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Complex Systems Theorists Predict We're About One Year From Global Food Riots

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the wait-for-the-sisko-riots-of-2024 dept.

Stats 926

pigrabbitbear writes with conjecture on what triggers global unrest. Quoting the article: "In a 2011 paper, researchers at the Complex Systems Institute unveiled a model that accurately explained why the waves of unrest that swept the world in 2008 and 2011 crashed when they did. The number one determinant was soaring food prices. Their model identified a precise threshold for global food prices that, if breached, would lead to worldwide unrest."

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Civil unrest (4, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294483)

Means we can buy their cities for half price. Engage the diplomat unis!

Re:Civil unrest (2, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294611)

Exactly. So many "wins" for the predator class.
Manipulate global commodity markets for foodstuffs - WIN!
Chaos to justify re-ordering "democratic" societies - WIN!
And then? Reorganising municipalities into "Charter Cities" [go.com] , run by enterprise - WIN!

Re:Civil unrest (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294673)

It was a Civilization reference...

Re:Civil unrest (5, Funny)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294701)

A lame one at that. *Real* civ players get money from cities . . . by pillaging them. :P

Re:Civil unrest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294745)

Remember: Pillage, then Burn!

Re:Civil unrest (3, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294931)

Remember: Pillage, then Burn!

Nonononono. Rape. Then pillage. THEN burn.

Hunger games (0)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294935)

was a prediction.

first? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294485)

First

Like the saying goes.. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294487)

No man is more than three square meals away from revolution.

Re:Like the saying goes.. (5, Funny)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294695)

Is the shape important?

Catastrophe (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294495)

Malthus? Is that you?

Re:Catastrophe (3, Funny)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294513)

Malthus, perhaps. Hari Seldon, probably not.

Re:Catastrophe (2)

Maltheus (248271) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294609)

No, for the last time, it's Matheus with an 'e'!

Re:Catastrophe (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294883)

Eventually bad shit will happen. Eventually, someone might actually get a model that accurately predicts it. Dismissing this new research because someone years ago made the same predictions with simpler, inaccurate models is not a logically sound basis to dismiss new research. If there is something amiss with the new research, dismiss it on those grounds. That is skepticism. Dismissing based on the fact Malthus was wrong* is not sound.

*Malthus was only wrong about missing the Green Revolution. However, the amount of food extractable from any given acre cannot continue to increase forever. There is still an upper limit ahead.

Still Wrong (3, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294497)

"Experts" have been incorrectly predicting that vast swaths of humanity would startve to death at least since Malthus. How can claims like this still be taken seriously?

Perhaps I could buy the claim that "food riots will happen, despit no lack of food"; after all, we do as a species love to protest. We produce enough food to feed everyone as the populaiton grows while less land is needed for farming every decade. The WHO warns about similar numbers of people facing obesity problems as they do starvation problems. Yes, there will always be governments that withhold food as a weapon against their own citizens, but beyond that any claim of a food shortage just seems silly.

Re:Still Wrong (5, Informative)

AmazingRuss (555076) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294519)

Not a lack of food. A lack of cheap food. When you spend a large percentage of your income on food, it matters more.

Re:Still Wrong (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294803)

My current net worth is about $600,000 and I have this [yearfoodsupply.com] in my basement. I'm pretty sure I don't have to worry.

Re:Still Wrong (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294887)

In Romania, 5-6 years after the Revolution of 1989, food cost still was almost 40% of the average family income. Not imported, and not the prepackaged/treated stuff you find today.

Things have improved, but poor politics keep the agriculture down, and import costs up (artificially).

If there will be riots, foot will be the cited reason, not the real one.

Re:Still Wrong (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294921)

Yet another problem that could have been solved by switching from income taxes to sales taxes! /libertarian

Re:Still Wrong (2, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294547)

Even during the great depression food riots only rarely occurred and while there was civil unrest it was far from panic or massive

The kind of riots are tough to happen because if the global food supply that fresh fruit you just bought probably has traveled more milessince it was a seed than you will this entire year.

Now shut down the plnes trains and trucks and then the food riots will appear

Re:Still Wrong (1, Flamebait)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294563)

I dont think you are educated on the subject lgw.
There is lack of food, there is an overpopulation problem, there are droughts, floods, swarms, and other natural disasters to consider.
Also consider that obesity is a media whore, and that to become obese one needs only to eat the wrong foods, not large swaths of it.
But go ahead, live in your fantasy world that everything is okay and "experts" are just crying wolf. But when that day comes... I told you so wont put food on your plate.

