No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference

Greta Thunberg’s speeches have been collected and published by Penguin into a small book available at Amazon in the USA for $8. This is a very important book, in the “must read” category. All profits from the sales are going to charity.

Buy it, read it and then join her team. She needs and wants our help in solving this crisis.

“She is an incredibly clear-eyed child, speaking to adults … This is an invitation to get up and join in. There is hope in these pages, not just doom and gloom.”

World Population Trends

This info is from the 28 June 2019 issue of Science Magazine. I am not saying this is good nor bad, just publishing “only the facts, ma’am!”…

World Population to peak in 2100
Global population growth is predicted to stop – or even decrease – by 2100, topping out at some 10.9 billion people, according to a new United Nations report. The biggest cause: declining birth rates across both developed and developing nations. Right now, the global fertility rate is above 2.5 births per woman – well above the 2.1 births necessary to maintain the existing population. But by 2100, that number is expected to drop to 1.9, according to the report. Fewer births mean the world population is steadily getting older, putting increased pressure on health care, pension, and social welfare systems. The report predicts the global population will reach 9.7 billion people by 2050.

At first, this seems counter intuitive – how can population go up as fertility rate is dropping. The thing is, we are also living longer, the graph of which is not shown. The increasing volume of aging people is included in the numbers.

According to the current estimates, there are about 7,715,150,500 of us alive as I write this. The following chart shows the growth since I began to imagine!

Of course, the Climate Crisis or War or Plastic Pollution or Meteors or Aliens or Time-Travel or Worm-Holes might change those trend-lines. But then, what-if scenarios only tend to complicate forecasts. Like I said “only the facts, ma’am!”…


” The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” – Isacc Asimov


Wanted: No War

The longer other countries, such as Iran and North Korea, are not allowed to have nuclear energy, the longer they are dependent on oil!

As The Guardian said “The establishment assumes that Iran can never possess nuclear weapons, yet the United States lives with nuclear-armed adversaries like Russia and China and aligns with the nuclear-armed military dictatorship in Pakistan.”

The Climate Crisis almost demands that we enable the building of more nuclear power plants. We have learned from our mistakes how to build them safely now. We should offer to build nuclear facilities for any country that wants them! Especially Iran and North Korea.

But Big Oil, with their fossil fuels lobby, holds tremendous economic power and influence on politics, particularly in the United States. They continue to scare the public over anything nuclear.

We need to fear Climate Crisis more than War. Iran having the ability to build a nuclear warhead is not nearly as dangerous as Trump having control of the US arsenals.

Gas powered cars are no longer practical

The other day, Elon Musk posted a Twitter message that triggered thoughts about real life cars. See picture below.

Nowadays many people keep cars until they are 10 years or more older. And nowadays most cars sold are gas powered, the percentage for hybrid, electric and hydrogen powered are small.

The climate crisis scientists are now predicting that we only have 10-11 years to turn things around or we are doomed. People aren’t yet worried enough to change their habits.

But just think – if they are right, then imagine how little the gas powered car bought today will be worth in 10 years! It will be not only worthless, people will think negatively about anyone driving one. They will stone ya’ll, because eventually people will get mad when their quality of life declines.

Financially speaking, if you are going to buy a new car now, hybrid or electric is the only smart purchase. The price of gas and oil is just going to increase. And in 10 years, there might not be any available.

Thanks for the practical thinking, Elon.

Climate Crisis: Time to Ration Meat and Flying

The following excerpts are from an article in The Guardian today, written by Sonia Sodha, the chief leader writer at the Observer. Given the seriousness of the Climate Crisis, it is time that we get serious about how we are going to solve the problem. Rationing might seem “over the top” to those who are addicted to the meat of 4 legged animals and flying, but it is time to get serious..

