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(Mother Jones)   What are some of the biggest problems we need to worry about in the coming future? Here's a short but important list   (motherjones.com) divider line 96
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12470 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Dec 2012 at 11:34 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-11 12:21:46 PM  

fiver5: Hahaha stupid hand wringing leftists never fail to amuse.


Okay ... 5 things REAL AMERICANS should be worried about:

1. Taxes
2. No tax cuts
3. Lack of cutting with the taxes
4. Gheys
5. Gheys getting tax cuts.

/Feel better now?
 
2012-12-11 12:26:41 PM  
Idiocracy.
 
2012-12-11 12:27:36 PM  
1. Climate change; government needs more money.
2. Robots; government needs more money.
3. Immortality; government needs more money.
4. Bio-weapons; government needs more money.
5. Energy; government needs more money.

That about get it?
 
2012-12-11 12:29:33 PM  
1. Climate Change is only a problem worth *worrying about* in the US because we decided to stop spending on infrastructure. Which is really its own problem and should be number 1. Whether we could/should/will try to stop making the problem worse is neither here nor there. It exists, will almost certainly get worse, but the risks and costs can be mitigated fairly well with some damn infrastructure.

2. Robots are really not an issue. More people are employed by the auto industry in Michigan now than when people were turning wrenches. They're just dispersed into a hundred little cad/cam shops and parts suppliers. Because automation turns your product into a commodity -- unless you can specialize and innovate. Which is where everyone went. (And why your car engine isn't so hobbyist friendly anymore) Because manufacturing commodities has shiat profit margin. And people are not going to stop pursuing profit margin just because robots are now assembling cars *and* dishwashers.

3. Immortality being around the corner is (still) evergreen bullshiat. You can't touch it until you can cure cancers and degenerative diseases. And, frankly, with prosperity bringing less-than-replacement-level birth rates to every culture that achieves it, we may actually *need* massively extended lifetimes (supposing they have productive quality of life) to keep the world economy going long enough to shift off our "perpetual growth" assumptions.

4. Bio-weapons being casually creatable in the near future is, also, evergreen bullshiat. We're no closer today than when Bill Joy went full-on luddite in 2000. They're on par with nuclear weapons: the principles are simple, but the details necessary to implement them in an effective weapon are incredibly difficult. And there simply aren't that many people skilled enough to be successful that are also murderous psychopaths. Note how most terrorist organizations have a hard enough time finding and keeping capable bomb-makers. And that shiat doesn't require cutting edge knowledge or tools.

5. Energy? Really? Solar panels are under a dollar a watt and *Energy* is on this list? Worst case scenario: energy price shocks if conventional means dry up faster than panels can be produced to satisfy demand. But even if panel advancement hits a wall, energy prices would barely bump long-term after the dust dies down. Yeah, price shocks would be an economic motherfarker. But even that isn't a long-term problem.
 
2012-12-11 12:36:37 PM  
Um, hello? The world is ending in 10 days. Our only problem is running out of vodak.
 
2012-12-11 12:38:01 PM  
Biggest problem we face.

Mother Jones NOT going bankrupt!
 
2012-12-11 12:38:16 PM  
I join the vast majority of people who worry more about what I am going to order for lunch than any of the five things Mother Jones proffers as worry worthy. I, at least, have control over what I order for lunch. I, on the other hand, have no control over anything on the list.
 
2012-12-11 12:45:02 PM  
It wont be immortality in the true sense. Just compared to the poor people that cant get access to the tech, may seem so. From the dawn of man to this day there has been no physical born difrence between rich and poor, and it actually is a scary thought that the rich are about to break off into their own species of "superhumans".
 
2012-12-11 12:46:08 PM  

GRCooper: In my case, saving for retirement has not been an issue. I'd rather have fun while young than worry about old age. If, however, the payoff for 50-60 years of work was many times as many years of retirement with the body of a 25 year old, I'd be a saving/investing fool.


