If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Yahoo)   Scientists at Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute say that as a species, humans have about a century left before we blow ourselves up or invent something that gets out of control and wipes us out. Happy Friday   (news.yahoo.com) divider line 92
    More: Scary, Future of Humanity Institute, synthetic biology, Maya, extinctions  
•       •       •

2612 clicks; posted to Geek » on 03 May 2013 at 12:03 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



92 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all
 
2013-05-03 10:49:40 AM
Meh.

We've earned it.
 
2013-05-03 10:51:36 AM
I'm of the thought that instead of being wiped out by killer robots, we will become killer cyborgs.
 
2013-05-03 11:01:44 AM
A really virulent plague would get 90% of us at most.  The earth would eventually be repopulated with the spawn of doomsday preppers.
 
2013-05-03 11:05:11 AM
And this affects me how?
 
2013-05-03 11:07:47 AM
I've never been able to understand why doomsday scenarios get people so riled up. Every time the news says something about a comet making a close approach to Earth or solar flare activity increasing or a Mayan apocalypse or whatnot, there are folks out there who get very afraid. Why? If the farking apocalypse happens, I won't care, because I'm not going to be able to care, because I'm going to be dead. The thought of all of humanity being killed off in some kind of disaster is not frightening. What is truly frightening is to be the one left behind.

The odds of you personally being the last survivor are one in seven billion. Sleep well.
 
2013-05-03 11:12:34 AM
 
2013-05-03 11:22:52 AM
 

Marcus Aurelius: A really virulent plague would get 90% of us at most.  The earth would eventually be repopulated with the spawn of doomsday preppers.


Well there are more than 400 nuclear plants around the globe that would eventually melt down if no one took care of them. One would think that could be a problem.
 
2013-05-03 11:32:21 AM

bdub77: Marcus Aurelius: A really virulent plague would get 90% of us at most.  The earth would eventually be repopulated with the spawn of doomsday preppers.

Well there are more than 400 nuclear plants around the globe that would eventually melt down if no one took care of them. One would think that could be a problem.


25.media.tumblr.com
 
2013-05-03 11:50:27 AM

bdub77:  Marcus Aurelius: A really virulent plague would get 90% of us at most.  The earth would eventually be repopulated with the spawn of doomsday preppers.

Well there are more than 400 nuclear plants around the globe that would eventually melt down if no one took care of them. One would think that could be a problem.


There's also the other inevitables that are notorious for extinction events: super volanco, asteroid, Kanye West spawn...

We're eventually going to die. We may make it to the end. We may not.
 
2013-05-03 11:55:48 AM
This is all the more reason why we have to invent interplanetary space travel.  We must, as a species, colonize other planets, so we can blow them up too.
 
2013-05-03 12:05:12 PM

bdub77: Marcus Aurelius: A really virulent plague would get 90% of us at most.  The earth would eventually be repopulated with the spawn of doomsday preppers.

Well there are more than 400 nuclear plants around the globe that would eventually melt down if no one took care of them. One would think that could be a problem.


Locally, maybe.  And most reactors are on auto-scram, as far as I know.
 
2013-05-03 12:08:41 PM

GiantRex: I've never been able to understand why doomsday scenarios get people so riled up. Every time the news says something about a comet making a close approach to Earth or solar flare activity increasing or a Mayan apocalypse or whatnot, there are folks out there who get very afraid. Why? If the farking apocalypse happens, I won't care, because I'm not going to be able to care, because I'm going to be dead. The thought of all of humanity being killed off in some kind of disaster is not frightening. What is truly frightening is to be the one left behind.

The odds of you personally being the last survivor are one in seven billion. Sleep well.


Some people want to be proven right -- that everybody else was wasting their life doing things other than preparing for death.  That, and they think at least in the end, someone will go to them and say, "You were right, what do we do now?"
 
2013-05-03 12:12:00 PM
Don't worry, there are built-in safe guards against robot insurrection
imgs.xkcd.com
 
2013-05-03 12:16:38 PM

Marcus Aurelius: A really virulent plague would get 90% of us at most.  The earth would eventually be repopulated with the spawn of doomsday preppers.


If 90% of humanity died that would still leave 700,000,000 people still alive, roughly the same population as in the 1700's. There are now so many humans that we can absorb losses in the billions and still remain the unquestioned rulers of this planet.
 
2013-05-03 12:20:33 PM

FirstNationalBastard: Meh.

We've earned it.


Maybe you've earned it but I haven't.
 