Re:Still Wrong (0)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294717)

There is lack of food

Actually there isn't a lack of food, only a problem with its distribution.

Re:Still Wrong (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294891)

There's not even much of a problem with its distribution these days, in terms of engineering and logistics. There's almost no place left where we couldn't bring food to everyone needing it, before it spoils. It's mostly the local governments who stop that from happening, for one reason or another.

Charities to help those that can't afford basic sustenance are many and reasonably well funded (not that more donations wouldn't be welcome - I give a significant amount here myself). Let's not ignore the importance of charity here - it's not a failure of an economic system if there are a few people in need, it's a failure of this "with" if they don't give voluntarily to help those genuinely "without". Somehow people always want to give their neighbors' money to charity instead of their own, however.

Re:Still Wrong (4, Insightful)

SlowGenius (231663) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294603)

Last I knew, those "experts" were pretty much on target -- vast swathes of humanity have been starving to death since there were vast swathes of humanity. Malthus totally got it right except for two developments he couldn't foresee. The first (the Green Revolution) is only a temporary fix-- all it ultimately did was to increase the carrying capacity of the planet, not to change the basics of Malthusian economics. The second factor (effective birth control) is the only reason you can remain ignorant enough to call Malthus wrong.

Re:Still Wrong (5, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294871)

Last I knew, those "experts" were pretty much on target -- vast swathes of humanity have been starving to death since there were vast swathes of humanity.

Which makes such a prediction pretty useless. What those experts are predicting is a massive uptick in starvation rates. And yes, they have been consistently wrong. In modern times, there has never been a global, sustained, starvation die-off in the vein of a Malthusian Catastrophe.

Malthus totally got it right except for two developments he couldn't foresee.

In other words, he got it wrong.

The second factor (effective birth control) is the only reason you can remain ignorant enough to call Malthus wrong.

It's more than just birth control; it's a whole slew of factors that contribute to demographic transition [wikipedia.org] . And yes, it's the primary reason Malthus was wrong. One of his fundamental assumptions was:

"That population does invariably increase when the means of subsistence increase"

Demographic transition has demonstrated that this is false. Human population growth is not limited solely by the availability of subsistence; it self-limits given the presence of other factors that tend to occur as prosperity increases.

Re:Still Wrong (-1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294627)

The WHO warns about similar numbers of people facing obesity problems as they do starvation problems.Â

Can't wait for obesity riots. Oh wait, they are happening right now in Chicago.

Re:Still Wrong (2)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294775)

Fortunately, obesity riots happen very slowly.

Re:Still Wrong (2, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294703)

but beyond that any claim of a food shortage just seems silly.,

I hear that argued by the religious right anytime the subject of overpopulation comes up, even though the math is pretty simple.

We have a planet with a comfortable capacity of 5 billion and a population of 7 billion. Apparently all that extra food and resources are going to magically rain down out of the sky.

From the article: For billions of people around the world, food comprises up to 80% of routine expenses (for rich-world people like you and I, itâ(TM)s like 15%).

I put the people who downplay the potential for mass starvation in the same category as people who deny climate change. They're both whistling past the graveyard so they don't have to make any sacrifices in terms of changing their lifestyle.

Re:Still Wrong (4, Insightful)

preaction (1526109) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294861)

We have a planet with a comfortable capacity of 5 billion

[citation needed]

Re:Still Wrong (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294875)

It hasn't been comfortable since we passed 3 billion.

Re:Still Wrong (4, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294951)

The "comfortable capacity" of the planet is redefined every generation by alarmists to a bit less that whatever the population happens to be. Funny how that works.

Spending 80% on food is still a step up from subsistance farming. It's a step in the right direction (better than 100%) for a great many people. More steps will come.

It never fails to amaze me how many /. posters seem not to understand that technology makes us more efficient with the same resources. "Technology" doesn't mean the latest Apple product - it's every step forward in allowing more people to live "comfortably" on the same resources. Thinking the world has some fixed population limit that we've passed is thinkingthat technologicl advancement has stopped. Not likely.

