Thursday, December 28, 2006

Didn't see that one coming

Some people spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about global warming, their personal impact on the planet and advocating “green” activities. I use the scare quotes because little evidence points to “green” companies or policies being any more or less detrimental to the planet---example: Coffee shop uses recycled cups in a “green” effort to limit their impact on the environment, but you know what would really limit it? NO COFFEE SHOP! We now have recycled cups in landfills instead of not recycled cups in landfills, but if we were really concerned about the environment we would be putting ZERO cups in landfills. Instead we pay a slight premium to buy the guilt-free recycled cups and delude ourselves into thinking that we are doing something good for the environment, by filling it with recycled paper instead of first use paper.

So it goes with fossil fuel consumption, I would suggest that worrying about your personal carbon footprint is similar to an ant standing on top of his ant hill--- farting---and then worrying aloud that his emission of dangerous gas will destroy the ozone. But, if that’s your bag—who am I to judge, everyone has their own altar to worship at—and we all want something to believe in, even if it is nothing to believe in.

99 times out of 100 we are worried about the wrong things and sometimes with spectacularly terrible consequences--like standing on the beach in Thailand worrying about a sunburn immediately prior to the tsunami that killed 200k+ people. As Smays pointed out, "you never hear the bullet that gets you."

NASA thinks that a Gamma Ray Burst from a distant star may have caused the extinction events paleontologists have discovered and had no ability to explain. What? You’ve never heard of a Gamma Ray Burst? Well, the US military discovered them on accident in the 60’s and until recently kept them hush hush. There is no warning, the rays travel at the speed of light and they are inescapable, and although unlikely, if one were to happen in our own galaxy and be pointed at us, there is not anything we could do to avoid total annihilation; the planet would be “cooked” by the gamma rays of the exploding star. How powerful a blast? It’s the equivalent energy of a Hiroshima type blast every second for the next 13 years occurring in the span of less than 10 seconds.

If you will sleep better thinking that your hybrid SUV will save the planet because it burns fossil fuels at a slightly more efficient rate than the regular SUV, go ahead. But be prepared to look silly when the entire planet is semi-vaporized by an unseen and unpredictable cosmic force capable of boiling the oceans and melting the earth’s crust.


Post a Comment

<< Home