February 21, 2007

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE HORSESHIT?

Whenever I think about global warming predictions, I can't help but remember Michael Crichton's Analogy of the Horses:

Let's think back to people in 1900 in, say, New York. If they worried about people in 2000, what would they worry about? Probably: Where would people get enough horses? And what would they do about all the horseshit? Horse pollution was bad in 1900, think how much worse it would be a century later, with so many more people riding horses?

But of course, within a few years, nobody rode horses except for sport. And in 2000, France was getting 80% its power from an energy source that was unknown in 1900. Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Japan were getting more than 30% from this source, unknown in 1900. Remember, people in 1900 didn't know what an atom was. They didn't know its structure. They also didn't know what a radio was, or an airport, or a movie, or a television, or a computer, or a cell phone, or a jet, an antibiotic, a rocket, a satellite, an MRI, ICU, IUD, IBM, IRA, ERA, EEG, EPA, IRS, DOD, PCP, HTML, internet, interferon, instant replay, remote sensing, remote control, speed dialing, gene therapy, gene splicing, genes, spot welding, heat-seeking, bipolar, prozac, leotards, lap dancing, email, tape recorder, CDs, airbags, plastic explosive, plastic, robots, cars, liposuction, transduction, superconduction, dish antennas, step aerobics, smoothies, twelve-step, ultrasound, nylon, rayon, teflon, fiber optics, carpal tunnel, laser surgery, laparoscopy, corneal transplant, kidney transplant, AIDS… None of this would have meant anything to a person in the year 1900. They wouldn't know what you are talking about.

Now. You tell me you can predict the world of 2100. Tell me it's even worth thinking about. Our models just carry the present into the future. They're bound to be wrong. Everybody who gives a moment's thought knows it.

I've always thought there was a solution to global warming that we can't even fathom yet. Some energy source that will become so cheap and so available that we won't need oil and won't even remember when we relied on it. We'll scoff at oil the way we scoff at horses.

My husband is waiting for Mr. Fusion. Maybe we're closer than we think?

SCI-FI to SCI-FACT: Plasma Converter

I'd love to think that someday our discussions of oil and landfills will be moot. I have faith in science and capitalism to make that dream a reality.

Posted by: Sarah at 04:22 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 The best "solution" to global warming is to just wait until the natural cooling cycle takes effect again. Remember, global temperatures (not that we have ever had a truly accurate measure) actually COOLED from the 40's through the 70's, sparking fears of a new ice age. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to global warming hysteria...

Posted by: CavalierX at February 22, 2007 02:07 AM (jluz1)

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