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Don't Take Your Eyes Off This Ball!

by Asinus Asinum Fricat Fri May 9th, 2008 at 10:59:08 AM EST

This ball, our ball.

What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals--and yet,
to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me--
nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.

Promoted by Migeru

Were the Bard alive today, he would be not only be castigating us harshly for having done so much damage to our planet but also for doing so little to repair it save for the efforts of a few thousands of enlightened environmentalists. Sadly, not many politicians have joined the fray, with most playing servants to multinational interests.

"By God, what have you done?", would say the Bard.

Global Food Crisis: Socrates is reputed to have said that the best sauce for food is hunger and a few millennia later in 1798, English economist Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus, earned posterity for his prediction that population would continually increase faster than the food supply, causing chronic food shortages.

"Hell is empty, and all the Devils are here."  

Since 1950, the earth's population has risen by more than four billion people, to 6.6 billion and UN projections put world population at 9.2 billion by 2050. The world currently faces a food crisis before the full impact of climate change and a 42% rise in population.

"And oftentimes excusing of a fault Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse."

Historian David Christian writes that just to keep their bodies functioning, humans need about three thousand calories of energy a day. Ten thousand years ago, there may have been six million humans, each consuming at least this much energy, but not much more. Today, there are one thousand times as many humans (more than six billion), so we can be sure that our species now consumes at least one thousand times as much energy as we did ten thousand years ago. At the same time, each modern human consumes on average about fifty times as much energy as our ancestors did ten thousand years ago. If his figures are correct, they suggest that, as a species, we now consume about fifty thousand times as much energy as our ancestors once did. They demonstrate a control over energy that no other species can match. The equivalent graph for chimpanzees (or, for that matter, for any other nonhuman animals) would show no significant change in either total or per capita energy consumption over the last one hundred thousand years or more.

"They have been at a great feast of languages and stolen the scrapes".

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, UN activist and head of the Earth Institute at New York's Columbia University, in his recently published book - Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet - recommends a target population of no more than eight billion by mid-century compared with the UN projection of 9.2 billion. For that to happen, a focused effort is required in the poorest parts of the world, mainly Africa, where fertility rates are higher than elsewhere. Two out of three inhabitants of Sub Saharan Africa are under 25 years of age and in India, population rose by 21.34 % between 1991 - 2001. The developing world has five-sixths of the world's population. As developing countries continue to develop, led by India and China, there will be an acceleration in the attrition of the world's natural resources. The change in food diets in prospering Asian countries is one reason for the rapid surge in food prices. Sachs forecasts that in the 21st century, the world's economic center of gravity will shift to Asia which will produce more than half the world's income. US dominance will end. He says that America traditionally has sought to protect its way of life through militarization but he argues that any US desire for global stability at this point would be better served by spending on foreign aid. Sachs says that in the past half century, the U.S. has spent $17 trillion on its military, $2.3 trillion on aid.

"There's many a man hath more hair than wit."

Sachs wrote in Time Magazine in March, that to make the right choice, we must understand four earth-changing trends unprecedented in human history:

    * First, the spread of modern economic growth means that the world on average is rapidly getting richer in terms of incomes per person. Moreover, the gap in average income per person between the rich world, centered in the North Atlantic (that is, Europe and the U.S.), and much of the developing world, especially Asia, is narrowing fast. With well over half the world's population, fast-growing Asia will also become the center of gravity of the world economy.
    * Second, the world's population will continue to rise, thereby amplifying the overall growth of the global economy. Not only are we each producing more output on average, but there will be many more of us by mid-century. The scale of the world's economic production by mid-century is therefore likely to be several times that of today.
    * Third, our bulging population and voracious use of the earth's resources are leading to unprecedented multiple environmental crises. Never before has the magnitude of human economic activity been large enough to change fundamental natural processes at the global scale, including the climate itself. Humanity has also filled the world's ecological niches; there is no place to run.
    * Fourth, while many of the poor are making progress, many of the very poorest are stuck at the bottom. Nearly 10 million children die each year because their families, communities and nations are too poor to sustain them. The instability of impoverished and water-stressed countries has ignited a swath of violence across the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. What we call violent fundamentalism should be seen for what it really is: poverty, hunger, water scarcity and despair.

"The quality of mercy is not strain'd."

