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What The Earth Knows



August 06, 2010 – Comments (7)

"Robert B. Laughlin is a professor of physics at Stanford University and a co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Physics. This essay is adapted from his new book on the future of fossil fuels, which will appear next year."



7 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 06, 2010 at 11:23 AM, chk999 (99.96) wrote:

Amazing article! I drove though the Glenwood canyon last weekend and you see layer after layer after layer.

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#2) On August 06, 2010 at 11:44 AM, SkepticalOx (98.91) wrote:

Great great article. Puts things into perspective. A must read for anyone who's interested on this topic.

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#3) On August 06, 2010 at 12:01 PM, TMFCHarris (98.92) wrote:

Based on that except, it seems like his larger point is that we should all re-read Powers of 10, and then admit that human problems like life, death and money, are human scale, and insignificant to the Universe.

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#4) On August 06, 2010 at 12:30 PM, ChrisGraley (28.73) wrote:

Excellent Article

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#5) On August 06, 2010 at 12:35 PM, lorteungen (99.69) wrote:

Human problems may be insignificant to the universe, but they're not insignificant to humans. Nobody as far as I know is worried about the fate of the planet. It will still be here in a thousand years but we may not. Those natural geological changes he talks about happens over long periods of time. His point just emphasizes the problems we face when we release what the earth has spend hundreds of millions of years to store in what is practically a single point in geological time. 

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#6) On August 06, 2010 at 1:08 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Very enjoyable and enlightening read:

The geologic record as we know it thus suggests that climate is a profoundly grander thing than energy. Energy procurement is a matter of engineering and keeping the lights on under circumstances that are likely to get more difficult as time progresses. Climate change, by contrast, is a matter of geologic time, something that the earth routinely does on its own without asking anyone’s permission or explaining itself.

This is something that politicians are not familiar with, i.e. things beyond their control.  They are give the impression, either by conscious denial, ignorance, delusion, or just plain old treachery, that they can indeed control anything they want merely by procaliming it to be so.  This is the way it has always been and the way it always will be.

Slowing man-made extinctions in a meaningful way would require drastically reducing the world’s human population. That is unlikely to happen.

This conclusion has also been reached by many environmentalists.  Sadly, however, they decided that mass human extinction would be an acceptable solution.

David in Qatar

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#7) On August 06, 2010 at 4:46 PM, Teacherman1 (< 20) wrote:

Good post Cato. Very interesting perspective without all the hype. Thanks for posting.

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