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Harari predicts the end of humanity because of artificial human beings. I predict the end of mankind due to many causes but at bottom it is just money. Besides feality, it is the only thing of importance to King Trump.

Harari says that the worst thing that happened to humanity was agriculture. I think he is right. There were three consequences: there was enough food for a rapidly growing population; there was less variety so nutrition suffered; life became boring since we were either farmers tilling fields or workers in factories. To get some sense of life in hunter-gatherer tribes I suggest the book The Old Way by Elizabeth Thomas.

It is worse now with 50 years of the Supreme Court rulings for the wealthy. For the poor life is nearly slave labor while the wealthy build a new kind of hunter gatherer: money centered groups whose joy is shareholder value. The net worth of the bottom third of the U.S. population is negative. When I was running a tiny printing company with angel investors I was told about shareholder value as if it were the eleventh commandment. There was no other concern.

So where do we go from here?

We look but do not see

We listen but do not hear.

We are taught a sliver of life, be it Harvard or a state college.

It is one minute to midnight for the earth. 10.8 billion years ago space and time came into existance. Six billion years ago, work began on the planet earth. Two million years ago evolution brought us homo sapiens, human beings much like us. These sapiens had eyes and ears and a very large brain compared to other primates and others of the genus homo.

I visit my otolarangoloist (ear surgeon) regularly for a checkup. I went recently and saw an illustration something like that below, a tiny part of one of the most stunning examples of engineering in the universe. Others include our eyes, brain and the earth. How and why these happened is the greatest mystery of all time and one which few contemplate.(I explore these in more depth in separate sections. Check the table of contents.)

The earth is our birthing hospital and our home. We are on an almost inevitable course to make it useless as a place to live. Our leaders are failing us. If we stop all emissions the temperature will continue to rise due to past emissions.

The seas will rise, the ice will melt and the temperature will make living impossible or nearly so. And we will no longer be able to hear music. It is another kind of listening, although only a few of us are lucky enough to listen and hear. If you click HERE you will experience one of many examples of what the earth and our ears, eyes and brains have made possible. It is just seven minutes. The first comment written under this U-Tube moment is “Next time someone asks me about my opinion on the meaning of life, I'll just forward them this video of (Krystian) Zimerman playing Chopin.”

Which brings me to the core of what I think has happened to humanity. In a hunter-gatherer society Chopin was not there, but I suspect the goal of staying alive as a small group made up for everything else and particularly it did not provide for ravaging the earth. Now that we have Chopin and millions of other kinds of real joy most of us fail to experience it. Real joy is something that we feel deeply and the engages our whole brains. We have replaced joy by guns and money. We take pleasure in pulling triggers and die without ever knowing real joy.

But that is not the end of the story. We have now come to a political concrete dam. The narrowness of our education is without doubt a critical factor, but we have now settled into our side of the concrete barrier and it has become inpenetrable. We listen but do not hear. We look and we do not see. We think we are thinking but it is mouse-level thinking.

I have wandered off into subjects that seem unrelated, except they are not. Their purpose is to make us aware of who we are or are capable of being. In the United States there are many sorrowful examples. The Supreme Court approved sending a man to jail for 30 years for stealing $150 worth of video tapes. Three strikes and you are out. It approved money as a form of free speech. Ideology such as small government and low taxes have bull-dozed money from the poor to the rich. And the rich want more so they burn more oil to get more money.

There is something fundamentally wrong with humanity. Why I do not know, but some combination of life history, nuturing, genetics and likely something still mysterous make us decide whether reciprocity is something important.

What has not happened to us

We are farmers who raise one crop

My sense of humanity is simple. To make money we specialize. Engineers engineer. Scientists do science. Teachers teach a narrow speciality.

I just read in the New Yorker about learning of democracy at Harvard. For each class another famous professor would speak about the superiority of the American style of democracy.

From my perspective that democracy has a few short comings. It is a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. The lower third of the population has a negative net worth. The Walmart family is worth 64 billion dollars ande we pay each store one million dollars per year in food stamps.

There is a concept in social psychology called reciprocity. In religion it is commonly called the golden rule. Quoting from the Wikipaedia article: “Fukuyama states that ‘If the institutions of democracy and capitalism are to work properly, they must coexist within certain premodern cultural habits that ensure their proper functioning.’ He goes on to say ‘Law, contract, and economic rationality and prosperity…. must as well be leavened with reciprocity, moral obligation, duty toward community, and trust…. The latter are not anachronisms in a modern society but rather the sine qua non of the latter’s success.” The idea dates as far back as the time of Hammurabi (c. 1792–1750 BC). Hammurabi's code, a collection of 282 laws and standards. What does this mean for education: we teach to narrowly. It is evident in the current presidential debates. There is no discussion of what life should be, but only of policies or the short-comings of opponents. If we do not have joy as the goal of life, and the sense that it is our responsibility to the family of humanity to see that it happens while preserving the earth, we are finished.

