A New Physics Theory of Life

Why does life exist?

Popular hypotheses credit a primordial soup, a bolt of lightning and a colossal stroke of luck. But if a provocative new theory is correct, luck may have little to do with it. Instead, according to the physicist proposing the idea, the origin and subsequent evolution of life follow from the fundamental laws of nature and “should be as unsurprising as rocks rolling downhill.” Continue lendo “A New Physics Theory of Life”

Como destruir espécies incluindo a nossa

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Verlyn Klinkenborg

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Lynn Johnson/National Geographic Creative

Eden, Wyoming, 2005

The better we understand the earth’s natural systems, the more dynamic they appear to be. (The same could be said of the universe itself.) Two and a half centuries ago earth looked like a planet of remarkable fixity and a short time scale. Since then, of course, the past has deepened or widened or lengthened enormously, depending on how you think of it. The planetary time scale has expanded from several thousand years to some 4.5 billion years, and now we know that this one earth is really a seemingly endless succession of earths. Continents roam, climate changes, oceans warm and cool, species come and go.

The old idea of an earth with relatively static natural systems fit more than just the biblical evidence. It also fit the common sense of most observers. In a way, it still does. As Elizabeth Kolbert makes clear in her excellent new book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, nothing about who we are or how we’ve evolved as a species makes it easy for us to perceive the depth of geological time, to feel it in our bones the way we feel the passing of the seasons. Common sense fails us often enough in the hours and days of ordinary life. It fails us completely on any time scale much longer than that. The extraordinary, deep-yawning present concealed in the earth’s past—the day-by-dayness of all those billions of years—constantly puts the lie to what our senses, common or otherwise, tell us. Historically speaking, we have walked around on one earth—the earth we believe we perceive—while unaware of another earth—shaped in geological time—beneath our feet. For billions of earthlings, “historically speaking” happens, unfortunately, to contain the present. Continue lendo “Como destruir espécies incluindo a nossa”

James Lovelock: ‘enjoy life while you can: in 20 years global warming will hit the fan’

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The climate science maverick believes catastrophe is inevitable, carbon offsetting is a joke and ethical living a scam. So what would he do?

In 1965 executives at Shell wanted to know what the world would look like in the year 2000. They consulted a range of experts, who speculated about fusion-powered hovercrafts and “all sorts of fanciful technological stuff”. When the oil company asked the scientist James Lovelock, he predicted that the main problem in 2000 would be the environment. “It will be worsening then to such an extent that it will seriously affect their business,” he said.

“And of course,” Lovelock says, with a smile 43 years later, “that’s almost exactly what’s happened.” Continue lendo “James Lovelock: ‘enjoy life while you can: in 20 years global warming will hit the fan’”

The Sixth Extinction: Earth is on the brink of another massive loss of animal species but this time the calamity isn’t an asteroid or ice age…

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Earth is on the brink of a sixth mass extinction – and this time the calamity isn’t an asteroid or a cold snap

There have been five mass extinction events in Earth’s history. In the worst, 250 million years ago, 96 per cent of marine species and 70 per cent of land species died off. It took millions of years to recover.

Nowadays, many scientists are predicting that we’re on pace for a sixth mass extinction. The world’s species are already vanishing at an unnaturally rapid rate. And humans are altering the Earth’s landscape in far-reaching ways: we’ve hunted animals such as the great auk to extinction; we’ve cleared away broad swaths of rainforest; we’ve transported species from their natural habitats to new continents; we’ve pumped billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and oceans, transforming the climate.

Those changes are pushing more species to the brink. A 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggested that 20 to 30 per cent of plant and animal species faced an increased risk of extinction this century if the planet keeps warming (though scientists are still debating these exact numbers, with some going far higher). Continue lendo “The Sixth Extinction: Earth is on the brink of another massive loss of animal species but this time the calamity isn’t an asteroid or ice age…”

The Story of Stuff Project

A história das coisas
Mais importante do que nunca.

99% do que consumimos vai pro lixo em menos de 1 ano. É a transformação do Planeta Terra, de paraíso em lixo em 200 anos, por nós mesmos. Bom trabalho.

Eu assisti a História das coisas de Annie Leonard que definitivamente vê as coisas com muito mais clareza do que todos os professores e acadêmicos com que tive contato até hoje. Ele critíca o consumismo e promove a sustentabilidade. Foi pro ar no fim de 2007 e é um dos documentários ambientais mais assistidos.

Ele só aumenta minha ansiedade com relação ao caminho que tomamos há algumas décadas (pós-industrialização).

A minha sensação é que assistimos a morte do Planeta, flora, fauna, lugares sagrados, oceanos, e o que é pior, a cada dia de trabalho, literalmente trabalhamos para isso, ao participar do sistema, ou simplesmente existir dentro dele.

Para se manter atualizado, acesse o Projeto The Story of Stuff Project e para ajudar compartilhe o vídeo e as ideias com seus amigos.