From the Keyboard of Surly1
Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on May 19, 2013
Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.
In which we walk around the weekly cultural signifiers that indicate that we are, week by week, proudly and confidently approaching the zero point with the same cheery sense of self-assurance with which lemmings are said to approach a cliff. The Week That Was In Doom, might otherwise be known “as things that make you want to guzzle antifreeze,” with apologies and a tip o’ the Surly Crown of Thorns to Charlie Pierce. Pass the Prestone, hold the ice. And see what the rest of the crew will have, will ya barkeep?
”Violence is as American as cherry pie.” –H. “Rap” Brown
We started out the week by celebrating Mother’s Day in traditional American fashion, meaning blowing the shit out of a bunch of people with guns.
Nineteen people have been wounded in a shooting at a Mother’s Day parade in the US city of New Orleans, police say. The victims included two children who were grazed by bullets. Police say most injuries are not life-threatening. It is unclear what sparked the shooting in the city’s 7th Ward on Sunday afternoon. Police say three suspects were seen fleeing the area. The incident happened at about 14:00 (19:00 GMT) at the intersection of Frenchmen and Villere streets. “Shots were fired with different guns,” a police statement said. “Immediately after the shooting our officers saw three suspects running from the scene.” The statement said 10 men, seven women, a 10-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl were wounded by gunfire. FBI spokeswoman Mary Beth Romig said they had “no reason to believe it was an act of terror, just street violence”.
For my money, Rising Hegemon’s rising snark sums up the whole proceedings just fine.
What could be more American
It is unclear what sparked the shooting, which happened in the city’s 7th Ward on Sunday afternoon. Police say two or three suspects were seen fleeing the area. Police said that, as well as the 12 people with gunshot wounds, one person was injured in the ensuing panic.
By the end of the week, two brothers with gang ties and a history of drug offenses had been arrested for the deed, the narrative in place, the crime scene tape pulled up, so everything is hunky-dory again, right?
Two brothers with a history of drug arrests and suspected ties to a neighborhood gang each face 20 counts of attempted second-degree murder in a shooting spree that brought a sudden bloody end to a neighborhood Mother’s Day parade.
Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different.~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
How really depraved are we? Really? (h/t Joe P.) Earlier in the week I found myself arguing that the story could not possibly be true, but I discoved that the only problem here is my own paucity of imagination.
Rich Manhattan moms hire
handicapped tour guides so kids can
cut lines at Disney World
The “black-market Disney guides” run $130 an hour, or $1,040 for an eight-hour day. “My daughter waited one minute to get on ‘It’s a Small World’ — the other kids had to wait 2 1/2 hours,” crowed one mom, who hired a disabled guide through Dream Tours Florida.“You can’t go to Disney without a tour concierge,’’ she sniffed. “This is how the 1 percent does Disney.”
The woman said she hired a Dream Tours guide to escort her, her husband and their 1-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter through the park in a motorized scooter with a “handicapped” sign on it. The group was sent straight to an auxiliary entrance at the front of each attraction.
Someone on Facebook observed that at least this gave some occasional employment to the handicapped. Sometimes we are left without words. And sometimes the news comes pre-loaded with its own layer of snark.
Those paying attention to continued congressional treason and the incompetence and misfeasance of the Obama administration were treated to The Benghazi Dumb Show and Obama’s IRS shooting itself in the foot. Charlie Pierce’s take:
Obama’s IRS answer probably won’t satisfy Republicans demanding a public apology from the president and insisting the story indicates Obama’s White House is run like Nixon’s. But the president put himself on the same page with elected officials of all political stripes Monday who demanded to know more about what happened at the IRS and the firing of those responsible for any malfeasance. No. It won’t satisfy them. He could have climbed up on a cross and driven nails into his own palms and that wouldn’t have satisfied them. Why is that the point? The media has no affirmative obligation to decide that a “political circus” has broken out and that it has no job left except to write play-by-play on what the monkeys are doing. Obama’s White House is not like Nixon’s any more than it is like the court of Robert The Bruce. Because some Republicans are still carrying old Watergate grudges around like goiters in their consciences is no reason for smart people to play along with it. Nixon’s IRS did not call out its own mistakes. Nixon’s IRS did not apologize. Nixon did not call a press conference and denounce the IRS for what it did, and this was because Nixon ordered the IRS to do what it did, and not even Nixon was a rancid enough bag of old sins to do something like that. So what is the purpose of throwing his name in there at all? Because the Republicans used it? That’s not good enough. In 2004, the NAACP actually got audited in the wake of its having been critical of the then-reigning Avignon Presidency. Remember how that dominated the Sunday Showz for months and led to endless hearings in both houses of Congress?
