Computer question: Taking care of this planet

We are nearing the end of the current ice age as the polar and alpine icecaps are melting rapidly and sea levels are rising.

Our planet has witnessed this cycle many times over the four and a half billion years it has existed. That fiery ball of sustained nuclear fusion that is our sun determines much of what happens with our climate on earth.

As the earthly population of oxygen- breathing and carbon dioxide-exhausting organisms and machines increases, however, it accounts for a small, but nevertheless significant amount of global warming which now even the skeptics are acknowledging. Our ancestors have survived ice ages and cataclysmic events in the past, but never before have they occurred in the face of a major industrial revolution followed by an even bigger digital one since the Second World War.

The former has led to many of the pollution woes we know today whereas the latter has given us the ability to collect, store and process big data which yields useful information instantly about changing environmental conditions. More importantly, this information can be spread quickly over a worldwide communication system which does not necessarily forestall loss of life and material damage, but certainly can mitigate it.

Moreover, expert analysis of these data to determine causes and effects can teach us to avoid, for example, the risks of building on flood plains or locating nuclear power plants close to the intersection of tectonic plates, not to mention the identity of the main contributors to carbon pollution. Avoiding a large asteroid on a collision course with earth, however, may be a little tricky!

The next meeting of the Vernon PC Users’ Club is Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Schubert Centre in the cafeteria.

Call Betty at 542-7024 or Grace at 549-4318 for more information.