Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!
We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).
Receiving money to conduct research is conflict of interest if the funds come from parties with vested interest in findings' results?
Yes. It is a conflict of interest that must be disclosed. It is routine procedure in, for instance, medical papers funded by pharmaceutical companies. The summary is sensationalized bullshit, but that part is true.
If that were an even remotely-likely outcome, it would have happened. Life is extraordinarily good at surviving and evolving new equilibria.
That was merely an illustration that stable does not mean desirable, not a suggestion that such an outcome is likely.
Meh, the history of life on this planet is one long series of massive, unexpected perturbations, ranging from ice ages so severe that the equatorial seas are covered with several meters of ice, to massive volcanic eruptions that block most global insolation for years, to massive meteor strikes. In addition, the ice core records show that the planet has undergone radical climate change (much faster and more extreme than what we're currently seeing) without any cause at all as far as we can detect, as recent as 60K years ago.
Sure, and the history of life on earth is one of massive, unexpected mass extinctions, which often followed those massive, unexpected perturbations, because those aren't the kind of perturbations that natural systems can be robust against (hence my qualifier that the perturbations occur "regularly for a time"; you know, things like winter and summer, hurricanes, etc). It's certainly inevitable, but I'd rather not induce that on my own species any sooner than necessary.
Equally, we shouldn't ignore the fact that doing nothing at all (assuming we could) will also have disastrous consequences on our own habitat. Earth changes all the time, in all sorts of ways. If we want stability we need to learn to actively engineer the planet.
Yeah, I'm all for that. In the meantime, however, I'll continue to be a bit pissed off when some arrogant prick on slashdot trivializes all environmental concerns because he's apparently taken "higher-level math or engineering courses" and thinks he understands "how dynamic systems function". The nerve of that dumbass...