Thursday, 18 April 2013

Death by Mathusian Collapse: The horseman of famine

Just a short post today.

So the premise of the one particular doom scenario (reminiscent of Thomas Malthus and loosely tying into the Limits to Growth crowd) is that the population will increase to say for example 10 billion people and we will all starve.

The doomers like to tie this together with the fact that the green revolution from the 1960s where we (they would say narrowly) avoided famine by increasing crop yields to keep up with population and that the green revolution recently appears to have stalled.

Well my doomer friends, here is yet another nail in the dieoff-from-famine doom scenario:

By sheer and utter accident it turns out that a scientist trying to replicate some extinction events hypothetically caused hundreds of millions of years ago by the toxic gas Hydrogen Sulphide seeping out of the oceans, has instead discovered that the plants growth faster, germinate quicker and produce significantly more biomass.

Frederick Dooley, a University of Washington doctoral student in biology who led the research has this to say:
"With wheat, all the seeds germinated in one to two days instead of four or five, and with peas and beans the typical 40 percent rate of germination rose to 60 to 70 percent." he said
"They germinate faster and they produce roots and leaves faster. Basically what we've done is accelerate the entire plant process," he said."
"The most significant near-term promise, he believes, is in growing algae and other stock for biofuels."

Oh well. Maybe doom from famine is postponed a bit longer.

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