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Even Americans

I mentioned this once in a talk to a group of lunching ladies in Kansas City, soothing their apparent disquiet by adding that by "soon" I was speaking in geologic time, and that meant about 250,000 years, by which time all humankind would be extinct. A woman in the front row exploded with a choleric and incredulous rage: "What?" she said. "Even Americans will be extinct?"
-- Simon Winchester in today's Guardian.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
princeofcairo
Apr. 22nd, 2010 08:39 am (UTC)
It seems awfully unscientific to think that humans will be extinct in a mere 250,000 years. H. sapiens only emerged about 200,000 years ago give or take, and the average mammalian species lifetime is a million years.

As apex predators, Americans may go a little bit sooner than that, of course.
gbsteve
Apr. 22nd, 2010 12:14 pm (UTC)
Perhaps he's referring to the Singularity when you'll become a Digital American.
ninthcouncil
Apr. 22nd, 2010 01:16 pm (UTC)
A Digital American with restrictive DRM, no doubt.
whollyrandom
Apr. 22nd, 2010 12:37 pm (UTC)
Damn. He's obviously aware of the coming invasion of the Zorg.

All hail our new platypoid overlords!
ninthcouncil
Apr. 22nd, 2010 01:23 pm (UTC)
"For what if the kind of event that we have seen this month, and which caused us all in Europe such commercial inconvenience, is in fact not just a minor volcanic hiccup, but the beginning of an event that causes in time a mass extinction..."

I wondered how long it would be before someone in the posh papers pressed the apocalypse button.:)
heliograph
Apr. 22nd, 2010 03:09 pm (UTC)
the effect on the post-Toban world was catastrophic: as a result of the thick ash clouds the world's ambient temperature plummeted, perhaps by as much as 5C

Clearly we need to accelerate global warming so that any future killer volcano effects will be offset... I'll go outside and start idling my car now.

whollyrandom
Apr. 23rd, 2010 01:24 pm (UTC)
It is nice to know, at least, that we will be able to deal with a future volcanic lowering of temperature by running an industrial civilisation for a hundred years or so.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )