Megacancer is one of the best blogs on human overshoot and the genetic behaviors that have created our predicament.
This latest essay explains how energy is central to both biology and technology.
The differences between the technological and biological cells are ones of scale, but not function. The function is to embody complexity in the form of a conduit or dissipative structure which most effectively accelerates the degradation and dissipation of a fuel or energy gradient. A key requirement is that the energy intensive complexity must at least be compensated by the flow through the conduit. That is, the cell must process enough energy to at least “break-even” in its self-assembly and maintenance. Self-organization of dissipative structures, simple at first, must be coded in information as complexity increases as the probability of their formation becomes equally less likely with increases in complexity.
The technological cell functions like a biological one in that it is an organized structure that functions much like a siphon, pulling in resources and energy, feeding them through a conduit of complex metabolism and then exporting product into the environment along with waste heat and material. Once the thermodynamic gradient between high grade energy and waste heat is established, it can be self sustaining. As heat is exhausted into the environment, more combustion can occur within the cellular metabolism without temperatures rising to a degree that would damage or destroy the metabolic machinery. Any cell which operates at a loss, failing to cover its fixed and variable costs, will eventually die or in the technological realm, go bankrupt. Cells that provide “profit” take in more energy than used by the metabolism and are able to reproduce with the excess energy and resources. You may find this in rapidly expanding technological cell lines like “Starbucks” whose income must far outweigh expense. Rapid growth in cells can occur in a situation like this. But unfortunatly for many human RNA that form a part of the technological cell metabolism, working with machines to produce the output, their portion of the energy/resource input can be squeezed so as to create a greater difference between the income/expense ratio which can be captured by the “owners” of the cell line or company. Attending a specialized school or obtaining a license to become a rarer and desired functioning RNA can sometimes work to increase pay or a portion of income, but this is becoming less so as the nucleoli or schools are increasingly taking their student’s future earnings through debt, even as the environment offers fewer and fewer opportunities for employment, income and growth.
It appears that a healthy ecosystem can support a population between one and ten million humans. Going forward, due to sudden climate change, we will have anything but a stable and healthy ecosystem. There’s no reason to believe that the current episode of malignant growth will be any less damaging to the human population than the Toba eruption. Conversion to wind and solar power, which will require increasing and ongoing industrial activity, will at best only maintain “break-even” for some proportion of currently existing technological cells for a short while, before sounding the death knell for the ecosystem. Creating solar and wind energy gathering devices does not at all address the tendency towards malignant growth and associated damages to the ecosystem.