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Archive for the ‘environment’ Category

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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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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In the previous post I mentioned that oneness of Nature allows matter to be of one susbstance. Life and material aspects of it are somewhat between and betwixt since soul is precisely that. Light can be particle as well as a wave and reality of soul in terms of reality is in direct context with Ultimate Reality. Think of it like a doughnut: it is not that hole is going to make any worse in your stomach than the bad dough. Similarly it is not how you defined your soul but how you handled your material form is the test you defined your substance.
If man does value his soul as his most precious possession will it not vary his order of priorities in the manner he approaches any situation? As a soldier the enlisted man is sent to kill one who is pointed out to you ‘enemy combatant’. In another situation a diplomat is sent out to dissemble abroad and hide the real intent of his nation and knowing he is peddling a pack of lies how does he handle it? Moral sense a man carries is a veritable minefield. In my opinion there is no simple answer as much as soul of another is not for me to direct. Every person who values his soul must arrive at the correct decision by himself.
The principle of self similarity shows nature of man directs the conformist as well as non-conformist, warmonger and the pacifist. Their actions good or bad will find similarity and it can go on posing grave risk, moral dilemma as we see at present in our midst.
How greed has taken over man’s lives cannot be said too lightly since his entire perception of his oneness with humanity or other life forms has been obliterated. He would rather denude Amazon for quick returns and his cattle for export must be given more room. The earth is sufficient for man’s needs but not for his greed. At the rate we have been exploiting the earth’s precious resources we would need two and half earths. Here also some have much more.
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We hear now of ethical living. Is veganism any superior to eating meat? I do not know. I am skeptical about all fads where there seems certain idealism inherent but no susbstance. Is rubbing your nose in dirt for showing your love for god is comparable as reveling in the love of god as a babe in the arms of its mother? ( For me God is a Caring and Loving Reality. As a proof I can only prove in my care for others, all live forms included.)
Instead some sects ‘purify ‘themselves but for what? They cannot think of god except when they mutilate themselves or cry Jihad! They themselves define their gods by their stupidity. Not the other way about.
Plants are life forms too as chickens or porker. Moderation is all, sirs, in all things. (Leave the goodness of this earth for the needy too.) In our respect for life we are defining self-similarity of Nature in tokens that must in turn change even how world treats us? We are part of the same forces and add our very own. Surely?
The End
benny

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Is Nature impartial in the way life form seeks its biological imperatives and develop?
Every species follows a core idea: thus species of a bird living in a secure environment with no known predator around considers wings are an unnecessary appendage. It is an idea. Dodo was such a bird found in the forests of Mauritius east of Madagascar. Raphus culcullatus was a pigeon-like bird known to weigh some 17 kilograms and the last bird became extinct in late 1600. First sighted by Dutch sailors the species in a matter of 174 years died out. Unfortunately the Portuguese seamen who made their landfall upon this remote island found the meat a delicacy. It is often said they were responsible for their untimely demise. Really? These ponderous and wingless birds were in the habit of laying eggs on the surface: and it had much to do with their undoing. Yes, the Portuguese sailors hunted them for their meat. But rats, monkeys and pigs brought by sailors and left behind did the rest. Extinction was a foregone conclusion with so many accidents adding up.
Each species in its context with environment is like two strips of a zipper locked into each other. How a species draw from wisdom and nature in the long run creates a momentum that may only be broken by circumstances. Dodo as a species realized its error only after the safety of the island was breached. In the wake of seamen followed other calamities.
Zipper is a system where a species is locked in place with the habitat. Purpose of this survival of the species. In the case of mammals the demise of dinosaurs* opened a window of opportunity for them. They could find a foothold and develop. Gradually they succeeded in establishing an interlock with environment. This is called a zipper system where there are many more networks the species could rely on as a support.
Human species from this point advanced to reach the present level.
*An international panel of experts has strongly endorsed evidence that a space impact was behind the mass extinction event that killed off the dinosaurs.
They reached the consensus after conducting the most wide-ranging analysis yet of the evidence.
Writing in Science journal, they rule out alternative theories such as large-scale volcanism.
The analysis has been discussed at the 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in the US.
A panel of 41 international experts reviewed 20 years’ worth of research to determine the cause of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) mass extinction, around 65 million years ago.
The extinction wiped out more than half of all species on the planet, including the dinosaurs, bird-like pterosaurs and large marine reptiles, clearing the way for mammals to become the dominant species on Earth.
Their review of the evidence shows that the extinction was caused by a massive asteroid or comet smashing into Earth at Chicxulub on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.(BBC News- By Paul Rincon
Science reporter, 4 March, 2010)

