Thursday, September 20, 2007

9th Grade Science Lab Epiphany

Not to rain on anyone's parade after the recent Bush referendum, but there's a threat looming on the not to distant horizon that scares the dog pee-pee out of me. It's not anthropogenic warming, peak oil, or even Armageddon. One day in 9th grade biology, my class was studying bacteria cultures where I placed three spots of bacteria in a nutrient rich petri dish. I observed the colonies bloom after what initially seemed like not much happening. Before I knew it, the entire dish was filled edge to middle with the little critters. Then all of a sudden the entire colony died. It wasn't lack of food, they had more than they could hope to eat. What killed them was each other through the antigens they produced themselves! Extinction due to overcrowding. Even though I was only a 15 year-old, I got what the implications were. We humans are no different than bacteria as far as population in a confined space is. When I was in that class, in 1975,  the world population was about 4 billion. It's now 6.5 billion! My question is this: How long can humanity survive in this proverbial petri dish we call Earth before we destroy each other just like the bacteria in that science experiment? I've come to the conclusion that overpopulatoion is the root cause of the problems we are to face in the future. Anthropogenic warming, peak oil, religious extremism, pandemics, are all just symptoms of the geatest threat to humanity since GeeDuhbya. We've been warned many times by those evil scinetists that this was coming. Unfortunately, our elected officials only think as far ahead as the next election. Unless that process changes, nature will take its course and correct the situation for us. Nature doesn't really care what we do or believe.

"Which is the greater danger - nuclear warfare or the population explosion? The latter absolutely! To bring about nuclear war, someone has to DO something; someone has to press a button. To bring about destruction by overcrowding, mass starvation, anarchy, the destruction of our most cherished values-there is no need to do anything. We need only do nothing except what comes naturally - and breed. And how easy it is to do nothing."
--Dr. Isaac Asimov, biochemist and science writer (in this 1966 interview he predicted that world population would reach 6 billion around 2000. Most leaders dismissed his prediction as outrageous. Population passed 6 billion in 1999.)

Once again a contribution from Dave:

A few months ago I attended a presentation by a retired petroleum geologist of considerable ability and even greater ego. He is now a consulting geologist to two of our area Groundwater Conservations Districts. His presentation dealt with the incredibly complex and varied geology and, importantly, hydrology down here on the Edwards Plateau. To draw attention to the impact of homo sapiens on the water resources, he opened with a graph depicting said population over the species existence. The line was almost flat until a point on the far right of the graph when it suddenly went all most vertical. He then asked, "Does anyone know what year that is", as he pointed to the "knee" of that curve? "1859, the year oil was discovered in Pennsylvania."

He then said he did not expect that the projections of 14 billion people by 21xx wouold ever occur, "we'll blow ourselves up first." He concluded the presentation with a Hubbert's Peak graph of global oil production. "$8.00 a gallon in my life time", said the mid-late 60s scientist.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Life: Explained

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

"Not very long," answered the Mexican.

"But then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full life."

The American interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat."

"And after that?" asked the Mexican.

"With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise."

"How long would that take?" asked the Mexican.

"Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years," replied the American.

"And after that?"

"Afterwards? Well my friend, that's when it gets really interesting," answered the American, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!"

"Millions? Really? And after that?" asked the Mexican.

"After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends."

And the moral of this story is: ......... Know where you're going in life... you may already be there.

Original link >>

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Letter to the Editor

This is my friend Judson's letter to the local paper:

Tyler Paper

To the Editor

Because an election takes place and people vote, democracy is not guaranteed. Because a constitution is written and a parliament or congress convenes, a democratic government does not automatically follow. A supreme court can be formed to decide the constitutionality of laws, yet, democracy can be absent. Even when rights are written down, they can still be in jeopardy. All the forms can be in place. There still must be leaders who preserve, protect, and defend a democratic constitution. A republic must be defended from tyranny which follows naturally from uncontrolled power. Never trust government to government. Trust it only to yourself.

Representatives must above all preserve the rights of citizens. In a democracy, the minorities must be protected from the tyranny of the majority. If the majority wants slavery it must not happen. If the majority wants a theocracy it must not happen. Common defense must not be turned into international aggression.

To say that the United States has brought democracy to Iraq is absurd. The Iraqi Constitution creates a Supreme Court in which the judges are all Islamic Clerics. The constitutionality of a law is based on the Koran. Would that be democracy in the US or anywhere? Spreading "democracy" to countries and people who do not wish to have democracy is not a worthy cause upon which to sacrifice loyal and faithful military servants of the nation. It is folly.

All the stated purposes of the invasion and occupation of Iraq have been failures. It appears that the unstated purposes of the invasion have failed.

The United States should make democracy work at home.