Welcome to the Anthropocene

Scientists are now examining the current epoch in geologic science as the Anthropocene. According to the site Welcome to the Anthropocene:

Our species’ whole recorded history has taken place in the geological period called the Holocene – the brief interval stretching back 10,000 years. But our collective actions have brought us into uncharted territory. A growing number of scientists think we’ve entered a new geological epoch that needs a new name – the Anthropocene.

The Anthropocene period appears to encompass the past 250 years, prompted by the Industrial Revolution. The impact on the planet is noted in urbanization, global warming and diminishing water resources (the video above). Click here to learn more about how human activity has transformed the Earth’s geology.

More evidence of the mass extinction

There are a number of books out referring to how we’re in the midst of another mass extinction. I’ve recently finished reading “Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction,” and have just picked up “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.”

As the promotional material for “The Sixth Extinction” explains:

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

(First of all, to the creationists: Yes, the Earth is billions of years old.)

That’s the theme of both books. We regularly see stories about disappearing bees, millions of dying bats and regular mysterious deaths of sea creatures.

But let’s look at what this really means. This is a chart of the total weight of land animals on Earth (via XKCD):

land_mammals

There aren’t that many wild animals left. Human behavior is killing everything. Mass extinctions take thousands of years. None of us will be around when the one we’re currently in is over, but more important, the way things are going, the human species may not exist when this mass extinction runs its course.

Les vaches qui rient

OK, so that’s French and this video is in German, but the point’s the same. A laughing cow is a jumping cow:

Just another example of animals fully aware of their surroundings. They’ve been cooped up in a barn forever, and they probably knew they were set for slaughter. (And animals are aware when they’re about to be turned into meat. Stand outside an abattoir sometime, and listen to the screams.)

This is like watching a prisoner being released into the world after being stuck forever in solitary confinement.

Or like Tommy when he gets his senses back:

Math, as God intended it to be

1175ckCOMIC-bible-math

Given that Bill Nye the science guy went to the Creation Museum last week and had a “debate” on whether evolution was real, why not just give up and let the God folks determine science and math and history and geology and all that other good stuff that moved us into the 21st century?

Why did Nye not just say, “Are you out of your mind?” When your argument is, “Because God says so,” that immediately means that there is no scientific basis for anything the creationists say. When you pit the peer-reviewed findings of Nobel Prize winning scientists against first century illiteracy (the guys who the books of the Bible were named after were shepherds and fishermen, for God’s sake), why (oh, why?) was the thing they had at the Creation Museum (right here in Kentucky) even thought of as a “debate.” Debate means both sides have strong foundations for their arguments.

When one side’s “argument” over more than an hour has less of a scientific foundation than the theme song of “The Big Bang Theory,” which in its full version lasts about two minutes, calling that a debate is a travesty.

Let me emphasize this the best way I can. Here’s the debate:

The evolution side:

The creationist side:

The evolution side rests.

Was it really that cold, recently?

cold

It used to always be cold, but with global warming, when it gets cold today, we think it’s colder than usual. Which means, were getting used to global warming. Like the frog in boiling water.

Hey, folks. That sudden jolt Al Gore is talking about is our freaking out about cold temperatures that were once something we were used to.

Which means we’re acclimating to warmer weather.

Which means the planet is warming.

The lion whisperer

A long, long time ago, when I was young and stupid, I visited a guy in Florida who raised wild animals that performed in television shows and movies. So, as part of the story I was writing, I went into a cage with a lion and with a tiger.

The thing I learned was to make sure the animals had already been fed, and to keep the guy who owned the animals between me and the “pet” at all times.

With that in mind, I still think the guy in this video does not want to be out and about in the wild on a day when these animals are hungry.