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The Soap Box A place to debate life and such, the former Junkyard has been merged into this category.

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  #1  
Old 07-23-2009, 12:21 AM
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Default A depression that something may solve.

when you care about the world and you see the world going to hell, what do you do?

turn to religion? i think not. i'm looking for something invested in science, rationality and reason. ironic, perhaps, since those are the things which say that we're headed straight down the toilet.

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Old 07-23-2009, 12:48 AM
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In a way, I believe that science may be dragging us down the tubes just as fast as religion. Dig on this; there's no doubt that Karl Marx hit the nail on the head, saying that religion was the opiate of the masses. But here in the grand and glorious world of the 21st century, science... or, more to the point, technology... is the new and improved opiate. I just read today that, were Facebook a country, its 250 million members would make it the world's third-largest. Our use of science has us huddled around the magic porn-box telling all our friends what we're cooking for dinner (and, ahem, writing stuff in forums) as a salve to ignore the way our world seems to be headed for destruction. Global warming? Political persecution in Iran? The collapse of the world economy? Sorry... got a Halo match starting on Xbox Live, so I'll have to get to it tomorrow.
And that's why we're doomed. Dooooomed!!!!
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Old 07-23-2009, 03:27 AM
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@ Nic, get out of the USA!!!!

Life is what you make it, life gives you lemons, make lemonade !


@Rudy,
I disagree, I love the internet
My hobby and passion (like a lot od peeps here ) is pinball
There are no pinball machines on location where I live, it is also hard to bring up pinball in a conversation.
But through the internet I can talk pinball with like minded people all day long.
I have also used the internet to meet my fellow pinball fans

The internet is just another form of communication
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Old 07-23-2009, 05:03 PM
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@bill,
agree! i think that's why some call this the "culture of distraction". the advances of technology being used without sufficient long-term thinking is probably the biggest reason why we're up the creek IMO. although i would like to say that science in its essence is not the problem- science advocates reason, rationality and caution, things which, had they been followed down the line, would have conceivably prevented the misuse of technological advances. so, you know, science is both the bad guy and the good guy.


@pete,
my problem is that i was trained during the majority of my youth to focus on what's wrong, both in myself and in others. so this is something i need to keep working on, apparently. :S
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Old 07-24-2009, 12:05 AM
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@pete
Don't get me wrong; I love the internet, as well. Probably a little too much! But I still think that, in a lot of ways it's brought about... well, exactly what Nic called it... a "culture of distraction." Whereas once upon a time a lot of the problems we now face would have brought about direct action, whether in the form of protest or maybe a focused movement to correct the problem, our society as it is now seems more satisfied to give a "thumbs-up" to a news story on Digg and call it a day. I agree that the internet is just another form of communication to fine, upstanding people like you and Nic and maybe me, but I think that, in a lot of ways it's become the Alpha and Omega to many members of our society.

@Nic
Yeah, I was pushing the envelope blaming science! I think I was going for one of those Captain Kirk "You... are... Nomad!" trick endings. Came close to pulling it off, too!
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:22 AM
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In Los Angeles we have a local County government, one which chooses to ignore their duties to the people when statutes which are binding on the county by Charter to the State are an inconvenience or a nuisance to the county. It is a real drag to have public employees and elected officials lie to me about the laws and claim they do not even exist when I am staring right at these "non-existent laws" on an official State .gov website, and then the State isn't even enforcing the laws on local governments. Forget about State Attorney General Jerry Brown. You might remember him as a Presidential candidate a couple of decades ago. His office which defends the State and its laws will not enforce on the county.
Los Angeles has become a government which exists unto itself for the benefit of itself and it's officials.

An example: State Code requires agencies which receive State funds to adopt the State definitions of physical and mental disability. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the County of Los Angeles receives State funds, you betcha, but has yet to adopt these definitions in regards to determining eligibility for discount disability transportation fares and passes. They instead continue to use the morbid federal definitions and require severities in order to qualify for discount fares and passes, severities such as paraplegics, quadraplegics, stroke victims, degenerative cancers, blind or psychotic, of which the sufferers are least likely to use the bus to begin with, and then, as such persons normally qualify for SSI disability benefits, are normally given taxi vouchers and provided with special transportation in order to get to their medical appointments. Anyone else is left to pay out of pocket to get to public clinics which may not provide either the needed services or the necessary information on timely referrals to the appropriate medical or dental services needed by the prospective patient by phone. You show up live at County pot luck walk-in clinics, often with a ten+ hour waiting time to see the doctor, and if you strike out because they don't do what you need done, then you try again tomorrow at another location, or whenever you can again afford to travel and are well enough to wait ten+ hours away from your place of rest.

