Believe Me, I Know that Global Warming is No Laughing Matter, but…

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Null Hypothesis: The Journal of Unlikely Science "reports" that Bristol University scientists are claiming the $25 million Branson prize. The prize will be awarded to any individual or group developing a commercially viable technology capable of removing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases at the rate of at least one billion tons a year over a 10-year period.

According to the press release:

Scientists at the University of Bristol have cracked climate change. Less than a month into Richard Branson's five-year competition, academics will take their winning idea to Virgin Earth and walk away with a cool $25 million.

The solution, published online by The Journal of Unlikely Science, is remarkably simple, requiring no technological wizardry or financial investment. It is quite simply, stop breathing; or at least breathe less…

"If we merely cut out one breath in three, we could decrease the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere each year by a staggering 0.63 gigatonnes. That's the same effect as saving 5 million acres of land (an area the size of Wales) from deforestation."

In related news, a former Canadian Defense Minister is demanding that governments worldwide disclose and use secret alien technologies obtained in alleged UFO crashes to stem climate change.

"I would like to see what (alien) technology there might be that could eliminate the burning of fossil fuels within a generation … that could be a way to save our planet," Paul Hellyer, 83, told the Ottawa Citizen.

Alien spacecrafts would have traveled vast distances to reach Earth, and so must be equipped with advanced propulsion systems or used exceptional fuels, he told the newspaper.

Such alien technologies could offer humanity alternatives to fossil fuels, he said, pointing to the enigmatic 1947 incident in Roswell, New Mexico—which has become a shrine for UFO believers—as an example of alien contact.

NEXT: Benign Cells?

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  1. Is it Friday already?

  2. You know, if we just killed a few hundred million people, that would reduce a lot of breaths to? Perhaps Dafur and Iraq are just part of an integrated global warming sollution.

  3. Hmmm…people probably breathe more when they’re hearts are working harder to pump blood throughout their bodies. In other words, people breather more when they’re obese. Thus, global warming can be traced to the obesity “epidemic” sweeping the world. Many people think banning trans fats will reduce obesity. So, therefore, banning trans fats will solve global warming!

  4. You know, if we just killed a few hundred million people, that would reduce a lot of breaths to? Perhaps Dafur and Iraq are just part of an integrated global warming sollution.

    Does the fact that that was the first thought that crossed my mind upon reading the article qualify me as a sick fuck?

  5. Hold it Chris. If you exercise to loose all that weight, doesn’t that make you breath even more? Maybe it is the runners and fitness freaks that are causing all of this.

  6. someday, people’ll be arrested for suspicion of hyperventilation (as observed by a camera)?

  7. Clearly our only hope is starvation dieting.

  8. 1. Not breathing isn’t a technology.

    2. Not breathing doesn’t remove carbon dioxide form the air.

    Other than that, the suggestion is…uh…still really silly.

  9. Following up on joe’s points,

    3. Forcing people not to breathe isn’t politically tenable.

    A solution must not only be a “commercially viable technology”, it must also be politically viable.

  10. As a Breatharian I need all the nutrients found in the stuff that we breathe. I estimate that I get 2500 calories from the “air” every day. The more and varied elements in the “air” allow me to enjoy a richer diet. Now Branson, Gore and others want to starve me of my subsistence.

  11. If everyone traveled by TARDIS it would save, fuel, money and . . . time.

  12. Not breathing doesn’t remove carbon dioxide form the air.

    In fact, since the carbon humans exhale comes solely from the food we eat, and the food we eat takes its carbon out of the air, there is absolutely no gain due to exhaling less. If we exhale less, that simply means we eat less food*, which means less food was grown, which means less carbon was pulled from the air to grow the food.

    * Or we sequester the carbon inside increasingly corpulent bodies. But then cremation after one’s untimely demise is right out.

