it to or not. Everything about it is wrong and backwards from how it should be.

    What is "it"?

    It is the way we interact with our environment. And the way we have our economy set up. And the way we view the world.

    Right now, almost everyone who pays attention to current events is worried about the economy. Everyone wants it to get better. Everyone wants it to grow. Even me.

    The reason is pretty simple. We won't have jobs if it doesn't grow. Without a job, you don't have money. And without money, you can't buy important things like food and housing.

    The economy always needs to get bigger. It always needs to be making more and more stuff. It always needs to grow. Like a big cancer on the earth. It just keeps growing, devouring more and more and more.

    That is not going to work over the long term.

    By long term, I don't mean billions, or even thousands of years. I mean, we'll be lucky if weren't not extinct within 300 years.

    Our economy is based on taking parts of the earth and turning them into garbage. That is what "growth" is. Probably 95% of everything we make will be trash within 100 years.

    We are wasting the wealth of the planet by doing that. We are ruining the only place where we're able to survive.

    You can't have constant growth in a world which is limited. You can't constantly have more and more people, who are more and more wealthy, using more and more resources, when there are a limited amount of resources in the first place. It's not possible.

    It is a really dumb way to run things. We can't keep doing it. We can't act like the earth is an unlimited source of wealth. We can't keep treating it like a giant dumpster. We won't have an endless free ride. There are serious consequences attached to this. We depend on the environment for everything. And we are destroying it.

    That is the basic point I'm trying to make. The big picture. A constant growth economy is not compatible with earth.

    I'm going to post a bunch of pictures now, to fill in some details, and give some evidence for what I'm saying. It's easier to make the point with the help of graphs and things... don't have to type everything.


    Anyways, our population has grown from roughly 500 million at the beginning of the industrial revolution, to about 7 billion now.



    Population is stabilizing in wealthy countries. Growing in less wealthy countries. Population growth is linked very closely to wealth, womens rights, and education. Richer people, living in Western countries, have fewer children. Poor people in the third world, have many children. The reasons are complicated, but basically, more children equals increased economic security.

    People like to say that world population will stabilize by the middle of the century,as those countries develop. I think that's very optimistic, and very unlikely.

    The reason is simple.. most of those countries aren't going to develop. They can't. The world does not have the resources needed for 10 billion people to live like Americans or Europeans do right now. The world isn't big enough for 7 billion to live like that. Let alone 10 or 12 billion. I really doubt that that's possible.

    Population isn't the only issue here though...

    Since the industrial revolution, people have gotten much more wealthy. Before that happened, almost everyone lived in poverty.



    GDP per capita (and overall) has increased massively. But it's mostly the wealthy people and countries who have benefited from this. Most of the world still lives like they always did. In poverty.

    The West consumes a disproportionate amount of the worlds resources. The average American consumes (and pollutes) about 40 times as much as the average Indian does. It's not just population which is stressing the earth. It's also consumption.

    For example, Americans are 5% of the world population, but we consume about 25% of the worlds oil.

    This oil is slowly running out. We are finding fewer and fewer oil fields, but we are still using more and more of it:



    This is a problem. Have you noticed how gas prices are increasing lately, since the economy is recovering? Remember when they want up past $4 a gallon? That is only going to get worse.

    But, this is much more than an inconvenience at the gas station. Our whole economy is built around cheap oil. We drive everywhere. We use semi trucks to transport everything. We use tractors and other fossil fuel powered machinery to make our food. We wrap everything in plastic. All this, and a lot more, is based on oil. It's a really useful substance. Maybe we should stop wasting so much of it?

    On to the next problem...

    We are cutting down all the trees.



    Trees are very important. They convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. They keep areas from turning into deserts. They protect against extreme weather and temperature extremes. They're very useful. Not a good idea to cut them all down.

    Next problem... desertification. A lot of areas are at risk of turning into deserts.



    Deserts are inhospitable to humans, agriculture, have little water, are hot and miserable. We really don't want to be turning good land into desert.

    Next... overfishing. We are taking too many fish from the environment. Eating them so fast that they don't have time to recover. And getting diminishing returns because of it.



