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Posts Tagged ‘environment’

Progress as a result of human endeavour is in direct context of nature. Man versus nature. Man controlling and shaping his environment to his manifold conveniences consequently creates many chains of events that require other species sharing the same environment to respond adequately. Natural selection warrants these to adapt for the changing environment or go bust. Has not man also created a similar situation for his species? Such risks many of which are caused by humans. Bio-terrosim for instance. From pandemics to Nuclear wars, human civilization thus had to face many challenges which are existential risks, that are less understood than the most obvious advantages we have derived from the march of progress.

There are some worrying features in human intelligence that may fuel the risks of his very existence. From anthropological findings it would seem humans embarked on the march of progress too early. His branching off from his ape cousins was an event and it would indicate it was undertaken before his brain was full developed. Its consequence can easily be set down from analogy of human child. Our ape ancestor was like modern human, as a baby, with its brain developing all the while till it reaches some 20 years. (A pliable head of the baby facilitates its exit at birth from womb which is biologically safe for the mother.) This necessitates from the child all the support system without let up counted in days, years and decades till the end of his adolescence. He needs rearing from his parents in order to achieve emotional intelligence he needs. Only difference was that our ape ancestor had no such back up from his peers. His brain was in the process of developing but without nurture of some role model*.
Biologists speak of ‘norms of reaction,’ which are patterned responses to environmental circumstances. For example, some male insects are more likely to guard their mates when there are fewer females in the population, hence fewer other mating opportunities. Natural selection didn’t just shape a fixed behavior, it shaped the norm of reaction — the nature of the response,”
In humans a bad idea when he can think rationally on it brings many advantages. Increasing his supply of food at the cost of one who is weaker is one way of doing it. Annexing a territory from a weak tyrant is worth the while of a chieftain if he has a superior force. He reckons that his success would silence others and make his position more secure. It must have come handy when others would take the same path to aggrandize themselves. It is a norm of reaction that suited well for the bandit kings of yore.
When circumstances could be shaped to justify it war must have seemed a fitness-enhancing behavior. Warring parties included all those who agreed with the idea and circumstances. Like success it sets off many others.
‘Just as compassion for your offspring increases your genes’ chance of survival, violent tendencies may have been similarly useful for some species’ observed biologist David Carrier, also of the University of Utah,” Humans certainly rank among the most violent of species.” In true nature-nurture fashion, though some kind of genetic preprogramming for violence, may exist in humans as a result of our evolution. Norms of behaviour as a result evolved in that along period of trial and error method.
 
 
As a result how he created a society in terms of families, clans, tribes were all flawed. It became in most cases patriarchal leaving women in the background. Creating wars as a manly sport, would leave women incapable what with her long period of gestation and nursing. Eventually it would stamp the role of women as secondary. This we witness even this day where some societies can kill women simply for ‘honour.’ Lack of sufficient role model man simply created a swath of experience in which his brain simply was inadequate to anticipate long range consequences.
(*There is no accurate picture what made our human ancestor diverge from other apes other than fossil evidences that our human ancestors could walk as well as climb trees. The oldest evidence for walking on two legs comes from one of the earliest humans known, Sahelanthropus 6 million years ago. By 4 million years ago early human species lived mostly near open areas and dense woods. Their bodies had become adapted to walk upright most of the time, but still climb trees.

“Apparently, there were multiple ways early human species had of moving around.” observed human origins expert Richard Potts of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, about a mystery species discovered in Ethiopia’s Afar region in 2009, the fossil forefoot bones, eight in all, from same era and same region of Africa as the famous ‘Lucy’ (1974).

Walking was a human characteristic before the development of oversized brains. The newly discovered foot-fossil gives us a clue why early human species might have moved around. By learning to walk upright they conceded forests hitherto their home to cousins better adapted for living in trees.)

If his brain was inadequate what could have been the overwhelming reason for him to strike out on his own? His tool making skills gave us stone age, iron age, bronze age and so on. His curiosity and cleverness of hand would develop into science and technology. His foresight in overcoming an inconvenience was not matched by foreseeing the consequences of his innovations. No more apt example we need seek than reasons for ushering in the Nuclear Age. America could stop the WWII speedily. The Allies however did not anticipate proliferation of the nuclear arsenal but soon they were in for a rude shock. Now in some sixty years we have come at a stage the nuclear secrets can be peddled at the click of a mouse. It is what AQ Khan achieved with the backing of his government.

Optimism of man is in terms of abstract than concrete. His abstract thinking has created the world as idea but in terms of its realization no two persons shall view an idea exactly as one and as a result these can only end in conflict. Workers’ paradise as envisaged by Lenin in the view of Stalin was transformed into Cult of Personality!
Bad experience of the past is such that technology and its progress can only be sustained by the systems an idea created along the line. The Crusades in the middle Ages were fought under the call of a Pope. Pope Urban II in 1095 invoked the Christian army of Europe to reclaim lands lost to Muslim invaders previously. It was on the matter of Ideology of clashing belief-systems of the West and East he could invoke them to fight under the sign of cross. Ideas keep evolving while experience remains in the bloodstream of the species. The war to end all wars as President Wilson qualified the WWI did exactly the opposite. If idea of war had achieved its goal the first war that primordial man waged would have been sufficient.Instead collateral consequences of war, misery,loss of prestige,material advantages are all such in collective experience that necessitates conflict ad infintum. Idea of war, belief-systems can only be settled with experience of humans proving its justness for all. It is inherent in the idea and man’s inability to see any other way than as idea. There are millions of ants to every man and by sheer numbers insects outnumber human population. Despite of being one among so many species we see the world in terms of ideas than for what really it is.

