Your thoughts on climate change

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jungle Japes, Feb 22, 2014.

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  1. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    Beautiful! I'll be smiling for the rest of the evening.
     
  2. Vorak

    Vorak Administrator Staff Member

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    I find the whole climate change issue clogged with far to many smaller issues I dislike.

    # Referring to people in the debate as 'skeptics', 'deniers' or 'believers' takes out to much science and adds to much religion. These are terms used to debate the existence of the afterlife not to state whether or not one feels that a scientific theory has been proven

    # Constant talk of how looking at records for the last 50,100 or 200 years is showing us whatever they are arguing for. Unless you are using something like an ice core or tree rings then to use records from 200 years ago is to say you looked at a piece of paper that some guy with a tube of mercury wrote down and are attributing it the same level of accuracy as a modern weather satellite. This is absolutely ludicrous and I really cannot fathom why it isn't questioned more. Not to mention that over time and especially since satellites were launched we have been taking weather readings more frequently and over a greater area of the planet hence why much of the worst activity is claimed to have happened in the last 50 years, thats about as long as weather satellites started recording everything. Using a barometer and a thermometer 200 years ago in one location in one city and likely only once a day simply doesn't match up.

    # On continents only recently opened up to western civilisation in the last few hundred years (Australia and the Americas) there is even less of a historical written weather record, how can it be claimed whether or not the current climate is cyclical or abnormal for an area if we only have a pathetically short period of measured weather recorded.

    # Science is constantly evolving and really it wasn't so long ago things like this were backed:
    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kGB5MMIAVA[/youtube]

    But then again not so long before they were saying this:

    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article ... *|*ignore*

    And one begins to sense a pattern of researchers second guessing one another all of a sudden....
     
  3. Grossenschwamm

    Grossenschwamm Well-Known Member

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    Re: Re:

    Yes, and when the company (or companies) that own the supply of silicon (or carbon for graphene) to make the panels realizes the boom in their business from people making panels, the panels will go up in price all over again. Now, you may argue that monopolies are illegal and that would never happen - unless several smaller companies making the same thing are owned by one larger company, as is the case with the 5 major brands of pet food on the planet and every manufacturer of sunglasses, as well as every major player in the cable industry. The same could be the case for companies producing silicon (carbon), with a false air of "competition" until it's discovered one company controls a region.

    Related to this, the company that makes my insulin pump partnered with a company that makes glucose monitoring software to make a USB cable that has a software driver in it for windows 7 and 8 - when previously, all drivers were free to download online, and I could use literally any USB cable that fit in my glucometer. They made it impossible to connect glucometers to PCs without a specialty USB cable the user would have to buy, for about $80. As I said before, control of the supply means you can price the demand however you wish.

    Really, I feel this argument stemmed from my carelessly bringing up lobbying, and I apologize for that - in terms of solar power being the future, and it being a rapidly developing and promising tech, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Whether or not the scenario I mentioned is likely, I can't say. But I can say that it's possible.
     
  4. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    You're right, I'm not qualified in ecology, but I do have the ability to read. Let's see whether or anyone agrees with my ignorant claims. This is what I found on the Wikipedia page about Colony Collapse Disorder:

    So... worst case, we would lose one third of our food supply. Mainly fruits. Primary grain crops and many vegetables would be unaffected. This is hardly going to spell the end of humanity, though it may spell the end of vegetarians. Except...

    i.e. We wouldn't lose those fruits altogether, they'd just become more difficult to produce in bulk, and hence more expensive. The vegetarians are safe!

    Hmm... isn't this exactly what I said in the paragraph that apparently made "a million biologists facepalm"?

    Yes, my knowledge of both these fields is equally paltry. But that doesn't mean my conclusions are automatically wrong. You may be better at withering put-downs than me, but perhaps you should do some research yourself before employing them. (Note that replying with "Pfft - Wikipedia" does not count as doing your own research.)


