X-Message-Number: 15077
Date: Tue, 05 Dec 2000 00:13:12 +0000
From: Philip Rhoades <>
Subject: Re:More Whale hugging ?? - are we getting off topic?

Hi all,

I will add a bit more to this thread but am quite happy to stop if people 
are getting bored . .

First of all let me state that I am as enthusiastic and optimistic about 
the *potential* of modern technologies as anybody . . if I didn't have to 
sleep and pay the rent I would spend all my time on this stuff . . BUT, 
humans don't have a good track record with "stepping lightly on the earth" 
- not to mention how they treat each other, so I think that there is a 
better than even chance that we will wipe ourselves out in the next 50 
years before the comet or anything else does . .

Anyway, to continue . .

>Message #15068
>From: "John de Rivaz" <>
>References: <>
>Subject: Re: Whale hugging ??  and clearing old churches
>Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2000 12:26:01 -0000
>It would seem to me for the answer to the problem of the biodiversity on
>Earth is to continue with progress with the ultimate aim of terraforming
>Mars and Venus which are either lifeless or have very limited life on them.
>Earth can then be abandoned to do its thing and humans can live on these
>other two worlds. Earth could be one vast natural park. Humans can import
>examples of the cuddly animals and let them breed on the new worlds and
>leave all the nasty ones behind!

This is all pretty unrealistic, there are billions of people on Earth 
already - even if we could stop the biggest waste of expenditure on Earth 
(the military) and spend it all on working out how to get to Mars, we still 
wouldn't have enough time . .

>Incidentally, it is commonly believed that
>if all the insects were exterminated plants would die. A recent tv programme
>on the Andes suggested that there was a region there where there are no or
>few insects and plant pollination is performed by other means.

There are interesting bits of life everywhere but that doesn't mean the 
whole system can change to work like this niche system - not quickly anyway.

>Biodiversity must have been produced by some natural process, so even if it
>was damaged or destroyed it will recover. In time spans of millions of
>years, the solar system is not a safe place - there are super volcanoes,
>impacts and so on which press the re-set switch. Intuition tells individuals
>that it is safe and calm, because their lifespans are so short.

This is true - I am not saying don't go to the stars (give me a ticket and 
I'm gone) - what I am saying is that we should not damage the ONLY place 
where we can live (not just survive) at the moment.

>Also, if Biodiversity can be produced naturally it could also be produced

True and inevitably this will happen but it is still not a good argument 
for casually wiping out what we already have (left).

>Either by the use of technology to speed up evolution, or the
>use of cryopreservation to slow down the time perception of individuals (set
>up your planet with conditions that encourage life to start, and then go
>into a few million years of cryopreservation.)

If that is your idea of a good time . .

>Message #15069
>References: <>
>Date: Sun, 03 Dec 2000 13:10:52 +0000
>From: "Joseph Kehoe" <>
>Subject: flat earthists
> >>I agree with this. The ozone layer and global warming were those unpopular
> >>theories until recently as also were asteroid impacts etc.
> >
> >Just because something is unpopular does not mean it is correct - are you
> >guys members of the Flat Earth Society as well? At least we agree about
> >Cryonics . .
>Are you saying that there is no ozone hole or global warming? In case you 
>misread my comment I am not doubting these things, quite the opposite in 
>fact. I am saying that these at first unpopular (early 80's for ozone 
>depletion, late80's early 90's for global warming) theories have proven to 
>be true. In the case of ozone depletion the cause was theorised first and 
>for global warming the cause may still be in doubt but the effects are not.

What I am saying is that not ALL unpopular theories turn out to be true - 
new theories are necessarily unpopular but that doesn't mean they all stand 
the test of time and thorough scrutiny.

>The Earth is an Island, a big one on our scale but a very small one on a 
>cosmic scale.  It would take a very tiny occurance to ruin it, a tiny 
>asteroid (anything over 6km in diameter should do), a large solar flare, 
>local nova etc. If we remain on earth we will be extinct, it may take a 
>long time (or it may not) by our reckoning but only a heartbeat on the 
>cosmic scale. Even if it just set us back 200 years then everyone 
>cryonically frozen would perish!

We are talking about different things here - I am talking about biological 
islands that have limited biological diversity because they are small 
islands and not capable of supporting the diversity - I have no problem 
with trying to explore and populate the rest of the solar system (for a 
start) but it does not make much sense to HAVE to do it because we have 
stuffed it up on Earth. It is so unnecessary - it just takes a little logic 
and effort to sort out the problems . .

