This is starting to get some outside attention

Today in the Daily Kos, a widely-read blog that maily focuses on the liberal/progressive point of view, has today published Is it time we start saying the E word?

I recommend the post, although has more details of all or most of these things. The videos are recommended.

The concept of mass extinction, nad the forces driving it, which are likely caused by human activity, has gone well out of the hands of any human being to stop it. Human activity may have been – or is likely to have been – the spark that started it, but now nature is just taking its course – as it has 5 times in the earth’s past.

The comments which are currently there have an argument on how much time – 100,000 years or a couple of decades. Some of the posts already on this blog are Antarctic half Thermohaline Circulation Collapsing, Surviving an Overheating World – We’ve Run out of Time to Play Politics, It’s too late: We’re all dead and others in the Earth changes section.

The next thing to happen will be that major news sources start talking about it, first in print, then on TV. The result of that will likely be nothing, but it could be major panic. It won’t help, either way. Panic will cause more suffering in the near term.


Antibiotic-resistant bacteria becoming more common. Risk is now on-par with climate change

16 months ago, I wrote about the dangers of resistant strains of common bacteria. This is at In there, I said that in 2012, that 60% of Staphylococcus aureus seen by US doctors were MRSA. Now, in 2014, the World Health Organization reports that in the Americas 90% of Staphylococcus aureus infections are reported to be methicillin-resistant (MRSA) Daily Kos has a simpler article on the problem, that says nearly the same things at World must consider antibiotic-resistant pathogens to be same level of a threat as climate change

MRSA is on all continents, in all or nearly-all nations. As such, it is now a full-blown pandemic. The FDA has found that between 8.5% – 22.5% of chicken and pork products were infected with MRSA, and the numbers are believed to be rising even higher. Over 2 million people in the United States are infected with MRSA alone, with 23,000 of them dying from them, adding $23 billion to annual healthcare costs. Infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria kill far more people than HIV or AIDS, WHO and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have sent out warnings about all of this, but those went unheeded.

It remains a “hidden epidemic” because resistant strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria are not reportable diseases, and are not listed as such on death certificates. Usually, a MRSA death lists “complications” as cause of death on the death certificate.

We have not developed a new antibiotic in 20 years. It takes years to develop a new antibiotic, and there are none in the pipeline. Pharmaceutical companies have been asked and encouraged to, but with the cost of developing and marketing a new medication being so high, the drugs they wish to introduce and develop are for chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or cholesterol. People take those drugs for years, and they remain as effective as they were, and useful until a better class of drugs is developed. Antibiotics, by contrast, are taken for 10-14 days, and the person is done with them. They don’t get continual refills for antibiotics. They don’t sell at nearly as high of a price, so there is little return on investment. Or, insurance companies and institutions will not put them on their “formulary”, will not provide nor pay for them, and they get prescribed an older, cheaper, and ineffective antibiotic. They get sicker, and more costly to treat, or they die.

According to Frontline, some doctors are making the problem worse, by overprescribing antibiotics to those who will not benefit from them, failing to test, or failing to follow-up with such patients.

Yes, other nations could have their companies or their governments develop antibiotics. The fact is that most of the drug research is done in the United States, with nearly all of the experts in pharmacology research being in the United States. Without the people or expertise, it will take them decades to catch up. The US government can encourage, or even pay corporations to develop such things, but if it is not profitable enough, the pharmaceutical companies will not do it. Even at that, it will take years to develop a new antibiotic.

We are now in a post-antibiotic era!

The result of having no antibiotics which will prevent common infections will put our surgeons and hospitals back to where they were in the 18th century. Surgeries were possible then, and some were done, but there was a high chance of dying of an infection afterward.

I disagree with the writer of the DailyKos article. This will be the year remembered for when we set up an international organization recognizing there was a problem, and too late to actually do much about it. It is the year that many more people in the United States got healthcare insurance, access to medical care, and were inadvertently infected with deadly bacteria getting long-term or chronic conditions treated.

This problem was identified in the early 1970s. It should have been addressed then, and throughout the 1980s and 1990s. It is probably too late to stop this now.

So… what to do? Stay home if you’re sick. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of liquids. Avoid drugs. Avoid getting infections: Treat all cuts with antiseptic. Drink enough water. Get enough rest. Avoid seeking healthcare. Avoid visiting hospitals and medical centers if your immune system is compromised due to age, medications, or disease. Stay out of crowded places. If you have a condition that requires surgery, see if there are ways to avoid surgery. If you’re pregnant, deliver your baby at home, with a midwife, and limit visitors to the new mother or newborn baby. ESPECIALLY do not allow those infected with MRSA to visit, or with unknown skin infections.

I’m saying this as a person who was once infected with MRSA several years ago during surgery at a hospital. The infection required a second surgery. After that surgery, rather than an isolation room, I was placed in the obstetrics ward because my reserved isolation room had been given to someone else, when I was late getting out of surgery. While in the obstetrics unit, along with reminding everyone who entered my room to observe handwashing policies, I refused to go see and hold those “cute little babies”. I was shamed after I refused, because “you must hate babies”. I’m no fan of babies, and my other articles on this blog points out I object to reproducing, but I certainly would not want to kill already-born infants! Fortunately, I do not react well to pressure, guilt, and manipulation, and I don’t really care what anyone thinks of me. What on earth were they thinking, or were they thinking??? The next person they did that to or with might not understand what it meant to have antibiotic-reisistant bacteria, and it might matter more to them if this nurse’s aid thought they hated babies or something.

I’ve been posting on Cynics for a Better Tomorrow since its beginning that although there are numerous threats to the short-term survival of civilization or the human race, but I thought that the highest probability was a microbe. Higher than nuclear war. Higher than ecological disaster. Higher than natural disaster. I’m sad to say that I might be right, even with the new information about climate change coming faster and harder than we think.

Exponential growth

No matter where we look, or who we talk to about nearly any topic, one recurring theme is “growth”. We want our companies to grow, our economy to grow, our cities to grow, our schools to grow, and so forth.

Many of our economic and social systems rely on constant exponential growth of younger people.

Clearly this has a limit. At some point in a few centuries, with the current growth rates, human beings would expand to take the entire mass of the planet! Clearly, this would be an absurd situation, and one which we could never get to.

Optimists tell us though that the world is not overpopulated, that the entire population of the world could fit in Texas or other location roughly the same size. Of course, it takes much more space to support those people, to supply them with food, water, and oxygen than it would take for them to survive.

So, which is it?

Population has been growing exponentially throughout the 20th and the 21st century from the 2 billion in 1900, to the 7.5 billion in 2014. As it is, even with the most destructive wars in human history happening in the 20th century, pandemics which have each killed more than previous pandemics did, the time to double remains at about 60 years.

So, what happens with doubling? David Suzuki gives a nice explanation of exponential population growth, with bacteria who are imagined to have the intelligence of human beings. When you’re half full as far as what the food, water, air, etc can handle for your environment, you’re one doubling period from extinction/collapse.

How far are we from extinction? If the world can really support 15 billion people on it, with a significant majority of them having improving lifestyles, using more fuel, water, and oxygen, we are 60 years away. If it can handle 9 billion under those same conditions, we have about 20 years.

Tech cannot save us. Even if we somehow find and develop the technology to travel to 4 more planets, it will only buy us another 120 years before we have those 4 planets overfilled. Even if we created an off-world space station, even if it was the size of earth, which seems highly unlikely, that will only buy us until 2074. If they could support 1 billion people, this hypothetical space station will keep us at our status-quo in 14 years… and keep in mind that those living on the space station will continue to grow their population. This will postpone the problem, and keep causing a bigger problem.

Youtube video about end of the world.

I have seen a Youtube video which discusses some of the other ludicrous possibilities of the end of the world. Opinon-Ville:Doomsday Preppy. Included are the Zombie Apocalypse, the world being a simulation in some 4-year-old’s computer, killer robots, bigfoot uprising, mechanized death shrimp, and… Satan! They explain why nuclear war is no longer a possibility.

Worth watching if you want to laugh about the end of the world.

Disclaimer: Cynics for a Better Tomorrow have no connection with the maker of this video, and takes no responsibility for the making or content of that video.

It’s too late: We’re all dead

I wish to review and recommend a Vinny Eastwood show episode titled, It’s Too Late To Stop Climate Change, WE ARE DEAD with Guy McPherson, which originally aired 18-Nov-2013.

I have to say that I mostly agree with him. It’s far too late for such things as carbon taxes and carbon credits to have any effect. The climate changes which we are seeing now result from our carbon emissions 40 years ago – in 1974, when there were just over 4 billion people on the planet, industrialized nations were startled and in a recession from the first Oil Crisis. Since then, we have burned about twice the fossil fuels since 1970 as we did before 1970, emitted even more greenhouse gases, and are seeing polar melt – complete with the methane emissions from the gas trapped under the permafrost, sea level rise from the polar ice caps melting, and on and on. The next 40 years will see the results of twice-again as many greenhouse gases. Note that the results of more greenhouse gasses are not linear. Twice the carbon dioxide will not lead to twice-again the temperature rise – it increases exponentially.

Guy McPerson brings up the problem with the methane produced by the melting polar regions – methane being a much more serious greenhouse gas than Carbon Dioxide or Carbon Monoxide. That leads to more global warming, more release of methane. At this point, it doesn’t matter what we do – we are dead. Specifically, what he means, is a 10C degree rise in global temperatures by 2020. It doesn’t matter if we all stop driving, stop flying, all become vegan, all eat locally-produced vegetables, stop burning natural gas and stop making electricity. Climate change will continue, and accelerate catastrophically.

This is not the only self-reinforcing feedback loop that exists to accelerate global warming. To date, 28 such feedback systems have been identified! Guy McPherson, being a science professor, has a great deal more information about this on his site, in his frequently-updated article Climate-Change Summary and Update.

He brings up the notion that all of the greenwashing that we have and are doing is set up to make someone some money. Driving a hybrid makes our emissions from driving much lower, but so much more energy goes into manufacturing the hybrid or electric vehicle and its battery – that unless we drive it heavily for a dozen years, it requires as much fossil fuels as if we were to drive a very gasoline-intensive vehicle, such as a Hummer. The phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” has been used to encourage recycling. Recycling aluminium and semi-conductors is important because of their relative scarcity and difficulty purifying them. Recycling paper requires more energy than cutting third-cut wood, and much more than making paper from hemp. Moreover, much recyclable material is never recycled, but is shipped to China and put in a landfill there. But, recycling makes a lot of money for some people – much of it funded by governments and ecology groups.

We can all sit around and await our doom. We can do something. The problem is that there is nothing that we can do to prevent it. The things that society could have done to prevent it were not done decades ago when they would have mattered. We cannot, at this point, make any sort of changes in the laws or with any government – even a global government – that will prevent it. What we can do is change how we live, now. We each need to do things that are important to us, and to do things for those who are important to us. Do what makes US happy, spend more time with our loved ones, improve our communities, our local environment. Spend less time trying to get rich or preparing for our retirement – which won’t happen. All we will do is make someone richer. No matter what we use or don’t use, it will not change the inevitable. The one thing to not do is procreate: You wouldn’t want to be personally responsible for putting more people in this die-off which will certainly not be pretty!

Don’t think for a moment that the rich – the top 0.1% or 0.0001% will somehow escape this. The temperatures will go up for them and their environments too, and all of the ramifications of it. Even if they have bunkers full of food and water and air for themselves and anyone they think can help them to survive better – and all of the gadgets we can imagine – the time for those bunkers is limited. They may be able to live a few more decades – or even a century – beyond what most of us will, but they too, will find themselves in a hostile environment, with gadgets they cannot repair, with air and water which they cannot replenish.

Of note are that many other civilizations have collapsed, and human kind lived on, moved on, and eventually created other societies. One major difference now is that we have a post-nuclear society. If it collapses, the nuclear materials – fuel, weapons, and waste – will need to be shut down and the nuclear material removed. We don’t know how to dispose of nuclear waste long-term now. The best we can do, or are doing, is burying it in canisters which can survive a few decades until they begin leaking if not replaced. Nuclear plants need to be shut down properly, or there will be Fukushima Daiichi x 10000 happen. After our civilization collapses, its ruins will cause a chemical and nuclear wasteland on our planet in which nothing can survive.

Technology will not save us! Even space aliens will not save us – we would first have to convince some hypothetical alien race that we are worth saving.
Industrial civilization caused this This was predicted by Svante Arrhenius in the 19th century that the burning of coal would eventually lead to temperature rise. American naturalist George Perkins Marsh predicted this in 1847. The UK Guardian reported on this in 2011. Many other people predicted this throughout the latter part of the 19th century and throughout the 20th century. The only mistakes he made were in assuming the amount of coal burned would remain constant, and other fossil fuels would not contribute significantly.

Guy McPherson agrees with me. In some ways, we are more criticized than the climate deniers. The climate deniers don’t see any need to do anything, and neither do Mr. McPherson and I. What I do see a need to do is make our last few years as meaningful as we can – to ourselves and those around us.

“I feel you can have a sense of humor in the light of impending doom. And if you can’t, it’s going to be a pretty miserable way down.” – Guy McPherson

Polio: A World Health Emergency in 2014

In February, I posted an article about a (supposedly new) polio-like epidemic that was occurring, which reports said was a “new” strain of enterovirus. At the same time, other countries were concerned about a new bout of a polio outbreak, while only 40% of those infected with this (supposedly) new polio-like tested positive for enterovirus-68, it’s supposed cause. I wondered then if this were not a re-emergence of polio – a disease for which we’ve had a vaccination for more than half a century.

The World Health Organization declared an international emergency and reports a 10-country outbreak, which could spread widely over the next few months! Yes, I am shouting. This will likely be a pandemic outbreak, which will kill or cripple billions of people – mainly children – throughout the world. This is needless! This disease was nearly eradicated in the 1980s. There is an effective prevention. Billions of dollars have been spent trying to vaccinate people throughout the world for this, and increase the safety of water supplies. Now, it is all likely to be for naught.

Many people are not getting the vaccination now. That’s for a number of reasons.

  • One of these reasons are those who have bought into Dr. Wakefield’s debunked “Vaccines cause autism” and Thimerosal scares, and have refused to vaccinate themselves and their children. This is even though the polio vaccination does not, and never has, contained Thimerosal.
  • Another reason is the number of regions of the world which are undergoing war or civil unrest.
  • A third reason is the belief among many of the Muslim residents of countries and regions which had not yet eradicated endemic polio that governmental and NGO vaccination clinics were to sterilize their women and rid the world of Muslims. This paranoia has led to them attacking the clinics and the clinic workers, and made for fewer clinics and the remaining ones have less participation.

The World Health Organization has put travel restrictions on for Pakistan over polio, to require that anyone traveling from Pakistan show evidence of a polio vaccination according to The Times of India.

It is reported on The Star about the polio re-emergence in Pakistan. Reuters reports an attack on a convoy of UNICEF polio workers and their escorts in March, 2014. Even in the US, while almost all states require polio vaccinations in order to enter school, nearly all states have exemptions for philosophical or religious reasons. Overall, the CDC reports in 2012 that throughout the US, 92.8% of children had received the polio virus, with wide variations in states and territories. Guam is the lowest at 69.9%, and Kansas is the lowest state at 85.4%.

While some children and adults cannot take a vaccine for health reasons, having a full 7% of all children relying on “herd immunity” is ridiculous! Herd immunity works so long as NO ONE in their environment has or gets polio. With the number of people visiting the polio-endemic regions of the world, because of business or governmental activity – including military – it is quite likely that someone will come into their community with it. Polio is mainly spread through the consumption of human feces – most often in drinking water. However, with the major infrastructure issues throughout the US limiting the certainty of wastewater treatment plants destroying all polio, city water supplies not being certain of disinfecting their water supply, plus issues of bottled water not having any testing requirements at all it is moderately likely that people will be exposed… and in great numbers.

Take bottled water alone. In 2012 The Food Safety Authority reported that approximately 1% of bottled water was tainted with e-coli. E-coli infections are interesting to watch, as that pathogen is transmitted the same way polio is – through the fecal-oral route. It’s not a pleasant thought, but the fact is that we are eating and drinking others’ waste material. Just last month in Pittsburgh, bottled water was recalled as being tained with e-coli. This could well have been polio.

What you, as an individual can do is to make certain that your children have had their polio vaccinations, or are on schedule getting their 4-dose polio vaccination. If you are an adult, and have not had a polio vaccination, or are unsure, to get your polio vaccination. Even if you were vaccinated decades ago as a child, get a booster. This is easy and of low or no cost in the United States. Most counties have a Health department that offers these vaccines free or at low cost. If you have insurance, the Affordable Care Act provides that you can see your doctor or other health provider for vaccinations at no cost – not even a co-pay – whether you bought your insurance on the Exchange, or if you had it some other way – employer provided, individual policy, as a member in some organization. In other countries with some sort of National Health Service, the vaccinations are also provided free of charge.

There is no reason this should be happening in 2014! This disease was long-ago conquered by medical science, and should have been eradicated over the past half century. It was not, mainly due to human greed, ignorance, superstition, and deliberate misinformation.

I’ve long predicted that the next global pandemic would be a long-known, well-understood disease, possibly with a vaccination or effective treatments, which would be long ignored, and mistaken for other things – wasting years of research when the problem is small up until nothing can effectively stop the pandemic. This fits that bill. In February, this “polio-like” thing was denied as being polio, except by the Times of India.

Meanwhile, new reports about a coronavirus, which I discussed in September, 2012 in an article titled, The Return of disease similar to SARS in September 2012, is still around, killing about 1/3 of those who become ill with it. In 2012, they didn’t think human-to-human transmission was possible, but now it appears to be occasionally transmitted person-to-person. Of note, many common colds are coronaviruses.

Which apocalypse would be the most fun?

Cracked has a video a video, “Which apocalypse would be the most fun”. It is a discussion among a group of people of which hypothetical future apocalypse would be the most fun, exciting, interesting…. Zombies? Killer Robots? Asteroids? Moreover, what sorts of things should we do to prepare for the very end once an apocalypse has started? Note: NSFW.

Please comment below which apocalypse scenario you would prefer, whether discussed in the video or anywhere on this site or not? Why would you prefer that over some other possibilities? Or, which of the unlikely ones, such as zombies, you might find the most fun?

Asteroid Impacts Bigger Danger Than Previously Thought

I have discussed the cataclysmic effects of asteroids on this blog before. I discussed the one that hit the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, the Apophis Asteroid near-miss. Asteroid impacts have been featured in dystopian fiction, such as the 1997 TV movie Asteroid and numerous other movies with a storyline of an asteroid that is set to impact earth, or does impact earth.

Now, it appears that asteroids are hitting the earth far more frequently than previously thought. NASA astronauts have been seeing an increase since 2001. From that article, “Bad news, earthlings. A former NASA scientist says it’s mere happenstance that an Armageddon-style asteroid hasn’t hit a densely populated area in the last few years.” A sobering number is that since 2001, 26 different explosions on the scale of an atomic bomb have been identified just since 2001.

Fortunately, there is an organization, B612 Foundation of scientists who literally are working to save the earth from meteors and other objects which could destroy anything from a house to life as we know it. Will they succeed? Will they get funding? It seems unlikely that anyone will significantly fund them, since they appear to produce nothing that adds to anyone’s output or profit. No government will fund them because it will not just benefit any one country, but the same or similar technology can be used for war or defense.

People have been fascinated by fictional accounts of asteroids or meteors hitting earth, or humans making use of asteroids or meteors by mining them since the 19th century. Numerous short stories and novels have been written, with increasing numbers of them written throughout the 20th century into the 21st century. A partial list of some early stories involving asteroids is available.. It remains a common plot device in dystopian and apocalyptic fiction – genres which are growing in popularity.

Fiction aside, asteroids, meteors, and meteorites are a real threat within the solar system. NASA filmed one breaking up just this year, and Yale University has a video out of the approach of an asteroid in 2002.

This still seems to be an item for science fiction, but these are very real. Cnet reports a 1 in 74,817,414 to be killed by a metor strike in a given year. Compare this to the odds of being killed by a bee or wasp sting – something that many people fear – of 1 in 25,364,571 per year – or a little less than triple the odds of being killed by a meteor. Tulane University shows a grimmer set of numbers for causes of death over a lifetime. They give the odds of being killed by a meteorite at 1:3000 at the lower end – which indicates it’s nearly as likely as death by a firearms accident and being killed by a meteorite is three times as likely as death by drowning. Even at the high end of their figures, with dying from a meteor impact being 1:250,000, that’s much more likely than being killed in a shark attack. Anyone who remembers after the movie Jaws or any of its follow-ons came out, can remember how worried average people were.

