Friday, May 2, 2014

Where to Live IX - Catastrophic Threats

In Soviet Russia, Yellowstone visits you

Russian academic Andrei Fursov turned a few heads this week with a cryptic insertion into the middle of an insightful talk on the troubles in Ukraine:
Of course, there is this Yellowstone threat - I mean the super-volcano. That could completely change the rules of play at any time. The super-volcano could solve for the Western elite the very problems which they've been trying to solve for the last 50-60 years and have been unable to. An eruption of the volcano could solve those problems. But that's another subject.
There actually is a monstrously enormous volcano beneath Yellowstone that I guess could completely change any rules at any time, especially should it dump 10' of ash on the American Midwest.  It would be catastrophic not just to the United States, but could conceivably drop the global temperature about 20 degrees on average and pretty much end the human project, not to mention AlGore's Global Warming Traveling Circus. It's a good thing scientists recently denied Yellowstone's eruption is imminent.*

But the Yellowstone caldera is a perfect example of the kind of threat that the prepper is wise to ignore. Not just push to the back of the line, but completely and utterly dismiss from the mind. The reasons for this are several:

1.  The caldera  explodes seemingly every 800,000 years, give or take.  Since we have 160,000 years until that number, the odds are pretty decent** that it will not happen before Christmas, even Christmas of 3000ad.  A threat with odds that low is not really a threat.

2. If the consequence of a threat is so large as to wipe out everyone, there is no point in prepping for it. Earth falling into the sun, moon falling into the earth, Scarlett Johansson falling for PeeWee Herman - if it's going to kill us all, then it's going to kill us all.  Make peace with God now and stop worrying.

3.  The miniscule odds of something catastrophic must give way before the decent odds of something very bad.  Yes, an eruption of the Yellowstone Caldera is sexier than a 7.5 on the New Madrid Fault or a human-to-human avian flu or even peak cheap oil.  But sexy should not direct our preparations; odds and offsets must.

4.  Yes, the Russians might nuke it or something.  Since no one knows what that would do, it cannot be prepared for and should be ignored.  The worse the result of the Russians nuking it, the more you should ignore it.

There's an old*** adage that goes something like, "If there's no solution, there's no problem."  The Yellowstone Caldera is the kind of threat that one cannot avoid, cannot negate, cannot offset, and will most likely not happen in 10,000 or possibly even 100,000 years.   Yes, it is potentially catastrophic, but not even Russian academics can make it relevant.

* Never believe anything until it is officially denied.
** I'll let Huck work them out. Maybe he'll even show I'm wrong.
*** If only because I say it and I'm old.  So it's old by association.

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