Is it just me or is this seriously spooky?

It’s a funny thing about global warming: Out of all the terrifying aspects of the science of climate change, it’s often the small stories — the reports about the way planetary warming is affecting specific species — that seem most frightening. 

(The Independent, via BuzzFlash) Climate Change vs Mother Nature: Scientists reveal that bears have stopped hibernating

Bears have stopped hibernating in the mountains of northern Spain, scientists revealed yesterday, in what may be one of the strongest signals yet of how much climate change is affecting the natural world.

In a December in which bumblebees, butterflies and even swallows have been on the wing in Britain, European brown bears have been lumbering through the forests of Spain’s Cantabrian mountains, when normally they would already be in their long, annual sleep.

Bears are supposed to slumber throughout the winter, slowing their body rhythms to a minimum and drawing on stored resources, because frozen weather makes food too scarce to find. The barely breathing creatures can lose up to 40 per cent of their body weight before warmer springtime weather rouses them back to life.

But many of the 130 bears in Spain’s northern cordillera - which have a slightly different genetic identity from bear populations elsewhere in the world - have remained active throughout recent winters, naturalists from Spain’s Brown Bear Foundation (La Fundación Oso Pardo - FOP) said yesterday.

Something is going fundamentally wrong with this planet, something we’ve done to it ourselves.  And so far, at least, there’s little evidence that we have the will to do anything about it.

And yeah, I’d call that scary, damn scary.

9 Responses to “Is it just me or is this seriously spooky?”

  1. Again Says:

    And yeah, I’d call that scary, damn scary.

    i call it stupid, damn stupid

    intelligence is the ability to interpret information to foresee the future - the higher the intelligence, the longer the period you foresee

    and not to be able to foresee the (predicted!) consequences of the own actions - is intelligence level “animal lower than primates”

    (so much about “Intelligent Design”)

  2. KevinSchmidtVA Says:

    Bears have stopped hibernating? Stephen Colbert is going to freak!

  3. alwayshope Says:

    We can’t focus on anything because this damn stupid war of Bush’s. There are so many things our great country could be doing with good leadership and real participation and debate.
    Bush is the opposite of what we need right now and so the clock ticks and bears can’t sleep and we spiral downward and backward further destroying our planet with depleted uranium and seeds of hatred. I think a vast majority of us understand the urgency of global warming but we have no leadership. For decades the oil industry has been squelching alternative ideas, ruining our railroads, killing electric cars and buses, polluting our air and laughing all the way to the off shore account. The middle east would be a different place today if we didn’t need their oil. It’s time we stick it to the oil barons. We need to tax them, make them pay the royalties they owe us and fine them for excessive profits. They have been emcumbering us for far too long. When they retaliate by raising gas to 5 bucks a gallon, maybe then we can focus on alternative energies and transportation.
    The Bush people love to fight wars and everything else with semantics. Okay, let’s make oil a dirty word. Let’s make SUVs the symbol of Saudi sympathizers. Let’s make oil companies an example of twentieth century thinking and backward, outdated and corrupt practices.
    Let’s use catch phrases and sound bites. We need to provoke the image of Bush as a small man standing among sand dunes, bombs exploding, oil derricks in the background, smirking and holding hands with a Saudi prince and of course at his side, as always, his pet goat.
    “The Saudis instruct Bush and Cheney on plans for Iraq”
    “Your future. Who decides? You or Bush and Big Oil?”
    “Give up, drop out, drive an SUV”
    “Not worried about global warming? Do you know where your children are?”
    We need to go on the offensive about global warming, Big time.
    (to borrow a phrase from vice vader) Science needs to take the lead with Congress insisting that their voices be heard by urging media to cover Congressional investigations into all areas of the global climate change issue and by insisting that Bush create a cabinet post with power over the EPA and authority to enforce pollution controls already on the books and encourage legislation to protect our resources, air quality, water and forests. Tax incentives to build and rebuild with clean technology could be passed and engineers should be funded to discover new methods of using our resources wisely. Congress has to take the lead on this issue, but we have to push them, yell at them, threaten their political lives. Actually, we already won the debate, however, it was not reported. The very fact that the MSM still calls it the “global warming DEBATE” is infuriating, but there really is no debate, there is only the frozen fear that comes before you finally face the enormity of a truth and accept it. After we do that, we can begin to think about ways to slow and stop the warming.
    Big oil and therefore Bush will try to kick that can down the road but we can’t let them. What else will George Bush leave for our children and theirs to clean up?
    I am so sick of him. We’ll have to waste another 2 years of precious time because of him. Damn it! Americans need to get off their butts and march against this white house. Polls won’t convince him, but a million Americans at his front gate every day would be hard to ignore. Why the apathy on our campuses?
    Would a draft be the only way to wake up our self-absorbed children? We have things called “reality TV” and games called virtual “reality”. When the hell is “reality” reality going to come around again?
    I’m ranting, but this IS scary, damn scary.

