This blog is highly personal, makes no attempt at being politically correct, will occasionaly offend your sensibility, and certainly does not represent the opinions of the people I work with or for.
Orders of magnitude
One of the biggest problems with the correct understanding of science by the general public is to describe things at the correct order of magnitude.

Take your closest regular non-science geek, and imagine that one evening he comes across a science show on TV during which they say that the moon is moving away from the Earth. He might be thinking "Really ? Well I did not know that, and does that matter ?" The answer to this question comes later in the show when they explain to him that the presence of the moon stabilises various things on Earth (for instance its rotation axis), but more importantly if the moon moves too far away, the tidal effects will diminish and see level might rise at locations, such as New York or Rio de Janeiro.

So then this is where it hurts me: because you are freakingly stupid and one specimen of this "CSI generation" couch potato, you just cannot understand things without seeing them (and some wonder why people have got more and more problems having simple abstract thoughts), so they have to show you a CGI animation of (the current) Rio de Janeiro with rising see levels, and the voice says "this will happen and millions of people will have to be moved away from their homes".

I fucking swear that if I had whoever was acting a scientific advisor to this TV show within arm's length, he would be dead by now. I would have hit him so hard with the TV, that even his mother could not recognise him (after which I would have broken all of the 206 bones of his body, one by one, to make me feel better...). Why ? Is it because I disagree with the science ? I, of course, agree with the science, and while being at it any high school student should know all that in the very first place (and they would is they watched a bit less of MTV). What I disagree with it that the show misses a very important, if not the most important, point: it won't happen before several million years.

So now, does anybody believe that even if our species still exists in several million years, that we will still be on Earth ? That there will still be a New York or a Rio de Janeiro to worry about ? Or that mankind will even remember where Earth is (Foundation anyone ? -- no, I guess it is just too much to expect that people have read the right books), and that by then we won't have the technology to put the moon back in place if we want to, if we even care about it ?

... and while being at it, will we even look like human anymore (I am not talking about Natural Evolution here, I am talking about a species who is learning extremely fast how to decode and modify its own DNA; along with learning *lots* of other cool stuff. A species which has no reason to keep its natural form when there are so many other directions it could give to its biological evolution, as result of its technological advancement).

Beside our own stupidity, the only remaining true problem for the global survival of our species is a large asteroid impact. But sooner than later (probably within a couple of hundred years), we will have self replicating AI controlled space probes doing the survey and cleaning for us. Or course I do not take account of unlikely events like a supernovae happening within 100 light years or a gamma ray burst happening within few thousand light years with us on the trajectory. And I also eliminate the case of technologically superior aliens thinking that we are an insult to their gods and decide that erasing us (and everything we have ever touched) is the right thing to do (we have done, and are still doing, this to ourselves, even though we are supposed to care about each other; they won't hesitate one second).

It is very likely that if we manage to survive that long (without blowing us up and everything within few parsecs), we will have reached the level of Type III species and will have converted the entire Milky Way into energy and settled down somewhere else (with a nicer weather) anyway. So now, tell me if by then the fact the moon has moved away from the Earth will still matter !! For God's sake!

Now, now, calm down Pascal. Take your medications....

The human species and its technological ecosystem have changed more in the last 40 years, than during the entire previous human history. Our technological and science condition is changing at an incredible pace. Soon our intelligence will take over the course of our natural biological evolution, and even if we have to wait 700 years, someone is going to figure out that faster than light travel thing. Our computing technology, which is currently extraordinary primitive, only one generation old, is bound to become the prominent, if not the only, feature of our species. Within, say, twenty thousand years in the future (that's 40 times 500 years, so at least 40 times more than since we started to take science seriously), we (however we look like by then) will probably have understood *so* much about science and the mysteries of the universe that we might be able to trigger another perfectly mathematically controlled big bang on a separate facet of the multiverse and settle down in the resulting universe.

So another time, can they please stop showing me (or anybody else for that matter) Rio de Janeiro in several million years !! Or I will commit a murder.
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