Last edited by sleepy; 07-24-2009 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 07-24-2009, 10:51 AM
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And beacuase of facebook I now hace access to my sisters and their families, all my relatives are but a click away. We trade pics on each others kids as they grow up. When I get bored I play a little online golf (shot-online.com; a free game) or build pins. talking here and elsewhere to fellow pinheads on all subjects,ranging from pins themselves , to recipes, to cars, to our countrys' economy (or lack thereof).So for me I'm glad computers have evolved to what they are today with the internet and all, growing up without computers and dealing with the early BBS's (remember them?) at 300 baud per second rate modems? when you could literally watch the words as they scrolled across our tiny (11-13") screens) ah the good ol' days, dot-matrix printers, clacking away, punch cards, early IBM monitors with 4 colors (brown, yellow, black white; eeew! apparently these 4 were the easiest to make), 5" floppy disks, sigh...
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:16 AM
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The 4 color display sounds like yellow (high state), brown (low-state yellow), black (low-state white), and white (high state).
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Old 07-24-2009, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by faralos View Post
So for me I'm glad computers have evolved to what they are today with the internet and all, growing up without computers and dealing with the early BBS's (remember them?) at 300 baud per second rate modems? when you could literally watch the words as they scrolled across our tiny (11-13") screens) ah the good ol' days, dot-matrix printers, clacking away, punch cards, early IBM monitors with 4 colors (brown, yellow, black white; eeew! apparently these 4 were the easiest to make), 5" floppy disks, sigh...
Yea, I remember 300 baud.

As for the colors, color monitors were not hard to make, it was the graphics cards and programing that was hard back then. With limited memory every bit had to be conserved, so adding the extra bits for color had to wait for computers with more memory. I remember the first CGA cards for the IBM were huge.

Back to the original topic, people need a broader idea of what technology means. We tend to think of it as computers and high tech stuff, but it also includes things like the wheel. People that think we can go back to a simpler way of life don't realize that even the horse drawn cart was a technology that irrevocably changed life. The population of Europe concentrated in it's cities was too large to go back to a rural lifestyle hundreds of years ago. So no point wishing away technology, the only hope for maintaining the current overpopulation is more technology.
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Old 07-25-2009, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by mrschultz View Post
Back to the original topic, people need a broader idea of what technology means. We tend to think of it as computers and high tech stuff, but it also includes things like the wheel. People that think we can go back to a simpler way of life don't realize that even the horse drawn cart was a technology that irrevocably changed life. The population of Europe concentrated in it's cities was too large to go back to a rural lifestyle hundreds of years ago. So no point wishing away technology, the only hope for maintaining the current overpopulation is more technology.
agree 100%. although on a slight side note, the idea of using technology to solve the current problems has been in place for a long time and never resolved the underlying problems which got us to this pass in the first place. it's always this same situation- only the date and the details change.

when i was mentioning overpopulation the other day, a lady i know rebutted: "someone figured out that you could take every person on earth and stick them in a middle-sized suburban house, one couple and one child per house, and they would all fit comfortably in the state of texas"... a statement of colosally blissful ignorance by my measure, but a very catholic one by other measures.

but it's understandable, because very few people really grasp the infrastructure and costs necessary to support populations (i know i don't). we've all gotten used to the support levels which we are privy to, which are the most spectacular and miraculous in all of history. food crop production, fishing and animal husbandry, ore extraction, refining, manufacture, precision engineering, scientific method and scientific tools, electrical grid capacity and range, ditto water and sewer systems, global shipping and delivery, banking and credit, near-instantaneous news and message transmission, computational tools- these have all reached dizzying heights, and the future truly is now by all known standards.

(as an aside, even current infrastructures have limits. just recently, t. boone pickens was forced to scuttle a massive windfarm project in the texas panhandle because of insufficient transmission lines in place and insufficient financing to build the needed lines. he lost billions by trying to go green but planning a little too aggressively... maybe trying to be too much of a maverick, and now he's stuck trying to sell thousands of wind turbines he can't use.)

all of these plateaus of achievement would be great except for the downsides and costs of said plateaus, which have placed us in a position such that if this civilisation fails, mankind (assuming we survive) will never be able to reach anywhere near these heights again, at least via similar paths that brought us here. this is so because of how much we've impoverished the world's physical resources and how much we've drastically reduced the world's biodiversity. there will never again be the amount of ores as easily obtainable as they were this time around, and the remnant of the petroleum in the ground, which took hundreds of millions of years and the right conditions to form, is going to be much more difficult to extract next time.

