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Guess what, humanity? The Earth does not need you. - Adventures in Engineering — LiveJournal
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2006-06-16 19:12
  Subject:   Guess what, humanity? The Earth does not need you.
Public

Face facts here, people. Global warming, however disasterous it may be for the human race, is hardly a ten second warm flash in the geological history of life on earth. Do you think that some smart Tyrannosarus, 165 million years ago, saw that big meteor come down from the sky and went into hysterical dramatics: "Oh no! That's the END OF ALL LIFE ON EARTH?" I imagine one probably did. Well, the big lizards all eventually took the eternal dirt-nap, and the clever monkeys (that's us) will too. And when we're tens of millions of years dead and gone, the earth will find something else. Perhaps higher life forms will evolve from racoons. (Planet of the Furries - AAAHHHHHHHH!!!) It could easily happen.

When we talk about environmental protection, let's get it straight what we're talking about: OUR OWN SURVIVAL as the dominant life form on the planet. We're at the top of the food chain right now, which is an agreeable position to be in, and I'd like us to continue our good run here for as long as possible. But the Earth... DOES NOT NEED US. Never has, never will. This little blue mudball will continue its happy piroutte around the sun for hundreds of millions of years after the human race has been reduced to a few poorly calcified fossils. Fossils that will be dug up by whatever sentient animal evolves after we are thousands of millenia dead and gone.

So don't talk about "Saving the Earth" - it's hubris to imply that humanity has the ability to save or destroy the earth. We don't, not any more than a dust mite can save or destroy the house whose door-mat it lives in. Talk about "saving our own asses." Because that's what taking care of the environment really is.


- http://www.mrcranky.com/movies/inconvenienttruth/2/5.html
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The Perfect Girl
  User: mercyspeaks
  Date: 2006-06-16 19:51 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Did you write that? It's good.
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-06-16 19:57 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
I can write surprisingly well when I'm in a ranty mood. The version I posted here has minor touch-up from version over at MrCranky, but I did indeed write both versions.
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osmium_ocelot: crater
  User: osmium_ocelot
  Date: 2006-06-17 01:40 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Keyword:crater
I'm with Mercyspeaks... Well put sir.

Oh, and sorry for three posts to the same thread at the same time... I'm a little scattered right now.
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Ohmi
  User: ohmisunao
  Date: 2006-06-16 22:09 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Truer words have never been spoken. The world will keep on after we're long gone.
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tiger0range
  User: tiger0range
  Date: 2006-06-16 23:13 (UTC)
  Subject:   What I find funny
Is the arguement trotted out every so often that humans can't possibly change the world in such a radical way. Have they ever even looked down at the ground passing below from an airplane? There is very little ground that hasn't been touched and reshaped by humans. We have rerouted entire rivers, levelled hills, and done things to the planet a dinosaur, or even the smartest monkey or dolphin could not even be aware of let alone conceptualize.

Little tiny bacteria have changed the climate drasticly in the past. Why can't humans? Especially looking at the fact that you can see human inprint on the entire planet.

Actually, I don't understand their mentality at all partly because I'm feeling like I'm shadowboxing an entity. They talk over the airwaves, they show up on the polls. They post on the internet. But I can't find any of these people in the real world anywhere. I'm in freaking God's left armpit Kansas all rolling around in His funk. I meet people who don't believe in evolution all the time (and even they seem like a minority here). Where are the "no global warming" people?

Even the heehaw hicks (and this place is up to the eyeballs with them) are like: "Golly, it's gonna be like Armageddon with all them tornadoes and locusts and shit! We're doomed! Global warming is gonna screw us up big time! Haw Haw!" (yes, they really talk like that over here)

I have actually met a flat earther or two in real life, but I have yet to meet a anti-global warming person (Anti-Ice Ager? Warm Speller? What are they called?).
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-06-17 00:28 (UTC)
  Subject:   Re: What I find funny
Is the arguement trotted out every so often that humans can't possibly change the world in such a radical way. Have they ever even looked down at the ground passing below from an airplane?

It's true that human beings are able to alter the land in ways that no creature in the history of the earth ever has been. But the scale of our achievements is still so tiny compared to what nature is capable of, it really doesn't matter.

We could (in theory) plow under the top foot of every last acre on the planet. But in a hundred years, nature will have taken it back. Time and weathering are slow movers by human standards, but they're absolutely unstoppable. These are the same forces that built the Grand Canyon, remember. No human achievement has ever come close to building something on that scale. Even the great pyramids of Egypt are starting to fall down, after a very short geological time span of 5,000 years. And those were built in the best possible preservation environment - ultra-dry and hot. When there is water, and especially ice getting into the cracks in stone, well... you get stuff like the Grand Canyon.