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/01/sin-taxes-on-meat-or-flying-wont-change-a-climate-hypocrite-like-me-rationing-might/

“Rationing to tackle the climate crisis could be given a modern-day makeover. People could be allocated polluting credits to cover activities such as meat eating and flying that they can sell and buy in an online marketplace. If you’re short of cash, or not that bothered about eating meat or flying abroad, you can feel smug as you sell your credits to someone who is, which makes this far more equitable than green taxes. And setting a population-level limit on something such as meat consumption would create huge incentives for companies to invest more in the production of things such as environmentally friendly, lab-grown meat.”

and

“A decade on, it’s surely an idea whose time has come. The climate school strikes show the next generation is hungry for more radical action. Sure, the hypocrite-hunters will balk at the prospect of rationing to save the planet. But I’m optimistic that more of us will come to see that it’s going to take something more drastic than trying to persuade people to voluntarily scale back to whip us into shape.”


“A question cannot be answered until it is asked, and once asked, it cannot be unasked.” – Anthony Aguirre


Trying to Find Canned Still Water

Plastic is pilling up on our beaches, plastic is killing ocean animals, plastic is not biodegradable. So I decided to look for an alternative to plastic bottled still water that I can toss into the trunk, the bottom of a canoe, or wherever, without fearing breakage. (Yes, I have a glass jug for work, but it is heavy and breakable.).

Alas, the local stores don’t carry canned water unless it is sparkling or flavored! Don’t tell me it is because people won’t buy it — Amazon sells it! And many brands are European. It looks to me like USA Corporate companies (except Amazon) just aren’t worried about the planet.

So far, the Internet has helped me with some information.

CanO – resealable or ring pull, spring water, London

Pathwater. – reusable, plastic screw top

Open Water – aluminum screw top, MBAquarium approved

Liquid Death – mountain water ring pull (try Walmart)

Blue Can – reverse osmosis filtered water ring pull

Life 3.0

If you’re interested in artificial intelligence (AI), I highly recommend that you read this new book Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark, a professor at MIT. His book is an easy read for the amateur and weighty enough for the AI students and professional. It explains (finally someone got it through to me) how neural networks work, how our mind learns and remembers and generally how machines can be built to mimic these processes. This is a realistic book, issues in the future are explained, not sidestepped. This is a science book that is not only important, but fun to read. I give it 5 stars!

 

“This is a conversation that everyone needs to join. But for them to join it constructively, we need to educate them about what the challenges and opportunities actually are. Otherwise it degenerates into the scaremongering that the British tabloids do. Ultimately, this is a very exciting opportunity. Everything I love about civilization is the product of intelligence. If we can create a beneficial superintelligence, we can help humanity flourish better than ever before.” — by Max Tegmark

“Worth reading Life 3.0 by @Tegmark. AI will be the best or worst thing ever for humanity, so let’s get it right.” — by Elon Musk in Twitter

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” – by Bill Gates


“If there were no God, it would be necessary to invent him.” – so said Voltaire


No Is Not Enough – the book

The new book “No Is Not Enough” by Naomi Klein should be read by all. It was rushed out in reaction to Donald Trump, but includes important comments about climate change and the anthropocene.

Because one of the most unjust aspects of climate disruption is that our actions as adults today will have their most severe impact on the lives of generations yet to come, as well as kids alive today who are too young to impact policy — kids like Toma (her son) and his friends, and their generation the world over. These children have done nothing to create the crisis, but they are the ones who will deal with the most extreme weather — the storms and droughts and fires and rising seas — and all the social and economic stresses that will flow as a result. They are the ones growing up amidst a mass extinction, robbed of so much beauty and so much of the companionship that comes from being surrounded by other life forms.

The above quote from the book is how I feel about my grandchildren (aged 12-19). Global warming, climate change, neoliberalsim, the USA oligarchy, Trumpism, all of these things are not their fault. The adults of the “western world” have effed up society and the planet so bad that I feel revolution will be the only way out. And these kids will be fighting the wars, unless we can help wake people up to the dangers.

Get a copy of the book, buy it, library it, borrow it. And learn more at

noisnotenough.org

theleap.org


“I’m not looking to overthrow the American government, the corporate state already has..” – John Trudell


Noam Chomsky Interviewed at Google

Noam Chomsky appeared at Google in Cambridge May 23, 2017, to speak to an audience of primarily Google staff. The video of the “Google Talks” event was published to YouTube June 5.

This discussion seemed to be more personal than I have heard Chomsky before. Usually Professor Chomsky is “on topic” all the time. The interviewer did a great job, acting like a student sincerely interested in Chomsky’s early life and how he became an activist.

