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Posts Tagged ‘Antarctica

The Bible of Global Problems: Global Resolutions; (June 23, 2009)

 

Note:  This essay was inspired by the manuscript “A World Adrift” by Amine Maalouf. I added and developed on more global problems.  The style is Levantine; Bible style because the problems are established and need urgent global resolutions.  I will mentions the facts separately and then undertake the analyses of the interactions of the global problems before considering viable global resolutions.  This post wil focus on the problem. The follow up post will consider viable global resolutions.

 

Fact one:  Climate and environment quickly deteriorating.

Fact two:  Birth control is not efficient in the mostly under-developed States

Fact three:  Potable water and water for irrigation are dwindling fast.

Fact four:  The middle classes in China and India are expanding alarmingly.

Fact five:  The world economy is experiencing serious deflationary period.

Fact six:  The world is going through deep financial crisis and recession.

Fact seven:  Effective military spending should decrease but it didn’t.

Fact eight:  The identity crisis around the world is destabilizing order and security.

 

Fact One:  Climate and environment are quickly deteriorating.  The ten signs of alert are proven in the following evidences.

 

            Oceans are turning more acid.  At 8 kilometers of the Californian coasts shells and corals are being dissolved. In the Pacific Ocean, 30% of mussel has disappeared.  Planktons, the basic food chain for fishes, small and large, are no longer abundant; 30% has depleted since the industrial age.

 

            The Arctic is changing drastically. Ice field has melted by 27% in the last two decades. Temperature increased by 3 degrees in the last 5 years.  Thus, the more ice melt the larger the surface is exposed to direct sun rays and consequently the more the rate of ice melting increases. The level of oceans is increasing and covering more dry lands.

 

            The Amazone and tropical forests regions are drying up and liberating higher quantites of carbon dioxide.  This equatorial forest is liberating more CO2 than absorbing; absorbing CO2 was their primary function.  More trees are dying and thus liberating more CO2 by decomposition. The higher the concentration of CO2 the lesser trees “perspire” and the more reduced are rains in quantity and frequency.

 

            The climate in Antarctica, the main source of future potable water, is milder; temperature has increased by one degree since the fifties. Salinity of sea water in the southern globe is decreasing.  The Antarctic must be melting faster than observed.

 

            Seasons are in advance of schedule and migratory birds are suffering.  Spring is one week earlier in Europe: 75% of birds studied in Europe have declined in number and migrating further north and seek higher altitudes.

 

            Dry seasons are extending. Monsoons are rarefied; precipitations are decreasing and the desert in North Africa is expanding southward western Africa.  Deforestration might still be the main culprit but the warming up of the environment is catching up fast as the main factor.

 

            Methane gas, present as methane hydrate in maritime sediment, is escaping from oceans. The under layer of pergelisol used to act as a lid but more abundant hot water is being ejected in the Arctic seas; the concentration along the Russian coast is 200 times superior to normal.  Methane gas is far worse than CO2 (20 times more powerful in retaining heat) for the warming up of the environment.     

 

            Glaciers such as the Himalaya and the Quelccaya (Perou) are losing 0.85 meters in their thickness every year. Around 40 frozen lakes in Nepal and Bhoutan are breaking up.

            Sea levels are climing 3 mm every year on average; the levels in the Pacific Ocean and Mediterranean Sea are reaching the alarming climb of 20 mm a year.

 

            The warming up of the climate is accelerating dangerously. Temperature increased 0.6 degrees just in the last 30 years while it took a century to increase 0.2 degrees before then.  The concentration in CO2 has increased to about 400 molecules per million; it was just 270 before the industrial age.

 

The liberation of methane gas and the drought of tropical forests are the two major factors that show evidence in the acceleration of environmental degradation.  The fast degradation has overtaken current research data that are no longer suitable for predicting the approaching calamity.

 

Fact Two:  Birth control is not efficient in the mostly under-developed States.

 

            China and India are supposed to have gotten birth rate under control but it is not because of higher educational level and better standards of living.  There are evidence of massive euthanasia practices on females and minorities camouflaged within laws interpreted very loosely and selectively. In the under-developed States political instability, poor security for law and order, unsustainable social institutions, and lack of financial and technical supports are exacerbating an already dangerous trend.  The UN is short on money and manpower in its specialized sections to counter this scourge. Over 50% of the population in Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, and Iran for example are under 15 years of age. (Global viable and alternative resolutions wil be developed in a follow up article)

            In Japan and many European States the trend is reversed; over 30% of the population are elderly (above 65 years) and draing the health budgets.

             

Fact Three:  Potable water and water for irrigation are dwindling fast.

 

            Climatic changes, heavy river pollution, accelerated urban centers, high rate of birth, and the early melting of mountain tops are depleting potable resources faster than expected.  Many States rich in rivers, especially those witnessing drough seven months per year, have not be aided in erecting dams for emergency seasons.  More States conflicts are centering on equitable potable water sharing.  The criticality of water supply is one of the main problems facing people in the coming decade.

