Ruminations on Technological Obsolescence, from a Ruminant.greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Humans have been pushing resource exhaustion right up to the edge of the cliff - forever.
Take the whales: the oil they provided was what lit homes and businesses for some time. Sadly, they're still being harvested, but not quite to extinction.
Another interesting example of over-dependence on natural resources is that of the Anasazi. (http://www.swcolo.org/Tourism/ArchaeologyHome.html) From what we can tell, a serious drought reduced their cultural carrying capacity to zero, as all of them either starved or moved, and never moved back.
The Irish were nearly nailed by potato blight.
Millions of people have died trying to hold down the farm while Monsoonal flooding was coming straight at them.
A rumor I heard a couple years ago describes how all of the great forests of Europe are no older than 400 years old. Seems that if the plague hadn't shrunk the population, Europe was on her way to becoming a parking lot. Wonder what they would have used for heating & building had they exhausted the lumber.
And on and on. With regard to our own possible near-extinction-level-event happening right before our eyes, THIS near-ELE is (or was) completely avoidable.
What I'm puzzling is how we came to be too late to avoid all this mess. We've come up with inventions that could nullify most of the potential Y2K catastrophes that we can identify or imagine, we just haven't installed them yet. Dammit.
With the invention of the Fuel Cell, we practically don't need combustion engines anymore, on paper, anyway. But if implemented overnight, all kinds of people would lose their jobs: mechanics, the Middle East (any big petro producer, really), the coal industry, people who supply the Big Three auto makers. The big winner: the environment.
With the internet, we really only need about half the Postal Service, long-distance carriers, fax machines, paper publications. Huge unemployment there, if implemented overnight. Winner: trees.
All of the ways that Y2K could do us in are (or were) avoidable. But in the interest of slowly phasing in superior technology, (thus conserving employment, carrying capacity and geo-political stability), we may be pushed over the cliff this time. It would be so awful if only 10 years (the time necessary to implement these things) stood between complete liberation from energy dependence and a miraculous, wonderful New Year's Eve 2000, to international fear and loathing of a monster we waited too long to kill, who'll now kill us.
Even if we largely survive, economic difficulties surely will delay the deployment of this technology for another 20 years.
Wish Hunter Thompson were with us here........
-- Lisa (email@example.com), January 13, 1999
Because of religious and cultural reasons, people breed like uncontrolled rabbits. That's the problem; it's as simple as that.
In the "western world", Christianity, especially Catholicism with its dogmatic proscribing of birth control, and most of Christianity with its stupid "fetuses are babies" proscribing of abortion, has been an unmitigated disaster.
Homo sapiens sapiens, despite the name, has shown no more intelligence in this area than rabbits, cats, and dogs. And now humans can "drop" litters (octuplets) just like so-called "lower" animals.
If I was sure I would survive moderately comfortably, I would welcome TEOTWAWKI.
-- a (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 13, 1999.
"In the "western world", Christianity, especially Catholicism with its dogmatic proscribing of birth control, and most of Christianity with its stupid "fetuses are babies" proscribing of abortion, has been an unmitigated disaster. "
I completely agree that people have been too stupid to coordinate resources & reproduction. But as a Catholic, I wish you could instead single-out "Mongolean-Zen-Psyco-Hindu-Pagen star-worshipers" or something...
Well, if TS doesn't HTF, us die-hard conservatives feel that the NWO will make these decisions (resource/reproduction) for us in a generation or two. Sort of like China today with it's one-kid-per- family limit, but with a "1984" backdrop.
If TSHTF, then either the NWO will come sooner, or Nationalistic feelings (my personal favorite) will grow. Sadly, the Pope leans more towards the NWO.
-- Anonymous99 (Anonymous99@anonymous.com), January 13, 1999.
There may be no silver bullets, but the Y2K silver lining, for those who pay attention, is recognizing all the interconnections and interdependencies.
After Y2K, my hope is that many people will transfer their new vision to the up-and-coming ecological disasters, just waiting in the wings, to nip us all with the ferocity of a hundred thousand bug bites.
Maybe Y2K could be likened to ecological training wheels.
What works? Global population control at the educational and belief levels, renewable energy, sustainable living, human attitude and ingenuity, to name just a few.
(Thanks for the Anasazi link. Ill check it out. A fascinating people).
-- Diane J. Squire (email@example.com), January 13, 1999.
Lisa, I don't think these new technologies have purposely been phased in slowly. We don't live in a command economy, and if someone can introduce a superior product like this and outcompete everyone else, they're going to go for it. It's just that the tech isn't quite ready. I guess you could argue that we should have subsidized their development more heavily.
A lot of work is being done right now on fuel cells small and cheap enough for cars. Hybrid cars in the lab get over a hundred miles a gallon. Solar panels get cheaper all the time. A lot of these technologies are on the way, like you say, just a little too late.
Diane, Y2K has changed my perspective quite a bit. Even if it blows over completely, I'll still be maintaining backup systems for major disruptions.
-- Shimrod (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 13, 1999.
Actually, Diane, I guess your comment reaches farther than that... really we should be structuring our whole society to be more redundant, more local, more renewable. The trouble is, in normal times our economic system only has incentives for efficiency. I'm not sure how that can be fixed.
-- Shimrod (email@example.com), January 13, 1999.
There are about 30 military bases running on fuel cells, many since 1997 (www.plugplay.com; go to demonstrations). I believe the manufacturing capacity for them could have been heavily ramped up; if we knew then what we know now (or don't know) about Y2K, I suspect fuel cells would be supplying easily 20% of fuel consumption today.
