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JimD

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #50 on: August 06, 2013, 06:32:39 PM »
AbruptSLR

All good points.

One that catches my attention all the time is the development of robotic capabilities. It is not just the displacement of blue collar workers we are talking about but also middle class skills and eventually highly educated positions like doctors. 

A particular area where this kind of technology will have an impact as collapse approaches is in the military arena.  I am not just talking about the use of various types of drones by the US military.  Though the progress in this area will eventually eliminate the need for human pilots.  Witness the US Navy has large drones doing carrier landings now.  The capabilities in infantry weapons will eventually have a game changing effect in close in combat and those who posses the new infantry technology will be unbeatable if their opponents do not have equivalent technology.  US Special Ops forces already have programmable rifle grenade weapons which range the target and program the grenade to go off in an air burst at exactly the right distance.  This allows targeting personnel who are behind cover.

Field testing is underway on sniper weapons which compute all the factors one must take into account when shooting long distances; i.e. distance, elevation, wind, humidity, spin drift, etc.  Once a target  is selected the computer in the weapon locks onto the target, calculates the factors and signals it is ready to fire.  The operator then depresses the fire mechanism and when he manages to put the cross hair's on the target the weapon fires automatically.  In testing people who have never fired a weapon in their lives have put their 1st round center target at 1500 meters.

As a person who has some familiarity with the above  world (and I hope you don't) it is hard to overstate the implications of such a technological development.  A variety of infantry, vehicle, and airborne systems can readily be envisioned based upon this technology which would result in weapons which would be orders of magnitude more lethal than those now fielded.  Their deployment would also dramatically reduce the militaries personnel requirements.  I predict that elite US military units will have a range of such technologies available to them within 10 years and larger more complex systems within 20 years.  This has big implications as collapse approaches.
 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

TerryM

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #51 on: August 06, 2013, 08:00:22 PM »
Jim
The weapons systems you mention sound as though the "enemy" will have little choice but to capitulate, or nuke our command centers.

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #52 on: August 06, 2013, 11:01:22 PM »
................................  I am not just talking about the use of various types of drones by the US military.  Though the progress in this area will eventually eliminate the need for human pilots.  Witness the US Navy has large drones doing carrier landings now.  ........................

JimD,

Before my retirement, I worked directly for a retired Assistant Secretary of the Navy who had at one time been responsible for all aircraft and missile procurement for the Navy and Marine Corps.
At least 10 years ago, he told me that aircraft carriers and piloted aircraft were obsolete.  Our guided missile technology has allowed us to build airframes that are so maneuverable that the G-forces are many orders of magnitude higher than any human body can withstand.  Why put a pilot in the cockpit when for less money you can build a smaller, faster, more maneuverable airframe that can go farther and deliver a larger payload??
"Share Your Knowledge.  It's a Way to Achieve Immortality."  ......the Dalai Lama

AbruptSLR

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #53 on: August 07, 2013, 03:18:27 PM »
I agree that robotics will probably be the most disruptive technology over the next few decades; and that the military applications of robotics will be at the cutting-edge of this megatrend; nevertheless, I would like to raise still another megatrend; which is the increasing importance of the market place at the expense of governments.  For example:

- In the USA a few multi-millionaires can provide sufficient campaign support to elect sufficient numbers of congressmen to block congress from providing effective federal government; while the federal government has passed so much of its prior responsibilities to local governments that now major cities such as Detroit have gone bankrupt and some states are close to this condition.

- Multi-nationals now have accumulated over a trillion dollars of relatively liquid assess that can be rapidly shifted around the world and are increasingly being applied to applications previously addressed by governments (including: infrastructure; prisons, water supplies, higher education [including massive open online courses], mass communication and the internet/IT).

- Mao roughly said: "Power comes from the barrel of a gun", and if by 2050 private businesses have a very large number of robots that could possibly reprogrammed/up-graded for military applications (first defensive) then effectively the international private market place would have private robotic armies at its disposal as the collapse/singularity approaches.

International governments have already shown their inability to address the climate change/over population challenges; and as the world becomes an increasingly stressed place to live; I believe that more people will look more frequently aware from governments for answers and more to the market place (including Public Private Partnerships) to find the security that they want; which in my opinion will likely delay the collapse but will likely make the consequences worse when it finally comes home to roost.
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

JimD

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #54 on: August 07, 2013, 06:06:49 PM »
AbruptSLR

......- In the USA a few multi-millionaires can provide sufficient campaign support to elect sufficient numbers of congressmen to block congress from providing effective federal government; while the federal government has passed so much of its prior responsibilities to local governments that now major cities such as Detroit have gone bankrupt and some states are close to this condition.

This comment implies that you are not aware of how the US Constitution was structured (likely you are not an American?).  Following our independence from Great Briton there was a convention to draft a constitution. There were two powerful factions competing for dominance.  One was strongly oriented towards a dominant federal government with no meaningful power left with the states, and the other was for a very weak federal government and wanted States to have most of the governing power.  The Federalists had to give major concessions to the anti-Federalists or there would have been no agreement, no United States, and each state would have become a separate country.  Americans, then and now, have a strong distrust and in many cases a hatred of strong federal control.  Even today this division is a major factor in US politics.  So it would be fair to say that a weak federal government and strong state government in the US is a 'feature' not a bug.  I fully expect that sometime after we are well into collapse that the US will have states and/or regional blocks running autonomously from the federal government.

-  Mao roughly said: "Power comes from the barrel of a gun", and if by 2050 private businesses have a very large number of robots that could possibly reprogrammed/up-graded for military applications (first defensive) then effectively the international private market place would have private robotic armies at its disposal as the collapse/singularity approaches.-

That transition is already underway in my opinion.  The rich and powerful are not going to forget their own security.  In the US our laws allow corporations and individuals to own much of the types of military technology available.  If you want to pay the licensing fees a private individual can purchase a fully automatic weapon (I know a number of folks who own them).  Current laws would allow someone to own the sniper rifle I mentioned above and I know many who own the current state of the art sniper weapons.  Not to mention that where I live large numbers of folks own semi-automatic assault rifles and such.  I am certain that private citizens have in their possession many times the light infantry weapons that the US military possesses.  This is another deliberate "feature" built into our constitution as our founders were very concerned with the government becoming authoritarian (our experiences with the British again) and we wrote our constitution in a way to ensure that the populace would always have the weaponry to overthrow the government should the need arise.   


-  International governments have already shown their inability to address the climate change/over population challenges; and as the world becomes an increasingly stressed place to live; I believe that more people will look more frequently aware from governments for answers and more to the market place (including Public Private Partnerships) to find the security that they want; which in my opinion will likely delay the collapse but will likely make the consequences worse when it finally comes home to roost.

If you are saying that federal governments will break down in the future and that various kinds of corporate governments and regional power blocks will take over government functions I pretty much agree.  Collapse implies that our government structures will devolve along with the rest of civilization.  I expect authoritarian quasi-feudal governing structures to dominate when current government structures cease functioning.

But we are getting off topic a bit so I will stop.  Maybe we should start a thread on future forms of governing structures? 