    If we keep doing this, more and more kinds of fish will disappear from the ocean, and we won't be able to eat them anymore. This is a big problem. One billion people depend on fish to get their protein.

    Speaking of fish.. they aren't just disappearing because of fishing. We have also created huge dead zones in the oceans where they can't live.



    This is caused by fertilizer runoff from farming. Farmers fertilize their fields, it gets into the water, flows downstream to a body of water, causes a huge growth in algae, and the algae eat most of the oxygen in the water. That makes it very difficult for sea creatures to survive.

    Next problem.. phosphorus. One of the most important fertilizers. We're using way too much of it, and like oil, it's going to begin running out shortly.



    Unfortunately, there is no replacement for it. With oil, we could replace it. Phosphorus is not so easy to replace. We need to use less of it, rethink our whole agriculture system, or suffer the consequences.

    Another important thing that is in short supply.. water.



    In the future, fresh water is going to much more difficult to get. The demand will be higher than the supply in many places. So, it will be rationed, a lot of (poor) people will go without, and we'll have to be much less wasteful about using it.

    Next problem.. loss of biodiversity.



    Our way of life isn't just dangerous to us. It's also killing off a huge amount of other species. We have actually caused a mass extinction. Human civilization is the most devastating thing to hit the earth since the comet that killed off the dinosaurs. It's actually worse than that, if I recall correctly... it's not a good sign. Which of these plants and animals are going to be the canary in the coal mine for us? Are we ever going to wake up and realize what we're doing?

    We really need to... nature provides tons of free things to us. We couldn't survive without it:




    We're ruining that. We're wasting the wealth of the entire world, living like this. Squandering our future for cheap gasoline and TVs. Turning the world into a lifeless, toxic garbage dump.

    We really need to change our ways. We can't keep this growth based economy. We can't keep thinking that the world is infinite, and here for us to ruin. We can't do it... it's going to come back to haunt us.
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    Bluelighter delta_9's Avatar
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    We really need to change our ways
    Agreed, however we will not. The Earth will purge itself of homo sapiens(and perhaps some other species,who knows?), spend some much needed time to heal itself, and then a new species will repeat this process via evolution.

    Please believe that I'm not trying to be caddy or insensitive to the literal BILLIONS of people suffering, I really do feel for those people and I try to be a good person whenever possible, so it's not like I'm a cynic or anything, but I came to this realization some time ago and firmly believe it.

    And yes I did read your post and thought it was very well put together, I don't want you to think this is some tl;dr kind of thing, I just believe what I believe.
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    Bluelight Crew L2R's Avatar
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    population growth and an aging population are, in essence two ends of a spectrum, each inevitably going to cause a great deal of damage to economies and the environment. the big picture you refer to, unfortunately is not compatable with current political systems. in order to gain and maintain power, political figures need to demonstrate an immediate effect. the populace does not think as a mass for the longer term. that is what is dooming us.

    as for waste, inb4 qwe assures us that nanotech will soon change all garbage into apples, bananas and rainbows.
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    Bluelighter Docus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delta_9 View Post
    Agreed, however we will not. The Earth will purge itself of homo sapiens(and perhaps some other species,who knows?), spend some much needed time to heal itself, and then a new species will repeat this process via evolution.

    Please believe that I'm not trying to be caddy or insensitive to the literal BILLIONS of people suffering, I really do feel for those people and I try to be a good person whenever possible, so it's not like I'm a cynic or anything, but I came to this realization some time ago and firmly believe it.
    Really, this. The earth has been through several documented extinction events before. Granted this is the worst one so far (species are dying off faster than during all the other mass extinction periods), but you've got to remember that the Earth is still (and for a long time WILL be) in the most hospitable sweet spot of the galaxy. Life here always perseveres, and even if all life should die off, it will eventually spring up again and again. Through the evolutionary process, organisms that feed on the 'foreign' chemicals we've introduced into the Earth's ecosystem will come into existence. And even if our planet is destroyed in X Billion years without living organisms colonizing other worlds... somewhere out in the universe, a species will be born that will succeed where we have failed. This dead universe has an inevitable destiny: to be colonized by life. Life will leave its everlasting mark upon reality; it will conquer the odds and overcome EVEN THE 'BIG CRUNCH' ITSELF.
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    Bluelighter Busty St Clare's Avatar
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    I don't see us running out of resources rather we will come to appreciate what we have and use it more efficiently. You only have to see African kids wearing plastic bottles as shoes to realise that humans are capable of living in vastly differnt ways than what spews out of American television.

