Monthly Archives: March 2014
OPINION & REVIEW
Do you wonder how long the mostly fossil fueled electric utility industry can last, given their immense problems with existing nuclear power plants and the rising costs of planned new nukes? It is true that expensive new sources of petroleum have been found, but these are increasingly remote, difficult to find, hard to reach, and very expensive to extract, pump, and deliver. In consequence, the dollar and environmental costs to produce coal, oil, and even natural gas are rising and will continue to do so indefinitely.
If this were not bad enough, world population keeps growing and gigantic populations, which have been largely poor and in poverty, are increasingly better educated and enjoying better living conditions. The trend is certainly not universal, but the growths in India, China, Indonesia, and elsewhere are certainly noticed in board rooms around the world. The wealthy 1% are greedily and happily looking forward to their further rising incomes as demand soars and prices increase, producing greater profits for the fossil fuel industry. Governments may try to impose strict environmental controls but these are minor impediments in the minds of the wealthy industrialists. Plus, huge infusions of money from industry to political super PACS keep strict pollution laws and carbon taxes to a minimum. Continue reading
Two special postings today. First is a link to a major new AAAS statement on the scientific basis of global warming released today, 18 March 2014. This is followed by a 15 March 2014 short review, contributed to The Future of Humanity by Joe Bish of PMC on a NASA funded study of global industrial civilization’s future prospects.
Here’s the link to the AAAS statement: What scientists know about global warming
The largest scientific society in the world, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS, has assessed the current state of scientific knowledge on global warming. Due in part to concerns over a widespread lack of understanding and misrepresentations on this topic, AAAS has today released to the public a major statement and video about global warming, what its consequences might be, and what humanity needs to know and do about it.
Here’s the link to an earlier report on the NASA-funded study:
On Industrial Civilization Collapse
Editor Note: Sorry, the above link has become broken. We have to wait until the Elsevier journal Ecological Economics publishes the article described below.
The Joe Bish review follows.The study was done by the Universities of Maryland and Minnesota. The main report has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics.
From “The Daily Email” of Population Media Center, 15 March 2014, by Joe Bish, Senior Population Communications Associate
Below I offer a hopefully reasoned rant about our current political milieu and request feedback from you, Dear Reader, to help me refine my arguments and correct any misconceptions.
When a person wants to do something that might have unintended or unwanted consequences, or to which someone or some group of people is opposed, one would think that the person should do at least some study of the likely costs and benefits of the action before making the decision.
If it is a relatively small matter affecting only them, then they might be granted some leeway to use more emotion than reason in making the decision. One might like to take a day or two off to have some fun, when it probably would be better to address current tasks that are relatively urgent and important. Perhaps there is a popular entertainer in town for a rare performance, so you decide that takes precedence over gathering your receipts and making a start on your tax return for next year.
When the decision or action brings real monetary or other benefits but might result in harm to people, the environment, or the future safety of civilization, then a serious quandary is presented. What happens next, how the person responds to the quandary, I contend, depends a lot on these factors: Continue reading
At the heart of science is curiosity about the universe in which we live. This is the motivation from which science was born. Curiosity remains the driving motivation behind it today.
Because we are sentient and somewhat intelligent creatures, many of us follow our curiosities with further observation. As children we learned/evolved to explore our world, test our bodies, and learn how best to navigate our surroundings. This process, especially the curiosity part of it, was critical to the proper developments of our bodies, our neurons, our muscles, our coordination, and the learned abilities to walk, talk, and think clearly.