There's a slight chance that an asteroid could impact Mars
at the end of this month. Usually, collisions between heavenly bodies have vanishingly small odds (a million to one, say), but the chances on this one have been steadily improving, from 350-to-1 to 75-to-1 to 25-to-1
(link to Washington Post). Scientists say that this could be comprable to the famous Tunguska blast
in Siberia a hundred years ago (not to be confused with this other Tunguska blast
). [more inside]
posted by math
on Jan 7, 2008 -
It was the early 90s and the World Wildlife Federation was trying to save the rhino. They offered up Saiga
horn as an alternative
to rhino horns for use in Chinese apothecary shops, thinking that the millions-strong population of Saiga on the steppes of Central Asia would buffer
the demand for rhinos. The result is one of the most devastating population crashes
for a large mammal species in modern times. There is now a fear
that the Saiga will become extinct
in the next few years.
posted by hindmost
on Nov 12, 2007 -
Earth, 2100 AD.
has doubled to 1000 ppm. From shore to the horizon, there is but an unending purple color -- a vast, flat, oily purple. No fish break its surface, no birds. We are under a pale green sky, and it has the smell of death and poison.
Paleontologist Peter Ward's new book
links past mass extinctions to global warming and shows
, absent major changes, "Our world is hurtling toward carbon dioxide levels not seen since 60 million years ago, right after a greenhouse extinction."
Maybe it's time for a heresy
: nuclear energy's green, and renewables aren't.
posted by Bletch
on Oct 9, 2007 -
tells the tale of Dr. Alan Rabinowitz and his friend... "Dawi told Alan the terrible secret that explained why there were so few Taron (left in the world). And then Alan told Dawi a secret of his own..." (includes audio link)
posted by ZachsMind
on Feb 3, 2007 -
Miracles You’ll See In The Next Fifty Years
Some more up-to-date predictions: science
, space travel
, mental health
, smart machines
, robots, mind uploading
What is your prediction
posted by MetaMonkey
on Oct 5, 2006 -
The 2004 International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources' Red List
of Threatened Species.
posted by Gyan
on Oct 20, 2005 -
"Killer in Our Midst : Methane Catastrophes in Earth's Past and Near Future" (a free net book)
- During the greatest extinction pulse known to have happened in the history of life on Earth - the Permian catastrophe - 90% of then existing species perished. This astonishingly well written, authoritative, free book may be the most important thing you will ever read on the net or off of it : it explains in great detail an inevitable Methane catastrophe, if humans do not stop adding CO2 to the Earth's atmosphere, during which "not only would a considerable percentage of existing plants and animals be killed off, but a large percentage of the human population as well" (or the whole species). In the worst scenarios the atmosphere itself could become poisonous to Oxygen breathing life. Mundane laws of physics, expressed in impending Methane Hydrate release, dictate to humanity : cut CO2 release or perish. Simple.
posted by troutfishing
on Oct 13, 2005 -
Where did all the bananas go?
Bananas are awesome. Popular Science has an article about how they are going extinct. Apparently in the early 1900's the main variety of banana died out and was replaced by what we know today. According to this article, it's happening again.
o/~ Work all night on a drink of rum
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Stack banana till de mornin' come
Daylight come and me wan' go home o/~
posted by crocos
on Sep 20, 2005 -
. Researchers at Cornell say they have found the ivory-bill
[K]nown as an ornithologist's "Holy Grail," [r]esearchers from Cornell University, along with others, reportedly have found the ivory-billed woodpecker in the Big Woods of Arkansas, a rare bird that was last seen in the United States in the 1940s and was believed to have become extinct.
More on the story here
. A digression into the legend here
posted by piskycritter
on Apr 28, 2005 -
via the EFF
(warning, they do want your money to continue fighting "to defend
our rights to think, speak, and share our ideas, thoughts, and needs using new technologies, such as the Internet and the World Wide Web.")
Lawsuits have driven some excellent consumer products into extinction, like the ReplayTV 4000
, DVD X Copy
and the lamented wild and crazy Napster 1.0
including what drove them into extinction. They also list endangered gizmos like the HD TV PCI Card
and Generic FireWire
, open Wifi hot spots and CD burners
Among the "saved" gizmos is the Skylink garage door opener
which had been attacked under the DMCA
posted by fenriq
on Feb 8, 2005 -
NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory recently detected
[reg required] the largest explosion ever detected in the universe: an eruption releasing the energy of hundreds of millions of gamma ray bursts
. Just to put it in perspective, a single GRB
releases enough radiation to wipe out
just about everything human beings would require for survival in a 1000 light year radius. (The Milky Way spans ~100,000 light years, while the United Federation of Planets
spans about 8,000). Arthur C. Clarke has gone so far as suggesting that GRBs might be one of the reasons for Extra-Terrestrial silence: Gamma Ray Bursts
are so large and inescapable, a single one would wipe out even an enormous galactic empire. Makes killer asteroids
seem downright quaint
posted by absalom
on Jan 8, 2005 -
Extinct is forever
. Or is it?
