DaisyWorld, A Fable of Planetary Homeostasis

Posted on 22nd July 2008 by Ryan Somma in Ionian Enchantment - Tags:

DaisyWorld Simulation

Screenshot of DaisyWorld Simulation
Credit: GingerBooth.com

Long long ago in a galaxy far far away, there was a cold, gray planet named DaisyWorld orbiting a star much like our Sun. On this planet some aliens scientists sprinkled some seeds that produced only white and black daisies. The aliens were performing an experiment just like James Lovelock’s 1983 thought experiment, which might seem like a really big coincidence, but great minds think alike and there are over a hundred billion galaxies in the Universe and a hundred billion stars just in our own galaxy. So the odds are pretty good that somewhere out there this is a true story.

So could you please just play along for a moment? Thanks.

At first, only the black daisies could survive on this cold planet. Their black coloration allowed them to absorb sunlight as thermal energy, like leather car seats, keeping them warm through the harsh winters, while the white daisies reflected sunlight back into space, absorbing very little of the sun’s heat. DaisyWorld was almost completely covered in black daisies.

The heat absorbed by the black daisies was released to the rest of the planet, which began to heat up very slowly. Over… oh… let’s say a million years, DaisyWorld became warm enough for the white daisies to survive a little bit too.

(It should also be noted that these were special daisies that always reproduced perfectly every time, without mutation, which is why evolution and biodiversity aren’t included in this story to complicate things for us.)

Eventually, DaisyWorld got so warm that the black daisies’ ability to absorb sunlight as heat became deleterious to their survival, and they began to wilt. This left room for the white daisies to thrive, because they could keep cool by reflecting sunlight instead of absorbing it, and soon DaisyWorld was covered in white daisies.

But the white daisies didn’t absorb much sunlight as thermal energy, instead they reflected that light back into space, and in just a few million years, DaisyWorld got cold again.

Again the black daisies thrived, warming the planet, and then the white daisies, cooling it. Back and forth, back and forth, like a swing, DaisyWorld got hot and cold.

But, also like a swing left to swing on its own, each of DaisyWorld’s temperature extremes became less and less severe. Until eventually there was just the right number of black and white daisies to keep the planet at just the right temperature for all of them.

Then all the daisies lived happily ever after—or at least until an asteroid caused a mass extinction or their sun went supernova or the eventual heat death of the Universe.

Even the aliens were happy, because their experiment supported their hypothesis that biological and physical components of a planet form a complex interacting feedback system that maintains conditions in a preferred homeostasis.

The End.

See Also:

Envirowacko Harry Reid Says “Coal Makes Us Sick”

Posted on 3rd July 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags:

Is there anything more amusing than watching dittheads work themselves up into a frothing, impotent rage when confronted with Reality’s liberal bias? Most recently they’ve started rolling around, slobbering all over themselves over this video of Harry Reid pointing out that “Coal makes us sick:”

How dare he say that Oil and Coal makes us sick?!?! the dittohead blogs responded in their predictably uneducated fashion (see here, here, here, here, here, here and here. (Oh yeah, and , here)), calling him names, arguing that the oil industry provides for us like a benevolent loving guardian, and basically ignoring the real question, Do fossil fuels make us sick?

Let’s Review:

Continuous contact with motor oil causes skin cancer. Diesel Truck drivers are 50% more likely to get lung cancer, while auto mechanics are more likely to die from a wide variety of cancer-related diseases. 12,000 Coal Miners died of black lung disease between 1992 and 2002. According to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive, Vehicle exhaust emissions:

…irritate the eyes and respiratory tract, and are a risk to health by breathing in. Petrol or gas (LPG) fuelled engine fumes contain up to 10% carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas. Prolonged exposure to diesel fumes, especially blue or black smoke, could lead to coughing, chestiness and breathlessness, and there is evidence that long term exposure may increase the risk of lung cancer.

