Brief opportunity:
A number of unlikely events have occurred together.  Apparently the least likely event has been that anybody noticed that communities with a large mating pool suffer a fertility collapse.  I have mentioned before that a million years ago people left stone axes on an island that could only have been reached by open ocean travel.  The fact that there was more than one axe means there was a community, which implies routine travel on the ocean.  The fact that such a society did not reach the moon in a few centuries seems to be due to their having had a population collapse.  Certainly the society vanished. 

But a stone axe would be made only by a society already using sticks.  The combination of axe and need for a stick will quickly produce a very good sharp stick.  These must have been at hand since the advent of the stone axe some two million years ago.  A band of men with sharp sticks was more than a match for a band of men with any other weapon until the advent of the breach loading rifle used at Gettysburg.  Where for the first time modern tactics prevailed over an ancient tactic, the bayonet charge when needed.  The side with the guns also had superior numbers, soldiers addicted to heroin (Southern soldiers were addicted to tobacco, but that was readily available without army doctors), superior resources, a bigger manufacturing base, international support (gained by the brilliant propaganda stroke of reinventing the war as a war against slavery), the death penalty for soldiers (The South had it in theory but never actually did it), the motivation that the soldiers knew slavery was an issue (lots of people had problems with it on both sides), death camps for captured soldiers (That happened in the South, too, but by accident.), a leader who was willing to suspend constitutional rights to control the population, no large population of slaves (Who did amazing things building field fortifications and supporting the army but were not expected to fight; late in the war they were permitted to fight if they accepted freedom) and less than prudent respect of the soldiers for the ability of their enemies (The last words of one Union officer were, “Don’t worry.  That hick can’t hit me at this dis….”).  The other side had the advantage of believing that people ought to be able to secede and form a government of their own choosing.  It took that many advantages before the gun could beat the two million year old stick. 

The society with stone axes was incredibly successful.  Only infertility could bring it down.

The chance that the old enemy of societies would be fingered for the first time in our lifetime was very unlikely.

Given that one person over such a span should take on the task, what would that person need?  Enormous intelligence (in the top one tenth of a percent of the population as it turns out), enormous energy and tenacity (You may have noticed that.), a willingness to go against every habit, authority and peer pressure, resources at least in the top 10% of a population, a very good education, lack of any family obligations and the willingness to care about something that only affected others. 

This unlikely person had to arrive at a time when the technology and science available were sufficient to prove the case.  That has only been true for about ten years and although it may continue for more than ten years by then it will very likely be too late to do anything to save the high tech community.  Nor will we get another chance.  Our mineral resources, particularly metal and fossil fuels, which we need to sustain our civilization are now so exhausted that they are only available using the resources of said civilization.  We could not do it over again from scratch. 

It has been a very unlikely event having all these unlikely things come together.  There is anther coincidence.  The technology had to be available.  There had to be an appropriate number crunching computer program.  There is one called C language in its C++ version that had not been available until a few years before I got started.  Then there had to be computer software available to the general public capable of standing up to the strain of developing and running the program in C.  There has long been sufficient computing power, but it has always been available only to recognized people working on recognized projects.  The lone wolf must depend on what is available in the local store.  From where I can sit I can see five computers I trashed in the effort.  At last the dark tower I am now using was able to shrug off the heat load, and the computations became possible.  But already the operating system I used has been replaced by one called Vista, that will not support C++.  With anything like luck, that will change.  But for my purposes, there were only three or four years out of two million when the software and the hardware were both available.  Had I tried at any other time, it would have been impossible. 

Then there have been any number of other coincidences.  Just about every shred of evidence I have offered you has been something I have stumbled across by chance.  There is no clearing house for this sort of thing.  Much has come from reading journals.  Some, like the map of Wessex that shows the population density of a traditional farming community, has fallen into my hands only through the most unlikely set of events. 

The moral is I think pretty clear.  Don’t expect somebody else to come along and fix this.  Blind luck can only carry you so far.

There have been 910 visitors so far.  This is research, not advice.  Linton Herbert

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