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Comment Re:Very misleading (Score 5, Insightful) 111

It's not that misleading - it was trash. And while you seem to be getting awfully worked up about the hypothetical political pull of this article, I'd like to note that environmental stressors (including oil, and, yes, even nuclear reactors) have affected the Earth long before our species even existed, and will no doubt continue to do so well after we're gone.

I'm sorry, what I meant to say is that you're a special snowflake and your mere existence will leave an indelible mark on our world.

Oh, the hubris of mankind.

Comment Re:Unfortunately, this is what we do (Score 2, Funny) 223

Anyone who is serious? What, the rest of us are light-hearted jokesters?

Hey guys, we're innovating our way out of resource scarcity! What crazy shenanigans will we think up next?

If you'd like to claim that I'm being overly optimistic, I remind you that I have the entire history of the human race supporting my theory, and you've got a long line of doomsday-prophesying crackpots backing up yours.

By all means, try to convince me that subsistence farming the Olduvai Gorge with a few thousand other folks is the way forward. The relentless drumbeat of human progress will go on regardless.

Comment The future of tech support... (Score 5, Funny) 105

The future of consumer tech support is that your increasingly senile neighbor is still going to call you every time she has a problem with her POS desktop inkjet printer that you helped set up back in 6th grade - only because your mom made you (since you're such a smart young man and I'm sure it won't take you more than half an hour) - even though you now live in a different state that is 3 time zones away, goddamnit.

Comment Re:There have been lots of peaks (Score 1) 604

Yes, agriculture can lead to mass deforestation - unless a society industrializes, and thereby reduces the pressures that strip timber from the land for heating and cooking fuel. Again, INDUSTRIALIZATION reduced the economic returns of slavery to the point where it was no longer viable. It is widely suspected that "alcohol and drugs" (the former is also the latter, by the way) existed in pre-agricultural times, although there is obviously no written history to support this claim (WRITING being another one of those wacky technological benefits). Even so, I'd say your claim that alcohol and drugs are unmitigated evils is debatable, at the very least.

Climate change / ecological damage happened even prior to the development of modern economies; you won't find giant ground sloths or mastodons roaming North America - they were hunted to extinction thousands of years before Europe discovered the New World.

Over-population is a claim about the carrying-capacity of the world, and technology raises the carrying capacity, so again, I really must disagree.

Hunter gatherer / subsistence farmer societies are not without impact. And no, they were for damn sure not better off than we are now. It's nice that you have the leisure time to daydream about the noble savage, but understand that had you been born at that level of technology, you'd more likely than not be dead several times over before reaching your current age, let alone doing so with your level of nutrition and relative dearth of crippling childhood diseases.

Yes, technology HAS made us better off. Indeed, I will go further than that - it is the most powerful, if not ONLY, way of doing so.

Comment There have been lots of peaks (Score 4, Insightful) 604

Peak Whale Oil, for example. Of course, the rising cost of whale oil led to the development of new technologies and new sources of energy - like kerosene.

There are many, many, many examples of people pointing out the impossibility of then-present trends continuing. Of course, if trends can't continue, they won't.

If you want an American patriot as an example instead of Engels (communism! gasp, shock, horror) take a look at Gifford Pinchot. An early leader of the Conservation movement, first Chief of the US Forest Service, quite a guy. Peak timber, peak ore, peak coal - he wrote about 'em all, back in the day.

While it's well and good to be aware of these things, and the market tends to reward those who make some smart bets on that basis - human beings have always found ways to satisfy their wants. Some are more sustainable than others, but necessity is the mother of invention, and sustainability/entropy is really only a concern when faced with a finite "universe." Technology is the key that gets us out of that box, and if we have to consume resources in order to make new ones available to us, well - such is, has been, and will be life.

Comment Re:A space bulldozer (Score 2, Insightful) 243

Actually, space debris will clean itself up over time... the question is just how long it will take.

Launching a "space bulldozer" would then require periodic refueling, add in the risk of the space dozer itself becoming an orbital hazard (do you think orchestrating collisions between the space dozer and its targets would be easy and reliable?)... it's not exactly a feasible solution at the moment.

What you're suggesting is a bit like suggesting that we keep a refueling tanker in the air at all times, just in case any commercial jets run out of fuel.

Comment Re:It won't work (Score 1, Interesting) 1046

Just because you have a collection of facts does not mean that you are guaranteed to be correct about what they mean. For example, here's another perfectly true collection of facts:


The fact is, even the best climate "models" are woefully inadequate - they have a hard enough time explaining the data we already have, let alone predicting what values we might expect in the future. They're also remarkably incomplete. Yes, I know they're "only models" and that means that they're simpler than real life. But do you know what they're modeling? The whole fucking globe, which is a complex fucking system. There's only so much simplification you can get away with, and to be perfectly frank, present models are missing too much.

Look at earlier models - with their 100 foot deep "oceans," and all the other completely completely ignored confounding factors. Do current models fix some of those flaws? Sure, but there are plenty of flaws they haven't fixed. Find me a climate model that accurately accounts for the effects of clouds. What about all the biomatter at the bottom of the ocean, which, by the way, we've barely even studied?

Yet for DECADES, these folks have been claiming that they know they're right, they know why, and we should engage in some kind of large scale terraforming project on the basis of their half-assed models.

Do humans have an effect on the environment? Undoubtedly. Do we know what kind of effect, and how much, and why? Not yet.

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