Tuesday, January 22, 2013

self-destruction human style

Life is only on Earth. And not for long.-- Melancholia, Lars Von Trier


i marvel at optimists. they see a better future where there is none. today's naïve propagandists, optimists are the suckers of the positive/inspirational. be the world at the brink of collapse, they would still regard it as a sign of unabated betterment of humanity. "hope is the last thing you loose," becomes gaia-kitsch of latter days.

if something serves as a model for our proclivity to self-destruct, take our bizarre dependence with bluefin tuna. we obsessed over its red meat to the point of paying $1.76 M for a single fish!

pacific bluefin is down 96% and we still over-fish it. we're so rapacious that 90% of the tuna we consume are young that have not yet reproduced. the more we crave it the more we deplete it the more we crave it.

do we really care? the question is merely rhetorical.

take this crave-and-death quandary, multiply it a thousand fold and you get our global environmental cul-de-sac. optimists love to sell this idea of humans as open-handed, resourceful and inventive. what got us in to this mess? the very tragedy of the commons spurred by greed. we thought of the environment as a "tool," a cultural "construction" and fucked up. on the other hand, let's not pretend we could've done otherwise. the course already started when the first hominid used a flint as a weapon.

so-called western civilization sustains itself at the expense of plundering our planet's non-renewable resources. the connection between human technology and environmental depletion has only increased exponentially with modernity & globalization. modernity's failure to deliver its "promise" of progress, i.e, the elimination of disease, poverty & war, stands now as the leftover of a drained utopia.  

there's a different angle we haven't explored: geological time. within the big picture of geological time, our planet's zoosphere has already experienced changes so traumatic that the bluefin tuna impending extinction pales in comparison. what prevents our future to implode like that of the jurassic, only now the destruction doesn't come from outer space?

suppose there is no way back. suppose this "course" we're in is simply irreversible. in the end, as my friend gene ray puts it, all we get is, 
(...) traces, remnants scattered, lost. Deposited, covered over. Enough time, enough weight on top, and we're squeezed into crude oil. Why fight that? It's sad but not unbeautiful. It's clean, honest. Stark, elegant, precise. You just spit your energy back into the primal fluid.
so, let's face our fuck up calmly. no need for angtsy compunction or wretched drama. there is dignity in peacefully coming to terms with our self-inflicted irrevocable doom.

what's so hard about that?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

a boundless universe?

today we talked about the possibility of an infinite universe @ T,R 9:50 am class. my tentative response was perlmutter and schmidt's hypothesis: the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate.

is the universe "infinite?" not in time. U has a beginning, it's ± 13.7 billions years old.

do you mean infinite in the amount of matter? if U has "Z" particles then each particle (in principle) can be counted, provided one has enough time to do it. 

next, is U "infinite" spatially? if it keeps expanding you would think that it keeps getting bigger, reaching more of__. 

it's hard to imagine "space" without at least 2 points, 3 is better (no points no space).  

*this constant widening of U happens in time.
*if U reaches a limit "L," then it stops expanding.
*but then U is the container of space! that is to say, U is being defined as a the expansion of itself, which is kind of circular. 

if U has --or reaches-- a L, then presumably, U cannot be infinite. some hypotheses point in this direction (even a quadrillion, 1015 years is an infinitesimal of "evermore").

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

the new robotic division of labor

don't miss wired's latest issue robots are already replacing us (enough to drive heideggerian technophobics up the wall).

this is not in the future. they're already here!

personal trainer,

except "human." but who cares, when you can have cheap, available and politically risk-free, programmed labor?