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news. The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls.
This is what got people sent to jail in the mid-1970s. This is the Plumbers, all over again, except slightly more formal this time, and laundered, disgracefully, even more directly through the Department Of Justice. And of course, this is not nearly good enough. And even if you point out, as you should, that the AP is hyping this story a little — The government “secretly” obtained the records? Doesn’t that imply that nobody knew the records had been seized? Wasn’t there a subpoena? The phone companies knew. — the ignoble clumsiness of this more than obviates those particular quibbles.
No Charlie, no subpoena, thanks to the quick work of our friends at Verizon Wireless.
When the feds came knocking for AP journalists’ call records last year, Verizon apparently turned the data over with no questions asked. The New York Times, citing an AP employee,reported Tuesday that at least two of the reporters’ personal cellphone records “were provided to the government by Verizon Wireless without any attempt to obtain permission to tell them so the reporters could ask a court to quash the subpoena.”
Customers of Verizon Wireless, take comfort in the knowledge that your company passed AP reporters’ phone records to the feds. Remember, muppets, “It’s The Network™.”
In other news, we learn that many of the troglodyte members of the House of Representatives, the mouth-breathing consensus who yearn so dearly for the opportunity to lay a dollop of tar on presumed 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with the Benghazi flap as the tar-laden cudgel, can’t even locate Benghazi on a map. Hilarity ensues.
And in less amusing news, the results of the preliminary investigation into the explosion of the fertilizer plant in West, Texas came in. Or not.
Robert Champion, the ATF special agent in charge, said investigators have ruled out the possibility of an earlier fire, spontaneous ignition, smoking, weather or a 480 volt electrical system. He said investigators have not ruled foul play, or a problem with a 120 volt electrical system. The officials would not discuss the arrest of Bryce Reed, a volunteer paramedic and one of the first on the scene, who was arrested last week for possession of bomb making materials. The Insurance Council of Texas estimates the damage to surrounding homes and businesses will exceed $100 million.
Clearly, Texas investigators have also not ruled out attack by the Tsarniev Brothers, an alien energy death ray from a UFO, an attack by Al Qaeda, the Symbionese Liberation Army, or the work of a secret, “self-radicalizing” terrorist cabal led by Jimmy Hoffa and Judge Crater. But never fear, the usual gaggle of self-righteous hypocrites are showing up for the cameras, squatting down and pinching off the expected pieties:
Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement Thursday evening expressing his appreciation to the investigators. ”While the cause of the fire remains undetermined and the investigation continues, this tragedy has shown the world the definition of compassion, from volunteer firefighters across the state rushing to help their colleagues at the scene, to friends, neighbors and Texans stepping in to help those who lost so much in the blast,” he said. Texas U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz issued a joint statement thanking the investigators. ”Our prayers remain with those struggling to recover and mourning the loss of loved ones. While the cause remains undetermined, it is our sincere hope that at the end of the investigation, the residents of West can find closure and begin to heal,” they said.
Thanks, investigolators, for the camera opportunity to flog a continued regime of deregulation. en, the Grey Lady herself took note in the NY Times. Texas don’t need no stinking regulations:
Asked about the disaster, Mr. Perry responded that more government intervention and increased spending on safety inspections would not have prevented what has become one of the nation’s worst industrial accidents in decades.