Run a car in a closed space, like a garage, and you will asphixiate very quickly. One gallon of motor oil can ruin a million gallons of freshwater if dumped into the public water system “- a year’s supply of water for 50 people.” At the Coast Guard base where I work, a small amount of jet fuel, which is kerosene-based, leaked into the ground at one site, it will take years of phytoremediation to make the field usable again.

In Ecuador cancer rates were found to be 150 percent higher in an oil-drilling area than in other parts of Ecuador. Lukemia rates in those same areas where three times the norm.

Coal Fired power plants shorten nearly 24,000 lives a year, including 2,800 from lung cancer. Fish populations across the globe are increasingly becoming contaminated with mercury, dumped into the environment by these plants. With levels rising, the American Geological Institute has issued fish advisories warning the public about the health risks posed by eating certain fish.

Tar Sands in Alberta, Canada

Tar Sands in Alberta, Canada
Credit: Sierra Club

All of these issues, dittoheads taking a strong stand against any government support of alternative energies, and then there’s this:

The Department of Energy is currently seeking $648 million for “clean coal” projects in its 2009 budget request, “representing the largest budget request for coal RD&D in over 25 years.”

And then there’s that whole Global Warming thing, of which fossil fuels is a major contributor to greenhouse gases, which dittoheads don’t believe despite all of the following organizations and scientific bodies making statements asserting their acceptance of the Theory:

    Brazil’s Academia Brasileira de Ciéncias
    France’s Académie des Sciences
    Italy’s Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei
    Russia’s Academy of Sciences
    United State’s National Academy of Sciences
    Royal Society of Canada
    Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina
    Science Council of Japan
    Academy of Science of South Africa
    Chinese Academy of Sciences
    Indian National Science Academy
    Academia Mexicana de Ciencias
    United Kingdom’s Royal Society
    Malaysia’s Academy of Sciences
    New Zealand’s Academy Council of the Royal Society
    Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
    Australian Academy of Sciences
    Woods Hole Research Center
    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
    United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
    American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
    American Meteorological Society (AMS)
    National Research Council
    Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS)
    Federal Climate Change Science Program
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
    UN Project on Climate Variability and Predictability
    American Geophysical Union
    Geological Society of America
    American Chemical Society
    American Association of State Climatologists
    US Geological Survey (USGS)
    National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
    NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS)
    World Meteorological Organization
    Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospherice Sciences
    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    Australian Meteorological And Oceanographic Society
    Pew Center on Climate Change
    928 peer reviewed scientific journal papers

In ditthead land, you can go skinny-dipping in oil-lakes, put high-octane in the cat’s dish, and user Mercury as a seasoning. : P

Putting Microbes to Work for Us

Posted on 1st July 2008 by Ryan Somma in Ionian Enchantment - Tags:

civilization is a race between education and catastrophe.
– H.G. Welles

It took life on Earth millions years to figure out how to digest cellulose, the hard wall that makes up the cells of plants, efficiently to get at the energy inside it. In fact, complex lifeforms, such as Cows and Termites, have to take the indirect route of enlisting bacteria in their guts to digest the cellulose for them.

In one of the many many many asides he takes in his book A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson talks about plastics being made of hydrocarbons found in oil and natural gas. Although plastics are non-biodegradable, there is a great deal of energy still stored in those hydrocarbons, just waiting for the right lifeform to evolve along and start consuming them.

There is now a continent-sized vortex of the Pacific Ocean swimming with plastic junk. Sea turtles and birds are mistaking plastic bags for jellyfish, ingesting them and dieing. Plastic particles are accumulating in the food chain, appearing, undigested, in the feces of seals and other animals.

Fallen Trees from the Tunguska Event

Plastic Bag Tree
Credit: spike55151

In his book, The Andromeda Strain, Michael Crichton fictionalizes a microbe that mutates to eat rubber. Today, numerous scientists and companies are engineering microbes to eat plastic, or more precisely, microbes with the ability to break down plastics to get at the bounty of hydrocarbons locked up within them.

