Saturday, March 2, 2013

Post Toasties

Orbits of known earth crossing asteroids including mercury, venus, earth and mars

es·cha·tol·o·gy  (sk-tl-j)
1. The branch of theology that is concerned with the end of the world or of humankind.
2. A belief or a doctrine concerning the ultimate or final things, such as death, the destiny of humanity, the Second Coming, or the Last Judgment.

My spousal unit, Leslie, is a voracious reader. She actually leaves me in the dust in terms of number of books consumed. I will often wake up late in the night to see her under the strong light near the dining room table, having to finish one last chapter before she finally submits to sleep.

The other day I picked up an interesting book that she had cast off last week, Bill McGuire's guide to the end of the world, everything you never wanted to know, published by Oxford University Press in 2003. The book reviews the various cosmological hurdles that life has survived and will have to survive as we plunge into the future. Although a bit dated, there is ample brain fodder in this book and you might want to look for it.

Today I read that a scientist is now saying that volcanic eruptions might be offsetting some of the harmful effects of global warming, especially in the developing world.

...Small amounts of sulfur dioxide emissions from Earth's surface eventually rise 12 to 20 miles into the stratospheric aerosol layer of the atmosphere, where chemical reactions create sulfuric acid and water particles that reflect sunlight back to space, cooling the planet.
When I read this I had a temporary vision of the planet as a self regulating GAIA type entity, with the innate ability to fend off the worst of our harmful habits, and hopeful that we will once see a day when intelligent hominids or life forms inhabit the planet.

The Chamber of Commerce released a report last week castigating the EPA for not including more analysis of the economic effects of "regulations."

...The study commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found fault with the modeling system the EPA uses to forecast the effect of regulations, saying the agency regularly fails to factor in all of the economic consequences of new rules.

In some cases, the study concluded, there was no evidence that the agency even attempted to analyze the effect of regulations on employment.
The study reveals a disconnect in a federal government “that pays lip service” to job creation without sufficiently tracking the effects of regulation on the private sector, said Bill Kovacs, the Chamber’s senior vice president for Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs.

“This report establishes that EPA has consistently failed to take into account the real-world impact of regulations on communities and industries,” he said.
My first thought in reading the article was what a frightening place we (would?) live in if the bean counters and engineers were/are truly running things. Seemingly incapable of asking and answering certain questions, many of a moral nature. Nowhere does it make any qualitative analysis or mention of what those "Regulations" might actually be protecting us from, be it poison of a liquid, gas or of a solid nature.

This segues of course into our current philosophical divide. There is no need for regulations because in our post modern world, businesses will of course police themselves. It would be foolhardy and suicidal for them to do anything contrary to the interests of human health and if they did so, the market would soon take of them. This is the Ayn Rand/ Alan Greenspan approach. Of course in the real world, companies go under and leave the public with serious messes on their hands, see Radioactive waste pile seeping into the Colorado River.

We are in a post environmental world now, a post racial world, where all of the mechanisms set up to check centuries of segregation can now be discarded, the only real racism evident at present semingly that which is inflicted on white heterosexual evangelicals. All of the problems of the past have pretty much been dealt with.

We only need to look to Patent Office Commissioner Henry Ellsworth’s 1843 report to Congress. In it he states, "The advancement of the arts, from year to year, taxes our credulity and seems to presage the arrival of that period when human improvement must end." Patent Office Commissioner Charles Duell may or may not have said that he could close the office in 1899 because "everything that could be invented, had already been invented."

Count on man to make the worst and most short sighted decision, every time, no matter the consequences for his or her selves and future progeny, especially when there is money on the table. Count on it.

Elephant eye - © Roni Photography


Hudgins said...

So "bean counters and engineers" is it?

Blue Heron said...