Tuesday, January 16, 2007





Scientists Prepare to Move Doomsday Clock Forward

The keepers of the "Doomsday Clock" plan to move its hands forward next Wednesday to reflect what they call worsening nuclear and climate threats to the world.

The symbolic clock, maintained by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, currently is set at seven minutes to midnight, with midnight marking global catastrophe.

The group did not say in which direction the hands would move. But in a news release previewing an event next Wednesday, they said the change was based on "worsening nuclear, climate threats" to the world.

5 comments:

W.M. Bear said...

The "Rapture Ready" clock (I note) seems to be set at 11:55 PM. My suggestion, therefore, would be to move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock forward TWO minutes instead of just one (from 11:53 PM to 11:55 PM) so that the two "clocks" are in perfect accord. Then watch out!

BTW, is this Eastern Standard or Greenwich Mean (a.k.a. "Universal Time")?

dan said...

http://www.squidoo.com/year3001/

dan said...

The End of Humankind, Circa Year 3000, Due to Climate Change

Dan said...

Doom-sayers need dispassionate eye

Date Published/Broadcast: November 21, 2006
News Source: The Daily News
Author: Brian Flemming
URL: http://hfxnews.ca/index.cfm?cid=23



Doom-sayers need dispassionate eye

List of calamities we're told to fear is long

By Brian Flemming
The Daily News

Almost daily, it seems, some scientist or group of scientists appear, Jeremiah-like, in the media to warn all us non-scientists of the terrible futures that will be visited upon us if we don't mend our ways. The list of dooms we're told to fear is long. Global warming, a.k.a. climate change, is today's mother of all science-based future threats.

Other grim ghosts of Christmas future include: the disappearance of fish from the oceans in 50 years, punishing pandemics, hospital superbugs, tainted food, violent extremists with dirty bombs and viruses, expanding ozone-layer holes, genetically-modified foods, obesity in children, cities that don't work anymore and diminishing oil production that will make petroleum products scarce and expensive.

It's getting tougher all the time for intelligent laypeople to decide which scientists are wise Cassandras who deserve our attention - and which are crass Chicken Littles who should be scorned.

To help us decide how much trust should be invested in science and scientists, the University of King's College - in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Public Affairs - is sponsoring a Trust in Science Lecture Series this academic year.

The circle the series is trying to square is this: most polls say people trust scientists much more than they do politicians or journalists. Scientists are seen as unbiased seekers after truth, noble people who only have our best interests in mind when they warn us of dark days ahead.

Dispensers of truth?

But are scientists really dispassionate dispensers of unsullied truth? Or, like the rest of us, are they sometimes purveyors of political pap that more reflects their partisan, non-scientific sides than their white-coated purity?

The science-struggle-of-the-month in November features the deeply flawed Kyoto protocol versus the out-of-step position taken by the Harper government at an international conference in Kenya.

Those lined up against the Harperians believe the world is rolling rapidly downhill toward a catastrophe that will, at best, bring the breakdown in social order -and, at worst, the biological end of humankind. It would be a worldwide re-enactment of the end of Easter Island's civilization so exquisitely described by scientist Jared Diamond in Collapse, his scary enviro-end bestseller.

The latest Jared-iad, out in time to stoke your Christmas depression, is from Canadian scientist Thomas Homer-Dixon, whose The Upside of Down will make you mix one martini too many as you read it beside a Christmas tree that should never have been cruelly cut down.

Homer-Dixon even offers sage thoughts on how we might build a new Jerusalem from the ashes of world-wide social breakdown after an environmental collapse. Good on you, Homer-Dixon.

How did scientists become society's trustworthy tellers of truth, anyway?

Keepers of the flame

The first King's lecturer, Harvard's Steven Shapin, said the ascent of scientists to their current status of keepers of the flame of progress is a recent phenomenon.

Because of that, he said, we, the laity, need to distinguish carefully between the scientists' expertise in the "is" - the inductively provable knowledge part, and the "ought" - the unprovable, ethical part of scientific theory.

It's the difference between having the skill to do something and the wisdom to know what to do with that skill. Society must increasingly concentrate on that dichotomy and grasp that being a great scientist doesn't automatically make that scientist a philosopher-king.

The next lecture, on Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the King's New Academic Building, will feature another Harvard academic, David Scadden. He will lift the curtain on how recent controversies within science show the extent to which the scientific community both trusts and distrusts itself - and how that community deals with the trust issue.Other lectures will follow in January and March. See www.ukings.ca for details.

Those who want to go beyond fear-mongering and the paroxysms of partisan peddlers of "scientific truth" who clutter the media with calls to arms should hear the outstanding speakers who've been enlisted to help us in this quest.

Kudos to King's for helping us understand trust in science, one of the most challenging intellectual voyages of our fearful time on Planet Earth.

BFlem8861@aol.com

Brian Flemming is a former Chairman of the Board of Governors at King's.

Dan said...

Climate Change and the End of Humankind
on Planet Earth

by Charles C. Commons (c) 2006-3006

The end of humankind's time on Earth is coming to an end, and I welcome it. I can't believe I wrote that, but I did. Let me explain.

God knows, we've messed things up real bad, here on Planet Earth, and now it's time to pay the piper. Oh, it's not going to end in a nuclear armageddon, no. And it's not going to end because of the so-called "Clash of Civilizations" going on now with our friends the terrorists. No, the end is coming because of climate change, and it's too late to do anything about it now. Way too late.

Our fate has been sealed.

I should be in despair but I am not. I think we are getting what we deserve. We did our best, as a human species, but our best was not very good. We blew it. Climate change, according to the Stern Report, has already pretty much made it impossible -- read that word again: "impossible" -- to tackle global warming. We are done for.

We are about to be fried, frozen, fingered. Put that in your computer file.

As a species, we are done for. Period.

And while I don'tdespair over this, neither am I gloating, no. We are headed forextinction, and you know something, we deserve it. We sealed our own fate by our foolish, greedy, convenience-addicted actions.

Maybe it was in our genes from the very beginning, this coming demise. Maybe all this was meant to be, not some non-existant god or Creator Being, but by the fickle hands of fate itself. [If there really was a God, we wouldn't be in this predicament in the first place. Think about it. We did this all by ourselves. There's no use crying over spilled milk. We're done for.]

Oh, it won't happen soon, not in this lifetime, not in my lifetime or your lifetime. Give us 15 or 20 more human generations, 30 at most, and then it's curtains. The Earth will be fried. The die is already cast, it's in the cards. There's no going back. Sigh.

As human carbon emissions continue to grow and grow, the rate of climate change will accelerate and we will experience it sooner than you can imagine.

You think life is forever. It is not.

Human life is about to be deleted from the surface of Planet Earth. I give it about500 years. Stretch it to 1000 years if you wish, and that's okay with me. This is not an exact science. But it is science. We are done for.

The simple fact, the truth, is that we are headed for the exit ramp. Our rise as a species on Earth in a long, long history of cosmic time and Darwinian evolution has been capped. And we did it to ourselves. Us. You and me.

Cars. Airplanes. Factories. Coal plants. Massive industrialization. Oil. Technology. Convenience. Greed. We couldn't stop.

Our DNA, our intelligence, did us in. It's over. By the year 2500 -- okay, the year 3000 at the latest --we're history. And you know what? It doesn't matter. Not one bit. The cosmos does not care one iota. We came, we saw, we're leaving.

Because when you look at us, our history, our backstory, what did we achieve? Miracles, yes, and then some. But these miracles have done us in. Climate change cannot be unchanged. The course has been set.There's no turning back.

Let me put it this way: the Earth's experiment with the human species and most of the planet and animal species that evolved even before us is coming to an end. And we humans did it. We pulled the levers, we pushed the buttons, we pulled the triggers.

We burned too much coal, we guzzled too much gasoline, we used too much oil, we made too many factories to make our toys and vehicles, too many motorscooters, too many cars, too many smokestacks, too many people. We just didn't know how to rein things in. And now it's too late.

Well, 500 years is a long time to plan for the end. Start planning. I'm glad I lived in the last half of the 20th century and the first part of the 21st century. It's been a wonderful life, a wonderful ride, and I learned alot.

But even I, a common man with no PHD or expertise in anything, even I can tell you it's over. You don't have to read the fine print, either.The message is in plain English for anyone to read: increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have sealed our fate. And I mean SEALED.

By 2500 -- okay, 3000, if you want to stretch it -- we will be goners. The Earth will remain, of course, good old Earth, our temporary home amidst the stars. But we, the human species, will soon be gone.

And there is not one single thing anyone can do about it. This is the sad,bare, bald, truth.

Greedy, hungry for entertainment and travel and technology, we did it ourselves, to ourselves. The rest, now, will be a long slow decline into annihilation of our species by unstoppable global warming and climate change. You might say this is depressing. I say it's reality, and we need to face reality. And start planning for the end. That is where our enterprise should go now: planning for the end of the human species.

I think that, when all is said and done, we deserved this. And people usually get what they deserve. Don't you agree?