    No oil? Why rush when you can get there with steam power? Sure our economy for now is all growth and pillaging, but society will calm itself, the planet will self regulate. The difference between us and the dinosuars is we can react to our environment. There is no coincidence that the worlds population in the last 100yr has increased as medical knowledge has improved. The only thing I can see wiping the slate clean would be a nuclear winter, but even then pockets of civilisation will still live on, and perhaps thrive more without so much dead weight that weighs it down at present.

    I bet if you ask a kid in the 1950's what the future held he would have said we are all doomed.... just with a different list of fears.
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    Bluelighter Cyc's Avatar
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    Docus, please don't take this the wrong way. You have the right idea, I just can't let the inaccuracies slide..

    If we're comparing extinction events, I think the Permian-Triassic (P-Tr) likely has us beat in sheer loss of biodiversity. There is a lot of hype out there, but I believe conservation efforts are making a positive impact. However, if you plot current trends exponentially, there is definite risk, I agree.

    Habitable zones (HZ) have just started being plotted in our galaxy. We won't know for several more years, whether Earth is the most hospitable to life. Yes, even within our galaxy. You have to remember, we're talking ~400 billion stars. Even with current data analysis, an ecological audit of viable exoplanets won't be feasible until scientists develop warp speed. *Long after we are all dead. See the Drake equation.

    The foreign chemicals we've synthesized will decompose or diffuse long before they are ever in an abundance capable of supporting new lifeforms (garbage monsters?)

    The planet will be destroyed (as we know it) in a few billion years, when our star leaves its main sequence, stops turning H into He, and turns into a red dwarf.

    Ω០ < 1 = open universe. Sorry, no big crunch.
    Last edited by Cyc; 20-01-2011 at 17:21.
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    #7
    Hasn't Humanity consistently proved we are beyond the limitations of any other species? Every obstacle nature has put in our way we have eventually demolished and I don't see why this trend needs to cease.

    What's more likely is that Humanity is about to enter a golden age of scientific development that will solve all our current problems and give us a ton of new ones to grapple with.

    Of course this doesn't mean we can sit back and relax. On the contrary, it's this growing awareness and sense of urgency about our current limitations that is going to fuel this leap.
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    Bluelighter stef^on^e's Avatar
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    This post is put together really well - I particularly enjoyed the use of such a wide range of resources.

    Whilst I completly agree with everything you say marsmellow, unfortunately for too long we have elected people in government which are more than capable of pointing out the problems but completely unable to advocate some real solutions.

    At present the agenda of big business and multinational corporations seems to be the agenda of all governments within advanced countries around the world. With this being the case, if you are waiting for a change than you might want to pack a lunch.
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    Bluelighter ugly's Avatar
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    Even though the OP had a great bunch of information and research, I can't help but think that the problem is actually US. People do not seem to belong here. The natural world has nearly crashed from our indiscretions, our greed, our need for more and more. If there were not people, then the plane'ts earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis and other so called "natural disasters" would not make any difference. Earth would just be acting like itself, and probably be clean and abundant and beautiful in every way.

