Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Dark Matters

If you love dark cold nights, you must hope there is not enough of the dark matter. If you are an arsonist or enjoy pyrotechnics, you must be rooting for lots of it. The Deep freeze or the explosive disappearance is all yours if you can stick around a few billion years.

However, when Lord Keynes opined, "In the end , we are all dead," he was talking about a century or two. Limits to Growth, a Club of Rome study puts the Armageddon right around 2170s.

Exponential growth is a quaint little concept. It is well understood in science. It is characterized by overshoot followed by catastrophic readjustment when inputs to the system become scarce or the output waste overwhelms the desired outcomes.

But who cares? The world is run by the politicians and economists. One specializes in selling untruths and half-truths for economic gain and the other is adept at using voodoo math and supply of money to prove existence of flat earth and infinite growth.

Malthus did not know about the existence of oil, but he knew his math well. We are straining our resources to the limit: water, land, energy, you name it. And the waste products are mounting: garbage, global temperature, and population. Yes, population, 6.5 billion and counting.

Most scientist I know are pessimistic about finding new water resources on Mars, or in our ability to move the earth a few meters further away from the sun for its cooling effect, and finding an equally abundant, cheap, and concentrated source of energy as gas and oil in time.

The politicians, caught in their own lies and promises, have no choice but to believe in science. That belief is easy as they have no idea how science works. Or, wait for Armageddon.

The Armageddon in this case is a collapse of the world population to pre-oil numbers, about a quarter of what it is today, and return to local economies, some benign, but mostly feudal and repressive.

Cheer up, the fit and prepared will survive. Others will find solace in Jesus and the real Armageddon and walk off the cliff to commiserate with their maker.


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