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Posted: 6/10/2003 10:35:15 AM EDT
It won't happen soon enough. [url=news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/nm/20030609/sc_nm/science_rees_dc]British Scientist Puts Odds for Apocalypse at 50-50[/url] Mon Jun 9,12:12 PM ET By Deena Beasley LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - This is the way the world might end: A genetically engineered pathogen is released, debris from an erupting "supervolcano" blocks the sun or scientists in the biggest "bioerror" of them all accidentally trigger a matter-squeezing "big bang." The demise of civilization has been predicted since it began, but the odds of keeping Planet Earth alive and well are getting worse amid a breakneck pace of scientific advances, according to Martin Rees, Britain's honorary astronomer royal. Rees calculates that the odds of an apocalyptic disaster striking Earth have risen to about 50 percent from 20 percent a hundred years ago. The 60-year-old scientist, author of the recently published "Our Final Hour," says science is advancing in a far more unpredictable and potentially dangerous pattern than ever before. He lists as mankind's biggest threats: nuclear terrorism, deadly engineered viruses, rogue machines and genetic engineering that could alter human character. All of those could result from innocent error or the action of a single malevolent individual. By 2020, an instance of bioterror or bioerror will have killed a million people, Rees contends. "There is a growing gap between doors that are open and doors that should be open," Rees, a professor at Britain's Cambridge University, said in a recent interview. The cosmologist concedes that natural disasters have always loomed -- so-called supervolanoes could explode at any time and asteroids could slam into the planet, causing massive climate changes -- but says the most frightening risks are probably man-made. "A hundred years ago, the nuclear threat wasn't even predicted ... but that threat still hasn't gone away," he said. The arms race, after all, was fueled by science, and the field has a responsibility to inform a wide public of the risks in deciding how to apply scientific breakthroughs, he added. BIOTECHNOLOGY COULD CHANGE HUMAN NATURE "For the first time ever, human nature itself isn't fixed. Biotech drugs and genetic engineering are empowering individuals more than ever before," Rees said. With rapidly advancing DNA technology, "even a single person could cause a disaster," Rees warned, noting that the United States, after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and anthrax scare, is well aware of this threat. Thousands of people have the ability to engineer viruses and bacteria to cause deadly plagues. Even if one such "weirdo" didn't kill many people, that type of biological terrorism would profoundly change daily life, the scientist warned. Nanotechnology -- the subject of a recent Michael Crichton thriller about the havoc caused by runaway microscopic machines -- are also a potent threat, he said. If the field advances far enough, rogue self-replicating nanotechnology machines -- feeding on organic material and spreading like pollen -- could devastate a continent within a few days, Rees said. The dangers of global warming (news - web sites) are also addressed in the book, subtitled "A scientist's warning: How terror, error, and environmental disaster threaten humankind's future in this century -- on Earth and beyond." Rees does not discount the possibility of disaster caused by scientific experiments involving particle accelerators. "Perhaps a back hole could form, and then suck in everything around it," he cautions. So what's to be done? The British scientist calls for better regulation and inspection of sensitive data and experiments. "We need to keep track of those who have potentially lethal knowledge," Rees said. He also suggested better efforts to "reduce the number of people who feel excluded or otherwise motivated to cause harm."
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 10:38:44 AM EDT
Yesterdays news
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 10:41:05 AM EDT
I think the odds drop to 48-52 if Imbroglio stops posting in the General Discussion forum. [:D]
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 10:45:25 AM EDT
Wow, Brog is quoting a lot of leftist Brits lately. Guess he is a socialist Anglophile now.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 10:48:44 AM EDT
Imbroglio is a wise person and posted may good ideas. He is always a good source of information and ideas. He is so good that I feel he should be given his own forum. That way we can all go THERE for his post.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 11:40:03 AM EDT
What are you guys having for dinner tonight?
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 11:41:23 AM EDT
It has never been a matter of "if" , but rather "when"... I ain't talkin' in any biblical sense or social what-not , it is simply a matter of when the sun decides to burn out or a comet hits us or whatever....life on Earth will cease , that is a fact....in my lifetime , probably not.... t
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 11:47:48 AM EDT
50-50 eh, well holy dogshit, aint that profound! Either it is going to happen or it isint. 2 choices, flip of a coin, 50-50. This Moment brought to you by Dr. Obvious
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 12:10:00 PM EDT
So now we have to kill all the lawyers [b]and[/b] all the scientists?
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 12:18:27 PM EDT
Actually the odds that the planet will face an apocalyptic demise is 100 percent. Everything dies in the Universe. When the Sun starts to run out of fuel it will expand and swallow the earth. This guy is an anti technology luddite. I guess the dinosaurs as well as 95 percent of other past living creatures are extinct because they drove diesel trucks, used underarm deodorants containing CFC's and used too much plastic. They are extinct because of natural causes (i.e. natural selection, and catastrophic cosmic and geologic occurences). For every year that man has walked the earth (we haven't been here very long, in earth time), the dinosaurs were around a thousand times longer. But they failed in the end and died off (if they hadn't died off, man might not have existed). The planet Earth is far more likely to kill us than we are likely to kill the earth. By weight, bacteria (most are in the ground)and other invisible microscopic bugs FAR exceed the weight of all animal life on earth. These pathogens are constantly mutating (for example: flu, aids, plague, lime, sars, ebola etc) into potentially lethal forms. The increased urbanization of human population (the US population is 77 percent urban) increases the probability of widespread transmission. A few of the ways earth and nature kills: earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, bacteria, viruses, lightning, asteroids, radiation, volcanic eruption, floods.......
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 1:01:52 PM EDT
You have to wonder, when is the last time anything came of Britain that was worth a damn? Britain would be Germany if the USA had'nt saved their arses.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 1:18:12 PM EDT
Dragons will awaken and TEOTWAWKI! Didn't you guys see "Reign of Fire"?[pyro][devil]
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 1:34:16 PM EDT
50-50 eh, well holy dogshit, aint that profound! Either it is going to happen or it isint. 2 choices, flip of a coin, 50-50. This Moment brought to you by Dr. Obvious
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Want to play a game? We'll roll a standard die. If it comes up 6, you win and I give you $1,000. If it comes up something else, I win and you give me $1,000. 50/50 right? It's either a six or it's not. Lets Roll!
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 1:57:54 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
50-50 eh, well holy dogshit, aint that profound! Either it is going to happen or it isint. 2 choices, flip of a coin, 50-50. This Moment brought to you by Dr. Obvious
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Want to play a game? We'll roll a standard die. If it comes up 6, you win and I give you $1,000. If it comes up something else, I win and you give me $1,000. 50/50 right? It's either a six or it's not. Lets Roll!
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I'd say the chances of him playing your game are 50/50. Either he will or he won't. Come to think of it, there is a 50/50 chance that there will be a million dollars in my checking account at the end of the day. I suppose I should play the lottery. I have a 50/50 chance of getting the number right or wrong.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 2:14:09 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Torf:
Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
50-50 eh, well holy dogshit, aint that profound! Either it is going to happen or it isint. 2 choices, flip of a coin, 50-50.
View Quote
Want to play a game? We'll roll a standard die. If it comes up 6, you win and I give you $1,000. If it comes up something else, I win and you give me $1,000. 50/50 right? It's either a six or it's not.
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I'd say the chances of him playing your game are 50/50. Either he will or he won't. Come to think of it, there is a 50/50 chance that there will be a million dollars in my checking account at the end of the day. I suppose I should play the lottery. I have a 50/50 chance of getting the number right or wrong.
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Logic routines miscoded, probability engine failing, odds of imminent shutdown are 50/50!!!!
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