    People are the real natural disaster.
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    Bluelight Crew L2R's Avatar
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    not all peoples have been this way, ugly. insatiable destructiveness is not an inherent human condition. we choose to live this way.
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    Bluelighter EA-1475's Avatar
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    We can start by cutting off all foreign aid to developing nations. As well-intentioned as it is, it generally does not accomplish what it is meant to do. The population of Ethiopia has doubled since the mid-80's. AIDS medication allows Africans to spread the disease for 15 years instead of 5. Send them condoms and nothing else.
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    #12
    Our fate is sealed. I find our choices to be limited. Harness capitalistic science and get off this rock. Plummet into a authoritarian leader (to subtract needless bureaucratic 'discussions'). The leader buys up all the companies who operate in self interest by design. Other than that, we're on the tracks leading down hill. Science has little time to operate.
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    Bluelighter Wyld 4 X's Avatar
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    Human beings need the right incentive to change and even though there are very compelling reasons to change they way we operate, those reasons are not catching on fast enough. Ours is a destructive species and to reverse that will take more than a few generations of education, care, ingenuity and consistency to instill the correct moral code that may or may not help the planet to survive with us still on it.
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    Bluelighter toocrazy2yoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Busty St Clare View Post
    No oil? Why rush when you can get there with steam power? Sure our economy for now is all growth and pillaging, but society will calm itself, the planet will self regulate. The difference between us and the dinosuars is we can react to our environment..
    No offense, Busty one, but what generates YOUR steam? In the first steam-powered trains and ships it was wood and coal. Which killed trees in the case of wood and filled the air (and cars on the trains) with soot. On nuclear powered ships (and nuclear powered electricity generation) these days it's well, nuclear power that heats the water, and makes the steam to power turbines and generators and propulsion. On other ships, oil, the cleanest of non-nuclear fuels, is used to generate steam or run enormous generators for electric motors to turn the screws of the ship or to power turbines which run the generators and turn the screws. But you must have a fuel.

    Whatcha think?
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    Considering there's no quick solution, the chances of several countries putting forth a concerted effort to eradicate pollution and dwindling resources is pretty slim. Especially when such measures go against the bottom line of Big Business.

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    #16
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    I live quite simply. I enjoy it. All of the artificialists are ruining the world.
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    Bluelighter Droppersneck's Avatar
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    There is no doubt eventually we need to move to a resource based economy but I dont foresee it in the near future. We are lacking the innovation and unfortunately modern progressivism isnt conducive to innovation. So we have keep at with the system that got us to where to we are now. When that perfect energy source its a whole different ball game
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    Bluelighter toocrazy2yoo's Avatar
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    Well, whatever man is or isn't doing to the planet, things happen to scrub the earth clean and fairly often at that in terms of a 4 or 5 billion year lifespan. We KNOW that to be the case. We also know the sun is nearly at the end of two quiet periods: the 11 year "quiet" time where there are few sunspots/solar eruptions. We're also, to the year, at the end of an eleven thousand year cycle of what the cosmos guys refer to as a nearly (relative to the solar activity we're familiar with) idle period of activity on the sun (separate from the mild 11 year cycles) where the sun revs up and delivers solar flares and plasma eruptions that are far in excess of ANYTHING we've seen before and that were probably responsible for mass extinctions of the dinosaurs and who knows, going WAY back, other civilizations that might have been further advanced than we are.

    So, where is the evidence of said possible civilizations? Well, the Earth has a way of scrubbing itself clean every now and then. We might be next. Funny, this 2012 Myan calender stuff, it coincides rather neatly with the start of the anticipated super-activity period of our sun, said cycle I believe starts in summer 2011, actually. From that point on, scientists are fairly certain that at some point on out to 500 to 1000 years there will be one or more super-eruptions of flares and plasma outward into space and it's a matter of when, not if, the Earth is in the direct path of one of these flares. They refer to this as the Solar Kill Shot (go ahead, Google it). If the plasma/flare eruption hits the earth directly, those on the "daytime" exposure to the eruption are going to have a real bad day. But THEY will be the lucky ones. The folks on the "nighttime" side of the Earth when said Kill Shot hits will wake up to a world with no power and an enormous change in weather and a radically reduced capability of growing crops, gathering water and this might be the reduction in population the greens have been looking and praying for. It will be barbaric for those not prepared. Human behavior goes straight down the toilet when there's no power, water, food and all the police and troops have picked up their guns and gone home to protect THEIR families.

    So don't sweat global warming, we're headed into another ice age anyway by the way, that's due, too. Rumor is, also, by the way, that there's a Planet X that the sun has been dragging along with the rest of us that they never noticed until recently that may be affecting tides, the core of our planet and causing the recent earthquakes, enormous floods and weather changes of the past couple of years. On top of THAT, we're beginning to be influenced by the planetary systems of others in our galaxy, the Milky Way, because our Sun is dragging us toward that also. We orbit the sun, the sun orbits...dunno that part, but it DOES drag us along at great speed through and across the Milky Way. Lots of cosmic influences at work right now that likely affect us in far deeper a manner than carbon emissions.