 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

wili

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #55 on: August 08, 2013, 06:59:57 PM »
"we are getting off topic a bit"

Well, if the topic is population control, really we've just drifted into another definition of that term. ::)

I don't think people will be more secure from their government and its military because they are all armed to the armpits. Remember that drones can also be tiny--insect size. And even without high-tech stuff, when the gov orders everyone to give up guns or agree to a house search, who will be the one to shoot back when a tank shows up to your house, and if you resist, your residence will be quickly turned to rubble?

But mostly, the wealthy will do what they have always done and are continuing to do--set one group against the others.

Most of the gun-toters are already convinced that the main threat they face is from 'illegal aliens,' urban gangs of various colors, and 'librals.' They will gladly turn their guns in the direction of any of these when convinced that they are the real threats to their God-given rights.

Remember that many of the revolutions in the former Soviet bloc did not require an armed citizenry--just a common understanding of who the real enemy was.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Anne

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #56 on: August 08, 2013, 08:27:29 PM »
Remember that many of the revolutions in the former Soviet bloc did not require an armed citizenry--just a common understanding of who the real enemy was.

So true. (Who is monitoring this board?   :-X)

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #57 on: August 08, 2013, 09:29:32 PM »
Remember that many of the revolutions in the former Soviet bloc did not require an armed citizenry--just a common understanding of who the real enemy was.

So true. (Who is monitoring this board?   :-X)

I think Neven's intent is for these boards to  be self-moderating.  Unless something is flagged or reported to Dungeonmaster or Neven, we are on are own with little or no adult supervision!

As to whether we need a separate topic regarding the various forms of government needed, desirable or probable in the ensuing decades, I believe that it would warrant it's own thread.  I'm not going to start that thread, however, will read it and comment as I feel appropriate.
"Share Your Knowledge.  It's a Way to Achieve Immortality."  ......the Dalai Lama

Anne

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #58 on: August 08, 2013, 11:24:54 PM »
Remember that many of the revolutions in the former Soviet bloc did not require an armed citizenry--just a common understanding of who the real enemy was.

So true. (Who is monitoring this board?   :-X)

I think Neven's intent is for these boards to  be self-moderating.  Unless something is flagged or reported to Dungeonmaster or Neven, we are on are own with little or no adult supervision!
Eh, I wasn't referring to moderation but to who else is listening in. Let's not flatter ourselves, but when NASA is so regularly citing Neven's blog, members of this forum can't assume invisibility.  ;D

JackTaylor

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #59 on: August 19, 2013, 03:12:58 AM »
partial quote
~~ "What will be done during the next century (100 years) to reduce population?" ~~
Questioned originally posted July 29, 2013.

JimD

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #60 on: August 20, 2013, 04:42:06 PM »
JimD Thanks. Well done.
The real root of the cause for Arctic Sea Ice melting, = PEOPLE (too many)

What will be done during the next century (100 years) to reduce population?
IMHO = not much, so it gets worse.

Jack, as you seemed to answer your own question in your post above I just kind of assumed that it was rhetorical and that your opinion was that nothing would be done.  I did not mean to ignore you.

I agree with your conclusion.  The problem is so fraught with emotional and religious issues that it likely is unaddressable in today's environment.  Will that change over the next 20-30 years?  Perhaps, but at that point it probably will not matter much.

A lot of people hope that rising affluence and educating women will continue to lower birth rates but data has shown that in many places and cultures there seems to be a bottom to this kind of change that does not result in a low enough birth rate.  A number of countries which have achieved lower birth rates are now trying to raise them again for various social, religious and security reasons (I just yesterday read an article promoting raising the birth rate in the US).

As your question had a  timeframe out to 100 years my guess would be that there will never be a global coordinated effort to rapidly reduced global population in a humane way.  Individual countries may, when their in-country population becomes catastrophically bad, try and institute some kind of program.  Perhaps.  But the more time that passes before serious efforts are made the more likely the only serious population reductions that will take place will take the form of genocide, famine or disease. 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JackTaylor

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #61 on: August 20, 2013, 05:29:43 PM »
~~ "the more time that passes before serious efforts are made the more likely the only serious population reductions that will take place will take the form of genocide, famine or disease" ~~
genocide, famine or disease works

Where you have talked about birth/fertility rates for population control - reduction,
especially the 20 year none - 20 year limited via number running is good.

I will again add Genetic Testing to determine which limited number of people will be allowed to reproduce and sex of offspring added in.

Cold and cruel perhaps, but barring a catastrophic event such as a super-volcano or massive asteroid reducing population numbers to less than one or two billion, I believe homo-sapiens will work to the end to prevent genocide, famine or disease unless the numbers go down in a controlled manner.

What a psychologically painful world that would be to live in.

JimD

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #62 on: August 20, 2013, 06:47:57 PM »
~~ "the more time that passes before serious efforts are made the more likely the only serious population reductions that will take place will take the form of genocide, famine or disease" ~~
genocide, famine or disease works

Where you have talked about birth/fertility rates for population control - reduction,
especially the 20 year none - 20 year limited via number running is good.

I will again add Genetic Testing to determine which limited number of people will be allowed to reproduce and sex of offspring added in.

Cold and cruel perhaps, but barring a catastrophic event such as a super-volcano or massive asteroid reducing population numbers to less than one or two billion, I believe homo-sapiens will work to the end to prevent genocide, famine or disease unless the numbers go down in a controlled manner.

What a psychologically painful world that would be to live in.


(Just kidding now) on the genetics point I hope they can put some effort into better looks as there sure seems to be a lot of homely people where I live.   ;D

Question:  Why do you think

....I believe homo-sapiens will work to the end to prevent genocide, famine or disease unless the numbers go down in a controlled manner....

that us homo-sapiens will work to 'the end' to prevent such things?  We certainly have a long track record of doing the opposite for various reasons.  Why not in the future?
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

wili

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #63 on: August 20, 2013, 08:24:35 PM »
"Genetic Testing"

Criteria?

By rights, it seems to me that the peoples least responsible for the mess we've gotten ourselves into should have the most rights for reproduction. That would be mostly the poorest and the few traditional small-scale societies that haven't been utterly destroyed.

But I'm guessing that may not have been the criteria you had in mind?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Anne

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #64 on: August 20, 2013, 09:24:00 PM »
It would be great if people could think in terms of refugees as replacement population. In my dreams.

JackTaylor

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #65 on: August 21, 2013, 02:57:17 AM »
Question:  Why do you think

....I believe homo-sapiens will work to the end to prevent genocide, famine or disease unless the numbers go down in a controlled manner....

that us homo-sapiens will work to 'the end' to prevent such things?  We certainly have a long track record of doing the opposite for various reasons.  Why not in the future?

#1. There is no profit motive in allowing the end to occur.

Verbose ramblings

One theory may be as good as another.  Holes can be "poked' in everything I say here (exceptions made).
My "Crystal Ball" may not be as powerful and clear as others.
 
1.  Genocide:
I believe there will be some genocide in small areas, such as occurred in the Balkans during the 1990's, or central Africa,,, etc... I do NOT believe it will occur widely, flowing - jumping from one major region - continent to another.  As for allowing such as the WWII European Jewish Holocaust - if we ever go that low again we deserve having some loony-bin, frying us all, by launching the first missile to start a world wide nuclear conflagration for mutual assured self destruction (MAD). Outside MAD eliminating Five Billion or more, I would rule genocide out. Should I adjust my thinking to include MAD as Genocide?
Russia eliminate the Chinese? China eliminate the Indians or Pakistanis? USA - Europe - South America - Africa - Australia into the equation?