Scientists are hard at work reconstructing entire genomes of our common ancestors. The present technology is a far cry from Jurassic Park, but we're getting there.
posted by mowglisambo
on Dec 8, 2004 -
The SalmoFan: So long, and thanks for all the fish and animals, and plants...
Amidst the catastrophic decline of large ocean fish
, Salmon farmers can choose the hue of their "farmed" Salmon
with the SalmoFan
. [Meanwhile, these same salmon are fed on a factory fishing catch process which effectively strips most large life forms from the ocean.] With 1/4 of all mammmals
and 1/2 of all plant species
facing extinction, Is the planet truly at a crossroads
? Are we losing the extinction battle?
.."Overfishing is a global problem. People are taking marine life faster than it can reproduce. The world's catch peaked at 86 million tons in 1989, up fourfold in 50 years.....But many governments, including the United States, Mexico, the European Union, Japan and China, kept on pouring subsidies into commercial fishing fleets to keep them afloat...The Gulf of California in Mexico is not dead, but it is exhausted from overfishing, which has caused every important species of fish there to decline....Crucial fisheries have collapsed worldwide."
Contrast that with This
: "[once upon a time there were] cod shoals "so thick by the shore that we hardly have been able to row a boat through them."
There were six- and seven-foot-long codfish weighing as much as 200 pounds. There were great banks of oysters as large as shoes. At low tide, children were sent to the shore to collect 10-, 15-, even 20-pound lobsters with hand rakes for use as bait or pig feed. Eight- to 12-foot sturgeon choked New England rivers, and salmon packed streams from the Hudson River to Hudson's Bay. Herring, squid and capelin (a small open-water fish seven inches long) spawning runs were so gigantic they astonished observers for more than four centuries"
posted by troutfishing
on May 27, 2003 -
Cuba is best known for its legendary cigars
and bearded dictators
, but it's also home to some of the healthiest ecosystems in the Caribbean. Pygmy owls
, bee hummingbirds
, and solenodons
share the islands of Cuba with tiny tiny tree frogs
, and one of the largest groups of snails
in the world. There are problems, though. Many species such as the giant cursorial owl
, the ivory-billed woodpecker
and the smallest of the giant sloths
have been wiped out over the last 5,000 years, and other species are threatened
posted by bshort
on May 23, 2003 -
The only fruit to ever appear on a Velvet Underground album cover (not to mention the title of a J. D. Salinger short story) may be on its way to extinction. Facts: I) total disappearance could occur within a decade; II) bananas are the staple diet for half a billion people and III) current genetic tampering mean that, even if the fruit doesn't quite disappear, it will taste and look
different (Guardian article here
). Feeling nostalgic already? Visit the stylish Banana Museum
or give someone you love the Enchanted Banana of Happiness
(not what you're thinking). first link via Fark
posted by 111
on Jan 15, 2003 -
Like a big bald eagle? Order one now! Humour might be one way of trying to protect endangered animals but the bushmeat trade
is no joke and fighting it
is damn difficult, probably as difficult as fighting world poverty. Does anyone else feel that these jokes just aren't funny anymore?
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Sep 19, 2002 -
The World Summit on Sustainable Development,
aka "Earth Summit II," will start soon in Johannesburg, ten years after the Rio Earth Summit
. Have things improved at all in the last ten years?
While there are some reasons to be optimistic
, the data isn't cheerful. Our climate is growing unstable
; tens of millions are dying or likely to die
, and hundreds of millions more likely to be made refugees, because of environmental pollution and degraded ecosystems; and half the plants and animals on the planet seem headed for extinction
over the next century. In short, things are grim.
What steps, big or small, are you taking to do your part for the environment?
posted by AlexSteffen
on Aug 17, 2002 -
The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement
"Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth's biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense." More inside...
posted by Irontom
on May 30, 2002 -
Um, Bob, where did all the cows go ?
So much for the theory of how Native Americans and Aborigines have lived in harmony with the land since time began.... Turns out they were just gluttonous killing machines who gorged themselves on steak till all the beasties disappeared (or something like that)
posted by zeoslap
on Jun 8, 2001 -
Let us prepare for impact.
A group of scientists is working on a standardized protocol for dealing with the possibility of a comet or massive asteroid striking the Earth, saying humans can do more than the dinosaurs ever could before a colossal impact precipitated their extinction 65 millions years ago.
"We have now overcome the giggle factor."
I don't know if we have........
posted by nonharmful
on May 7, 2001 -
Animals thought extinct found in remote Cambodian jungle:
British scientists have found a wilderness in the Cardamom region of Cambodia where exotic species, some though to be
extinct, have been found. These include the Siamese
crocodile, the wolf snake (a new species so named because of
its dog-like fangs), large populations of tigers and Asian
elephants, and the gower, a forest cow. Ironically, the habitat was protected from significant human
intrusion because it was a longtime Khmer Rouge stronghold
and also because routes lead to and from it are landmined.
posted by jhiggy
on Oct 5, 2000 -