benny

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A child who sees a leaf falling for the first time does not know why it has fallen. But in its downward flight the child knows a certain thrill that shall never return again in its intensity. Whereas the earth shall keep that purity, wonder and knowledge through every child. Generations after generations it shall remain young. This is magic: innocence of a child sustains it.
The secret is with the earth and the child.
This secret shall be kept as long as there are children, and there are as many trees. The day he sees a tree as a tree and thinks nothing but profit he will begin cutting it down. He has signaled thereby to all he has lost his sense of wonder.
Once that sense of wonder is lost trees do not stand a chance; nor would the earth remain young as before. A day shall come when a child shall see the earth and see only a monster waiting to swallow it whole.
benny

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“WASHINGTON – A newly discovered type of oil-eating microbe is suddenly flourishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Scientists discovered the new microbe while studying the underwater dispersion of millions of gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf following the explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

And the microbe works without significantly depleting oxygen in the water, researchers led by Terry Hazen at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., reported Tuesday in the online journal Sciencexpress.

“Our findings, which provide the first data ever on microbial activity from a deepwater dispersed oil plume, suggest” a great potential for bacteria to help dispose of oil plumes in the deep-sea, Hazen said in a statement.

Environmentalists have raised concerns about the giant oil spill and the underwater plume of dispersed oil, particularly its potential effects on sea life. A report just last week described a 22-mile long underwater mist of tiny oil droplets.

“Our findings show that the influx of oil profoundly altered the microbial community by significantly stimulating deep-sea” cold temperature bacteria that are closely related to known petroleum-degrading microbes, Hazen reported.

Their findings are based on more than 200 samples collected from 17 deepwater sites between May 25 and June 2. They found that the dominant microbe in the oil plume is a new species, closely related to members of Oceanospirillales.”
With no thanks to BP here we have a new species of microbes that come to our aid. These microbial activity has been set into overdrive by an environmental disaster.
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Cause and Effect. Lebensraum of Nazi Germany is a cause and surely has its counterpart in effect. So has man’s wanton destruction of rain forests in changing the climate pattern. In the present case massive oil spill must cause microbes to fight back. This is nature’s way of containing excess demands. It works as some kind of moral force whereby what causes so much upset be it a political system or species is given its comeuppance. The Thousand year Reich will come down in 13 years or a fall in temperature bring the dinosaurs to their knees. These checks and balances are woven out of many causes that no one may control for long. Just the same what modifies the rule of the Might that relies on red in tooth and claw is a manifestation of Moral Law. God has no need to attend to the details since Nature has hearkened to the Will of God in her laws, and sees to it. God is not mocked by those who merely follow cause and effect within certain framework and not from moral standpoint.
benny

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Bozos who lived on the fertile plains saw the Yahoos building skyscrapers and each section was vying with the other to build higher and bigger. After two decades of intense building boom the leading intellects among the Yahoos said,’Hold it! At this rate we shall beggar the resources of the earth.” The intellectuals debated on the greenhouse effect and destruction of flora and fauna. Calculating the rate of damage in two decades they worked out a Doomsday scenario. To prevent this from occuring the Yahoos  passed law of  Double Jeopardy that could not be cancelled.

What was double jeopardy? The Yahoos  put the earth in jeopardy; to make a law that didn’t deliver was d ouble jeopardy.  They were sure once  the biodiversity of the  earth was  destroyed it was useless to complain and the law became useless.  Taking a cue from them the Bozos  also passed a law citing the same reason. One said, ‘There is no  use in bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted”  Th Bozoan  political pundits said theur nation was under threat from anti-social elements. The scare worked. Thus draconian laws were passed without even a murmur. They took away civil liberties of citizens, rights to opinion, privacy as an excuse for mischief. Death penalty on anyone suspected of anti-social activities was introduced. No one dared to complain lest he should be suspected of being one. Law in the case of climate had got it right. How come Law was totally on the wrong in case of civil liberties?

Law applied makes all the difference. Politicians apply law for limited good.  If a party which favors Big Banking Houses and super rich passes a law the argument shall be like this: ‘for ingenuity and taking risks financiers CEO have to be rewarded well. Incentives like tax free bonuses are necessary’. It is like Bozos who want to keep the land free from coming to harm from a perceived threat ,  that mostly is only in their own mind. It has a form good sense but is meant to deceive. A perceived threat from climate changes on the other hand is natural result of man’s uncontrolled misuse.

benny

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