Later in the talk, the word “internet” came up, more and more. Chomsky obviously uses Google products, but only mentioned Google Translate specifically.

He warned about using Artificial Intelligence for more than just data mining. AI should be used for more humanistic endeavors. Understanding ourselves, our species, should be the focus of our prime directive.

I enjoyed it and recommend that you take an hour to listen to a very open discussion: human existence should be our number one priority.

You can watch it by clicking here

or by going to www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C-zWrhFqpM directly.

You can also just search in YouTube.


Solving big problems is easier than solving little problems. – Sergei Brin


Good Books

If you are at all interested in anthropology or the lives of your Neanderthal ancestors, this novel will be an enjoyable read.  This reminds me somewhat of the old series called Clan of the Cave Bears, but it is much easier to read (and shorter). The author Claire Cameron acknowledges help from Yuval Harari and Ian Tattersall.

Perhaps this will be the first of a series.  I hope so.  I know I enjoyed it.  Thought provoking.  It is a “fast read” and holds your attention.  But caution is required, this is either adults only or at least older teens.

The book is about two women, separated by 40,000 years.

Make a resistor hat and march for science

Scientists and their friends need to stand up and demand evidence-based policy and facts. Science is not partisan. Protecting our world and the people in it is not a partisan issue. This is why I will march on April 22nd. I hope you join in the cause!

Check out this “show and tell” video about the Resistor HAT and the designs that were inspired by it.

You can get a PDF of the pattern by Clicking here.

Thanks to Heidi Arjes of Craftimism.com for making this pattern available to the marchers. BTW, don’t underestimate Heidi. She is a scientist in the Department of Bioengineering and Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University. Enjoy

Human Existence Is in Peril

Whitney Robson Harris (August 12, 1912 – April 21, 2010) was an American attorney, and one of the last surviving prosecutors from the Nuremberg Trials. He wrote the following piece in 2006 at the age of 94.

Given the issues that Donald Trump has brought to our country and our world, I think it is important that we remember that God isn’t going to come along and save us from him, after the fact. We are going to have to solve the Donald Trump issues ourselves. As my Dad used to say: “Get up and do it yourself.” We can’t wait, get involved now. Don’t wait until it is too late.

This paper has always impressed me. So I am sharing it now with a spirit of hope. Be sure to read the finale.


Human Existence Is in Peril — by Whitney R. Harris — June 2006

If we attempt to comprehend this vast universe with its millions of fiery stars and frightening dark holes, and say for comfort that only God could have created it, and therefore, there is a God, we default in our reasoning, for we are unable to answer the further question, “who created the God who created the universe?”

We do know that we live on Earth, spun off from the sun and, therefore, on a planet with a beginning. Moreover, we know that, once a fiery ball, the Earth has cooled and gained life upon its surface — static, nonthinking plants and mobile, thinking animals. We do not know whence came the first manifestation of that life — the tiniest amoeba — capable of discernible thought and movement. To ignite the spark of life requires the hand of God. Never mind the universe. Here on Earth, we find the quintessential role of God.

Hence, I believe first, that God exists.

Until this time at least, man has evolved far beyond any other animals on Earth in comprehension and intelligence. The carnivores exceed his strength on land; the amphibians surpass his power at sea. But man has the gift of reason, which enables him to dominate life on Earth — and the chance to survive as long as the solar system remains hospitable to him. That chance, alas, is not eternal.

And, thus, I believe human life is finite.

Within these limits of survivability man holds his destiny in his own hands. He has yet to prove his worthiness. In the last century, he destroyed more of his own kind in war and in merciless murder than in any other time in history. He is fated to acquire the capability of obliterating himself and all other life upon this planet. And he seems unable to appreciate the consequences of that power. The life that God gave to him may be by him destroyed.

And so, I believe human existence is in peril.

The challenge to man is to establish and to maintain the foundations of peace and humanity upon the Earth for the centuries to come that God has allotted him to live upon this planet. He must learn to end war and protect life, to seek justice and find mercy, to help others and embrace compassion. Each man must respect every other man and honor the God who made this incredible mystery of human life a reality.

I believe there is God,
I believe God is merciful and just,
But if man desires to destroy himself
I believe God will not save him.