Re:Still Wrong (1)

Muros (1167213) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294785)

"Experts" have been incorrectly predicting that vast swaths of humanity would startve to death at least since Malthus. How can claims like this still be taken seriously?

Large swathes of humanity HAVE starved to death since Malthus. if you look at this [wikipedia.org] list of famines, and count the deaths since Malthus, the estimates are 33-75 million people. And that is only the ones we know about; more than two thirds of those famines have no body counts listed. The number could be several hundreds of millions. And that's not counting people who starved to death in conditions that were not officially labelled as famines. I find it very easy to take such claims seriously, especially when the global population continues to grow larger. The world is not getting bigger, but our need for food is. And with such a shocking history of miserable death, how much brighter can the future be unless things change?

Re:Still Wrong (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294983)

33-75 million people. That's surely less than one percent of the people who have died since Malthus. Stalin deliberately starved, what, 25 million to death? What point are you trying to support with these numbers anyhow?

Re:Still Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294819)

Let them eat cake, she said

Re:Still Wrong (4, Insightful)

Kergan (780543) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294823)

"Experts" have been incorrectly predicting that vast swaths of humanity would startve to death at least since Malthus. How can claims like this still be taken seriously?

Because they're not claiming sensationalistic Malthusian version of "we're doomed, there are too many people" and instead merely pointing out that people revolt when they don't make enough to feed their family.

The WHO warns about similar numbers of people facing obesity problems as they do starvation problems.

That's an entirely different topic. Obesity is above all related to sugar consumption -- or more specifically, fructose consumption -- if recent developments in nutrition are anything to go by. If we distribute snack bars, sweet water and fruit juice in Japan, China or Africa, we'll start seeing rampant obesity there too. Make that since we do, actually.

Yes, there will always be governments that withhold food as a weapon against their own citizens, but beyond that any claim of a food shortage just seems silly.

You've the wrong culprit there.

Even accounting for the occasional drought such as this year in the US, we indeed currently produce more that enough food to feed everyone on the planet and more. The primary withholders of food, however, are the major food exporters. Chief among them, the USA and the EU, so as to keep food prices high enough to sustain farmers -- which makes sense, when you scratch the surface, since the last thing you want in case of total war is to depend on food imports.

At any rate, and contrary to what you're suggesting, no government in its right mind willfully withholds food from its population. Food shortage is the surest path to revolts and uprising. Because when you've nothing to lose, you basically lose it.

Re:Still Wrong (4, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294997)

At any rate, and contrary to what you're suggesting, no government in its right mind willfully withholds food from its population. Food shortage is the surest path to revolts and uprising. Because when you've nothing to lose, you basically lose it.

You are talking about removing food, as opposed to continued denial of food. African warlords know that if the people have enough energy to stand, they will oppose the warlord, so he makes sure that the people starve. International aid is seized and resold on the black market. It gets the warlord income and helps keep control.

What do you do when you have nothing to lose, but so little caloric intake that you can't even lift your own head?

Re:Still Wrong (1)

jrroche (1937546) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294999)

We produce enough food to feed everyone as the populaiton grows while less land is needed for farming every decade. The WHO warns about similar numbers of people facing obesity problems as they do starvation problems. Yes, there will always be governments that withhold food as a weapon against their own citizens, but beyond that any claim of a food shortage just seems silly.

We produce enough food to feed the world, but we don't produce it evenly, nor is it distributed evenly once produced. That is exactly how it is possible for there to be an obesity epidemic in America and starvation in the third world. And there is certainly not enough food for everyone in the world to live the way America does, eating until we are obese and throwing out enough scraps per person to feed a whole family. So either some people have to starve, effectively subsidizing richer countries, or there will be a Malthusian event eventually.

Extrapolation (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294509)

In a 2011 paper ... explained why ... in 2008 and 2011

It's easy to make a model that correctly accounts for the past. Before I read the article, I was hoping that it was a model they created earlier, and just released last year. It wasn't. From the article:

We extrapolate these trends and identify a crossing point ... in 2012-2013

No kidding (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294671)

People seem to forget models don't prove SHIT. Models model. So they are only as useful as their predictive ability. However you can't know that until you've released a model, and see what happens. If your model repeatedly makes correct predictions (and fails to make incorrect ones) then you can say it is a good model.