2013-05-03 12:25:56 PM

toraque: This is all the more reason why we have to invent interplanetary space travel.  We must, as a species, colonize other planets, so we can blow them up too.


Or we could work on fixing this one. It won't be easy but at least we won't have to break the laws of physics as we know them.
 
2013-05-03 12:32:15 PM

Marcus Aurelius: bdub77: Marcus Aurelius: A really virulent plague would get 90% of us at most.  The earth would eventually be repopulated with the spawn of doomsday preppers.

Well there are more than 400 nuclear plants around the globe that would eventually melt down if no one took care of them. One would think that could be a problem.

Locally, maybe.  And most reactors are on auto-scram, as far as I know.


Shutting down the fission reaction doesn't solve the problem of decay heat.  Remember Fukushima?  All of the nasty shiat there happened long after the reactors scrammed.  Spent fuel pools require active cooling to keep from boiling dry, and thanks to our "procrastinate until it's a crisis" approach to waste management, they're loaded far beyond their original design capacities.  Many of them are now packed densely enough that decay heat from the spent fuel would ignite the rods after the water boils off, and the resulting fire would then turn tons of fission products into fine wind-borne ash.

There's not enough shiat piled up in the pools to kill everything.  But anybody downwind for a few hundred miles would be in for a really bad time, of the "What the hell skin, you are not supposed to fall off, stop that" sort.
 
2013-05-03 12:36:48 PM
This is up from when I was a kid, where the end of the world was one bad radar signal or a misjudged provocation away from playing a bet-'em-all game with WOPR.

We got too damn close to wiping out civilization in 1962 and 1983 for anyone who wasn't alive then to truly appreciate how good we have it today.
 
2013-05-03 12:38:55 PM

Mugato: toraque: This is all the more reason why we have to invent interplanetary space travel.  We must, as a species, colonize other planets, so we can blow them up too.

Or we could work on fixing this one. It won't be easy but at least we won't have to break the laws of physics as we know them.


FIX OLD NO NEW!
 
2013-05-03 12:41:25 PM

Mugato: toraque: This is all the more reason why we have to invent interplanetary space travel.  We must, as a species, colonize other planets, so we can blow them up too.

Or we could work on fixing this one. It won't be easy but at least we won't have to break the laws of physics as we know them.


Fix the planet?  I was assuming humanity was going for a high score before being wiped out.
 
2013-05-03 12:42:06 PM
People have been predicting this for roughly 100 years.
 
2013-05-03 12:44:06 PM

RedTank: FirstNationalBastard: Meh.

We've earned it.

Maybe you've earned it but I haven't.


i105.photobucket.com
 
2013-05-03 12:46:28 PM
What do I care? I'll be dead by then.
 
2013-05-03 01:00:06 PM

Mugato: toraque: This is all the more reason why we have to invent interplanetary space travel.  We must, as a species, colonize other planets, so we can blow them up too.

Or we could work on fixing this one. It won't be easy but at least we won't have to break the laws of physics as we know them.


So what you are saying is we could take simple, thoughtful comonn-sense steps to reduce consumption and live more simply, or put all our eggs on a 10,000-1 shout big time technological fix that will change everything?

We're HUMAN motherfarkin' BEINGS, man, which one do you THINK we'll go for?
 
2013-05-03 01:01:23 PM

To The Escape Zeppelin!: Marcus Aurelius: A really virulent plague would get 90% of us at most.  The earth would eventually be repopulated with the spawn of doomsday preppers.

If 90% of humanity died that would still leave 700,000,000 people still alive, roughly the same population as in the 1700's. There are now so many humans that we can absorb losses in the billions and still remain the unquestioned rulers of this planet.


Incorrect.

If 90% of humanity died today, the 99% of the remaining survivors in industrial areas will die as well. You can't take a loss like that to as large and complex a system as our current economic logistical chain without major shocks to the system.

Further, most people in industrial societies don't know how to live without food magically spawning in grocery stores. Without that sort of supply chain, most people (myself included, to be honest) are going to be up shiat's creek without a paddle.

Although in my case it's becuase I'm pretty much in a desert.
 
2013-05-03 01:10:35 PM

Summercat: To The Escape Zeppelin!: Marcus Aurelius: A really virulent plague would get 90% of us at most.  The earth would eventually be repopulated with the spawn of doomsday preppers.

If 90% of humanity died that would still leave 700,000,000 people still alive, roughly the same population as in the 1700's. There are now so many humans that we can absorb losses in the billions and still remain the unquestioned rulers of this planet.

