Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
The largest group of nesting fish ever found lives beneath Antarctic ice (sciencenews.org)
115 points by gmays 4 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 39 comments

This shows how vulnerable life is. One accidental or purposeful act that humans are perfectly capable of can do irreparable harm to this species and the ecosystem.


This type of density of life was probably most of earth before humans changed things.

The Earth had the greatest density and biodiversity of life hundreds of millions of years ago during the time of the Dinosaurs, on a much warmer planet when atmospheric CO2 was >5 times what it is today.

Unfortunately, non-anthropogenic climate change, not humans, was what wiped out most of that life.

Those previous changes occured at a different time, you cannot use that as an arguement to someone talking about human impact. It's like saying Covid-19 didn't killed because there has been more death during the black plague.

I think the non sequitur argument you're making is that somehow humans are not to blame because natural cycles have caused greater extinction? The latter implies nothing about the former, it's an invalid argument.

Why just dinosaurs? There were a lot of other fascinating *saurs besides dinosaurs.

And then came the humans and wiped the rest of it. It is much better now. You can walk safely at night without being scared of animals.

In some parts of the world... Where I live it's not unusual to see a grizzly or a herd of elk outside your door.

Oh no. I can already see them breaking the ice to tap into that source of wild fish...they'll probably find some way to harness this.

That’s a beautiful discovery and makes me sad to think what global damage industrialization must have caused.

I wish so dearly there was a way to let earth reproduce her fruits that didn’t involve destroying humanity.

The one comment in the other thread [0] speculates the Newfoundland banks could have had things similar to this, except they wouldn't today, because industrial trawling would have destroyed them [1].

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29923951

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottom_trawling

If it makes you feel better, we're ahead of schedule on population decline, especially due to covid baby bust. It's quite plausible humanity will find balance with nature with a much smaller population in the long term.

busts are usually followed by booms. Current projections expect the population size to level out around 10.9 billion eventually.

This winter Brussels Airlines made 3,000 unnecessary flights just to maintain their airport spots.

We certainly have a lot of efficiency gains to make first with regards to our consumption before looking at the sheer number of people we have to feed

It wont be long till a long read will be published that will summarise all the empty flights that have taken place just to maintain the rights. I’ve never heard of Brussel airlines at all so I’m sure this is just a part of the tip of the iceberg. I truly hope the airline industry stops being the sweetheart of politics and finally gets the pummelling that they’ve long deserved. The race to the bottom has been long done and to think it’s ok to fly to Spain from Amsterdam for 30 euros is just a slap in the face for anyone that has a semblance of interest in the climate.

It certainly is just the tip. The parent company of Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa, operated a total of around 18,000 empty or near-empty flights this winter.

I totally agree. And it's important to remember that, at least in the US, the airline industry is one of the most heavily subsidized industries

Capitalism has priced out having large families!

We went from a western world where one salary could support a partner and 3 children, to a world where to two full-time salaries are barely enough for one child.

And where one salary is being soaked up on child-care fees much of the time...

>We went from a western world where one salary could support a partner and 3 children, to a world where to two full-time salaries are barely enough for one child.

This is an exceptional time in history that required most of the world to be in a broken state (WW2/post-colonialism) while the people you describe benefited from this arrangement. Now that this arrangement is going away, reality is setting in.

That's not true at all. Large families have been common throughout the history of humanity for a number of reasons. Lack of birth control, economic output of children, ensuring at least one child survives to take care of the parents in old age were common reasons.

Women in the 1800s had an average of ~3.5 children that lived past 5 (about 4.5 children total, but child mortality was much higher in the 1800s). We're presently hovering a little under 2. The 1950s did have a spike up to ~2.5, but was still lower than the 1800s.

Small families are an oddity in human history. "Support" also meant something very different back then too, though. People still might be able to support 3.5 children on a single salary if they were also willing to live by 1800s standards.

>People still might be able to support 3.5 children on a single salary if they were also willing to live by 1800s standards.

People are currently able to. There are populations in the US where some demographics do have higher averages and definitely there are individual families where people do have 4 children. It's not common, but not too rare either and they aren't "affluent". Many are the opposite of affluent.

Moving to a small community and living off the land is still possible. A simpler life, with a magnitude scale reduction in the number of possession. Burn wood for heat and eat potatoes and sauerkraut in winter. All those small communities in remote places would love to have you.

Communism has collapsed, yet capitalism seems to be defeating itself.