Until we start building things entirely out of solid, thousand-ton blocks of metals that do not corrode (e.g. not iron or steel), everything we've built will eventually fall to the forces of wind, rain and oxidation. The only things we've actually built that will last more than a thousand years or so... are plastic cups. Hahahah.


We can change the climate enough to kill our own species, of that I have no doubt. But we cannot kill the earth, or even alter it enough to prevent some form of large scale life from arising after we're gone.
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tiger0range
  User: tiger0range
  Date: 2006-06-17 04:19 (UTC)
  Subject:   Re: What I find funny
Actually, you are mixing Ambigously Gendered Grandparent Geology with Mother Nature in that statement. Other than climate, Mother Nature hasn't really effected anything on earth on the scale of the Grand Canyon.

Dinosaurs were around for a hundred million years or so, but other than their bones, not much exists. The Grand Canyon forms in only 5 million years and is beyond the scale of anything caused by nature, including the gigantic mines that have utterly levelled hills. But then these mines were created in the blink of an eye comparatively even to the blink of an eye that the Grand Canyon is.

Whatever we do will not change geology much. Even if we set off all our nukes and whatnot, we will not change much. Nature on the other hand will change drasticly. We have a long history of natural (ecological, biological) collapse due to relatively small changes. Our changing the earth's temperature will probably only effect it for a few hundred years, not even noticable on the geologic scale, but on the biologic scale it could mean knocking everything down to microorganism level for the next few hundred million years.

I sometimes say it this way: "Geology is linear, biology is exponential." Little changes mean nothing geologicaly, but little changes are amplified beyond belief biologicaly.
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osmium_ocelot: crater
  User: osmium_ocelot
  Date: 2006-06-17 01:27 (UTC)
  Subject:   Re: What I find funny
Keyword:crater
"I have actually met a flat earther or two in real life, but I have yet to meet a anti-global warming person (Anti-Ice Ager? Warm Speller? What are they called?)."

I have met at least two of them here in Northeast North Carolina. One of those two actually also believes that the President of the United States has the legal right to crush a child's testicles in order to extract information from his father.
This obviously means that NENC is even more backwards than Kansas.
Of course, we still have the Klan here. We also have canned pork brains in milk gravy and an isle in the supermarket that is "Beer and Beer". So I shouldn't be surprised.

As for the next intelligent animals to evolve, I'm going to go with either octopi, or birds. Both have high intelligence, curiousity, and the ability to manipulate their environment. Common crows make tools. I suspect octopi would make tools if they needed them for anything, but in their environment they don't seem to encounter a problem not solved by what their body already provides. Birds have language and parrots (especially African Greys) can even learn our language. Octopi have no known audible language but I would not be at all surprised if they evolved a visual language. Both species are well equipped to survive the next great natural disaster that cleanses 50% or so of the species off the planet.

anybody want to place any other bets?
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osmium_ocelot
  User: osmium_ocelot
  Date: 2006-06-17 01:37 (UTC)
  Subject:   Re: What I find funny
oh, and speaking of global warming : http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=scienceNews&storyID=2006-06-15T180503Z_01_N14246495_RTRIDST_0_SCIENCE-ENVIRONMENT-PERMAFROST-DC.XML

Short version : about 400,000 square miles of Siberian Permafrost, containing about twice as much carbon as is currently in the atmosphere of Earth, is in danger of melting and releasing that carbon.
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Ohmi
  User: ohmisunao
  Date: 2006-06-17 08:54 (UTC)
  Subject:   Re: What I find funny
Do you know if any new evidence to whether it's old or new carbon has been discovered?

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20050620/carbon.html
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osmium_ocelot
  User: osmium_ocelot
  Date: 2006-06-17 11:44 (UTC)
  Subject:   Re: What I find funny
Dunno.

However, seeing as how that's 10,000+ year old permafrost that's melting, I'm going to guess it's old carbon. Ya know, considering that all those mammoth carcasses and such are intermingled with what's thawing out.

There's also this : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/08/11/wbog11.xml
360,000 square miles worth of methane, 70 billion tons.
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Ohmi
  User: ohmisunao
  Date: 2006-06-17 21:08 (UTC)
  Subject:   Re: What I find funny
In the case of the methane.. we should go capture it.. that's a ton of fuel! XD
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