Companies, like Verde Environmental and WonderChem, produce solutions of microbial cultures that eat oil, slowly. Recently, 16-year-old Daniel Burd, of Waterloo, recently isolated the microbes that eat plastic bags as a Science Fair project, earning him a $10,000 prize and $20,000 scholarship. His discovery may reduce the time it take to degrade plastic bags to just three months. A shovel-full of soil from anywhere on Earth contains millions of the oil-eating Pseudomonas bacteria. It’s just a matter of encouraging these microbes to be fruitful and multiply

The Law of Unintended Consequences comes into play at this point. Algae-like bacteria live in both diesel and biodiesel fuel, clogging up the engines they contaminate. Organisms like these have all ready ruined a large amount of Earth’s underground petroleum, leaving sulfer and methane as byproducts. A quick look at all the modern conveniences requiring plastics that we rely on give us a hint as to the pandora’s box we might be dabbling with here, meaning we might end up needing microbes to clean up the microbes.

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly…

Prescience, Futurism, Hard SF… Go See WALL-E

Posted on 30th June 2008 by Ryan Somma in Mediaphilism - Tags: , ,

WALL-E's Curiosity Gives it Purpose

WALL-E’s Curiosity Gives it Purpose
Credit: Pixar Studios

Great Science Fiction films come out so rarely that I am overjoyed when a movie like Pixar’s WALL-E hits the screens. This is one of those rare SF stories that ventures into the distant future, a place so alien most SF writers don’t want to touch it.

WALL-E leaps more that 700 years into the future to a dystopian time where the human race has evacuated the Earth after burying it in trash. Waste Allocation Load Lifters Earth-Class (WALL-E) robots are left with the task of cleaning up the planet so humans may one day return. Only one such robot remains, WALL-E, with a cockroach as a companion, where all the other bots have long-since broken down.

WALL-E is Solar Powered

WALL-E is Solar Powered
Credit: Pixar Studios

WALL-E has survived these 700 years because it has learned to recycle from the skyscraper-tall mountains of garbage it has assembled. WALL-E is inquisitive, experimenting with the world around it, playing with all the toys left behind from our shopaholic binge on Earth. Its curiosity has obviously also had a crucial role in its survival all these centuries.

WALL-E meets EVE (Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator), a vastly more advanced robot sent from the humans in space, in a “boy meets girl” storyline that makes WALL-E a stowaway back to the human ship, where we find a society of humans all turned into obese blobs floating on mobile beds which perpetually feed them commercialized media and “meals in cup.” Such a dystopian future is not difficult to imagine in our present society, where we are encouraged to buy things we do not need and consume nutritionless calories far in excess of what our bodies can burn.


Credit: Pixar Studios

Can WALL-E and EVE save the human race? See for yourself. I left the theater to find myself confronted with a world of brandnames, and a fascinating new perspective on them and what they are doing to our human evolution. Impacting our worldview is what good science fiction is all about.

I also had lots of fun playing with Disney’s WALL-E Website

John Coleman, Global Warming, and the Price of a Gallon of Gas

Posted on 16th June 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: , ,

John Coleman, weatherman for KUSI in San Diego, has an unintentionally hilarious rant posted, Global Warming and the Price of a Gallon of Gas, where he blames Global Warming Theorists for the high cost of oil and what he seems to think is the impending destruction of civilization because of it. Mind you, it’s not Global Warming that’s going to destroy civilization, it’s people believing it that’s going to doom us all.

Coleman wants us to know that he knows what he’s talking about:

I have dug through thousands of pages of research papers, including the voluminous documents published by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I have worked my way through complicated math and complex theories.

Got that? This Global Warming stuff is complicated, and Coleman’s a total wonk on this topic what with all that reading and math and stuff that he’s done. He summarizes the AGW theorists’ positions quite nicely:

According to Mr. Gore the polar ice caps will collapse and melt and sea levels will rise 20 feet inundating the coastal cities making 100 million of us refugees. Vice President Gore tells us numerous Pacific islands will be totally submerged and uninhabitable. He tells us global warming will disrupt the circulation of the ocean waters, dramatically changing climates, throwing the world food supply into chaos. He tells us global warming will turn hurricanes into super storms, produce droughts, wipe out the polar bears and result in bleaching of coral reefs. He tells us tropical diseases will spread to mid latitudes and heat waves will kill tens of thousands. He preaches to us that we must change our lives and eliminate fossil fuels or face the dire consequences. The future of our civilization is in the balance.

