Other ways our world might come to an end

Discussion of the end of the world brought about by ultra high energy colliders.
Kasuha
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Re: Other ways our world might come to an end

Post by Kasuha » Wed May 05, 2010 7:18 pm

Mailo wrote:Now, mankind making the planet uninhabitable for ... mankind, that's a whole different kettle of fish. Already possible today, maybe already irreversibly underway.
The only irreversible thing I can see going on is time. Do you have anything more lethal on mind?

Mailo
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Re: Other ways our world might come to an end

Post by Mailo » Wed May 05, 2010 7:29 pm

Kasuha wrote:
Mailo wrote:Now, mankind making the planet uninhabitable for ... mankind, that's a whole different kettle of fish. Already possible today, maybe already irreversibly underway.
The only irreversible thing I can see going on is time. Do you have anything more lethal on mind?
Do you really want to open the can of "Climate Change"? ;) At least that's what I meant.

Kasuha
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Re: Other ways our world might come to an end

Post by Kasuha » Wed May 05, 2010 7:51 pm

The can of climate change is empty for me. Just as much as LHC is not creating anything new in universe, humans are not creating anything new on earth, at least not climate-wise.
Human induced global warming is more of modern religion than anything else.

Mailo
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Re: Other ways our world might come to an end

Post by Mailo » Wed May 05, 2010 8:21 pm

Unfortunately I cannot agree with you. In one point we probably do agree, mainstream media are totally worthless for getting information on this subject, they are 99.99% propaganda from both sides.
I did have the chance to listen to several presentations by scientists in the field, and in their opinion this has nothing of a modern religion whatsoever.

Something that ticks me off to no end about this is that no matter who you ask, pretty much everyone is of the opinion that they know what is going on.
In my physics PhD exam, my minor was environmental physics, especially physics of the atmosphere, and I KNOW that I am not qualified to decide that the scientists doing the (extremely complex) research have done something wrong. I understand enough to see that they are doing good work, but disagree with their consensus that
a) there is a definite change going on and
b) the likelihood that mankinds behavior contributed to it is rather high
I simply cannot do.

Yet every baker, butcher and candlestick maker feels qualified to yell "fraud". Weird. Not meant to be a slight to you, Kasuha, I don't know your qualifications.
Unfortunately, they are supported in their view by some "research papers" which gain their funding from oil companies.

Kasuha
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Re: Other ways our world might come to an end

Post by Kasuha » Wed May 05, 2010 9:58 pm

I have spent a lot of time collecting information from both sides - so called "alarmists" and so called "sceptics" and many in between. After the years I'm just totally disgusted.

What is the fact is, earth is warming up. Yes, it is. Totally. The amount by which it warmed up, however, is nothing compared to what is normal yearly temperature range.

Another proven fact is, while there was life on earth, whole earth was both significantly warmer and significantly colder than it is today. Life did not disappear during either.

Global climate is not affected just by CO2, there are much stronger forces affecting it which humans have no control of. Even CO2 concentrations in atmosphere were significantly higher in past than they are today. Surprisingly there are even no proofs that during that era the climate was any significantly warmer.

Everything else about global warming are hypotheses based on imperfect models at best and extrapolations coming from these models which are even less perfect.

I hate both extremes, be it "alarmist" or "sceptic", neither are better than the other. Real science is done in the middle and these people actually can say that they are not sure about anything.

This is in fact exactly the same kind of argumentation like about whether LHC is or isn't going to destroy earth by a strangelet or micro black hole. You can either look at reality and say there is no basis for any concerns, or you can believe in theories some people are trying to present you as real. For some this is very good business.


Edit: If I return to CO2 topic - there is only so much ("additional") CO2 people can release to atmosphere and I am pretty sure all of it will be released, regulations or not. Humans are not going to stop using oil and coal and even if they won't burn it directly it will eventually decompose with equal effect. All the business about emissions doesn't have anything to do with saving earth, it's just pure money making.