Silly people save for retirement.

Intelligent fiscal conservatives like me pay off our debts first. My primary concern is short-term savings--the ability to pay my debts and expenses in case of emergency (such as unemployment). The immediate secondary is paying off my debts.

As it stands, I had an apartment and garage at $725+$60/mo, and a car loan at $378/mo. An opportunity for a $50k house in good condition came and I took it, twice as big as my apartment and with a basement the same size as the apartment (3 times as big overall!). I can pay off the mortgage, car loan, redo the floors in tile and hardwood, purchase appliances, and even install a central vacuum in 3 years.

That cuts $1163 out of my budget. That's $1163 more a month I can put towards retirement savings. Other folks are struggling with debt, running up credit cards (I do this occasionally, but can pay mine off in a month), and just paying the minimums (even on $15k credit card debt!) and filing away $200 or so in retirement. Then, they sell their house and buy another one on a 30 year mortgage. They do this 2 or 3 times, each time paying tons of money into the initial loan interest.

That cost of maintaining debt is huge. If you put your extra money on your mortgage principle instead of retirement savings, chunks of that debt go away. If you save up money in immediate savings and then pay a big down payment on your next house, loads of it vanish.

Debt maintenance... $150k home loan, 3% interest, 30 year. Pay an extra $150/mo and it saves you $23k; pay an extra $300 and it saves you $35k. $633 extra (the P&I part of your payment) and you'll pay it off in 12 years and save $49k in interest--it still costs you $28k in interest. The same interest as a $55k loan at 3% for 30.

I've seen recommendations to save about $600/mo for retirement, so that seems fair. $633 for those 12 years all the way to pay-off of your mortgage debt is about $7600... your $7600 spent PAYING YOUR DEBT instead of saving for retirement makes you $49k, a growth of 6.5 times! Suddenly you're free of $1266 plus whatever costs (PMI, but not taxes or insurance)--you still pay those), which in 40 months is your $49k. Now if you stick that $663 away in retirement that you were paying as extra mortgage payments, plus the $663 you were paying on your mortgage, in 15 more years your retirement funds will look ... just the same, but with $49k more that would have instead gone to your mortgage.

Debt. Get rid of it.
 
2012-12-11 12:50:57 PM  
latimesblogs.latimes.com 

missing from the list
 
2012-12-11 12:50:59 PM  
FTFA: 1.Climate change. Needs no explanation, I assume.

Mother Jones should remember what Oliver Wendell Holmes had to say about the word "assume".

Am I more worried about rising ocean levels or the change in ocean acidity that destroys shellfish larvae? Disappearing forest lands or emergence of new deserts? Disappearance of species or acidification of rain?
 
2012-12-11 12:51:29 PM  

Aidan:
Ironically my husband just watched that and told me what an AMAZING story it was... Ruined utterly by the shiatty acting/production. I think I enjoyed it more by him telling me the plot than he did watching it.


It was a Bonnie and Clyde plot with an interesting premise that simply removes the capacitor. In the real world, when you run out of money, you die. In the movie, when you run out of money, you die immediately.
 
2012-12-11 12:53:40 PM  

fiver5: CheekyMonkey: Only thing that needs to be on the list is 'Too many humans on the planet'. All other problems stem from that.

Haha seriously?

The left stopped being hysterical about overpopulation sometime in the late 1970's because even they finally got them memo that it is a non issue.

But it is cute to bump into an anachronism.


You sound like you can't think beyond tonight's TV schedule.
 
2012-12-11 12:54:36 PM  
Debt. Get rid of it

I don't think I've ever seen someone entirely miss the point so intelligently :-)
 
2012-12-11 12:55:08 PM  

Nightsweat: You're an idiot if you get that from that list.


between the two of us, it's you that thinks the breadbasket of America or anywhere else will be desert overnight due to climate change, or that a country will be permanently under water overnight, thereby making it 'too late' to fix; so I have to disagree with your opinion of who the idiot is.
 