It doesn't mean shit if everything is historical. Yes, yes, you tweaked it until it modeled history accurately. Of course, that's a good first step. However that could just mean you made a model that generates a line in the right shape, rather than actually models anything useful. You have to wait and see how it does at predicting reality before you go and claim it is useful.

This also seems like a good case of "correlation isn't causation." So there's a correlation. Great, that means fuck-all. Another explanation for a bunch of riots would be things like the Arab Spring concept in that people see their neighbors rise up against their oppressors and say "Hey, we should do that too!"

Re:No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294791)

It gets even worse. If you have 100 models and only 1 gets it "right," (looking forward) that is expected. There will, randomly, be one that is closest with its prediction.

Quite interesting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294511)

Very interesting study. I highly recommend reading the links in the article body. Quite interesting indeed.

Also, first.

Food fight! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294515)

Oh wait...

Has anyone ever noticed... (5, Interesting)

GrpA (691294) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294523)

That the contemporary "Zombie" as portrayed in movies, at the receiving end of a chainsaw or shotgun, looks and acts very much like a hungry person would?

Sometimes I wonder if that's just a co-incidence or by design... After all, there's not much difference between a starving person calling out "Brains" and "Grains" is there?

And when I do wonder that, I really, really hope it's by co-incidence.

GrpA

Re:Has anyone ever noticed... (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294549)

Re:Has anyone ever noticed... (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294725)

I think we could spend all day relating all kinds of real world phenomena with Zombies, and their unthinking, singular approach to the world in front of them.

They're kindof a blank slate by design. You can do whatever you like with the idea.

Re:Has anyone ever noticed... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294799)

Did you look at GP's link? Almost funny, if it wasn't sad. As they say there are two places to see a real genuine communist these days: 1. A theme park in Poland, 2. A western university humanities department.

The idiot that wrote the linked article put great stock in filming 'Dawn of the Dead' in a shopping mall. IIRC it was a very cheap filming location.

Re:Has anyone ever noticed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294567)

This is now my favorite semi-conspiracy-theory.

My pet conspiracy theory is that they're pushing a lot of low calorie food for a reason.

Re:Has anyone ever noticed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294587)

If someone tries to kill me for my food, i'll blast their brains out too.

Re:Has anyone ever noticed... (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294665)

Oh come on. Zombies are popular because they are human like and yet its ok to slaughter them in the most savage ways and still be the good guy and even have fun while doing it. Now you'll ruin the fun by saying they really represent poor hungry people.

Re:Has anyone ever noticed... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294753)

Zombies are popular because they appeal to a fear that you will lose your mind/identity, that you will be not merely killed, but erased.

That's what distinguishes them from, say, alien chest-bursters. Ghosts embody the opposite fear, that identities will persist when they *ought* to have been erased.

Re:Has anyone ever noticed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294705)

You're an idiot.

Re:Has anyone ever noticed... (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294771)

the contemporary "Zombie" as portrayed in movies, at the receiving end of a chainsaw or shotgun, looks and acts very much like a hungry person would?

Not all of them... [youtube.com]

Re:Has anyone ever noticed... (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294825)

are you saying someone purposefully made zombie tales to numb us to food rioters?

no. it's not purposeful, it's unconscious effort by filmmaker, who feels something but doesn't know why, and audience, who gets excited, and doesn't know why

the truth is simply that the subconscious knows more than you. it feels things out subjectively. it doesn't speak, it just operates on a lizard level of base emotions. the subconscious knows what a zombie movie really means, it quickens the heart because it sees what is coming. even though the rest of you doesn't get it. yet

Overpopulation (0)

Everything Else Was (786676) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294531)

I think it's time the one-child policy went global.

Re:Overpopulation (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294583)

Yeah, because just what the world needs is a ton of old people supported by only a few young people?

Re:Overpopulation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294711)

Perhaps those old people should accept their fates and die as nature intended, rather than be vain burdens who desperately and unnaturally prolong their lives at great cost to society because they are too afraid to meet their natural ends. Old folks are like illegitimate crack-babies in the sense that they're both useless pants-shitting dregs of society, doing nothing but crying and whining and biting the hand that feeds them and being totally out of touch with society. Fuck 'em.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Overpopulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294905)

Therefore you will immediately stop using

- Running clean hot and cold water instead of dirty water

- Indoor plumbing instead of festering outhouses

- Air conditioned and insulated homes instead of drafty shacks

- Fridges full of sterile and nutritious food instead of hunting and gathering

- Cushy office jobs instead of back-breaking labor in the sun

- Pharmacies filled with skin creams and various potions

- Giving birth in hospitals

- Almost magical medical care (Seriously. Look at what medicine was 100 years ago)

- Antibiotics galore

- Medications for conditions previously considered "natural" aging now being controlled (strontium ranelate, AGE cross-link breakers)

You wouldn't want to be inconsistent in your world view, would you? Hmm?