    Scientists are well aware of this issue. Nobody relies on the accuracy of a single data point. In the case of stuff written down 200 years ago, they group the data together and analyse the trends. One guy may hold his tube of mercury at a slight angle, so all his readings are off by half a degree. Another may always round down. A third may have a mis-calibrated thermometer. None of these datasets would be particularly useful on their own. But when you combine them all and the result is an upward trend over time, and that matches with ice core data, and the same ice core data matches with modern satellite measurements, then it's not really all that ludicrous to include those guys with their tubes of mercury in the climate change record.
     
  5. Jungle Japes

    Jungle Japes Well-Known Member

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  6. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Ah, the old wayne-scales debating technique. Nice.
     
  7. Jungle Japes

    Jungle Japes Well-Known Member

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    I mean double-check who said it, not what it says.
     
  8. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    Pff, wikipedia.

    One wonders what all these native species are doing while they wait for their jobs back. (Hint - dying)

    I'm not going to pick over armchair theories with you. At the end of the day, biology is wobbly and fuzzy, all the logic has to step aside and just observe the chaos.

    What we observe is systemic collapse due to unexpected causes. Logically, the assumption that an ecology can withstand any pressure is suicide.

    I have learned to expect a higher quality of debate from you, Smuel, but taking '...or the bees disappear...' out of context and making it the crux of your argument that 'wikipedia agrees that we can survive the loss of honeybees therefore my food supply is guaranteed because the british empire can always import different food' is both fallacious and naive.

    What about fishstocks? What about genetic uniformity among the world's banana crop? So you don't eat fish or bananas? How would your economy deal with an Irish potato famine that effects 3 billion foreigners?

    What does wikipedia say about 'something unexpected'? You might want to look up 'the avalanche effect' regarding avalanches in the alps resulting from acid rain. Completely unexpected results from systemic causes.

    Listen, human history is littered with corpses of civilisations which desertified the ecology which sustained them. The only thing that's changed is the scale: now our civilisation is global and affecting changes on an industrial scale.

    So sorry, old chap, but we're probably all doomed. Enjoy the tea and crumpets while they last.
     
  9. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Re:

    Agreed, but we aren't dependent on a single ecology. Or at least - the three issues that you've mentioned are independent of each other. So fishstocks might collapse - we can eat bananas instead. Oh wait, bananas are... too genetically uniform? I would investigate what the problem with that is, except that you don't want to "pick over armchair theories" with me. Also, you brought up bees, and my (admittedly limited) research found that it was not nearly as bad as you implied, so I feel comfortable dismissing your other examples too, with an arrogant swipe of my imperialist hand.

    Besides, human beings have a history of adapting to changes in their circumstances. As does the world's flora and fauna. So in summary, no, I'm not that bothered about any of these specific limited scenarios that people like to panic about. If there is some kind of simultaneous global collapse of everything, then that would be much more of a problem, but barring comet strikes things just don't happen that way.

    What I am worried about is the kind of creeping senility that leads me to confuse Jungle Japes and Vorak. Sorry guys. Erm... you ex-Blackhawk pilots all look the same to me... Yeah, that must be it.
     
  10. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    Time will tell.

    Like I say, it's cute that we're debating this as though it makes a difference.

    My armchair generalisation of the day is that the biodiversity is already damaged beyond the capacity to 'adapt' to the changes we are forcing.

    As to 'all these ecologies are independant of each other', that is exactly the kind of analytical thinking which has been proven wrong time and time again, especially in ecology but also in other kinds of complex systems. The bits are all connected. Seriously, this statement reveals both your ignorance of the subject as well as your personal lack of experience in nature. Did you even look up the avalanche effect? It is an axiom in ecology that little changes add up to unpredictable system-wide changes.

    As to biodiversity allowing resilience, I don't know what figures you are looking at, but if we all boarded a spaceship and disappeared from the earth today, the fossil record would still reflect an extinction level event on par with the end of the Jurassic. Future archeologists will wonder what size comet has caused it, when really it was just politics.