2012-12-11 12:56:17 PM  
OK, but how do they fit into my list of things to worry about:

1) Impending Asteroid Collision with Earth
2) Global Warming
3) The Next Big Earthquake of California
4) The Next Big Wildfire of California
5) The Next Big Rainstorm of California
6) The Next Great Drought of California
7) Alien Invasion
8) Realizing That Aliens Are Already Among Us
9) Next "Great Cross" Planetary Alignment Ripping Planet Apart
10) Oil Prices
11) Iraq
12) 9/11, Part II
13) Satan
14) Antichrist
15) Iran
16) North Korea
17) Chupacabra
18) Genetically Modified Food Products
19) Mega-Tsunami
20) More Star Wars Prequels
21) Next Rodney King
22) Magma Death
23) Bears
24) Bee Rapture
25) Black Holes
26) Spider Plagues

Am I just out of date, or do I need to add something?
 
2012-12-11 01:04:17 PM  

ItsJustJake: OK, but how do they fit into my list of things to worry about:

1) Impending Asteroid Collision with Earth
2) Global Warming
3) The Next Big Earthquake of California
4) The Next Big Wildfire of California
5) The Next Big Rainstorm of California
6) The Next Great Drought of California
7) Alien Invasion
8) Realizing That Aliens Are Already Among Us
9) Next "Great Cross" Planetary Alignment Ripping Planet Apart
10) Oil Prices
11) Iraq
12) 9/11, Part II
13) Satan
14) Antichrist
15) Iran
16) North Korea
17) Chupacabra
18) Genetically Modified Food Products
19) Mega-Tsunami
20) More Star Wars Prequels
21) Next Rodney King
22) Magma Death
23) Bears
24) Bee Rapture
25) Black Holes
26) Spider Plagues

Am I just out of date, or do I need to add something?


You missed hitler and George Bush. I'm sure a lot of farkers would probably put them between numbers 13 and 14
 
2012-12-11 01:09:31 PM  

Aidan: nmemkha: #3:

[upload.wikimedia.org image 300x418]

Ironically my husband just watched that and told me what an AMAZING story it was... Ruined utterly by the shiatty acting/production. I think I enjoyed it more by him telling me the plot than he did watching it.


Yeah the movie sucked, but the concept is interesting. We would invariable implement something like it. Can't have the Proles living forever too now can we?
 
2012-12-11 01:10:46 PM  

USP .45: Nightsweat: You're an idiot if you get that from that list.

between the two of us, it's you that thinks the breadbasket of America or anywhere else will be desert overnight due to climate change, or that a country will be permanently under water overnight, thereby making it 'too late' to fix; so I have to disagree with your opinion of who the idiot is.


So long as you say "overnight" a bunch you sound right, yeah? Hint, nobody believes shiat about "overnight" and you look disingenuous as fark saying that.
 
2012-12-11 01:11:28 PM  

ranchguy: [latimesblogs.latimes.com image 600x327] 

missing from the list


another holocaust? you're as blind as anne frank!
 
2012-12-11 01:19:53 PM  

Mentalpatient87: USP .45: Nightsweat: You're an idiot if you get that from that list.

between the two of us, it's you that thinks the breadbasket of America or anywhere else will be desert overnight due to climate change, or that a country will be permanently under water overnight, thereby making it 'too late' to fix; so I have to disagree with your opinion of who the idiot is.

So long as you say "overnight" a bunch you sound right, yeah? Hint, nobody believes shiat about "overnight" and you look disingenuous as fark saying that.


If no one believes it then we should stop saying "we need to do something before it's too late," since no one can give an example of what 'too late' is that isn't something that happens overnight or happens regardless of any manmade climate change. Propaganda irritates me.
 
2012-12-11 01:19:55 PM  
That guy needs to read the Rational Optimist and then rewrite his list.
 