Without the use of nuclear weapons how would I implement genocide to remove 5-billion people?   


2.  World Wide Famine: (WWF - is that copyrighted?) - has it ever occurred?
I believe a reduction in easily obtainable (affordable) food will result in a population decline but not decimation (I'm optimist about the future).  Do we have tropical foods sustaining great numbers of people within the lower (hotter) latitudes? How many people could survive without temperate climate cereal grains?  Will we, as a population, demand genetically modified organism foods (GMO) if they prove to be adaptable and productive?  If we can get enough un-polluted water (fresh or rain) for irrigation on arable lands we will continue widespread agriculture for profit, (it may not be our traditional crop areas or types of food). 
 
Anyone for Lady-Fingers (okra) cooked in Palm Oil?  Does man live by bread alone?     


3.  Disease:
The great baffling one to me. Does the USA Center for Disease Control (CDC) say there are virus strains that are unstoppable and they have samples in isolation. To recognize and collect a sample, why did the sample not infect - kill all people on a continent? Somebody had to report it for the "barrier white suits" to collect.

What organism could or will be spawned in the future is unknown to me. My speculating is a waste of time and I am aware of the medieval plague - "black death."

I'm admittedly very shallow on any theory or argument for or against disease decimating over 50%.  Until proved impossible, should it remain a topic for laymen?

Too many people will cause AGW to continue.

JackTaylor

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #66 on: August 21, 2013, 03:08:16 AM »
"Genetic Testing"

Criteria?

By rights, it seems to me that the peoples least responsible for the mess we've gotten ourselves into should have the most rights for reproduction. That would be mostly the poorest and the few traditional small-scale societies that haven't been utterly destroyed.

But I'm guessing that may not have been the criteria you had in mind?
Hey wili,

True that's not my theoretical criteria.

Verbose rambling:

As redundant or perhaps oxymoronic as it sounds, no excess population - probably no AGW.
Reduced or no demand = supply not abusing the precious resources of the Earth.

In the context that AGW must be reduced, or I could say reversed, with the A being for anthropogenic (man = people = population) and a belief that switching to and making renewable energy successful will probably make it likely there will be more people and thus more problems.

Cold and cruel sounding. When and if the population hits or is pushing ten billion (10B) or so, do we believe the demographers at 9.7B our species will start to decline in numbers.  Decline to what level, two billion as put forth by JimD, in what time frame?

What if the birth rate produces a stable level of 8 or 9 Billion?
Is there another thousand years of carrying capacity in the Earth at an increased level?
I doubt there will be an extended stable period of population. Increasing or decreasing.

Cold and cruel again, I hope the criteria is not who lives or dies to save the species.
For those "selected" not to reproduce, I believe sterilization will occur at birth.

So called "genetic predictor" of good health for criteria.
Perhaps later breed in a short successful life span.

Nazi and super-race I've heard enough about.  Chinese single child likewise.
Let's skip these two and various problems of each.

If we can't wait for natural or catastrophic decimating events,
should it become necessary to reduce the population of the Earth, how would you do it?

If it's not necessary - I still enjoy this Forum and your posts.
 

wili

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #67 on: August 21, 2013, 11:05:48 AM »
I hate to keep harping on this, but, while I agree that a world populated by 10 billion people is not likely to be sustainable under any circumstance, a world of 2B could easily also be unsustainable.

Recall that the top billion or so are currently responsible for about 80% of the CO2 emissions (and much of the rest of the destructive behaviors). So at US-levels of consumption, even fewer than 2B is likely unsustainable.

So if we are talking massive population reduction, we really want to start most aggressively with the top consumers. By the time you get down to remnant small-scale traditional communities like the Australian Aborigines or Aka (Pygmies), well, reducing their numbers won't help much since they don't consume much. (And they're cultures are exactly the ones most likely to create a new society that is not bent on utter destruction of the living world.)
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JackTaylor

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #68 on: August 21, 2013, 12:39:30 PM »
~~ "10 billion people is not likely to be sustainable under any circumstance, a world of 2B could easily also be unsustainable" ~~
~~ "population reduction, we really want to start most aggressively with the top consumers" ~~
10B is a predicted number from the UN I stumbled on.   
2B is supplied by the originator of the topic/thread.

If we say a number in between, such as 5B (rounded for convenience).  We're already 40% above that.  We're looking at a tremendous number of people to be removed-reduced-eliminated.

Whether the top (over) consumers are selected to go first is something we can discuss.

Primarily, my thoughts so far have been on how to reduce - eliminate.   NOT who - which.

If it's necessary to reduce the population of the Earth, for fear of famine, then:

Birth Rate Control (with genetic selection - testing) receives my vote for reduction;

Eliminating by types of events we control is terrible, even though famine and disease could occur in spite of our work.  Genocide I don't know if I can talk about it.
Barring an asteroid or super-volcano how should it be done?


wili

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #69 on: August 21, 2013, 04:10:45 PM »
I guess my point is that famine is most likely to take out the poorest first. And since the problem is really pop x consumption, losing even billions of the poorest isn't going to move you very far toward lightening the load of supporting the remaining population.

So the most likely ways that population will be 'naturally' reduced are going to be the least effective, if the goal is to reduce the pressure that humans place on the planet.

Another approach would be to go for reducing both population and consumption, especially the highest impact kinds of consumption. The most fundamental physical needs of all humans are food and water. Meat consumption is enormously wasteful of both. If your rapidly reduce meat consumption while also reducing population (again, with greatest focus on the high consumers), you will go a long way toward reducing the likelyhood of massive famine, providing the grain and water freed up is properly distributed (a big 'if,' that).

A big challenge for both liberals and conservatives with this kind of discussion is that it is fundamentally about limiting humans. This goes against fundamental Western ideologies that grew out of the enlightenment that are all about unleashing the potential of humans, not limiting them.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

silkman

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #70 on: August 21, 2013, 06:09:16 PM »
As a scientist who had a long career in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries the lesson I took from the 2009 swine flu pandemic was a simple one.

The ultimate impact of the epidemic was fortunately modest though devastating for those who lost young relatives and friends who had less resistance than the more elderly. The flu strain proved to be somewhat less transmissible than predicted and though it caused severe illness it was rarely fatal.

The frightening thing about the experience was that the pandemic spread across the globe within a few weeks, totally outpacing the efforts of governments and big pharma to develop, manufacture and distribute an effective vaccine to halt it.

This happened, not in 1918, but in a world capable of sequencing the viral genome and bringing the latest development and production techniques to bear.

The simple takeaway message is that the global inter-connectivity of the modern world totally trumps the advances we've made in the understanding and treatment of viral infections. 2009 swine flu lacked the transmissibility and lethality to create a global disaster but if you put those two factors together, despite new developments such as DNA vaccines, there would be nothing we could do to stop it.

Today we have a virus in the Middle East that seems to emanate from camels but causes 75% mortality in the few unfortunate folk who have become its victims. Add human to human transmission and you have a very ugly answer to AGW.

