Re: Nuclear war is not an existential threat

From: Richard Loosemore (
Date: Tue Sep 27 2005 - 18:05:15 MDT

> Any virus bad enough that physical human-to-human interaction and travel
> dwindles will put a significant damper on the economy. One of the nice
> things about nuclear weapons is that the real damage is pretty localized.
> Look at what SARS did to the Asian economies in a matter of weeks, and that
> was an insignificant virus in the big scheme of things. Something nasty and
> global, like a particularly bad influenza variant, could hinder the free
> flow of goods and services on a spectacular scale.
> J. Andrew Rogers

All of this discussion seems to be missing the most important point
about a viral pandemic: it won't just "hinder the free flow of goods
and services on a spectacular scale" it would cause so much disruption
that rampant, uncontrollable civil strife would break out ... and that
factor, by itself, could easily send us back to the Dark Ages.

The most graphic summary of these issues is probably not Jared Diamond's
recent effort, but a gorgeously illustrated children's book called "A
Street Through Time". Do take a look at it next time you're in the
bookstore. Look at the page with the Roman street, c. 100 A.D. Dwell
for a moment on the plumbing, the fabulous stone buildings, murals on
the walls, central heating, shops, etc. Then look at the next picture,
and the next, and the next, for about another 1,600 years.

If there was ever a reason to stop pissing into the wind with the AGI
stuff and get down to business, that little kids' book pretty much sums
it up.

Richard Loosemore

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