The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

We're All Going To Die!

And, of course, it's all our fault. It isn't clear in this article if humans will be wiped out in this "mass extinction" but perhaps...

The article, at one point, states:
The planet's current biodiversity, the product of 3.5 billion years of evolutionary trial and error, is the highest in the history of life. But it may be reaching a tipping point.

In a new review of scientific literature and analysis of data published in Science, an international team of scientists cautions that the loss and decline of animals is contributing to what appears to be the early days of the planet's sixth mass biological extinction event.

Since 1500, more than 320 terrestrial vertebrates have become extinct. Populations of the remaining species show a 25 percent average decline in abundance. The situation is similarly dire for invertebrate animal life.

I have to wonder... just how are we doing this? Or, in other words, just what is causing this reduction in populations?

The article says:
Since 1500, more than 320 terrestrial vertebrates have become extinct. Populations of the remaining species show a 25 percent average decline in abundance. The situation is similarly dire for invertebrate animal life.

The article says the large vertebrates show the greatest decline. It attributes this to humans basically crowding them out. That is, we are expanding rapidly and, in so doing, are shrinking their available habitats. That's understandable. But it could blow back on us... for example...

"Where human density is high, you get high rates of defaunation, high incidence of rodents, and thus high levels of pathogens, which increases the risks of disease transmission," said Dirzo, who is also a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. "Who would have thought that just defaunation would have all these dramatic consequences? But it can be a vicious circle."

Most of the mass extinctions in history have come from huge meteors or the eruptions of super-volcanos. But, this time, it's US (human beings) at fault. I disagree... a little.

While I agree that our encroachment on the habitats of animals is an important, even major, factor in the reduction of many species I do not agree that we are in the beginning stages of a Mass Extinction. I think we are a part of nature, part of the fauna on the planet, and are just doing what any species does; expanding our habitat. We are the "dominant species" now.  We have always done this... and likely always will. No other species cares whether its actions impacts its fellow species (and we once didn't) but they have impacted other species. Nature, for the most part, kept that impact down. A species which grows too large in number displaces others... which sometimes affects its own ability to expand and which can then cause their own species to contract. We are doing that (expanding our habitat) and have been for millions of years.

We started as a small population in a very large world. We have grown enormously over the ages. This naturally displaces other species and probably caused numerous species extinctions. It is only recently that the idea that this is bad has become mainstream. Maybe only recently have we even bothered to notice.

But don't worry, our own actions may prove to be the regulation factor in our population size. The article talks about an increase in rodent population, for example, which could increase the number of pathogens which could, naturally, kill a large number of us off. Science, however, will try to combat these pathogens and reduce the impact. This could result in our maintaining (or even increasing) our numbers.

Seems to me that perhaps science ought to consider that it is at the heart of our problems and stop doing what they have been doing. Let us dwindle in size as we once did through plagues (mostly) and natural disasters.

Join me! Become a Neo-Luddite and save the planet!

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