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(Some Guy)   Earth as it might be in the future - guys, this does NOT look good   (all-that-is-interesting.com) divider line 194
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18407 clicks; posted to Geek » on 15 Jul 2012 at 5:14 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-16 12:27:50 AM
Now I'm trying to remember some obscure pulp science fiction book cover. Geeky male astronaut in capsule with several furry bunny women of different colors, a couple of them pawing at his joystick (not a euphemism)
 
2012-07-16 12:41:27 AM
I kept waiting for a really great punchline and all I got was some hippie plea that we should all be nice to each other so that our ancestors can experience the heat death of the universe?

Fark you, subby. I have work tomorrow.
 
2012-07-16 12:53:07 AM
You think illegal immigration is bad now, just wait until 250,000,000 years from now when Africa smacks into North America...
 
2012-07-16 01:00:48 AM

mat catastrophe: I kept waiting for a really great punchline and all I got was some hippie plea that we should all be nice to each other so that our ancestors can experience the heat death of the universe.


Rowling, is that you?

/Obscure?
 
2012-07-16 01:06:00 AM

shanrick: if man is still alive
if woman can survive


In the year 2525....
 
2012-07-16 02:15:56 AM

Captain Steroid: Guess I should quit slacking off and get to work on that Hyperdrive, then. -_-


I can help you with that. I live in Missoula, it's about a three hour drive to Bozeman, where I assume you are.
 
2012-07-16 02:20:36 AM

tjsands1118: Captain Steroid: Guess I should quit slacking off and get to work on that Hyperdrive, then. -_-

I can help you with that. I live in Missoula, it's about a three hour drive to Bozeman, where I assume you are.


Nerd.
 
2012-07-16 02:37:35 AM

tjsands1118: Captain Steroid: Guess I should quit slacking off and get to work on that Hyperdrive, then. -_-

I can help you with that. I live in Missoula, it's about a three hour drive to Bozeman, where I assume you are.


You've got a head start on the Infinite Improbability Drive.
 
2012-07-16 02:39:30 AM
Entropy is a biatch.
 
2012-07-16 02:41:14 AM
I can barely comprehend the length of a century, so asking me to conceptualize a billion years is just impossible.
 
2012-07-16 02:48:59 AM

BigLuca: babtras: I've been thinking about how humans, assuming we'll ever leave this rock, will adapt to a new environment of space. All I am fairly certain of, is assuming we get off Earth before doom arrives, our descendants will no longer be human.

We'll probably have divergent species for each new environment we find. Including 3 foot tall silvery skinned folk who have evolved to survive with limited resources and high radiation doses of scooting around through space. Come to think of it, those Roswell aliens might simply have been time travelling post-humans.

I know that idea has been used here and there, but I'm surprised it doesn't get more traction in SciFi circles. It has appealing symmetry.


I thought that as well about aliens. That all UFOs are simply future Earth based spacecraft and so are the inhabitants.
 
2012-07-16 02:51:48 AM
Good thing I only plan to live to be 6 billion years old; otherwise, life would just suck.
 
2012-07-16 03:09:09 AM

Foxxinnia: I can barely comprehend the length of a century, so asking me to conceptualize a billion years is just impossible.


But if you do, your life becomes kind of pointless in the grand scheme of things. Once you realize youre a speck of dust amongst the cosmos, and nothing youve done or will ever do will have a lasting effect on anything... well why not sit home and masturbate all day.
 
2012-07-16 03:16:36 AM
Mad_Radhu:
Oldiron_79: Nah, Idiocracy is out future. Search your feelings, you know it to be true

So you're saying that soon I'll be able to get hand jobs from the cute baristas at Starbucks? AWESOME!

www.mediabistro.com
Whatever turns you on...
 
2012-07-16 03:23:32 AM
babtras:
We need to stop burning fossil fuels so that we can live through the next century.

Well, thanks for providing proof that some people on Fark DO say stuff this stupid. Your claim that we're going to die in the next century unless we stop burning fossil fuels is PRECISELY as dumb as the claim that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. Congratulations.
 
2012-07-16 03:30:30 AM

GeneralJim: babtras: We need to stop burning fossil fuels so that we can live through the next century.
Well, thanks for providing proof that some people on Fark DO say stuff this stupid. Your claim that we're going to die in the next century unless we stop burning fossil fuels is PRECISELY as dumb as the claim that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. Congratulations.


Green font and CAPITAL LETTERS makes you an authority on the subject? I can't compete with that.
 
2012-07-16 03:37:39 AM
ontariolightning:
what about predictions for the next 50 yrs?

