Tag Archives: science

Welcome to Earth…Population: 0

I once saw a television show named “Life After People” where scientists, structural engineers, and other experts speculate about what could possible become of Earth should we face human extinction.

The premise of the show was that only humanity vanished from the planet, everything else remained the same. It’s important to note that unlike most post-apocalyptic shows that “Life After People” steered clear of what wiped out humanity in the first place.

The show focused on examples of urban and biological decay, the collapsing of cities and bridges. The show focused on various points after humanity vanished – one day, one week, one year, 10 years, 15 years, 25 years, 50 years, 100 years, 200 years right through to 100 million years in the future. It predicted so many changes and a vast difference even within a matter of years.

The first thing to happen would apparently be the disappearance of power, with nobody to control the power plants the would shut themselves down in to safe modes. All except power stations that run on water, those would keep going.

Within 36 hours major cities would start to flood due to nobody being around to control drains and sewers.

Within 10 days those dogs out of 400 million that have survived starvation will have to find ways to escape their homes and start scavenging for food.

Within 6 months rodents will have decreased in numbers, without humans they’ll have to return to the wild where they become easy prey. Eventually larger carnivores start to roam our streets and homes where we once lived.

After about a year weeds and grass start breaking through pavements and roads as the planet slowly starts to return to its natural green state.

Forest fires which were once controllable are now raging their way through woodlands and abandoned cities, destroying everything in it’s path. Rome once again burns to the ground as the ash replenishes the soil.

5 years on and many of the worlds most famous landmarks are overrun with vines and weeds. Steel becomes weak and structures that were once strong are now crumbling.

Natures revenge is hard and relentless, it’s taking back it’s world.

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Time and the Cynic

In 1898 H. G. Wells wrote his most famous novel “The Time Machine”. In the novel, for those of you who haven’t yet read it, a Victorian man invents a machine that allows him to travel into either the future or the past. As such, he travels 800,000 years into the future and while there he finds a society completely different from the one he has become accustomed to, a society inhabited by the Eloi and the Morlocks. The Eloi, on first appearances,, appear to live an idyllic life, but the time traveller makes the discovery that there is in fact a horrendous price that they must pay.

Looking back to some of the greatest novels every written and you can see that writers such as Wells, Dick and Orwell commented on their own current society. They would question the trajectory of “current” trends of the times, question what reality actually was and they would subtly disclose their fears of the future.

Stephen Hawking himself at one point suggested that time travel must be impossible, for the sole reason that if it were possible then we would have had visitors from the future. Since we have therefore never seen a tourist from the future he concluded that time travel indeed must be impossible.

There are many arguments to this point of course, many different ways of trying to refute Hawking’s argument. Some people say that if tourists did come from the future then they simply may not interested in us. Others say that perhaps they know the ramifications of letting themselves be known to others as being from the future. My personal theory (and this is a huge hypothetical “if”) is that in this day and age, where scepticism and the need to cry insanity is but second nature, would we openly accept that someone is from the future? That’s a question that only you yourself can answer. For all I would love the idea of time travel to be a reality, the possibility of seeing days long gone,  I know that deep down if someone claimed to be from the future that I would in no way believe them, I would want to believe them and I would try my hardest to do so.

Where do we draw the line between reality and fiction? Why are we as a planet so cynical of everything that is placed in front of our eyes? In C.S Lewis “The Last Battle” there is a point where the dwarves don’t believe that what they are seeing are flowers and grass and birds, instead they think it’s all just faeces, even though it is directly in front of them. As a planet, we often find ourselves being just as cynical of what we’re seeing. Is is down to years and years of media manipulation? Or is it just a natural evolution? I can’t answer that, I don’t think anyone can answer that.

“A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.” – Oscar Wilde

Cynicism masquerades itself as wisdom, but in reality that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Cynics don’t learn anything and that’s simply because cynicism itself is a self-imposed blindness. It is a rejection of this world and it’s because we are afraid that it will in some way hurt us or let us down. Cynics always and without fail say no. This is because they don’t realise that saying “yes” causes things to begin. Saying “yes” is how to make things grow or that saying “yes” leads to knowledge. “Yes” is for young people and old people, it’s for everyone.

I think that part of my unrelenting quest to never let myself grow up comes down to a fear of cynicism. I just don’t think that I’m quite ready enough to let the youthfulness inside of me die. Not if maturity means becoming a cynic, not if you have to destroy the part of yourself that is naive and idealistic. That should be the part of you that you treasure most of all. Surely living life with the hope of idealisms is a good thing? Is it not better to die young but with your humanity intact?

So as I mentioned earlier. If someone met you randomly and told you that they were from the future, would you believe them?