Incorrect.

If 90% of humanity died today, the 99% of the remaining survivors in industrial areas will die as well. You can't take a loss like that to as large and complex a system as our current economic logistical chain without major shocks to the system.

Further, most people in industrial societies don't know how to live without food magically spawning in grocery stores. Without that sort of supply chain, most people (myself included, to be honest) are going to be up shiat's creek without a paddle.

Although in my case it's becuase I'm pretty much in a desert.


To be fair if 90% of people died today and lots more from the chaos, the amount of food just sitting around in the supply chain would be enough for a few years and give people a chance to go down to the local library and find all the books on farming and animal husbandry, etc. So while there would probably be a lot of knock on deaths I would think more would be from the break down of power structures and groups trying to re-establish hegemony, plus all the violent crime (bandit raids, etc.) that would come back without any organized law enforcement to dissuade it.
 
2013-05-03 01:19:24 PM
xria:

To be fair if 90% of people died today and lots more from the chaos, the amount of food just sitting around in the supply chain would be enough for a few years and give people a chance to go down to the local library and find all the books on farming and animal husbandry, etc. So while there would probably be a lot of knock on deaths I would think more would be from the break down of power structures and groups trying to re-establish hegemony, plus all the violent crime (bandit raids, etc.) that would come back without any organized law enforcement to dissuade it.

Not to mention the rebound of other species that would have a serious population surge with 90% reduction of human population.  As long as humanity can survive about 10-20 years after any such crash, we'll make it as a species.
 
2013-05-03 01:20:55 PM
Well there are more than 400 nuclear plants around the globe that would eventually melt down if no one took care of them. One would think that could be a problem.

I don't think you have a grasp on how many people there are on this planet.
If each nuclear plant melted down and killed 100,000 people, that would only total 40,000,000 people - or about 5% of the population. Not anything that will threaten human survival. In fact the population would take less than 10 years to recover from such a hit.
 
2013-05-03 01:21:17 PM
invent something that gets out of control and wipes us out

For a good amount of money I would work on that project.
 
2013-05-03 01:23:09 PM

Marcus Aurelius: A really virulent plague would get 90% of us at most.  The earth would eventually be repopulated with the spawn of doomsday preppers.


More like the offspring of Mormons and certain other religions. They tend to have much bigger families and therefore will have larger representation in the reconstruction of mankind.
 
2013-05-03 01:33:12 PM

GiantRex: Every time the news says something about a comet making a close approach to Earth or solar flare activity increasing or a Mayan apocalypse or whatnot, there are folks out there who get very afraid. Why?


So, if a car is veering toward you on the freeway, or if you see something falling toward you, you do not feel fear?  Well, most people do.  It's part of the human experience to feel fear in the face of imminent death.  You undoubtedly think you're superior for feeling nothing in that circumstance, but the fact that you do not share a preservation instinct does not make you better.  It makes you superfluous.
 
2013-05-03 01:33:32 PM
i.imgur.com

Feeling more than a little nihilistic today anyway.
 
2013-05-03 01:33:55 PM

jjorsett: Marcus Aurelius: A really virulent plague would get 90% of us at most.  The earth would eventually be repopulated with the spawn of doomsday preppers.

More like the offspring of Mormons and certain other religions. They tend to have much bigger families and therefore will have larger representation in the reconstruction of mankind.


Which might be about as close as a worst-case scenario possible.  You know the survivors won't think, "Oh that sucked, guess we were the lucky ones".  They'd think it was some miracle and that they deserved to inherit the earth due to some mystical babble.
 
2013-05-03 01:56:17 PM
Maybe I'm being naive but I think that entire article can be summed up as "The unknown is scary".
 
2013-05-03 02:04:08 PM

Professor Science: Marcus Aurelius: bdub77: Marcus Aurelius: A really virulent plague would get 90% of us at most.  The earth would eventually be repopulated with the spawn of doomsday preppers.

Well there are more than 400 nuclear plants around the globe that would eventually melt down if no one took care of them. One would think that could be a problem.

Locally, maybe.  And most reactors are on auto-scram, as far as I know.

Shutting down the fission reaction doesn't solve the problem of decay heat.  Remember Fukushima?  All of the nasty shiat there happened long after the reactors scrammed.  Spent fuel pools require active cooling to keep from boiling dry, and thanks to our "procrastinate until it's a crisis" approach to waste management, they're loaded far beyond their original design capacities.  Many of them are now packed densely enough that decay heat from the spent fuel would ignite the rods after the water boils off, and the resulting fire would then turn tons of fission products into fine wind-borne ash.

