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Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
03-08-2019, 01:47 AM
Post: #21
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
(03-07-2019 08:15 AM)rncgray Wrote:  I have been following this thread with an increasing sense of unease as we seemingly demean ourselves by being flippant about a serious topic. The decline of the insects, who E. O. Wilson describes as "the tiny things who run the world", is well documented (1-3) and will have very serious consequences for all life on Earth.

Richard Gray

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03-08-2019, 04:20 AM (This post was last modified: 03-08-2019 08:18 AM by Dan.)
Post: #22
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
(03-07-2019 09:47 PM)burkhard Wrote:  Anything I see Paul Ehrlich involved in instantly loses a lot of credibility for me...once Ehrlich is on board, things get more than a bit dubious for me. That's not a rare reaction—I'm a bit surprised legitimate researchers would be involved if he is on board; shows poor judgment on their part.

Please read my second post above. Paul Ehrlich was not involved in this study.

The scientific review was written by Francisco Sanchez-Bayo of the University of Sydney, Australia and Kris Wyckhuys at the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing, and published in the journal "Biological Conservation", a "leading international journal in the discipline of conservation science". It can be found here.

(03-07-2019 08:15 AM)rncgray Wrote:  The decline of the insects, who E. O. Wilson describes as "the tiny things who run the world", is well documented (1-3) and will have very serious consequences for all life on Earth...Multiple anecdotal accounts (my own included) of a large decrease in nocturnal insect activity in the last 50 years.

Indeed, in addition to pesticides and global warming, light pollution may also be a contributing factor. One look at the Earth at night shows how bad it has become:



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03-08-2019, 12:49 PM
Post: #23
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
Hello!

(03-08-2019 04:20 AM)Dan Wrote:  One look at the Earth at night shows how bad it has become:

To this topic I can contribute anectdotical evidence as well. I joined the local amateur astronomer group when I moved to "our" town (Tübingen) in southeastern Germany 19 years ago. I am part of the team which gives public talks at the local observatory and shows and explains the night sky to the public. Although I know my way around the constellations reasonably well and my eyesight is good enough to be allowed to fly transport category aeroplanes I (and my other teammates) have increasing difficulties to identify celestial objects. During the last years, even in many cloudless and seemingly dark nights only a handful of bright stars remain visible to the unaided eye, which makes it very difficult to find dim objects with the telescope.
As much as I welcome LED lighting for it's low power consumption, it is my impression that this is also the main culprit for the recent increase in light pollution. Lighting has become so cheap (in terms of the electricity bill and the longevity of the LED "bulbs") that few people care about turning off unused lights. This unfortunately also includes street lighting and lighting of public spots like supermarket public lots and similar.

And regarding the original topic I found this paper which I don't think has been referenced yet: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar...0718313636

"Paul Ehrlich" does not seem to be among the authors and even if, I wonder why that should be wrong if proper scientific methods were used. I must confess that initially I thought this was about another Paul Ehrlich (after which a street is named in most towns in this country...) because the American one is not very well known here. But reading the Wikipedia Article about him does not convince me that he is completeley wrong. Even if some of his predictions have not come true (yet) there is little doubt (to me) that they soon will.

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03-08-2019, 02:23 PM
Post: #24
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
I think we're all ignoring the far bigger threat that this accelerated selection process will leave Earth overrun with human-resistant superbugs against whom our competition for territory will not be so one-sided.
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03-08-2019, 04:05 PM
Post: #25
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
(03-08-2019 12:49 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  Hello!