    Despite your refutation of the theory, I maintain that humans fit the darwinian demon model perfectly. We eat too much, we breed too fast. Our population won't fall until it runs out of food, by which time it will have crippled the system which provides that food, making for a system-wide, catastrophic collapse. Have a nice day.

    TL;DR - repent ye sinners, the end is nigh.
     
  11. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    Actually, we're already at peak child, and world population is projected to stabilise at 10 billion. This is because worldwide, people are living longer, and the population pyramid will widen at the top.

    Well, hinges at a bunch of ifs that are disputed in this thread, but hey, I can armchair too!

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezVk1ahRF78[/youtube]

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTznEIZRkLg[/youtube]

    Pardon the Swedish accent.
     
  12. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, populations of deer on islands eating trees seem perfectly stable right up until the point when it all crashes. Sometimes it crashes into the ground, sometimes a few survivors squeeze through the bottleneck. So, that's something to look forward to.

    Personally, I was raised to be a survivalist (surprise). I am willing and able to live in the desert or the ocean, even without fish stocks or clean aquifiers. Smuel's even right that I'd probably enjoy it, but I would feel bad for the five billion starving refugees, not to mention the ten trillion dead organisms.

    Mostly, I would regret the loss of such a fantastic variety of awesome monsters. Humans may survive the end of the age, but they are not my favourite kind of monster.

    P.S. Genetic uniformity is the opposite of biodiversity and it caused the Irish potato famine, Smuel. Sorry I didn't address this point earlier, but I didn't notice your confusion at first. Presumably, you don't know the first thing so here's a primer: Sexual reproduction has evolved to outpace pathogen/parasite evolution by shuffling dna often. Therefore, less diversity means more pathogens and - critically - one pathogen can easily infect all. One virus to rule them all, one virus to find them, one virus to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. Thus the Irish potato famine and the risk of similar collapses in world food. Bananas feed a fuckload of humans, and they're increasingly uniform. It may not be a catastrophe, but it is one waiting to happen, and this is true for most of modern agriculture.
     
  13. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    According to Nietzsche, your favourite kind of human is a monster slayer!
     
  14. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    That actually makes me feel better.

    If life on earth has to end, and it must eventually, then being conquered by carnivorous apes who just do not give a fuck is a pretty awesome way to go.
     
  15. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Re:

    I thought you didn't want to debate specifics with me. Or do you only not want to do that when it turns out I'm right? Just for fun I searched for "Avalanche effect" on Wikipedia, because I knew that would annoy you, and it's not there. Or at least not in relation to any axioms of ecology. But, you know, don't provide a link yourself or anything. I much prefer it when you spout vague statements about how you have some higher level of knowledge.

    Human development doesn't fit this model though, because we can engineer our environment. On the one hand you're all "the system is too complex for you to understand" and then you go and draw a simplistic comparison like that which shows that you don't have a particularly good grip on the subject matter yourself. If the deer were capable of growing synthetic beef in test tubes, and their population still crashed, then you might have a point. But as it is you're not comparing like with like. Apples and oranges, my friend. Or in your case, bees and bananas.

    Actually, bees and bananas are a great counterpoint to your own argument. The issue with bees disappearing is that they won't be around to pollinate fruit plants. However, bananas are propagated from offshoots in an entirely human engineered process. The two agricultural methods are about as unrelated as it's possible to get. Yet you still think that both may fail catastrophically at the same time. A combined super-virus that is lethal to both bees and bananas equally perhaps? And which somehow prevents us from switching to alternative pollinators (fun fact: in China they pollinate apples by hand) or alternative cultivars? Unlikely.

    Also, it's interesting that you keep bringing up the potato famine to support your point, because at that time that it occurred, Ireland was producing enough grain and other produce to feed the population. The famine came about because that food was all earmarked for export. In other words, it was politics that caused the actual famine, not a failure of ecology. I'm not saying there aren't political issues today, but that's a different topic.

    We Englishmen do our best.
     