...

the change that happened to me recently is that i realised that this is not really modern man's fault. as marty said, the mechanisms lie farther back, in examples such as conquest-driven tribes which served to homogenise populations and increase population ceilings, crop-growing peoples who tended to expand in number and use up biodiversity faster than it could be locally replenished, peoples of the metal ages who first started mining and using copper, iron, etc in new and useful ways, not worrying about the fact that metals are a finite resource. basically, all populations that made regular use of resources which were not replenished as fast as they were used or not replenished at all. even building a fire or taking water from a well uses up resources, so almost all human inventions are rooted in this potential and fundamental problem.

for the record, i do believe that there are humans who were able to live in balance with the earth, such as the arctic / far-north tribes, africans, native north americans, australian aborigines, islander tribes, ie all those examples of man who used animals, plants, natural forces, etc to make their societies work, and used resources in such a way that they could have gone on doing the same thing til the end of time. --which is possibly a naive thought, given how quickly tribes disintigrate in the face of exposure to technology, losing their customs and values when their is a little better comfort and standard of life to be had. not to mention the paradigm-busting nature of human ambition, conquest-lust and the seeking of power, which were the kinds of things that probably turned proto indo-european peoples from farmers and hunter-gatherers into nomads who mowed down other tribes like grass. although surely their conditions of life had a hand in turning them in that direction.

anyway, back to the main point, it hit me that this self-destructive nature is not unique to man- it's inherant in animals and all lifeforms, too. the forces which cause lifeforms to succeed and then succeed too well, ultimately getting them in trouble, are the same forces working in man, too...
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Old 07-25-2009, 04:22 AM
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anyway, back to the main point, it hit me that this self-destructive nature is not unique to man- it's inherant in animals and all lifeforms, too. the forces which cause lifeforms to succeed and then succeed too well, ultimately getting them in trouble, are the same forces working in man, too...
Absolutly, people talk about "balance of nature" but there really is no balance. Pretty much all life will use up all available resources if given the chance, any balance is really cycles of "feast and famine".

Can't remember if I've mentioned this before but ever read about Easter Island? Perfect analogy for what is most likely to happen planet wide.

That Texas thing, did they stack the houses? Given the number of acres of land in Texas, cramming houses 6 per acre, that's only about 1 billion houses, with very little room for infrastructure... So unless that was figured out when the population on Earth was 2-3 billion someone was way off in their calculations.

Makes me think of a few years ago when we were cleaning out a lab after someone moved out and I found a road map of Delaware County from the early 60s, comparing to a current map it's amazing how many fewer roads and houses there were just 40 years ago.

Quote:
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for the record, i do believe that there are humans who were able to live in balance with the earth, such as the arctic / far-north tribes, africans, native north americans, australian aborigines, islander tribes, ie all those examples of man who used animals, plants, natural forces, etc to make their societies work, and used resources in such a way that they could have gone on doing the same thing til the end of time. --which is possibly a naive thought, given how quickly tribes disintigrate in the face of exposure to technology, losing their customs and values when their is a little better comfort and standard of life to be had.
What do those tribes have in common? Very harsh living conditions, very high mortality rates (low life expectancy). Also lack of resources easily converted into technology (if you're living in the arctic it's hard to build metal smelters). So it's more being forced to live in "balance", as long as there's room to roam, I mentioned Easter Island above and that's a good example of an island tribe that did not learn to live in balance because of cultural and religious reasons.

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Old 07-25-2009, 10:16 AM
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Actually growing up in the suburbs of NY city during the second half of last century we lived quite comfortable in a 9 room house with a full basement and attic on a 1/4 acre! about 40 houses to a street. This was in North New Jersey, USA. My hometown in the sixties had over 500,000 people back then so it is feasible to live close together in relative comfort. We were on a quiet tree lined street too, no tenement housing here.
Heck my graduating class was over 2500 kids! And not once did I feel crowded.
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Old 07-25-2009, 01:34 PM
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Actually growing up in the suburbs of NY city during the second half of last century we lived quite comfortable in a 9 room house with a full basement and attic on a 1/4 acre! about 40 houses to a street. This was in North New Jersey, USA. My hometown in the sixties had over 500,000 people back then so it is feasible to live close together in relative comfort. We were on a quiet tree lined street too, no tenement housing here.
Heck my graduating class was over 2500 kids! And not once did I feel crowded.
Hate to be picky but you are saying that in response to my post you are talking about 4 per acre, that would be less houses than 6 per acre, so even fewer people to fit into Texas. The original wrong idea was someone said that you could fit the entire population of earth into medium size homes in Texas.

High-rise living is the most efficient form of housing, if everyone lived in cities leaving all those acres of land around them for farming we would be much better off on many fronts. But that's not going to happen, in more developed countries you have the sprawling suburbs around the cities, in poor countries you have sprawl but of a different kind with terrible living conditions.