They're getting smarter. They made 20-year predictions about 25 years ago. The problem with that is that many people will still be around to be mocked. Look at James "NYC will be flooded" Hansen. Awkward when you are STILL selling the artificial panic snake oil. Even 50 years, someone might look one of these jackasses up in their nursing home, and pimp-slap them. Best to keep your closest (in time) prediction beyond your own death -- that way, you'll NEVER get called on it.

Myself, I prefer to predict the past. I have AMAZING accuracy that way.


i.qkme.me
 
2012-07-16 03:49:17 AM
AliceBToklasLives:
lisarenee3505: The chances of the human race nuking itself into oblivion are pretty slim these days.

Oblivion is very unlikely, but we're far from out of the woods: the gentleman pictured below is doing his best to ensure a nuclear war in the next 20 years.

upload.wikimedia.org


armchairmogul.files.wordpress.com
A.Q. KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!
 
2012-07-16 03:54:02 AM
babtras:
I can't compete with that.

Indeed.
 
2012-07-16 04:07:23 AM

Theaetetus: HotWingAgenda: The best we could hope for would be a colony ship that floats in the general direction of the nearest solar system for a couple thousand years, but by the time it got there everything onboard would be dead and decayed, because there's no way to replenish raw materials to sustain life in transit between planets.

I hate to break it to you, but if you look in the general direction of "down", you'll find that you're on something that's floating around, has lasted for more than a couple of thousand years, and not only has tons of raw materials, the vast majority are self-replenishing.
In other words, the Earth is a good guide for a colony ship. It doesn't have to be anything this big, but you also aren't restricted to something tiny. I'd say we should start with something like this:
[upload.wikimedia.org image 300x225]
At 34 km long and 12 km in diameter, you've got tons of space to hollow out and build your biomes in.

Possible with even today's technology? Absolutely, although prohibitively expensive at the moment. Capable of a long slow drift to a nearby star system without everyone on board starving? Totally.

And it would be full of unrepaired asteroid holes

Space is really, really big, and a ship is really, really tiny. Even if you do see something coming, odds are it isn't going to hit. And if it is, you'll have enough warning to deflect it or change your direction slightly - remember, we're talking about a spacecraft, not just an orbiting rock.
And finally, even if it hits, All the important parts of your ship are buried in the center under a kilometer or two of rock.



Generation ships.

1.bp.blogspot.com


Very good book on the subject:
www.worldswithoutend.com
 
2012-07-16 04:08:39 AM

RatMaster999: babtras: davidphogan: I think a cool movie would be a sci fi retelling of the idea of Noah's Ark, but with the ships taking samples of Earth life somewhere else on a ship to colonize a freshly terraformed planet. Set it in the future where the Earth isn't doing so well. Eventually things would obviously go horribly wrong resulting in the tragic death of most of the crew, but it just seems like having a scene on the way to the planet would allow for a zero-g fight between a shark, a lion, a bear, and a hot chick with a spear. That would be pretty epic.

We came from Venus when the sun was cooler but a passing rogue planet slowed the rotation of the planet down so dramatically that the ice caps melted, oceans boiled into an extremely thick atmosphere, and we had to move on to Earth. But we found scary feathered reptiles with claws and teeth there. We engineered mosquitoes to carry a dino-malaria to kill them off, but they kept getting stuck in tree sap so we had to throw a big rock at Earth to kill off the dinosaurs.

At least one has to survive so we can still get the hot chick with a spear scene in.

[chugar1999.com image 850x429]

No. We came from Mars...

/obscure?


You got some Gall bringing that up.
 
2012-07-16 04:30:17 AM

malaktaus: HotWingAgenda: The fact is, the speed of light is one law we can't break blah blah blah

There are many things we don't understand about the universe we live in, and it is probably centuries too early to say what is and is not possible. It may very well turn out that interstellar travel simply cannot be accomplished, but all that we can say with certainty is that we haven't found a way yet. Your whole post is a fantastic example of the Dunning-Kruger Effect; you know just enough to think you know what you're talking about, but not enough to be right about anything.


This person knows nothing about physics, and his/her post is a perfect example of the Insulting-Douchenozzle Effect.
 
2012-07-16 04:40:19 AM

lisarenee3505: HotWingAgenda: That first projection assumes it's actually possible to get to other solar systems. As much of a scifi geek as I am, all the hard facts point to us being trapped on this rock until Sol goes nova. We need literal divine intervention to get human beings to another habitable planet, assuming one even exists.

=================================

You're going on the assumption that our current understanding of physics is correct, but there is growing evidence that Einstein missed the mark by several degrees. Take the (IMHO patently absurd) concepts of "dark matter" and "dark energy." Do you know why cosmologists came up with those terms? Because our observations don't jive with what Einstein's math was saying. It is more likely that the math is incorrect than it is that there is some mysterious "dark" force or matter floating around out there that cannot be detected at all.

/not saying old Albert was entirely wrong
//just that he was not entirely right


Not saying your post is wrong. Just that not one sentence in it is correct.

