People Who Still Have Blogs:

  • Me


August, 2018
July, 2018
December, 2017
September, 2017
August, 2017
May, 2017
March, 2017
December, 2016
November, 2016
August, 2016
July, 2016
April, 2016
January, 2016
December, 2015
November, 2015
October, 2015
June, 2015
May, 2015
April, 2015
February, 2015
January, 2015
December, 2014
September, 2014
August, 2014
July, 2014
June, 2014
May, 2014
April, 2014
March, 2014
February, 2014
January, 2014
December, 2013
November, 2013
October, 2013
September, 2013
August, 2013
July, 2013
June, 2013
May, 2013
November, 2012
October, 2012
September, 2012
August, 2012
July, 2012
June, 2012
March, 2012
February, 2012
January, 2012
December, 2011
November, 2011
September, 2011
August, 2011
July, 2011
June, 2011
May, 2011
April, 2011
March, 2011
February, 2011
January, 2011
December, 2010
November, 2010
October, 2010
September, 2010
August, 2010
June, 2010
May, 2010
March, 2010
February, 2010
January, 2010
November, 2009
October, 2009
September, 2009
August, 2009
July, 2009
June, 2009
May, 2009
April, 2009
March, 2009
February, 2009
January, 2009
December, 2008
November, 2008
October, 2008
September, 2008
August, 2008
July, 2008
June, 2008
May, 2008
April, 2008
March, 2008
February, 2008
January, 2008
December, 2007
November, 2007
October, 2007
September, 2007
August, 2007
July, 2007
June, 2007
May, 2007
April, 2007
March, 2007
February, 2007
January, 2007
November, 2006
October, 2006
September, 2006
August, 2006
July, 2006
June, 2006
May, 2006
April, 2006
March, 2006
February, 2006
January, 2006
November, 2005
October, 2005
September, 2005
August, 2005
July, 2005
June, 2005
March, 2005
January, 2005
December, 2004
November, 2004
August, 2004
July, 2004
June, 2004
May, 2004
April, 2004
March, 2004
February, 2004
January, 2004
December, 2003
November, 2003
October, 2003
September, 2003
August, 2003
July, 2003
May, 2003
April, 2003
March, 2003
February, 2003
January, 2003
December, 2002

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional
Valid CSS

The Penultimate Generation

This is a depressing post, but I just wanna get it out of my head.

I recently watched a Nova episode on Ocean Acidification and it was a sobering moment

The TL;DR of it, is that extra CO2 is causing the oceans to become slightly acidic, which people were hoping was a *good* thing "Yay, the ocean is slowing down global warming!"

The problem, with the oceans, getting say, 1% more acidic, is a chemical one.

Most reefs and crustaceans form their shells out of Calcium Carbonate. Calcium is plentiful, the Carbonate, on the other hand, is not. The reason Carbonate is rare, is that it bonds with hydrogen atoms associated with acid. As a mathmatical example: if the ocean was 1.5% carbonate by volume, and you add 1% acid, you end up with 0.5% carbonate, a third of the amount that there used to be.

Animal species are remarkably adaptable, but they cannot "survival of the fittest" their way into replacing the entire chemistry of their exoskeletons. Similarly, the things that eat those things can't easily replace those calories or habitats.

Al Gore has been making dire predictions about the world for about 15 years now, and most reasonable people have come to believe them.

The problem with those predictions, are that the timelines involved and the resulting disasters lack a truly apocalyptic feel. "we can expect the oceans to rise between 2.5 and 6.5 feet (0.8 and 2 meters) by 2100". Nobody listens to stuff that will happen in 2100. It is just too far off, and the difference between 2.5 and 6 is too fiddly. 2.5 will be bad, but not world ending.

Also, as a guy with a lot of faith in science and the creativity of man, vanilla Global Warming seemed to have some side-channel solutions. Deploying a solar shield to cool the Earth would be risky and dicey hail mary, but seems more likely than everyone on Earth abandoning a cheap, portable form of liquid work.

But the acidification of the oceans and what seems like the inevitable annihilation of an entire aquatic phylum from the food chain? That shit isn't fixable by anybody. Motherfucking Superman can't stop that. Ten Justice Leagues couldn't solve it. An entire nation of X-men couldn't do anything.

I have a very clear memory when I was about 10, wandering out of my room late at night to complain about my inability to sleep. Nightline was on, and I watched them talk about a research mission to Antarctica to study the ozone layer and the damage humans were doing to it. They included some pretty depressing statistics about the future of skin cancer in the world I was to inherit. I started crying immediately.

I mention this, because we came together and solved that problem with The Montreal Protocol, mainly because, there were some affordable alternatives.

I am no longer ten. I am now old enough to understand that the use of Fossil Fuels is an entrenched economic issue. Even if half the industrialized countries stopped using Fossil Fuels, that would just make oil and coal twice as cheap for the countries who didn't stop using it.

It is a trope that parents nag their children about when they are going to have grandchildren.

I am very seriously considering having a talk with my children about maybe not having any grandchildren. About how they will probably be fine, but the odds of their children having to end up living in an declining Earth suffering through the changes wrought by large scale fauna dieoff are becoming unacceptably likely.