People feel most comfortable in the conditions they grew up in (usually). Take someone that grew up in wide open farm country and put them in a suburb with 1/4 acre lots and they would feel very crowded.
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Old 07-26-2009, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by nicolas.b View Post
when you care about the world and you see the world going to hell, what do you do?

turn to religion? i think not. i'm looking for something invested in science, rationality and reason. ironic, perhaps, since those are the things which say that we're headed straight down the toilet.
Here's an idea, nic . . .take a few minutes (the resource is there) and give it a try.

Google up some pix of the universe . . .hi-res from the Hubble Telescope . . .and ponder this quote from a wise man (in this case Stephen Fry) . . .

"Everything in nature is uniformly beautiful - the only ugly things are all man-made."

Whilst examining the universe remember that the shithole we call Earth is a very tiny, infinitesimally minute part of it. We don't have the technology to travel and fuck up the rest of the universe . . .

. . .and then, smile . . .

Works for me . . .
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:19 PM
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Here's an idea, nic . . .take a few minutes (the resource is there) and give it a try.

Google up some pix of the universe . . .hi-res from the Hubble Telescope . . .and ponder this quote from a wise man (in this case Stephen Fry) . . .

"Everything in nature is uniformly beautiful - the only ugly things are all man-made."

Whilst examining the universe remember that the shithole we call Earth is a very tiny, infinitesimally minute part of it. We don't have the technology to travel and fuck up the rest of the universe . . .
Hey, don't call the Earth names, it's not the Earth's fault we are morons.

Also, no matter how badly we wreck the planet, after we have wiped ourselves out the planet will be fine, it's come back before from global disasters caused by impacts or volcanoes, it will have no problem doing it again no matter how bad we mess up.
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:04 PM
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re: easter island,
i read the book by that con-man / explorer thor heyerdahl a long time ago. now reading the WP entry, it looks like although the original tropical forest was completely destroyed, the islanders did adjust and remain self-sufficient, although they probably went through overpopulation / die-off cycles to get there. on the positive side, the islanders appeared able to carry on indefinitely by the time the white man came. on the negative, besides wiping out the original forests, they wiped out the native birds as well. anything else of note?

about tribes in general, happiness versus mortality factor, i have some quibbles, but will save those for later.


re: balance of nature,
people just don't seem to get this, probably because when they pay any attention to nature they're too busy reacting along the lines of "ooh, look at the pretty / ugly animal or plant, and how can i make use of it?" instead of thinking about the basic mechanisms which made life the way it is and govern our lives as well.

now that that micro-rant is over, what can i say? species exploit resources by any available means in order to survive long enough to reproduce. what prevents any species from consuming all surrounding resources and proliferating to the limits of the environment are push-back factors, such as predators which feed on them, harsh environmental factors which keep them in check, limits of resources to consume, limits of space to expand into and disease.

life forms have zero ability to govern their own activities- they simply consume and expand until something external pushes back and keeps them in check. as ugly and brutal as that process is, that creates the balance of nature and ecosystems, which goes back all the way to the foundation of life 3.5 billion years ago or so.

now man, over the course of time, has managed to temporarily eradicate all these push-back factors. no longer do most of us worry about predators preying on us, environmental factors preventing us from living at ease, lack of water, food, stone, ores and wood, lack of space to sprawl our way into if we have the money, and with the advances of medicine, disease which knocked off our ancestors at close to a third of the average age we live to today.

so we removed all these checks and balances, making us generally far more powerful than any other lifeform on the planet, and we keep increasing our infrastructure in order to support our always increasing population. anyone reading see the problem here?

we didn't need the news about GCC, oil running out, freshwater supplies going dry, heavy metals and pesticides leeching into ground water, the oceans being poisoned, etc etc that we have today. all of this was predictable scores, hundreds or even thousands of years ago!

want an example? look in the trash receptacle in your kitchen. all of the stuff in there took resources to produce, some irreplaceable, and we're generally only using the stuff once. once! then it goes to a landfill, which eventually gets filled up, and we repeat the whole procedure. how do we expect to keep doing that in a finite world? when does the price have to get paid? the insane thing to me is that this is 2009, the space age, and a time of unbelievable human invention and ingenuity. we've had ages and ages to fix the basic waste and resources problem and yet it's still almost as broken as ever (recycling is still just a drop in the bucket). did i say insane? it's beyond insane- it defies all rational thought.

you want to erect a monument to the human race? erect a giant garbage can overflowing with use-once, disposable products. add a computerised panel on the trash can to indicate how clever we are at numbers and invention, and the irony of not being mindful enough to put these things to use to save us from ourselves.
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
Here's an idea, nic . . .take a few minutes (the resource is there) and give it a try.

Google up some pix of the universe . . .hi-res from the Hubble Telescope . . .and ponder this quote from a wise man (in this case Stephen Fry) . . .

