Living life on carnival rides

Spending some time in Chicken Little’s henhouse, where news broadcasts and publications are not allowed, mariner has become aware of how myopic news programming is. Many readers will agree that if one watches the news on Monday then watches the news a week later, it’s the same news. Perhaps Fox news, MSNBC, all the social media sources and ‘streaming’ news together have set the bar very low in terms of other topics that, while not blowing things up, starving people, giving coverage to useless and mostly conspiratorial congressmen, may have more impact on the near future of mankind. Below are a couple of topics that are very important and are changing reality on a daily basis.


Back in 2014 Elizabeth Kolbert wrote a scholarly treatise about the rapid decline of the world’s creatures. A quote from the flyleaf of The Sixth Extinction – An unnatural history:

“Over the last half billion years, there have been five major extinctions, when the diversity of life on Earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us.”

Elizabeth cites the disappearance of over 16,000 species of every nature and every family of creatures. There are too many humans (see Overpopulation below) taking up way too much space, consuming way too much of the planet’s reserve of chemicals, and by their nature, deliberately and wantonly destroying critical balances in the Earth’s environment.

Through technology and industrialization, humans have been able to flaunt the natural restraints of Mother Nature, enabling humans to live longer, live conveniently and ignore disturbances in the planet’s biosphere – at the cost of 16,000 innocent creatures and, since the 19th century, destabilizing the careful balance of global weather; an issue that is important enough to make the news. For the last 300,000 years, the weather has been unusually stable, allowing an excellent opportunity for all creatures to flourish. That stability is rapidly disappearing. The inability of humans to evaluate human economics versus planetary economics may be the doom to life on Earth as we have known it.

Humans, being the smarty pants that they are, abide by a major perspective: “If it can be done, do it”. In this vein, humans may be adding themselves to the list of species that are becoming extinct. Less than a year ago, scientists celebrated a special accomplishment: They were able to marry a computer sequence with a chromosome such that the computer sequence can reproduce itself. Now computer programmers themselves may be out of a job. Two scientists, no less than Albert Einstein and  Stephen Hawking, held that if artificial intelligence can propagate itself, humans are too inefficient to compete and will become extinct.


Regular readers know that mariner has placed great stock in the similarity between mouse and rat overpopulation studies done in the 1960s and 70s and the state of human society today. Quoting managing scientist John Calhoun’s observation about the study:

“At the peak population, most mice spent every living second in the company of hundreds of other mice. They gathered in the main squares, waiting to be fed and occasionally attacking each other. Few females carried pregnancies to term, and the ones that did seemed to simply forget about their babies. They’d move half their litter away from danger and forget the rest. Sometimes they’d drop and abandon a baby while they were carrying it. The few secluded spaces housed a population Calhoun called, “the beautiful ones.” Generally guarded by one male, the females—and few males—inside the space didn’t breed or fight or do anything but eat and groom and sleep. When the population started declining the beautiful ones were spared from violence and death, but had completely lost touch with social behaviors, including having sex or caring for their young. At least the rodents had unlimited food and water – not true with the human population.To human advantage, humans have guns and bombs, shoot children and anyone that seems different. Is this enough to reduce population?

A special carnival ride is the combination of not enough food with climate change. The combination is trashing whole nations’ economies.

And with war on every continent, rising authoritarian governments that will enforce inequality, and artificial intelligence cutting society from the past like a pair of scissors, this is a grand carnival ride!

Ancient Mariner




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