Mailo
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Re: Other ways our world might come to an end

Post by Mailo » Thu May 06, 2010 5:07 am

While I agree with some of what you've said, let me adress some of your points:
Kasuha wrote:What is the fact is, earth is warming up. Yes, it is. Totally. The amount by which it warmed up, however, is nothing compared to what is normal yearly temperature range.
Unfortunately many species are rather sensitive to small changes in average temperature, while they can cope just fine with a larger yearly range. Malaria mosquitos showing up in Europe comes to mind. Also, a larger average global temperature means more energy in the atmosphere, which leads to more extreme weather patterns (more freqent floods, droughts, storms, hurricanes etc).
Kasuha wrote:Another proven fact is, while there was life on earth, whole earth was both significantly warmer and significantly colder than it is today. Life did not disappear during either.
True, but during those times there weren't 6 billion humans around who needed to be fed. Also, the starts and ends led to extinctions of species. Not usually seen as something good. Finally, the temperature changes during those periods were significantly slower (thousands of years) than the one seen today (50 years).
Kasuha wrote:Global climate is not affected just by CO2, there are much stronger forces affecting it which humans have no control of. Even CO2 concentrations in atmosphere were significantly higher in past than they are today. Surprisingly there are even no proofs that during that era the climate was any significantly warmer.
Also true, yet many of those significantly stronger forces balance each other out, because some of them are cooling, others heating. A small change in CO2 concentrations (though I wouldn't call doubling it "small") may tip that balance, causing the other forces to spiral out of control, as the relative strengths of these also depends on average temperature.
Kasuha wrote:Everything else about global warming are hypotheses based on imperfect models at best and extrapolations coming from these models which are even less perfect.
True, even if one might debate just how imperfect the models are. Yet unless you have a better model it isn't correct to totally discount it. This is a big difference to the LHC scare. The scaremongers propose rather imperfect models on which they base their accusations, yet ignore the also imperfect but much better Standard Model of particle physics. This is not the case in climate science (again, ignoring the obvious propaganda from both sides in mainstream media).
Kasuha wrote: I hate both extremes, be it "alarmist" or "sceptic", neither are better than the other. Real science is done in the middle and these people actually can say that they are not sure about anything.
Actually ... no. Real science is only based on observations and fact. It does not (and for that matter, may not) care whether it is "in the middle" or not. You cannot let the results of a scientific analysis be influenced by ideology, which "being in the middle" comes down to.
If astronomy discovers a 1000mile asteroid that will impact earth in 10 years, then the results will be extreme.
Kasuha wrote:Edit: If I return to CO2 topic - there is only so much ("additional") CO2 people can release to atmosphere and I am pretty sure all of it will be released, regulations or not. Humans are not going to stop using oil and coal and even if they won't burn it directly it will eventually decompose with equal effect. All the business about emissions doesn't have anything to do with saving earth, it's just pure money making.
Hmm ... oil and coal has stayed safely underground for millions of years, yet it will decompose soon? Not really.
And you are falling into the same trap as many people reading mainstram media propaganda. No, it is not pure money making. During my studies, I took environmental economics as a minor for my Diploma (german almost-equivalent to master), which tries to find out how to get companies to take the damage they do by polluting into their calculations. This actually lowers the amount of money companies make, so you can imagine how thrilled they are about that. If you ignore the damage done my pollution (of whatever kind), you actually increase company profits at the cost of everyone else, who then have to come up with taxes to pay for e.g. increased health costs.
Unfortunately, to combat this threat of lower profits, many big companies today are following the example of the tobacco companies.
They also funded "research" into the harmlessness of cigarette smoke. This research brought several publications, all of which quoted each other. Thus, you get a bunch of publications "proving" the harmlessness of cigarette smoke/CO2 which are quoted quite often, so they must be true. And in this case this "true" result is something everyone wants to hear, because it means they don't need to change. Wishful thinking is a powerful thing.
Finally, check out who the main proponents of the "sceptics" are (and who pays their paychecks). Quite a few of them don't have any qualifications in climate sciences. They might have a PhD, but if it is in bridge engineering or biology, it doesn't really qualify them to discount climate science experts. Which in turn is quite similar to the LHC scare, the opponents there are also no experts in particle physics.