 

Fact Four:  The middle classes in China and India are at least three times larger than the combined numbers in the USA and Europe and growing quickly.

            China and India are experience much better increases in their GNP than the USA and Europe during this downturn.  Consequently, China and India will focus on their internal markets to grow their economies in the same manner as the USA has been benefiting for over three centuries.  Middle classes demand to have consumer goods available since they have the money to purchase them.  They certainly have this right.  The problem is that purchasing cars is the first priority for middle class citizens with investment in infrastructures and facilities to abuse of these vehicles.  China has already surpassed the USA in the number of purchased car this year. India is making available unexpensive cars marketed at $2,000 in India. The kinds of energy sources that will drive these cars will have great consequences.  Consumerism can drive economies but depletion of natural resources requires a cultural change to accommodate a sustainable earth.

 

Fact Five:  The world economy is experiencing serious deflationary period.

            The world economy is struggling and the downturn is expected to last for at least 5 years.  This might be the best excellent news for a sustainable world production. There is the need for drastic diminishing of redundant and irrelevant consumer goods that can be substituted easily for human survival. Globalization created economic blocks with objective of exercising political pressures on the established developed nations.  The economic or trade blocks such as South-East Asian States, the Southern Latin American States, the Gulf Arab/Iranian States, and soon a few African States are struggling to stay above water and keep up with the fast moving globalization trend.

            The International Monetary Fund extended three quarter of its resources on the already industrialized states since its inception in 1944.  The G20 decided to triple the IMF fund to $750 billions.  The G20 will extended 44% of the funds, the other developed State a third and the over 55 poorer States will cover 17%.  It was hoped the restrictions and conditions for funding projects will be reduced from 17 conditions to 5 but nothing has been materializing so far.

 

Fact Six:  The world is going through deep financial crisis.

            Millions of workers and employees lost their jobs in a few months and that trend is increasing faster than expected.  The infusion of trillions of dollars into banks in order to facilitate the flow of trade transactions did not save banks from declaring bankruptcy.  The meeting of the biggest 20 financial markets that produce over 85% of the world economical transactions has not reached any consensus as to the financial basket reference for money fluctuation or the control of paper money issuing rights of individual power States. Consequently, the financial crisis is opened to dangerous more frequent reversals on a downward trend.  The USA is heavily relying on China for covering its increasing debt by purchasing US Treasury Bills.  China will be facing enormous capital investment inside because of the consequences of rapid economical strategies.  The rivers in China are over polluted, drough seasons are more frequent, and over 30 millions working in urban centers have been forced to relocate to rural areas where no job opportunities are available.  The moment China decides to cut down on financing US debt the the dollars will be devalued (for printing more paper money than the economy can support) and another financial crisis will loom on the horizon.

 

Fact Seven:  Effective military spending at the increase.

 

            People expected a rational decision by States in this economic and financial troubled times; people were hopeful that military budgets should decrease to balance other more needy budgets such as health, the environment, creating productive jobs, and education.  The reverse happened:  every major State that exported military hardware increased its military budget and it skyrocketed. The USA expenditure is more than double China and Russia combined and the fields of military operations expanding around the world. Societies are far more unstable and experiencing high unemployment rates and lower quality jobs for the qualified graduates. 

 

Fact Eight:  The identity crisis around the world is destabilizing order and security.

 

            After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Europe had to face up to the identity and ethnic crisis in East Europe such as ethnic and religious “cleansing” and the drive for independence of tiny States within the disintegrating Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. The European Union (EU) is the best representative for projects of unification among States with identity crisis.  The EU is clearly the most advanced union in matter of forging ahead with ethical issues. 

            Gorbachev has declared recently that Europe squandered 20 years of potential opportunities for stabilizing the European continent after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the defeat of communist Soviet Union.  If we revisit the problems that Europe had to deal with in priority then Europe had plenty of excuses.  First, West Germany had to absorb the cost of the re-unification of the crumbling economy of East Germany; then the EU had to battle the consequences of the disaster of 9/11 of 2001 and the frantic pressures of the Bush Jr. Administration to rally Europe to the invasion of Iraq; then the pronouncement of the Christian Conservatives alliance of the US administration of the binary dicta “either you are with us or against us”; then the declaration of an old senile Defense Minister Rumsfield lambasting “old and senile Europe” and getting hold of the European oil investments in Iraq.  The EU has now to come with a plan for the increased illegal immigration as the ideal destination location.  It must be that Europe was in a rejuvenation phase to have forged ahead in short time to a successful unification program.

 

A follow up article will attempt to ofer viable global resolution and will tackle the troubles with religious extremism and state ideologies.

“A short history of nearly everything” by Bill Bryson, (part 2)

How living organisms were created?

 Earth had no oxygen in its environment when it was created.  Cyanobacteria or algae break down water by absorbing the hydrogen and released the oxygen waste which is actually a very toxic element to every anaerobic organism; our white blood cells actually use oxygen to kill invading bacteria.  This process of releasing oxygen is called photosynthesis, undoubtedly the most important single metabolic innovation in the history of life on the planet. 

