Categories
Theory

It’s Not The End Of The World!

(I began writing this article in February 2020)

Maybe it is though? You know, the apocalypse? I see more and more natural disasters, getting more and more extreme in nature. There are fires, floods, earthquakes, droughts, diseases, and war, constant war, constantly on the increase, escalating, and we can seemingly do nothing about it. Well apparently, we can give up air travel and stop eating meat. I tried this, I stopped flying for about 3 years, and instead got the ferry to see my parents who live in Ireland. This takes a total of 16 hours, instead of the 3 hour bus and the half an hour flight. I calculated the fuel used, and the carbon output, and the flight is better for the environment, so I started flying again.

I stopped eating meat for about a month. I also stopped eating cheese, butter, milk, and eggs, or to better describe it, I went what is known as vegan. It was not fun. I was mainly doing it for the environment, and not for the welfare of animals, but it was worthy of a personal experiment. It was difficult, and not as enjoyable as other vegans made out. I also became exposed to the issue of palm oil, which is used in every product ever that used to contain butter or other forms of vegetable oil, because it is cheaper. It is cheaper because it is produced in developing countries on land that was once part of the natural habitat of many endangered species such as orangutans. I now simply eat less animal products than I used to, extreme solutions are not easy, and don’t even have an impact on those around me enough to save the world.

There is always Mars right? Well in a few decades, we will have established a “colony” of sorts on Mars. The people there will be suffering worse than vegans on Earth. First of all, they will be vegan, straight away, we need to establish that there will be no cows on Mars, probably never. Nutritional yeast will be the closest to meat that any Martian settler will taste until we have lived there for a few generations. The air will be pretty clean though, because it will be cleaned regularly, by filters, and re-oxygenated by plants or algae…

(I have continued writing this article again in November 2020 as I have suddenly found the willpower to discuss the theoretical apocalypse while living through a very real one!)

Okay, Now it’s the end-times!

Forget Mars, we are too late! The VIRUS! It was a plague after all! So I kind of suspected that Coronavirus, or as it is now know COVID19 would spread. Especially since nobody did very much to stop it, well apart from China and South Korea, who by now have it under control. It spread throughout Europe, is now global and it looks like it is here to stay until we can find a vaccine. Will it end humanity? Well no, but it will radically change the way we live. We were already using the Internet to shop for bargains, now we do it to shop for milk, bread and eggs (unless they have run out of eggs that is!). Everyone is now working from home a lot more, and this is actually a bonus prize from the point of view of an environmentalist, as the carbon footprint of commuting has been drastically reduced. However, the majority of carbon produced is for the production of domestic electricity, and having just taken a meter reading, I can definitely attest to the fact that domestic energy consumption has sky-rocketed!

So when do we go back to life as normal, the way things used to be? Will we be wearing masks everywhere for decades to come? Well we don’t have definitive answers to those questions, but there is always a theory, and my theory is that this is yet another pivotal point in human history. Just like when we landed on the Moon, or when penicillin was discovered, we will not be going back to how things were before. People will probably still keep shopping online for the basic groceries, going to the grocery store to buy food will seem like too much of a chore to do regularly, and may even be seen as a fun day out for some! Travelling to work will definitely seem a lot less appealing than it ever was before, even for people who carried on commuting throughout the pandemic. Not having to battle with so much traffic, or other passengers on public transport, will have been a welcome change that they will sorely miss if it goes away again. The time spent commuting has already been spent by most people, they have extra time in bed, or with loved ones, maybe even taking up a new hobby. People are going to miss having their own kitchens to prepare their lunch, and not having to worry about colleagues stealing their sandwiches. Office workers are going to miss wearing pyjamas all day, and their business wear will feel more restrictive and uncomfortable than before. Men will have to get used to wearing a tie (and shaving) again, and women will have to get used to wearing a bra (and shaving) again.

I theorise that employees will want to keep working from home, for the most part. Some will be glad to get back into the office and away from their spouse/kids/neighbours/pets so that they can concentrate on their work! These will be in the minority however, and if they are, they may not even get the chance to go back to the office. What do we do with all of these unnecessary offices then? What about all those office chairs and ergonomic keyboards? Well the offices could be used to grow food, or even be converted into apartments, and the equipment will probably be re-purposed somehow. I truly hope that it doesn’t all end up in landfill to become some future archaeologist’s pet project. Schools will evolve, not everything can be taught online with video conferencing, art for example will require resources and materials, so will science, not everyone will have beakers, conical flasks and a Bunsen burner at home. So the way we educate children may change forever, kids were already able to access everything they could learn at school on the Internet anyway, this is just a push towards decentralised learning. There are people already discussing this in relation to Agenda 21 and even calling it The Great Reset.

