Reality Blind - Vol. 1

I’d be impressed. But when it comes to “colonization,” Mars is a great example of a dumb destination, due to what it doesn’t have: air, water, soil, food, significant accessible energy flows, livable temperature, environmental services, a magnetic field to protect from charged radiation and keep the atmosphere from blowing away, an ozone layer to protect from UV radiation, and so on. Mars has been listed on our real estate exchanges for millennia with no suckers wanting it. And for good reason: there is no place on Earth you could walk to, fly to, sink to, or climb to that is not incredibly more fit for human life than anywhere on Mars. The Bottom Line: Though energy is the primary driver, growth in a system is limited by the least available input.

Bottlenecks: (Population, Genetic, and Generic)

Summary: What is a “ bottleneck ” and how does it relate to our human past, present, and future? The term bottleneck is increasingly used for all sorts of human systems. Here we specifically use the term in its biological sense: population and genetic bottlenecks, which are related but distinct phenomena. Population Bottlenecks occur when the population of a species, genus, or order falls to a very low number of

individuals, due to any of many potential causes, some catastrophic and some gradual. This is a dangerous situation for a species because the difference between a “bottleneck” and an “extinction event” only beco mes clear in retrospect. Tiny populations have very little leeway for bad luck: if your species consists of ten million individuals and one gets bitten by a venomous snake, the species will easily carry on. But if there are only two breeding females left a nd one gets killed by a snakebite, that’s a species level


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