(03-08-2019 04:20 AM)Dan Wrote:  One look at the Earth at night shows how bad it has become:

To this topic I can contribute anectdotical evidence as well. I joined the local amateur astronomer group when I moved to "our" town (Tübingen) in southeastern Germany 19 years ago. I am part of the team which gives public talks at the local observatory and shows and explains the night sky to the public. Although I know my way around the constellations reasonably well and my eyesight is good enough to be allowed to fly transport category aeroplanes I (and my other teammates) have increasing difficulties to identify celestial objects. During the last years, even in many cloudless and seemingly dark nights only a handful of bright stars remain visible to the unaided eye, which makes it very difficult to find dim objects with the telescope.
As much as I welcome LED lighting for it's low power consumption, it is my impression that this is also the main culprit for the recent increase in light pollution. Lighting has become so cheap (in terms of the electricity bill and the longevity of the LED "bulbs") that few people care about turning off unused lights. This unfortunately also includes street lighting and lighting of public spots like supermarket public lots and similar.

Here!

[Image: light_pollution.png]

Greetings,
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03-11-2019, 10:30 AM (This post was last modified: 03-11-2019 10:32 AM by Dan.)
Post: #26
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
(03-08-2019 12:49 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  During the last years, even in many cloudless and seemingly dark nights only a handful of bright stars remain visible to the unaided eye, which makes it very difficult to find dim objects with the telescope.

I am reminded of an article in the December 1986 issue of "Astronomy" magazine about the 100-inch telescope of the Mount Wilson Observatory, which was used by Hubble to make many important discoveries and remained the largest telescope in the world for 3 decades. During World War 2, “because Los Angeles was under blackout in fear of Japanese air raids, the skies over Mount Wilson were free of light pollution that even then hampered the big telescope’s effectiveness.” The telescope “could not halt the expansion of the city that lay below the summit. The city of Los Angeles has grown nearly tenfold since 1917. During that expansion the city installed countless brilliant lights. Furthermore, automobile exhaust has filled the valley and contributes to that city’s infamous brown photochemical smog.” The telescope is now the world's largest telescope dedicated to public use.

I also remember reading in the 80’s about initiatives to curb light pollution, such as raising public awareness of the problem and using shields around streetlights to direct light downwards instead of into the sky, but it only seems to be getting worse, as you have pointed out.

Last night I went out a few hours before sunrise with my 11x80 binoculars and was confined to a small patch of my backyard to escape the street lights and lights from neighbouring houses. I live 40km from Melbourne and the Milky Way is still very impressive, and I can find brighter celestial objects such as the galaxy Centaurus A pretty easily, but not fainter ones, even with my 8-inch telescope. Australia’s population is relatively small (about 25 million) and concentrated around the coastal cities, but I still have to drive 2 or 3 hours to enjoy dark skies.

Are there no longer any dark sky sites in central Europe?
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03-11-2019, 10:41 AM
Post: #27
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
(03-11-2019 10:30 AM)Dan Wrote:  Are there no longer any dark sky sites in central Europe?

Just have a look by yourself:
[Image: 2df631a6340809b5d9b94ae041db0914.png]

BTW: I do live in one of the brightest spots :(

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03-12-2019, 05:02 PM
Post: #28
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
(03-11-2019 10:30 AM)Dan Wrote:  Are there no longer any dark sky sites in central Europe?

Central Europe is on too high latitude, above ~50° never has (dark (astronomical)) night on summer nights (from beginning of June to mid of July).

BTW, new "old" jobs appears on the horizon:
[Image: akg4789613.jpg]

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03-31-2019, 07:06 AM (This post was last modified: 03-31-2019 07:07 AM by Dan.)
Post: #29
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
Talking about the dangers of pesticides, last year chemical giant Monsanto was ordered to pay $289 million dollars after a jury determined that the company's popular "Roundup" weedkiller caused California resident Dewayne Johnson's cancer. Johnson used the herbicide to control weeds on school grounds. Roundup is sold in more than 160 countries.
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05-07-2019, 09:09 AM
Post: #30
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
The UN has just released a 1,800 page report on the devastating impact of humans on nature. Some of the main points:

*Forests have been cleared at astonishing rates, especially in tropical areas

*Only 13% of wetlands present in 1700 were still in existence in 2000

*25% of plants and animals are now threatened

*About 1 million species face extinction within decades

*Plastic pollution has increased 10-fold since 1980

*Every year 300-400 million tonnes (yes, tonnes) of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge and other wastes are dumped into the waters of the world

*33% of fish stocks were harvested at unsustainable levels in 2015

The study urges the world to steer away from the "limited paradigm of economic growth".

