Friday, November 28, 2008

“Life after People”

A documentary called “Life after People” was on Channel 7 last night. Sudarshan and I watched it. At the start I thought, “this is stupid!” (you should listen to the music and the narrator’s voice!), however after the first ten minutes or so, I got really “into it”. Sudarshan on the other hand was unable to share my enthusiasm and the best he could say about the documentary was “the graphics are pretty cool”.

I guess life after people will be largely dependent on how exactly we humans become extinct…

The show was based on the assumption that one day, all of a sudden, humans will simply disappear or drop dead – and only humans. All other mammals were assumed to have survived whatever it was that had resulted in our extinction. I think this is unlikely (unless all human beings board a space craft and fly off to some other planet and leave earth behind or fail to control a viral/bacterial pandemic that is human-specific).

I think that when we eventually “go”, we will take a number of other species with us.

There was one thing that the show spoke about towards the end which I found very thought-provoking. The show concluded that within 500 – 1000 years, most traces of the “modern man” would have been wiped off the planet. All man made structures would have crumbled and there will be no trace of our existence. The only reason we know about ancient civilisations such as those of the Egyptians and Incans was because they left behind writings etched on stone. We tend to store our legacies on books, CDs and computers that are far less durable…

They did suggest that perhaps Mount Rushmore, the Great Wall of China and perhaps the larger pyramids of Giza would still be around, but not much else.

If humans were going to be become extinct and life continued without us (which I am fairly certain will in one way or another), then is it important to etch our legacy in something more durable? Or, in the absence of humans, does our “legacy” too become worthless?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Laugh Kookaburra Laugh...

I can't remember the last time I saw a flock of birds in the sky. Apart from the common pigeons, magpies, indian mainas and the occasional rosellas I hardly see any other birds. I see a few cockatoos when we pass some bushland on our way to work but that is really it.

I don't particularly like birds - an extension of my hatred for all animals really, but now that I spend a lot more time looking at the sky (I have a seat by the window), I can't help but wonder where all the birds went!

As a kid in Fiji, my friend and I would lie on the grass and look at the sky and watch flocks of birds flying "to get home to sleep". We would lie there counting them (this was before Fiji got free-to-air TV!).

Perhaps I no longer take enough notice of the brids in the sky, or maybe they simply aren't there anymore! Either way, it is really sad.