  13. If we start a global thermonuclear war, wouldn’t that cause a planet-wide nuclear winter and halt global warming?

  14. If everyone traveled by TARDIS it would save, fuel, money and . . . time.

    Forget the TARDIS; if only we could find a way to manipulate those Klingon dilithium crystals…

  15. But it is precisely through global warming that alien technology has been able to fold space-time. The spice can only be minded on a desert planet full of giant worms.

  16. The full benefits of the British proposal would be realized in seconds , if instead of exhaling one third less frequently , people were to inhale three times for every two exhalations.

  17. MP,

    About 20 years ago, I heard veryone’s favorite wacky physicist, Edward Teller, suggesting that by detonating H-Bombs strategically, we could steer hurricanes away from populated areas.

    He was serious too. He thought this was a great idea.

  18. Actually the problem with taking fewer breaths is that this will merely change the mix of air exhaled. Exhaled air is only 4.5% CO2. So if one breathed less it would merely increase the percent CO2 in each exhalation as the percent of CO2 in the lungs would go up (since metabolism would likely remain the same). The net change of this will do nothing.

  19. But would the secret UFO technology qualify for the prize? 😉

  20. I think restraining every other fart would go a long way – especially for bean eating vegetarians.

  21. If everyone traveled by TARDIS…

    I’ve heard they have the strength of 10 men.
    However, will they really appreciate us riding on their backs?
    And how will that stop global warming? They’ll still be breathing heavy.

  22. Dilithium: like lithium, only more so.

  23. I think restraining every other fart would go a long way – especially for bean eating vegetarians.

    Revelation! Chipotle’s (owned by the evil corporate mega-super-opoly McDonald’s) 1-lb vegetarian burrito is causing Global Warming! Prince Charles was right! Pay the man his cash.

  24. In line with John’s comment (2nd in thread), let’s just kill all politicians…2 birds – 1 stone.

  25. “Timothy | March 1, 2007, 12:38pm | #
    Dilithium: like lithium, only more so.”

    This is why we will be renaming Des Moines to Timothyville. Well challenged, Sir.

  26. Of course, restraining farts, while environmentally beneficial, could have unpleasant effects on personality features – anal retentive’s crazy aunt locked in the basement.

  27. I guess I should say, ‘crazy *dyspeptic* aunt locked in the basement.’

  28. Turns out that UFO that crashed in Roswell? Biodiesel. Who’da thunk it. Willie Nelson was the one alien that was able to escape the autopsy.

  29. Global warming not a laughing matter? I disagree. As Mencken once said, “One man’s religion is another man’s horse laugh.”

    If CO2 is the crime, then surely Pepsico, Coca Cola Co, Busch and Miller are unindicted co-conspiritors.

  30. As a Breatharian I need all the nutrients found in the stuff that we breathe. I estimate that I get 2500 calories from the “air” every day. The more and varied elements in the “air” allow me to enjoy a richer diet. Now Branson, Gore and others want to starve me of my subsistence.

    Sounds like you need to buy some exhalation offsets.

    Am I taking things too seriously (or flubbing the math) to note that at .63 gigaton(ne)s these guys aren’t even two-thirds of the way to the prize?

  31. And you guys think I am joking when I equate the Global Warming concensus to the UFOligist concensus.

    Just dawned on me. I have never seen the Climate folks and the UFO folks in the same place at that same time . . .

  32. Great minds and blah, blah, blah… I commented briefly today about the nifty alien technology being held from us over at (the now slightly less inactive) Inactivist.

  33. STOP CONTINENTAL DRIFT NOW!

    We have the technology, we need the political WILL!

  34. I think we should just have plants dangling in front of us at all times to inhale all our C02.

  35. Dilithium: like lithium, only more so.

    You could throw a mean batch of meth with that stuff.

    Of course, that would inevitably lead to the .gov forcing chemistry stores to require you to provide your name, address, and phone number before you by it.

