Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The world without us

Hi all,

I’ve just finished reading the non-fiction book The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. It’s a book which posses the question: what would happen to the world if humanity suddenly disappeared? It seemed the world would do pretty well without us until I got to the chapter on nuclear power plants. The author reckons that half the world’s 420 nuclear power plants would meltdown after running out of coolant. The resulting radiation would probably kill just about everything on planet earth. Interestingly the author visited Chernobyl while writing the book and says the animals and birds and insects are returning, but they are mutating.

I learnt from the book that one of the best wildlife reserves in the world is the demilitarised zone between North Korea and South Korea, due to its complete lack of humans. While the wildlife could repopulate the earth - if it wasn’t for those nuclear power plants - after man left, the same could not be said for sea life, where degrading plastic looks like it will poison the food chain.

If you want to leave some relic of your existence the best bet is to have a bronze statue made of yourself and appear on television. Bronze statues should last for millions of years and the radio waves of your television appearance will float off into space forever.

I highly recommend the book to anyone who has an interest in science-fiction, especially post-apocalyptic stories. It would seem that zombies and the humans they are trying to eat the brains of would have to be immune from radiation to last very long.

But there might still be hope for us if we learn how to time travel. I am just about to start reading Paul Davies’ non-fiction (repeat non-fiction) book: How to Build a Time Machine.


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