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Generally speaking, people living in 2018 are pretty fortunate when you compare modern times to the full scale of human history. Life expectancy hovers at around 72 years, and diseases like smallpox and diphtheria, which were widespread and deadly only a century ago, are preventable, curable, or altogether eradicated. But let's journey back to a time when humans were not 7.7 billion strong, and a global catastrophe was about to warp Earth's climate and decimate its population. It was a period so grim that scientists are calling the year it started "the worst year to be alive."


No, we're not talking about 1349, when the Black Death killed more than half of Europe's population. Nor are we talking about 1918, when an influenza outbreak wiped out tens of millions. The unluckiest year to be alive, according to Science Magazine, was much further back in history: AD 536.


This year was during a period medieval historians call the Dark Ages, and it was in 536 that that name took on a literal meaning. An enormous volcanic eruption in Iceland launched massive amounts of ash into the sky. The ash would create a "mysterious fog," blocking out the sun over several continents. And this fog would last for 18 months. Read about some more disturbing historical facts you didn't learn in school.





And it wasn't just the dark skies that made this eruption so catastrophic. Because of the obscured sunlight, temperatures plummeted–China experienced below-freezing weather in midsummer–and crops failed throughout Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. People starved to death on a massive scale. And the medieval world still couldn't catch a break. In 541, the Bubonic Plague reared its ugly head for the first time, long before its better-known outbreak in the 12th century. Historians call this outbreak the Plague of Justinian, and it wiped out an estimated 33 to 50 percent of the Eastern Roman Empire.


Modern scientists and historians have long known about this sudden bout of darkness, but the exact cause remained a mystery until recently. A Cambridge University study published in November 2018 theorized that a volcanic eruption triggered the widespread darkness. That knowledge allowed the authors of the study to come to a definitive conclusion: The year 536 was as bad as years come. "It was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive, if not the worst year".

We have a lot to be thankful for don't we?
 

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Thanks Tommy...fascinating!
 

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I actually thought you were going to say "the year without a summer" -- 1816. On that date, the same things happened, except the event you cite was likely MUCH worse. Still, many did die of starvation from crop failures in 1816, and there was frost, snow, and ice in parts of the Unite States in June and August. Other parts of the world were more harshly affected.
 

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Not sure if it's actually the end of time or just another phase/cycle but isn't "2 Timothy 3:1-5" happening now?
 

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This is why I am so critical about all the Global Warming and Climate Change regulations and money grabbing legislation being shoved down our throats. We can throw Trillions up Gazillions of dollars at regulating the climate and one good fart from a rather large volcano can send all that money down the drain in a matter of minutes. We can't deny that we as the human inhabitants of this world are damaging it but more than anything it is the population explosion close to reaching 8 Billion strong that has the most detrimental effects. Who among us is willing to give up their TWs, SUVs, Pick up trucks, oil or gas burning home furnaces and every other internal combustion devices that keep this world running?
Right here in these united states we have a super volcano in and around Yellowstone that could blow it's top tomorrow and be the near end of all life as we know it. It is an eiree thought but very real. How about some massive comet hurling toward the globe and we can't stop it. A major earthquake in or close to NYC could kill millions in a flash and turn the entire worlds economy on it's ear for many years. I have lived through a number of long duration power failures right here where I live over the last 20 years and can tell you for sure when the electric is off we go in to a very bad state of emergency pretty quick. It is usually just an isolated regional thing but if the entire power grid shuts down over major sections of this country you can rest assured we are not at all prepared for it. I can probably keep my own home running OK for 3 weeks or more and have enough food supplies for that long. When all the fuel runs out between what I keep for the generator and can suction out of my vehicles if there is no place to get more fuel life will get real hard real fast. Folks will panic in the big metro areas first but then spread out to the country in search of those who have the means to stay alive. As we speak the country of Venezuela is as close to total societal collapse as we have ever seen in this modern world. Those who cut and ran early are probably way better off than those who stayed because the rule of law is near completely gone in many of the high populous areas and life is cheap with thugs ruling every street corner and the government is completely overwhelmed. This is all Doomsday stuff but Doomsday could be tomorrow if you really do think about it. Just ask yourself, How long could you live without fuel, without electricity and without food or clean water? Noah and the Ark are a good story weather true or not but there are not all that many Arks around today and those who don't have tickets would sink it anyway.

GaryL
 

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I made the no fossil fuel sacrifice till age 39 and even the TW only sips fuel. I'm only now studying to take my first drivers test now that I'm living in the country again. Mostly for emergency purposes.