“Through their elected officials,” he said, Texans “clearly send the message of their comfort with the amount of oversight.”
This antipathy toward regulations is shared by many residents here. Politicians and economists credit the stance with helping attract jobs and investment to Texas, which has one of the fastest-growing economies in the country, and with winning the state a year-after-year ranking as the nation’s most business friendly.
Raymond J. Snokhous, a retired lawyer in West who lost two cousins — brothers who were volunteer firefighters — in the explosion, said, “There has been nobody saying anything about more regulations.”
Texas has always prided itself on its free-market posture. It is the only state that does not require companies to contribute to workers’ compensation coverage. It boasts the largest city in the country, Houston, with no zoning laws. It does not have a state fire code, and it prohibits smaller counties from having such codes. Some Texas counties even cite the lack of local fire codes as a reason for companies to move there.
But Texas has also had the nation’s highest number of workplace fatalities — more than 400 annually — for much of the past decade. Fires and explosions at Texas’ more than 1,300 chemical and industrial plants have cost as much in property damage as those in all the other states combined for the five years ending in May 2012.
Have a good look at what deregulation looks like. The explosion in April of a fertilizer plant near West, Tex., was so powerful that it registered as a 2.1-magnitude earthquake. McLennan, the county that includes West, has no fire code. Res ipsa loquitor. Awaiting the results earlier in the week, Pierce had it thus:
Whatever the investigators announce, the explosion will be linked to four decades of conservative-inspired deregulation, four decades of conservative-inspired corporate triumphalism, the deregulatory enthusiasm of every damn possible contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, and Rick Perry’s entire political career are pretty damn long, I’m guessing. But give up the e-mails, Holder! Ten more people died here than died in Benghazi.
In a development will be very satisfying to many readers of this page, particularly those who find room for cautious optimism in the growth of renewable energy and alternative fuels (thinking of you, AG), the nuclear industry had what by any measure has to be described is a pretty bad week.
Once touted as a successor, or at least a competitor, to carbon-based power, the nuclear sector has taken a beating as the momentum behind new projects stalls and enthusiasm for domestic fossil fuel production grows. Across the country, plans to build nuclear plants have hit roadblocks recently—a sharp turn for a sector that just a few years ago was looking forward to a renaissance. *** In recent weeks, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled against a proposed partnership between NRC Energy and Toshiba, citing a law that prohibits control of a U.S. plant by a foreign corporation. Elsewhere, Duke Energy scuttled plans to construct two nuclear reactors in North Carolina, while California officials warned that two damaged reactors could be shut down permanently if the NRC doesn’t take action to get the plants back online. The change in nuclear’s fortunes is staggering, given that the U.S. is the world’s largest producer of nuclear power …. “Starting about four years ago, the industry felt it was in the middle of a renaissance” with applications for many new plants pending with the NRC, said Peter Bradford, a law professor and a former member of the commission. “They’ve gone from that high-water mark to a point at which … we’re actually seeing the closing of a few operating plants,which was unthinkable even a few years ago.”
Of course none of this may make much difference if the sun has its way with us. We are told that a large solar flare may be a prelude to an entire year of heavy sunspot/solar storm activity.
The Sun erupted with a large solar flare in the direction of Earth early Friday morning, causing potential disruption to radio signals in the coming days and serving as a prelude to a period of heavy solar activity. The mid-level flare, classified as an M6.5 solar flare, “was associated with an Earth-direction coronal mass ejection (CME), a solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of solar particles into space and can reach our planet days later,”according to Science World Report. While X-class solar flares are 10 times more powerful than Friday’s eruption, the radiation burst was the largest on record in 2013 and “caused an R2 radio blackout that has since subsided,” the site reported. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration classifies radio blackouts caused by space weather on a scale from R1 to R5, with R5 being the strongest. Scientists expect more such solar flares this year, because the Sun’s 11-year activity cycle is approaching its peak, expected to arrive in the closing months of 2013, Science World Report noted.