2012-12-11 01:27:25 PM  

USP .45: Nightsweat: You're an idiot if you get that from that list.

between the two of us, it's you that thinks the breadbasket of America or anywhere else will be desert overnight due to climate change, or that a country will be permanently under water overnight, thereby making it 'too late' to fix; so I have to disagree with your opinion of who the idiot is.


Are you familiar with trying to stop a vehicle that has momentum? Think a large ship or a train. They don't stop on a dime. Even if at some point in the future, we decide to just plain stop ALL carbon emissions somehow by waving a magical wand, the momentum from what's already been done carries the process forward. The longer we delay addressing the issue, the worse things get. So even if things aren't happening tomorrow, the effects of what happens today carries forward far into the future.
 
2012-12-11 01:29:02 PM  

Rumplebluntskin: It wont be immortality in the true sense. Just compared to the poor people that cant get access to the tech, may seem so. From the dawn of man to this day there has been no physical born difrence between rich and poor, and it actually is a scary thought that the rich are about to break off into their own species of "superhumans".


Have you seen GATTACA?
 
2012-12-11 01:45:22 PM  
1. Unchecked greed
 
2012-12-11 01:46:07 PM  

USP .45: Mentalpatient87: USP .45: Nightsweat: You're an idiot if you get that from that list.

between the two of us, it's you that thinks the breadbasket of America or anywhere else will be desert overnight due to climate change, or that a country will be permanently under water overnight, thereby making it 'too late' to fix; so I have to disagree with your opinion of who the idiot is.

So long as you say "overnight" a bunch you sound right, yeah? Hint, nobody believes shiat about "overnight" and you look disingenuous as fark saying that.

If no one believes it then we should stop saying "we need to do something before it's too late," since no one can give an example of what 'too late' is that isn't something that happens overnight or happens regardless of any manmade climate change. Propaganda irritates me.


Forget I said anything. It's evident you're just too farking stupid to connect the dots. That's what irritates me.
 
2012-12-11 01:48:11 PM  

Nightsweat: USP .45: Nightsweat: You're an idiot if you get that from that list.

between the two of us, it's you that thinks the breadbasket of America or anywhere else will be desert overnight due to climate change, or that a country will be permanently under water overnight, thereby making it 'too late' to fix; so I have to disagree with your opinion of who the idiot is.

Are you familiar with trying to stop a vehicle that has momentum? Think a large ship or a train. They don't stop on a dime. Even if at some point in the future, we decide to just plain stop ALL carbon emissions somehow by waving a magical wand, the momentum from what's already been done carries the process forward. The longer we delay addressing the issue, the worse things get. So even if things aren't happening tomorrow, the effects of what happens today carries forward far into the future.


They don't stop on a dime just as much as they don't start on a dime. To assume an "oh shiat" moment where the emissions would need to be halted to preserve life as we know it, we'd have already had to endure it for decades or more likely centuries. Once halted or curtailed the negative feedback loop kicks in and the excess emissions are dealt with naturally. I'm not worried about the strength of the negative feedback loop because of CO2 levels being much higher in geological history. The train did not runaway, and it will not.
 
2012-12-11 01:58:47 PM  

Mentalpatient87: Forget I said anything. It's evident you're just too farking stupid to connect the dots. That's what irritates me.


Funny, it's no longer good enough to acknowledge manmade climate change. You have to submit to a culty totalitarian version that states if we cross a line we're farked, but no one will say what the line is, and geological history shows the line has been much higher and yet here we are.
 
2012-12-11 02:16:48 PM  

darth_badger: Idiocracy.


this

cause it's what plants crave
 
2012-12-11 02:27:04 PM  

ChipNASA: THERE ARE ONLY 10 DAYS LEFT!!!
WHY AREN'T YOU PEOPLE DOING ANYTHING?!?!?!?!?

[curlymum.files.wordpress.com image 289x240]


I am doing something: Gangnam Style to a billion views by December 21! 

/no clicky-pops.
//where's clicky-pops??
 