Over the past century we have discovered or created new existential risks: supervolcanoes were discovered in the early 1970s, and we should expect others to appear just as a nuclear holocaust is possible. The average mammalian species survives for about a million years. Hence, the background natural extinction rate is roughly one in a million per year. This is much lower than the nuclear-war risk, which after 70 years is still the biggest threat to our continued existence. (ack:the five biggest threats to Human existence/the Conversation-Anders Sandberg,29 May, 2014)

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Nature’s gifts each life-form adapts in context to its environment. A tree being immobile or man who can flee or fight in case of danger shall create whole lot of adjustments that make world of each distinct. This potential to give is drawn from nature owing to something beyond its control in all aspects. Man who is given to abstract thinking might tag thus his context. God is for him defines a Being whose absolute control gives the inchoate external circumstances a one to one context.

By same token of rational thinking cannot another make God as a reality hidden in the very interplay forces that impinge on his world? Cannot God with his omnipresence hide in the interplay of events?

In Japan traditional houses are oriented and windows are placed in such manner to frame pleasant features of the landscape. The Japanese call it ‘borrowing scenery’ from Nature. In controlling Nature in a manner most advantageous to us are we not similarly working on an idea that is purely our own? Man may dominate other life forms and even quote convenient verse to justify his actions. Gen.1:28

benny

 

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NEW YORK (AP) — A big government study has fingered leafy greens like lettuce and spinach as the leading source of food poisoning, a perhaps uncomfortable conclusion for health officials who want us to eat our vegetables.

“Most meals are safe,” said Dr. Patricia Griffin, a government researcher and one of the study’s authors who said the finding shouldn’t discourage people from eating produce. Experts repeated often-heard advice: Be sure to wash those foods or cook them thoroughly.

While more people may have gotten sick from plants, more died from contaminated poultry, the study also found. The results were released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans — or 48 million people— gets sick from food poisoning. That includes 128,000 hospitalization and 3,000 deaths, according to previous CDC estimates.(AP news-29 Jan,’13)

Earlier it was pesticides. Often untested innovation in agriculture created an unprecedented disaster, especially in the fifties. There was a ‘biotic’ approach and there was the ‘scorched earth’. The former was cheaper, safer, longer acting, natural solutions to pest problems. For example, introducing a fungus that causes a fatal disease in this insect can control the menace of Japanese beetle. In the latter the chemical industry advocated pesticides were safe, and imprudent public officials accepted this disinformation without a murmur. Progress is often touted by special interest groups like Chemical industry.

The publishing of Silent Spring (1962) by Rachel Carson showed the Chemical industry was irresponsible for the long-range consequences of chemical pesticides. (The primary inspiration for the book was a friend of Carson’s who was concerned about dying birds in her hometown where the authorities had sprayed DDT to control mosquitoes. At about the same time, a disastrous pesticide campaign against the fire ant of the Southeast was receiving national attention. Formerly a science writer for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Carson already had some acquaintance with research on pesticides, and Silent Spring impacted the American public.

Till results prove what the public get to see wizards but later we see crooks in pin-stripe suits whose gift of the gab had run faster than their worth. Enron, and many others are evil genie let out because of those who are set to safeguard nation’s health preferred quick gains. If these multinationals walk with a heavy tread, these may be only 1% but carry weight, you may be sure quality of life for the rest shall become degraded fast. The sky is polluted,- and China is blindly blundering through the same mess the US went, so are rivers. The earth is getting the taste of the accumulated misdeeds of the greedy nations.

benny 

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What exactly is the function of a brain? There are creatures that can very well get around without having a brain as we know the term.
“Even without a brain, a slime mold can essentially remember where it’s been, helping it navigate past complex obstacles, much like modern robots, researchers say.
These findings reveal how ancient organisms could solve certain problems well before complex brains evolved, scientists added.
Slime molds were once thought to be a kind of fungus, but later work revealed that these puddles of goo are part of a motley group of microbes known as protists. The yellow slime mold the investigators studied, Physarum polycephalum, is actually a giant single cell up to more than 1 square foot (900 square centimeters) in size with up to several million identical cell nuclei inside.
“For a single-celled organism, it has shown remarkable abilities, such as solving mazes, anticipating periodic events, and even making irrational decisions like we do,” said researcher Chris Reid, a complex systems biologist at the University of Sydney in Australia. “It is truly a remarkable creature that is redefining our notions of intelligence.”
This slime mold leaves a thick mat of translucent slime behind it as it moves, ooze that Physarum later avoids. As such, the researchers thought the slime mold might use this gel trail as a kind of memory.
“The key misunderstanding might be that slime mold has a memory like we do,” Reid told LiveScience. “I can’t stress enough that the slime mold is incapable of creating, storing or recalling memories like ours, because it does not have a brain such as we are used to think, even neurons.”
The scientists detailed their findings online Oct. 8 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.(LiveScience.com of Oct 9.
Memory of slime mold is the trail it leaves behind. It is like the breadcrumbs by which Hansel and Gretel ensure their safe return from the deep recesses of the forest. It is the memory for future. The bread trail was meant for their return from the forest.
Defining memory from our own abilities that a brain is capable of, is therefore erroneous. Memory need not necessarily remain solely within the brains was shown in the case of slime mold. Memory could be drawn from external circumstances as well. In order to explain some extraordinary ways in which humans have arrived at solutions almost identical without having the means to pick each others brains may seem incredible. Now that the slime mold have shown the possibility do we unconsciously rely on external influences?