Why are the odds so high? Simply put, if meteorites cause deaths, they will likely kill entire cities, or all along the coastline of a particular ocean! Millions or even billions of people will die at once, as opposed to one, a few, or even dozens in these more common types of death, such as drowning or firearm accidents.

So, this is another scenario which will kill off humankind, or civilization, or even a majority of us. It’s a matter of when. It could be thousands or even millions of years from now, or perhaps tomorrow. There is no way to tell. We could easily get more warning, but what good would that do? Panic on a grand scale would just last longer. We could lower this risk, but it won’t be seen as a problem by those who could fund it until after it’s happened.

NASA has put out a warning scale for future incoming meteors, using familiar color-coded warnings from white through green through red. Red on the Torino Scale? Just say “goodbye”.

More terrorism and war due to increasing water shortage

I first mentioned Peak Water as an upcoming problem in 2010. At that time, water was viewed by many in the industrialized world as a free or nearly free resource. Some people even viewed it as a problem when they were flooding.

Now, the idea is becoming much more mainstream. It’s on It’s also in The Guardian in an article dated 8-Feb-2014. Rural communities are finding their water supplies drying up. 1 billion people do not have reliable access to safe drinking water. California, Brazil, the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and China are among the hardest hit regions and nations by this water loss. There are a number of reasons for it. Fracking using a great deal of fresh water making it undrinkable permanently is one cause. Climate change is another. The demand made by cities for huge quantities of water is another.

Regardless of the reason, people without water are desperate with nothing to lose. Their lives will not last more than a week without water. Desperate people take desperate actions. If it’s sudden, they may rise up in a revolt, terrorism, or organic invasion of a neighboring area believed to have water. If it’s slower-advancing and long-term, they may be looking to migrate. There is no more “frontier” to homestead and frontier as there was in the 18th and 19th centuries. No one is going to take in huge numbers of immigrants and water refugees. These desperate people or their equally desperate governments may declare war. Some of the hardest-hit areas have had strife for decades or centuries – and this lack of water will not help anything!

Cynics have arrived!!! has become popular enough that it is now ranked on Alexa ranks the top 20 million blogs in the world. is ranked 15,723,707 as of this posting.

The first 5 sites listed with links to here are:

What a combination!

Okay. #2 makes sense, as it’s kind of along the same lines. I’ve got an atheist blog/user community. I’ve got co-ed topless pulp fiction – which is an interesting idea. I suppose that it’s one thing to do instead of procreating, and reading pulp fiction may be one of the most productive things we can do until the end actually gets here. #5 is a high IQ society. Clearly, if one intelligently looks at ALL of the data and trends in the world, it’s obvious that 7+ billion human beings and counting – and increasing per capita consumption is heading for a crash and burn – due to running into one of the many constraints such as food, water, oxygen, clean air, overcrowding, violence, pandemics, decaf coffee and on and on.

The one I don’t understand though is #4 – or maybe I understand all too well! Is the utter destruction of civilization, human kind, higher life, all life on earth, or the planet itself really the path toward eternal bliss for the faithful? Well, I guess it might as well be. While optimists reading this blog might view the content of any of my scenarios or predictions to be warnings which could be changed, the Cynical position is that it’s too late to stop it. It’s kind of like if I should walk outside one day and see numerous Minuteman3 missles taking off into the air. At that point, it is too late for anyone, especially an ordinary person with no particular political power or authority to do anything to stop it. The choice would be to be frightened, or to get out some popcorn and lawnchairs, coats if needed, and sit outside and watch the pretty rockets. The latter would be my preference, but it wouldn’t really matter anyway. For those who like to fish, a 1986 Far Side cartoon explained it very well “No size restrictions and screw the limit!”. You can see it at I don’t see any point to having a Pinterest account, so it is not my picture. I don’t know where that person stands on the cynics/pessimist/optimists continuium.

No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.–Lily Tomlin