From this BBC article
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05-07-2019, 05:05 PM
Post: #31
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
(05-07-2019 09:09 AM)Dan Wrote:  The UN has just released a 1,800 page report on the devastating impact of humans on nature. ...

They omitted the fact that human gullibility regarding reported statistics has increased 94.3% since 1980. Coincidence? I think not! Dodgy

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05-07-2019, 05:41 PM
Post: #32
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
(05-07-2019 05:05 PM)Joe Horn Wrote:  
(05-07-2019 09:09 AM)Dan Wrote:  The UN has just released a 1,800 page report on the devastating impact of humans on nature. ...

They omitted the fact that human gullibility regarding reported statistics has increased 94.3% since 1980. Coincidence? I think not! Dodgy

So this time you question the accuracy of the report not because it cites a questionable expert, but simply because you don't like what it says?
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05-08-2019, 12:21 AM (This post was last modified: 05-08-2019 12:23 AM by Joe Horn.)
Post: #33
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
(05-07-2019 05:41 PM)Thomas Okken Wrote:  
(05-07-2019 05:05 PM)Joe Horn Wrote:  They omitted the fact that human gullibility regarding reported statistics has increased 94.3% since 1980. Coincidence? I think not! Dodgy

So this time you question the accuracy of the report not because it cites a questionable expert, but simply because you don't like what it says?

Sorry that you missed the intended self-referential humor. Sorrier still that my attempt to lighten the mood here didn't work. Sad

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05-08-2019, 12:46 AM
Post: #34
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
I'm surprised you're surprised. It's a serious topic, as serious as it gets. Try lightening the mood at a funeral by cracking some jokes, and see how well that goes over.
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05-08-2019, 02:02 AM
Post: #35
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
(05-08-2019 12:46 AM)Thomas Okken Wrote:  I'm surprised you're surprised. It's a serious topic, as serious as it gets. Try lightening the mood at a funeral by cracking some jokes, and see how well that goes over.

Hmmm. You may have accidentally discovered the source of my problem here, namely, it's an occupational hazard. Believe it or not, my job actually includes lightening the mood at funerals, by reminding people of their faith in seeing loved ones again, and of the joys of heaven, and all that kind of thing. It helps bring some consolation to the bereaved. To date I've had no complaints about that. But you're right that it's not properly done by joking around, because that can come across as not recognizing the seriousness of the topic, which of course is not the case... anybody with a brain knows that this topic is serious. Nor do I ever want to mock anybody's pain. Hmmm. Lots for me to ponder here, for which I thank you.

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05-08-2019, 11:33 AM (This post was last modified: 05-08-2019 08:47 PM by SlideRule.)
Post: #36
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
I wonder, what did the inhabitants of Petra, Jordan think, pre, trans & post precipitation?
Merely curious.

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05-09-2019, 05:13 AM (This post was last modified: 05-09-2019 05:50 AM by Dan.)
Post: #37
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
(05-08-2019 12:46 AM)Thomas Okken Wrote:  I'm surprised you're surprised. It's a serious topic, as serious as it gets. Try lightening the mood at a funeral by cracking some jokes, and see how well that goes over.

Now that is funny!

Unfortunately, even a report that took three years to compile by experts in their field and draws on 15,000 reference materials will just be dismissed by some. I never could understand that kind of thinking, if you can call it that. I guess that's one reason why the world is in this situation, and why I'm afraid things will just get worse.
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05-09-2019, 12:54 PM (This post was last modified: 05-09-2019 12:57 PM by Archilog.)
Post: #38
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
(05-09-2019 05:13 AM)Dan Wrote:  
(05-08-2019 12:46 AM)Thomas Okken Wrote:  I'm surprised you're surprised. It's a serious topic, as serious as it gets. Try lightening the mood at a funeral by cracking some jokes, and see how well that goes over.