Got that? Al Gore. Al Gore. Al Gore. Al Gore. Al Gore. Al Gore. Al Gore.

This is pretty embarrassing. Coleman claims to have read so much AGW research, but then proves in this paragraph that the only thing he’s read is Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. I didn’t read the book myself, but I’m pretty sure it had a lot of pages in it, and those page numbers can get pretty complicated for some people when we’re talking about numbers as big as 104 power, but this doesn’t excuse the silliness of AGW skeptic’s tactic of claiming Al Gore is the end-all-be-all of AGW theory. I don’t recall Al Gore’s name being on any of the scientific papers. I don’t recall Al Gore owning the NASA Earth observation satellites. And Al Gore’s name definitely wasn’t on the IPCC reports.

So take note, whenever an AWG skeptic says “Al Gore,” what they’re telling you is, “I don’t believe in Global Warming because I can’t be bothered to read primary sources.” Then imagine them drooling on themselves and drawing doodles of bunny rabbits.

Carbon Dioxide “is not a pollutant. It is not smog. It is a naturally occurring invisible gas.” Coleman argues. It’s a byproduct of our respiration; therefore, it doesn’t matter how much of it is in our atmosphere. I would like Coleman to demonstrate his faith in this fact by placing himself in a room filled with nothing but CO2 for 10 minutes. After he expires, we can discuss why his whole “it’s natural” argument is bogus. Remember: arsenic is natural.

Coleman also trots out the “controversy” surrounding the AGW consensus, citing that tired old Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine’s 31,000 signatures of “Scientists” who dispute AGW Theory. Although released on May 2008, this is actually the same list released in 1998, which was heavily debunked then and carries no more legitimacy now.

But what does all this have to do with the price of oil?

The battle against fossil fuels has controlled policy in this country for decades. It was the environmentalist’s prime force in blocking any drilling for oil in this country and the blocking the building of any new refineries, as well. So now the shortage they created has sent gasoline prices soaring.

This is important, because it’s possible that there is as much as 3.5 billion barrels of oil underneath the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve, 3.5 BILLION. That’s almost enough oil to supply America for a whopping half a year!!! And we evil environmentalists are keeping you from it. Why would we do that? Why would anyone want to deny Americans a few more years of driving our SUVs just so we can have healthy forests, clean beaches, and wildlife???

Dittoheads consider Coleman a credible source on this subject because he tried to talk other people into suing Al Gore (but not himself) and he’s the founder of the Weather Channel in 1983. They always emphasize this fact, Founder of the Weather Channel, never mind the fact he got a kicked out of the enterprise, when, as he describes it, “The bad guys took it away from me, but they can’t steal the fact that it was my idea and I started it and ran it for the first year.”

In dittohead land, one skeptical meteorolgist is enough to overturn the G8, Brazil’s Academia Brasileira de Ciéncias, France’s Académie des Sciences, Italy’s Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Russia’s Academy of Sciences, the United State’s National Academy of Sciences, United States of America, the Royal Society of Canada, the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, the Science Council of Japan, the Academy of Science of South Africa, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Indian National Science Academy, the Academia Mexicana de Ciencias, the Royal Society, United Kingdom, Malaysia’s Academy of Sciences, New Zealands, Academy Council of the Royal Society, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Australian Academy of Sciences, the Woods Hole Research Center, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the National Research Council, Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS), the Federal Climate Change Science Program, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the UN Project on Climate Variability and Predictability, the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, American Chemical Society, the American Association of State Climatologists, the US Geological Survey (USGS), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), the World Meteorological Organization, Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospherice Sciences, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Australian Meteorological And Oceanographic Society, the Pew Center on Climate Change, and 928 peer reviewed scientific journal papers.