We talk a lot about alarmist theories that are worthy of concern but despite the high population we've never had it better on average. I do agree there are way too many people on this planet. It's one reason I have no children.
 

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I made the no fossil fuel sacrifice till age 39 and even the TW only sips fuel. I'm only now studying to take my first drivers test now that I'm living in the country again. Mostly for emergency purposes.

We talk a lot about alarmist theories that are worthy of concern but despite the high population we've never had it better on average. I do agree there are way too many people on this planet. It's one reason I have no children.
Totally agree Trail Woman. Be thankful for what you have and live for today with some restraints but do not harp on any of this stuff no matter how real it might be.

GaryL
 

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I have never bought into the human climate change thing. Yes, we have an impact, and yes, theoretically that impact could be enough to have significant short-term consequences in terms of the present state of habitability, but our impact is negligible compared to natural-cycle climate change. Look at the major peaks and valleys of cyclical variation in global temperature throughout history, and then look at the relatively tiny little difference we have made as humans in the last century. Major climate change will happen with or without humanity -- enough, even, to cause global extinction events. We as humans are a ridiculously arrogant species, to think that our little colony of ants can have any kind of true long term impact over the course of billions of years, or to think that any of us can stop mother nature if she decides to extinguish us. In truth, we are so insignificant in the grand scheme of the cosmos so as to be like absolutely nothing at all.
 

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I feel about the same KJ. In all reality we are just a fart in the wind when compared to the natural conditions around this world. I think we could end up poisoning the environment much worse with some of the fancy yet unknown chemicals they keep producing. Take Fentynal for instance! Agent Orange and DDT were some real failures as well. If we totally did away with fossil fuels all together and went strictly with wind and solar power one thing you can be sure of is governments will be placing a tax on the wind and sun. If a number of the wealthiest companies all pooled together and completely paid off the 22 Trillion in debt for the USA, you can bet your ass in a year or two we will be right back in debt. Our politicians have been fixing Social Security for longer than I paid in to it and it is just as broke today as when I got my first job back in the early 1960s. If every working man and woman in this country got a 10% raise in their pay check you can bet your ass it will cost us all at least 10% more to live the same way we live now. Some things we just can't fix.

GaryL
 

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I tend to agree with the reports from the National Academy of Scientists that likely the worst year for humans was likely about 70,000 years ago when the global human population was knocked back to just about 2,000 individuals. This is based on DNA, mitochondrial mutation rates and fossil evidence and is postulated to account for some of our subsequent limited genetic diversity.
The likely cause of this mass die-off is attributed to massive eruption of a Sumatran volcano whose caldera is postulated to be Lake Toba. This die-off is also mirrored in other global mass extinctions dating from the same period. lake toba.jpg
 

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Fred, See if you can pull up the super volcano under Yellowstone. I can't do it from here but pictures I have seen in the past are really ominous. One scientist said if it ever blows it would cut the US into 2 parts but it won't matter because most of us will be dead or dying soon.

Scary stuff for sure.

GaryL
 

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I have two words to add to the “end of the world debate” – Bovine Flatulence

I had occasion earlier today, to politely ask six bullocks to exit my garden forthwith, as they were making rather a mess of my lawn with their feet. They reluctantly agreed to leave, turned to go, and that was when I was reminded that the exhaust end is every bit as dangerous as the eating end. I can only thank God that I had given up smoking a year ago, otherwise I could have inadvertently lit the “after burners”, and sent the beasts clear over the hedge without them touching the ground

Much research has been done on the subject, resulting in “Fart Bags” being strapped to the backs of these petulant beasts - https://phys.org/news/2008-07-cow-backpacks-methane-gas.html

Needless to say, the American bovine industry refutes this study, claiming that most of the Methane in question is produced by cows burping instead, and that this only produces 2% of USA emissions, neatly avoiding where the remaining 98% comes from (Trump Towers presumably) - https://www.agweb.com/article/does-cow-flatulence-cause-climate-change-naa-jim-dickrell/

Curiously (though perhaps predictably) California is taking a much more pro-active approach to the entire matter, so don’t discard those TW canisters just yet - https://nypost.com/2016/11/30/dairy-cow-flatulence-targeted-in-fight-against-global-warming/

Should the planet choose to fart or burp in retaliation, you can’t really blame it ……
 