And now were told that NASA is warning that solar storms are possible. The implications of such an event are difficult to fathom. Current sunspots are said to be the diameter of 6 Earths, and some sunspot activity can lead to significant eruptions of radiation.
The Sun is currently reaching the peak of its 11-year solar cycle. The Solar Dynamics Observatory was launched by NASA in 2010. The observatory spacecraft is just one of many alerting NASA to signs of solar flares, or coronal mass ejections. One of the biggest concerns surrounding solar flares is the ability the storms have to take down our antiquated power grid. If a massive solar flare is directed at Earth, the fiscal destruction could be legendary. Both NASA and NOAA experts estimate the potential damage of such a direct hit would be in the trillions. The last major solar flare to directly impact Earth was in 1859, the Carrington Event. Telegraph wires reportedly snapped in half and caused multiple blazes. The folks of the 1800s were far less impacted by the solar flare than we would be today. Due to the computerized equipment inside vehicles built after the 1950s, nearly anything on four wheels (or two) would come to a screeching halt.
Just let the implications of that one sink in for a moment. Imagine a Carrington-type of event on top of the current economic and social dislocations we have. The mind reels. We could be facing “a world made by hand” sooner than even Kunstler imagines.
According to Annalee Newitz, We may be in for a disaster or set of disasters so profound they could kick off a series of mass extinctions. Of people this time, in contrast to the mass extinctions that Homo sapiens has already caused for other species. Ms. new it’s has written a book, Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction, that insists that human evolution has prepared us to survive future disasters.
Are we in the first act of a mass extinction that will end in the death of millions of plant and animal species across the planet, including us?
That’s what proponents of the “sixth extinction” theory believe. As the term suggests, our planet has been through five mass extinctions before. The dinosaur extinction was the most recent but hardly the most deadly: 65 million years ago, dinosaurs were among the 76 percent of all species on Earth that were extinguished after a series of natural disasters. But
185 million years before that, there was a mass extinction so devastating that paleontologists have nicknamed it the Great Dying. At that time, 95 percent of all species on the planet were wiped out over a span of roughly 100,000 years—most likely from megavolcanoes that erupted for centuries in Siberia, slowly turning the atmosphere to poison. And three more mass extinctions, some dating back over 400 million years, were caused by ice ages, invasive species, and radiation bombardment from space.
During the last million years of our evolution as a species, humans narrowly avoided extinction more than once. We lived through harsh conditions while another human group, the Neanderthals, did not. This isn’t just because we are lucky. It’s because as a species, we are extremely cunning when it comes to survival. If we want to survive for another million years, we should look to our history to find strategies that already worked. The title of this book, Scatter, Adapt, and Remember, is a distillation of these strategies. But it’s also a call to implement them in the future, by actively taking on the project of human survival as a social and scientific challenge.
So what promises to be another work of techno-optimism. Perhaps we will be smart enough, unselfish enough, and astute enough to employ strategies that will be necessary to save the bulk of humanity. Indeed, part of the mission statement of the Diner is to “Save as Many as you Can.” However my money is on the illuminati bunkering up and leaving a combination of disease, solar storms, acid rain and widespread dislocation to scour the Muppets from their earth. Or so they think.
And Just so you know, the truth about lemmings has nothing to do with them committing suicide en masse by leaping off cliffs. it turns out that a Disney film, “White Wilderness,” used selectively shot and staged scenes that showed lemmings leaping off a cliff into water, and from there swimming out to the ocean to their Doom. (The film is still available on YouTube, for the curious.) Turns out that the demise of lemmings, a voracious little Arctic vole, has much more to do with stoats, fox, owls and other predators. Far more so than cliffs.
And here, in all the news that doesn’t fit for this week are some other links gathered liking gleanings from the field, and for which I lack the time and attention to comment. You may find it of interest. One thing is reasonably sure: next week will bring even more.
