First of all I would like to address the quote by Mr. Opher. I think that all he was implying by "interesting times" is that, as scientists, they will have a lot of new data to pore over, and some new stuff to observe, study, and speculate on. I did not sense anything nefarious with that sentence, or anything that was intended to imply doom or any kind of "bad" scenario for us here on earth. I think that our sun's radiation is going to interact with the energy we are travelling into, and even the earth's magnetic field is going to affect any incoming radiation. I do not think anyone really knows what is going to happen, because we have never experienced it as a species before.
Moving on, think about how long conspiracy sites have been available for speculation on alternative topics. Not very long at all. The internet has not
even been around for public use for very long either. The web is a tool that allows quick communication regarding global events to basically any part
of the globe. This IS DEFINITELY going to improve our "collective memory" of things that occur on our planet, but before the advent of the internet
we were not so fortunate. Intriguing news never got past the local network, if it was even covered as a story. I bet you can find evidence of mass
die-offs in local newspapers dating back to the 19th century, because all of these types of events that are happening now have occurred in the past,
and it is our advanced communication abilities that make things seem like they are rapidly changing, when in fact they are not.
The earth goes through natural cycles as well, hot and cold, glaciation pushing south and then receding back to the north, etc. Various systems that
are in a delicate balance will sometimes change, especially with mans' impact on these environments, but much of the time things stabilize after a
bit of an upset. Of course not all things will, but the earth is quite good at cleaning herself up. If there is any word that defines the earth it is
dynamic. It is constantly changing.
Think about how long the earth has been around...4 BILLION years. That is a long time, and humans have only been on earth for a small sliver of that
time. Dinosaurs were around for much longer than we have been here. And how long have we had civilizations that were in constant contact with one
another? A couple of thousand years, depending on how you gauge "contact." After the Roman Empire collapsed we saw the Dark Ages, and along with it
a great lack of intercommunication and interaction in general with varying peoples. With the advent of the Feudal System during this time, for the
most part there was not contact outside of a particular city or town, and trade was virtually non-existent.
My point is that we have advanced rapidly since we began creating civilizations with writing, but it still was only recently that we began documenting
the various goings on around the globe, and this means that there is a plethora of knowledge that was gained before records were kept, and even when
they were kept, that has been lost. I really am getting faaar away from the subject matter and my planned focus for this post, so I will sum it up by
reiterating my point, that change is rapid, there are cycles, and even now we have only scratched the surface in regards to understanding what has
happened even just centuries ago, in some instances.