There's not enough shiat piled up in the pools to kill everything.  But anybody downwind for a few hundred miles would be in for a really bad time, of the "What the hell skin, you are not supposed to fall off, stop that" sort.


Pernicious nonsense.
 
2013-05-03 02:16:37 PM
The real issue will be when sexbots come out.  Surely we remember the futurama where it was revealed men prefer the super easy sexbots.
 
2013-05-03 02:33:48 PM

xria: Summercat: To The Escape Zeppelin!: Marcus Aurelius: A really virulent plague would get 90% of us at most.  The earth would eventually be repopulated with the spawn of doomsday preppers.

If 90% of humanity died that would still leave 700,000,000 people still alive, roughly the same population as in the 1700's. There are now so many humans that we can absorb losses in the billions and still remain the unquestioned rulers of this planet.

Incorrect.

If 90% of humanity died today, the 99% of the remaining survivors in industrial areas will die as well. You can't take a loss like that to as large and complex a system as our current economic logistical chain without major shocks to the system.

Further, most people in industrial societies don't know how to live without food magically spawning in grocery stores. Without that sort of supply chain, most people (myself included, to be honest) are going to be up shiat's creek without a paddle.

Although in my case it's becuase I'm pretty much in a desert.

To be fair if 90% of people died today and lots more from the chaos, the amount of food just sitting around in the supply chain would be enough for a few years and give people a chance to go down to the local library and find all the books on farming and animal husbandry, etc. So while there would probably be a lot of knock on deaths I would think more would be from the break down of power structures and groups trying to re-establish hegemony, plus all the violent crime (bandit raids, etc.) that would come back without any organized law enforcement to dissuade it.


The problem is you keep assuming stuff that only exists because billions of people work semi-together to make it happen.  What you don't get:

food that you don't harvest yourself.
Have fun coming up with seed stock to replenish that food.  If the disaster hits after the harvest you may be in trouble.
gas, oil, electricity.  Don't expect to "just hop over there and grab all the food/books/whatever"
fertilizer (see above) that didn't start as food you harvested and passed through you.
clean water (hope you know how to brew small beer).  Largely depends on anyone living upstream of you.  Remember that there are no longer any clean water regulations.
Most of the basic tools you need:  This can't be hammered hard enough.  It's said that "God made the first pair" of blacksmith gloves because you need a pair to make another.  Plenty of other tools are critical.  Can you make a forge?  Can you find an anvil?  Spare parts won't be clicking on amazon prime and getting them tomorrow.

You pretty much get pitched into the 1700s in the US.  If you have the animals and can build a plough and harness, you are golden.  Otherwise you will need to find perfect land (river flood plain, but somehow survive the inevitable floods) and plough the land with your own muscle, Mesopotamian style.

After 100 years or so, a few communities will be expected to have their acts together.  If they are lucky, they will be able to make into the desert, find enough books to stock a decent library, and hit the books.  The reason is that most of the libraries/bookstores/schools will be in places that are too densely populated to survive, and even if they are left intact won't be maintained and will rot.  If we are lucky, they will find enough in the desert (unless people made it to winter and burned them for fuel).

Five years after the disaster, if the US can support the same population as 1700, I'd be impressed.  Think of the Indian recovery after Columbus and Cortez introduced smallpox and you have a good idea what it would be like.  And the Indians almost certainly had plenty of tribes on the outskirts who were already hunter-gatherers and knew all the stuff you need to live in the wild (not that hard once their civilized brethren disappeared, but brutal if you intend to live where modern hunter gathers live).  Their huge cities never recovered before manifest destiny flooded over them (yes, there were plenty of cities and towns before the pilgrims.  The pilgrims planted on farms cleared by Indian tribes wiped out by smallpox).  Somehow I think the result would be far, far, closer to Roanoke and Jamestown than anything else.

/Not prepared (may my old scoutmaster forgive me).
 
2013-05-03 02:44:56 PM

Mugato: toraque: This is all the more reason why we have to invent interplanetary space travel.  We must, as a species, colonize other planets, so we can blow them up too.

Or we could work on fixing this one. It won't be easy but at least we won't have to break the laws of physics as we know them.


Why not both?

And you don't break the laws of physics so much as bend and/or go around them.

Their actually more like guidelines, you know.....

And:  Laws of physics? Really? Back in the 18th/19th centuries classical physicists thought they had learned all there was to learn. What makes you think the same doesn't apply now?