But in dittohead land, it’s the people who don’t believe John Coleman who are acting on faith.

International Weblogger’s Day 2008: Change

Posted on 14th June 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags:

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. – Charels Darwin

International Weblogger's Day 2008

Homo sapiens experience change throughout our lives, but when it comes to changes on the scale of our civilization or environment, we have the perspective of walking along the Earth’s surface, unaware of its curvature. Because our memories are recreations of events, rather than a recording, we experience landscape amnesia, recalling events from the past in the environment surrounding us today rather than the way it looked then.

They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. – Andy Warhol

Science tracks the long-term changes our short lifetimes cannot comprehend. Although Global Warming occurs at pace of such tiny increments, we cannot perceive the increase in temperature from year to year, science catalogues and documents such change. When the snows of Kilimanjaro vanish, science overcomes our brains’ tendency to forget this feature was ever there.

Snow Coverage on Mt. Kilimanjaro

Snow Coverage on Mt. Kilimanjaro
Credit: NASA

If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less. – U.S. General Eric Shinseki

Our brains have evolved to perceive the world one way. Science equips our minds to perceive it a more accurate way. We must embrace these cognitive advances that have rendered our innate biological state obsolete, lest we become irrelevant along with them.

And evolution’s method for dealing with irrelevance is extinction.

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29-MAR-2008 @ 2000 Local: Earth Hour 2008

Posted on 29th March 2008 by Ryan Somma in science holidays - Tags: ,

Earth at Night

Earth at Night
Image by NASA

Tonight at 8:00 pm is Earth Hour 2008, brainchild of Australia’s World Wildlife Fund. The idea is to turn off all your lights between the hours of 8 and 9 pm your local time. People all over the world are taking part, and even cities are shutting down lights around their landmarks and government buildings. Let’s get ready to do some looting!!!

Ha! Ha! Kidding. Kidding. I’ve signed up to take part as a symbolic gesture. The astronomer in me romanticizes the idea of a massive intentional blackout rolling across our planet’s time zones. Light pollution is a serious problem, but there won’t be enough participation in Elizabeth City to bring the stars back, and the event takes place too early for truly dark skies.

Maybe I’ll spend the hour reading a book by LED light, or is that cheating? How about if I read that book by the light of my cell phone. Technically that’s not a light, but the battery was charged before and after the Earth Hour, so I’m using the same electricity. I own an oil lamp. That’s not an electric light, but isn’t that a much less efficient use of energy?

I wish the WWF was a little bit clearer about this. The spirit of the event is obviously to save electricity, but people like me sit in front of our computers in the dark anyway. If I turn off my computer, then I’m just sitting in the dark, when I could be blogging about LEDs, Solar Panels, Wind Energy, and all the other innovations that will really get us out of this mess.

Sitting in the dark like stone age humans isn’t the best strategy for working our way through Global Warming, innovation is. We need to innovate our way out of this problem, overcome the oil-industry tax breaks and corporate special interests that are preventing us from evolving technologically so they can keep us reliant on their antiquated patents.

I’ll turn off my lights for the hour tonight, but I have a sinking feeling that this plays into skeptics’ arguments that environmentalism wants to deprive us of all our modern innovations, when the reality is that we would prefer technology to evolve onto better things.

More Global Cooling Evidence Embarrasses the IPCC Orthodoxy

Posted on 25th March 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: , ,

A recent article that appeared in The Australian, Climate facts to warm to, has the transcript of an important interview with Dr. Jennifer Marohasy a biologist, free market advocate, and Global Warming skeptic.

When asked “Is the Earth still warming?” Dr. Marohasy replied:

No, actually, there has been cooling, if you take 1998 as your point of reference. If you take 2002 as your point of reference, then temperatures have plateaued. This is certainly not what you’d expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last 10 years.

