It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.
Ecological footprint analysis has gained considerable momentum around the world as both heuristic device and practical method for assessing sustainability. This success derives in part from methodological strengths of EFA that are both scientifically well founded and reflect thinking people’s intuitive sense of reality. On the technical/scientific side, EFA has several qualities that reinforce its credibility as a sustainability indicator. The method:
acknowledges that humans are biophysical entities that make constant metabolic demands on their supportive ecosystems and that all our manufactured capital and related cultural artefacts impose a parallel and much larger industrial metabolism on the ecosphere;
recognizes the crucial role of natural capital and natural income (biophysical stocks and flows) in economic development and sustainability;
accepts that the economy is a fully contained, growing, dependent, sub-system of the non-growing ecosphere;
recognizes the second law of thermodynamics as the ultimate governor of material transformations and economic activity (Georgescu-Roegen 1971, Daly 1991) and that beyond a certain (optimal) scale, the growth and maintenance human enterprise must necessarily accelerate the entropic disordering and dissipation of the ecosphere;
is closely related conceptually to Odum’s the embodied energy (emergy) analyses (see Hall 1995) and the ‘environmental space’ concept of the Sustainable Europe Campaign (Carley and Spapens 1998).
accounts for both population size and resource consumption in estimating of appropriated ecosystem area. This aligns EFA closely with Catton’s (1980) concept of human ‘load’ (population times per capita consumption);
corresponds closely to and incorporates all the factors in Ehrlich’s and Holdren’s (1971) well-known definition of human impact on the environment: I = PAT, where ‘I’ is impact, ‘P’ is population, ‘A’ is affluence (i.e., level of consumption) and ‘T’ is a technology scalar.
Man will survive as a species for one reason: He can adapt to the destructive effects of our power-intoxicated technology and of our ungoverned population growth, to the dirt, pollution and noise of a New York or Tokyo. And that is the tragedy. It is not man the ecological crisis threatens to destroy but the quality of human life.
To accept as a fact of life that a certain technology will be used for the simple reason that we know how to use it, or that we shall continue to live under a certain social system after it has become too complicated for human understanding, is tantamount to an abdication of intellectual and social responsibility.
Revolution is a wasteful, destructive, and inhuman engine of political change. It must be allowed to happen if there is nothing better, but the great challenge to human ingenuity is to find alternative paths to economic and political reconstruction, which can bring basic changes without the massive use of violence. The societies of the- Third World can ill afford the economic and human costs of prolonged civil war. But virtually all of the thinking to date about revolutionizing underdeveloped societies through technology rather than through violence has been designed to serve the political interests of the donor country. The avoidance of revolution has been an end in itself, and very little commitment has been made to the achievement of radical political change through nonviolent means in societies needing revolution. A great nation has an inherent problem, and possibly an insoluble one, in devising a strategy for helping another society to remake its political life without injecting its own interests and values and without coming to dominate the weak.
Even those who do not, or cannot, avail themselves of a scientific education, choose to benefit from the technology that is made possible by the scientific education of others.
Scientific and technological progress themselves are value-neutral. They are just very good at doing what they do. If you want to do selfish, greedy, intolerant and violent things, scientific technology will provide you with by far the most efficient way of doing so. But if you want to do good, to solve the world's problems, to progress in the best value-laden sense, once again, there is no better means to those ends than the scientific way.
The particular polymers used by living cells are called polynucleotides. There are two main families of polynucleotides in living cells, called DNA and RNA for short. Both are chains of small molecules called nucleotides. Both DNA and RNA are heterogeneous chains, with four different kinds of nucleotides. This, of course, is where the opportunity for information storage lies. Instead of just the two states 1 and 0, the information technology of living cells uses four states, which we may conventionally represent as A, T, C and G. There is very little difference, in principle, between a two-state binary information technology like ours, and a four-state information technology like that of the living cell
Modern industrial technology has certainly accomplished miracles, but we tend to ignore the fact that it is, for the most part, merely a clever set of means for using a temporary abundance of cheap fossil energy to speed up and economize things we had already been doing for a very long time.
Such biological ideas as the 'survival of the fittest,' whatever their doubtful value in natural science, are utterly useless in attempting to understand society... The life of a man in society, while it is incidentally a biological fact, has characteristics that are not reducible to biology and must be explained in the distinctive terms of a cultural analysis... the physical well-being of men is a result of their social organization and not vice versa ... Social improvement is a product of advances in technology and social organization, not of breeding or selective elimination... Judgments as to the value of competition between men or enterprises or nations must be based upon social and not allegedly biological consequences; and ... there is nothing in nature or a naturalistic philosophy of life to make impossible the acceptance of moral sanctions that can be employed for the common good.
Now history under God's providence has reached the era of perpetual emergency, when man's age~old sin combined with his new technology threatens the survival of the human race. Even the most violent of men must recognize that there can be no satisfaction in destroying an enemy by thermonuclear weapons while he is destroying us. But the world is caught in the mood of bitter, tragic necessity. The Sermon on the Mount offers no program to present to Congress or the United Nations. But something of its vision and daring, combined with wise statecraft, offer the only hope for mankind.
The size of the federal budget is not an appropriate barometer of social conscience or charitable concern.
He did not want to be buried in Austria, as he was afraid his grave will be mutilated.
That... is why the neo-Nazis had to do anything they could to question its authenticity.
The end was surely near, ... The Nazis killed you only when you were naked, because they knew, psychologically, that naked people never resist.
Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science.
We could call order by the name of God, but it would be an impersonal God. There's not much personal about the laws of physics.
It took me more than a decade to come to terms with this result [that simple computer programs can produce complex behavior], and to realize just how fundamental and far-reaching its consequences are. In retrospect there is no reason the result could not have been found centuries ago, but increasingly I have come to view it as one of the more important single discoveries in the whole history of theoretical science. For in addition to opening up vast new domains of exploration, it implies a radical rethinking of how processes in nature and elsewhere work.
Rather, knowledge comes to us through a network of prejudices, opinions, innervations, self-corrections, presuppositions and exaggerations, in short through the dense, firmly-founded but by no means uniformly transparent medium of experience.
The overbearing matter-of-factness which sacrifices the subject to the ascertainment of the truth, rejects at once truth and objectivity.