"Everything in nature is uniformly beautiful - the only ugly things are all man-made."

Whilst examining the universe remember that the shithole we call Earth is a very tiny, infinitesimally minute part of it. We don't have the technology to travel and fuck up the rest of the universe . . .

. . .and then, smile . . .

Works for me . . .
not bad, and perhaps a more practical example than my approach, which is basically to do the same thing but with plants, animals, environments here on earth.

if i was looking at deep space, there would be no where i could look that man would be able to screw up.

btw, i'm up to a few hundred of the dell four-colors now. it's amazing how much time and effort people put in to scan them all!
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:25 PM
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Not deep space, but rather near space. From what I gather, we have enough space junk floating in our own orbit to cover every square mile of land in Texas. Seems every time a satellite burns out they (NASA?) just leave them up there. All those spent fuel canisters, our own wastes, pieces of satellites, etc all slowly falling into disintegrating orbits, eventually making their ways back home here to enter our atmosphere and (hopefully) burn up before hitting something on Earth itself.
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Old 07-27-2009, 01:55 AM
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Originally Posted by nicolas.b View Post
re: easter island,
i read the book by that con-man / explorer thor heyerdahl a long time ago. now reading the WP entry, it looks like although the original tropical forest was completely destroyed, the islanders did adjust and remain self-sufficient, although they probably went through overpopulation / die-off cycles to get there. on the positive side, the islanders appeared able to carry on indefinitely by the time the white man came. on the negative, besides wiping out the original forests, they wiped out the native birds as well. anything else of note?
I also read that book, can't be too hard on it, hard to know if he didn't write that book would people have investigated it so much with modern tools.

The WP article is a bit fractured, been a while since I've read about it but I belive they estimate the population may have been up 30+ thousand at the peak. Once the last trees were cut down fighting probably broke out, there's evidence of large fires causing even more damage to the ecosystem. So the island went from being able to support 30,000 to being able to support only a few thousand in one generation or less. With modern farming techniques it can support more now, but not 100 years ago.

There was a good Nova episode (10 years ago?) that summed up the findings, not sure if there's been anything new to add since then.

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about tribes in general, happiness versus mortality factor, i have some quibbles, but will save those for later.
Happiness? That's really hard (impossible?) to judge. When survival is dependant on constant work depression is not a factor (no time to sit around and think about stuff), but I wouldn't take lack of depression as an indicator of happiness. There's a reason most tribal cultures go away when exposed to more advanced cultures, the lowering of everyday fear new technology brings.

As for the balance of nature stuff, we are creating our own push backs. Our over use of anti-bacterial agents is creating super-bugs. We are becoming more dependent on monolithic crops that might not do well as the climate changes. As our infrastructure gets more complicated it gets more susceptible to disruption, and as it ages it gets harder to maintain. Etc....
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Old 07-27-2009, 05:53 AM
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I also read that book, can't be too hard on it, hard to know if he didn't write that book would people have investigated it so much with modern tools.
it's not that i dislike the guy. he was certainly more than just a scientist... adventurer and buckaroo as it were. the voyage across the sea on a reed raft sure took some amazing guts. but it's later, when i found out that he apparently falsified / manufactured some of his evidence to support his theories that i lost respect for him.

30K people on that island? wow. or quite likely i don't know much about population per area norms... WP cites 63 square miles now.

WP says that there were two nova episodes on easter island in 1989 and then the one you saw in 2000. from a quick glance it doesn't seem like they're shared on the web, but youtube does have a complete PBS standalone episode on easter island, 54 minutes in high quality:

" title="YouTube - Easter Island" target="_blank">YouTube - Easter Island

(i'll watch it later)


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Happiness? That's really hard (impossible?) to judge. When survival is dependant on constant work depression is not a factor (no time to sit around and think about stuff), but I wouldn't take lack of depression as an indicator of happiness. There's a reason most tribal cultures go away when exposed to more advanced cultures, the lowering of everyday fear new technology brings.
i have a pretty different take on this based on (admittedly sketchy) study on this subject over the course of about 20 years. although tribes are fragile entities, i do think there have been many that have found a remarkably sustainable balance with nature, overall happiness and contentment level, and high level of leisure time. the last study i saw that was germane to this was looking at cro magnon man IIRC and finding that he had quite a lot of free time compared to us with our gadgets and workaholic lives.

it would take me time to try to pull up the scattered articles / books i've read and form them into some kind of framework that would make sense. i'd really like to do that at some point, but now's just not the time. maybe when i'm closer to joining this guy.

re: tribes, an excerpt from page two:
Quote:
...after several years as an assistant lab technician in Colorado hospitals, he joined the Peace Corps and was posted to an Ecuadoran village high in the Andes. He was charged with monitoring the health of tribespeople in the area, teaching first aid and nutrition, and handing out medicine where needed; his proudest achievement was delivering three babies. The tribe had been getting richer for a decade, and during the two years he was there he watched as the villagers began to adopt the economics of modernity. They sold the food from their fields—quinoa, potatoes, corn, lentils—for cash, which they used to purchase things they didn't need, as Suelo describes it. They bought soda and white flour and refined sugar and noodles and big bags of MSG to flavor the starchy meals. They bought TVs. The more they spent, says Suelo, the more their health declined. He could measure the deterioration on his charts. "It looked," he says, "like money was impoverishing them."
...