Maybe the threat of a viable alternatibe was keeping things in check?

When people are hungry, you cannot tell them "there's no food", or "we cannot harvest this resource now because it would be unsustainable". They need food now, so they will eat fish before they reach reproductive age, kill the O-horizon layer in the soil, kill all the pollinators, pump all the groundwater, burn all the fossil fuels... because if you do it you will be rewarded with food in the short term.

But then the people that depended on those unsustainable feeding capacity increases will have a hard time finding food.

The earth doesn't care, only humans care. Earth without humans would be pointless, so you have to take humans as they are, the good and the bad both.

But please remember things are way better now than they used to be, pre-industrialization was not the utopia many think.

Earth without humans would be pointless? I disagree. Seems astonishingly arrogant to assume all else is nothing without humans. What about before the evolution of humans? One could argue that every step leading up to the first human was required for humans to appear in the first place.

What about love? Do you think a chimp mother loves it's chimp child? Do you think that is pointless too?

I think the point they are trying to make is that chimps will also fight and murder and steal in order to survive. It's natural for certain life to take over other life.

However in the end us humans have the ability to study these situations over long periods of time, and we know how harmful biodiversity loss can be to our own species as well as to others. These are values we cant assume isn't as deeply held within the animal/plant/fungi kingdoms

> Earth without humans would be pointless?

Yeah, please forgive my sarcasm first, then imagine we'd somehow send a probe to an exoplanet and discover it to be full of life. But it only has equivalents of giraffes, carp, magpies, ants and so on, but not a single being that could be considered human-like that might be able to, say, invent the automobile or something like that. Sure we'd want our money back for that pointless probe?

I don’t think it would be any more or less pointless than it is now. If heat death is inevitable, nothing really “matters”.

That said, the planet’s ecological health was indisputably better before the industrial revolution.

Things sucked for humans in a lot of ways, but almost every other species was in a much better place.

Surely not the place for this topic, but anyway.

> If heat death is inevitable, nothing really “matters”.

I never understand how, for people who say this, whether things go on forever the same (or slow down in trillions of years, or something else,) affects whether things matter here and now. How would anything be any different if things were going to go on forever the same?

What kind of ideal universe would you like for it to seem like "things really matter"?

It seems similar to (what seem to me mistaken) ideas of life being meaningless if it's not eternal, or if there's no god, or if the universe is so huge etc.. I don't see how anything of those things would change the here and now, or the significance of things.

For clarity, I’m speaking to something mattering in the grand philosophical scheme of things—-not to whether anyone’s life has meaning, is worth living, etc. When confronted with a question of what matters to the earth (something that is 4.5 billion years old), you start looking at things on a cosmic scale.

For whatever it’s worth, I enjoy my life, and I don’t really care if it “matters”. It’s a lot more fun to just follow the thread than worry how my short time here fits into time scales orders of magnitude longer than my lifespan.

I hope these icefish are not tasty. For their own sake.

I heard they taste like sh!t.

Is that the sound of the Chinese mega fleet fishing illegally in the territorial waters of Chile turning north and moving at full speed?

Multiple countries:




"Eschew flamebait. Avoid unrelated controversies and generic tangents."


> It is possible, though, that the Jonah’s icefish disproportionately rely on the massive breeding colony, effectively putting all their eggs in one basket. If so, that “would make the species extremely vulnerable” to extinction, Desvignes says. The discovery of the massive colony is one more argument for providing environmental protections for the Weddell Sea as has been done for the nearby Ross Sea, he says.

The Ross Sea, by the way, has had its protections undermined by China for the benefit of its commercial fishing enterprises.

> In October 2014, the MPA proposal was again defeated at the CCAMLR by votes against from China and Russia.[58] At the October 2015 meeting a revised MPA proposal from the US and New Zealand was expanded with the assistance of China, who however shifted the MPA's priorities from conservation by allowing commercial fishing. —- https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Sea

@dang: Not unrelated. Not flame bait. Not a generic tangent. Please unflag.

It was obviously nationalistic flamebait, exacerbated by the snarky way you put it. Please don't post like that to HN.

China’s distantwater fishing fleet - Scale, impact and governance-


China tightens sustainability rules for its notorious fishing fleet -


China's Distant Waters Fleet Raises Overfishing Concerns -


Would they not turn south?

Yes, you’re right.

At least the fish are underneath the ice so they are a little harder to get to...

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact