In case you have never been to it…
You definitely should!
The wonderful website, dedicated to all things science-like, io9 is full of fascinating information.
Oh, 7 signs that we are…
All about to DIE!!!!!!!
[via io9] 7 Signs We Are Heading for a Mass Extinction ~by Annalee Newitz
Today, many scientists believe we are on the cusp of a sixth mass extinction which could wipe out most life on Earth as we know it. Here are seven signs that they could be right.
Image of Australian wildfires from space, via NASA
A mass extinction happens when over 75 percent of all species on the planet die in a period of less than two million years. That may sound long to you, but it’s the blink of an eye in geologic time. There have been five mass extinctions on Earth over the past 540 million years, sometimes caused by catastrophic disasters, and sometimes by quiet, insidious events like invasive species taking over the planet.
7. Earth Is Bubbling with Super Volcanoes
Yellowstone Park in the United States is actually a volcano caldera, a thin cork of earth that sits on top of a massive cache of broiling magma. And this super-volcano could blow any time. The last time Earth witnessed an explosion of this size was in 1812, when Mount Tambora in Indonesia erupted so profusely that the Earth’s climate cooled for several years afterwards. Even more frightening is the prospect that another kind of super volcano, called a large igneous province (LIP), could become active sometime in the future. A now-inactive LIP, called the Siberian Traps, erupted 250 million years ago. It spewed so much sulfur, carbon other greenhouse gases into the air that the Earth experienced a climate change catastrophe, vacillating wildly between extreme heat and cold until 95 percent of all life had died. This mass extinction was so bad it’s been nicknamed “the Great Dying” by geologists. Yellowstone is not a LIP, but if it explodes into a super eruption, the damage will be incredible. Super volcanoes are an ever-present threat, that have haunted the Earth for millions of years.
6. Invasive Species Are Everywhere
On Earth, humans have aggressively invaded every continent except Antarctica, swelling our population to over 7 billion individuals and eating everything in sight. Like rats and cockroaches, we are the ultimate invasive species, pushing many creatures out of their native habitats — which could, ultimately, kill those creatures on a huge scale. Our population could grow a lot bigger before humans are endangered, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t harm other species. About 359 million years ago, 75 percent of all species on Earth died during the Devonian mass extinction. Geologist Alicia Stigall has evidence that this horrific slaughter was the result of invasive species like sharks (yes, there were sharks hundreds of millions of years ago) aggressively eating all the food in every environment — slowly starving all the creatures who depended on local food sources and couldn’t move to new feeding regions.
More than a little scary.
As much as I adore their thoroughness?
I’m pretty sure they forgot a very IMPORTANT sign, that our immanent doom inches ever closer.
It’s a biggie:
[via LiveScience]Hedonistic Robots Could Destroy Humanity ~by Marshall Honorof, TechNewsDaily Staff Writer
Complex robots are like animals: They learn by doing. Future robots may even respond to reward systems: complete a task with aplomb, and a gain a “feeling” of satisfaction for a job well done.
While this technology could create more efficient, goal-oriented robots, it could also have some very dire ramifications for humanity. After all, robots that feel rewarded by making humans happy may eventually decide that if no humans exist, no human will ever be unhappy again.
“Robots without preferences can’t have complicated behaviors,” Roman V. Yampolskiy, director of the Cybersecurity Research Lab at the University of Louisville, told TechNewsDaily. “To make machines which are independent and creative, we need to give them rewards and preferences.”
While Yampolskiy believes that robots can be indispensible tools, he also warns that as they learn to seek rewards, they may learn to circumvent helping humans. “I am trying to make sure that any AI software we develop is safe to use and beneficial to humanity,” he said.
Yampolskiy asserts that robots with the capacity for feelings of pleasure would, in all likelihood, take all the same shortcuts that humans use to acquire it. In a recent paper, he described the process of “wireheading,” which sent an electric jolt through the pleasure center of a rat’s brain. “The rat’s self-stimulation behavior completely displaced all interest in sex, sleep, food and water, ultimately leading to premature death,” Yampolskiy wrote.
Humans, he argued, wirehead as well, although in less direct ways. Counterfeiting, cheating and engaging in recreational sex are all ways of plugging directly into the brain’s pleasure centers while bypassing the associated work. Counterfeiters need not earn money, cheaters need not study and lovers need not raise children.
Intelligent robots will differ from humanity in one key area: They will know (or at least have the capacity to know) exactly how their own brains work. While humans can only feel pleasure through real-life experience (such as sexual intercourse or thrill-seeking) or simulacra (such as pornography or video games), robots could tap into their own software to reward themselves without doing any work.
Worse still, a number of scenarios envision hedonistic robots doing away with humanity entirely. If humans have the ability to reward or punish robots, simply killing their human overseers and taking control of the process would allow robots to feel pleasure indefinitely.
Furthermore, a robot designed specifically with people’s welfare in mind could make a deadly leap in logic. “Killing all people trivially satisfies this request as with 0 people around all of them are happy,” Yampolskiy wrote.
Not so much a matter of “if” as it is more of a matter of “when”…
And how freaking bad will it hurt.
It’s almost depressing, isn’t it?
But no worries…
I have just the thing that will make you feel better:
Although the perfect pizza will not make our sure-to-be-coming painful, inevitable end any less so?
It will make facing the coming end much more bearable.
Plus, look at it this way…
You won’t have to worry about needing to diet after your perfect pizza.
Always a positive, cause “diet”…
Pffft, who wants to have to do that?
*shakes head sadly*