How evolution seems to have alternated in majestic cycles in developing the oxygen atmosphere is indeed a wonderful thing to discover. I expect that theory of how the banded Iron formations in Proterozoic rocks might have been caused will hold up.
To put it in the larger context, the cycles you speak of from 1.8 to 2.5 billion years ago preceded the history of complex animal life that began with the Cambrian explosion ~550 million years ago. Below is a chart from a full professional study (in Paleobiology) of ocean biodiversity (not bio-mass) that followed.
It shows two main periods, 250 million years of irregularly steady diversity of primitive animal life, a sharp dip and then 250 million years of exploding diversity of modern animal life… which we in our stupidity are putting a great big dent in!
Dirk & O2,
Thanks for that outline of fuel use per person for different modes of transportation. The defect of both that method and mine is the effort needed to estimate what’s being left out. What I think people need is a list of impacts something like the one you provided, but that is easyier, inclusive and comparable.
People just want a direct easy way to compare choices, not spend all their time trying to understand unexplained units of measure and wondering what is left out. For example, using the cost of shipping to calculate fuel use might leave out the subsidies for the transit system that go into it, yes, but that’s fairly easy to factor in. (more…)
Your amazement that we don’t see belief in Gaia as a living thing and a more immediate great ‘religious’ experience to choose may make more sense than you realize. There is a big gulf of separation between people who see the integrity and mystery of whole individual systems and those who still hold the wide belief that nature is ‘lifeless’ and controlled by math, rulers or ‘spirits’.
That is the belief our culture evolved with, though. Believing that individual whole systems of any kind exist actually conflicts with that basic inherited belief in determinism, and really does depart from the endless debates over which ruler is the real one as if debating over angels on the head of a pin. (more…)
To NPR, as we watch it all collapse
It’s high time you started asking that. Lots of people have studied it. Consider it as a recurrent “tripping point”. To look at one piece at a time it helps to “assume away” ALL the “usual suspects”.
Say you assume the earth has infinite resources, people have limitless good will and make no glaring errors of personal responsibility or arithmetic…, etc. Say people are only limited by not having limitless ability to understand and adapt to increasingly complex things. (more…)
The idea in the Bill Mahers video was that the government rescue of the financial system seems to pass the solution back to the people who created the problem, with just upping the ante. The government signs up for even more debt than ever before. Basically, bailing out people with inadequate income by increasing their debt is real “sorcerer’s apprentice” kind of solution, that seems to just multiply the problem.
But, *which* solution is it
that’s multiplying our problems??
Jack & O2,
When I said “The ‘silver lining’ is … how natural systems successfully stabilize within their constraints (rather than overshoot)” I’m talking about how natural systems are sometimes the active player in their relation with the environment (rather than just being pushed around by it).
If animals just used resources as fast as they could until they exhausted then environments ecologies would almost always be unstable. They’re not generally unstable though. What you observe in nature is living things using exponential growth only to get started.
When they stop their growth systems and then begin actively exploring their otherwise passive environments, being resourceful with what they find uncontested while watching out to avoid trouble. They respond to what they find, as an active learning partner in the relationship. (more…)