/another person that doesn't understand physics
//in this case, einstein's theories
 
2012-07-16 07:03:26 AM

GeneralJim: ontariolightning: what about predictions for the next 50 yrs?
They're getting smarter. They made 20-year predictions about 25 years ago. The problem with that is that many people will still be around to be mocked. Look at James "NYC will be flooded" Hansen. Awkward when you are STILL selling the artificial panic snake oil. Even 50 years, someone might look one of these jackasses up in their nursing home, and pimp-slap them. Best to keep your closest (in time) prediction beyond your own death -- that way, you'll NEVER get called on it.

Myself, I prefer to predict the past. I have AMAZING accuracy that way.

[i.qkme.me image 396x524]


Jim, I strongly agree.

The trick (actually one of many tricks) they use is to claim that we cannot confirm or falsify any current climate change theory. It is like a sacrifice move in chess: I sacrifice my knight to lock down your queen. They sacrifice the opportunity to ever be confirmed, in exchange for an unfalsifiable theory.

In order to make a theory that is both untestable and highly certain, they have to use various subtle fallacies in the presentation of the theory. For example, they either ignore or lie about the temperatures before about 1850. They claim trends as short as 20 years are "long-term" and therefore meaningful as climatology, but trends as long as 12 years are not. Not much difference between 12 and 20 years.

More insidiously, the actual basis for "climatology" as a discipline seperate from meteorology (weather forecasting) is based on a sneaky false assumption. They say that "obviously" the weather system is more predictable over long timescales as the random fluctuations average out. Which would be true if the random fluctuations were white noise - ie a series of independent experiments. But there's no reason to assume this. Both theory and practise suggest that complex natural systems include multiple coupled chaotic systems and therefore present pink noise (random walk noise). Pink noise is scale-invariant, and in this context it means the system does *not* become predictable at longer timescales. Looking at the plots suggests pink noise behaviour out to the 100,000 year timescale. Only at this timscale and above can climatology even be said to exist.

But as long as they can make this false dichotomy between the measurable but random short term, and the unmeasurable but predictable long term (where short and long term only differ by less than one order of magnitude) their stuff is unfalsifiable and in the realm of faith (as the Chritians' God said, "do not prove my existance, for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing").

Now, climatologists have already distanced themselves from "New York under water" and "snow a thing of the past in UK" even though these falsifiable and falsified predictions came from people now celebrated as top climate scientists. However, climatologists still make predictions, most notably in the form of systemic warm biases in long term weather forecasts from eg the UK's Meterological office. These forecasts almost uniformly over-predict temperature. If you believe, as climatists wish you to believe, that each year is an independent experiment, then these results experimentally refute climatism to a high degree of certainty. If not, climatology is a intrinsically useless for 100-year timescale predictions.
 
2012-07-16 07:38:10 AM
A fair amount of that is wrong
 
2012-07-16 07:43:15 AM

THE GREAT NAME: Both theory and practise suggest that complex natural systems include multiple coupled chaotic systems and therefore present pink noise (random walk noise). Pink noise is scale-invariant, and in this context it means the system does *not* become predictable at longer timescales.


I said this recently, although not as well. I have long wanted proponents of the theory to show the succesful predictions that emerge from the science and to test reality against the science (one of the most basic aspects of science, testable, repeatable, predictable) Then it will fail or not and the discussion will be over.

Problem is, there are some systems where it has been proven that they are impossible to predict. Multiple coupled chaotic systems being one...
 
2012-07-16 07:43:53 AM

Periodic Disorder: A fair amount of that is wrong


citation?
 
2012-07-16 07:46:11 AM

Periodic Disorder: A fair amount of that is wrong


Give this man a job at the IPCC!!
 
2012-07-16 08:07:46 AM
Most other times in Earth's natural history things don't look good, either.

/Half a mile of ice above New York City?
//Yes, but the sledding was great.
 
2012-07-16 08:09:29 AM

dready zim: THE GREAT NAME: Both theory and practise suggest that complex natural systems include multiple coupled chaotic systems and therefore present pink noise (random walk noise). Pink noise is scale-invariant, and in this context it means the system does *not* become predictable at longer timescales.

I said this recently, although not as well. I have long wanted proponents of the theory to show the succesful predictions that emerge from the science and to test reality against the science (one of the most basic aspects of science, testable, repeatable, predictable) Then it will fail or not and the discussion will be over.

Problem is, there are some systems where it has been proven that they are impossible to predict. Multiple coupled chaotic systems being one...


