Sunday, March 09, 2008

National Geographic: Aftermath: Population Zero

Tonight, Sunday March 9, 2008, the National Geographic Channel aired its film “Aftermath: Population Zero,” with the main snazzy video link here.

This, one would expect, is similar to the History Channel’s “Life After People” on January 21 of this year. But this film seems even a bit darker and more striking.

It is a little more specific as to “how it happens.” At 7:31 AM EDT on Friday June 13, 2008, everyone just dematerializes. Say, if you like, everyone is raptured, but that even includes non-believers. This is definitely a non-tribulationism event. The previews called this "the world you will never see."

It doesn’t take too long for power utilities to shut themselves off. One striking detail in this film is that most nuclear power plants will experience meltdowns with explosions of their containment vessels and releases of radiation much larger than Chernobyl or even Hiroshima. Even so, in many decades, nature will absorb this catastrophe and bury the radiation. Smaller animals, thousand s of miles away, are vulnerable to radiation poisoning since beta particles penetrate about a half inch. The film does not explain how larger predators would find food supplies with small mammals gone, and larger mammals would lose their body hair (and birds their feathers) to radiation, it would seem. The nuclear power plant discussion is probably the most sobering in the film, and provides warning as to what can go wrong even when people are here.

As in the History Channel film, nature takes over the cities, which will crumble away in less than two hundred years. Without maintenance, concrete and steel skyscrapers eventually rot and crumble, and eventually even the Eiffel Tower falls. I didn’t know that when the Tower was built, the French thought it would be taken down in twenty years.

Global warming reverses without people, as within a hundred years or so, all the extra carbon dioxide gets reabsorbed back into the oceans, and fish and sea animals flourish. In 20000, another ice age arrives.

Ironically, the one remnant of man survives off the earth, on the Moon, which has no atmosphere. Perhaps the rovers on Mars will remain for hundreds of thousands of years, since Mars has a very thin and non-reactive atmosphere.

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