Thursday, July 15, 2004

Our Final Hour

We seem to have an innate fascination for the morbid. Over time, there will be doomsday predictions and scenarios being predicted; rather zealously sometimes. Here's one from an astronomer.

Sir Martin Rees, Britain's Astronomer Royal, warns that civilization has only an even chance of making it to the end of this century. This is the result of advances in various fields, such as biotechnology and nanotechnology; which has the potential to breakaway if not monitored properly.

But what is more important are his comments on how science is supported and the actions of various governing bodies. To quote from the passage “It's possible to tip the balance to civilization's advantage, Rees concludes, believing that environmental and biomedical issues should be higher on the political agenda. To raise the debate above the level of rhetoric, however, the public must be better informed. He looks to the U.S. to take a leadership role. But so far he finds its handling of the controversies over stem cell research and global warming to be wanting: the U.S. "has been rather remiss in tackling issues that are taken more seriously elsewhere in the world, especially environmental problems."”

It will be good to have more of such books from prominent figures like Sir Martin.

Scientific American: Doom and Gloom by 2100
Unleashed viruses, environmental disaster, gray goo--astronomer Sir Martin Rees calculates that civilization has only a 50-50 chance of making it to the 22nd century

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