Our Doom Will Come Sci-fi-style NASA-funded Study Says

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In the movie "Elysium," the rich live off-planet while the poor sweat it out in squalor http://latterdaysaintartswiki.org/index.php?title=Golden_Globe_Nominee_Jared_Harris_On_Filming_The_Harrowing_Chernobyl:_I_Enjoy_The_Fear on Earth. It might not be that far-fetched scenario if a NASA-funded study is right.
Screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET

We've all seen movies depicting a dystopian future. Usually they envision a small group of elites living in sleekly designed homes wearing clean gray clothes, sipping pure water, and enjoying generally dust-free living while the rest of us schlubs reside in cardboard boxes beneath bridges. Now, a NASA-funded study is saying the collapse of civilization as we know it might not be all that different from what happens in movies like "Blade Runner," "Elysium," and "The Hunger Games."

The study, sponsored by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and first reported on in [ The Guardian], examined five key factors that led to the collapse of civilizations such the Roman Empire and Han Dynasty: population, climate, water, agriculture, and energy. It found that civilizations collapse when these factors coalesce in such a way that natural resources are stretched at the same time the gap between the rich (termed "Elites" in the study) and the poor (dubbed "Commoners") increases. Sound familiar?

In arriving at these conclusions, the study authors, led by applied mathematician [ Safa Motesharrei] of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, applied something known as the HANDY (Human and Nature Dynamics) model of analysis. It was derived from previous predator-prey mathematical models invented in the early 20th century and assigns nature the role of prey and humans the role of predator. The study then goes one step further, assigning elites a wolf-like role. "We have also added a different dimension of predation whereby Elites 'prey' on the production of wealth by Commoners," the paper says.