  4. gonnuts Says:

    This won’t make you feel any better.

    Way back when ecology was first making a splash in the early 70’s I helped start the Institute for Environmental Alternatives. I was an idealistic hippy and the head of the institute was Pro. Ron Cone, from the Northrop Institute of Technology. Ron was a warp 9 genus and held classes after the regular classes teaching students about the environment and how they could direct their energies into helping instead of going off to SperryRand, GE, or any of those other designers of death to invent better ways to kill people.

    Ron and I became very close friends and eventually he would confide to me things he wouldn’t tell the rest of the students. This is what he made me aware of. If we had stopped polluting the planet back then, I mean completely, no carbon dioxide, no trash, no nothing that would contribute to our demise, we already had poured enough pollutants into the environment to have ended mans rein on Earth in our lifetime.

    What we’re witnessing now is the beginning of the end. Expect things to excelerate rapidly from here.

  5. Larkrise Says:

    The dinosaurs became huge. They must have had to eat everything in sight. Then, some natural phenomenon happened. Whether it was a meteor strike, a virus, another ice age, whatever, it happened. The ecosystem was forced to change here on planet earth. The dinonsaurs were unable to adapt and change with it and became extinct. We are in the process of destroying our ecosytem, and with it, ourselves. While we have big brains, we also have the unfortunate capability of psychological denial. It rescues us from emotional pain in the short-run, but condemns us to destruction in the long-run. We have become addicted to convenience, excess, keeping up with the Joneses, greed, avarice, and, all too often, violence. Some of us would be willing to sacrifice conveniences to save the planet, but most of our species would not.
    Millions still drive SUVs, wear fur coats, want everything made of plastic, and follow the latest idiotic trends.
    I subscribe to the idea that the planet is an organism. Systems must maintain a healthy balance if they are to survive. When our body is invaded by a virus, it fights back to attempt to defeat the virus and its multiplication within our organs. If we have a healthy immune system, we may be sick for a few days, but will ultimately win the battle. The human race is the virus on this planet, just as the dinosaurs once were. The earth will attempt to maintain homeostasis, or balance. It will attack us, just as our bodies attack viruses and bacteria. We have overmultiplied and produced too many toxins. Now, planet earth is going to fight back, and planet earth will win. We could have existed like the bacteria that exist peacefully in our gut to digest food. However, if there is an overabundance of these bacteria, the body gets sick. And, a big upheaval occurs. I wont go into detail. You get the picture. There is a self-defeating arrogance in human nature that thinks it can control and dominate the natural world. The next big hurricane or earthquake or epidemic should prove that this arrogance is a delusion. Sadly, denial sets in, and the arrogance returns. Men like George Bush exemplify this arrogance. Inevitably, such men do more harm than good. They do not live in harmony with the natural world, as most Native American tribes used to do. The tribes, at least, continue to want to honor that harmony. Instead, arrogant men plunder, pillage, destroy and deface nature; and their own kind, as well. A time of reckoning is approaching. We cannot predict exactly when, but the natural signs tell the perceptive among us that it is on its way.

  6. alwayshope Says:

    gonnuts and Larkrise,
    If it is already too late. If Mother Earth must destroy us to save herself. Well, where does that leave us? I can’t accept hopelessness, simply can’t. That would drive me to drink, oh wait, I already drink. I should say, that would make me crazy, oh wait…
    hmmmm…okay so we’ve already screwed ourselves into oblivion and Gaia is going to help us make a graceful exit. Now what do I do? I could change my name to allislost but it’s just not in me. If we are banished from our Mother Earth , the planet itself will survive without us, right? I’ll console myself that perhaps my flower gardens will survive and someday again attract a hummingbird. Lord knows, I have no idea what the future holds,
    but I’ve got to keep doing what I believe is right and fair, I’ve got to keep speaking out, I’ve got to write poems and I’ve got to keep hope alive in me or my little part of this planet will wilt.
    Balance and harmony has to be possible, within and without.
    I believe all things are possible, I just can’t help myself.
    Call me a crazy drunk but….oh wait…let’s not go there again.