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As for the balance of nature stuff, we are creating our own push backs. Our over use of anti-bacterial agents is creating super-bugs. We are becoming more dependent on monolithic crops that might not do well as the climate changes. As our infrastructure gets more complicated it gets more susceptible to disruption, and as it ages it gets harder to maintain. Etc....
yes, agree... good points. this is why i mentioned that we're only temporarily dismissing the push-backs. all we're really doing IMO is keeping them at arm's length while they get stronger and stronger, until the times when they break through our conventional defenses with a lethal vengeance- maybe that can be the name of the hollywood film.

i was just reading an article about half a year ago talking about the effectiveness of common anti-bacterial agents and how, for them to be actually effective against any serious bacillum (like e coli), the item / body part would have to be dunked in a bath of the cleaning agent for around 30 minutes or something. instead, the stuff effectively makes weaker bacteria more resistant and makes the body poorer at fighting off microbes... at least according to the article.
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Old 07-27-2009, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by nicolas.b View Post
i was just reading an article about half a year ago talking about the effectiveness of common anti-bacterial agents and how, for them to be actually effective against any serious bacillum (like e coli), the item / body part would have to be dunked in a bath of the cleaning agent for around 30 minutes or something. instead, the stuff effectively makes weaker bacteria more resistant and makes the body poorer at fighting off microbes... at least according to the article.
It's true, most of the bacteria that can make you sick is not killed off by the mild anti-bacterial agents used in hand soap and put into plastics. All that stuff does is kill off the weak ones, leaving the stronger ones to reproduce. But try getting the average person to belive that, let alone people that don't belive in evolution.

Same thing goes for the over use of anti-biotic drugs, people take them too much and then stop early each time, if you don't take them long enough you don't wipe out all the bad bugs leaving the most resistant ones alive, over time what you get are bugs immune to all but the strongest anti-biotics.

Then all this stuff ends up in the sewer system doing the same thing.

It also makes you weaker because if the body isn't using it's defences it stops wasting energy keeping them going, so when a bad bug does come along it's not prepared. I used to be a bit sckeptical about that until I got my horse, I've gotten sick a lot less in the last 8 years since I've been constantly exposed to all kinds of ummm "stuff"...


Edit: Found this on Easter Island, interesting theory:

http://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/news_...ation_collapse

Guess they now estimate 15 thousand for the peak population before the collapse.

Last edited by mrschultz; 07-27-2009 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:28 AM
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By any chance are the molds that produce antibiotics a predator of the bacteria in nature and/or do the source molds take residence in bacterial cultures living on the culture materials as a secondary fermentation?

I noticed that people who work in sanitation, garbage collectors, dump and recycling employees, sewer workers, etc. do not tend to get sick in spite of working up to their eyeballs in rotting garbage and wastes. Is it maybe because the rotting garbage/sewage is full of antibiotics such as from bacterial wastes, alcohols from yeasts and molds, and the antibiotics from molds? There has to be a reason why composting does not create a bacterial crisis as well.
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Old 07-28-2009, 02:38 AM
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By any chance are the molds that produce antibiotics a predator of the bacteria in nature and/or do the source molds take residence in bacterial cultures living on the culture materials as a secondary fermentation?
Other way around I think, the molds produce the antibiotics as a defence against bacteria eating them. Bacteria also produce antibiotics against other bacteria they are competing with for resources. There was a guy here isolating bacteria from dirt samples to find some that produced antibiotics, found one or 2 interesting ones, but antibiotics that are not poisonous to animals are rare.

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I noticed that people who work in sanitation, garbage collectors, dump and recycling employees, sewer workers, etc. do not tend to get sick in spite of working up to their eyeballs in rotting garbage and wastes. Is it maybe because the rotting garbage/sewage is full of antibiotics such as from bacterial wastes, alcohols from yeasts and molds, and the antibiotics from molds? There has to be a reason why composting does not create a bacterial crisis as well.
I think it's what I said above, the constant exposure to high levels of bacteria keeps your immune system running so when exposed to a bad bug your resistance is high.

Composting is different, if done right it actually builds up enough heat internally to kill off the bacteria that are growing and producing the heat. Also the bacteria that digest plants are not usually the kind that will make you sick.

