Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

“If climate change is a hoax, it’s the greatest hoax ever perpetrated, because everything we do to respond will make us more efficient, more productive, more entrepreneurial, more competitive, [and] more respected [in the world].”

— David Friedman, author of The World is Flat, and Hot, Flat and Crowded.


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Robin Hanson on the Overcoming Bias blog links to Scott Aaronson’s review of The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil (which I’ve read, and whom I watched deliver a speech at the first Singularity Summit).

There’s a lot I could say about that review, and I will, but right now I just want to point out one thing that Aaronson writes:

Secondly, there’s nothing bad about overcoming nature through technology.  Humans have been in that business for at least 10,000 years.  Now, it’s true that fanatical devotion to particular technologies—such as the internal combustion engine—might well cause the collapse of human civilization and the permanent degradation of life on Earth.

Aaronson understands something that I was arguing with transhumanists years ago.  The future is not about seeding the oceans with nitrogen or spraying the atmosphere with carbon-fixing nanobots.  Those programs treat the symptoms, not the disease.  The future is about a world without carbon dioxide production to begin with.  It is a world without fossil fuels.

The combustion of reduced hydrocarbons is 1830s technology — it goes all the way back to whale oil, and we all know how good that was for whales.  It’s time to make a fundamental shift in energy, and in that respect, our whole civilization.  Clean, renewable energy is the way of the future, and transhumanists need to understand and promote it.  Transhumanism must be a green philosophy.

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Cquestrate is an “open source” inititiative to develop a system for the production of lime, which can be dumped into the ocean to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide.  The brains behind the project believe that atmospheric carbon dioxide can be reduced to pre-Industrial Revolution levels.  That plan looks feasible in theory.  I just wonder how much lime needs to be produced, and in what reasonable time frame this can be accomplished.

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I don’t understand the point of this advertisement. Is the World Wildlife Fund suggesting that mean sea levels will rise so much that we’ll have to evolve fishoid adaptions to survive?  Whatever message they are trying to convey, the ad is absurdly alarmist and patently false.  With modern technology we obviate most environental selection pressures.  People won’t need to adapt to aquatic living because, even in a worst-case environmental scenario, they’ll engineer artificial islands and other technology to combat the disappearance of land.

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