Brandon Smith on terror, circular logic and the debasement of language in the quest for power: http://www.alt-market.com/articles/1501-lions-and-tigers-and-terrorists-oh-my
GO’s article on vectors of human extinction
Personal extinction: Suicide rates in middle aged Americans- Mercola http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/05/16/suicide-rate.aspx?e_cid=20130516_DNL_ProdTest2_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20130516ProdTest2
America’s first climate refugees– with a tip o’ the Surly Crown o’Thorns to JoeP: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/interactive/2013/may/13/newtok-alaska-climate-change-refugees
Off the keyboards of Clipney & RE
Published on Reverse Engineering June 2009
Discuss this article at the Rewilding Table inside the Diner
Note from RE: This article is a re-edit from posts made in June 2009 on Reverse Engineering. I am including substantial new material however based on the ever evolving collapse scenario and ongoing discussions inside the Diner.
There is endless ongoing debate inside the Diner, as well as in the Blogosphere as a whole as to what the best methodology is to adapt to a world where energy is in increasingly short supply and jobs and money to buy the products of industrialization are ever more difficult to come by.
The most popular proposed Solution you come by is Relocalization and developing an extension on what I would call the Amish Economy, a kind of 18th Century model of small Family Farms, but even this model is surprisingly Energy Dependent in many ways. Although the Amish foreswear use of many labor saving Machines driven by the thermodynamic energy of Oil, they still do use many Metal farm implements that take a whole lot of energy to mine, refine and manufacture. There are also issues with how agricultural process, even done on the Amish level tends to reduce biodiversity and overall deplete the land of its productive capacity.
So there also is a somewhat less popular paradigm which floats around of taking a jump further back than the 18th century, WAY BACK in fact to around 10,000 years before that to live the Pre-Agricultural Paleolithic lifestyle of the Hunter-Gatherer. Proponents of this idea fall under the general rubric of “Rewilders”
I personally see the value in BOTH ideas, though neither one is likely to be able to support the current 7B Human Souls walking the Earth at the moment.
The discussions of these varying philosophies and ideas is not totally new in the collapse blogosphere, although it does appear to me discussion is picking up steam now as more people become aware of the great depth of the problems we have before us. Before I continue on with my current thoughts on the topic, I would like to review an exchange I had back in 2009 with a commenter named Clipney on the pages of Reverse Engineering.
“…civilization as a whole was a scam from the beginning, and the only logical path for humanity to take is to utterly abandon it and return to a hunter/gatherer lifestyle.”
This blogger has an intelligent essay on why any civilization run by a government has and will never work, as institutions of power always end up corrupt. (Hey, we already knew that, thanks to our Benevolent and All-Knowing Dictator-For-Life!)
“When we then examine the positives of tribal living, it becomes clear that as far as quality of life, there really is no comparison at all. For instance, cutting out “work”, which I find to be an utterly horrid concept, would make my life exponentially better. To this people will often respond with claims that tribal people did work, and some will even claim they worked harder than us, which is a nonsensical statement. The “work” that pre-civilized people did was solely related to providing for basic survival needs; no one was making a profit off of them. Picture a tribe whose main source of food is fish. Their “work” then consists of: fishing. That is it. The women would be responsible for making whatever clothing was needed, which in warmer climates, where people generally lived, was minimal, and sometimes people simply went nude (the profound psychological and spiritual implications of nudity among tribal people will be examined in depth in the near future). Possibly people would stitch together tents, or build huts of some type (if they didn’t live in caves), but this was not something that had to be done very often. I would imagine all of these activities were rather enjoyable, and as such they can be in no way compared to the wage slavery of modern man. Another example to cite is the buffalo hunters of the American plains. The buffalo were an abundant food source, and very easy to kill. These people lived bountiful lives.”
(Ah, the utopian vision in the post-technological world…)
We can all start the ball rolling by joining up with R.E.’s tribe in the Matsu Valley in this Peak Oil era. Once he solves the problem of those sub-zero temps all winter, hubby and I are outta here and on the Alcan north!