It took two billion years for our environment to accumulate 20% of oxygen because oxygen was absorbed to oxidize every conceivable mineral on Earth and rust it and sink it in the bottom of oceans. 

Life started when special bacteria used oxygen to summon up enough energy to work and photosynthesize. Mitochondria manipulate oxygen in a way that liberates energy from foodstuffs and they are very hungry tiny organisms that a billion of them are packed in a grain of sand.  Mitochondria maintain their own DNA, RNA and ribosome and behave as if they think things might not work out between us.  They look like bacteria, divide like bacteria and sometimes respond to antibiotics in the same way bacteria do; they live in cells but do not speak the same genetic language.  

The truly nucleated cells are called eukaryotes and we ended up with two kinds of them: those that expel oxygen, like plants, and those that take in oxygen, like us.  Single-celled eukaryote contains 400 million bits of genetic information in its DNA, enough to fill 80 books of 500 pages.  It took a billion years for eukaryotes to learn to assemble into complex multi-cellular beings.

Microbes or bacteria form an intrinsic unit with our body and our survival.  They are in the trillions grazing on our fleshy plains and breaking down our foodstuff and our waste into useful elements for our survival; they synthesize vitamins in our guts, convert food into sugar and polysaccharides and go to war on alien microbes; they pluck nitrogen from the air and convert it into useful nucleotides and amino acids for us, a process that is extremely difficult to manufacture industrially. 

Microbes continue to regenerate the air that we breathe with oxygen.  Microbes are very prolific and can split and generate 280 billion offspring within a day; once every million divisions they produce a mutant with a slight characteristic that can resist antibodies.  The most troubling is that microbes are endowed with the ability to evolve rapidly and acquire the genes of the mutants and become a single invincible super-organism; any adaptive change that occurs in one area of the bacterial province can spread to any other. 

Microbes are generally harmless unless, by accident, they move from a specialized location in the body to another location such as the blood stream, for example, or are attacked by viruses, or our white blood cells go on a rampage.  Microbes can live almost anywhere; some were found in nuclear power generators feeding on uranium, some in the deep seas, some in sulfuric environment, some in extreme climate, and some can survive in enclosed bottles for hundred of years as long as there is anything to feed on.

Viruses or phages can infect bacteria. A virus are not alive, they are nucleic acid, inert and harmless in isolation and visible by the electron microscope; it barely have ten genes; even the smallest bacteria require several thousand genes..  But introduce them into a suitable host and they burst into life.

Viruses prosper by hijacking the genetic material of a living cell and reproduce in a fanatical manner.  About 5,000 types of virus are known and they afflict us with the flu, smallpox, rabies, yellow fever, Ebola, polio and AIDS.  Viruses burst upon the world in some new and startling form and then vanish as quickly as they came after killing millions of individuals in a short period.

There are billions of species and tropical rainforests that represent only 6% of the Earth surface harbor more than half of its animal life and two third of its flowering plants. A quarter of all prescribed medicines are derived from just 40 plants and 16% coming from microbes.  The discovery of new flowery plants might provide humanity with chemical compounds that have passed the “ultimate screening program” over billions of years of evolution.

The tenth of the weight of a six years pillow is made up of mites, living or dead, and mite dung; low temperature washing just get the lice cleaner!

 Water is everywhere. A potato is 80% water, a cow 74%, a bacterium 75%, a tomato at 95%, and human 65%.  Most liquid when chilled contract 10% but water only 1%, but just before freezing it expands.  When solid water is 10% more voluminous, an utterly bizarre property which allow ice to float, otherwise ice would sink and oceans would freeze from the bottom. 

Without surface ice to hold heat in, the water warmth would radiate away and thus creating more ice and soon oceans would freeze.  Water is defying the rules of chemistry and law of physics.  The hydrogen atoms cling fiercely to their oxygen host, but also make casual bonds with other water molecules, thus changing partners billions of times a second and thus, water molecules stick together and can be siphoned without breaking but not so tightly so that you may dive into a pool.  Surface water molecules are attracted more powerfully to the like molecule beneath and beside them than to the air molecule above so that it creates a sort of membrane that supports insects.

All but the smallest fraction of the water on Earth is poisonous to us because of the salts within it.  Uncannily, the proportions of the various salts in our body are similar to those in sea water; we cry sea water, and we sweat sea water but we cannot tolerate sea water as an input! Salt in the body provoke a crisis because from every cell, water molecules rush off to dilute and carry off the sudden intake of salt.  The oceans have achieved their present volume of 1.3 billion cubic kilometer of water and it is a closed system. 

The Pacific holds 52% of the 97% of all the water on Earth.  The remaining 3% of fresh water exist as ice sheet; Antarctica holds 90% of the planet’s ice, standing on over 2 miles of ice.  If Antarctica is to completely melt the ocean would rise about 70 meters.


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