Another trick they use is the so-called precautionary principle, which says "even if we turn out to be wrong, can you afford to take that chance". It is designed to appeal to base pragmatism in the listener - the sort of pragmatism which might lead one to ignore (a) the opportunity cost of all the money being spent, (b) the risk of unintended consquences of taking action, (c) the likelyhood of other priorities emerging and (d) the possibility that the predicted change might turn out to be beneficial. The precautionary principal for climatology simply falls apart under proper economic risk analysis.

An area where it might be better applied is in the risk of large asteroid collisions. I can't prove that will happen, but I still recommend a sensible degree of spending to monitor the risk and prepare a plan.

Sadly, climatism is now such a massive vacuum cleaner for research funds and media oxygen, such non-warmist precautions are likely to fall by the wayside. Future generations will look upon what we are doing with shame and frustration.
 
2012-07-16 08:14:10 AM

Periodic Disorder: A fair amount of that is wrong


It's the famed, "You're wrong!" argument strategy.

Rhetoric, how werk it.
 
2012-07-16 08:15:31 AM
Doesn't matter. We will have consumed whatever food and resources there is within 150 years. Oceanic algae blooms will all be gone. Rain forests, all gone. Bees gone, nothing grows because there are no pollinators. Keith Richards and the cockroaches will be the only ones around to witness all this predicted fun and shenannigans anyway.

We're never getting off this rock. Just get used to that idea now.
 
2012-07-16 08:46:22 AM

Lt. Cheese Weasel: Doesn't matter. We will have consumed whatever food and resources there is within 150 years. Oceanic algae blooms will all be gone. Rain forests, all gone. Bees gone, nothing grows because there are no pollinators. Keith Richards and the cockroaches will be the only ones around to witness all this predicted fun and shenannigans anyway.

We're never getting off this rock. Just get used to that idea now.


Ah yes, the "stuff runs out" argument. I think this is the one they are preparing to replace climatism if the latter collapses, which looks increasingly likely.

You will be hearing a lot more about this as the eco-media machine starts pumping it out. Let's go over the salient points.
1. Note the 150 year timescale. A little longer than the 100-year timescale of climatology (so we don't spot the similarity). Still long enough to be non-falsifiable but close enough for discomfort.
2. Food running out is BS since we can grow it (it is renewable). He's just chucked that in there to up the scare value much as climatists chuck in nonsense about tornadoes and malaria.
3. On resources, the predictions are based on known reserves only. The amount of any given mineral is finite on earth, but you are not being told the actual amount present.
4. The predictions are also based on current usage trends. This ignores the tendancy to reduce usage or switch to alternatives if the price rises.
5. The specific examples (bees etc) are there to force the reader to cross-check or believe. Actually, don't bother cross-checking - we know from climatism that such glib "add-on" claims are so unreliable that if any were true it would be by coincidence.
6. The never getting off this rock thing is new to me - but it makes sense to try and worsen the percieved crisis by assuming we won't get off planet earth. Of course, much new tech is needed for this to be possible - exactly the sort of technology ecoists would stop us inventing with their neo-luddite agenda.

Now, it may seem that I am merely refuting every single aspect of the comment. One might assume that it couldn't be wrong in *every* way, but it really is. That's the whole point of this type of propoganda. It uses what a famous German author one described as the "big lie" technique - tell a lie so audaciously total, that no-one would believe it could come from a human being. On cliamtology, it has taken years of diligent, careful work to demonstrate the completeness of that lie.

It is for you, as a matter of personal ethics, whether you want to "reset" to reasonable good-faith trust on this new issue. Soon enough, the sceptics, undeterred by holocaust references and other personal slurs, will uncover the truth.

In my opinion, it will become clear that this new line of argument is not an innocent mistake, overexcited exaggeration, or clumsy scientific mis-step (types of small lie) but instead totally contrived propoganda written for the purpose of control (the big lie).
 
2012-07-16 09:40:59 AM
What have we here?

Lt. Cheese Weasel: We're never getting off this rock. Just get used to that idea now.


You're not, that's for sure. And most of us will not.
But before that becomes an issue, you'll get older and older, thins won't change all that much, they you'll get sick and eventually die. The Earth won't "end," zombies won't come, the sun will shine, children will play, the stars will burn on.
 
2012-07-16 09:43:47 AM

THE GREAT NAME: You will be hearing a lot more about this as the eco-media machine starts pumping it out. Let's go over the salient points.
1. Note the 150 year timescale.


Note also that this magical 150-year timescale is about how long we've been burning fossil fuels in any substantial quantity.

/Great Name, are you Jon Snow's parallel universe inverse?
//I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter. I mean, damn.
 
2012-07-16 09:52:41 AM
Slideshow is all BS. Mostly all theories. No one knows for sure. God will not let this happen. Right? And neither will Jebus. If we all pay more taxes this could be prevented.
 
2012-07-16 09:53:29 AM

THE GREAT NAME: The trick (actually one of many tricks) they use is to claim that we cannot confirm or falsify any current climate change theory.