The science seems to say that its not a question of if, but when.

« Last Edit: August 22, 2013, 08:24:39 AM by Silkman »

JimD

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #71 on: August 21, 2013, 06:39:20 PM »
Jack

I don't think we are that far apart on those factors after all.  I also do not see global scale genocides (or anything like the Holocaust) being very likely in the future.  What I see are local/regional situations that pop up all over the place where a combination of genocide, famine and disease all occur together and dramatically worsen the death rates.

For instance we have seen all of those factors at play in central Africa in the not too distant past.   As collapse dynamics worsen in locations like that one can predict that somewhere on the continent that is very over populated will suffer a major drought/crop failure.  If we are then at the point that free bulk grain supplies are no longer available we will see famine.  With famine in a badly overpopulated location with either ethnic or religious conflicts it is easy for a Rwanda type of genocide to ignite.  Drought, famine and large numbers of dead folks equals disease.  A very large number of people can die very quickly in circumstances like that.  And I think it pretty certain that equivalent situations will occur in lots of places in the world in the next 40 years.

Situations like the above can reduce populations much faster that any non-nuclear war. 

Another type of genocide that could occur is exemplified by the Bangladesh/India/Myanmar situation we were discussing in the future government thread.  Eventually most of Bangladesh is going to have to migrate as the country will be unlivable.  India and Myanmar likely cannot and will not let them migrate in their directions.  There is, of course, no where else for them to go.   India is already shooting on sight any illegal border crossers.  I expect genocide at that location in a big way at some point.

Realistically I don't think anyone expects, in the early years of collapses around the globe, that there will be any major population reductions in the current high consumption countries.  They are just too wealthy and powerful to allow that to happen to them.  It seems certain that the vast majority of the first couple of billion deaths will occur in the poorest and weakest locations.   And the comment that these deaths will not significantly reduce consumption is accurate, but how else could it happen.   Unless we achieve the highly unlikely voluntary global rapid population reductions discussed up thread, we have to expect the normal historical trends in which the weak and powerless suffer first and the most.

The great Black Swan in all of this is disease.  A modern plague.  The reason governments spend so much on organizations like the CDC and global disease monitoring/vaccination programs is that the global population is still very vulnerable to large scale deaths due to a virulent and lethal pandemic.  We are at all times one step away from 10's of millions of deaths (or more) due to a rare mutation in one of the swine or bird flu strains.

The double Black Swan is when someone decides to engineer their own deadly pandemic.  This is technically quite feasible and there is a wealth of open information out there on how to do it.  A terrorist group with a few well trained scientists and access to enough resources that they could build a university level biology lab (or even a lot less than that) could have a good probability of accomplishing such a task.  Then the whole global dynamic would change.  Or even worse, suppose a government decided to do such a thing.  Create the virus, grow it in quantity, vaccinate those you want to keep around and smoke everyone else.   There are many countries which could easily succeed at this task.  Desperate people do desperate things.  Smallpox anyone?
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wili

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #72 on: August 22, 2013, 06:16:33 AM »
If this ever happens, it is likely decades or centuries away. But eventually, if we continue to burn up every bit of carbon we can lay our hands on, we could end up with a world where many of the currently most heavily inhabited are unlivable.

I don't mean just sea level rise, though that will kill and displace more and more people in the coming years and decades. GW, besides obviously increasing average global temperature, also increases average humidity (about 5% increase so far iirc).

Eventually, the combination of heat and humidity (called "wet bulb temperature") makes conditions unlivable for humans--we basically start to cook in our skins, since we cannot effectively cool ourselves even sitting still naked in a high wind. This happens at about 35 C wbt.

http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100504HuberLimits.html

https://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/2010/huber-future.jpg

Keep in mind that many of the places that don't show high wbt will be too dry to support human life (yes, ironically, even as average humidity increases, some areas will become more and more dry).

So if nothing else kills off the billions, that is likely to do a pretty good job of it.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #73 on: August 22, 2013, 06:45:53 AM »
Eventually, the combination of heat and humidity (called "wet bulb temperature") makes conditions unlivable for humans--we basically start to cook in our skins, since we cannot effectively cool ourselves even sitting still naked in a high wind. This happens at about 35 C wbt.

...

So if nothing else kills off the billions, that is likely to do a pretty good job of it.

Our agriculture will bite the dust long before we would in that scenario. I very much doubt most of the human population will live to see the final state of the planet when all this settles (and the subsequent restriction of humanity to niche habitats).

The probable timescales for climate change to settle down properly (which is certainly at least centuries, though the frequency of major shocks might tail off after some decades is my feeling) are such that when those days come it's questionable if any (or many) remaining humans will still maintain enough education and knowledge to understand what is happening - or to deploy anything we would recognise as technology to try to fight it. Our numbers will have already crashed long before those days come - with the associated depletion and loss of availability of resources and the destruction wrought by conflict (and possibly a significant amount of high technology conflict - ie especially nasty stuff).

However bad it may seem though - it's effectively a transition stage - after civilisational collapse and especially once the climate reaches equilibrium, I would suggest that the experience of being alive on the planet should start to improve again. Given not only that, but also that nobody can be absolutely certain how this plays out - I still don't think there is a case for defeatism.

wili

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #74 on: August 22, 2013, 07:08:33 AM »
I missed any reference to defeatism, but since you rightly point out that "nobody can be absolutely certain how this plays out," it seems to me legitimate to consider the full range of possibilities.

Once the new equilibrium is reached, it may lead to replenishment of the earth. But it will likely be at global (and many local) temperatures that humans have never experienced.

For life in general, it may be the beginning of a rapid re-speciation: hot temperature encourage small species, and more kinds of small species can fit into more ecological niches than can large species.

But it might be that we burn up enough fossil carbon and feedbacks from permafrost and subsea methane are large and long enough to extend the heating for a very long time and to a very high degree. And of course we have many other ways besides GW that we are driving the current great extinction event--habitat destruction, introducing 'exotic' species, hunting/fishing/harvesting (sure to increase as famine kicks in), radiation from all the Fukushimas yet to come, nuclear and other types of wars, massive amounts of chemicals (many very toxic) that have never existed in the natural world, plastics that keep killing organisms even when they are broken down into tiny fragments...don't get me started on GMO and nano-particles...

Anyway, the sources of extinction are manifold and many very long lasting. These factors are likely to increase the recovery time, but by how much, no one knows. Other extinctions have had recovery periods of millions to tens of millions of years. Will our super-sized, multi-sourced extinction require double that? An order of magnitude more? If the latter, we are talking about hundreds of millions of years, and that is pushing us toward the point where, whatever the atmospheric C content is, the sun will get too hot for the earth to be able to sustain life.

In any case, I see scant chance that anything like humans as we know them will be around to see things stabilize and then start to turn around (unless we miraculously suddenly stop all further emissions of carbon and find effective ways to suck the carbon that's in the atmosphere back out very quickly and on a massive scale, again, without using ff to do it).
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #75 on: August 22, 2013, 07:27:05 AM »
I missed any reference to defeatism, but since you rightly point out that "nobody can be absolutely certain how this plays out," it seems to me legitimate to consider the full range of possibilities.

