Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Neo-Malthusianism

Sunday Night in Brussels

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* We’re in Brussels tonight, which as I mentioned on Twitter is my kind of town: obsessed with french fries, chocolate, and comic books. We’ve really been enjoying the comics murals walking tours and I’m hoping to snag all 38 by the time we leave. We should have time, because unbeknownst to the person who planned our trip the entire country of Belgium shuts down on Mondays. Somebody really Belgiumed this thing up big time.

* Stay in the same expensive hotels. Don’t live close to the people. Produce lots of stories and make money. Pull up in your rented SUV to a camp of people who lost their homes, still living under the wind and rain. Step out into the mud with your waterproof boots. Fresh notepad in hand. That ragged-looking woman is yelling at you that she needs help, not another foreigner taking her photo. Her 3-year-old boy is standing there, clinging to her leg. Her arms are raised, mouth agape, and you can’t understand her because you don’t speak Haitian Creole. How to write about Haiti, via MetaFilter.

* It’s rare to see Malthusian arithmetic drawn out so explicitly. How many of the world’s poor do we need, really?

* Somebody finally let the New York Times know that the Roberts court is ultraconservative. Via OpenLeft.

* Ph.D. Comics is visiting Comic-Con (1, 2). Part 3 will be posted tomorrow, I think.

* And thirty-forty-five years ago today, Bob Dylan betrayed us all. See also. Via Neil.

Links for Very Early This Wednesday

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* It’s an essential, if underappreciated component of our daily lives, and a key link in the global food chain. And it’s running out. Peak Phosphorous.

* Texas school set to begin work on $60 million stadium. Note: we’re talking about a Texas high school.

* I can’t believe Larry David’s agreed to do another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I’m officially shocked. How will they ever top the Seinfeld reunion?

* Avatar 2 will have a water park theme.

* The secret origins of Dune.

* Among the many little gems in this rise and fall of fantasy television infographic is the fact that Superman has been on television nearly continuously since the medium began.

* Obama has once again supposedly learned his lesson about the GOP: President Obama thinks Republicans will engage in a full battle over his Supreme Court nominee regardless of the person’s ideological leanings, and in some ways “that realization is liberating for the president” to choose whomever he pleases, an administration official told TPMDC. We’ll see.

* And Arizona is now, officially, a dystopian hellscape. Your papers, please…

Left Forum

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Written by gerrycanavan

April 23, 2009 at 12:58 pm

TGITuesday

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Thank God it’s Tuesday.

* Were you watching the time-travel show Journeyman on NBC this year? You’ll never get another episode, but at least you can find out how it all would have ended.

* Bush ‘antagonizing environmentalists’ on his way out of office.

Just months before President Bush leaves office, his administration is antagonizing environmentalists by proposing changes that would allow federal agencies to decide for themselves whether subdivisions, dams, highways and other projects have the potential to harm endangered animals and plants.

The proposal, first reported by The Associated Press, would cut out the advice of government scientists who have been weighing in on such decisions for 35 years. Agencies also could not consider a project’s contribution to global warming in their analysis.

This is nothing we haven’t seen before.

* Honda to debut hydrogen-fuel cell car in 2008. We’re saved! Unless, you know, the debunkers turn out to be right about hydrogen…

* Fraggmented’s John Seavey makes one his storytelling engine posts about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, explaining why the show was never the same (and could never have been the same) after the characters graduated high school.

* A Mac utility that automatically shuts down your Internet connectivity for any length of time you specify. I wouldn’t be attracted to something like this if I had any willpower at all.

* Fred Pearce argues the Neo-Malthusian “population bomb” has been defused. We’re saved!

Why then is the world’s population still rising? Currently at around 6.7 billion, it is 70 million higher every year. The problem is that the delivery wards are being visited by the huge numbers of young women born during the earlier baby boom. They may only have one or two children each. But that is still a lot of babies. Probably nothing will stop humanity reaching 8 billion by about 2040 and many demographers predict that world population will peak at around 9 billion by the end of the 21st century. But once those baby boomers have had their babies, the falling fertility rate will be translated into a real decline in the world’s population — the first since the Black Death of the 14th century.

The question remains, I think, whether 9 billion will be a Malthusian crisis all by itself.

* And it may be time to rethink climate change in the face of the polar bear menace.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 12, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Saved! Not Saved!

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Scientists say they have found a workable way of reducing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere by adding lime to seawater. And they think it has the potential to dramatically reverse CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere, reports Cath O’Driscoll in SCI’s Chemistry & Industry magazine. According to the article, Shell is putting a lot of money into this:

Shell is so impressed with the new approach that it is funding an investigation into its economic feasibility. ‘We think it’s a promising idea,’ says Shell’s Gilles Bertherin, a coordinator on the project. ‘There are potentially huge environmental benefits from addressing climate change — and adding calcium hydroxide to seawater will also mitigate the effects of ocean acidification, so it should have a positive impact on the marine environment.’

‘This process has the potential to reverse the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. It would be possible to reduce CO2 to pre-industrial levels,’ Kruger says.

So, assuming this works—and I can’t imagine that it won’t—we’re saved! Hooray! Except.

Global population growth is looming as a bigger threat to the world’s food production and water supplies than climate change, a leading scientist says.

Speaking at a CSIRO public lecture in Canberra yesterday, UNESCO’s chief of sustainable water resources development, Professor Shahbaz Khan, said overpopulation’s impacts were potentially more economically, socially and environmentally destructive than those of climate change.

“Climate change is one of a number of stresses we’re facing, but it’s overshadowed by global population growth and the amount of water, land and energy needed to grow food to meet the projected increase in population. We are facing a world population crisis.”

(first one via Joe)

Written by gerrycanavan

July 22, 2008 at 2:59 pm