  7. Again Says:


    What we’re witnessing now is the beginning of the end. Expect things to excelerate rapidly from here.

    i fear, you’re right

    but you don’t speak like an American - didn’t someone tell you that you can’t tell the people that there will be no hope? Without hope people don’t fight, they say (but i wonder what parents do when they were told that their child will die of cancer - do they close their eyes and ears and play the convenient “all is wonderful”-game?)

    on the other hand - there is always hope, simply because of the nature of physics to be a little bigger than anything we can understand (not because we are too stupid but because understandability means representability). It’s the mathematical terminus technicus of “infinity” which destroys the perfect determinism we long to believe in - true randomness exists and no one, really no one in heaven and on Earth or elsewhere in the universe is able to fully (!) predict the course of time and things

    - and that may not only work against us

  8. Chuck Says:

    O.K., I’ve put this out in a couple of private inquiries, so let me put it out more publicly; does anyone have a practical way to reduce human population size to a sustainable level? Emphasizing PRACTICAL!

  9. Again Says:


    I subscribe to the idea that the planet is an organism.

    the Gaia Hypothesis of Prof. Lovelack - Gaia as intertwined cycles, a gigantic information processing system

    and because people don’t know what information is they don’t know exactly what “intention”, “intelligence” or “organism” is - that’s the one and only reason for all the problems with “Gaia”. As in information theory, there seems to be “contradictions” where no contradictions are - because people confuse information always with information processing systems, tend to award attributes of the one to the other - and then complete the chaos with anthropomorphism

    typical misunderstanding - information should be linked to intention - but intention is only linked to information processing systems and does not mean an attitude of mind, just a tendency to prefer states as crystallization shows. Alas, most people can’t accept, that physical laws always “intend” results, “prefer” states - an apple “loves the Earth” and “always want to fall onto her” - anthropomorphism of physical tendencies, considering the tendencies as “intention”

    when you look at the arguments against the Gaia Hypothesis, you find exactly the same confusion: information mixed with information processing systems mixed with anthropomorphism

    so, i would never say, that Gaia fights back - it’s just the simple fact, that humankind destroys cycles/processes and therefore destroys information, destroys regularity and steadiness - and because humans are the most complex information processing systems, they need the “biggest amount of information” to survive - but they promote randomness by their inconsiderate actions

    There is a self-defeating arrogance in human nature that thinks it can control and dominate the natural world.

    it’s less arrogance than wishful thinking - humans long for determinism because determinism is a synonym for controllability and foreseeability and that simply means “survival” - but yes, wishful thinking soon becomes arrogance in case that the contradictions between wish and reality cannot be learned (a problem of most of our “leaders” - they do not only plan but are allowed to decide who has to get/pay the price: in case of success they take it, in case of failure there is always someone else to be punished: As you’ve said “Men like George Bush exemplify this arrogance”)

    We have overmultiplied and produced too many toxins.

    we are on the edge of history

    not only because we might die out, but simply because of evolutionary rules


    Now what do I do?

    move on in the direction, evolution shows you - there is no other way possible and accepting physics gives us the slight chance we need (maybe)

    it’s all about the laws of physics and information and they show us that the architecture of information processing systems limits the intelligence - and when you are near the top you have to change the architecture if you want to progress. The last change in architecture was language - language betters the communication and “condense” the “organism” we call human group.

    so i bet - if we have a chance to survive, we only have it when we follow the path that evolution has shown us (since hundreds of thousands of years!)

    In other primate species, access to resources is usually regulated by social dominance. Dominant males monopolize mating and dominant females get better access to food, sleeping sites, and so on. There is little dominance among human foragers, and access to resources is more egalitarian. (The Puzzle of Human Society by Robert Boyd, Science Vol. 314, p. 1556 (thanks, Chuck)

    specific to humans is lesser dominance and better access to resources for everyone - and it does make sense, because each and every step in evolution is a step in bettering information processing. The great difference between plants and animals? The Modus Operandi of information processing: Plants only depend on passive processing (DNA), animals need more to master the requirements of movement, they need a real-time-system: the neurons (active processing).

    And language shows the tendency where to go: language isn’t an advance in communication inside our body, inside our own isolated self - language builds the next step and so the next step in evolution will be to strengthen this “new body”, a way evolution showed us:

    leaving dominance and greed behind us, they are part of our apish past and we should get over it


    a practical way to reduce human population size to a sustainable level? Emphasizing PRACTICAL!

    again, there’s only one way, the same, evolution showed us - democracy, not the greedy chimp-style, but “human style” of lesser dominance and broader access to resources for everyone - make ‘em rich and they stop to make children. Look at Europe! Population explosion for hundreds of years - together with Poverty and Pest - but than, they got rich - and now they whine because they have “no more children” ;-)

    democracy is the only way and birth control, of course - but birth control doesn’t work in traditional cultures, as you know - so again, democracy is the key and if we are not able to MAKE it practical, we will fail, it’s that easy. Think of the australophitecines: they died out, caught in their prehuman dominance-lust and selfishness

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