2012-12-11 02:27:48 PM  

USP .45: Nightsweat: USP .45: Nightsweat: You're an idiot if you get that from that list.

between the two of us, it's you that thinks the breadbasket of America or anywhere else will be desert overnight due to climate change, or that a country will be permanently under water overnight, thereby making it 'too late' to fix; so I have to disagree with your opinion of who the idiot is.

Are you familiar with trying to stop a vehicle that has momentum? Think a large ship or a train. They don't stop on a dime. Even if at some point in the future, we decide to just plain stop ALL carbon emissions somehow by waving a magical wand, the momentum from what's already been done carries the process forward. The longer we delay addressing the issue, the worse things get. So even if things aren't happening tomorrow, the effects of what happens today carries forward far into the future.

They don't stop on a dime just as much as they don't start on a dime. To assume an "oh shiat" moment where the emissions would need to be halted to preserve life as we know it, we'd have already had to endure it for decades or more likely centuries. Once halted or curtailed the negative feedback loop kicks in and the excess emissions are dealt with naturally. I'm not worried about the strength of the negative feedback loop because of CO2 levels being much higher in geological history. The train did not runaway, and it will not.


They have never been higher. Period. Well, at least not in the last 350,000 years.
www.wunderground.com
We're at 400 ppm right now. 
 
2012-12-11 02:28:52 PM  
Oh, there's clicky-pops.
 
2012-12-11 02:32:17 PM  

Nightsweat: They have never been higher. Period. Well, at least not in the last 350,000 years.


right. why I said geological history. 350,000 years is nothing, and there has been plenty of lush fauna prior, which much higher CO2 levels. No runaway train.
 
2012-12-11 02:32:38 PM  
1. Jobs.
2. People who don't want to work.
 
2012-12-11 02:37:49 PM  

USP .45: Nightsweat: They have never been higher. Period. Well, at least not in the last 350,000 years.

right. why I said geological history. 350,000 years is nothing, and there has been plenty of lush fauna prior, which much higher CO2 levels. No runaway train.


And that's when I stopped arguing with the troll. Your'e right, it'll be great for the plants. Might fark up the world for humans, but the plants will do great. Go get yourself a coal-fueled Humvee to celebrate.
 
2012-12-11 02:49:59 PM  

Nightsweat: USP .45: Nightsweat: They have never been higher. Period. Well, at least not in the last 350,000 years.

right. why I said geological history. 350,000 years is nothing, and there has been plenty of lush fauna prior, which much higher CO2 levels. No runaway train.

And that's when I stopped arguing with the troll. Your'e right, it'll be great for the plants. Might fark up the world for humans, but the plants will do great. Go get yourself a coal-fueled Humvee to celebrate.


"it'll be great for the plants" - Nightsweat

"Starvation" - Nightsweat
 
2012-12-11 03:23:15 PM  
Ive been arguing about number 2 in my econ class all semester, the only reason more jobs arent automated now is because its more cost effective to have someone do it for minimum wage (or outsource it to some less than minimum wage 3rd world shop and ship it back), but if someone makes a cheap and effective burger flipping robot (uh oh...), and it puts the ~350k burger flippers in the country out of work, it doesnt take 350k burger flipping skill level jobs to design, build and service those robots. The Jetsons was great, 1 hour of pushing a button 2 days a week, that would be awesome, and leave people time to pursue their interests and hobbies and enlightenment and all that good stuff, but it all falls apart when it takes ~60 hours of wages to support an average family.

Not everyone can be an astronaut, and the world doesnt need ditch diggers anymore either, we have backhoes, what do we do when all the low skill jobs are done by machines?
 
2012-12-11 03:28:25 PM  
Biggest problem facing the world today:

The pigs have taken over the piggery, abolished the chopping block and voted themselves unlimited slop rations.

This works out as well as it always has.
 