So goodbye Human Civilization, Human Science, Human Evolution, Human Dreaming. No more Magna Carta, no more Beethoven or Mozart or Snoopy Dogg or J-Z, no more cellphones, no more PDAs, no more United Nations, no more blogging, no more cars, no more churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, shrines. Human life is soon to be a lost chapter in the Cosmos. Because of global warming and climate change.

Goodbye Humankind, it all its storied and multicolored and multisplendored variety! Ten billion people will soon be zero people. There will be no one left alive. There will not be one man standing. The Earth will be devoid of all human life, and most animal life and plant life as well. But some bacteria and slime will remain and continue...

You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way climate change is taking us. It is taking us to our end as a species. E-N-D. Period. Full stop.

Of course, I won't be here to witness those last pathetic years, weeks, days. Neither will you.

I had a good life at this time in cosmic time, and it was a very interesting exercise in conciousness, and I loved every minute of my existence. I am grateful for the very miracle of being here at all. Thank you Universe, thank you Evolution, thank you DNA, thank you Genepool!

But I've seen the future: come the year 2,500 (okay, year 3000 if you want to stretch it a bit) it's bleak. Bleaker than bleak. It's become dark at that point. The point of no return is that there is no return. READ THAT SENTENCE AGAIN SLOWLY!

We never adequately learned that lesson. Too late now. Sigh.

How much longer?

15 generations of family life, 30 at the most. And then it's over. Humankind is on its way out.

In a way, it makes sense. We did it to ourselves. We did it ourselves. We dug our own hole, while trying to build a towering temple to the sky.

It's okay. We had our chance. But we couldn't curb our appetites. Born from the swamps, we shall return to the swamps. Evolved from the void, we will return to the void. One might call it poetic justice. Celestial justice. Everlasting justice. Star life.

We came out of nothing, and we will return to nothing. Blame it on our genes, our sharp minds, our penetrating intelligence and human brains.

We are done for.

NOTA BENE: Even as you read these words, the planet's millions of engines, small and large, household and industrial, are purring, revving, singing their song -- and spewing CO2 emissions into the very atmosphere that sustains us, the very atmosphere that is now hastening our demise. At this very moment -- NOW! -- highways around the world are clogged, smokestacks are belching, gasoline is being guzzled, oil is being burned. Even as you read these words, it is too late. Too late. Too late.

Of course, you think 500 years is so far away, who cares? You should care. And you do. But it's too late........

--------------------------------------

LINKS:
INSIGHTFUL ARTICLE:
http://bostonreview.net/BR32.1/emanuel.html

NEWS

World at sharp end of climate change and humankind will end in 3000, warns 'blogger provacateur'

by LMN News Agency, New York

The world is at the sharp end of the devastating impact of climate change and there is nothing that can be done about it, according to an American writer who calls himself a "blogger provocateur", and says humankind will cease to exist by the year 2,500 or the year 3,000 at the latest.

"We have 15-30 more human generations of family life left," writes blogger Charles C. Commons at http://climatechange3000.blogspot.com

Commons, not well-known in the academic world nor even a published environmentalist author, has nevertheless delivered a dark, bleak message about climate change and global warming. Critics have already called his blog a "dire vision of the future due to global warming," while others have dismissed his blog as the ravings of a lunatic who is out of touch with reality.
Commons says he begs to differ. "I am not the one who is out of touch with reality,' he said in a recent email inteview with this reporter. "Humankind is on its last ropes, give it just 500 more years or so, 1000 at most. We are done for. By our own hand. This has nothing to do with God or theology. We have done this to ourselves."

Commons, a 58 year old philosopher who says that he is basically an optimist and has always lived his life that way, claims that any realistic examination of the climate change issues point in only one direction: "Humankind as a species is doomed," he says.

When asked what is the point of writing such a bleak commentary, Commons said in a wide-ranging inteview: "While the end will definitely come by the year 2500 or 3000, what we must start doing now is planning for this end. There is nothing we can do about climate change, it is already too late. Of course, governments won't admit that, their job is to ensure the safety of their citizens in the short term, but any thinker worth his or her salt will tell you, we are done for as a species and it is now too late to change things around. We will be fried. The Earth will continue, some animal species might live on, some bacteria and micro-organisms, but humans will not be in the picture anymore. We need to start thinking seriously about this. We are at the end of human existence."

On his blog, titled "People Get What They Deserve: Climate Change and the End of Humankind," Commons writes: "The end of humankind's time on Earth is coming to an end, and I welcome it. I can't believe I wrote that, but I did. Let me explain."