So apocalypse means the end of how things are, then we are definitively in an apocalypse, and despite all the people dying from a deadly virus, things aren’t that bad. Well obviously I haven’t mentioned the race war happening in the (less and less) United States of America, that may or may not lead to a full blown civil war. There is actually too much to discuss both matters in one article, so I will leave it up to interested readers to pursue this on another article, hopefully published before it actually happens, unlike this one!

Categories
Theory

Forget About Global Warming!

Global warming, or man made climate change might be the greatest disaster to ever befall humanity, it could wipe us all out and cause human extinction completely. However, it could all be a complete misinterpretation of the facts, according to some people, and blown out of proportion. Okay then, let’s forget Global warming and ignore all the climate scientists. What about the health implications of using fossil fuels? Well we know that a lot of the particulates from burning fossil fuels are unpleasant to breathe in, and there have been numerous studies that link the emissions from petroleum and coal burning to cancer, and other respiratory diseases. All of these studies are relatively conclusive, however, there is a difficulty in isolating people who do not breathe in the exhaust gasses from the burning of fossil fuels altogether as a control. Almost every human on Earth has either been exposed, or is part of an uncontacted tribe and therefore unavailable for sampling, so let’s completely disregard any health implications from the burning of fossil fuels. What about the detrimental effect on the natural environments we acquire our fuel from? Oil spills, deforestation, chemical pollution and of course, acidification of the seas, all pretty nasty stuff and very well documented. We could investigate this further, but let’s put that to one side for now, and imagine that it is all a drop in the proverbial and literal ocean.

How about the economic impact? Capitalism is currently a model of perpetual or even exponential growth, fuelled primarily by a resource that is finite, and actually scarce. Fossil fuels are not in great supply, they are buried in the ground, and there is a fixed amount of them. Then we burn them and they are gone forever. There will come a time when we have gotten every last whiff of gas, drop of oil and lump of coal from the subterranean deposits, and those under the ocean. When this time comes, we will either be completely powerless, in the most literal sense, or we will be unconcerned because we have already developed a robust infrastructure of alternative power sources. With an economy built on a power source that will inevitably exhaust, surely there will come a point of hyper-inflation, when the price of everything will be based on the rising price of the fuel required to produce it and move it. We have experienced this already, when the production costs of oil were inexpensive, the price of everything we consume was very low and the world economy grew steadily. Then when supplies run lower, the price of oil goes up and so does the price of everything else. Consumers become more hesitant to spend, the global economy fluctuates wildly, and people lose their jobs as whole industries crash, all because we can’t find enough oil.

Of course there is always a war, but wars over oil have a global impact. The majority of oil comes from a region of the world where the most armed conflict takes place. Countries unite against countries, cultures turn against cultures, and people even fight in the street over a few gallons of fuel. Humans have always had battles over resources, but the scale we are currently experiencing such conflict is massive. The past forty years of human history have been marred by conflict over oil, from the Falklands, Gulf War 1 and Gulf War 2, to the current civil unrest in Venezuela. Nobody is being killed to build solar panels, or forced to flee an area being used to erect windmills. There are however hydro-power refugees, as unfortunately whole regions have been flooded to create hydro-electric dams in China. Recently the Chinese government has improved the compensation packages to such “Hydromigrants”, so that they can start new lives, often in much better circumstances than they had before.

When the last lump of coal burns to create electricity, either the lights go out, or we have already switched to renewable methods for generating this power. If the companies and conglomerates that currently make their fortunes digging energy out of the ground, all started developing alternatives now, they will continue to compete in the new renewable economy, however different it may be. If they choose to ride their current wave of success into the ground, then we, the people who need this power, will suffer the consequences. Power, however, is only one part of the problem.

Forget Microplastic Pollution!

