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 Contrary Brin

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richard09

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PostSubject: Contrary Brin   Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:41 pm

This is David Brin's blog. The latest entry is interesting.

Where do we stand - verging on 2014?
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NoCoPilot

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PostSubject: Re: Contrary Brin   Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:35 pm

Yeah, iPads and iPhones are wonderful, and the movements to put cellphones and laptops/tablets in the hands of students worldwide is game-changing and will result in a McLuhanesque "global village" by 2025. Crime rates are down, several endemic diseases are close to being exterminated, technology is not only reducing xenophobia but making cross-cultural collaboration cheap & easy (in the process making English a lingua franca). Good things all.

On the flip side... global warming, market bubbles, antibiotic resistant bacteria, increasing economic disparity, diminishing non-renewable resources, permanent pollution of groundwater caused by fracking in the US and coal in China, extinctions, habitat loss, persistance of religion and other irrational beliefs, reversion to the mean in mass-media, availability of weapons of mass destruction, Adam Sandler movies, declining nutrition standards and nutrient values of foods, increasing hormonal infiltration of the food chain, yadda yadda yadda.

It's a decidedly mixed bag.
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_Howard
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PostSubject: Re: Contrary Brin   Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:25 pm

"Interesting"? Maybe. Trite? Absolutely.

The article presents positive changes and trends that pale into insignificance when compared the the negative changes and trends. NoCo illustrates that quite well.

But even NoCo left out a problem which I have pondered and written about since 1969: overpopulation. Consider many of the significant problems which NoCo mentioned, and then think about how those conditions would never have occurred, or would be minimal, if the human population was considerably less than it is now. There are nearly five billion more people on the planet now than there were when I was born (I take responsibility for only one of these). As long as the population is too large for the type of economic, political, and industrial models now embraced, things will continue to turn to shit and the potential for the collapse of civilization and the possible extinction of the human species will continue to grow.
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PostSubject: Re: Contrary Brin   Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:59 pm

The Club of Rome's "The Limits to Growth" and Rachel Carson and others made a huge deal about overpopulation back in the seventies. I used to subscribe to that hysteria.

I don't anymore.

The simple fact is there are enough calories in the food chain to feed the world population quote comfortably. Equitable distribution is the problem.

The advantages of higher populations are more geniuses. More scientists. More problem solvers.

And the other indisputable fact is that among developed and developing nations birthdate has declined substantially. The answer is not to limit births -- as China tried and failed to do -- but to bring more societies into development and let the mothers do the rest.
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_Howard
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PostSubject: Re: Contrary Brin   Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:17 pm

Calling concern about overpopulation "hysteria" is insulting and might indicate the type of bias which typically prevents rational examination of the problem.

Calories are hardly the major problem with overpopulation. Many of the problems you list under "On the flip side" are, in fact, created by overpopulation in an industrial society.
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PostSubject: Re: Contrary Brin   Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:25 pm

So what would you do, mate? Drop an asteroid?
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PostSubject: Re: Contrary Brin   Tue Dec 31, 2013 8:08 am

I've never offered a solution, nor am I sure that there is one. But that does not mean there is not a problem.
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PostSubject: Re: Contrary Brin   Tue Dec 31, 2013 8:48 am

A problem without a solution isn't a problem.... it's a situation.
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PostSubject: Re: Contrary Brin   Tue Dec 31, 2013 9:02 am

And what would you call a problem for which a solution has not yet been found? A sticky wicket?
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PostSubject: Re: Contrary Brin   Tue Dec 31, 2013 9:06 am

"An opportunity to get creative."
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PostSubject: Re: Contrary Brin   Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:18 pm

NoCoPilot wrote:
"An opportunity to get creative."
Sounds like an answer to a test in business school.
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