Hindsight.... real close, but no cigar.
-- Lisa (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 13, 1999.
and you other antinatalists:
There was much worse starvation when the world had 100 million people
More people means more human creativity. Occasional shortages lead to ingenuity. We do more with less. Buckmister Fuller pointed this out 50 years ago. The Mexicans are reproducing like all normal healthy populations do. The "advanced" Western countries are dying out do to the culture of death which prefers BMW's over babies.
And what makes anyone feel they have more right to exist than the infant about to be born into this world? That next child in the slums of Mexico City might be the one who cures cancer.
-- Joe O (email@example.com), January 13, 1999.
If the population of the US was a billion, I have no doubt there would be anti-motherhood laws and all the rest. But if you disallow the effect of immigration, the population of the US is declining. Germany has had a declining population since 1972 - look up the yearly population statistics in any good series of almanacs at your library. The developed world has a frozen or slowly declining population - except for immigration. As other countries become more developed - they show the same pattern of declining birth rates.
-- Paul Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 13, 1999.
have you considered that y2k survival potential of conservative forms of Christianity in this country is significantly higher than a number of other groups, even in worst case scenarios, simply due to our beliefs vis a vis birth control and abortion?
just a thought, Arlin
-- Arlin H. Adams (email@example.com), January 13, 1999.
Condom Guy, If you can rail against Christians, ("In the "western world", Christianity, especially Catholicism with its dogmatic proscribing of birth control, and most of Christianity with its stupid "fetuses are babies" proscribing of abortion, has been an unmitigated disaster.") Is it ok to present you with the truth? Fear not! I won't preach to you, but the fact is that some Christians have known for a long while this system would fall. GI's are new kids on the block and it is interesting that the Prophets of Dooom are the Creators of the Tools used by the Tyrants of the Beast. Weird! Does Post Birth Abortion bother you? Do you feel safe because these little blobs of protoplasm are destroyed out of site? Hitler, Stalin, and the rest of the Socialist ilk love the idea of Post Birth Abortion. "Get rid of the disrupters!"
-- Mark Hillyard (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 14, 1999.
(Hitler, Stalin, and the rest of the Socialist ilk love the idea of Post Birth Abortion. "Get rid of the disrupters!")
They don't even have to be disrupters. Last century the pure and proper English killed their own offspring by the thousands in a wave of infanticide. Like Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal."
-- fly . (.@...), January 14, 1999.
They did? Why?
-- Lisa (email@example.com), January 14, 1999.
-- Sheila (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 14, 1999.
Before posting, Fly, perhaps you should have read Modest Proposal And Other Satires, all written by Jonathan Swift and compiled into a small book. Please note: SATIRES. The 1994 book is published by Prometheus, costs about US$9, and the ISBN is 0879759194. The satirical Proposal article describes the cannibalism of babies by Swift's fellow Irish as a way of solving population and hunger problems, and was a tongue-in-cheek attempt to highlight what he perceived as self-destructive tendencies.
Having studied extensively the period before, during and after Britain's Industrial Revolution, I can tell you that the reasons for high infant mortality in the 1800s were lack of prenatal care, disease, malnutrition and starvation, mainly among the new industrial-working classes, crammed in warrens of brutally inadequate worker housing. Even at the turn of the 20th century, life expectancy in Britain was only about 40. Please check your facts before posting.
-- anon (email@example.com), January 14, 1999.
I did read Swift's proposal 30+ years ago.
Recently I also read an older book about the English infanticide. It had charts, pictures, etc. Since I went into denial when I read this account I cannot remember its title and author. The person who gave me this book to read has moved away to another state.
-- fly . (.@...), January 14, 1999.
Oddly enough Shimrod, I dont think it will be fixed by the vested corporate interests.
Only by the individual choices people make to improve their lives and futures.
The old world is a crumbling around our ears. Like a Phoenix, rising from the Y2K ashes, we may choose to be wiser, or not. Mother Nature is not being gentle with us. But then, when we have NOT been overly wise with her. Last year saw some of the costliest disaster damage in our known history. It was also the hottest year on record. What will this year bring? And next year?
Preparation at all levels just makes for common sense and common ground.
Diane, living, on California shakey soil
-- Diane J. Squire (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 14, 1999.
Diane, we in Cascadia just had a series of 3 3-ish earthquakes -- the volcanoes are shaking! Flood watch out for today. High wind warning too. Etc. Etc. Sure glad this Y2K motivation ramped up our disaster readiness. :-)
xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx
-- Leska (email@example.com), January 14, 1999.
<< Because of religious and cultural reasons, people breed like uncontrolled rabbits. That's the problem; it's as simple as that. >>
To echo comments made above, the Western world is dying, killing its own offspring to create a society of the elderly. But I'll bet Mr. Condom will be screeching for his Social Security checks until his last breath, even as he screeches now that we damn well better off the little buggers that would have grown up to be productive citizens and paid the check. Get a clue, bub.
<< In the "western world", Christianity, especially Catholicism with its dogmatic proscribing of birth control, and most of Christianity with its stupid "fetuses are babies" proscribing of abortion, has been an unmitigated disaster. >>
"Well, sure, fetuses have beating hearts and working brains and a unique genetic code -- ten fingers, ten toes, struggle to get away from the abortionists suction tube. But they aren't babies because...well, because...aw dammit don't confuse me with the facts, you nasty, stupid Christians. I don't have time for this."
Do I have to go to confession if I admit that I'm glad that people like Mr. Condom severely limit their reproduction?
-- Franklin Journier (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 14, 1999.