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Did disasters change history?

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    Posted: 05 Mar 2010 at 21:03
Scientists now think they can pinpoint a big impact as the cause of the big extinction event where dinosaurs and other creatuers disappeared about 65 million years ago. But even very much smaller events may have had enourmous consequenses for human history too, at least on a local/regional scale, and perhaps even on a global. So we may imagine the possibillity that such dramatic events may have changed the course of entire cultures, perhaps even as far as destroying them. One reason for this suspicion may be that most such (smaller) events may still be unknown. Impacts are but one such cause, solar activities, alien supernovae are other "extraterrestrial" possibilities, plus there may be a lot of "earthbound" types of disasters.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2010 at 02:06
...and this disaster in the making:



In an attempt to understand the extent of cow flatulence on global warming, scientists in Argentina are strapping plastic bags to the backs of cows to capture their emissions.

(for those of us studious enough to care on a Friday night - peak a link to think)
http://www.physorg.com/news135003243.html



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2010 at 14:53
Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:

...and this disaster in the making:



In an attempt to understand the extent of cow flatulence on global warming, scientists in Argentina are strapping plastic bags to the backs of cows to capture their emissions.

(for those of us studious enough to care on a Friday night - peak a link to think)
http://www.physorg.com/news135003243.html



 
Well that obviously was funded with a government grant.  LOL
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2010 at 13:32
Oh, great...the Methane Crisis as a venue for junk science! Everyone who has gladly dived into a good bowl of red beans and rice can ascertain the consequences of a herbivoral dietary existence--don't you wonder why all those massive lizards just loved the Carbonifeorus (what with stomachs the size of space shuttlesWink). One can caluclate methane emissions for one cow mathematically--specially if the beast is being force-fed--without the need for animal abuse as portrayed in the above pic--and, interestingly, if one gets around to it the more "wetlands" the greater the methane production. So, for all of you naturalists out there we are going to drain and pave everything and while we are at it, isn't it about time to ban the cultivation of riceEvil Smile.

Edited by drgonzaga - 07 Mar 2010 at 13:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2010 at 13:45
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Oh, great...the Methane Crisis as a venue for junk science! Everyone who has gladly dived into a good bowl of red beans and rice can ascertain the consequences of a herbivoral dietary existence--don't you wonder why all those massive lizards just loved the Carbonifeorus (what with stomachs the size of space shuttlesWink). 
---
One can caluclate methane emissions for one cow mathematically--specially if the beast is being force-fed--without the need for animal abuse as portrayed in the above pic--and, interestingly, if one gets around to it the more "wetlands" the greater the methane production. So, for all of you naturalists out there we are going to drain and pave everything and while we are at it, isn't it about time to ban the cultivation of riceEvil Smile.

In the Carboniferous period lizards and other reptiles were a novelty and they were not yet especially big. Also in the Carboniferous the oxygen level in the atmosphere is believed to have been higher than today, allowing animals like insects, myriapods and spiders to become much bigger now.
The real big reptiles  (those with stomachs like space shuttles) came in the mesozoic era (Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods).
---
Wetlands have of course a lot of other advantages and are quite important for the balance of water on the ground and in the atmosphere. They are also important as traps for nutrients that otherwise would eutrofy lakes and seas. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2010 at 14:08
Get a grip, Carch, those tetrapods had to have their beginnings and no amniotic eggs no reptilians! The laying down of all that carbon was essential for the later surge. Or haven't you wondered why at times I take recourse to emoticons when posting? Believe it or not, people do have senses of humour even within Academia!

Edited by drgonzaga - 07 Mar 2010 at 14:09
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2010 at 16:02
An eruption from 100,000 years ago, killed all but a few hundred humans. From those, arose all of us.
 
 
So yes? who knows, maybe all the purple skinned humans died out.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2010 at 16:34
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Get a grip, Carch, those tetrapods had to have their beginnings and no amniotic eggs no reptilians! The laying down of all that carbon was essential for the later surge. Or haven't you wondered why at times I take recourse to emoticons when posting? Believe it or not, people do have senses of humour even within Academia!

