Thursday, September 20, 2007

Apocalypse tomorrow

The World Without Us by Alen Weisman looks at what will happen if humans die out. Think homo sapiens on the extinct list. Without us, as the book describes in great detail, nature regains control, and Mr. Weisman plots out who wins supremacy or survives. If you believe that in the event of a nuclear war the only creature that would make it out of the bomb shelter are roaches, well. read on and take a new perspective of our synergistic relationship with la cucaracha. You might feel sorry for squishing one the next time ... probably not.

What saddened me, but was understandable, was that our domestic animals with the exception of cats, would turn into prey for larger, more instinctive predators that don't expect a handout from a canned or boxed food item. All those crazy dog coats and boots? Ditch 'em! Teach your dog how to live in the wild!!! Give them survival training! Stop coloring their hair pink, silly billies.

On the website related to the book , you can also watch the eventual timeline of what happens to a city or to one's house after it's no longer being kept up. I found it a bit odd that it takes 40 years for mushrooms and fungi to start growing back in profusion, maybe because in the rainy season, it doesn't take long for those tiny white caps to sprout on the root of my front yard tree. And at the 400th year, when the house has collapsed back into the fold, they could have added a bit more foliage. Still looked a bit too urban for my taste.

Naturally, plastic will be around for more than a millenia or two. The microbes that will mutate to break down plastic into its basic petroleum and chemical elements need a hundred thousand years to develop and build a taste for plastic. So, cockroaches may not be the king of the world, but plastic will keep our legacy alive for any aliens who plan to land on our blue planet in 74000 AD.

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