The Insurmontable Challenge

Join together to clean up the atmosphere.

I do not see a way for this to happen. Religion, political disagreements, policy ruts, lack of knowledge of the arts and sciences, scientists that do not know how to teach non-scientists and non-scientists hopelessly not comprehending what getting 415 ppm back to 270 ppm rapidly will require. World War II will seem easy.

There are details later, but that is the (approximately) three trillion dollar challenge (-zero, + seven trillion). There is no other option except a miracle or blind luck. It is called negative emissions. It makes us face the reality that we will not come close to our Paris goals and thus have our descendants curse us for the hell we have left for them.

What has not happened to us

We are farmers who raise one crop

My sense of humanity is simple. To make money we specialize. Engineers engineer. Scientists do science. Teachers teach a narrow speciality.

I just read in the New Yorker about learning of democracy at Harvard. For each class another famous professor would speak about the superiority of the American style of democracy.

From my perspective that democracy has a few short comings. It is a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. The lower third of the population has a negative net worth. The Walmart family is worth 64 billion dollars ande we pay each store one million dollars per year in food stamps.

There is a concept in social psychology called reciprocity. In religion it is commonly called the golden rule. Quoting from the Wikipaedia article: “Fukuyama states that ‘If the institutions of democracy and capitalism are to work properly, they must coexist within certain premodern cultural habits that ensure their proper functioning.’ He goes on to say ‘Law, contract, and economic rationality and prosperity…. must as well be leavened with reciprocity, moral obligation, duty toward community, and trust…. The latter are not anachronisms in a modern society but rather the sine qua non of the latter’s success.” The idea dates as far back as the time of Hammurabi (c. 1792–1750 BC). Hammurabi's code, a collection of 282 laws and standards. What does this mean for education: we teach to narrowly. It is evident in the current presidential debates. There is no discussion of what life should be, but only of policies or the short-comings of opponents. If we do not have joy as the goal of life, and the sense that it is our responsibility to the family of humanity to see that it happens while preserving the earth, we are finished.

The Insurmontable Challenge

Join together to clean up the atmosphere.

I do not see a way for this to happen. Religion, political disagreements, policy ruts, lack of knowledge of the arts and sciences, scientists that do not know how to teach non-scientists and non-scientists hopelessly not comprehending what getting 415 ppm back to 270 ppm rapidly will require. World War II will seem easy.

There are details later, but that is the (approximately) three trillion dollar challenge (-zero, + seven trillion). There is no other option except a miracle or blind luck. It is called negative emissions. It makes us face the reality that we will not come close to our Paris goals and thus have our descendants curse us for the hell we have left for them.

The egg at the end

A looking back to the beginning

It has always seemed to me that the beginning of space and time must shed light on what follows yet it is so collosal as to be unbelievable and incomprehensible. However, we must try.

The beginning was not known until the mid-1960s with the discovery of the cosmic background radiation, the first clue to the beginning. In the absence of this knowledge we substituted god or just accepted not knowing. In 1964 two scientists at Bell Laborities were preparing a microwave antenna for listening to very week signals from space. After much preparation they found something they were not expecting and could not even imagine: a faint glow of microwave radio signals from all directions and of apparently equal intensity. They did not know at the time that the afterglow, only about 3°K above absolute zero was the first clue to what we know call the big bang, the beginning of the creation, of space and of time.

It wasn’t until 2010 that a satellite, traversing a precise path between the earth and the sun made the first precise map of this radiation. And of the universe. The image below is the anisotrophy of the cosmic background radiation, flucuations of its temperature on the order of 1/100,000 of a K°. Had these fluctations not happended at the time of the creation then there would be no stars or galaxies. The fluctations ultimately let gravity do its working making stars and planets, but not until stars of hydrogen and helium called super-novae created all the heavier elements. The drummer boy had beat out the first few movements and we were on our way to planets, galaxies and solar systems.

Results of a nine year survey of the cosmic background radiation.

The detailed, all-sky picture of the infant universe created from nine years of WMAP data. The image reveals 13.77 billion year old temperature fluctuations (shown as color differences) that correspond to the seeds that grew to become the galaxies. The signal from the our Galaxy was subtracted using the multi-frequency data. This image shows a temperature range of ± 200 microKelvin.Credit: NASA

RISK...

Wait to see if the house burns and the children live.

My training is in engineering, and good engineers don’t sit around and wait for smoke to lead to fire and disaster. We look for trouble before it happens. In critical equipment we anticipate what could go wrong and design so it cannot happen. The guidance systems in Appolo space craft did their job every time. They never failed and went on to uses in other kinds of missions. When extreme conditions as happened when Neil Armstrong found himself trying to find a landing place in a boulder field on the moon, the computer stopped everything else it was doing and dedicated all its power to Armstrong. He landed safely. With 30 seconds of fuel left.

