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(New Scientist)   Imagine Earth without people   ( divider line
    More: Interesting  
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27983 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Oct 2006 at 8:12 AM (12 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

206 Comments     (+0 »)

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2006-10-12 08:48:39 AM  
Isn't the point of lunar and martian colonization so that we can imagine the Earth without people?

/Life isn't all flowers and sausages.
2006-10-12 08:48:58 AM  
"If man disappears tomorrow, do you expect to see herds of poodles roaming the plains?"

[image from too old to be available]
2006-10-12 08:50:33 AM  
No humans = perfect world. Come join the voluntary human extinction movement! It's a little slower than sudden mass transportation to...elsewhere...but we'll get to the same point eventually.

Or just start working on that engineered plague. Join a doomsday cult, and put an end to homo sapiens. Same result, only faster.
2006-10-12 08:51:07 AM  
This is part of a plot by PETA to kill us all.
2006-10-12 08:51:08 AM  
2006-10-12 08:51:19 AM  
I've often wondered: If there was a technological civilization on Earth millions of years ago, would any evidence have survived of their presence?
2006-10-12 08:51:21 AM  
I'd rather imagine the world with environmentally conscious/responsible people. I've got no problems with humanity in general (ok I do, but I don't wish for extinction because of it), I just wish the vast majority weren't uncaring slobs when it comes to the planet.

Bob: Hey George, what should we do with this toxic waste?
George: I don't know, go dump it in the Butte.
*years pass with lots of waste being dumped in the Butte*
Reporter: So what have you done to try and clean up the Butte?
State/City Official: We've turned it into a tourist attraction.

/I wish that was sarcasm
2006-10-12 08:52:43 AM  
From the article: By some estimates, we now commandeer 40 per cent of all its productivity.

So who commandeers the other 60%? Are there some areas where animals are involved in square-foot gardening?
2006-10-12 08:53:11 AM  
eating the burgers without the buns and skipping the fries.

A messy aftermath? what the hell is wrong with cooking up a patty, and toss a few veges together, cheaper, same result or better.

I can't see how picking out bits and peices equates to "eating McDonalds" as such.
2006-10-12 08:53:25 AM  
Hiro P.
Isn't the point of lunar and martian colonization so that we can imagine the Earth without people?

Colonization isn't about getting everyone off of Earth. It's about spreading the species to places to prevent extinction.
2006-10-12 08:55:05 AM  
crawlspace: What kind of eco-twinkie crap is this? Pfffft. Any article that uses the phrase 'light-polluted' instantly loses me.

crawlspace is not a (check all that apply):

[_] Underwater welder
[_] Senator from Pennsylvania
[_] Philatelist
[_] NOC CIA Agent
[_] Construction worker
[_] Motorcycle cop
[_] Indian Chief
[_] Cowboy
[_] Leather biker
[X] Astronomer
2006-10-12 08:55:09 AM  
doh wrong thread
scales back on the vodak.
2006-10-12 08:56:00 AM  
"If another intelligent species ever evolves on the Earth - and that is by no means certain, given how long life flourished before we came along - it may well have no inkling that we were ever here save for a few peculiar fossils and ossified (lithified?) relics."

Please note that the information in the article shows conclusively that we cannot ever know if "another intelligent species" evolved before "we came along."

There is no way to know if some species of dinosaur did indeed evolve into an "intelligent" animal, and went throught the same progression we are following. And, BTW, there is also no reason to believe that industrial civilization is open-ended. I favor the bell curve analogy, myself.
2006-10-12 08:57:31 AM  

Earth needs us as much as we need her

Please be kidding.
2006-10-12 08:57:50 AM  
The Icelander: Colonization isn't about getting everyone off of Earth. It's about spreading the species to places to prevent extinction.

Tomato, Tomato

/Sounded better in my head.
//Good point though Icelander.
2006-10-12 08:58:57 AM  
Oh please, the crab people would just fark it up too.
2006-10-12 08:59:25 AM  
citizen905: Why get rid of everybody? Why not just the people we don't like? That'd give us some breathing room.

Or lebensraum.

It's too bad we as a civilization keep persecuting people with such brilliant ideas.
2006-10-12 09:02:32 AM  
Would it still have chocolate?

/important things first!
2006-10-12 09:05:15 AM  
About TFA: Can you say mental masturbation?

So, I guess now we're paying scientists to play the "what if" game?
2006-10-12 09:05:32 AM  
Funny. I can imagine Earth without a certain few people right now and it gives me a nice, evil smile thinking about it.

/You know who you are.
2006-10-12 09:05:35 AM  
They will probably be most puzzled by how a society of 6 billion just one day disappeared all at once. We should leave a note.


/needs me farky and farkit
2006-10-12 09:05:49 AM  
imagine whirled peas
2006-10-12 09:06:50 AM  
Rufus_T_Firefly: So, I guess now we're paying scientists to play the "what if" game?

Only if you have a subscription to New Scientist.
2006-10-12 09:09:31 AM  
This article is such complete monkeyspunk that I decline to dignify it with comment.

/Except this one
2006-10-12 09:10:53 AM  
Skleenar: In my defense: sarcasm doesn't transmit well over the tubes
2006-10-12 09:11:30 AM  
Imagine it just without the black people!
2006-10-12 09:11:54 AM  
...And my html skills are on the fritz!
2006-10-12 09:15:07 AM  
Great article!