Not all bacteria are bad for you, there are 4 different strains that everyone needs in their large intestine in order to properly finish off digestion and reabsorb water. There are strains in your mouth that keep yeast from taking over.

You know how they stopped salmonella bacteria from getting into eggs? They spray the chicks with neutral bacteria, these take over and push out any salmonella that might grow in the chickens, then the eggs they produce when adults only have the bacteria that don't cause any human sickness on or in them.

It's the idea that all bacteria is bad that drives the crazy trend to make everything anti-bacterial.
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:06 PM
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Time for a roundabout question.
Years ago Gillette manufactured a self-heating shaving cream. The product was named "The Hot One". The active ingredient responsible for the heat was Stearic Acid, and I always assumed the heat was produced by the sudden release of pressurized stearic acid in an effect similar to but thermally opposite the sudden release of pressurized carbon dioxide which turns frosty cold. Now I'm thinking .

I've noticed that a pile of grass clippings will turn very hot if allowed to sit without mixing it with any manure or with anything else. It turns hot either from the loss of system processes, roots, leaves, etc. necessary for the integrity of the plasma, or from the chemical reations of the wet plasma released from the cut grass. Does grass contain stearic acid? Is the heat generated by stearic acid produced from exposure to air? Does photosynthesis play a role in increasing the heat generated by cut grass?

I wonder if there is a connection between animal and vegetable stearins and the bioluminescence produced by fireflies, and if thermal generation can be co-mutually beneficial for the production of solar energy, as in creating a solar battery from grass components or from stearic acid/stearins and bioluminescence, though it may require a catalytic fuel cell approach.

Oh, and mrschultz and to anyone else, if you make any money off of the contents of this particular reply, you will owe me some.
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Old 07-28-2009, 02:48 PM
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Time for a roundabout question.
Years ago Gillette manufactured a self-heating shaving cream. The product was named "The Hot One". The active ingredient responsible for the heat was Stearic Acid, and I always assumed the heat was produced by the sudden release of pressurized stearic acid in an effect similar to but thermally opposite the sudden release of pressurized carbon dioxide which turns frosty cold. Now I'm thinking .
The physics is wrong for it to get warm just from going from high pressure to low pressure (that's always cold). Unless it was supersaturated, if it were forced into solution under pressure and then when you release it the stearic acid crystallized it would release heat. Not sure stearic acid would crystallize though.... Could also be a reaction with the air... Or a reaction with moisture, did the stuff get as hot on a dry face?

Quote:
I've noticed that a pile of grass clippings will turn very hot if allowed to sit without mixing it with any manure or with anything else. It turns hot either from the loss of system processes, roots, leaves, etc. necessary for the integrity of the plasma, or from the chemical reations of the wet plasma released from the cut grass. Does grass contain stearic acid? Is the heat generated by stearic acid produced from exposure to air? Does photosynthesis play a role in increasing the heat generated by cut grass?

I wonder if there is a connection between animal and vegetable stearins and the bioluminescence produced by fireflies, and if thermal generation can be co-mutually beneficial for the production of solar energy, as in creating a solar battery from grass components or from stearic acid/stearins and bioluminescence, though it may require a catalytic fuel cell approach.
Probably a lot of different chemical and biological processes going on in the cut grass. Usually waxy plants are the ones producing stuff like stearic acid, so not sure if grass would have much.

There are plenty of chemical processes that you can drive with light, but I have not heard of anyone coming close to anything like photosynthesis in plants, or anything that could be used to drive a battery.
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Old 07-28-2009, 02:54 PM
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Yeah, the shaving cream got hot without water, so I assume the stearic acid is triggered to produce heat from reaction with air. Stearic acid as the heating agent is verified.

Now, a hard alkali like sodium hydroxide will produce high heat in water, but I ain't putting that stuff on my face!
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Old 07-28-2009, 03:18 PM
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Yeah, the shaving cream got hot without water, so I assume the stearic acid is triggered to produce heat from reaction with air. Stearic acid as the heating agent is verified.

Now, a hard alkali like sodium hydroxide will produce high heat in water, but I ain't putting that stuff on my face!
Other thing carboxylic acids do is form dimers (2 molecules linked to each other), but the longer chain ones like stearic acid don't like to stay attached like that, maybe they found a way to keep stearic acid as a dimer under pressure and when released they go back to monomers releasing heat as the bonds break? They are weak hydrogen bonds so no worries about too much heat being produced when they break.

Yea, when making high concentration NaOH solutions you have to do it in an ice bath, or the water will boil, that's called heat of solution.