I said that there existed reptilians already in the Carboniferous but they where a relatively new breed, recently evolved from amphibian ancestors. But the truly huge reptiles where a product of the mesozoikum.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2010 at 19:02
I think some of the participants in this discussion should remember that an asteroid the size of that 65 million years ago are not at all "needed" to have devastating effects.Therer has been much later events of a lesser scale , even in historical times, but probably many more unrecorded. catastrohes of terrestrial origin may be eruptions of Vesuvius, Hekla, Santorin, Krakatoa, Martinique. Incidents of  Extraterrestrial origin may be the "Tunguska event" from 1908. That the later was not a major disaster for humans is only due to the lack of popultaion were it happened.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2010 at 20:22
How about the a global flood or "The Deluge" myth/legends?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2010 at 21:09
Come on Panther, apocalyptic disaster is a common thread in the creation narratives of all societies. Which could serve as a nice intro to the latest 3D phantasmogora: Clash of the Titans!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2010 at 21:19
Just following the spirit of the thread doc. He wanted to talk about disasters that afflicted or changed the culture of societies, so i thought why not this one?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2010 at 22:46
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

How about the a global flood or "The Deluge" myth/legends?
No, why not. Perhaps the origin of the biblical story was when the Black Sea became connected to the oceans some thousand years ago, as in a book I read some years ago, though i suspect it to be of more local origin. A recently discovered crater in Congo(well over 100 million years before man) indicate there may be many impact craters waiting to be discovered. Natural disasters has allways been known, but usually they are mainly seen as locally significant events. On the other hand I know of no "upper limit".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2010 at 22:54
Why sweat the small stuff? After all, good ol' Sol is chemically destined to white dwarf stardom and wimp out as a planetary nebula. Until then, leave the cataclysmic scenarios to your local cinema of book-banging preacher.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2010 at 08:38
The Toba eruption some 70 000 years ago is said to have had a profound impact on the spreading of Homo sapiens, creating a bottle neck in human evolution.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2010 at 14:23
So the good dr tell us all we can take it easy, since the sun will be a white dwarf only in some billion years.
The Toba event almost brought humans to extinction, but that was seventy thousand years ago, and most people may not worry much.
I am sorry to say it, but You may unfortunately be wrong. About 102 years ago an event happened that could have whiped a great city away, though fortunately it happened in unpopulated Tunguska, Siberia. Pompeii, Herculaneum are on the other hand excamples of lost cities. Minoan is a known example of a culture probably destroyed by a natural disaster. Even in northwestern Europe, not excactly known for its great earthquakes or volcanoes (the later noexistant) have in the past few centuries been hard hit at the northsea coasts. The map of the area has changed, not only because of improved cartography, but because areas were taken by the sea at several occasions. Earlier on underwater landslides may have caused tsunamies even there.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2010 at 19:32
How do you "survive" extermination? Why do it the good old fashioned way: Run Away!
 

Edited by drgonzaga - 16 Mar 2010 at 20:21
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2010 at 19:52
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

How do you "survive" extermination? Why doe it the good old fashioned way: Run Away!
 
Yes, if there is time and anywhere to run! However humans often tend to think warning sign can not be soo serious, "we cannot give up everything", etcetera. Sometimes there is no warning, or at least it is not understood(" how interesting we can see the seafloor, come let us go closer..."!)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2010 at 20:26
Fantasus, if one were to preoccupy every waking moment on the possibility the "sky is falling", let's get working upon preventive measures (think global warming), then one has little time for anything else. Leave the panic to the "chicken littles" and understand that what can not be prevented must be overcome. Besides, preoccupation with "end times" is a sure harbinger of societal decadence and decay.
 