    Hey, anyone notice the Pole Shift going on right now? Yep! The very core of the Earth is flipping right under our feet. The magma, or melted liquid center is a shifting entity. And it moves. Sometimes it happens very, very suddenly. Move the magma of this old Earth really fast and we'd have the kind of earthquakes and tsunamis that would literally join, break or shift continents across the width and breadth of all the world's oceans in the blink of an eye with NO warning. THAT would be a kill shot and they're fairly certain THAT has extinguished all life on Earth several or more times in 4 billion years. So far, it's relatively gradual though.

    The magnetic North Pole is moving toward the Soviet Union to the tune, up there, of 40 miles a year. It USED to be a couple of miles a year. The past two years if memory serves, it's moved nearly 90 miles or so. Ramification? Tampa International (and a bunch of others, it became old, unreported news after Tampa International) renamed/designated it's Northbound runway because it doesn't point true north anymore. Whether they're going to rebuild it to point true magnetic North or not remains to be seen. Might not be much point because if true North keeps moving, the new runway wouldn't be true enough for more than a year or two or three anyway. Aviators will likely depend on GPS, localizers and ALS in the meantime and ignore their compass, which they mostly do now anyway. Compasses used to be the old reliable at night and bad weather or in a power loss on the bird. Not any longer. Can't trust em anymore. Folks relying on a compass might be severely disappointed.

    So buckle up, grab your woman and enjoy life. Good advice in the very best of times in any case. And gawd dammit! I'm gonna follow my own advice just as soon as I find me a woman!
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    Bluelighter jam uh weezy's Avatar
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    Excellent post. We have to rethink and change the way we are living, quickly. All of us have to take part.

    have you ever seen the movie The 11th Hour?
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0492931/
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    Bluelighter Cyc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toocrazy2yoo View Post
    So, where is the evidence of said possible civilizations? Well, the Earth has a way of scrubbing itself clean every now and then. We might be next. Funny, this 2012 Myan calender stuff, it coincides rather neatly with the start of the anticipated super-activity period of our sun, said cycle I believe starts in summer 2011, actually.
    It also coincides nicely with the alt. theories thread we made so people can relieve their need to flood the forum with wild speculations based on junk science.

    So don't sweat global warming, we're headed into another ice age anyway by the way, that's due, too. Rumor is, also, by the way, that there's a Planet X that the sun has been dragging along with the rest of us that they never noticed until recently that may be affecting tides, the core of our planet and causing the recent earthquakes, enormous floods and weather changes of the past couple of years.
    Are you talking about Kuiper belt object, Eris? If so, you need to understand that gravity works just like magnetism. The further an object is away, the less effect it has on an object. This is why the moon has a much more pronounced effect on the tides, even though the sun is much larger.

    There is thought to be several dwarf planets larger than Pluto that orbit the outskirts of our solar system. None of these, nor the total of these, would have any effect on earth's climate or tides.

    On top of THAT, we're beginning to be influenced by the planetary systems of others in our galaxy, the Milky Way, because our Sun is dragging us toward that also. We orbit the sun, the sun orbits...dunno that part, but it DOES drag us along at great speed through and across the Milky Way. Lots of cosmic influences at work right now that likely affect us in far deeper a manner than carbon emissions.
    We are not nearly close enough to any other star to be feeling its effects in any way, shape or form.