Stephen
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Re: Other ways our world might come to an end

Post by Stephen » Thu May 06, 2010 3:20 pm

Kasuha wrote: The only irreversible thing I can see going on is time. Do you have anything more lethal on mind?
Time is a depressing subject. There is no meaning to anything we say or do, because we are all doomed to die anyway.

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LarryS
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Re: Other ways our world might come to an end

Post by LarryS » Thu May 06, 2010 3:29 pm

Yes, but the secret to living to a very old age is to die as late in life as possible ...

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mrgumby
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Re: Other ways our world might come to an end

Post by mrgumby » Fri May 07, 2010 7:14 am

There may not be an eternal meaning to anything we say or do, but all of those things make a difference to how we feel about ourselves, and thus how happy we truly are.

Be nice = Feel nice. Q.E.D.

:dance:

Kasuha
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Re: Other ways our world might come to an end

Post by Kasuha » Fri May 07, 2010 11:23 am

Mailo wrote:Unfortunately many species are rather sensitive to small changes in average temperature, while they can cope just fine with a larger yearly range. Malaria mosquitos showing up in Europe comes to mind. Also, a larger average global temperature means more energy in the atmosphere, which leads to more extreme weather patterns (more freqent floods, droughts, storms, hurricanes etc).
You are underestimating nature's capability of adapting to environment. That's exactly the point, to show that there are endangered species which we must save.
No, I don't agree. We don't have to save species which cannot adapt. Earth is not a museum, it is a living system. If a change occurs, species die as they always did - making room for new ones. And it has already been proven that new species can occur even during several years.
Our problem is, we usually don't see new species to emerge - because we only know so many of them and newly discovered ones usually don't count as newly emerged. Thus, we rather see some of these we know to become extinct. But that's what we call selection effect.
Plus, people also tend to ignore countless new species of domestic animals or plants because they are "created by humans" - although the path over which they speciated is quite the same as in nature.
Mailo wrote:True, but during those times there weren't 6 billion humans around who needed to be fed. Also, the starts and ends led to extinctions of species. Not usually seen as something good. Finally, the temperature changes during those periods were significantly slower (thousands of years) than the one seen today (50 years).
Humans are clearly overpopulated and sure enough we'll have to do something with it. Either we reduce our counts ourselves or nature will do that for us somehow. Trying to control our climate is not going to stop population growth, these two have very little to do with each other.
Mailo wrote:Also true, yet many of those significantly stronger forces balance each other out, because some of them are cooling, others heating. A small change in CO2 concentrations (though I wouldn't call doubling it "small") may tip that balance, causing the other forces to spiral out of control, as the relative strengths of these also depends on average temperature.
Butterfly wing flap may start a tornado, right? Yes, I kinda agree with you, but there's greater argument that if the butterfly didn't flap its wings some other greater impulse would cause similar effect at maybe slightly different time and place anyway. If our climate is about to change, we can't stop it. We need to get ready for it.
Mailo wrote:True, even if one might debate just how imperfect the models are. Yet unless you have a better model it isn't correct to totally discount it. This is a big difference to the LHC scare. The scaremongers propose rather imperfect models on which they base their accusations, yet ignore the also imperfect but much better Standard Model of particle physics. This is not the case in climate science (again, ignoring the obvious propaganda from both sides in mainstream media).
Personally I think the boom in climate research is the only positive effect of all this. It is very useful that our models are getting better - I can see myself that where weather forecasts were unreliable even for tomorrow just a few years back (well, 15-20) they are quite reliable for almost one week now. And that's just what a normal person appreciates. We are still very far from any chances to make forecasts for tens of years and I hate when a so-called "scientist" comes up and tries to tell me that I'll fry in 50 years if I don't do what he's telling me to do. This is normal religion, only there's global heat instead of hell.
Mailo wrote:If astronomy discovers a 1000mile asteroid that will impact earth in 10 years, then the results will be extreme.
Astronomy is proven to be reliable enough to allow years long forecasts regarding celestial body positions.
Despite recent progress, climate science is still far from that point.
Mailo wrote:Hmm ... oil and coal has stayed safely underground for millions of years, yet it will decompose soon? Not really.
I didn't say it will get out by itself. What I said was, humans will not stop taking it out until it's depleted. Maybe they'll make plastic from it rather than fuel, pretending it doesn't increase CO2 levels, but that will eventually decompose too - there are bacteria capable to digest plastic.