Each time these little thoughts come to mind recall the motto of the bon vivant: After me, the deluge!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2010 at 20:42
Well, maybe not the kind of disaster that you are talking about, but the 1985 earthquake did make the PRI lose a lot of support in Mexico. The problem wasn't the earthquake itself as much as that many public buildings fell for not being built correctly. Also, the response to it was not great.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2010 at 00:58
Hey good doctor, i was primarily thinking in the past tense and not along the lines of some dreamed up - sexed up elitist Hollywood sort of way.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2010 at 02:04
Well, Panther, I can not get worked up over "what if" scenarios and they are even a bit off-the-wall in creative writing seminars...perhaps it comes from an early addiction to the sci-fi set ups of the 40s and 50s. But even those got cheesy toward the end--what with Joan Collins being devoured by a giant ant! Notice that fantasus had to turn to the volcanic winter musings of some 70,000 years ago--shades of the nuclear winter and On the Beach--while ignoring the tell-tale signs within history itself. "Astral" objects collide with earth all of the time (drat, another flick shutters on--When Worlds Collide) so why worry about the possible coming "Big One". Not that I am planning to invest in California real estate any time soon.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2010 at 03:14
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Well, Panther, I can not get worked up over "what if" scenarios and they are even a bit off-the-wall in creative writing seminars...


I quite understand. What with the current inundation of disater flicks still currently under way.

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perhaps it comes from an early addiction to the sci-fi set ups of the 40s and 50s. But even those got cheesy toward the end--what with Joan Collins being devoured by a giant ant!


Cheesy b movies. Who doesn't love the kookiness of them? Well, maybe a few don't.

Quote
Notice that fantasus had to turn to the volcanic winter musings of some 70,000 years ago--shades of the nuclear winter and On the Beach--while ignoring the tell-tale signs within history itself.


I don't know. Maybe he is a budding writer for the movies? Still, i didn't think he was doing any real harm having an imagination and throwing any idea out there.

Quote
"Astral" objects collide with earth all of the time (drat, another flick shutters on--When Worlds Collide) so why worry about the possible coming "Big One". Not that I am planning to invest in California real estate any time soon.


Personally, i am not worried about the big one. I am, however, worried about my real estate holdings in California. Your also not investing? Now you tell me... Drat, if this keeps up, then there goes my $25 million dollar investment that i put down for a shanty!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2010 at 07:29
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Fantasus, if one were to preoccupy every waking moment on the possibility the "sky is falling", let's get working upon preventive measures (think global warming), then one has little time for anything else. Leave the panic to the "chicken littles" and understand that what can not be prevented must be overcome. Besides, preoccupation with "end times" is a sure harbinger of societal decadence and decay.
 
Each time these little thoughts come to mind recall the motto of the bon vivant: After me, the deluge!
This thread started as a discussion about how natural disasters allready may have changed the course of history, and was in a way oriented towards the past, not so much towards future dangers (though of course the past records may give some ideas about what to come). I will go so far as to say to follow Your could lead to some "Disney-version" of history. Why bother about all the unpleasant events that happened? World Wars, lesser wars, revolutions? The "Spanish" Flu, the Epidemics, Slavery, Massacres? And as this is not enough now I point to all the Catastrophes caused by Nature. All those we know of I will say, but I doubt anyone thinking very much about this subject can doubt they are a very tiny fraction of all what has happened as long as there has been humans on this planet. "History" covers only a very small percentage of the human era (about 5000 years -in theory). But then the main part of "Historical times" only a few percent of the planet were known by writing people, that is the little minority able to read and write. The rest may be known by archaeologists, geologists, but is most of all unknown territory.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Mar 2010 at 02:21
Didn't H. G. Wells touch upon Things to Come way back when?
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Mar 2010 at 08:59

My interest in this topic has less to do with sci-fi than some reading of popular sciences, not least astronomy. If the question is wether or not such things happens (big impacts), it is not necessary to go back 70000 years, especially if we take a look at the solar system - Jupiter summer 1994, and the impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy.

The Tunguska impact 1908 would have been able to desroy a large city completely, but destroyed only Taiga. Such impacts may have hit populated areas in the past. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes happen frequently, from time to time there may be "big ones", destroying entire regions, and , why not, in the past local "civilisations".
In some years we may find signs of more still unknown "events" of the past, since we probably still know relatively little.

Edited by fantasus - 18 Mar 2010 at 09:02
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