Time Survival

April 28, 2015

Lowry-industrial_river_sceneHazy sunshine this afternoon along California’s north coast with fog apparently just waiting to cover the sky — nice with a cool, brisk breeze right now, but the light is fading on us.
Odd how the darker it gets here in mid-afternoon, that some natural instinct in the brain (maybe just my brain) thinks also it’s getting later in time, closer to evening.
No, just a cloud covering the sun — an optical-gray-matter afterthought.

Confusion will camouflage certainty.

(Illustration: ‘Canal Bridge,’ by LS Lowry, found here).

A floating approach of dark is not the only item on time’s agenda, especially coupled with an aging brain, the score of the clock appears to be accelerating — the sensation of life speeding up as you get older is not a newbie. A long time noticeable tick even at middle age is how shit comes at you faster as you get older.
Time is a mystery to us humans anyway. From the BBC, writer and radio journalist Claudia Hammond: ‘The way we assess time remains something of a mystery. Nowhere in the brain has anyone been able to find a single area dedicated to time perception. We do have a body clock that rules our 24-hour sleep/wake cycle, however, this only governs our circadian rhythms and plays no role in estimating seconds, minutes, or even the years passing.’

And this interesting note from an August 2013 New York Times review of Hammond’s book, “Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception,” and the quickening of tomorrow:

If you think the past is strange, try the future.
Here Ms. Hammond relies on the psychologist Daniel Gilbert, who has found that when predicting how we’ll feel in the years to come, we tend to dwell on extreme cases from the past, not typical ones.
We are also unusually optimistic when planning — we overestimate our own ability to complete a distant task.

Time we humans don’t really understand, especially in completing a task that’s undesirable, and coupled with being over-confident about it, time itself might be running out the clock. This scenario ties in with climate change, too. And this weird concept originated with a speech last Saturday by physicist Stephen Hawking, considered the top brainiac on earth, via holographic technology to Australia, and Sydney’s Opera House. Hawking was in his office at the University of Cambridge in Britain.
The clutch of Hawking’s speech was that mankind is doomed unless we can get off the planet, and in the face of modern technology, humanity’s too belligerent.
Via Australia’s ABC News:

“We must continue to go into space for the future of humanity,” Mr Hawking said.
“I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet.”

Professor John Webb, the director and co-founder of the Big Questions Institute at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), made the lecture possible by an initiative he launched, along with Mr Hawking, to tackle some of the fundamental questions in science.
“He’s worried about the future of the human race.
“You know, he thinks that human beings are, I suppose naturally aggressive,” Mr Webb said.
“That may have been useful at some point in the early history of humanity enabling us to find food and get a partner and things like that, but he thinks that aggression that remains with us today is now the thing that could well end up destroying us.
“I think he’s put a time on it to make us realise we’ve got to take better control of what we’re doing.”

No shit. Hawking has made similar remarks before — December 2006: ‘“The long-term survival of the human race is at risk as long as it is confined to a single planet.”‘ He was then more concerned about asteroids or nuclear war, yet I’m sure he knew of more logically-sinister shit to come.
And now time might be of the essence.

This could be the year of climate change, yay or nay, and the facts are mounting.
Just today, from NewScientist:

If climate change was a game, we’d have racked up quite a score.
A fresh study suggests that humans are responsible for a hefty number of today’s extreme hot days and rainstorms.

Their results show that global warming of 0.85 °C since the industrial revolution has had a powerful effect.
Climate change is now responsible for 75 per cent of our extreme highs in temperature and 18 per cent of extreme rainfall, according to the data.
The rarer a particular event, the more likely that warming is the cause, they say.
“A 1-in-10,000 day heat event is something that’s only expected to happen every 30 years. But in a global-warming world, it’s turned into a 4-in-10,000 day event. Three of those hot days – or 75 per cent – would never have happened if global warming wasn’t around,” says Fischer.

Fisher being Erich Fischer, who along with Reto Knutti at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science in Zurich, Switzerland, conducted the study.
However, climate is no longer just studies and paperwork, but weird ass shit — new word usage, too, like describing a ‘massive tornadic storm‘  that hit near Dallas, Texas, yesterday. ‘Tornadic?’

This also an addition to a post I did last week on methane seeping from Arctic permafrost — from Reporting ClimateScience: ‘“When you have a huge frozen store of carbon and it’s thawing, we have some big questions,” said Robert Spencer, assistant professor of oceanography. “The primary question is when it thaws, what happens to it? Our research shows this ancient carbon is rapidly utilized by microbes and transferred to the atmosphere, leading to further warming in the region and therefore more thawing. So we get into a runaway effect.”

And if brainic-kingpin Hawking needs to look further than asteroids — beyond what we humans have done to the environment, weather-wise, how about other rotten shit, like insecticide contamination.
Via ScienceDaily from a couple of weeks ago:

The results are alarming: more than 40 percent of the water-phase samples with a detection of an insecticide concentration, exceeded respective RTLs.
Concerning the exposure of sediments (i.e., deposits at the bottom of the surface water bodies), more than 80 percent of the insecticide concentrations exceeded RTLs, which, however, often are less binding from a regulatory perspective.
Overall, the results of this study indicate that insecticides pose substantial threats to the biodiversity of global agricultural surface waters and that the current regulatory risk assessment schemes and pesticide authorization procedures fail to protect the aquatic environment.

Food for though as we chew our way through time…

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