I was pre-empting that response from anyone, not countering it per se.

Anyway, the sources of extinction are manifold and many very long lasting. These factors are likely to increase the recovery time, but by how much, no one knows. Other extinctions have had recovery periods of millions to tens of millions of years. Will our super-sized, multi-sourced extinction require double that? An order of magnitude more? If the latter, we are talking about hundreds of millions of years, and that is pushing us toward the point where, whatever the atmospheric C content is, the sun will get too hot for the earth to be able to sustain life.

In any case, I see scant chance that anything like humans as we know them will be around to see things stabilize and then start to turn around (unless we miraculously suddenly stop all further emissions of carbon and find effective ways to suck the carbon that's in the atmosphere back out very quickly and on a massive scale, again, without using ff to do it).

I seem to recall reading that the end Permian may have taken around a million years for life to really recover from. I just stumbled over this:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/03/2/l_032_04.html

The typical rate of extinction differs for different groups of organisms. Mammals, for instance, have an average species "lifespan" from origination to extinction of about 1 million years, although some species persist for as long as 10 million years.

And while the fossil record tells us that biodiversity has always recovered, it also tells us that the recovery will be unbearably slow in human terms -- 5 to 10 million years after the mass extinctions of the past. That's more than 200,000 generations of humankind before levels of biodiversity comparable to those we inherited might be restored.

I'm unclear why we should expect much worse than the end Permian?

The most hopeful outlook I have, is that whatever the final state of the changed climate settles at - it may be theoretically possible for long term human activity to accelerate the process of pushing the climate back to a more habitable state (by carrying out activities over thousands of years that help sequester carbon from the atmosphere). The planet is likely to eventually sequester the carbon again otherwise I should think - from rock weathering and by forming new coal and oil (the irony).

However, I very much doubt we can do anything to restore lost biodiversity. Only a few million years can fix that. In a few million years I should think our species will either be gone, or have turned into another species. It seems a valid question to me to contemplate if people would ever permit biodiversity to increase? We've pushed the world into a mass extinction even before climate change is properly factored into things... If our range was restricted to niche habitats and most of the rest of the world was barren - would we really let nature take it's course with a sizeable chunk of our precious habitable area?

wili

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #76 on: August 22, 2013, 08:22:39 AM »
"I'm unclear why we should expect much worse than the end Permian?"

I didn't mean to imply that "expected" it. Only that I don't think we can rule out a worse extinction event and a slower recovery than in the end Permian.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I recall there was no plastic during the Permian, nor other massive quantities of chemicals that have no biological way to be broken down. Recall, that, if not exposed to sunlight for a very long time, plastic only 'breaks down' mechanically into smaller and smaller pieces. At each stage those pieces are hazardous or lethal to the organisms that ingest them. There are a host of other chemicals that have no known way to be broken down by natural systems, some of them quite toxic. These will continue to do damage for a very long time.

Again, I may be mistaken, but I don't believe that in the Permian there were planes, boats, trains, busses, cars...all busily transporting fungi, bacteria, invasive plants and animals across continents and oceans, introducing them to areas where they never existed and so have evolved no biological controls for them.

Perhaps there were lots and lots of nuclear warheads and power plants in the Permian, but somehow I don't think so.

GMOs and nano-particles represent yet more potential threats that the natural world has evolved no means to cope with, and in the former case, they are self replicating--a chemical plant you can shut down if you decide you don't like what it is producing. But an actual plant, if it gets into the wild and is producing something that ends up to be toxic to you or to a species you don't want to disappear, can be very hard to get under control.

And as I said, as famine becomes ever-more widespread, humans are going to eat everything they can lay their hands on. And we can be quite clever when it comes to figuring out how to kill things so we can eat them. SLR also will not only wipe out habitats, but will force millions to billions to move to new places, building new towns and cities, displacing whatever wildlife had been there.

I could go on, but I hope you now get my point. Maybe the natural world will 'figure out' how to deal with all these many insults/assaults in a timely fashion. But we are conducting a massive experiment on the only fragile planet we have, and early indications are that the patient is not responding well to our 'treatments.'

Just because end-permian was really, really bad doesn't mean we can't manage to do even worse. We certainly are trying hard.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #77 on: August 23, 2013, 01:30:12 PM »
If this ever happens, it is likely decades or centuries away. But eventually, if we continue to burn up every bit of carbon we can lay our hands on, we could end up with a world where many of the currently most heavily inhabited are unlivable.

I don't mean just sea level rise, though that will kill and displace more and more people in the coming years and decades. GW, besides obviously increasing average global temperature, also increases average humidity (about 5% increase so far iirc).

Eventually, the combination of heat and humidity (called "wet bulb temperature") makes conditions unlivable for humans--we basically start to cook in our skins, since we cannot effectively cool ourselves even sitting still naked in a high wind. This happens at about 35 C wbt.

http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100504HuberLimits.html

https://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/2010/huber-future.jpg

Keep in mind that many of the places that don't show high wbt will be too dry to support human life (yes, ironically, even as average humidity increases, some areas will become more and more dry).

So if nothing else kills off the billions, that is likely to do a pretty good job of it.

Have you ever experienced a WBT of 28C+? I have. In fact, when I was stationed in Bahrain, we had several instances of a 30C WBT in the morning (before sunrise), and even one morning with a WBT over 31C (it was 95F with an 86F dewpoint at our station).

Let me tell you from personal experience, it's absolutely miserable. On the morning mentioned above, I was almost completely soaked in sweat from head to toe after walking just 6 blocks. I'm certain that it wasn't survivable in clothing more than an hour or two. Anything above 27 is basically intolerable to live in without significant usage of AC.

Shared Humanity

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #78 on: August 23, 2013, 04:17:48 PM »
If this ever happens, it is likely decades or centuries away. But eventually, if we continue to burn up every bit of carbon we can lay our hands on, we could end up with a world where many of the currently most heavily inhabited are unlivable.

I don't mean just sea level rise, though that will kill and displace more and more people in the coming years and decades. GW, besides obviously increasing average global temperature, also increases average humidity (about 5% increase so far iirc).

Eventually, the combination of heat and humidity (called "wet bulb temperature") makes conditions unlivable for humans--we basically start to cook in our skins, since we cannot effectively cool ourselves even sitting still naked in a high wind. This happens at about 35 C wbt.

http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100504HuberLimits.html

https://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/2010/huber-future.jpg

Keep in mind that many of the places that don't show high wbt will be too dry to support human life (yes, ironically, even as average humidity increases, some areas will become more and more dry).

So if nothing else kills off the billions, that is likely to do a pretty good job of it.

Have you ever experienced a WBT of 28C+? I have. In fact, when I was stationed in Bahrain, we had several instances of a 30C WBT in the morning (before sunrise), and even one morning with a WBT over 31C (it was 95F with an 86F dewpoint at our station).

Let me tell you from personal experience, it's absolutely miserable. On the morning mentioned above, I was almost completely soaked in sweat from head to toe after walking just 6 blocks. I'm certain that it wasn't survivable in clothing more than an hour or two. Anything above 27 is basically intolerable to live in without significant usage of AC.