I don't think that the author in any way *wants* this to happen. He's just pointing out what impact people are having on the environment, and on how healthy/strong the environment is (ie it restores itself to some self sustaining state fairly quickly).
2006-10-12 09:17:27 AM  
[image from too old to be available]
2006-10-12 09:23:26 AM  
Not to threadjack, but this discussion reminded me of something.

Wasn't there a book years ago where the plot went like this:
Space aliens come. They're freindly.
They say "We'll totally hook you up with our technology (energy, no pollution, medicine, all that Star Trek stuff) under ONE CONDITION:
Give us all your black people.

Aliens won't say why they want them. Earth as a short time to decide.

Any farkers remember that one?
2006-10-12 09:23:51 AM  
The Icelander
I've often wondered: If there was a technological civilization on Earth millions of years ago, would any evidence have survived of their presence?

Dick Clark.
2006-10-12 09:24:40 AM  

\love George Carlin!!
2006-10-12 09:25:34 AM  
what a stupid article. cut diamonds will last that long easy. as will many tougher plastics.
2006-10-12 09:26:05 AM  
Imagine that all the people on Earth - all 6.5 billion of us and counting - could be spirited away tomorrow, transported to a re-education camp in a far-off galaxy.

Hey, no need to get carried away. I know of a little place down in Cuba that's been working out well so far...
2006-10-12 09:26:14 AM  
haha ^is stupid
2006-10-12 09:26:30 AM  
Listen get rid of all the lawyers, politicians, dictators, terrorists, actors, hillbillies, leprachauns, all of michigan, and Joe Theisman (worst play-by-play ever). This will bring the balance back to our delicate eco-system.

/We can keep the hot female actors
//Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Anniston you can stay.
2006-10-12 09:26:35 AM  
The Icelander

Fingerprints of the gods -- Amazon.

Check it out. It's an interesting theory, but I'm not sure I believe it all.
2006-10-12 09:27:38 AM  
ha...not you fighting-newfie: my earlier comment was dumb.
2006-10-12 09:29:05 AM  
I'd watch the movie. Teach the makers of Microcosmos and Winged Migration some computer animation and let 'em go.
2006-10-12 09:31:10 AM  
Why would anyone be upset or offended by this article? All it does is examine the physical processes by which the effects and artifacts of industrial civilization would be erased, if all human industrial and agricultural activity ceased. So, the buildings are crumbling at Pripyat and vegetation is taking over the city. I think that's interesting. In fact, the rapidity with which the ecosystem is recovering should be encouraging to those who love nature for itself, and satisfactory for those who think that "environmentalism" is a type of hysteria.

Does the very idea that large-scale human activities could cease at some point offend or disturb certain persons that much? Why would an anti-environmentalist care? After all, the anti-environmentalist perspective is intrinsically selfish in that it disregards future generations. Why would anyone who holds this viewpoint care if humans cease to exist in 50 or 100 years? To simultaneously be selfish and supposedly concerned for future generations is an amazingly neurotic attitude, verging on mental illness.
2006-10-12 09:31:27 AM  
I'm worried some future asshole Joel Babbit type is going to put self-healing mylar billboards in space. Even after we're gone, the spam will remain.
2006-10-12 09:31:30 AM  

Imagine people without earth.

[image from too old to be available]
2006-10-12 09:33:57 AM  
That was a good read. Enjoyed it.
2006-10-12 09:42:18 AM  
Makes you wonder if an intelligent species has already arisen a least once, reached its peak, and left the earth to colonize other planets, abandoning the earth in the process millions (or a bilion) years ago?
2006-10-12 09:42:30 AM  
Meh, national Geographic did a better,longer, and more involved look at the same thing about a year ago to lazy to lookup the volume #. Thats what google is for!
2006-10-12 09:48:50 AM  
On the map of light pollution, does anyone else think it's artificially dark in and around the Mid East? Wouldn't Israel be registering at least something?
2006-10-12 09:49:20 AM  
crawlspace: What kind of eco-twinkie crap is this? Pfffft. Any article that uses the phrase 'light-polluted' instantly loses me.

Go to any city on the east coast and look up at the sky at midnight, when it is "clear" out. Now go to Tucson, AZ, and repeat. When you are done, you will understand what light pollution really is. A blight on the beauty that is the original all-night show, something we humans with our technology should not be over-looking.

/Rarely use my telescope any more, because I can't see squat under a Duval County sky.
2006-10-12 09:53:41 AM  
The Icelander

I thought colonization is about spread of the virus "human". I subscripbe to that virus theory because, well, because we are a virus...

/pbththththththbbbbtp (that's a rasberry)
2006-10-12 10:01:07 AM  
Just another sign that real, serious environmentalists are suicidal, self-loathing psychos. Anyone that advocates the destruction of humanity is sick in the head. Anyone who thinks it would be "better" if humanity died out needs some serious medication.

Things like "good" and "better" are value judgements and only have meaning in respect to a sentient being capable of making value judgements. Therefore, nothing can be "good" that is not good to a judging, sentient human being. All of humanity dying cannot therefore be good in any sense because good only has meaning in reference to people, and that certainly wouldn't be good for people.
2006-10-12 10:01:15 AM  
Every. Damn. Day.
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