    Hey, anyone notice the Pole Shift going on right now? Yep! The very core of the Earth is flipping right under our feet. The magma, or melted liquid center is a shifting entity. And it moves. Sometimes it happens very, very suddenly. Move the magma of this old Earth really fast and we'd have the kind of earthquakes and tsunamis that would literally join, break or shift continents across the width and breadth of all the world's oceans in the blink of an eye with NO warning. THAT would be a kill shot and they're fairly certain THAT has extinguished all life on Earth several or more times in 4 billion years. So far, it's relatively gradual though.
    I can find nowhere that ascribes any large extinction level events to such a phenomenon. If the history of geomagnetic reversals is correct, our primitive ancestors lived through several. Please find a credible source that links pole shifts to loss of biodiversity on earth.
    Last edited by Cyc; 20-01-2011 at 18:26.
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    I guess that latest abortion doctor story would fit in here. crazy
    http://www.allvoices.com/contributed...n-doc-arrested
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    Quote Originally Posted by delta_9 View Post
    Agreed, however we will not. The Earth will purge itself of homo sapiens(and perhaps some other species,who knows?), spend some much needed time to heal itself, and then a new species will repeat this process via evolution.

    (...) I just believe what I believe.
    And what I kinda believe, too, though now I tend to think that we're also gonna destroy the Earth and I'm sort of waiting for the big disasters to come (no more oil, no more whales, etc) to see if I can get myself together in that world, as I can't really adjust to this one. Of course, this is a selfish, stupid prophecy. The truth must be that we're gonna wait for the end of the world quite a long time, because there is always a "solution" for every issue we get. The fact that these solutions are all the worst only makes things funnier, in a way. Well, we'll be dead before we know, anyway.
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    And to think, all you have to do to change things(massively) is introduce new nation-wide(actually all western societies) education programs that literally "indoctrinate"(although in a good way in this case) children from a young age that stress the importance of sustainability, conservation, and the continuation of life itself(and continuation of conditions that allow life to flourish most importantly)...and it needs to be done in a very methodical, disciplined way(i.e. not a "hippy" or "feel-good" environmentalist way)... Selfish materialism has to be hammered into the unconscious as a thing of intense shame.... There needs to be an imperative to protect life....But this is most definitely not gonna happen(education is more concerned with not hurting people's feelings while everyone selfishly indulges themselves into a oblivion and drowns in all this important "culture"...but at least no ones feelings are hurt ) It would also disrupt the global economy too much.

    I suppose life wouldn't be as "beautiful" without all this destructive ugliness... but how important is the beautiful.
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    Bluelighter toocrazy2yoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyc View Post
    It also coincides nicely with the alt. theories thread we made so people can relieve their need to flood the forum with wild speculations based on junk science.



    Are you talking about Kuiper belt object, Eris? If so, you need to understand that gravity works just like magnetism. The further an object is away, the less effect it has on an object. This is why the moon has a much more pronounced effect on the tides, even though the sun is much larger.

    There is thought to be several dwarf planets larger than Pluto that orbit the outskirts of our solar system. None of these, nor the total of these, would have any effect on earth's climate or tides.



    We are not nearly close enough to any other star to be feeling its effects in any way, shape or form.



    I can find nowhere that ascribes any large extinction level events to such a phenomenon. If the history of geomagnetic reversals is correct, our primitive ancestors lived through several. Please find a credible source that links pole shifts to loss of biodiversity on earth.
    Hey, Mitch Battros, Richard Hoagland, Steven Quyale, Major Ed Daines, Seth Shostak, the most senior astronomer at SETI, there are lots of them that have spent, I dunno, their ENTIRE tenured lives studying this stuff and tallying up the increased frequency of the quakes, foods, natural disaster, hell, they give lots of evidence FOR their case. So, in exchange for the utterly disrespectful and crappy attitude with which you shit on my post, how about you present me some evidence of anyone out there denying it's true with the certainty of your denials. There ishard science behind what they say and how these things COULD and HAVE happened, so show why they CAN'T happen.

    I'm sure you're a tenured PHD in several Geological, Astronomy and Physics And Earth Science disciplines, so I'll be happy to hear from ya why they have to be wrong and you, right.

    Or do Mods get to be nasty?
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    #25
    Bluelighter Cyc's Avatar
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    You're talking Armageddon, and the burden is on me to prove a negative?

    Tell you what. If 2012 passes in a relatively unremarkable fashion, you owe me $5,000.

    I'm going to extend this bet to every conspiracy nutter out there, and on January 1st, 2013, I shall begin my retirement.
    Last edited by Cyc; 21-01-2011 at 03:48.
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