  16. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    Your point is fair, that I do not provide any evidence of my opinion or sources for claims.

    For the record, I merely regurgitated a few paragraphs from old university lectures and textbooks. It's not wikipedia, but it is a form of knowledge from a higher power.

    Yes, humans aren't simply herbivores on a wooded island, but we are comsuming and expanding within a closed system. That's just another introductory case study in ecology (for beginners) but it represents some basic trends in population stability which are true of other species.

    Humans are pretty tricky, what with their antibiotics and cloning and such, but so far I haven't seen anything to convince me that this exempts us from the models which apply to any population's growth and stability, let alone the laws of thermodynamics.

    As to the potato famine, that was me-again, using introductory terms-trying to describe real world ecological consequence to an englishman. My mistake.
     
  17. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    Re:

    I guess I'll chip in and say that I was taught what DE posted up at uni in an epidemiology module, and far be it for me to swallow all that I'm taught without questioning, but I don't see what is to be gained from lying to people who are looking to advance the field (I know epidemiology is an entirely separate issue, but that is where I first heard of the "filling out the population triangle" kind of analogy)? I'd have to agree with Smuel that scientists as a whole are a diverse and unbiased group of individuals, and there'd be nothing to be gained from lecturers telling enormous lies to their pupils in the long term.

    The whole population growth model that DE mentioned in and of itself has several interesting implications, such as currently in Britain our population would be shrinking if not for immigrants (we're currently reproducing under replacement fertility, where every pair of parents produces two kids). I found this pretty ironic given the widespread climate of British opinion on immigration ("coming over here, stealing our jobs") when immigration is really the only thing that keeps our population stable.
     
  18. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    For the record, I don't think anyone is lying.

    As to population predictions, it really doesn't affect what I'm saying even if it plateaus at a comfortable, western middle class level, since the consumption of resources will increase per capita and - according to economic models - continue to increase until it reaches capacity.

    Ecologically, I would predict that the babies of big families will continue to have big families, and the freakish post WWII demographics of western civilisation will merely be a wobble in the global population explosion. However, even if everyone becomes an individualistic nuclear family with 1.8 children, then they will still continue to consume as many resources as are available.

    Whatever, imo the damage has been done, and no amount of discussion will change it.

    If I had to name the single problem here it would be disconnection from nature and if I had to name a single solution it would be education in the form of ecotourism.

    I can't help but think that if I just dragged your asses out to the barrier reef, or the rainforest, then you might 'get it'. It's bigger, older and more beautiful than any human achievement, and to put a tin lid on it, it also churns out clean air, water and food all by itself.

    There are no words to describe it, and not even enough pixels or pigments to show it to you on a screen.
     
  19. Grossenschwamm

    Grossenschwamm Well-Known Member

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    Re: Re:

    Not armchair at all - all bananas on the planet, at least of the cavendish variety (the banana you'll find in the grocery store) are cloned from the same plant, meaning if one of those clones is found susceptible to a fungal disease, they'll all die from it. It's happened before, about 60 years ago, to the gros michel banana. A banana purportedly superior in taste and texture to the cavendish. I started a thread on this a few years ago.

    In any case, rebuilding an industry by selecting a new cultivar of bananas is both simple enough and cripplingly stupid, as far as "solving the problem" goes. Cavendish bananas have shown susceptibility to Panama's disease, the same fungus that destroyed the gros michel, which means we're due for new bananas.

    As far as fishstocks are concerned, ocean oxygen levels have been dropping for a while now. This is something evidenced by jellyfish blooms, because jellyfish are some of the only things we know about that can survive such low oxygen environments in the ocean. Jellyfish are edible, though, so I suppose if the oxygen gets too low down there, we can harvest the seemingly inexhaustible supply of cnidarians to sate our appetites for sea life.
     
  20. Jungle Japes

    Jungle Japes Well-Known Member

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    Well don't blame me for dwindling fish stocks. Never touch the stuff.
     
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