The only way to "get rid" of CO2 is - by investing at least as much energy as we gained by making it. This is simple physical law.

Plus, in my opinion there's no point doing it. CO2 is good for nature. If you look at a tree, what do you think it is made of?
Mostly water. But if you subtract water, almost all the rest is in fact what originally was atmospheric CO2.
Even every humans' body carbon and oxygen atoms were once atmospheric CO2.
Mailo wrote:And you are falling into the same trap as many people reading mainstram media propaganda. No, it is not pure money making.
Okay I admit I don't have evidence for that statement. I just can't believe people don't see where is this in fact going so I rather tend to assume it is very profitable for somebody.
And no, I didn't mean companies. Notice that they don't make these rules.
Mailo wrote:If you ignore the damage done my pollution (of whatever kind), you actually increase company profits at the cost of everyone else, who then have to come up with taxes to pay for e.g. increased health costs.
Well... there we are in chaotic systems again. In fact some companies (or rather their leaders) are smart enough to realize that they actually save money by taking care of pollution and their employee health. And many other factors come into the equation (people often prefer good health care over better salary etc etc) so it's hard to argue on this ground.

What I think is - climate changes are not our enemy and we should not try to fight them. Climate changes are normal and inevitable and we need to get ready for them.
Either we survive by adaptation or we die trying to stop the evolution.

Stephen
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Re: Other ways our world might come to an end

Post by Stephen » Tue May 11, 2010 9:51 am

mrgumby wrote:There may not be an eternal meaning to anything we say or do, but all of those things make a difference to how we feel about ourselves, and thus how happy we truly are.
How can we ever be happy knowing we have an expiration date?

Kasuha
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Re: Other ways our world might come to an end

Post by Kasuha » Tue May 11, 2010 10:07 am

Stephen wrote:
mrgumby wrote:There may not be an eternal meaning to anything we say or do, but all of those things make a difference to how we feel about ourselves, and thus how happy we truly are.
How can we ever be happy knowing we have an expiration date?
Happines is about how you see things. You can be happy your glass is half full, or sad your glass is half empty.

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Re: Other ways our world might come to an end

Post by tswsl1989 » Tue May 11, 2010 12:50 pm

Kasuha wrote:You can be happy your glass is half full, or sad your glass is half empty.
It's not my glass. My glass is either full or empty :)
If it's at the halfway point long enough to philosophise about it, you're doing it wrong.

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CharmQuark
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Re: Other ways our world might come to an end

Post by CharmQuark » Tue May 11, 2010 1:43 pm

tswsl1989 wrote:
Kasuha wrote:You can be happy your glass is half full, or sad your glass is half empty.
It's not my glass. My glass is either full or empty :)
If it's at the halfway point long enough to philosophise about it, you're doing it wrong.
I have been asked this question so many times and my answer is still the same the glass is always half empty ;) welcome to the happy world of the CharmQuark :lolno:
Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted with large ones either by Albert Einstein.

Kasuha
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Re: Other ways our world might come to an end

Post by Kasuha » Tue May 11, 2010 3:17 pm

If you see a full glass, there's an extension of that glass which is not full.
If you see an empty glass you're missing something tiny inside.

The matter is to be happy about the current state of the glass instead of being sad it isn't better.

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