10.19.2006

Imagine

all the people.. are gone!
I came across this article via theapt from New Scientist Magazine. The article imagines the Earth if all humans vanished one day (sounds like the premise of a new ABC show). Here is the link but I've listed some excerpts below:
Fascinating!




"The sad truth is, once the humans get out of the picture, the outlook starts to get a lot better," says John Orrock, a conservation biologist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California.

By some estimates, 85 per cent of the night sky above the European Union is light-polluted; in the US it is 62 per cent and in Japan 98.5 per cent. In some countries, including Germany, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands, there is no longer any night sky untainted by light pollution.
“18.7 Percentage of Earth's surface affected by light pollution”

"Pretty quickly - 24, maybe 48 hours - you'd start to see blackouts because of the lack of fuel added to power stations," says Gordon Masterton, president of the UK's Institution of Civil Engineers in London.

The same lack of maintenance will spell an early demise for buildings, roads, bridges and other structures.

The best illustration of this is the city of Pripyat near Chernobyl in Ukraine, which was abandoned after the nuclear disaster 20 years ago and remains deserted.

"The most pervasive thing you see are plants whose root systems get into the concrete and behind the bricks and into doorframes and so forth, and are rapidly breaking up the structure. You wouldn't think, as you walk around your house every day, that we have a big impact on keeping that from happening, but clearly we do. It's really sobering to see how the plant community invades every nook and cranny of a city."

Nuclear waste already consigned to long-term storage in air-cooled metal and concrete casks should be fine, since the containers are designed to survive thousands of years of neglect, by which time their radioactivity - mostly in the form of caesium-137 and strontium-90 - will have dropped a thousandfold, says Rodney Ewing, a geologist at the University of Michigan who specialises in radioactive waste management. Active reactors will not fare so well. As cooling water evaporates or leaks away, reactor cores are likely to catch fire or melt down, releasing large amounts of radiation. The effects of such releases, however, may be less dire than most people suppose.

Ironically, a few endangered species - those charismatic enough to have attracted serious help from conservationists - will actually fare worse with people no longer around to protect them.


2 comments:

Doctor Barnett 10:24 AM  

This timeline is pretty cool too. I wish we could time travel into an alternate future Earth and just hang out.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

that timeline is awesome. check out this movie

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