Zen Pencils created this brilliant web comic based on a speech given by Bad Astronomy blogger Phil Plait. It’s a great example of why children naturally find the world interesting, but need to be harassed into knowing about pretend spiritual things by their adults.
In general, NASA long has a habit of showing us our species’ potential, making it difficult for anyone not to end up with a warm, fuzzy optimistic feeling about our future techno-utopia on space stations orbiting Titan or some such other wondrous fate. But the realist in me is relieved to see that it’s also funding research that’s more down to earth, Such as the growing realisation that our population size, consumption habits and social inequality are leading toward fairly certain, unhappy ends in a not too distant future. The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center’s study, “A Minimal Model for Human and Nature,” is solid dystopian reading material.
- For those thinking we’ll techno our way out of it: “Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use.”
- The study’s answer: Fewer people, each consuming less.
- Consider: What are the odds that either thing will happen?
Rolf Muertter is a polymath scientist looking at how humans are the planet’s dominant species, not from a political, social or ethical angle, but simply as an ecological phenomenon. To me, this view does a much better job of explaining how we can, with full knowledge of what we’re doing, continue to wreck our own habitat without much more than rhetorical concern. Darwinian Demonology