This should not surprise us since a 35C wbt results in death in 6 hours for any human being. In 35C wbt, everyone dies. It does not matter how much water you drink or how much of a breeze there is. If exposed to 31C wbt for long enough, many will still die, especially if you are trying to do any kind of work outside or live in an apartment without air conditioning where the wbt can be much higher than outside.
 
My wife worked nights in a level one trauma center in Chicago during the 1995 heat wave which killed nearly 1000 people. The first night of heat, there was no indication of a problem. By the third night they were bringing 10 bodies an hour into ER. Many were dead, the rest died while being treated. Death from heat is not a pretty sight. The body starts forming and throwing blood clots and organs shut down.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2013, 04:23:23 PM by Shared Humanity »

wili

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #79 on: August 23, 2013, 04:19:59 PM »
Good point. Many will die long before we get anywhere close to 35wbt.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #80 on: August 23, 2013, 06:56:30 PM »
This should not surprise us since a 35C wbt results in death in 6 hours for any human being. In 35C wbt, everyone dies. It does not matter how much water you drink or how much of a breeze there is. If exposed to 31C wbt for long enough, many will still die, especially if you are trying to do any kind of work outside or live in an apartment without air conditioning where the wbt can be much higher than outside.

According to an online calculator (not sure how accurate it is), it reached 31-32C web bulb here a few weeks ago (relatively warm spell - same calculator gives 26-27C for today, which makes me think it's probably fairly accurate). I had the bad timing to be out in the sun (mostly) for 1.5 days welding (in full clothing) and by midday on the second day (as I was finishing the item in question) I was starting to get symptoms of heat exhaustion pressing enough not to ignore. The heat really impairs ones ability to do even light manual labour - heavy manual labour for any length of the time becomes out of the question. Just standing up produces a noticeable increase in sweating compared to sitting down.

Without the option of air conditioning (I don't have that option), all one can do is sit in front of a fan in as cool a spot as one can find. If one didn't have electrical power or fans, one couldn't even do that...

Long term, maybe Antarctica is the place to be! (given where ultimate global warming could leave things)

http://news.discovery.com/earth/plants/antarctica-going-green-110405.htm

wili

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #81 on: August 23, 2013, 07:05:08 PM »
"in front of a fan" And when you reach 35 degrees C wbt, even the strongest fan won't help you.

Long term, yes, Antarctic is the land mass that will still be habitable for quite some time. But it is currently not (without lots of support from the rest of the planet). So timing would be tricky. The farthest north parts of North America and Eurasia and associated islands could be other refuges (as suggested by the movie "The Age of Stupid").

"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #82 on: August 23, 2013, 07:30:30 PM »
"in front of a fan" And when you reach 35 degrees C wbt, even the strongest fan won't help you.

Coming from a place originally where summer day time highs are still cooler than night time lows where I'm at right now, I've come to appreciate the virtues of the humble fan (even sleeping in front of one). I very much doubt most people will live to see such high wet bulb temperatures as 35C on a regular basis - too far to go to get to that point and too many other things to go wrong. We'll see increasingly substantial mortality from heat waves and the new extreme end of the weather spectrum long before such conditions become common (and just for the adding sting in the tail - excess heat can affect electricity distribution and generation - good to have a battery bank and to be off grid!).

Long term, yes, Antarctic is the land mass that will still be habitable for quite some time. But it is currently not (without lots of support from the rest of the planet). So timing would be tricky. The farthest north parts of North America and Eurasia and associated islands could be other refuges (as suggested by the movie "The Age of Stupid").

For quite some time? Or indefinitely? I'm not aware of credible predictions for even the polar regions becoming categorically uninhabitable.

The timing issue you identify is a definite issue though - currently the future habitable regions are mostly not, and it's likely to take time (centuries) before they really become suitable (for example, consider how fast topsoil formation proceeds), leaving a very awkward interval as the existing areas start to leave habitable specification. In that interval the habitable niches presumably will be smallest, with people squozen from both sides.

In that interval population must necessarily reach a minimum value (hopefully greater than zero), no matter how it does so.

Plausibly speaking though, given we have yet to even achieve a static population - is there any credible pathway to get from where we are now to such a minimum, in an organised and socially acceptable fashion? I don't see how...

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #83 on: August 23, 2013, 07:54:33 PM »

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/34462971/ns/weather/t/east-africa-drought-leaves-millions-need/#.UheQfdLTMSY

Most of the crops and animals we feed ourselves with are less heat tolerant than we are. Food will be a crisis long before temperature. In Africa this is already true. The vast majority of deaths in the heat waves are the soon to die, the ill and the elderly. The added stress just hastens the inevitable.

Vergent


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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #84 on: August 23, 2013, 09:52:35 PM »
< excerpt -/- snippet >

Plausibly speaking though, given we have yet to even achieve a static population - is there any credible pathway to get from where we are now to such a minimum, in an organised and socially acceptable fashion? I don't see how...
With so much information about "renewable energy" being a savior from GHG
surely
we'll soon be seeing various controlled methods proposed to reduce population
without resorting to genocide.

IMHO, as the fossil fuel industry seems to oppose total conversion to renewable's
what - which segment of society will oppose population reduction?

Shared Humanity

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #85 on: August 24, 2013, 12:49:05 AM »

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/34462971/ns/weather/t/east-africa-drought-leaves-millions-need/#.UheQfdLTMSY

Most of the crops and animals we feed ourselves with are less heat tolerant than we are. Food will be a crisis long before temperature. In Africa this is already true. The vast majority of deaths in the heat waves are the soon to die, the ill and the elderly. The added stress just hastens the inevitable.

Vergent

And even for those that are as tolerant, they can't retreat to air conditioned houses.

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #86 on: August 24, 2013, 01:12:50 AM »
Does anyone know the maximum wet bulb temperatures that most common farm animals can withstand?
 Terry


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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #87 on: August 24, 2013, 06:47:54 PM »
Terry,   interesting question

My hunch is that the maximum wet-bulb temperature that any animal can tolerate is directly related to what their normal core temperature and what their upper core temperature limit is.  Also many animal cannot perspire and cool themselves via expiration.

Normal core temperature for an adult pig is 102.5 F (39.2  C). 

Animals in general have core temperatures between 100 F and 103 F (37.8 - 39.4 C) this includes all farm animals as well as cats and dogs.

So, as usual, us humans seem to be the weaklings in all this nature stuff.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #88 on: August 24, 2013, 07:48:53 PM »
Terry,   interesting question

My hunch is that the maximum wet-bulb temperature that any animal can tolerate is directly related to what their normal core temperature and what their upper core temperature limit is.  Also many animal cannot perspire and cool themselves via expiration.

I think there's an important additional corollary (though the inability of some animals to sweat is a pretty big one!), and that is that larger animals will struggle to shed metabolic heat efficiently. Heat production in an organism is a function of volume and loss of heat is essentially a function of surface area.

Therefore as you approach the limits of heat, I would expect you will find that smaller animals will do better, if all else remains constant.

Humans might be weak in many ways, but one of our strengths is our ability to increase or shed clothing - most animals get at most an ability to grow a different coat for winter than summer.