Citation?

In order to make a theory that is both untestable and highly certain, they have to use various subtle fallacies in the presentation of the theory. For example, they either ignore or lie about the temperatures before about 1850.

Opening with vague conspiracy theories is not a good sign.

They claim trends as short as 20 years are "long-term" and therefore meaningful as climatology, but trends as long as 12 years are not. Not much difference between 12 and 20 years.

You'd be surprised. When trying to make conclusions based on simple statistical trends the first thing you need to do is test significance: that is, quantify how likely it is that what you see is not simply a chance arrangement of noise. For example I recently setup a little monte-carlo type test by producing a random time series of 1000 "years" with similar interannual variability properties to global surface temperature records, and a constant +0.02/year underlying trend (to test the idea of a 0.2ºC/decade trend). I then tested different length linear trends across the whole time series to gauge how far away they typically were from the real underlying trend.

I found that 11-year trends at a 90 confidence level could only be stated with an uncertanity of +/-0.23ºC/Decade (i.e. I couldn't state with 90% confidence that the underlying trend isn't 0.2/Decade unless a measured 11-year trend is less than -0.03 or greater than +0.43), whereas 19-year trends could be stated at +/-0.1. That's a considerable difference.

Of course, the length of trend required is determined by what you want to prove or disprove.

More insidiously, the actual basis for "climatology" as a discipline seperate from meteorology (weather forecasting) is based on a sneaky false assumption. They say that "obviously" the weather system is more predictable over long timescales as the random fluctuations average out.

No, the study of climate generally concerns the statistics of weather. There is no a priori assumption of greater predictability in this study. The extent of climate predictability has been a product of research into the subject. For clear examples of predictability see the regular shape in the annual cycle in global average temperatures (select AQUA ch05 from the drop-down menu, then tick all years and redraw), the regularity in the annual cycle of Arctic sea ice or the climate response from large volcanic eruptions ejecting SO2 into the atmosphere, both in the stratosphere (warming response, eruptions were in 1982 and 1991) and troposphere (cooling response). For an example closer to home, the changing seasons you experience in any particular location are a predictable expression of climate.

The question of climatic predictability over centennial timescales while perturbing with large forcing changes (e.g. increase in atmospheric GHGs, aerosols etc.) is to some degree an open one. The observed shape of climate change over the twentieth century has been shown to be eminently reproducable with both simple and complex models fed with estimated forcing changes. There is uncertainty in these forcings (particularly anthropogenic aerosols) as well as climate sensitivity and thermal inertia, meaning that some of these models underestimate warming while others overestimate. We can effectively extrapolate this uncertainty into the 21st Century and come up with an expected warming of about 1.5-4ºC based on middle-of-the-road assumptions concerning economic development. However, that means we're likely to be taking the Earth into conditions which haven't existed for millions of years, so the possibility of surprises is not something which can be discounted.
 
2012-07-16 09:54:09 AM

THE GREAT NAME: Ah yes, the "stuff runs out" argument. I think this is the one they are preparing to replace climatism if the latter collapses, which looks increasingly likely.


Which you then follow up with the always equally credible "stuff never runs out" argument. I'm sure you think we can just keep burning oil because it's being constantly created in sufficient quantities underground as well, right?

www.tmponline.org
 
2012-07-16 09:58:35 AM

Cyno01: Not to mention we already have more exotic methods of propulsion than chucking mass out the back end of a rocket. Ion drives are in use NOW, and coupled with a bussard scoop would reduce the need to carry fuel.


Sorry, the Bussard ramscoop doesn't work very well.

The basic problem is that you end up accelerating the mass you are gathering, this limits your maximum velocity to a bit less than the exhaust velocity of whatever your engine is. For a fusion version that means .12c IIRC.

Mad_Radhu: I just sad one article recently where someone did the math and figured out that of we set some large asteroids on a close flyby with Earth, we could probably use the mass of the asteroid to basically give the Earth a bit of a gravitational slingshot that would move us away from the sun. It would take time, and would cause some nasty tides on the Earth, but if you time the boosts just right you can slowly keep the Earth in the Goldilocks Zone of the expanding Sun for quite hundreds of millions of years.


Yeah, we could move the Earth. It doesn't require accepting nasty tides, either--all that counts is the amount of mass being used, not how it's arranged. If the tides are too big just use more rocks. Your energy budget is about the same.

lisarenee3505: Uhhh yeah, I don't know if you got the memo, but the Cold War is over. The chances of the human race nuking itself into oblivion are pretty slim these days. If nukes were to be used at all, it would most likely be very high-altitude bursts simply to take advantage of the EMP effect. Fry the enemy's electronics, then send in ground forces to engage in conventional warfare. No my friend, it is more likely that some engineered biological threat would wipe us out these days than nukes.