Consider the Periodic Table of the elements. From the time Pythagoras suggested certain harmony of seven planets as ‘celestial’ there has been attempts to explain his mystical leap into the unknown in many other areas. Take Chemistry for example. Why the elements when numbered in the order of atomic weights tended to repeat fairly similar properties at every seventh element like notes in a musical scale? Just as the Russian scientist Mendeleyev worked out the Periodic Table one German chemist by name Julius Lothar Meyer also had independently conceived the same periodic Law. Is it just coincidence or memory, collective or better still in the public domain of life forms, supplied the solution?

In human context do we not create memories for future as well? da Vinci on observing the sycamore seeds making through the air got an idea for helicopters. Only that the technology was not developed to make it a reality. Memory in our universe must be relative: complex multicellular organisms exercise their brain on the memory impressed in the environment just as matriarchal elephants can dig up salt and other needful minerals in the years of drought. These show their young so they may in future similarly leave a trail for their young. Memory that is more enduring in short is external and is passed from one age to another to which so many could access. If we have been using wars as settling difference indeed wars shall come uppermost when nations consider a way out.
Coming back to da Vinci what he set down on paper bears a milestone in the development of flight.
(ack: Music of the Spheres by Guy Murchie/Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston/1961-regarding the Periodic Law)
benny

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Are we any different than Saturn? He devoured his son only to make sure he was not overthrown by him.
We degrade the earth for profit so we may enslave a large part of the world and economically chain our fellow men who would rather live in peace. The Arctic landmass has melted and nations are staking claim for mining rights under the sea! We will conquer super earths if possible. Without cultivating our home planet we are all agog to colonize them and naturally we shall mine for precious metals there. We are like Saturn since we take away whatever chances our children have ,- it is their right, to breathe clean air and use clean water and grow in a healthy environment. We are, in a manner of speaking, beggaring them morally,spiritually and physically. We devour them. We have become so gross and brutal to let such a situation to continue.
What good is then your religion or nations?
benny

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Cosmos is One, Mankind is One
Cosmos is our nursery and within the Golden Pagoda we see that no one is singled out for special favor; neither is there any special dispensation that makes a certain group garner most of the advantages while the rest make do with what is left as best as they can.
Every life form serves a purpose regardless of its size.
Physical law sets miniscule spores and a star like our sun, which is on a gigantic scale on the same standard. It is not in the matter of physical size but where material principle is same. It is consistent. There is a certain consistency in the way it can under pin interaction between the two. Certain species of root fungus (i.e. mycorrhizae) live among plants. Fungus receives carbohydrates and in turn it enhances nutritive intake of the plant. Thus a gigantic red sequoia tree is helped just as the survival of whales depend on the availability of phytoplankton.
ii
Carbon is the basic element of life. It is always on the move shuttling between atmosphere, oceans and land. Plant growth takes large amounts of carbon dioxide out of the air and oxygen is sent out in a natural cycle. This complex web of carbon cycle is built up out of great many interactions simultaneously taking place in the atmosphere, oceans and land.
The more CO2 oceans absorb the more acidic they become posing a threat for the shell building sea-life. The ocean’s deep cold waters hold huge amounts of carbon as much as the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide in the air and the upper layers in the waters move at faster rate than the depths where it may take centuries to hit the bottom. Such imbalances found in the natural cycles but allowed to resolve over great stretch of time must similarly explain in the slow maturing of the fortunes of any nation while some other groups of people seem to benefit from the fruits of civilization sooner than others.
If this cycle were to disappear think of disastrous consequences that would result?

iii

The human body has some 100 trillion cells carrying about ten times as many microorganisms in the intestines. To consider them as part of the body it stretches the credulity of our imagination. But consider the metabolic activities performed by these bacteria and it is so vital that it is called our forgotten organ.( Gut Flora a Forgotten Organ-O’Hara AM, Shanahan F-July 2006) . The microorganisms perform a host of useful functions, such as fermenting unused energy substrates, training the immune system, preventing growth of harmful, pathogenic bacteria, regulating the development of the gut, producing vitamins for the host (such as biotin and vitamin K), and producing hormones to direct the host to store fats. By the same token some species are thought to be capable of causing disease or increasing cancer risk for the host.
Yet considering the useful service they do they are as efficient as an organ but forgotten.
benny

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