Off the cameras and microphones of Ugo Bardi and RE
Aired on the Doomstead Diner on September 11, 2013
Discuss this article at the Diner TV Table inside the Diner
In the first “Official” Vidcast of the Collapse Cafe today on the Doomstead Diner, Ugo Bardi and I got together to discuss some of the issues brought up originally in an article he wrote on his blog Cassandra’s Legacy last year, and which John Michael Greer of The Archdruid Report added his own thoughts and scenarios for in his blog last week. I looked at the ideas both authors put forth in the last Sunday Brunch article on the Diner The Next 10 Billion Years, which brought up many issues worth discussing in greater detail.
We did air one Test Vidcast before this basically to get familiar with the Google Hangouts software so that we can do a decent job with the production, which is not so easy really. You are subject to problems along the way since these things consume gobs of bandwidth, so you have to have a very strong and consistent net connection to keep them running. Midway through this Vidcast with Ugo, we experienced an outtage, but fortunately the connection was reestablished before I stopped the recording, and we were able to complete the vidcast otherwise free of technical gliches, except for Ugo’s Dog. LOL.
The Vidcasting has some advantages over a straight Podcast of just Audio, it is more Information Rich in the sense you can see facial expression and body language, which communicates quite a bit beyond just the words. It is also possible to drop on other visual material while recording, though we did not try that in this Vidcast. It also is a better format for several people to be chatting at once, since you don’t get confused as to who is speaking. The main limitations are first that you can’t stop and start it and editing it would be difficult. So you pretty much have to do it “live”. The Audio Quality also is not as good as a podcast. So one does not replace the other, you merely use them for different things.
Far as the content of the Vidcast is concerned, many unanswered questions remained from both Ugo’s original blog and JMG’s more recent one, in particular the question of just what motivates a person to write a scenario for such a long timeline? We have plenty of problems to solve just in the next decade and century which MAYBE we can have some effect on, why concern yourself with Millenia and Billenia length issues we cannot affect, and moreover are pretty much inescapable due to constraints of Astrophysics?
Then there are questions of the accuracy of the Science involved, even in a Science Fiction/Fantasy treatment of such ideas to make them plausible they need to at least pay passing attention to known Scientific principals and limitations. Is it reasonable to believe that the Earth can duplicate the conditions which allowed for millions of years of energy collection in microorganisms to replenish fossil fuel stores over the next 100-200M years? Is it reasonable to believe Sentience will recur in another Species after Homo Sapiens goes the way of the Dinosaur? Is it reasonable to expect we can recreate another Agricultural Civilization of Homo Sapiens after this one crashes?
These are a few of the questions raised in John Michael Greer’s and Ugo’s scenarios we look at in this Vidcast. Does it make any real difference as far as the near term problems we face? Probably not. Still, there are philosophical questions of Existence and its Meaning which occupy the mind of the Doomer that are always out there, and for Ugo and myself, it is something worth chatting about. Maybe it will be worth listening to for you.