What Happens To Old Scares?

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Madeline, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. Madeline
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    Madeline BANNED

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    I'm not a science person, but I like science news....I'm curious, I guess. I cannot help wondering, why have none of the doomsday scenarios I have been fed by various scientists over the years ever come to pass? You guys pranking me, or what?

    Here's a list of just a few.....

    * The A Bomb. I grew up on bomb shelters, air raid drills, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Dr. Strangelove, etc. And that was when the only other nuclear power was the former Soviet Union. Nowadays, half the dictators on Planet Earth have the Bomb and yet no one discusses the Atomic Clock anymore. What gives?

    * Pollution. From nuclear waste to chemical run off, the rivers and lakes were supposedly dying forty years ago. Did we clean all that up?

    * Deforestation. The Rain Forest is supposed to have been disappearing at the rate of an acre an hour since the 1970's....why isn't it all gone yet? Old growth forests, mountaintop coal mining, etc. How come it still rains?

    * Population. Population levels have risen, maybe as fast as predicted. Why isn't Planet Earth rejecting its human load yet? Where are the famines, pandemics, etc. that were supposed to correct this?

    * Technology. From cars that kill to electric power lines that "poison" to radon in homes, we should all be dead by now. That's what you claimed decades ago.....was that an exaggeration?

    It's confusing for us lay people to know when you scientists are actually warning us and when you are just raising our anxiety levels for shits and giggles. Is there a wink or a nod I can look for in future?
     
  2. martybegan
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    martybegan Gold Member

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    Its due to the fact that most people can give a rats ass about the "disaster de jour" unless it impact thier life in a direct, immediate way. Also one has to realize that the "average citizen" is just that, average. This relates to intelligence, and how they understand what they see in the world around them.

    The proponents of various sky is falling theories understand this. They know they have to embelish thier theories in order for the common person to understand them, and the threat (percieved by said proponent) the issue is to the common good.

    This is especially true for large scale theories such as climate change. Quite frankly the mechanics and consequences (purported) are beyond the understanding of the "Average Joe/Joan". Thus the person proposing the theory is forced to jazz up thier position, and the easiest way to do this is screaming "DOOOOM."

    As an example what sounds worse, "Rises in global temperatures of 1C may cause rises in sea level of anywhere from 0.1-1 meter in a 150 year period" or "GLOBAL WARMING WILL MAKE MANHATTAN LIKE VENICE IN 50 YEARS NYAR NYAR NYAR!!!!!"
     
  3. Madeline
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    Madeline BANNED

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    Well, that made sense martybegan...thankies!
     
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  4. Wry Catcher
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    Wry Catcher Platinum Member

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    I suppose real issues with serious consequences are generally local, and we in the U.S. miss out on the fun of famine and plagues. Our greater concerns are the wedge issues, it seems, since they never go away and take up most of the debate here and elsewhere in our nation.
    Love Canal, forgotten in the national debate is one example of many that actually exist and might be mitigated, but for politics in this nation going toxic.
    The Industries which created such sites are now free to spend their dollars on propaganda protecting their interests (thank you Roberts, Alito, Kennedy, Thomas and Scalia) and the MSM has been marginalized as too 'liberal' and in the pocket of Democratic Party.
    And now that a 'tea party mentality' has become the solution de jour we can expect the debate to become a much more narrow focus, simple solutons to serious and complex issues may feel good, but a do-nothing attitude is sure to accomplsh nothing.
    But ever the optimist, Wry believes a people get the government they deserve. If the people want law makers like Rand Paul, Sharon Angle, Michelle Bachman, Joe Miller, etc. so be it. In 2012 the movement which continues the Republican effort over the past two years to stiffle progress will result in a real sea change in 2012 - and the Reactionary forces so popular with the masses will be banished for decades.
     
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  5. Madeline
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    Madeline BANNED

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    I thought Love Canal was cleaned up as one of the first Superfund sites?
     
  6. JBeukema
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    They don't?

    Tell that to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Not so long ago, they moved the hands on the clock.

    Or tell that to Bush...
    have you been living under a rock?
    retard...

    The Water Cycle

    Ever heard of Africa? Haiti? Southeast Asia?

    On your part, yes
     
  7. martybegan
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    martybegan Gold Member

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    The Love Canal case is an interesting one, as it was a more direct influence. Waste was dumped, houses built over it, waste leaked, people were sickened. It is this type of event that a regular person can understand. This is similar to when the Cuyahogah (yeah I can spell) caught fire. Both events led to needed changes due to thier immidiate and obvious impact.

    Your segway into campaign finance reform is also interesting. Yes the corporations can now spend more money on influencing our political system, but so can people who are against thier policies. I always wonder why people forget that corporations are also a collection of people, just like a union or an interest group. To fetter one with regulation is to fetter them all, unless you want to start giving preferences to one group over the other (usually groups you agree with.)

    Still, a well thought out response.
     
  8. Wry Catcher
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    Yep. But many other sites remain 'unclean' because the dollar cost is too great, and if the cost to human health has not been studied, who cares? Most people living on such sites have no idea they do, or are too poor and have no where else to go.
    But, my point was not specific to such sites, that was simply an example of our need for a pro-active government on one issue. No market exists to clean up such sites, and few members of Congress will fund such pojects because in doing so a well-funded opponent will magically appear to challenge them.
     
  9. Wry Catcher
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    I support "to fetter them all". I have for long believed the only way for this great experiment in self rule to survive is to (somehow) get money out of the game.
    The media will not support such a movement, for the revenue in an election year is great; incumbents will not, or they would have.
    We have become an Oligarchy, and I firmly believe Citizens United has paved a road, a short cut, to an everlasting Plutocracy.
     
  10. Dr.Traveler
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    It was a near miss on the Cold War. Some of the stuff that's come out since the end made it clear we were at the brink far more times than anyone cares to admit.

    It's not as big an issue now because the countries with the Nukes (USA and Russia as an exception) don't have the sheer volume of Nukes nor the capacity to deliever them in a scale that would wipe out life on Earth.

    Plus, we've seen that once a country and it's rival have nukes, they're much more likely to talk. India and Pakistan used to go to start wars on any day that ends with "Y". Since they both got the bomb, they talk a great deal more and fight a great deal less.

    EPA did a good job under Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan of cleaning things up, plus we've learned the Earth is far more resiliant than we thought. There are still environmental disasters, but they tend to get cleaned up quickly or only affect a small region where the damage can be contained and repaired easily For example, hog farms are notorious for fish kills, but the small rivers affected can usually be saved with quick action by the EPA.

    The Gulf Coast was the last real large scale disaster, and for all the complaining the situtation was resolved fairly quickly. Reports now are showing the long term damage is likely to end up minimal.

    We did a decent job slowing this combined with the sheer amount of forest and rainforest acreage in the world. It's still a big issue, but it isn't quite the crisis it once was.

    Medical and Agricultural advances, plus the regions of the world least able to sustain population have seen flattening growth rates or the predicted disasters.

    Some of that was an overstatement, some bad science. Some of it we just got under control. It's a big combination of things. We are seeing some of the predicted cancer clusters that people were concerned about, but some things (like cellphones) turned out not to be the danger we thought they would be.

    Read the results carefully. For example: Cell phone warnings were based of a good reasoned guess. Clinical studies actually showed no extra incidence of cancer (and surprisingly, a reduction of Alzheimer's incidence).

    If it's not based in actual evidence, be skeptical.
     
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