Re:Overpopulation (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294933)

Being in my 50s now I am so with you! I absolutely refuse to waste vital resources better reserved to the young by seeing physicians for checkups and such. I will die, I know this. The very day my sphincter fails to contain my feces is the day I want to disappear. If I can't take care of myself, that's it. Unlike others I never want to be a burden to anyone else.

I've even gone so far as having DNR tatooed on my chest. Please respect that. I work in healthcare, and you wouldn't believe the number of times I've seen relatives say do everything when the patient's wishes was to do nothing. Seriously kids, grandma made your parents and your parents made you. Her job is done, just let her go.

Re:Overpopulation (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294585)

Better yet, let's just off ourselves to start getting things back in balance; you first.

Re:Overpopulation (1)

inthealpine (1337881) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294601)

Yeah, that would go over well.
Instead of trying to control every action every individual takes why not just make them responsible? Governments need to stop subsidizing having children, amongst just about everything else. Problem solved.

Re:Overpopulation (4, Insightful)

budgenator (254554) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294855)

It would help if major religions would say "Go forth and multiply, check, done" too.

Re:Overpopulation (1)

Shompol (1690084) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294613)

Because global droughts were caused by overpopulation, and climate change had nothing to do with it. How about ceasing to burn coal for energy?

Re:Overpopulation (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294679)

You realize that the global climate change caused by humans is directly correllated to the number of humans contributing, right?

That means that via the consequence of increased greenhouse gas production, overpopulation DID cause droughts through climate change.

Re:Overpopulation (2)

chaffed (672859) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294681)

It's a cycle. Overpopulation requires more arable land for agriculture. When there isn't any, it's created, such as the San Joaquin Valley. This valley was basically desert. This was done by damming a few rivers and irrigating the land. That being said you can only convert so many deserts for agriculture, you start to run out of water, even if you still receive your normal annual rain fall. That would be a drought caused by over population. Same thing is is happening in Phoenix. The water table continues to drop and the aquifers are becoming harder and harder to reach. Not due to climate change but by more people.

So dealing with overpopulation needs to go hand in hand with changing how we generate and use energy.

Re:Overpopulation (4, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294995)

Sadly, the San Joaquin Valley faces continuing pressure due to salinization. Every drop of water that irrigates the SJ desert contains a bit of salt, and when those drops evaporate, that salt is left behind, slowly increasing the toxicity of the soil. Worse, as the richness of the soil degrades due to the farming, its ability to handle saline conditions further declines.

This valley will work for now, but it's really only a short-term solution unless we work out. The only way we could go longer term would be to introduce the permaculture concepts put forward by the likes of Geoff Lawton [vimeo.com] which emphasizes long term sustainability and enhancing biodiversity alongside your crops.

BTW, this technology is gaining traction in India where the already-poor soil was boosted by fertilizers only for a short time. Now, the cost of the fertilizers has grown sky high since more is needed every year to achieve similar performance, permaculture offers similar yield performance without any of the costs of various chemicals.

Re:Overpopulation (2)

chaffed (672859) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294635)

There's a movement in the industrialized world. Fewer young people are choosing to have children period. I'm not sure if this trend would ever offset those who choose to have 5, 10 or even 12 offspring in their life.

A Vietnamese friend once explained that in Vietnam, people have large families as infant mortality was quite high; to the point that children would be referred to by their birth order for several years until it was certain they would survive. So the oldest would be "First One" then so on and so forth. With modern medicine, infant mortality has plummeted but cultures still believe they need large families.

I agree, family planning is one tool to mitigate our future issues.

Re:Overpopulation (1)

NonUniqueNickname (1459477) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294857)

We just need to make sure everyone reproduces responsibly to keep the population constant, reinvent our technology so it would only depend on renewable resources, put an end to all violent conflicts because the destruction is wasteful, and then... go extinct when the sun burns out. The only tool for the survival of the human race is a ticket off this rock.

