Programming computers is a skill that can be learned, and a lot can be learned about it with very little investment in hardware and software. That enables people from almost every society on earth, including dangerous psychopaths, to build programming skills and use computers as they choose. Civilization is so dependent on the internet here in 2015 that I expect we have passed the point where a major, multi-day failure of the internet wouldn’t be accompanied by at least some people starving. That puts a lot of power at the fingertips of internet users, but a great deal more in the hands of those who can write software. People never stop learning, and some of them, rogue programmers, are sociopaths with bad intent for the rest of us. So what bad deeds are they carrying out that we don’t know about yet? Can we know? Continue reading
Tag Archives: population explosion
An excellent article recently appeared at Spiegel Online International titled “The Warming World: Is Capitalism Destroying Our Planet?” and I highly recommend reading it through to the end. In it the authors give in-depth information on the current status of the global climate, relating it back to human activity and national and international politics. (Millions of tons of CO2 going into the atmosphere every day has to have an impact, sooner or later.) The politics of various key nations and the negotiations at past climate conferences are described, and a lot of the latest climate science is brought forth. The topic is a bit frightening but of such critical importance to us that, really, every adult should have to read this article (whether they believe it or not).
Then, better informed, we need to take action, vote for politicians who are deserving, and “clean up our acts” by making many changes in our selves, our decisions, and our lifestyles in order to preserve a reasonably habitable world for our kids. The trouble is … it might already be too late.
Thanks for reading — Tim
Religion typically requires faith, the suspension of disbelief and reason, an extreme gullibility, if only temporary. My worry is that many religious people don’t return to reason. Such people can be very difficult to deal with. Some of them are fanatics, or are evolved into fanatics by clever manipulation. Isn’t reason essential to our survival? Continue reading
Did you ever wonder how we got to where we are as a species? Have you ever wondered why it is we humans who are here and so successful, and not Cro-Magnon man or some intelligent ape? If you would like to better understand human evolution, the question of whether both the sophistication of our brains and the size of our population will become a detriment to our survival, and the history of related genetic research you will find The Runaway Brain by Christopher Wills both interesting and rewarding. While it is deeply scientific in nature, the book is written in an accessible style and made up mostly of the accounts of the author’s and other scientists’ challenges and accomplishments in the study of the evolution of humanity and, more specifically, the human brain. Dr. Wills provides an integrated scientific and historical view of how the human brain, like the peacock’s tail, has been an evolutionary advantage that has spurred it to grow larger and larger. After describing the intricate web of factors that have created our “runaway brain” he provides us with these final, telling insights:
The unique nature of runaway brain evolution is that it has the capability of releasing us from the prison of our genes. Surely we are now too smart to go on breeding ourselves into extinction, destroying most of the rest of the species on the planet in the process. Surely we are too smart to blow ourselves up with the nuclear weapons that have been provided by our runaway brains. The long saga of the human species has been one of selection for intelligence, not stupidity. It is time we woke up to that fact.
If you have any interest in the evolution of humanity you will find this an interesting and rewarding book. Dr. Wills has subsequently written several other works, Children Of Prometheus, The Accelerating Pace Of Human Evolution (1999), The Spark Of Life: Darwin And The Primeval Soup (2001) and The Darwinian Tourist: Viewing the World Through Evolutionary Eyes (late 2010) which you might also find interesting. Dr. Wills also received the 1999 Award for the Public Understanding of Science and Technology from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. For the complexity of the material I have found Dr. Wills’ work a surprisingly easy read, and I hope you will, too. As always, I appreciate your comments, and thanks for reading. — Tim
The Runaway Brain: The Evolution of Human Uniqueness, Christopher Wills, Ph.D., HarperCollinsPublishers, London, 1994, ISBN: 0 00 255275 2
(This is a reprint of a recent posting in my personal blog that I think is quite appropriate to share here. Please comment if you like . Thanks for reading. – Tim)
Why is overpopulation taboo? It is incredibly frustrating to see so many people and organizations thrashing around over climate change and related issues when none of those problems would exist if we weren’t overpopulating the planet. The problems of epidemic and famine that will emerge over the next two or three decades will compound our relatively new problems with weather and increasing sea levels, and it is likely that at least a few billion people will die untimely deaths before the end of this century, all attributable to the human population explosion. Isn’t a focus on reducing birthrates worldwide what we really need? Are we putting ourselves at risk by addressing the more superficial issues and ignoring the root cause? Continue reading
Awareness of humanity’s biggest problems is rising. While there appears to finally be a slow groundswell of popular understanding and alarm about what humans are doing to the planet (which is quite late but very good), there is still a lot of mishandling (and often misrepresentation) of the news. This results in persistent widespread misconceptions about our position and probable future on the planet. So what kinds of things are we “not getting”? Continue reading
A number of studies described in a recent NPR article agree that slightly over 70,000 years ago, after a supervolcano eruption much larger than any we’ve seen in recorded history, total human numbers were reduced to a few thousand or less. Now we find ourselves in a heavily overpopulated situation where we may surpass the Earth’s capacity to provide food and energy within the next few decades, and we need to think ahead as to how to survive the coming period of extreme volatility. Still, there are supervolcanos in the world that are centuries and millennia past their normal eruption cycle, just ready to blow. Surely we are smart enough as a species to think ahead and prepare for such calamities, aren’t we?
I leave this as an open question. It has meaning well beyond the immediate topic. Thanks for reading – Tim