The highest nuclear alert the world has seen came *AFTER* the Cold War was "over". Due to a bunch of stupidity the Russians thought there was an inbound missile on an EMP strike profile. Fortunately, Yeltsin didn't push the button. (The missile was a real sub-launched ballistic missile. It was really heading north of Russia and it was an obsolete missile recycled for scientific use and flying from a tiny island off the coast of Norway. The Russians lost the launch notification {admittedly, the notification didn't give a time--the mission was prepped but they only launched it when the desired conditions appeared in the aurora) and their tracking systems were poor enough they couldn't tell exactly where it came from or where it was going.)
 
2012-07-16 10:05:16 AM
This HAS to be at least 10 years old...
 
2012-07-16 10:05:37 AM

HotIgneous Intruder: THE GREAT NAME: You will be hearing a lot more about this as the eco-media machine starts pumping it out. Let's go over the salient points.
1. Note the 150 year timescale.

Note also that this magical 150-year timescale is about how long we've been burning fossil fuels in any substantial quantity.

/Great Name, are you Jon Snow's parallel universe inverse?
//I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter. I mean, damn.


Actually, the vast majority of fossil fuel burning has been in the last 65 years, i.e.post-war.

And anyway, even if these two periods of time did match, what would that signify? Nothing.

Again we see stacked falsehoods. Two claims implied by one comment - good faith assumption says the most likely choices are: both true, or one wrong. You don't imagine it likely that both would be false, unless you have investigated climate alarmist propaganda. Even if you suspect both to be false, it is tempting to only debate on of them, in order not to appear churlish and negative in your debating style. But you must "fight all the fronts" in this war of words, because to do otherwise is to lend credibility through omission.

The next question is whether he will kick the debate into the long grass of ad-hominem, or try and scattergun blast with a long post containing 10-20 false/exaggerated claims, in order to try and force me (or other sceptics here) to refute them all. Who would believe that a long and detailed argument is really a 100% sham? Somebody would have to be barking mad to post a long comment with so many claims and all of them to be false, right? No, they might just be so desperate to win the argument that true reality has been put to one side - you know, "for the greater good", "ends justify the means" etc.
 
2012-07-16 10:06:16 AM

INeedAName: HotWingAgenda: That first projection assumes it's actually possible to get to other solar systems. As much of a scifi geek as I am, all the hard facts point to us being trapped on this rock until Sol goes nova. We need literal divine intervention to get human beings to another habitable planet, assuming one even exists.

This comment is completely ignorant. To say that we don't currently have the technology as fine, to even say we don't currently understand the direction our technology needs to hear even makes sense. But frankly there are technically possibilities we most likely haven't even dreamed up yet. So to say it's impossible is rather ridiculous and short sighted.

I can only assume you're one of the congresspersons overseeing NASA.


My father, a scientist, has often said that if you think something is impossible, ask an engineer. An engineer will almost never tell you it's impossible. Because in the strictest practical terms, it almost never is. If it is doable within the known natural laws of the universe, an engineer can tell you how. Yes, the vast majority of these schemes are absurd, but that's an extremely important part of problem solving: asking, "What would it take, based on what we know?" Almost every technological innovation we've ever known started with an engineer asking, "How might this be accomplished?" And more times than not, they figure out a way.

A lot of science fiction has dealt with this question, and there have been many answers. Quite a few of them absurd, but the point is exploring the question itself, not trying to land a NASA grant. Can we go into space? Yes, we know how to do that. Could we get to the next star? In theory, yes. What would it take? Based on what we know, it would take a lot, but it would not be impossible.

We are not trapped on this tiny speck of dust. And good thing, too, because it could go at any time in countless ways. As early as this afternoon, if a GRB hits out of the blue. We can't expect to stay here; we MUST strike out, if we hope to survive as a species. We MUST ask these questions, and we MUST seek solutions, even absurd ones, in the hopes of arriving at practical ones. We must explore these technologies, constantly, tirelessly, to know what really works and how it really works, so we know what questions to ask next instead of wasting our time on dead ends. We need to understand a lot more about how we function in space, physically, psychologically, socially, and even politically. And we can only learn that by actually doing it. If we don't do these things -- all of them, right now, and forever -- then we really are doomed.
 
2012-07-16 10:38:05 AM

Dinjiin: Oldiron_79: Nah, Idiocracy is out future.

Until genetic selection and manipulation takes hold. Stupid people will simply be bred out. Of course the great thing about intelligence is that it is all relative. What could be considered a genius today could be considered stupid in a couple of centuries.


