Our Final Century by Sir Martin Rees

11 11 2008

“Our Final Century” by Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal (one of Britain’s most honoured scientists)

“Technology is indistinguishable from magic” Arthur C. Clark.

“An isolated voice of reason adrift on an ocean of academic inertia.” Meegan

“Battlefield nukes under the control of lieutenant-colonels”

“Put nuclear power station targets underground. Unless the capability to design new viruses is matched by corresponding skills in designing and manufacturing vaccines targeted against them, we could find ourselves as vulnerable as the native Americans who succumbed to diseases brought by European settlers, to which they had no immunity.”

Heavens Gate cult – “actually castrated themselves.” http://www.wave.net/upg/gat/heavensgate.html.

The issue of nana robots replicating and turning all earth into to grey goo, could be 100 seconds, only.

James Watt Sec. of Interior USA fundamentalist believed in world soon ending and the rapture with – “when Christ swoops back to Earth and transports believers up to heaven.” The Left Behind books topped the US Best sellers.

“A culture where whistle blowing is rewarded.”

“Fewer than 10% of all the species that ever swam, crawled or flew are still on Earth today.”

“Before homo-sapiens came on the scene, about one species in a million became extinct; the rate now is closer to one species in a thousand.” As Robert May says, “We are burning the books before we we’ve learnt to read them.” Gregory Benford is about an urgent effort to get samples of the complete rain forest fauna as an “Insurance Policy.”

“During the Cuban Crisis: “A Russian submarine was targeted by depth charges from a US warship. This submarine carried a nuclear-armed torpedo, which could have been launched with the concurrence of three officers. Vasily Arkhipov, held out against the pressure to launch the torpedo …”  

“We seem to have been exposed to a higher risk than most people realised … than would have knowingly accepted.”

“Fifty million years ago, in the early Eocene geological era, there was still three times the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as today.” The temp was ‘15 degrees higher. Mangrove swamps and tropical forests in Southern England. 

The conveyer stopping could turn Ireland into Spitsbergen, Scandinavian forests into tundra and freeze the Baltic year round. 4 or 5 degree warmer could mitigate this!!???

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