Surprising right? Why haven’t all those Global Warming Climatologists been talking about this? Especially, as Dr. Marohasy points out, they don’t deny it:

The head of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has actually acknowledged it. He talks about the apparent plateau in temperatures so far this century. So he recognizes that in this century, over the past eight years, temperatures have plateaued…

We can clearly see this plateau here:

Global Cooling Trend

Global Cooling Trend

Global Cooling Trend Close Up

Global Cooling Trend

In case you can’t see it, here’s a zoom in of the last ten years to the right. You can see the obvious cooling trend. Notice the way the red median line looks like it sorta wants to curve just a little bit there? If you use your imagination, you can clearly visualize this red line actually pointing in the opposite direction.

Go ahead. Just imagine that. Imagine this picture upside down. That’s what Dr. Marohasy is talking about. Why are Climatologists at the IPCC ignoring this important fact being imagined in the brains of climate skeptics? Why? Why is the IPCC and MSM refusing to cover this important visualization research?

And what about the NASA Aqua satellite, which has been collecting data since 2002 on Earth’s atmospheric temperatures, water cycles, and sea-ice levels? Dr. Marohasy brings up the satellite’s research several times, but NASA only publishes the data that supports their preconceived notions of global warming, like melting Arctic Ice and global temperatures. There’s a lot of data supporting this cooling trend that Dr. Marohasy has so much faith-based evidence for, and the fact that NASA doesn’t have it on their website, just further proves how real it is. NASA is trying our faith.

And what about the head of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri’s blatant acknowledgement about the recent temperature stall? Here’s some damning highlights from the article:

Last year was among the six warmest years since records began in the 1850s and the British Met Office said last week that 2008 will be the coolest year since 2000, partly because of a La Nina event that cuts water temperatures in the Pacific.

“We are in a minor La Nina period which shows a little cooling in the Pacific Ocean,” Delju told Reuters. “The decade from 1998 to 2007 is the warmest on record and the whole trend is still continuing.”

The record year for world temperatures was 1998, ahead of 2005, according to WMO data. Among recent signs of the effects of warming, Arctic sea ice shrank last year to a record low. (emphasis mine)

2008 will be the coolest year since 2000,” got that? Let me italicize, underline, and follow it with some exclamation marks just in case you missed it: “2008 will be the coolest year since 2000!!!

God Bless the FreeRepublic for notifying their fanatically conservative base of this important development, who then flooded the blogosphere with this news the MSM was so blatantly ignoring, even getting the story on the front page of Digg by fanatically clicking on that “Digg It” button over and over and over again. Thanks to their activism, all those thoughtless sheep who believe the empirical evidence of Global Warming might get a clue.

I also appreciated the way these same activists got an offensive political cartoon posted to Digg under “General Sciences:”

Science is way too liberal in the way it doesn’t push conservative talking points. This cartoon will go a long way towards demonstrating what conservatives can contribute to collegiate scientific discourse.

Also featured on the radio show hosting Dr. Marohasy, was someone arguing that low fat diets cause diabetes and heart disease. I always knew all those servings of fruit and vegetables was just a liberal ploy to effeminate American men.

Copyright Infringement on Ideonexus

Posted on 18th March 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: ,

I think I’ve gotten really good at this since I started running with ideonexus full speed, keeping the daily posts stocked with photos I get from NASA, wikimedia commons, and other legitimate sources, like flickr creative commons photos.

However, I think it’s important to acknowledge that I did violate a photographer’s copyright in my 20071126 Science Etcetera post. In my rush to find a photo of a Mauve Stinger jellyfish, I went with a photo that showed up all over google images and wrongly assumed it was safe to use.

Richard Lord, a professional photographer, took that photo, and very politely e-mailed to let me know my mistake and ask for a link back. I’ve updated the original post to include the copyright info, but I also wanted to post this as a formal apology and to make my readers aware of my error. While I am a copyleft advocate, I do have total respect for copyright laws and the importance of people being able to own and profit from their ideas.

I also wanted to draw attention to Richard Lord’s work. Which is awesome. He directed me to this news story with photos (not his), about high tides swallowing roads and coming up to storefront doors in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Richard himself has some even more amazing and shocking photos online of rising sea levels and storm wall damage from the 10th of March.

