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Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's soccer

Urf Day

Well, crap. I forgot to ridicule Murder-your-girlfriend-and-stuff-her-body-in-a-trunk Day on the 22nd. I was busy working; gotta pay those taxes so the enviro-hippie slackers can tell me what I can't buy.

On the principle that late is better than never, I present you with a list of past predictions from the earliest days of Earth Day. This was posted in the Earth Day comments on another site by a gent going by the nick of Geo. The thread had to be locked when the Worshipers of Mother Gaia went screaming monkey bonkers on him. Fortunately, I saved it for posterity and your enjoyment.


Well, now that more than 40 years have passed, how accurate were those predictions around the time of the first Earth Day? Wrong, spectacularly wrong, and here are 18 examples:

1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”

7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in his 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out.

14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

17. In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it.”

18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”


Daily Mail:

Accused murderer wants 'murder' neck tattoo removed before his trial. His lawyers say the tattoo, a mirror image of the word 'murder' in capital letters, would prejudice the jury. Prosecutors say he can just cover it up.

Rope burns would obscure it nicely, I think.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Empty Suit

So a bunch of former NFL cheerleaders are suing their former employer, claiming... well, it's pretty much the list of bullshit you'd expect.

I have a difficult time conjuring any sympathy for someone whose "job" is arguably the most useless and pointless in the history of human civilization. "Sexual exploitation" is one of their complaints. Really, cupcake? They're paying you to strut around in skimpy outfits and sway your hips seductively. The pre-screening qualifications are your three womanly numbers. What the fuck did you think the job was going to involve?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hello, sweaty!

It actually kind of works, seeing as her parents couldn't figure out how to spell Alice.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Timewaster

Super Planet Crash, wherein you build a planetary system. The idea is to cram as many planets as you can inside the 2 AU limit and keep the system stable for 500 years.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Juevos Diablo

That's my new swear phrase: "Lucifer's testicles!"

Uncle Jerry

How one crooked rent-a-cop rigged McDonald's Monopoly promotion for seven years before he was busted by the FBI. But it's not rigged now, of course. Oh, nonono. Go play... Really.


Google offered Google Glass up for sale for a single day on April 15th. Apparently a bunch of people had fifteen hundred bucks burning a hole in their pockets, because they sold out of at least one model, "Cotton White". [insert tampon joke here]

I wonder if they come with an app that helps you spot incoming hipster mobs?

Hat-tip to Banduar for the rioting hippies links. Rioting hippies... That's funny.

Jail Cat

Thursday Tunes

Hanamizuki. I know absolutely nothing about this piece or the artist. It was a totally random find on YouTube. But I love listening to well-played acoustical guitar and this boy has some serious talent.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pitstops: Then & Now

'Member dat catfish

Very realistic...

Singin' the Blues

If this doesn't make you smile you're in a really bad way.


More like the same:

The name Stradivarius has been synonymous with musical excellence for three centuries with instruments selling for millions amid claims that their sound quality is unparalleled. However it may pain purists to learn that professional violinists cannot actually tell the difference between the antique instruments and modern models.

I've always suspected this to be the case, but I lack the experience with the real instruments to say it definitively. While brands and marques do sometimes make a difference, the more esoteric the product and the further up the financial spectrum you go, the less likely the differences are to be relevant or even noticeable. It's the same with wine; the guy who won a tasting competition with "Two Buck Chuck" proved it.

Most of the time, people who have something expensive and fancy are trying to convince everyone -- most especially themselves -- of their perceived importance. Do you really think there's a $200,000 qualitative difference between a Bentley and a Chrysler? Of course there isn't, but the guy driving the Bentley will never admit it, because he has a quarter million clams wrapped up in a car. He's not just financially invested, it's emotional, and that makes it personal. In the case of the Stradivarius, the instrumentalist playing it expects the sound to be better, so he perceives it to be true. Confirmation bias, placebo, call it what you will, it's not worth a million bucks.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Out with the new

The pack of "Progressives" who staff Google are notorious tinkerers. Sometimes this results in good things; other times, not so good. Take, for example, the new Google Maps interface. This unintuitive pile of electronic dog poo is a prime example of why newer is not always better. Just attempting to use it is guaranteed to spike your blood pressure 30 points. So don't.

Classic Google Maps. You're welcome.



A new island is forming in the Pacific. Must be global warming climate change, huh?