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Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category: Page 8

Jun 30, 2018

The human physiological impact of global deoxygenation

Posted by in categories: climatology, existential risks, health, sustainability

Article (2017) about oxygen depletion. “There has been a clear decline in the volume of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere over the past 20 years. Although the magnitude of this decrease appears small compared to the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, it is difficult to predict how this process may evolve, due to the brevity of the collected records. A recently proposed model predicts a non-linear decay, which would result in an increasingly rapid fall-off in atmospheric oxygen concentration, with potentially devastating consequences for human health. We discuss the impact that global deoxygenation, over hundreds of generations, might have on human physiology. Exploring the changes between different native high-altitude populations provides a paradigm of how humans might tolerate worsening hypoxia over time. Using this model of atmospheric change, we predict that humans may continue to survive in an unprotected atmosphere for ~3600 years. Accordingly, without dramatic changes to the way in which we interact with our planet, humans may lose their dominance on Earth during the next few millennia.”


There has been a clear decline in the volume of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere over the past 20 years. Although the magnitude of this decrease appears small compared to the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, it is difficult to predict how this process may evolve, due to the brevity of the collected records. A recently proposed model predicts a non-linear decay, which would result in an increasingly rapid fall-off in atmospheric oxygen concentration, with potentially devastating consequences for human health. We discuss the impact that global deoxygenation, over hundreds of generations, might have on human physiology. Exploring the changes between different native high-altitude populations provides a paradigm of how humans might tolerate worsening hypoxia over time. Using this model of atmospheric change, we predict that humans may continue to survive in an unprotected atmosphere for ~3600 years. Accordingly, without dramatic changes to the way in which we interact with our planet, humans may lose their dominance on Earth during the next few millennia.

Keywords: Oxygen, Hypoxia, Acclimatization, Physiological adaptation.

Continue reading “The human physiological impact of global deoxygenation” »

Jun 30, 2018

Biotic replacement and evolutionary innovation as a global catastrophic risk

Posted by in categories: climatology, existential risks, sustainability

Old, but excellent post:


[Image: “Disckonsia Costata” by Verisimilius is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0]

Several times in evolutionary history, the arrival of an innovative new evolutionary strategy has lead to a mass extinction followed by a restructuring of biota and new dominant life forms. This may pose an unlikely but possible global catastrophic risk in the future, in which spontaneous evolutionary strategies (like new biochemical pathways or feeding strategies) become wildly successful, and lead to extreme climate change and die-offs. This is also known as a ‘biotic replacement’ hypothesis of extinction events.

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Jun 30, 2018

Elon Musk: This is why we have to build civilizations in space

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, existential risks, space travel, sustainability

“Humanity is not perfect, but it’s all we’ve got,” the SpaceX and Tesla boss said.

To safeguard human life requires moving beyond the blue planet, in Musk’s view, because earth is likely to become uninhabitable.

“There will be some eventual extinction event” if humans stay on earth forever, Musk said in an article published in academic journal New Space, which was published online in June 2017.

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Jun 29, 2018

Kick Asteroid

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

Our new Kickstarter project lets you help save the Earth from an asteroid impact! Let’s go #KickAsteroid! https://planet.ly/kickasteroid

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Jun 25, 2018

UF-oh no? We may be the only intelligent life out there, study finds

Posted by in categories: alien life, existential risks

If intelligent life is so likely to exist elsewhere in the universe, why haven’t we found it? Well, the chances of us coming across extraterrestrials are not looking good, according to a new study.

Scientists from the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University have revealed that we are probably the only advanced civilization out there, although they can’t say for sure. The team came to their conclusion after realizing that Fermi’s paradox and its supporting theories are somewhat flawed. The paradox is the conflict between the probability that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe and the lack of evidence of such.

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Jun 24, 2018

Tasmanian Tiger Could Come Back From Extinction

Posted by in category: existential risks

The Tasmanian Tiger could come back from extinction thanks to new technology (yes, really)! 🐅

#sun7 | yahoo7.com.au/sunrise

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Jun 1, 2018

Synthetic molecule super-effective against superbugs

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, existential risks, robotics/AI

Forget zombies or killer robots – the most likely doomsday scenario in the near future is the threat of superbugs. Bacteria are evolving resistance to our best antibiotics at an alarming rate, so developing new ones is a crucial area of study. Now, inspired by a natural molecule produced by marine microorganisms, researchers at North Carolina State University have synthesized a new compound that shows promising antibacterial properties against resistant bugs.

Decades of overuse and overprescription of antibiotics has led to more and more bacteria becoming resistant to them, and the situation is so dire that a recent report warned that they could be killing up to 10 million people a year by 2050. Worse still, the bugs seem to be on schedule, with the ECDC reporting that our last line of defense has already begun to fail in large numbers.

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May 28, 2018

IBM’s head of Watson likes Elon Musk but ‘hates’ A.I. scaremongering

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, existential risks, robotics/AI

IBM’s David Kenny suggested that artificial intelligence doomsday warnings from the likes of Tesla CEO Elon Musk were overblown.

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May 25, 2018

Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos advocates a return to the moon and calls for collaborative effort in space

Posted by in categories: existential risks, space travel

Staying on Earth “is not necessarily extinction, but the alternative is stasis,” Bezos said during an onstage discussion Friday night with Geekwire journalist Alan Boyle at the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles.

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May 14, 2018

What If an Asteroid Hit the Earth?

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

Would we suffer the same fate as the dinosaurs?

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