Speed of light as a constant? Well, no. Looks like it varies based on quark densities.

Etc.
 
2013-05-03 02:47:58 PM

LibertyHiller: This is up from when I was a kid, where the end of the world was one bad radar signal or a misjudged provocation away from playing a bet-'em-all game with WOPR.

We got too damn close to wiping out civilization in 1962 and 1983 for anyone who wasn't alive then to truly appreciate how good we have it today.


This.
 
2013-05-03 02:49:15 PM

Magorn: Mugato: toraque: This is all the more reason why we have to invent interplanetary space travel.  We must, as a species, colonize other planets, so we can blow them up too.

Or we could work on fixing this one. It won't be easy but at least we won't have to break the laws of physics as we know them.

So what you are saying is we could take simple, thoughtful comonn-sense steps to reduce consumption and live more simply, or put all our eggs on a 10,000-1 shout big time technological fix that will change everything?

We're HUMAN motherfarkin' BEINGS, man, which one do you THINK we'll go for?


Which one would be more fun?
 
2013-05-03 02:49:43 PM
Nostradumbfarks.
 
2013-05-03 02:54:54 PM

jjorsett: Marcus Aurelius: A really virulent plague would get 90% of us at most.  The earth would eventually be repopulated with the spawn of doomsday preppers.

More like the offspring of Mormons and certain other religions. They tend to have much bigger families and therefore will have larger representation in the reconstruction of mankind.


When I was growing up, one of my best friends was a Mormon kid. He was, though, a bit of a hell-raiser. One time we snuck into the tabernacle and stole some stuff (jerky, candy, stuff like that) from the hidden emergency supply room at the back of the podium. I eyed the guns, but we didn't know anything about guns yet, so we left them alone.

Yeah, the Mormons are ready.
 
2013-05-03 03:02:03 PM
I think part of the problem is that the scenario hasn't really happened before -- where modern civilization gets hit with a catastrophe that actually causes a worldwide population drop or crash.

Naturally, a big enough meteor collision would be pretty much 100% fatal.  Other than that, we really can't confirm what scenarios that don't wipe the earth clean of non-microbial life would actually extinguish humans, without actually experiencing those scenarios.
 
2013-05-03 03:16:36 PM
Phhht, eggheads, what do they know?
 
2013-05-03 03:29:58 PM
img.photobucket.com
 
2013-05-03 03:49:59 PM

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: Magorn: Mugato: toraque: This is all the more reason why we have to invent interplanetary space travel.  We must, as a species, colonize other planets, so we can blow them up too.

Or we could work on fixing this one. It won't be easy but at least we won't have to break the laws of physics as we know them.

So what you are saying is we could take simple, thoughtful comonn-sense steps to reduce consumption and live more simply, or put all our eggs on a 10,000-1 shout big time technological fix that will change everything?

We're HUMAN motherfarkin' BEINGS, man, which one do you THINK we'll go for?

Which one would be more fun?


Hold my beer and watch this
 
2013-05-03 03:50:26 PM
This is such a relief. Back in the 80s they were only giving us 50 years until we destroyed ourselves. Looks like things are improving.

Life is good
 
2013-05-03 03:59:20 PM

GiantRex: I've never been able to understand why doomsday scenarios get people so riled up. Every time the news says something about a comet making a close approach to Earth or solar flare activity increasing or a Mayan apocalypse or whatnot, there are folks out there who get very afraid. Why? If the farking apocalypse happens, I won't care, because I'm not going to be able to care, because I'm going to be dead. The thought of all of humanity being killed off in some kind of disaster is not frightening. What is truly frightening is to be the one left behind.

The odds of you personally being the last survivor are one in seven billion. Sleep well.


So you're saying that I have a chance?!?  Yeah!
 
2013-05-03 04:09:25 PM

xria: To be fair if 90% of people died today and lots more from the chaos, the amount of food just sitting around in the supply chain would be enough for a few years and give people a chance to go down to the local library and find all the books on farming and animal husbandry, etc.


The problem with the books is there will be so few for so many. A dozen or even a few dozen per library is far less than needed.

/And people won't be returning them because there are no fines.
 
2013-05-03 04:16:44 PM
"There is a great race on between humanity's technological powers and our wisdom to use those powers well," institute director Nick Bostrom told MSN. "I'm worried that the former will pull too far ahead."

Okay, which bearded, overweight science fiction writer from 1955 did Mr. Bostrom plagiarize this line from?

Obligatory:

encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com
 
Displayed 50 of 92 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report