>The best way to save the local ecosystems is to move people off them!  As 
>long as there are people here damage will be done.

That doesn't make sense - one of the promises of nanotech is that we can 
have cleaner/greener technologies with no serious shortages for fundamental 
human needs.

>Why do we need to evolve a replacement? nature has done the evolving for 
>us, all we need is a bit of an increase in our understanding of ecosystem 
>dynamics and about 100 years of construction in space. What materials are 
>available here that are not available up there? Leave the planets as 
>breeding grounds for new life - no one else is using the asteroids (that 
>we know of)

Sure, lets go!

>Message #15070
>Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2000 14:32:13 EST
>Subject: radiation
>In a message dated 12/3/00 4:01:32 AM Central Standard Time,
> writes:
><< What are you talking about here?  As far as I know there is a linear
>  response by organisms to developing cancers and other life-threatening
>  problems when exposed to increasing amounts of radiation.  >>
>   There may or may not be a threshold effect. But the point is that nuclear
>reactors release 100-400 (100 for anthracite, 400 for bituminous) times less
>radiation into the environment than coal power plants per kilowatt generated.
>(There is polonium, etc. in coal.) So if you want a lower radiation dose, you
>try to get away from coal.

Tell that to quite a few people around Chernobyl . . but in any case, as 
someone else pointed out, we should be doing away with coal as well.  I am 
convinced that if we put the resources and effort into it that we can keep 
everyone warm/cool and still not mess the place up . .

>   We don't have a choice about the climate changing; it changes all the 
> time.

Quite true but should we be changing it drastically ourselves when we don't 
know what the result will be?

>But we might have the ability to delay the Final Ice Age long enough

Or we might precipitate another ice age by changing the way the ocean 
currents work because of melting polar ice caps . . not to mention 
drastically increased storm activity . .

>to build
>human civilization into a force that brings life to dead planets.... you'll
>notice that there are lots of nice pristine, non-polluted planets in this
>system and they are all DEAD. (Maybe not the ice moons at their cores, but we
>don't know.)

I enthusiastically support this idea!

>   The funny thing is that thirty years ago it was politically fashionable to
>worry about Ice Ages, but the conventional "cure" was the same; shut down all
>the evil factories (especially the aircraft factories... contrails really do
>have a net cooling effect), and destroy human civilization before it "changes
>the planet".

The point is, we don't know what we are doing - it will be clearer in 
50-100 years but what if it is a disastrous result? How will you feel when 
your grandkids or their kids say "why weren't you more careful?"

And it wouldn't have been fair dinkum without a comment from George . .

>Message #15073
>From: "George Smith" <>
>References: <>
>Subject: Re: CryoNet #15062 - Why I still hate the earth.
>Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2000 22:28:43 -0800
>In Message #15062 Philip Rhoades made some comments in regard to my loving
>analysis of the glorious and infinite beauties of this perfect planet we are
>graced to live upon, blessed in every way with the joys of death, the
>pleasures of grinding agony, the dependability of earthquakes, tornadoes,
>volcanoes, and God's greatest gift to life: the ultimate perfection of the
>divinely designed human body!
>Excuse me a moment while I clean my bifocals and shift my posture to
>accommodate my chronic lower back pain.

I won't argue about the complete lack of any human consideration whatsoever 
in the way that nature operates - but the end result is that we have ended 
up as a species that can think (I think) so now our technology can help us 
to get past some of the more unfortunate of nature's results - if you can 
last long enough and keep out of the way of those comets and volcanoes, you 
might end up with 20/20 (or better!) eyesight again and be able to sprint 
100m in 10 seconds etc - and this is a good thing! I certainly need some 
high tech fixes . .

>Phil, you are very welcome to take an optimistic view toward getting people
>to willingly abandon their big cars, air-conditioning, refrigeration and
>whatever else makes civilization civilized.  I don't see how it can happen
>but I am partial to optimism as a general rule.

It is just common sense (or "uncommon" sense) - when the wearing of seat 
belts became legally enforceable here there was an outcry about how it 
infringed on peoples' "freedom", now no-one gives it a second thought 
because they know it saves lives.  I realize there a lots of competing and 
balancing forces and things don't change nearly fast enough for my liking 
but I am still (somewhat) hopeful that we can survive our own mismanagement 
here on Earth and really get on with spreading out to the stars . .