  36. My calendar says today is March 1st, not April 1st.

  37. “In related news, a former Canadian Defense Minister is demanding that governments worldwide disclose and use secret alien technologies obtained in alleged UFO crashes to stem climate change”

    Hmmm – it appears the vaunted Canadian socialized medicial system has been skimping quite a bit on mental health treatments

  38. Just dawned on me. I have never seen the Climate folks and the UFO folks in the same place at that same time . . .

    The climate folks hang out with the fantasy types, not the hard sf crew.

  39. Tim Blair actually won the prize the day after it was announced.

    His solution: Ban all automatic transmissions. Automatics are less efficient than manual transmissions, and the carbon savings in the US alone were close to or at the minimum level to claim the prize.

    Commercially viable technology? Well, duh.

    Politically feasible? Why not? If its to Save Us All From Impending Doom, driving a stick seems like the least we could do.

  40. R C Dean,

    Not sure that idea will fly with Jeff Gordon, Tom Cruise, RuPaul or the general drag community.

  41. Politically feasible? Why not? If its to Save Us All From Impending Doom, driving a stick seems like the least we could do.

    However, since my hydrogen powered Jeep is a stick I estimate that I now have twice as many carbon credits to sell.

    Who needs to be carbon neutral for life? I gotcha covered at the best prices around!

  42. How about mandatory Beano supplements?
    Methane is a greenhouse gas.

  43. joe:

    2. Not breathing doesn’t remove carbon dioxide form the air.

    If I use the same baseline budgeting used by local and national governments everywhere, you bet your bippy it is. People are breathing, therefore we EXPECT X amount of carbon dioxide to enter the air. If they stop breathing, the EXPECTED amount of C02 entering the atmosphere is then CUT by X amount. C02 removed. Done.

  44. just treat CO2 like the politicains/media treat government programs. Then you don’t have to really cut anything, just make sure the actual increase of CO2 over 10 years is 10 billion tons less that the expected increase in CO2 over ten years.

  45. I think the solution is to simply have everyone in the world hold their breath for 1 minute every day. It could be set up so that they all do it at the same time, say 10:00 AM GMT.

    And while they’re at it they could all jump at the same time, thereby conserving gravity and helping reduce future shortages.

  46. I don’t feel like jumping.

    Is there a market for gravity offset credits, so I can feel better about sitting down?

  47. On a more serious thought…
    Peat bogs are one of the best natural sinks of CO2, so perhaps artificial Peat Bogs are inorder.

    Algae-to-oil ponds are in development for making biodiesel. It wouldn’t be a big stretch to simply sequester the oil instead of burning it.

    I am not sure if these two would meet Branson’s 1 billion tons of CO2/year goal. But they seem closest to me.

  48. “Is there a market for gravity offset credits, so I can feel better about sitting down?”

    Yes I’d like to know about that too.

    I’m having an increasingly hard time jumping up from the dinner table.

  49. Albert Gore Jr.

    you sir a hypocrite, we all damn well know that your heavy 20000 sq ft ranch is wasting more gravity then the average american home

  50. You just don’t understand.

    I am a VERY, VERY IMPORTANT PERSON doing VERY, VERY IMPORTANT work to save the planet – all for TOTALLY ALTRUISTIC motives of course.

    If you only possesed a fraction of my TOWERING INTELLECT, I’m sure you would be able to see the BIG PICTURE and that I actually need all that stuff to SAVE THE WORLD!

  51. Hellyer’s a total crackpot who claim to fame was being Defense Minister when the Canadian Forces were integrated into a single unit 40 years back. Since then he founded the slightly loony and totally insignificant Canadian Action Party (http://canadianactionparty.ca) and seems to have recently crossed over into total senility.

  52. Thread winner == Ronald Bailey for the title.

    I still bust a gut when I see that.

  53. Maybe it’s time for a sequel to the Woodchuck Festival of Peace, Love and Death.

    Kevin

  54. Will they win the prize?

    Don’t hold your breath.

    (I can’t believe nobody made that joke yet)

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