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Author Topic: The Universal Extinction Constant (a useful variable constant ?)  (Read 4321 times)

Offline Blue Genes

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Every species will suffer an extinction threat for the duration of its existence. This common threat is called the Universal Extinction Constant(UEC). It is a permanent feature for all life in our universe.
 
The UEC is a constant variable. Its changing value is called the The Extinction Threat Level (ETL). ETL is a measurement of risk. Every event and activity can be expressed in terms of its impact on the ETL of a species, be it positive, neutral or negative. ETL is, was, and always will be relevant to a species, irrespective of its location in time or space. Only an advanced sentient species (ie humans) can attempt to calculate, monitor and improve its ever-changing ETL.

As human beings we face numerous threats to our long-term existence. Our success or failure to manage and reduce the risks from these threats can be measured by the changing ETL value.

Used as a common measure, could ETL engender positive, aspirational and challenging goals, providing a vision for a better and sustainable future for mankind?


 

Offline Soul Surfer

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I see what you are trying to get at but you must remember extinction is an absolute i.e. when a species is extinct there are none left. Any species may, as a result of changing conditions or self created catastrophe (usually overpopulation) suffer a major set back in which most of the population dies in fact some species do this on a regular basis.  However the population has not become extinct and does recover in time.

When a species is becoming extinct it usually fails quite slowly and fades away because conditions are not right for its long term survival and it cannot adapt.

I do believe that the human population of this planet is set for a major setback unless it can work out how to control its numbers at a suitable sustainable level (probably less than ten percent of the current population of the earth)  but I do not believe that this setback is likely to cause extinction because human beings are far too resourceful as survival species.

It therefore follows that your analysis should be directed towards the probability and nature of a major population collapse as a threat.  there will always be several of these threats running at any time of course for example  nuclear war, overpopulation, disease, climate change, External catastrophe(Asteroid impact etc),  global catastrophe (supervolcano etc)
« Last Edit: 12/04/2007 09:20:32 by Soul Surfer »
 

another_someone

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Have you not ignored declining fertility rates as a cause - although one could argue that loss of fertility is itself merely a symptom of some other cause.
 

Offline Seany

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Have you not ignored declining fertility rates as a cause - although one could argue that loss of fertility is itself merely a symptom of some other cause.

Hmm.. Some people say that there will be a disease in the future, which makes reproducing impossible for humans, thus us dying of old age.
 

Offline Blue Genes

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Many thanks for the feedback.
I agree in the short term a setback is more probable than total extinction........but if we remain Earth bound at our current technology levels it is difficult to see how we can mitigate some of the more catastrophic risk scenarios. So like 99.9% of Earth species we are doomed to oscillate from setback to success to setback until we become extinct. In other words we will spend our existence in the same tight extinction threat level (ETL) band as most other species. However an advanced sentient race has the potential to greatly reduce its ETL if it gets its act together. Perhaps a shared measure would help. They say you can only manage and improve what you measure, currently all we have is the doomesday clock.
 

Offline Seany

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Yes.. I wish I could help, but I just don't understand. :D
 

Offline Blue Genes

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Does Professor Hawking’s Zero G ride help with the understanding?
 
Unless people cruelly dismiss it as pop-science, Professor Hawking’s Zero G ride this week shows he is keen to see humanity reduce its Extinction Threat Level (ETL). He is quoted as saying:- "Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers.” He also said in a statement before boarding. "I think the human race has no future if it doesn't go into space. I therefore want to encourage public interest in space."
 
In a nutshell, even if we mitigate the risks we create, there is still the risk (statistical likelihood) of massive natural disasters. One of the best ways to mitigate the risk is to spread out and not remain earth bound.  Otherwise we will just spend our existence in the same tight extinction threat level (ETL) band as most other species lurching between setbacks.
 
Basically, we need to our push our extinction horizon as far away as possible… and you can only manage what you measure - hence my initial post.
 

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