>As shocking as it may seem, what I do not share with many "earth saving"
>people is the underlying presumption that this is the "best of all possible
>worlds".  I think Rousseau was wrong and the return to nature is not a
>return to some higher or more noble state of being.  Maybe that's because I
>have actually been there.  (AFTER military service you could NOT find enough
>money to pay me to "camp out", thank you!).

I'm with you on that but just because we are not interested in living in 
bark huts doesn't mean we have to cover everything with tar and cement (to 
rip off an old song) . . wilderness IS a good thing - for scientific and 
spiritual reasons (and I am an atheist).

>One of two points I was attempting to deliver in my earlier post, strictly
>as my personal opinion and not as a provable fact, is that the purely
>political  manipulation of the masses through 40 years of imminent
>ecological doomsday predictions has worked quite well but does nothing to
>address the problem - if there is one.  (Six billion lemmings CAN be wrong).

Cute line but I don't think it is really 40 years of political 
manipulation.  There is no doubt about the rate of loss of biological 
diversity increasing - this is a VERY bad thing for the humans in the short 
term (hundreds to thousands of years).  If you have a bacterium that 
doubles in number every day in a petri dish and it takes 10 days to 
completely cover the dish - then on the last day, the petri dish is still 
only 50% covered! - to one of the bacteria there is still all that space 
available!  What I am getting at is that everything looks fine, right up to 
the last minute . .  and then it is too late, it is all gone . .

>The second point was that technology will HAVE to provide an answer because
>nothing else will.  Nothing.

That and conservation of wilderness, species, energy etc

>If you contend nanotechnology will NEVER (an amazing word) be able to clean
>up the earth's pollution and supposed eco problems and that evolution MUST
>take billions of years to create elsewhere what we have on this little
>mudball right now, well I just can't imagine how that can be possible.
>People in the future will need to take a lot more stupid pills to not
>achieve then what we probably can hardly image as possible now.

It may be possible (very unlikely) that after a global collapse in 
environmental systems that a lab somewhere could engineer some nano bugs 
that can go and clean up all the toxics and other crap but they won't be 
able to RESTORE the original systems - a rainforest is a complex system, 
you can't destroy it all for hamburgers and then when you decide you've 
made a mistake just put it back . . it's gone forever.

I took your Subject title in jest but it worries me you might be serious - 
there are some species worth wiping out (smallpox etc) or at least keeping 
in high security research areas but there are some wonders to be seen on 
Earth (even your volcanoes and tornadoes) - it is nice to be alive to see 
them (at least on TV).

>But maybe you're right.

We all think we are right otherwise we wouldn't bother arguing . .

>So then there is NO answer, correct?

I think there is a slim chance that we can sort out the problems and go on 
to great things.

>If so then if does not matter how much so called personal pollution any one
>of rack up, does it?  (Let's rev up the 1957 Chevy with some leaded Mexican
>gas and cruise the desert for a few hours, okay?).

To be honest I feel like this sometimes too - maybe if we burn up the 
resources a bit quicker people will notice the problems sooner - but it is 
probably not the best way of going about trying to improve the situation . .

>Look, let's be simple here.  The authentic cause of the current claimed
>"problem" is too many human beings, who require too much fuel and create the
>consequent pollution.  So reduce the earth's population by, say, 80% and you
>will see a reduction in your pollution.

No argument there.

>("Kill people to save the earth."
>Now there's an interesting slogan I WON'T support!).

I won't either but there must be a more sensible way to control population 
UNTIL we can get off the planet in reasonable numbers . .

>But then there are those who would contend that it is specifically the
>higher consumption levels of the first world countries which create much
>more pollution than the rest of the world combined.  So we must be certain
>to also reduce the available use of modern technology to "save the earth".

There is no doubt that the developed west contributes more to environmental 
problems per capita than the developing south but because people won't give 
up their technology we just have to make it cleaner/greener/friendlier.

>But this does nothing except urge human beings to return to a less "human"
>state of existence.  Perhaps some people would get a thrill from living as
>serfs in medieval villages, but I would not.  Even my cats think fleas are
>nothing to miss now that they can live flea free due to modern chemistry (a
>shameless testimonial to cat lovers for Advantage - available from your

Not my scene either but if that's what some people want - fine. My utopia 
is a world of high-tech islands surrounded by wilderness and the ability to 
get off the planet if you want to.

