By Century's End, With 10 Billion People, Earth Could Be a "Hellhole"

A British computational scientist has built a presentation reminiscent of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, this time showing the consequences of the Earth's population boom. 

What's the Latest Development?

Stephen Emmott, head of computational science at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK, and professor of computational science at Oxford, UK, has built a 75-minute presentation called Ten Billion, in which he forecasts what the world might be like if current environmental degradation and population expansion continues until the end of the century. Perhaps reminiscent of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, the figures Emmott presents are startling: "A global population that was 1 billion in 1800 and 4 billion in 1980 will probably have grown to 10 billion by the end of this century; the demand for food will have doubled by 2050; food production already accounts for 30% of greenhouse gases – more than manufacturing or transport..."

What's the Big Idea?

"...a world population of 10 billion will need 960 new dams, each of them the size of the world's largest in China's Three Gorges, plus 15,000 nuclear power stations and/or...11 million wind farms." Describing himself as a rational pessimist, Emmott says of possible solutions to the impending crisis: "We're fucked." The problem, it seems, is our inability to locate blame within ourselves. If an asteroid were hurtling toward the Earth, the world's resources would quickly be marshaled to alter the asteroid's path or mitigate its damage. "But there is no asteroid. The problem is us."

Photo credit:

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

Are we all multiple personalities of universal consciousness?

Bernardo Kastrup proposes a new ontology he calls “idealism” built on panpsychism, the idea that everything in the universe contains consciousness. He solves problems with this philosophy by adding a new suggestion: The universal mind has dissociative identity disorder.

We’re all one mind in "idealism." (Credit: Alex Grey)
Mind & Brain

There’s a reason they call it the “hard problem.” Consciousness: Where is it? What is it? No one single perspective seems to be able to answer all the questions we have about consciousness. Now Bernardo Kastrup thinks he’s found one. He calls his ontology idealism, and according to idealism, all of us and all we perceive are manifestations of something very much like a cosmic-scale dissociative identity disorder (DID). He suggests there’s an all-encompassing universe-wide consciousness, it has multiple personalities, and we’re them.

Keep reading Show less

California wildfires death toll climbs to 50

Firefighters in California are still struggling to contain several wildfires nearly one week after they broke out.

(Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Hundreds of people are still missing after three wildfires spread across Northern and Southern California last week.
  • 48 of the 50 deaths occurred after the Camp Fire blazed through the town of Paradise, north of Sacramento.
  • On Tuesday night, a fourth wildfire broke out, though it's mostly contained.
Keep reading Show less