Hmmm, wonder if it was a special can that held the stearic acid and foam separate, them mixed them at the tip? Then you could have heat of solution working for the warming... Could probably look up if they had a patent on the can as well as the stuff in it.
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Old 07-28-2009, 04:09 PM
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Not sure if the can had dual compartments.
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Old 07-30-2009, 04:48 AM
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as i'm sitting here with an annoying headache and little impetus to get anything done except assemble beach boys tunes for the upcoming trip to chautauqua institute and my brother's wedding, i'm thinking maybe i can finish off some of my thoughts in this thread. it's been a depressing, unhealthful couple weeks, but i feel like i'm coming out of it now. for one thing, it looks like the agent that was giving me these paranoically-tinged headaches is nothing less than fish oil capsules.

the first time i took these was last fall at the advice of my step-aunt, a doctor and accupuncturist. she had recommended them as an anti-depressive, and having worked myself through many, pharmaceutical and supplemental in nature, i figured i'd give fish oil a try. what i wound up having was a somewhat enlightening, but mostly awful experience while i was transitioning from the fish oil to a new med my regular doctor had prescribed. the head pain got so bad at the time that i thought i was not going to live long, and left a message to that effect online (which i'm sure managed to enlighten no one, heh). even after that i didn't realise in the least that fish oil was the problem, but i do have a much stronger hunch now. i had been trying it again recently for my high genetic cholesterol, but we're quits now since the headaches returned and the connection was revealed.

the other thing that was getting me down lately was this 'grappling with civilisation' crisis, which i'm glad happened but don't want to go through again for awhile! but it was good, you know; it resolved certain questions in my mind and allowed me to construct a more accurate view of reality that can serve me the rest of my life. i know where we're going and i know how we got here and in the end these conclusions reinforce what i already intellectually realised some time back: that life is short and precious, and should be enjoyed to the extent that one can before one's turn is up. which of course puts us in the same boat with every other life form on the planet and quite possibly, everywhere.

anyway, what was it that was left to say?

i had believed for years that man was the 'bad guy', off-track in his pursuits and incredibly cavalier towards animals and nature for quite some time now. then lately i begrudged the fact that the problem is inherant in all life. this knocked my deep reverance for all forms of life down a bit (although the reverance is starting to resurface in different ways). and now i'm back to thinking of man as the bad guy, just not as bad as before.

why? because the difference between us and the other lifeforms on earth is that we have more free intelligence than any of them to throw back at the 'civilisation and extinction' problem and prevent it from getting out of control. notwithstanding the fact that we (mostly) are the ones responsible for the current / impending crash, it was man's responsibility more than anything / anyone else's to prevent it. which is not to say that some of us didn't try and aren't trying- it's just that the forces of selfishness inherant in life were always a bit stronger. it's one of those struggles which seems to be always unequal, which is to say a losing struggle for control and a winning one for entropy.

so what does one do with one's life knowing that one's family line is likely going to go extinct, that barring a series of miracles civilisation will certainly go extinct, that very likely nothing we do or accomplish is going to have relevance to mankind or the future world? that almost everything we think of as permanent is going to crumble, and very little, if anything, of human history or these times, is going to be preserved or remembered? there's all the depressing stuff.

the corresponding positive thoughts seem paltry and nearly worthless by comparison. at least at first. what's going to carry on? life, almost certainly. the planet, absolutely. the potential or achievement of high intelligence by animals? probably, although the timeframes may be knocked back. human life? maybe, possibly, probably... we just don't know. if you look at the 'major planetary disasters', i think most of them model man as surviving. if you look at global climate change, the one we have some of the most detailed and extensive data and modelling for, the potential for human extinction is quite likely in the worst case scenerios. but still, nobody is going to know ahead of time nor their descendants understand very well what actually happened if man does survive.

so... what to do, taking all the above as the working conclusions? i guess that's the last entry to write, or maybe just to carry into action the rest of my life. there is a kind of strange beauty that occurs to me in this whole arrangement, if i can only put my finger on it. anyway, thanks to myself for working out this difficult period in words and by reflection, and thanks for anyone reading / listening!

recently i started adding some text to sketches of mine that i'd uploaded. if there's a carrot at the end of this thread, maybe that's it.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/3809700...7619422490947/
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Old 07-30-2009, 06:42 AM
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At the very least, I can solve all your problems:
Start with "Let Him Run Wild"
then "Wendy"
"Girl Don't Tell Me"
"You're So Good To Me"
"Shut Down" (just to have one car song in there)
"Don't Worry Baby" (technically, another car song, but a slow one)
All of Pet Sounds
"Feel Flows" for a cool, spacey kinda thing
"Heroes and Villians" but make sure it's the superior version from Brian Wilson's Smile album.
Wrap it up with "All Summer Long"... if it's good enough to wrap up American Graffiti, it's good enough to wrap up your disc
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