We're All Going to Die, New York Magazine Edition

Comments

1
Thanks for the help w the Monday blues jerk
2
All of the above.
3
As I pointed out in a previous comment thread, this is all the motivation we should need to try to get at least a few of us off this rock on a permanent basis.
4
Nothing new really. The planet will continue, most likely until the sun burns out. The loss of humanity isn't and shouldn't be a major concern. Mass extinction has happened before, it will again. Until then, it will be fascinating for whoever is still around to watch. Scientists in particular.
5
"i'll be dead before this is a big problem, so whatevs"
- elderly GOP voters
6
I might have some optimism if religious leaders started telling believers to quit breeding so damn much, or if governments actually took population growth seriously. Not holding my breath.
7
The situation has very clearly been this dire for almost my entire life, which has had a serious impact on my worldview (resignedly stoic nihilism). That said, I keep banging my head against the wall trying to convince people to make the changes necessary becasue I don't really see any other productive option. It's less optimism that we can solve the problem and more that our choices are either to try or to kill ourselves (sooner or later).

@3: I'm continually amazed that people think we can survive long-term in a climate to which we didn't evolve adaptations over millions of years when we can't do so in one to which we are very well adapted. Maybe you can get a perfect set of colonists initially who are all completely on board with the lifestyle necessary to live on another planet, but there's no reason to believe that all the worst tendencies of human beings won't assert themselves in the next generation or even later on in the first generation and kill the entire colony. If we can't get our act together on Earth, there is effectively a zero chance that we can do so anywhere else, at least not in the long term.
8
Good, I wasn't looking forward to the day our Sun explodes.
9
Ignorance is bliss - drives libs crazy.
10
@6: religious leaders where? Africa? India? the Muslim world?

if we just hadn't cured all those childhood diseases in the 3rd world we wouldn't be in this situation...
11
@5,
"The Bible prophesied this as the apocalypse. I'll be raptured while all you heathens burn in hell, so whatevs."
-other elderly GOP voters
12
While we're reading about climate change:

Estimating economic damage from climate change in the United States

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/35…
13
"The mass extinction we are now living through has only just begun; so much more dying is coming."

How can this not be good news? The next civilization that rises on this planet might have a better chance.
14
@7:

Well, of course we would have to select for certain specific traits, among them being social compatibility and the ability to live for long periods of time in enclosed spaces. But, that's what evolution is all about - adapting to existing climatic and environmental conditions. Absolutely it's going to be something we have to jump-start, because, frankly, we don't have tens or hundreds of thousands of years to let selection do its thing at a slower pace. Doesn't mean it's an insurmountable problem, but it is definitely one we're going to have to look at very closely when going through the process of finding people to live off-world, particularly in the formative stages.
15
@7 addendum:

BTW, this question is one of the major focuses of study occurring right now on-board ISS: how do humans respond to long periods of confinement in very small spaces?; how do they adapt?; how does living for prolonged periods in such conditions affect us physically, emotionally, mentally, and psychologically? All of this information will be extremely useful when we get to the point of establishing even longer-term habitations off-world.
16
There isn't another habitable planet. period. end of story.
We are more likely to have a larger number of people surviving (in a few miserable holdouts for a few generations) on this planet than we could ever hope to move to another if one even existed.
BTW, you won't be one of the people surviving in either scenario, sorry.
17
@ 16 - "There isn't another habitable planet. period. end of story. "

How do you know? Been talking to god lately?
18
Oh my god no we are not going to move to another planet. There is more to life than just food and water; we are members of an elaborate ecosystem that we have spent millions upon millions of years adapting to. Our bodies are ecosystems unto themselves, host to millions of species of microbes populated from our environment that perform functions our bodies cannot. There is a zero-percent chance that we are anywhere near recapitulating that on another fucking planet. Centuries in the future, perhaps, but this planet will be toast by then.
19
@13 - Sure, in a million years or more. Although three of the previous four mass extinctions didn't result in any "civilizations". So no guarantee this one will. Although, humans are tenacious, and currently plentiful, so small clutches of humans might eke out an existence until the climate re-stabilizes.