2012-12-11 03:30:48 PM  

Nightsweat: And that's when I stopped arguing with the troll. Your'e right, it'll be great for the plants. Might fark up the world for humans, but the plants will do great. Go get yourself a coal-fueled Humvee to celebrate.


What are all you GW alarmists going to do when nothing happens?

Oh, right, that day will never come because by the time it could ever possibly matter you'll all have had infarctions from panicking all the damn time over GW.
 
2012-12-11 03:34:26 PM  
1. The dumbocraps

2. The idiots who keep believing whatever fear-mongering is being peddled at the moment, because, science!
 
2012-12-11 03:35:03 PM  

bluefoxicy: Nightsweat: And that's when I stopped arguing with the troll. Your'e right, it'll be great for the plants. Might fark up the world for humans, but the plants will do great. Go get yourself a coal-fueled Humvee to celebrate.

What are all you GW alarmists going to do when nothing happens?

Oh, right, that day will never come because by the time it could ever possibly matter you'll all have had infarctions from panicking all the damn time over GW.


The actual scientific truth is, earth warms and cools in 400--year cycles, and since we are at the peak of a hot cycle it is not surprising it is hot; it is hotter in July than in January.

My fear is the hot cycle will cool in time, at which time we will have 12 billion or so people on earth, most of them very hungry, coupled with a shortened growing season and all of our major food crops custom--designed to thrive in abnormally hort weather.

One billion casualties are easily possible.
 
2012-12-11 03:47:53 PM  

olddinosaur: bluefoxicy: Nightsweat: And that's when I stopped arguing with the troll. Your'e right, it'll be great for the plants. Might fark up the world for humans, but the plants will do great. Go get yourself a coal-fueled Humvee to celebrate.

What are all you GW alarmists going to do when nothing happens?

Oh, right, that day will never come because by the time it could ever possibly matter you'll all have had infarctions from panicking all the damn time over GW.

The actual scientific truth is, earth warms and cools in 400--year cycles, and since we are at the peak of a hot cycle it is not surprising it is hot; it is hotter in July than in January.

My fear is the hot cycle will cool in time, at which time we will have 12 billion or so people on earth, most of them very hungry, coupled with a shortened growing season and all of our major food crops custom--designed to thrive in abnormally hort weather.

One billion casualties are easily possible.


Easily

And that's saying it in a humae way .
 
2012-12-11 04:31:11 PM  

bluefoxicy: Nightsweat: And that's when I stopped arguing with the troll. Your'e right, it'll be great for the plants. Might fark up the world for humans, but the plants will do great. Go get yourself a coal-fueled Humvee to celebrate.

What are all you GW alarmists going to do when nothing happens?

Oh, right, that day will never come because by the time it could ever possibly matter you'll all have had infarctions from panicking all the damn time over GW.


So, global warming deniers - there are what, twelve or so of you left? What are you going to do when everything climatoligists say continues to come true as it has been for the last twenty years or so?
 
2012-12-11 07:22:10 PM  
2. Robots. Explanation here. Even Paul Krugman is tentatively on board now.

images.wikia.com

images1.wikia.nocookie.net

3.bp.blogspot.com

www.sony.net

That last one is the most terrifying.
 
2012-12-11 09:02:43 PM  
1) Climate change
Eh, not too worried. We'll adapt.

2) Robots
This takes a grain of truth and goes to a retarded extreme. It was pretty much the kind of thing I expect from MJ.

3) Immortality
Sounds good to me, as soon as we agree that SS & Medicare really, really don't work out when life expectancy is infinite. Let's focus on quality over quantity, OK docs?

4) Bioweapons
This one is legit. And it doesn't even have to be man-made. We're overdue for something that really kicks our asses.

5) Energy
They already talked themselves out of this one in the article. It's a speedbump, not a nightmare.
 
2012-12-11 11:42:06 PM  
1) Climate change. Needs no explanation, I assume.
We need to worry about the job killing taxation and ineffective regulations that the government will levy on us in a lame attempt to deal with this false issue.
 
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