You might appreciate Dawkin's 'The Selfish Gene.' Get one of the later editions (1989-), which have much more material than the first. One of the later chapters deals with a study that ran computerised iterations of The Prisoner's Dilemma, in an attempt to understand the cumulative products of different social strategies based on the cooperate/betray dichotomy. The question they wanted to answer was: What is the relative long-term social value of cooperation versus competition? Again and again, using a wide variety of different individual strategies (always cooperate, always betray, randomly cooperate or betray, betray when betrayed but otherwise cooperate, etc.), they found that cooperation is the most statistically robust strategy, for both individuals and society: the more people are willing to cooperate, the better off they all are. It gets a lot deeper into it, mirroring some disturbing patterns of human society that we've all seen, but the basic gist is that getting along is better in the long run.

The question, then, is: are we up to that? Because many of the models found that betrayers can do very well for themselves in the short term, even as they doom themselves and their societies to ruin in the long term. I think we see a lot of that going on right now: Do the people who run huge healthcare companies really believe they're doing the best thing for society, or just for themselves? Chinese authorities aren't ignorant about industrial poisoning, they just have other priorities. And so on.

So it's not really about smarter or dumber. Animals are appallingly stupid compared to us, but they seem to do okay without our interference most of the time. It's about our social schema, and what that portends for the long term. And I don't think it looks very good right now. Dawkins' report suggests that given enough time, if we survive, natural selection should weed out most of the uglier vagaries of human nature, yielding a more cooperative and more productive thinking animal. But that can take millions of years, and a lot can happen in that time. As Bill Maher pointed out in 'Religulous,' our technological capability arrived long before we developed the better sense not to make evil uses of it, and that does not bode well for the species. ("Grow up, or die," is how he put it.) I personally don't think that present-day humans are likely to survive long enough to grow into better beings that can take on the much greater challenges of the long haul.

And where are we right now, exactly? The very narrow artifice of forums like this creates a kind of myopia, where we might be tempted to imagine that the dumbest people are the ones we see here -- when in fact, most people aren't even bright enough to use Fark at all. It's not that they're literally incapable, but that it would never even occur to them to do something that interesting or expansive with their lives. The vast majority of people live extremely small lives of astoundingly low goals and objectives compared to most Farkers. And we all know how admirable most Farkers are. We're the bowling leagues of the Internet.

So, what does that imply for humanity as a whole, and our future as a species? Not much positive, I'm afraid. Humans are consumers, and extremely voracious ones. The more we develop, the more we consume, and even a four-year-old can tell you that the planet, our only home, is not limitless. We don't have an infinite and inexhaustible supply of anything, not even air. We CAN consume ourselves into oblivion: we know that other species have done exactly that, again and again and again. It's a special kind of arrogance to assume that we won't. I think it's also irrationally optimistic to hope that we'll just get smarter as a species and that will solve our problems. Even assuming that's true, the evidence before us right now suggests that smarter and better are not the same thing: we can be smarter and more selfish, too. Dawkins himself, along with many others, speculates that our large human brain is the product of selection for social cleverness for survival of the individual, not actual betterment as people in the interests of 'the species': in some ways, our capacity for evil far exceeds that of most of our forebears, because we really did evolve for it. (The core thesis of the book is that genomes evolve for their own individual goals, not for those of larger groups, and what we do for others is really about what's good for us personally, whether we realise it or not: cooperation and altruism, exist, but only as components of larger schema targeting individual welfare. Things like art and masturbation and selfless sacrifice are accidents of evolution, not primary goals.) And while Dawkins suggests that if we can just make it a few more million years we might be less selfish than we are now, we have many opportunities for not making it that far.

I guess what I'm saying is, it's fine to be hopeful, but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.
 
2012-07-16 10:44:32 AM

Passive Aggressive Larry: Basically, everything moves around a lot, the stars explode, shiat gets sucked into black holes, the black holes get sucked together into bigger black holes, and then everything explodes out again in a new big bang.

Ok now that I'm done describing the porno I'm watching, what is everybody talking about in this thread?


Big Beautiful Stars, hot little bodies, and a three-way of galactic proportions.
 
2012-07-16 10:57:07 AM

babtras: I've been thinking about how humans, assuming we'll ever leave this rock, will adapt to a new environment of space. All I am fairly certain of, is assuming we get off Earth before doom arrives, our descendants will no longer be human.

We'll probably have divergent species for each new environment we find. Including 3 foot tall silvery skinned folk who have evolved to survive with limited resources and high radiation doses of scooting around through space. Come to think of it, those Roswell aliens might simply have been time travelling post-humans.


That's been speculated by many people, and I don't think there's any special reason to assume it can't or won't happen. Genomes can be very clever and resourceful. (The teat started as a sweat gland, the hoof as a toenail, and so on. Some other mammals that aren't too distantly related to us can do things we can't, such as hibernate naturally. And so on.) As for 'human,' I guess it depends on nomenclature. The distinction between 'human' and merely 'hominid' is somewhat subjective, I believe. (Any experts here who can explain this?)

