Save the earth – NOT

December 29, 2010 at 2:03 am • Posted in ALL POSTS172 Comments

It seems like a lot of people have the notion that man can “Save the Earth”. Industries advertise products, which are touted as being able to help save the earth. Environmental groups claim that they are doing things to save the earth. Even politicians claim they support saving the earth. The truth is that earth and every other planet in the universe will eventually cease to be able to support any form of life and many will cease to even exist.
It is not possible to save the earth or the life that is on it. The earth will eventually become just another cold lifeless rock in the universe because the sun will quietly run out of fuel, OR it will be incinerated if the sun turns into a red giant, OR it will be blown to bits if the sun self destructs in a supernova. Those are the three ways stars in the universe, like our sun, end their existence. There also is a possibility that earth will be struck by an object from space and be destroyed or all life forms on earth would be destroyed if earth were to be struck with a gamma burst or other intense forms of radiation from space.
There are those who believe that space travel is possible and man can find habitable planets somewhere else in the universe. Some dream of planet hopping to preserve our species. Others hope our race will be rescued from earth by a benevolent extra-terrestrial race of aliens from another galaxy. Some believe that space travel might be shortened by using “worm holes” in space for short cuts through the universe. All of these options are so implausible, they probably shouldn’t even be given consideration.
Consider first the option of a benevolent race of aliens rescuing us. Most human explorers, historically, have doing so for riches, fame, and many times to enslave other beings. There is no reason to believe that alien explorers (if they existed) would treat humans better than other human explorers have in the not distant past.
What is the probability that a planet could be found with a comparable gravitational field, an atmosphere with the right components at the right composition and atmospheric pressure, a sun which is at the right distance to provide similar amounts of heat and light as we have on earth so that temperature ranges would be comparable, and no life forms which might jeopardize the chance of human survival, and be at a distance from the earth which is feasible to transverse successfully?
Currently a space probe that was launched 30 years ago has finally flown past Pluto and left the perimeter of our galaxy. The highest velocity which mankind has accelerated these space probes to since we started exploring beyond the boundaries of our planet is about 50,000 miles per hour. Recently astronomers discovered a planet that might be hospitable just 11 light years away from earth. At that speed, it would only take 148,000 years for us to get there.
If we could attain a speed of one-tenth the speed of light, it would take 110 years to get there and a particle the diameter of a pea would destroy any space craft traveling at that speed. Since space isn’t a true vacuum, travel at that speed would probably burn any space ship to a crisp within seconds of attaining that speed. Also remember it takes approximately 2,000,000 pounds of fuel to launch the shuttle into orbit and it can only carry provisions for at most a few months.
Since worm holes are mostly a wishful theory, it looks as if mankind is doomed to stay on earth unless God really exists and we better hope he does and he has mercy on us because of our less than appropriate behavior, because that’s the only way man will get off of this rock.

Flawed environmentalism

December 13, 2010 at 4:50 pm • Posted in ALL POSTS565 Comments

Many people are doing what they think is best to protect the environment, but some of the things they are doing actually are making things worse. For example, I hear about the “Forest and Fish” law. They now have logging set-backs from streams which in theory sounds good. They are requiring larger culverts to be placed under roads to protect the fish. They require thinning rather the practice of having clear-cuts. Each of these changes cause problems.
The Black River is a good example of bad stream management. Deciduous plants and trees (like alders and cottonwoods) should not be allowed within 100 feet of a stream. They drop leaves in the stream and this rotting vegetation reduces dissolved oxygen levels. The Black River is black partly because of all the tannins, lignins, and other by-products of rotting vegetation that falls into the river. Ideally, all deciduous trees and plants within 100 feet of the river should be removed. Conifers, especially cedars, and low growing plants like clover and sword ferns should be interspersed in that zone. This would not only prevent erosion, but it should eventually shade the river and all but eliminate the rotting vegetation problem.
The mandate to have larger culverts is not really necessary and poses a health risk for fish. Most of the culverts that are put in are galvanized steel. Over time, the galvanizing material (zinc, usually with about 1% cadmium) will leach out into the water posing a real threat to fish. A rainwater sample I personally collected from runoff from a galvanized roof was measured at 5 parts per million which is well above the level that is dangerous to fish. (Note: A law was recently passed to outlaw lead wheel weights and replace them with galvanized steel wheel weights, another really bad idea.)
Selective thinning was also a flawed idea. When strong winds blow through a stand of trees, which have been thinned, most of them blow over. In areas where the timber is clear-cut, adjacent stands of trees may lose a few trees along the wind-ward boundary, but in general the losses are very small by comparison.
Why would anyone ever trust our government officials to do the smart thing? In the past they required families and businesses to hook up to community water systems and use surface water from streams, lakes, and reservoirs, which are often loaded with giardia, cryptosporidium, and tapeworms, feces, and urine from wildlife, and also other not so cool pollutants which can flow into these waters. They also required everyone to hook up to sewers so that we could collectively pollute rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and bays. They demanded that they be allowed to collect all of our garbage so that they could bury it in the ground and pollute our underground aquifers (Until you have smelled dump leachate, you have not experienced true pollution).
Think about the water of the Mississippi drainage and what pollutants might be found in it by the time it reaches New Orleans. The water ought to be quite chewy after having thousands of communities and industries discharge their wastewater into a drainage system serves nearly half of our nation.