As someone who who will soon loose his front yard to global warming, these pictures really speak to me.

Extinction Infringes on my Civil Rights

Posted on 12th March 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: ,

You heard me. When some selfish numbnuts corporation or collusion of businesses and politics or just plain-old short-sighted human beings drive some species to extinction, that infringes on my rights.

Namely, my right to eat that species.

I’ve eaten bear, deer, oysters, ostrich, frogs, turtles, rabbit, pheasant, squid, alligator, octopus, fish, snails, clams, snakes, a variety fish eggs, birds eggs, crustaceans, and numerous other animals I was unaware of found in Chinese groceries or accidentally eaten, like the ants that got into my protein powder that one time and I was too cheap to throw it out.

Passenger Pigeons were Yummy

Passenger Pigeons were Yummy
Image by John James Audubon

But you know what I’ve always wanted to try? Passenger pigeon. Apparently, passenger pigeons tasted really really yummy and there were tons of them flocking about North America, decimating forests wherever they landed, but I’ll never find out how yummy they were. You know why? Because people living here in the early 1900s selfishly killed and ate them all. This was the LARGEST BIRD POPULATION IN NORTH AMERICA at the time, and these fat-ass ignorant hicks ATE EVERY LAST #$%&ING ONE OF THEM!!!

F.U. Lost generation. History should rename you the “Fat Selfish Piggy Generation.” Jerks.

It’s not fair that I don’t get to eat passenger pigeon. It’s also not fair that my kids won’t get to eat tuna sushi, since ever-elevating environmental mercury levels will eventually render all tuna inedible. All so President George Bush the II’s friends can keep dumping mercury into the environment and spend the cost savings on solid-gold toilet seats and air-conditioned doghouses.

Then there’s the Dodo, apparently it wasn’t yummy at all. It was just dumb, and fun to kill because dumb sailors liked to bonk living things with clubs and feed them to dogs and rats. There must have been something really satisfying about bonking Dodos on the head with clubs, but I’ll never know, because those stupid sailors selfishly bonked them all for their own amusement. I bet that if the dodos were alive today, studies would show that they make great stress relievers.1

The Dodo was probably Fun to Bonk on the Head

The Dodo was probably Fun to Bonk on the Head
Image courtesy of wikimedia

Until the 1950s the Gros Michel banana was the banana of choice for the world. It was really tasty, vastly superior to the comparatively tasteless cavendish bananas we eat today. The Gros Michel was wiped out by a fungus. They still exist, but cannot be grown for sale any longer. Generation X will never know how yummy Gros Michel bananas were.

Recently I found out that Cavendish Bananas Could Disappear in 5-10 Years thanks to the same fungus that wiped out the Gros Michel. A fungus is also killing all the frogs, a fungus propagating because of global warming. Frog legs taste good. I get them every time I’m at the Chinese buffet, but my children won’t get to eat frogs because the Baby Boomers thought it was more important for Exxon Mobil to rake in profits the world has never seen before.

Exxon CEO Lee Raymond

Exxon CEO, Lee Raymond

Passenger pigeons, whales, eventually tuna all seafood, frogs, and bananas, our menus are shrinking with each decade. Just like the menus of the Eastern Islanders shrank on their way to extinction. From digging through their garbage dumps, we see a dietary digression: first the big livestock are eaten, then they turn to nibbling on rats, then they turn to digging up corpses to cannibalize, and finally starve to death.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We got buffalo and alligators back on the menu. Let’s get the other species back on there too. I hope that one day I’ll be able to sit down to a guilt-free meal of blue whale with my children because the species was allowed to make a comeback.

If you don’t care about environmentalism for the sake of saving the Earth, then care about it for the sake of having variety when you go out to eat.

1 This is an exaggeration made for comedic effect. There was some dodo-bonking going on by sailors, but mostly the dodos were wiped out by all the invasive species, like rats and dogs, the sailors brought with them.

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