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #89 on: September 04, 2013, 09:07:00 PM »
The Real Population Problem

An article by Tom Murphy professor of physics UCSD

This article is full of graphs and data and arrives at some surprising numbers (the US for instance is NOT the highest per capita emitter of CO2 it is 8th on the list) and just lots of other good data.

The prime conclusion, which largely does fit everyone's assumptions, is that the US is easily the most impactful in terms of climate change and China and India are the only other countries which really matter (unless you count Western Europe as a single entity - which is fair).

But the answer to the question: who’s population growth is having the largest effect on global energy demand?—it’s the U.S.

...For many thousands of years following the end of the last Ice Age, human population rose steadily and slowly, at a rate of about 0.032% per year—translating into a leisurely doubling time of some 2000 years....

....Plotting global population in the last thousand years (below), we see a few breaks in the slope. For most of this period, we saw a modest 0.12% growth rate, amounting to a 600 year doubling time. Around 1700, the rate stepped up to 0.41%, doubling every 170 years. The next break happens around 1870, jumping to 0.82% and 85 years to double. Then around 1950, we see another factor-of-two rate jump to 1.7% and an impressively short 40 year doubling time. -
...The bounty of fossil-fuel-turned-food encouraged an explosion in birth rates, as happens for virtually all organisms given similar circumstances

....Looking at the above graphs, we can learn something important about adding people to the planet. Adding a person in Africa has very little impact on energy use and (therefore) CO2 emissions compared to adding a person to the U.S., by a factor of 20. Picture an American baby 20 times bigger than an African baby. A Quatari towers 45 times higher than a typical African citizen when it comes to CO2...

And here is a big kicker that I have tried to point out before to those who argue that rising affluence will trigger long-term reductions in the fertility rate.  This is not borne out be the data.

...First is the growth rate against average income. We have a clear correlation at the left edge: poorer countries have high growth rates, but rapidly dive to lower—and even negative—rates by about the time average earnings reach a quarter of those in the U.S. Then a funny thing happens: the cluster turns up again! This narrative-busting truth made me sit up straight, I’ll tell you. ...

Interesting comment on the moral dimension.  An internal discussion I have also had.

It makes me question the global benefit of increasing population by providing food assistance. I once contributed to such funds, but now find myself confused: what’s the plan, here? I get the humanitarian urge to support starving populations—really. This universal sympathy is part of human nature, but may become one of the forces that binds us to the railroad tracks leading to overpopulation and eventual collapse. That’s my concern. By supporting starving populations now, are we only doubling down so that the number of ultimate sufferers is larger? Is the bad news inevitable? Until I have a clearer picture, I’m somewhat paralyzed in my intrinsic desire to offer support.


A great quote that I fully intend to steal (I struggle to be civil with optimists in general)

I try to be careful not to convey certainty about the future—which I note is not a behavior i often witness from optimists.

Population, as a reflection of human nature, may well be the mother of all challenges.

The one item he does not bring up is where future population reductions are likely to occur first.  Even though the numbers indicate that the US should be first, followed by China and India, I think it pretty certain that actual events will play out differently.

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2013/09/the-real-population-problem/

We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JackTaylor

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #90 on: September 06, 2013, 05:40:45 PM »
Well at least Prof. Murphy puts it upfront or very close
resource use, environmental pressures, climate change, food and water supply, and the health of the world’s fish and wildlife populations would all be non-issues if Earth enjoyed a human population of 100 million or less.
The subject is taboo for a few reasons. The suggestion that a smaller number would be nice begs the question of who we should eliminate, and who gets to decide such things. - See more at: http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2013/09/the-real-population-problem/#sthash.23jbanKL.dpuf
Again, did not read anything about how to purposeful eliminate excess population.

Also of note, is his use of "population of 100 million or less"
0.001428571% ~ of current versus number of around 1 billion,
what a reduction that would be for what I would refer to as "sustainability."

Who and How - not so simple I guess.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 02:52:19 AM by JackTaylor »

wili

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #91 on: September 07, 2013, 08:11:38 PM »
My vote for half of one of those hundred million would be the various peoples commonly known as "Pygmies." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmy_peoples

Another quarter million or so might be another group who arguably has contributed among the least to the current insanity, the various tribes that speak languages commonly identified as KhoiSan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koisan

There are probably a few more groups in and outside of Africa that one could make an argument have participated least in the current anthropogenic mass extinction event that might be included in this number as well.

These seem most appropriate to be on the list both in terms of mere justice, and because it would seem wise to repopulate the earth with people least likely to go down the same path as modern industrial society has (and to varying degrees, nearly every group that left Africa, though some learned the lessons of extinction sooner and more completely than others.)

Other nominations (besides "me, mine and us").
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JackTaylor

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #92 on: September 08, 2013, 04:58:02 PM »
wili,

For the sake of dialogue,
I am going to agree with you about saving the  "Pygmies" and "KhoiSan."

O.K. - two votes now about who NOT to eliminate.

If we wait for natural - catastrophic events, can their survival be ensured?

The other Six Billion, how could they be purposeful eliminated?
Before destroying the "Pygmies" and "KhoiSan."
I vote for Genetic Testing and Sterilization to eliminate reproduction by the 99% remaining population.  Is that also taboo?





JimD

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #93 on: September 08, 2013, 05:28:39 PM »
I vote for Genetic Testing and Sterilization to eliminate reproduction by the 99% remaining population.  Is that also taboo?

I have a better idea!  Well select on who's the best looking!  No sense starting the race over with ugly people.  I'll pick the girls you can pick the guys.  I think that sounds fair   ::)
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #94 on: September 08, 2013, 07:05:43 PM »
I vote for Genetic Testing and Sterilization to eliminate reproduction by the 99% remaining population.  Is that also taboo?

I have a better idea!  Well select on who's the best looking!  No sense starting the race over with ugly people.  I'll pick the girls you can pick the guys.  I think that sounds fair   ::)

Or we'll just have people fight to the death as a selection strategy, killing two birds with one stone - genetic selection and population.

I realise that's rather close to the default outcome of all this - but - I wager one could make pretty popular reality TV out of it if it were controlled (my first thought was "no way most people would enjoy watching that" and my second thought was "but it worked just fine for the romans to provide entertainment in live slaughter").

wili

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #95 on: September 09, 2013, 03:18:28 AM »
Jack, one quick way to go about getting rid of the prime culprits is a universal, permanent strike of all garbage collection. Those who consume the most will quite quickly drown in their own trash.


Meanwhile, another scientist weighs in on the likelihood of human extinction in the not-too-distant future:

http://www.oceansidestar.com/news/web-of-life-unravelling-wildlife-biologist-says-1.605499

Web of life unravelling, wildlife biologist says

Wildlife biologist Neil Dawe says he wouldn't be surprised if the generation after him witnesses the extinction of humanity.

All around him, even in a place as beautiful as the Little Qualicum River estuary, his office for 30 years as a biologist for the Canadian Wildlife Service, he sees the unravelling of "the web of life."

"It's happening very quickly," he says.

A recent news report focussed on the precipitous decline of barn swallows on Vancouver Island.

That is certainly true, says Dawe, who starting in 1978 worked on the Royal BC Museum's four-volume Birds of British Columbia project, but it doesn't tell the whole story.

People will focus on the extinction of a species but not "the overall impact," he says. When habitat diversity is lost, "it changes the whole dynamic."
...

