Climate change. Pandemics. Nuclear war. While these are undoubtedly devastating realities or possibilities, could they wipe out humanity entirely? Highly unlikely, writes Seth Shostak, senior astronomer for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute. From Quartz
A century ago, the Spanish flu caused a staggering 20-50 million deaths, more than WWI. Still, the toll amounted to less than 3% of the world population. As ghastly as it was, the Spanish flu didn’t even rise to the level of decimation; viruses can slay, but they can’t annihilate. If past mortality is prologue, a millennial has less chance of succumbing to a new pandemic than dying in an auto accident.
OK, well what about climate change, now recognized as a non-hoax by 75% of Americans? It’s not the heat per se that will waste us, but the knock-on effects. Low-lying nations will turn into aquariums and Caribbean countries will be pummeled and pelted by savage storms....
The World Health Organization estimates that between 2030 and 2050, 5 million people will perish due to the consequences of climate change. Nonetheless, if aliens visit Earth in 2050, they’ll still find billions of humans. Indeed, probably more than walk the planet today...
However, there’s at least one lethal bullet we might never be able to dodge: a gamma ray burst. This cosmic phenomenon could sterilize our planet in short order. Such bursts are not frequent—they’re thought to be the final gasps of collapsing, massive stars—but if one were to occur in our own galaxy, the results could be truly catastrophic, resulting in destruction of our protective atmosphere. There would be no warning of such an event. But although lethal, nearby gamma-ray bursts are also very rare. We might never see such an event in all the future history of humankind.
"Humanity will outlive climate change and nuclear war, no matter how bad it gets" (Quartz)
And more on this topic from Columbia University and NASA climate scientist Kate Marvel: "Climate Change: We're Not Literally Doomed, but..." (Scientific American)
The CO2 Coalition is a non-profit climate denial organization with deep pockets supported by the Mercers, the Kochs, and other conservative fossil fuel financial interests. Despite the demonstrable unreality of its mission, the CO2 Coalition has already found favor in the White House. In August 2019, they posted an op-ed on Facebook from the Washington […]
Just now in Alta, Norway: Huge mudslide dragging several houses into the sea. pic.twitter.com/xR4t5zLI7m — Jan Fredrik Drabløs (@JanFredrikD) June 3, 2020 This video of farmhouses and land sliding into the ocean is like a nightmare that keeps getting worse. Image: Twitter
Brazil’s Trump, right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, formally authorized deployment of military forces in the Amazon rainforest region, purportedly to fight deforestation and fires. Surely the massive influx of armed troops to the region populated by indigenous people won’t result in coronavirus infections and COVID-19 deaths. The decree was published in the government gazette today.
For all their amazing growth over the past 25 years, the most impressive thing about the monumental rise of Amazon might be the speed and sophistication of their lightning-fast delivery network. Sometimes it doesn’t even take 24 hours for the idea you ordered to be perched right on your front porch, ready for use. The […]
You could actually watch a Tyrannosaurus Rex walk down your street right now. And no, this isn’t the latest Jurassic Park sequel. Of course, it isn’t real either, just a Google recreation of some pretty realistic looking dinosaurs transplanted right into any environment around you courtesy of augmented reality. Yet it’s just another example of […]
A guy on the Apple discussion forum started a thread titled, “Why do your Charger Cables have the lifespan of a housefly?” That question is probably enough to elicit a whole bunch of head nods from virtually everyone reading this, whether you’re an iPhone user, an Android owner or have virtually any device that needs […]