Plastic is not just a problem in terms of it polluting the ocean, we also use it for lots of applications where it is almost irreplaceable. We have invented millions of items, and devices, that need to be made out of plastic in order for them to work. Almost all of the plastic used today to make the things we need, comes from the petrochemical and fossil fuel industry. It is a by-product of the refinement of crude oil, into petroleum and diesel fuels and natural gas processing. Materials science has some ideas on how to replace plastic, as recycling only means we will have a slightly longer period between running out of oil, and running out of plastic. Silicon and carbon are two of the most abundant elements in the universe, and also two of the most useful when it comes to developing alternatives to plastics. Organic polymers are being developed that are biodegradable, however one of the most useful applications of plastic is as a food packaging, which means that biodegradable packaging is not so useful if it could react with the food it is in contact with, or biodegrade before we get a chance to eat its contents. The alternative to plastic packaging could actually be no packaging. In fact a number of supermarkets are trialling “fill your own” stations where customers pay for their product by weight and simply fill their own containers. The downside of this is of course the need to bring an empty container to the store when purchasing your goods, and of course clearing up spillages when customers inevitably make a mess of getting their goods into the container.

Whatever the solution to the ever reducing supply of plastic, we have already created a massive problem of plastic in the ocean which will need to be dealt with. There is research being done on microbes that can eat it, chemicals that can break it down, or skimmers that will literally sweep it all up. Until then, it is breaking down into tiny pieces, being eaten by fish and other sea creatures, and then being eaten by us. There is no telling what kind of health effects this is having on humans, we are consuming micro-plastics, but they are often staying inside us. If archaeologists of the future dig us up, they will see all of these pieces of plastic and refer to our time period as the “Plastic Age”. Alternatively we will effectively eradicate all evidence of the harm we have done to the environment, and the future historians will have no physical evidence of our existence at all.

Hopefully we will develop alternatives to plastic before we run out of it, and the same with oil, coal, and natural gas. We need alternatives, not just because of the negative environmental impact of using these resources, not just for our health, but because they are, very soon, going to deplete. Well, there is always a theory…

Categories
Hypothesis Ideology Opinion Theory Uncategorized

Hello world!

Welcome to There is Always a Theory, a project still very much under development, and underdeveloped by Michael Wharton (MikeSynonymous). What began several years ago as a personal web blog, has evolved into a journal of sorts, where lots of people (hopefully), are free to express their thoughts, theories, opinions and ideas about how the world works, or how it should work. Contributors are either friends, relatives, or even people I have never met, who have submitted an article through the website. I do not fully agree with all the thoughts, theories, hypotheses, opinions or ideas expressed on this website, but I do wholeheartedly enjoy reading them, and commenting on them! We welcome all kinds of theory, from political, to scientific, or socio-economic, academic, or even your personal ideas on how Harry Potter should have ended.

We have no categories just yet, and there may be a good deal of sorting out and archiving to do once we have a lot of articles to read, I’m sure as our readers, you would like to read a lot of similar articles, or even to read articles that are contemporary to each other chronologically. In fact, as I write this, there are no articles, contributors or authors but myself. This is hopefully the first of many posts, and for now, while we are limited in budget, we are using WordPress (am I really still using the royal we when I just told you that it is still just me?).

What’s With The Name?

So There is Always a Theory, or is there? Well for as long as information exists, there are ways to interpret that information, and the Universe contains intelligent life capable of interpreting the information into hypotheses and theories.

Therefore; there is always a theory only as long as there are people. People form theories all the time. When you cross the street, you see the moving cars, you take in the data and you analyse if it is safe to cross or not. You form a hypothesis and you decide that it is safe hypothetically, then you test your hypothesis in an experiment and form your overall theory of when it is safe to cross the road. Your theory may differ from that of others, you may only cross at a pedestrian crossing, only when the green man is showing you that it is safe, you may weave in between the cars like you are Neo in the Matrix dodging bullets, but everyone forms theories, all the time.

Do you think there is always a theory? Why not write an article, propose your theory, opinion, hypothesis, analysis, or maybe you have written a review of a movie, or a political diatribe, well submit it anyway, we are more than likely to publish it if it is well written, and maybe even if it isn’t! We can’t pay you any money, but you can impress your friends with your credentials as a published writer! We want people to read your article as much as you do, so we will promote it, link to it, tweet it, and comment on it.

There Is Always A Theory does not endorse hate speech, we promote critical thinking, juxtaposition, debate, discussion, argument, disagreement, retort, Myth-busting, rational thought, irrational thought, criticism, and general banter, but without hate, insult, flaming, defamation, condescension, bigotry, prejudice, ignorance or general nastiness. We also like to try and keep an open mind.