High risk situations require special attitudes and although I should not have to say it, the future of life on earth is a high risk situation. How we handle it is in a few simple steps. We first recognize that an uninhabitabital world is a possible worst case. Then we dig deeply into our souls and find the courage to say this must be made impossible no matter the cost and no matter whether we know it will happen.

Two fairly recent examples come to mind. In 1986 the Challenger space shuttle was ready for launch. The temperatre was far below what the critical “O” rings were rated for. One of the managers asked the engineers “Can you prove to me it will fail?” The answer, which some of the engineers have come to regret was no. We can’t prove it. The rest is history. But the story leading up to the disaster is an object lesson in engineering for the worst case.

The solid state boosters, if made in one piece, were too long for normal modes of transportation. Special vehicles and special routes would be necessary unless they were built in sections. So you have a choice between two sets of difficult problems: moving something very big, or engineering around the problem of the sections. The second option was chosen. The rings always leaked even when the temperature was acceptable, but never enough to cause a problem. Then the temperature dropped for a very public flight with a New Hampshire school teacher aboard. The rest is history. Good engineering is to eliminate the problem once and for all.

Boeing did something worse. They fired engineers who would not change their values from safety to time and money. As I write this (February 24, 2020) it is still not known when the 737 Max will be approved to fly again.

So we return to global warming and politicians complaining that it will hurn the economy if we save the planet. Ponder that for a couple of minutes.

Our educationsl systems have, in the past, taught science and logic as if they were trival games. I never once saw a teacher or even a professor at MIT get worked up over risk. Or of judging whether someone is telling the truth.

I have seen many graduates in the libral arts with PhDs from elite schools think they were educated, never having taken a science course, but with a PhD in renaissance literature, not realizing they were not educated at all. Even the New York Times does not know how to cover climate change. They had no one on staff with a good science background and relagated tales of “catastrophe“ to the bottom of page 13.

At this point, as there is no leadership except for President Trump doing everything he possibly cna to create a calamity. I have become such a pessimist that I have decided that all that is left is prayer and luck.

Scientists and engineerts quail at the propect of making a scene. When there was no response decades ago, where was the big show, the attention getter, the 1000 scientissts making presentation after presentation designed with the help of marketing people (this was the kind of job I had) and raising a ruckus. A guiet speech to congress doesn’t cut it. Where was the watchdog committee that screamed bloody murder whenever anyone spoke from ignorance. When Donald Trump said he didn’t believe in climate change, there should have been an uprising. If you listened to his other comments about science, you would realize he knew nothing but did not know he knew nothing. His ego would not let him admit his limitations.

And the media were worse. Not only did The New York times burry climte news on page 13, a couple of years ago devoted two issues of their Sunday magazines to climate change and said we could have fixed this 10 years ago and implied it was our, the public’s fault. This was unbelievable, worthy of Fox News.

I could (and do) ramble on forever and sit and think that I must be dreaming. With a dodo bird in the White House, a few really wonderful scientists speaking in the wilderness but not an organized World Climate Authority doing its best to teach and embarass. I simply don’t sleep well and spend my days in dread.

How could this be? Scientists trim off the worst case situations in their analysis. Do it once and it is no big deal. Do it always and it will sink us. The real story is always in the summary at the end of an article when someone says something to the effect that if we don’t get our act together, there will be a catastrophe. Well, you know what? There are catatrophes, hundreds of them. They are however, not in most of our back yards, and even if they are we don’know what to do. And why do we not know what to do, because there is no one with enough balls (excuse me, courage) to stand up and be noticed. And unfortunately that person must be the president of the United States. For despite all that has gone wrong, we are still the leaders of the world. And not only are we not leading, we are emotionally and intellectually blind.

How do I know, read on and you will get the idea. Greta recently told the big summit that nothing was happpening. She knows. Exon/Mobil is committed to BURNING THEIR ENTIRE RESERVES.

Could the human race be this looney. Well it is.

Time Magazine has tried to bring us up to date on climate change in the January 16, 2020 issus about SHELL OIL who, it turns out is adapting to a reduced reliance on oil by building gigantic plastics factories for which oil is the raw naterial.

However, the punch line of the story (and virtually every article I read) is burried in the middle.

“Shell’s moves earned some applause among environmentalists, but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.N.’s climate-science body, concluded in 2018 that to keep temperatures from rising to levels that would bring a wide range of catastrophes, countries must half their greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030 and hit net-zero emissions by 2050. That would mean more than incrementally reducing emissions; it means keeping vast reserves of oil already discovered in the ground. It ain’t gonna happen.

And now Trump wants the Applician trail. The devel, it is rumered, has moved out of hell to his winter home, knowing that sooner or later the Trumpet is coming. And the Devil is no match for Donald. The end. Back to photography or risk suicide.

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