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Historical Global Temperatures over the last century! I have to laugh about this one. So we go way back to 1918 one hundred years ago. I have to really wonder what kind of temperature monitoring devices they had back in 1918 and how were all of these device readings actually recorded. Today I am pretty sure the scientists can use and APP on their smart phones and find out the very exact temperature at the north and south poles in minutes but not so easy back in 1918. Hell, I bet I have 10 different temperature monitoring devices strewn in, outside and all around my home and every one of them reads a little different even if the sensors are placed side by side. I have those Atomic Clocks in every room in the house and the outside transmitters are all attached out under my front overhang side by side. Every clock reads the same exact time right down to the seconds but every clock shows a different temperature for the outdoor reading and they vary between 32 degrees on one, 32.4 on another and 34.7 on two others. WTF, These Global Warming scientists are talking a temperature rise in fractions of a degree and I can't get any two of my thermometers to agree.
When you visit your doctor these days it is common practice that they take your temperature. Most put a plastic cover over the electronic thermometer and stick it under your tongue. Others stick the gadget in your ear and click to get your temp. Back in the early 1950s we had just two ways to take your temp, oral or rectal and me and my brother had some fun telling our younger sister which one went where. Anyway, we have a few of those electronic oral temp sticks here and they all seem to work fine however if I take my own temperature with all 3 of them one right after the other I get 3 different temperatures, IE, fractions of a degree or so. The same thing happens when I am ice fishing with my buddies. We each have sonar fish finder gadgets and they each have temp sensors attached to the transducers. They all read a little different water temp too but within a degree of each other. So tell me again how these scientists know the Global Temperature has risen point 5 degrees over this last century when we can't get any two thermometers to read the same exact temperature of 32.2 degrees if you stuff them both in the same ice cube. This my friends is the Multi Trillion dollar hoax we are being fed to transfer the wealth from one country to another that I call complete and unadulterated BS. Try it yourselves with your own thermometers.

GaryL
 

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Historical Global Temperatures over the last century! I have to laugh about this one. So we go way back to 1918 one hundred years ago. I have to really wonder what kind of temperature monitoring devices they had back in 1918 and how were all of these device readings actually recorded. Today I am pretty sure the scientists can use and APP on their smart phones and find out the very exact temperature at the north and south poles in minutes but not so easy back in 1918. Hell, I bet I have 10 different temperature monitoring devices strewn in, outside and all around my home and every one of them reads a little different even if the sensors are placed side by side. I have those Atomic Clocks in every room in the house and the outside transmitters are all attached out under my front overhang side by side. Every clock reads the same exact time right down to the seconds but every clock shows a different temperature for the outdoor reading and they vary between 32 degrees on one, 32.4 on another and 34.7 on two others. WTF, These Global Warming scientists are talking a temperature rise in fractions of a degree and I can't get any two of my thermometers to agree.
When you visit your doctor these days it is common practice that they take your temperature. Most put a plastic cover over the electronic thermometer and stick it under your tongue. Others stick the gadget in your ear and click to get your temp. Back in the early 1950s we had just two ways to take your temp, oral or rectal and me and my brother had some fun telling our younger sister which one went where. Anyway, we have a few of those electronic oral temp sticks here and they all seem to work fine however if I take my own temperature with all 3 of them one right after the other I get 3 different temperatures, IE, fractions of a degree or so. The same thing happens when I am ice fishing with my buddies. We each have sonar fish finder gadgets and they each have temp sensors attached to the transducers. They all read a little different water temp too but within a degree of each other. So tell me again how these scientists know the Global Temperature has risen point 5 degrees over this last century when we can't get any two thermometers to read the same exact temperature of 32.2 degrees if you stuff them both in the same ice cube. This my friends is the Multi Trillion dollar hoax we are being fed to transfer the wealth from one country to another that I call complete and unadulterated BS. Try it yourselves with your own thermometers.

GaryL
Gary, I have the exact same experience with temperature readings on all of my devices as well! Too funny. I have watched both of my weather station thermometers switch sides throughout a given day as well. While one reads .5 higher than the other at 11:45 at 11:55 they swap and the other reads higher. The sensors are located about 1 inch from each other and these are not the cheapo weather stations either.


Tom
 

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Gary, I have the exact same experience with temperature readings on all of my devices as well! Too funny. I have watched both of my weather station thermometers switch sides throughout a given day as well. While one reads .5 higher than the other at 11:45 at 11:55 they swap and the other reads higher. The sensors are located about 1 inch from each other and these are not the cheapo weather stations either.


Tom
YUP! Exactly what I have going on here. I think if you use the rectal one right under your tongue the reading should be a little different simply because of the higher altitude! :)

GaryL
 

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To be fair it should be pointed out that most measuring devices need initial, and subsequent calibration. So it is not surprising to note discrepancies in simple consumer grade products used right out of the box. True scientific endeavors begin with the careful selection and calibration of instrumentation striving for both precision and accuracy.
 
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