Sunday, March 1, 2009

Poll Results

The results of my first poll are in--and when I say "first poll," I mean the first poll to actually have results. I had another poll up before, but no one answered it.

This particular poll looked all right as a form but made a terrible results display. The reason for this is that I had long questions. For reasons known only to the programmers, the questions wrapped in the form (that is, where the reader makes a selection), but not in the results, which led to a horizontal scroll bar appearing. It was quite unsightly, and I didn't want to keep such an ugly thing on my page. If you ask me, the poll widget could use a bit of work. This is not the only problem I have had with it. If you try to change the poll ending time, and you do not stick exactly to the original format (right down to all caps for the AM/PM!) the thing freezes. You can't save and you can't go back. You lose your poll and have to start from scratch and retype everything. Very frustrating. Probably the best thing to do is not change the ending time, but alas, I'm anal and I like my polls to end at midnight, so in the future I will be very, very careful to capitalize AM and PM.

But in any case, it's nice to put the results in a post so that they are archived. The poll widget does not provide an archive feature. It's a buggy bare-bones kind of a thing. But enough kvetching; on to the results:

What does the future hold?

Flying around in hovercrafts like the Jetsons2 (40%)
Utopia of clean energy and sustainable living0 (0%)
Return to subsistence farming1 (20%)
Relocation to another, earthlike planet0 (0%)
Mass death from global-warming-related starvation, plague or war1 (20%)
The Rapture: all good Christians floating up to heaven while non-Christians are left down here to rot0 (0%)
Other1 (20%)

Number of votes: 5

As you can see, "flying around in hovercrafts like the Jetsons" got the highest number of votes! I'm hoping that the respondents were just being funny. I mean, it's cute but terribly naive. Then again, I'm heartened by the fact that nobody voted for The Rapture. I'm guessing that that particular subset of Christians prefers to hang out at other blogs.

Mass death got one vote, but in all fairness I should admit that that vote came from me. This is not because I am in favour of mass death in any way, but because in my pessimistic moments, which are frequent, I think it's our likeliest fate. It's not just me; James Lovelock thinks so too (see his interview in New Scientist, January 24, 2008). There's also one vote for subsistence farming, which is my outlook as well, when I'm in a more optimistic mood. But come to think of it, you can have both. First mass death, then subsistence farming for whoever is left.

A utopia of clean energy and sustainable living would be nice, but none of my respondents think it's going to happen. That's a shame. On the other hand, none of my respondents think relocation to another planet is going to happen. Some people see that possibility as a way to save the earth: all the humans leave and the earth recovers in their absence. Scott Westerfeld explores the concept in his novel Extras, the sequel to the Uglies trilogy. But that scenario necessitates everyone leaving. I wouldn't do it. I don't think I could bear to leave earth. It would kill me. Also, were it an option, some people would see it as license to make as big a mess as they want. Why worry about a planet's environment if there's always another planet to hop to? The universe is infinite, after all. Such a prospect makes me ill. That's why I don't support the planet-hopping option.

I hope to get more respondents for my future polls, as it's impossible to draw conclusions, scientific or otherwise, from such a small sample.

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