>At the end of the cinema production of H.G. Wells "Things To Come", the
>protagonist scientist (Raymond Massey) spoke stirring words regarding two
>potential futures of humankind.  On the one hand we may try to seek rest
>from solving our problems through technology here in this world, but rest
>comes "all too soon" anyway with the grave.
>Or we can seek to rise from this cradle and seize the stars themselves.
>He concluded with, "It's either the entire universe or nothing at all.
>Which will it be?"
>When my father heard those stirring words at a first public screening of
>"Things To Come" in 1927 (I believe that was the year), the lights came on
>and as he stood to leave, the man who had been seated next to him said,
>"What a load of cr*p!"

I am on the side of the "stirring words" I think.

>Yet my father lived to see the huge bombers dropping hundreds of
>paratroopers, the construction of superhighways, buildings hundreds of
>stories high, television, radio, the internet, an underground tunnel between
>Europe and Britain, the hydrogen bomb, the first artificial satellite and
>men landing on the moon - all reflected in Wells' film released long before
>World War II.

I don't if all those things are things to be proud of - when we only had 
sharp sticks to kill each other there wasn't too much that could go wrong 
in terms of populations but now we have lots of technologies that could 
wipe us all out without much trouble at all - I am not sure this is 
advancement or progress.  In the movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still" the 
alien told us that we needed to get our act together - I think this is 
still the case, only more so.

>Human beings have a demonstrated historical track record of UNDER estimating
>the changes of the future.  That's a fact you can take to the bank.

This is quite true as well - I hope I am drastically underestimating our 
ability to survive.

>Gerard O'Neill designed orbiting space colonies using 1960s technology.  We
>already can do better now.  Politics (money) prevents it.


>My wife's uncle worked as a NASA engineer on the nuclear rocket project
>NERVA in the 1960s.  Even THEN it was capable of taking us to the stars due
>to time dilation at close to light speed.

What?! I don't know what you mean here - if the velocity is high enough for 
time dilation mass will also increase proportionally - do they have a Warp 

>Now we can do even better.
>Politics (fear of nuclear power) stopped NERVA.

I think there are good reasons to be careful about nuclear power - its 
greatest proponents have been the military-industrial complexes . . now I'm 
showing my generation . .

>Robert Ettinger wrote two books and almost single-handedly popularized the
>concept of human cryonic suspension around the same time period.  Work
>continues to improve this most reasonable of gambles.   Politics (popular
>opinion) still resists cryonics as an option.

I think it is more the religious/deathist culture we have . .

>Phil, you had just better hope that technology CAN solve these pollution
>"problems" or at least permit a way off this sad little backwater planet by
>the time those of us who take the "cold sleep" rise to see a new tomorrow.
>We can't depend upon politics!

Not all politicians are scumbags but it is always a good thing for people 
to keep pushing them . .

>This last summer I went back to Mount Saint Helens where some twenty years
>ago that volcano tried to kill my wife and daughter.  Even now, as I looked
>around me there was nothing but devastation from horizon to horizon.  A dead
>moonscape.  Unlike the lighthearted rendition granted in Disney's "Fantasia
>2000", the old killer mountain is not softened by a green carpet of new
>living things but instead still exudes the poisonous gases of death which
>waft across the gray landscape of blasted rock and bleak emptiness.

But even this is still worth seeing and this is at one end of the scale - 
come and have a look at the Great Barrier Reef . . (before global warming 
kills all the coral!)

>Mother Nature is a homicidal maniac lacking any sense of sympathy or caring
>for the creatures of her world.

"homicidal maniac" implies will - there is no will, just natural forces . . 
bad luck if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time . .

>Nature doesn't give a damn.


>Think about that.
>She won't afford any new or easy answers.  She won't be kind nor sweet to us
>nor our children.  She doesn't care.
>No, it's up to us to find the answers.

We have a unique opportunity to change the human condition it is true but 
treating nature as the enemy is not helpful.

>Recycling tomato cans won't do it.
>Technology CAN.

It is certainly only technology that can cure some of the problems 
technology has created but I think getting our priorities right is the main 

That was a bit of marathon . .



Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=15077