It's also been speculated before that ETs could be us from the future, and we can't prove they're aren't (or even that they exist, of course). I personally think it's much more likely they're just a product of our imagination, and academic folklorists such as Jan Harold Brunvand offer good explanations for this. (The striking similarity of known fables and folklore of disparate origin are rooted in the common traits of base human psychology: we all fear the dark, the unknown, and so on.) Taking the approach of Occam's Razor, which makes more sense: that we're visiting ourselves from the future, or that we're all just a little bit mad?
 
2012-07-16 10:59:17 AM

Cyno01: HotWingAgenda: That first projection assumes it's actually possible to get to other solar systems off the ground. As much of a scifi geek as I am, all the hard facts point to us being trapped on this rock the ground until Sol goes nova. We need literal divine intervention to get human beings to another habitable planet, assuming one even exists in the air.

We went from nothing to powered flight to our own moon in < 70 years. True its been 50 years and weve accomplished little more, but most of our hurdles regarding advances in space travel are political.


This is *exactly* the challenge. We know we can do it. We merely lack the common will.
 
2012-07-16 11:00:23 AM
Environmentalist whackjobs wholeheartedly believe this bullshiat.
 
2012-07-16 11:01:25 AM

jeanwearinfool: Who gives a shiat, none of us will be around anyway.


That attitude is self-fulfilling: you can't be wrong, if you really believe that. But it's only assured to be true *because* you believe it. This is the problem. Our challenge as a species is to get past that attitude.
 
2012-07-16 11:01:34 AM

dillengest: THE GREAT NAME: The trick (actually one of many tricks) they use is to claim that we cannot confirm or falsify any current climate change theory.

Citation?


I am claiming this practice is virtually ubiquitous, but since you demand citation, consider this: http://www.climatecentral.org/blogs/extreme-weather-report-top-stories / in which the IPCC actually goes out of its way to distance itself from confirmation (and hence refutation) by events.

It was this that first drew my attention to the "without faith I am nothing" trick.

As to your other points, I will note that you do not address the pink noise issue directly, and the statistical tricks you have done appear to be based on the white noise assumption. In effect, you are arguing my point by assuming it false - not convincing in a debate.

By mentioning annual and other known cycles you are missing the point. You and I both know about the established cycles, they are well-confirmed by successful predictions and simple, believable mechanisms. They are not really part of the debate at all. We are talking about the deviations, which are still not understood (unless you insist that some climatologist's model, which has not been tested on new data, based on a heinous blend of cherrypicked theory and cherrypicked fitting, and whose source code is a secret constitutes "understanding").

In your last paragraph, you still seem to inist on white noise (did you even bother googling pink noise before replying? Probably not, such is the hubris of the ecoist). Therefore, you insist that a 100-year trend must be a significant deviation from expected noise. Not true. When noise is pink, structure on this scale is entirely expected. Which is 100-year scale trends have been happening for as far back as we can measure.

By the way, since you insist on looking at only the last hundred years or so, and since you insist that data suddenly goes from random to meaningful on taking 10-year averages, and since you allow yourself considerable margins, let's work out what a "fit" really means.

100-year temp data is an array of 100 numbers. Applying a moving average can be likened to a low-pass filtering process, and it destroys high-frequency components. Applying the sampling theorem to a cutoff with 10-year period tells us that the smoothed info is captured by sampling at 5-year intervals. So 100 numbers become 20 numbers.

Lets look at the precision. You seem happy with +/-0.1 degree margins. But the whole range of data is within a 1 degree interval. So you are only requiring a 10dB accuracy on your predictions, once the model is parameterised to the right overall range. So, for example, a further 7 parameters at 30dB precision (which is 3 significant figures) would enable a single theory/model to match *any* set of data for the period. I suspect you could get those 9 parameters down to less than 5 with a rate-of-change rule. Actually, a data compression expert could maybe get it lower. And with a little experimentation, a few parameters can be hidden. Others can be deceptively described as "discovery" of universal constants.

In truth, the people making the models could just be forcing a match without even realising that it's all coming from parameters. I will end with a quote:

"With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk."
-- John von Neumann
 
2012-07-16 11:03:13 AM

StrangeQ: THE GREAT NAME: Ah yes, the "stuff runs out" argument. I think this is the one they are preparing to replace climatism if the latter collapses, which looks increasingly likely.

Which you then follow up with the always equally credible "stuff never runs out" argument. I'm sure you think we can just keep burning oil because it's being constantly created in sufficient quantities underground as well, right?

[www.tmponline.org image 600x400]


Ah yes, the "better world for nothing" image.

You need to try harder to make the case that spending trillions and crippling industry will make the world better.
 
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