A Handy Example of Human Wastefulness
Joel Cohen: Well, the ice-free land of the earth, you know, the world is mostly water, like about 71% water, and 29% is land. Now, some of that land is under ice, Antarctica and Greenland, so let's put that aside. If you're only dealing with the ice-free land, it's about 130 million square kilometers, okay? Of that, humans use 38% for agriculture. So almost two-fifths of the entire surface of the earth is now devoted to making food for you and me, and 6.8 billion other human beings. That's a huge chunk of the earth's surface for humans to be manipulating.
Of that 38%, I'm going to divide it into 2 pieces, 8% and 30%, okay? The 8% grows cereal grains for humans to eat, that go into human mouths—rice, wheat, corn, and then other grains also, okay? The 30% feeds our domestic animals. So the way we use the land, we're using 30% of the entire land area of the earth free of ice to feed our domestic animals. And of the cereals we grow, one-third goes into the mouths of animals and about half goes into human mouths, and about one-sixth goes into the mouths of the machines, our pets, for bio-fuels, and for starches and for other industrial uses.
So we can say that the production of food by humans has had a huge impact on the use of land on the earth, on the extinction of species due to burning of forests and change of grasslands by animals. And if you look at the amount of energy that the domestic animal populations consume, it's about twice that that all humans consume. So even though we consume a lot, our domestic animals consume about twice more.
Of Earth’s ice-free land, we have about 130 million square kilometers to work with, about 8% of which goes to creating foods that go directly to humans while another 30% is spent making food for farm animals—a population expert explains.
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"
- 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
Two massive clouds of dust in orbit around the Earth have been discussed for years and finally proven to exist.
- Hungarian astronomers have proven the existence of two "pseudo-satellites" in orbit around the earth.
- These dust clouds were first discovered in the sixties, but are so difficult to spot that scientists have debated their existence since then.
- The findings may be used to decide where to put satellites in the future and will have to be considered when interplanetary space missions are undertaken.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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