Tuesday, January 5, 2010

1958 - Global Warming - It's NOT newly known

1958 - Global Warming - It's NOT newly known

4 comments:

  1. It's the Gesture Professor! Geez, how many movies was that guy in?

    Now my mind is going to be filled with all the jokes about him that MST3K made in their riffing of The Mole People.

    (And yes, Global Warming was suspected for a long time. The problem was figuring out how to study it, which has taken a lot of space-age technology to really do)

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  2. The cynical part of me says the problem was convincing capitalists to be willing to study it. I remember the late '60s well, and I was aware it was looking like a problem then. Of course, I was both a hippie and a science fiction reader, but still...

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  3. That's definitely part of the problem, but I think it's more likely to lie in the tendencies of human thinking. When people first floated the idea, it must have seemed absurd to many. Little ol' us could damage this big old planet like that? You don't have to envision evil capitalist plots, or communist ones for that matter. It's simply human nature.

    I think it took, really, the study of ancient extinction events to get it to sink in for many scientists (remember that most of that is 30-40 years old at most). Certainly, those were important for getting many scientists to clearly see how "small" events -- a meteor strike, the growth of a new kind of bacteria, a nuclear war -- could destroy huge amounts of the life on the planet. It's easy, in short, for us to see how we affect a river or a forest. That's a scale human minds are well-suited to work on. A whole planet? That takes a change in thinking. It takes imagination (SF for the win! :D) Whatever social forces were in effect, it was going to take a while to take hold. We humans are such a weird combination of wildly imaginative and mind-numbingly conservative.

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  4. "We humans are such a weird combination of wildly imaginative and mind-numbingly conservative."

    Yeah. Yesterday, someone was talking on the radio about how resistant humans are to change, but the truth is it depends on the change--some changes we snap up in a second; some take decades or centuries or millenia.

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