The loss to the food web is a loss to the web of life, he says, and people are a huge part of that web.

Indeed, it's an overabundance of people, perhaps by five-fold, which is driving resource extraction and consumption beyond a sustainable planet, he says.

"Economic growth is the biggest destroyer of the ecology," he says. "Those people who think you can have a growing economy and a healthy environment are wrong. "If we don't reduce our numbers, nature will do it for us."

He isn't hopeful humans will rise to the challenge and save themselves.


"Everything is worse and we're still doing the same things," he says. "Because ecosystems are so resilient, they don't exact immediate punishment on the stupid."
« Last Edit: September 09, 2013, 03:28:14 AM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bruce Steele

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #96 on: September 09, 2013, 05:44:34 AM »
barnacles
TITLE: barnacle (crustacean)
...fungi. Females parasitize decapod crustaceans (crabs and allies) by sending rootlike absorptive processes through the host’s body; this intrusion inhibits the host’s reproductive development ( parasitic castration). Parasites of the order Ascothoracica, the most primitive of cirripedes, are cyprislike as adults. An example is Laura, found imbedded in cnidarians and echinoderms.

It's the words in parenthesis  that were a shocker the first time I heard them.  Alas they aren't a threat to humans.

JackTaylor

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #97 on: September 09, 2013, 04:01:45 PM »
As much I agree the JimD,  the originator of this topic/thread, about excess population.

I guess it is unreasonable for me to pose a question such as
"How to purposeful eliminate 90% of the population"
without having to wait for an extinction event.


Shared Humanity

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #98 on: September 09, 2013, 04:20:07 PM »
Jack, one quick way to go about getting rid of the prime culprits is a universal, permanent strike of all garbage collection. Those who consume the most will quite quickly drown in their own trash.


Meanwhile, another scientist weighs in on the likelihood of human extinction in the not-too-distant future:

http://www.oceansidestar.com/news/web-of-life-unravelling-wildlife-biologist-says-1.605499

Web of life unravelling, wildlife biologist says

Wildlife biologist Neil Dawe says he wouldn't be surprised if the generation after him witnesses the extinction of humanity.

All around him, even in a place as beautiful as the Little Qualicum River estuary, his office for 30 years as a biologist for the Canadian Wildlife Service, he sees the unravelling of "the web of life."

"It's happening very quickly," he says.

A recent news report focussed on the precipitous decline of barn swallows on Vancouver Island.

That is certainly true, says Dawe, who starting in 1978 worked on the Royal BC Museum's four-volume Birds of British Columbia project, but it doesn't tell the whole story.

People will focus on the extinction of a species but not "the overall impact," he says. When habitat diversity is lost, "it changes the whole dynamic."
...

The loss to the food web is a loss to the web of life, he says, and people are a huge part of that web.

Indeed, it's an overabundance of people, perhaps by five-fold, which is driving resource extraction and consumption beyond a sustainable planet, he says.

"Economic growth is the biggest destroyer of the ecology," he says. "Those people who think you can have a growing economy and a healthy environment are wrong. "If we don't reduce our numbers, nature will do it for us."

He isn't hopeful humans will rise to the challenge and save themselves.


"Everything is worse and we're still doing the same things," he says. "Because ecosystems are so resilient, they don't exact immediate punishment on the stupid."

Great article. The author's mention of the importance of "habitat diversity" as crucial to the health of an ecosystem is spot on. In fact "diversity" is the single most important feature of any resilient system, no matter what the system is. The most resilient systems are highly diverse and can withstand shocks to it. Systems with low diversity are extremely fragile and minor perturbations can severely disrupt or destroy these systems.

In economics, it is common knowledge that highly diverse urban economies are more resilient than economies that are dependent on a few critical industries. Detroit is an example of how a low diversity urban economy can collapse when rapid change occurs.

Look at the environment of a healthy gut. The healthy human gut has hundreds of distinct bacteria, each critical to a healthy gut and healthy human. When a few bacteria grow to dominate this environment, the health of the gut declines rapidly as does the health of the human.

You cannot look at any system and find that a lower diversity system results in a more resilient system. The opposite is always the case.

For most of the last 10,000 years, humans have been reducing the diversity of the bio-system. In most cases, this has been unintentional, a natural side effect of our success as a species. Some of the most dangerous reductions in diversity have been intentional and are often pointed to as technological achievements. The agricultural revolution is such an example. Industrial agriculture, in general, has focused on a very few specific types of grains, cattle, poultry etc. and have virtually ignored the variety of these species that form the genetic diversity needed to support the very existence of the species. This deliberate selection has already weakened these foodstuffs which now require enormous amounts of pesticides, herbicides and/or antibiotics to ensure a healthy output. Anyone who has an organic garden (I have been gardening for years without any herbicides or pesticides with amazing results.) is well aware of how diverse such a garden is. My garden has hundreds of resident praying mantis, a carnivorous insect that eats many times its body weight in pest insects. These carnivorous insects are the first to disappear when a pesticide is used, exposing your crops to pests.

Here is the key to understanding and identifying resilient (highly diverse) systems and non-resilient (low diversity) systems:

Everything is a system embedded in ever larger systems. When looking at any distinct system, assess the diversity and evaluate its resilience within the larger system.

The human gut is a system embedded in the larger system, the human body. Individual humans are systems embedded in a variety of larger systems (familial, economic, national, etc.).

An extended family, spanning generations and linking siblings and their offspring, is a far more resilient family unit then the nuclear family.

A resilient human is one who has a highly diverse set of skills where a non-resilient human has a very narrow specialized skill. If our complex society is severely disturbed by AGW (and it will be) the resilient human's chance of survival is far higher than someone who is a specialist. That financial genius who makes a fortune on complex derivative trades is doomed. That farmer, living in rural Wisconsin, stands a far better chance of survival.

wili

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Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« Reply #99 on: September 09, 2013, 05:53:49 PM »
Well put, HS. I would just add one caveat--what may seem to increase diversity can reduce or destroy diversity in the longer run.

Some of the most diverse natural environments are on the borders between two bio-systems. Not only do you get species that predominate in each system, you also tend to get species that specialize in just these kinds of 'edge' environments.

But this could be seen as a reason to accept the building of roads into otherwise undeveloped areas--each road creates an 'edge' on either side of it that tend to promote a wider variety than the more uniform areas without such disturbance. New organisms are also generally introduced along these roadways, which can at first further increase the level of diversity along the roads.

But of course, long term, building lots of roads through otherwise undisturbed areas is not generally a great prescription for increasing resilience of the area.

In general, though, you are very right. And monocultures of all types tend lead to possible or actual collapse, once some critter figures out how to take advantage of the uniform food-stuff monocultures represent. This again operates on many levels--monocultures of corn, the monoculture of nearly every 'well groomed' lawn, but also "Monocultures of the Mind" (to use Vandana Shiva's phrase).

And to bring the conversation all the way back to human population, humans themselves can be seen as an enormous monoculture. IIRC, human flesh now represents the single largest uniform food source on the planet.

Some critter is surely eventually going to come along and figure out how to effectively 'exploit' such a vast, uniform food source. The CDC can only stay one step ahead of them for so long.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."