Re:Overpopulation (-1, Troll)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294781)

Au contraire. We need MORE people, not fewer. We need more people thinking about solving big problems like how to get off this rock and sustainably out into space and out of this solar system.

Remember, there are rocks with this planet's name etched on them coming this way. Global extinction events come from outer space disconcertingly often. If we're not already off planet by the next one then say good by to our descendants.

You may not care, but I do. Have more kids. It's your duty to your species to go out, have sex and then raise your kids with a thirst for knowledge.

By the way, this planet can easily support 50 Billion humans and the hockey stick graph has been proven wrong. The population curve is dropping fast.

Re:Overpopulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294957)

You are a delusional Space Nutter. You are mentally ill.

Re:Overpopulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294807)

I heard that there is this 100-year ship initiative with three ships scheduled to go in 10 year intervals. I also heard that hair-dresses, marketing professionals, and telephone sanitizers get a free pass for the first ship.

self-referential (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294557)

Did they include their report as one of the catalysts?

Article vs. paper (4, Interesting)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294571)

The linked motherboard essay places most of the blame on global warming, but the 2011 paper concludes:

While there have been several suggested origins of the food price increases, we find the dominant ones to be investor speculation and ethanol production.

I'm more inclined to believe the latter, because there was never a shortage of grain - just high prices. The US wasted millions of tons of grain making ethanol in a misguided attempt to not burn fossil fuel.

We waste grain (0)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294815)

because agribusiness wants more money. As for speculation, you can thank the Bush Administration for that. It's simple really. You used to have to take delivery of the commodities you bought. Bush did away with that. That opened speculation to a whole new class. They "buy" grain and "sell" it without ever taking possession. What they're really doing is using their existing wealth and connections to skim off the top.

HopeyChangey will fix that! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294573)

He's got a whole bunch more food stamps to hand out.

You can use those to get your food.

wait a second (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294577)

does this have anything to do with the global gun ban they're trying to push through the UN?

Re:wait a second (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294643)

Guns are already, more or less, banned by the UN for civilian ownership.

But they don't have the guns to enforce anything.

Time to start rolling out the Soylent (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294591)

We'll start with Soylents Brown and Red, made from soy bean and lentil, hence the name.

Later we'll have to start harvesting the ocean and make our new Soylent Green, made from seaweed. No kidding! Seaweed! Yep

Food Riots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294599)

Voice over PA: First stage removal. First stage removal. Streets prohibited to non-permits in one hour. Streets prohibited to non-permits in one hour.

Burning food for transport (1)

DuBois (105200) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294607)

Not surprising when we're burning so much food by turning it into ethanol and putting it in our cars.

Re:Burning food for transport (-1, Troll)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294675)

Not surprising when we're burning so much food by turning it into ethanol and putting it in our cars.

The corn being wasted on ethanol production is trivial, and affects no one outside of the United States. Yes, there are people starving in the world. And if you set aside the politically correct bullshit, you find that every single one of them is starving for the same reason:

(A) They lack the basic intelligence needed to produce or obtain food
or
(B) They live in an area where environmental conditions make food production difficult (desert, etc.)

Both of these are their own fault and no one else. As a comedian once said. "If there's no food where you live -- MOVE!!"

Re:Burning food for transport (1)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294755)

Isn't grain a fungible resource?

Re:Burning food for transport (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294843)

Move ... To where? Remember that many do not have this option. And there may be no place to go.

Re:Burning food for transport (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294975)

I will laugh as I watch you starve.

Isaac Asimov called.. (1)

HeavyAl (695278) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294615)

He wants his Foundation plot back!

Terrorist! (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294619)

I'd stock up on emergency rations and canned goods to last me a few years, but would just get flagged by Homeland Security...

"Arab Spring" (2, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294633)

The sad, self-indulgent wankers over at CNN like to claim that the so-called 'Arab Spring', came about because of Twitter, Facebook and smartphones.

The reality, according to people in the know, is that the Angry Arab Jamboree of 2011/2012 was caused by severe financial pressure caused by food poverty on already badly-run middle-eastern Muslim countries. The people who run these countries like to keep their people illiterate, corrupt, religious and poor so they can maintain control; unfortunately for them, it gives them VERY little margin for error when a few harvests fail, especially when even in good times, 70% of the country is quite literally on the breadline.