But if it does, the question that remains is: How do we communicate with them? Warn them? "Children, don't do as we did..."

Some have already tried: Read about the Georgia Guidestones for a bit of dark hope.
20
@7 "If we can't get our act together on Earth, there is effectively a zero chance that we can do so anywhere else, at least not in the long term."

Yes, we'd still be human. But most of our current problems are not due to human nature per se, but "legacy" stuff from before we started to wake up as a species. A sentient, tool using civilization is like a child raised without parents, Lord of the Flies. We're still at that stage.

But if a small group of us can get to be spacefaring, the ones who go out into space will likely take the better bits of their home cultures: less racism (not none, but less), more education, the best in medical knowledge and maximizing human potential. So it's worth a try!
21
I'm pretty optimistic about the potential for humanity to solve these problems and have everyone, not just the 1% live a comfy, modern lifestyle.

The internet can bring down the cost of education to near zero. Solar + batteries can bring cheap renewable energy (and wind, tidal, fusion maybe too). Robots and AI can bring labor costs down to zero. If we redistribute wealth towards a universal income, plenty of resources to the masses and plenty of time for the everyone to fulfill their potential and make the world a better place.

Of course, this requires global cooperation and heavy investment in new tech from governments plus, you know, TAXES and REGULATION.

Trump & co. are taking us on the exact opposite path. So, optimistic about the POTENTIAL for a happy future.

Not so optimistic about the actual odds.
22
@17, Even if there was another habitable planet how the fuck are we getting there? Let's say the nearest solar system to us has a planet (not that it's at all likely, but best case scenario). That's 4.2 light years away. Traveling at space shuttle speed of 18,000mph we'd be there in about 157,000 YEARS. What if we could magically step on the gas the whole way and go a hundred times faster? Still going to take 1,570 years. This isn't Star Trek. We can't just push a button and go faster than light.
23
@14, 15, Does this migration into space include tigers, tuna, wallabies, pine trees, mushrooms etc? If not, why not? It seems very unfair to subject them to a catastrophe that they had no part in, like setting fire to someone's house and then running away to safety. The earth is a whole system, there's no way you can take out a small part (i.e. humans) and expect it to thrive on its own. Feeling like we're apart from the environment is half the reason we're in this mess.
24
@ 22 - I'm not talking about feasability. I know enough about the universe to understand the near impossibility of getting us to another planet, thank you. (That said, I still think the most likely development for this century is that an orbiting station will be built by the rich to spare themselves the inconvenience of living in the hell they'll have created on Earth.)

Your original statement simply denied the existence of any habitable planet. It was an absolute statement. Since we don't know that much about the rest of the universe (in terms of the habitability of planets), and since only delusional religious fanatics claim to hold such knowledge, I merely asked you to justify that statement... which you haven't done.
25
Y'all should look up the Alcubierre warp drive concept. Speculative still, but who knows, maybe we can build one inside 100 years. 100 years ago people were getting around on horses and bicycles, now we have a space station and have passed the Heliosheath with Voyager. And fusion is just 30 years away.. ;>)

@23 - Wait.. you want to build an Ark? In space? For, like, 2 of every animal and plant (and fungi and protista and monera) ?? Where have I heard that before?

Hold on a minute, if the... seas are rising... and.. civilization is gonna be wiped out and have to 'start again'... maybe the story of Noah wasn't history but a prediction!
Whoa.
26
@24, A habitable planet existing a trillion light years away may as well not exist at all for all the good it could possibly do us. The point I'm trying to make here is that the idea of another habitable planet is a dangerous distraction that allows us to go on with business as usual and hope for a way out that just doesn't exist. Picking on my absolutism of the statement is like arguing over an apostrophe while the house burns down around us.
Your "most likely...orbiting space station" is another load of crap. Not only would it be a huge waste of resources that could be better spent improving our actual world, but how is it going to stay up long term? Orbits decay and eventually all those rich people will come burning back into the atmosphere if they haven't already died of starvation or asphyxiated. There is no off planet escape. We're all in this together and we will all burn together if we don't do something about it.
27
WALL-E