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), which is based in Bangkok, said in its annual report:

"Chronic neglect of the agricultural sector in Asia and the Pacific is condemning 218 million people to continuing extreme poverty, and widening the gap between the region's rich and poor. Governments must show greater political will to address decades of policy neglect and failure in the agricultural sector," said Noeleen Heyzer, UN Under-Secretary-General and the Executive Secretary of ESCAP. "It is simply unacceptable that at a time when the economic growth of Asia and the Pacific has surpassed all expectations, we are not doing all that we can to improve the lives of more than 200 million people living in such poverty."

"Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults."

An example of human ingenuity in the area of food production, is the work of 94-year old American, Norman Borlaug. In an age when so many genuflect at the altar of vacuous bimbos like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, we still have in our midst a remarkable man, now unknown to most of the world, who is said to have "saved more lives than any other person who has ever lived."

"We are such stuff
As dreams are made on,
and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep."


So, who's going to play ball here?
by Asinus Asinum Fricat (patric.juillet@gmail.com) on Sun Apr 27th, 2008 at 07:13:02 AM EST
You need a < in front of that ``href''.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Apr 27th, 2008 at 11:15:06 AM EST
Believe me, I tried everything, spent 1/4 hour trying to post it properly, nothing worked. In the end I gave up, and it got posted somehow.
by Asinus Asinum Fricat (patric.juillet@gmail.com) on Sun Apr 27th, 2008 at 01:58:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hope I got it to do what you wanted.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 27th, 2008 at 02:42:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If all you are trying to get is the image, don't use that photobucket "html code" option at all. Use the "Direct link", not the "html code", and put it in a "img" tag. Also, you should only need to click in the "Direct Link" text box to copy the URL for the picture.

<img src="...paste URL here...">

... to give:

If you want the image to be aligned to the right edge, "align=" gives that:

<img align="right" src="...paste URL here...">

for right aligned gives ...

No need to use "align" for left, that is the default, just put the img tag starting on its own line.


Center aligning is tricker. Because of the html code that a diary is embedded in, if you use align="center" on an image alone, it ends up in the left hand edge.

To center an image on its own, put it in a center aligned table ... one set of tags makes the table, one set makes the row, one set makes the item in the row, so its just one thing sitting inside the centered table.

<table align="center"><tr><td><img src="...paste URL here..."></td></tr></table>

... for centered gives ...

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Apr 27th, 2008 at 02:55:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent and patiently-explained advice!

As you were typing, I was fixing it for AAF (the long URL was pushing the column wide).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 27th, 2008 at 03:21:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, as you see, I'm techie challenged!
by Asinus Asinum Fricat (patric.juillet@gmail.com) on Sun Apr 27th, 2008 at 04:40:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... when it comes to cascading style sheets and javascript, I leave it to the real techies.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Apr 27th, 2008 at 04:50:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great diary, full of truth!

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sun Apr 27th, 2008 at 11:38:08 AM EST

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Apr 27th, 2008 at 12:31:54 PM EST
This is the sort of thing I come to ET to find, and I'm frequently rewarded.  Informative, compelling, beautifully written... thank you so much.

Karen in Austin

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Mon Apr 28th, 2008 at 08:59:14 AM EST

I never tire of looking at this " blue marble " image of Earth suspended ... basking in that golden sunbeam.

Many years ago, Al Gore suggested how it might nurture global harmony and world peace .. if we were to dedicate a single satellite to the task of broadcasting this image ... 24 hours a day.

A channel dedicated to simply seeing our Earth in the perspective of the Universe.

by abarefootboy (richardbohn a ( in a cirlcle ) comcast dot net) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:51:08 AM EST
There is a German channel devoted entirely to showing the earth from above, slowly rotating, but I can't remember the link.
by Asinus Asinum Fricat (patric.juillet@gmail.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 01:31:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I won't.  I see it coming in, like a fat grapefruit, spins like a fastball.  Think i'll take a curt

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 01:39:45 PM EST
sorry, pressed the wrong button.

But wait, i WILL take a cut.  It looks fat, right in my crush zone.  Wait, wait, weight on the back foot.  THEN unleash, keep the bat level, power from the thighs through the hip rotation, plant that front foot.  AND WHACK!

Looks like i drilled it outahere.

sometimes i feel like that, just club the constant stupidity to death.  A planet lacking critical judgement, at the end of the day, deserves to sleep in the bed it's made.

Then i wake and remember how many good people are still trying to right the species.  i remember why i chose to come here.  guess i like to smile that cosmic grin, suck it up and keep at it.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 01:46:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for this glorious diary!

The words of the Bard, chosen so superbly well, serve to bind us in your spell to the end of the diary.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 11:47:16 PM EST

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