I have little sympathy for anybody here. It's self inflicted -- people dumb enough to wait until they're starving -- and spending 70% of their incomes on bread -- before they hold their governments accountable probably deserve the kicking they're getting.

Re:"Arab Spring" (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294793)

Oh fuck off, you're no better than they are. You're just lucky enough not to have been born there.

Re:"Arab Spring" (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294835)

Israelis were pissed about the price of cottage cheese [france24.com] .

In many countries, food shortages are aresult of the government's misallocation of resources-- misplaced subsidies, inflation, inefficient infrastructure, excess militry spending, and so on.

December 21, 2012 (2)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294667)

I thought these civilization-collapse nuts were fixated on December 21. There's not going to *be* a next year, right?! If most think tanks watched a puppy growing for the first month of its life, they would conclude that one year from now it will be 300-foot-tall monster trashing downtown Tokyo.

Re:December 21, 2012 (0)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294739)

Well... our pigs go from a couple of pounds to 300 lbs in about seven or eight months. By a year they're around 400 lbs. A few breeders get to stick around and top out at a maximum of about 1,700 lbs for the boars and 800 lbs for the sows, almost no fat since these are pastured pigs. But that is after six or seven years so the growth curve does slow down.

So Start Global Gardening Riots (4, Interesting)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294669)

The next time you're driving to work, take a glance to your left.

That 30' wide median strip? You know, the one they pay some public works teams to spend an entire week mowing several times a season? Yeah. Fully exposed to sunlight, easy access, on a major transportation route.

Now, granted, you're not going to want to grow food veggies in the median of a major interstate? Too much toxins from the exhaust and worse. But now that we've got the idea in your heads, take a look at the medians in your local town. Definitely not as much traffic, but sometimes just as wide, covered in very thirsty, very costly grass and/or other landscape plants, and 100% under-utilized.

So. When it looks like the global food riots are going to start, show up at your local council/zoning board and say, "Here's what's going on, here's what we're going to do about it. We will be growing food. We will take care of all maintenance and upkeep, and save the town (insert 5-6 figure amount) of dollars per year. If you interfere, we will sue you into oblivion. If you try to arrest us, we'll keep coming in until we're all incarcerated. Then YOU will have to pay for feeding us."

Re:So Start Global Gardening Riots (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294831)

The "civil resistance" idea doesn't really work well when starvation is one of the options. Prisoners don't really get very high on food distribution list priority.

Re:So Start Global Gardening Riots (2)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294865)

If you try to arrest us, we'll keep coming in until we're all incarcerated. Then YOU will have to pay for feeding us."

"Arrest" you? "Incarcerate" you? "Feed" you?

Your naivete is charming.

Perhaps you missed all the recent news items about all those government agencies that are stocking-up on huge quantities of ammunition? They know what's coming. Hell, they're helping it along.

No, they'll just shoot all of you and then bury you and your friends in an unmarked mass grave.

Strat

Re:So Start Global Gardening Riots (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294907)

WTF?

No. Should I need to grow my own food I will not be participating in communal gardening. Why are there some people that seem anxious for chaos? So they can try their pet political theory out yet again, expecting different results from last time?

What should you actually do. Start a garden in _your_ yard next spring, riots or not. Gardening is a skill and takes practice. Iterations are slow (1 year in most cases).

Plan on starving if you depend on your own first attempt at gardening. Also be armed, know who you can trust. Expect failed communal gardeners to plan on expropriating you crops.

Re:So Start Global Gardening Riots (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294973)

The problem is NOT a lack of farmland.....

Re:So Start Global Gardening Riots (1)

Almonday (564768) | more than 2 years ago | (#41295001)

The homeless folks who pilfer our recycling bin on a regular basis force me to suspect otherwise. Anything of sufficient economic value situated in an easily accessible location will eventually be exploited by those with favorable time:reward ratios.

So, where were last July's riots? (1)

dsinc (319470) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294715)

Quote from the actual paper: "[T]he underlying trend of increasing prices will reach the threshold of instability in July 2012 if we consider current prices [current when the paper was written]" Or maybe the inflation was so rampant, that a correction was necessary, as in "April 2013 if we correct prices for reported inflation." Alrighty.

Two Words: North Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41294721)

Study invalidated.

Necessitas non habet legem. (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#41294773)

Necessity has no law.

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