He adds: "God knows, we've messed things up real bad, here on Planet Earth, and now it's time to pay the piper. Oh, it's not going to end in a nuclear armageddon, no. And it's not going to end because of the so-called "Clash of Civilizations" going on now with our friends the terrorists. No, the end is coming because of climate change, and it's too late to do anything about it now. Way too late.

Our fate has been sealed.

I should be in despair but I am not. I think we are getting what we deserve. We did our best, as a human species, but our best was not very good. We blew it. Climate change, according to the Stern Report, has already pretty much made it impossible -- read that word again: "impossible" -- to tackle global warming. We are done for.

We are about to be fried, frozen, fingered. Put that in your computer file.
As a species, we are done for. Period.
And while I don'tdespair over this, neither am I gloating, no. We are headed for extinction, and you know something, we deserve it. We sealed our own fate by our foolish, greedy, convenience-addicted actions.
Maybe it was in our genes from the very beginning, this coming demise. Maybe all this was meant to be, not some non-existant god or Creator Being, but by the fickle hands of fate itself. [If there really was a God, we wouldn't be in this predicament in the first place. Think about it. We did this all by ourselves. There's no use crying over spilled milk. We're done for.]
Oh, it won't happen soon, not in this lifetime, not in my lifetime or your lifetime. Give us 15 or 20 more human generations, 30 at most, and then it's curtains. The Earth will be fried. The die is already cast, it's in the cards. There's no going back.
As human carbon emissions continue to grow and grow, the rate of climate change will accelerate and we will experience it sooner than you can imagine.
You think life is forever. It is not.
Human life is about to be deleted from the surface of Planet Earth. I give it about 500 years. Stretch it to 1000 years if you wish, and that's okay with me. This is not an exact science. But it is science. We are done for.
The simple fact, the truth, is that we are headed for the exit ramp. Our rise as a species on Earth in a long, long history of cosmic time and Darwinian evolution has been capped. And we did it to ourselves. Us. You and me.
Cars. Airplanes. Factories. Coal plants. Massive industrialization. Oil. Technology. Convenience. Greed. We couldn't stop.
Our DNA, our intelligence, did us in. It's over. By the year 2500 -- okay, the year 3000 at the latest --we're history. And you know what? It doesn't matter. Not one bit. The cosmos does not care one iota. We came, we saw, we're leaving.

Let me put it this way: the Earth's experiment with the human species and most of the planet and animal species that evolved even before us is coming to an end. And we humans did it. We pulled the levers, we pushed the buttons, we pulled the triggers.
We burned too much coal, we guzzled too much gasoline, we used too much oil, we made too many factories to make our toys and vehicles, too many motorscooters, too many cars, too many smokestacks, too many people. We just didn't know how to rein things in. And now it's too late.

Greedy, hungry for entertainment and travel and technology, we did it ourselves, to ourselves. The rest, now, will be a long slow decline into annihilation of our species by unstoppable global warming and climate change. You might say this is depressing. I say it's reality, and we need to face reality. And start planning for the end. That is where our enterprise should go now: planning for the end of the human species.

So goodbye Human Civilization, Human Science, Human Evolution, Human Dreaming. No more Magna Carta, no more Beethoven or Mozart or Snoopy Dogg or J-Z, no more cellphones, no more PDAs, no more United Nations, no more blogging, no more cars, no more churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, shrines. Human life is soon to be a lost chapter in the Cosmos. Because of global warming and climate change.
Goodbye Humankind, it all its storied and multicolored and multisplendored variety! Ten billion people will soon be zero people. There will be no one left alive. There will not be one man standing. The Earth will be devoid of all human life, and most animal life and plant life as well. But some bacteria and slime will remain and continue...
You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way climate change is taking us. It is taking us to our end as a species.

In a way, it makes sense. We did it to ourselves. We did it ourselves. We dug our own hole, while trying to build a towering temple to the sky.
It's okay. We had our chance. But we couldn't curb our appetites. Born from the swamps, we shall return to the swamps. Evolved from the void, we will return to the void. One might call it poetic justice. Celestial justice. Everlasting justice. Star life.
We came out of nothing, and we will return to nothing. Blame it on our genes, our sharp minds, our penetrating intelligence and human brains.
We are done for.
Even as you read these words, the planet's millions of engines, small and large, household and industrial, are purring, revving, singing their song -- and spewing CO2 emissions into the very atmosphere that sustains us, the very atmosphere that is now hastening our demise. At this very moment -- NOW! -- highways around the world are clogged, smokestacks are belching, gasoline is being guzzled, oil is being burned. Even as you read these words, it is too late. Too late. Too late."
posted by dan at 9:56 PM 21 comments
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