Now that is funny!

Unfortunately, even a report that took three years to compile by experts in their field and draws on 15,000 reference materials will just be dismissed by some. I never could understand that kind of thinking, if you can call it that. I guess that's one reason why the world is in this situation, and why I'm afraid things will just get worse.

You are totally right, Dan. It's a common psychological phenomenon called DENIAL.

Quote:There's [a] meaning of 'Denial' in psychoanalytic theory, where it is a psychological defense we all use at times to reduce our anxiety when it feels particularly disturbing.

[...] There is a peculiar type of 'Denial' we are witnessing nowadays, whereby seemingly intelligent and sane adults vehemently deny truths despite a body of irrefutable data.

This Denial is akin to Stephen Colbert’s “Truthiness,” in that these deniers adamantly refuse to accept verified scientific facts because they get in the way of their own rigid ideas.

Psychology Today, Dec, 08 2015

There
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05-09-2019, 07:04 PM (This post was last modified: 05-09-2019 07:04 PM by pier4r.)
Post: #39
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
(05-09-2019 05:13 AM)Dan Wrote:  Unfortunately, even a report that took three years to compile by experts in their field and draws on 15,000 reference materials will just be dismissed by some. I never could understand that kind of thinking, if you can call it that. I guess that's one reason why the world is in this situation, and why I'm afraid things will just get worse.

I ask my question myself continuously. The best unverified answer that I have so far is based on how our kind learned to socialize over time.

If A and B have an argument, of whatever type, if A accepts that B is right, while it is great for the collective knowledge pushing for better solutions, at "guts" level it means that A is recognizing a superior ability of B. Therefore B gains prestige in the community (a tribe or whatever) and therefore B has now a higher chance of reproduction and survival than A.

Therefore the impulse is "No, B will never get my recognition, no matter what".

Then there are other ideas, for example "if I accept this argument, a part of the way I see the world cracks" and this means insecurity, as if the soil under your feet is removed. You don't stand anymore on a solid platform.

And we are all victim of this sooner or later. The challenge is to minimize the time it happens.

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05-10-2019, 12:04 AM (This post was last modified: 05-10-2019 12:48 AM by SlideRule.)
Post: #40
RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
My :

Philosophy of science : a contemporary introduction / Alex Rosenberg. -- 3rd ed.
(Routledge contemporary introductions to philosophy)
1. Science–Philosophy.
© 2012 Taylor & Francis
ISBN: 978-0-415-89176-9 (hbk)
ISBN: 978-0-415-89177-6 (pbk)
ISBN: 978-0-203-80751-4 (ebk)


Philosophy of science is a difficult subject to define in large part because philosophy is difficult to define. But for at least one controversial definition of philosophy, the relation between the sciences—physical, biological, social, and behavioral—and philosophy are so close that philosophy of science must be a central concern of both philosophers and scientists. On this definition, philosophy deals initially with the questions the sciences cannot yet or perhaps can never answer, and with the further questions of why the sciences cannot answer these questions

When I taught Technical Mathematics, I placed a special emphasis on the question of the existence of numbers, expressed in the following; Mathematics deals with numbers, but it cannot answer the question what a number is. Note that this is not the question what “2” or “dos’ or “II” or “10(base 2)” is. Each of these is a numeral, an inscription, a bit of writing, and they all name the same thing: the number 2. When we ask what a number is, our question is not about the symbol (written or spoken), but apparently about the thing. Philosophers have been offering different answers to this question at least since Plato held that numbers were particular things—albeit, abstract things not located in space and time. By contrast with Plato, other philosophers have held that mathematical truths are not about abstract entities and relations between them, but are made true by facts about concrete things in the universe, and reflect the uses to which we put mathematical expressions. But 2,500 years after Plato lived, there is as yet no general agreement on the right answer to the question of what numbers are.

I taught technical mathematics to students preparing to engage in measurement of/with/on/etc physical objects/materials/etc. I could convey this utility with measurable success while acknowledging the aforementioned.

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