Very Toasty Summer this year on the Last Great Frontier GW may resolve the problems of excessive Cold up here.
Not sure how familiar you are with my Tribalist analysis of the PPO world, I did write about it in numerous threads with Ludi. It has its limitations, numerically speaking.
Its my general thesis that a Tribe can number only approximately 10,000 Human Souls in size before you need to create one of the larger Goobermint Structures we define sometimes as Feudalism, Communism, Socialism, Plutocracy, Republic, Democracy, Fascism etc. I came to that number based on a typical Max Lifespan of pre-Oil medicine of around 60 years, with typical reproduction time coming at the age of around 16-20. Based on a Bell curve in lifespan, I figured in a population of 10,000, you would have approximately 100 Elders repsonsible for the Governance tasks of the Tribe. Resolving disputes, divying up food resource from hunting and/or farming, etc. Why would such 100 folks be better than Congress as Administrators? Because they are DIRECTLY CONNECTED by BLOOD to those beneath them in the Tribal Pyriamid. The Active Hunters and Farmers are their Children, all related in some way. The Youth of the tribe are their Grandchildren. They have a direct biological imperative to make sure those people SURVIVE.
For the Matanuska-Susitna River Valley, we currently number around 60,000 Human Souls. Too big a number for a Single Tribe. I expect for a while in the Downspin we will have some sort of Socialist or Fascist State, and there will also be die off of some percentage, particularly among the Old and Infirm, including RE who expects to give himself up to the Bear so that some of the younger members of the Collective can live. I would hoep for no more than a 20% die off as necessary, but say at 50% that would leave 30,000 up here after one generation. I believe there would be further degeneration and devolution of that state, and a Break Up of the One to the Many, into perhaps 3 Sustainable Tribes which might Trade with each other. Perhaps one Tribe along the Coast of Fishermen, another Tribe of Farmers in the Mat-Su Valley, a 3rd Tribe of Hunter-Gatherers who work into the Mountains as far as Denali and perhaps even to the border of the Yukon Territory. Nomadic Group there, as opposed to the settled Tribes of Fishermen and Farmers.
Unlike most places on earth at the moment, our total numbers are not so great that we cannot shrink down over a generation or two with some semblance of equity and normality. Certainly over the next 20 years there is more than enough Coal and NG and even Oil still coming off the North Slope to ease the transition some.
Eventually, in the Absence of Thermonuclear War, my hope would be that Alaska shrinks down to maybe a total of 60,000 people, not by Death mostly, I’d expect most of Anchorage population to simply abandon Alaska as too hard a place to make your life in the PPO world. I’d hope that the friends I know up here in the Mat Valley would form up as a Tribe, and if I can I’ll try to organize such a thing when the Big Show comes to this Theatre. I’m in a position to do so, I currently am director an organization serving aroun 1000 families in the Mat-Su Valley. If I can help get us started, I will do everything in my power to do so before I give myself up to the Bear. That is my IRL MISSION, as it is my MISSION in Cyberspace to Inform and to try to help as many people as I can here by passing along what I see and understand to be true. You can believe me or not, that is your choice, I just call em as I see em here, to try to be of some service.
Save as Many as You Can.
Finishing here with the projected outcome of Global Cooking and Sea Level Rise
” The only problem with solving those sub-zero temperatures, is that a whole lot of Alaska is resting on perma-frost. When that warms up, you better know how to swim.”
More like be good at walking through MUD up to your hips. You will be swimming only if the sea level rises ond overtops the permafrost. However, permafrost Flat areas of Alaska are not much populated to begin with, and PPO any population remaining up here will mostly live in the Mountain Valleys. Generally pretty fertile places as most valley are, since they have tons of minerals washed down on them by melting Glaciers. Alaska’s Valley’s just are among the LAST ones to be exposed after the last Glaciation.
You guys make a LOT of hay about sub-zero temps. If you dress right, 30 Below is NOT so bad. You Hole Up in your Igloo (or more likely in the future you Squat on somebody’s Vacation McMansion) for the winter, you sleep a lot and screw a lot. Even without a fire burning, if you have more than about 4 people in a small space, insulated by snow bricks, the inside Temp runs around 35-40 degrees, its NOT uncomfortable really with a Fur coat on. Four people burning at 98.6 degrees in a small space heats it up just fine. Anyhow, there is just PLENTY of Coal you can chip right off the exposed seams in Healy, so I really cannot forsee Alaskans freezing to death unless they are Homeless and shut out of the economic system in some way.
Far as my “Mr. Know-It-All” Persona goes, I want to be CLEAR that I do NOT “Know-it-ALL”!!!!! I just know a whole lot MORE about MANY things than just about everybody I ever met. LOL. I run into plenty of stuff other folks know MORE about than I do, that is why I like talking to guys like ShortOnOil. You run into a real EXPERT in some field, you learn stuff. I am a GENERALIST. I know many things about many subjects, and so I can often make a Big Picture analysis others do not see if they are specialists. Do you remember “Encylopedia Brown”? That is RE. I summarize the world into neat 10 paragraph posts on many topics. LOL. However, if you want a deeper understanding of any given topic, there are other people who know WAY more than I do. My gift is to tie it all together and make it understandable, at least I try to anyhow.
What you should be able to glean out of all of this, besides the fact EVERYBODY KNOWS I am an insufferable Egotist (and they have known this since at least as far back as 2009) is that among the many Solutions to our current Energy and Monetary predicament is that at least a small subset of people look at a Paleolithic lifestyle in the future for Homo Sapiens as a REAL possibility.
Inside the Diner, there is often FURIOUS debate about how to negotiate a Transition off the Oil Jones and whether the Downhill Slide will be one of Gradual Boiling Frog style Slow Catabolic Collapse, or a more Rapid Fast Crash. Depending on how you view this problem, it changes how you might plan for negotiating the Collapse Scenario you see as Most Likely.
As my writing from 2009 indicates, I do see a long term future for Homo Sapiens as living a Paleolithic lifestyle. I am also in the camp of “Fast Crash” Doomers, I don’t think it will be very long before we are living without Electricity and Happy Motoring. However, I am not in such a Fast Camp as to believe most people will be living a Paleolithic lifestyle inside a generation, particularly not inside MY Generation.
What seems more likely is transition to more local forms of food production and return to an Agricultural lifestyle along the Amish Model, at least for a while. It is doubtful that said lifestyle will support the current 7B people living on the planet, particularly those living in arid regions who currently are Food Importers. It is also hard to see how the current population distribution with most people parked in Big Cities can be effectively relocated out to the rural areas where food can be produced in quantity enough to feed said population. So there will likely be Civil War in due time as the Revolution in lifestyle gets underway.
Looking at the problem just as it affects the remaining years of my lifespan (no more than 20 I suspect), the best solution appears to me to prepare for the local solution, together with a large enough group of people to maintain control over a patch of productive land. Some Diners feel this can be done with groups as small as 20-30, others go with Dunbar’s Number of around 150, I tend to think a bit larger than that and go with numbers in the 500-1000 range.
The issue with this is who knows such a large group of people, especially of people who see the oncoming problems and look to prepare for them similarly by changing their lifestyle NOW? Nobody really does IRL, but across the internet there are Doomers by the thousands. So the question for me has become, “Is it possible to form an Internet Phyle* of people with similar enough goals and ethics through the medium of the Internet and then leverage that into an IRL community all brought together on a single patch of land, sufficient in size to sustainably Feed and Clothe and Shelter all of them with minimum inputs from the outside world, and likely extended periods with NO INPUTS during Wartime?”
It’s a fairly lofty goal to accomplish, but it’s not one I think is beyond reach either. Here on the Diner, we have begun the process of assembling such a group in Cyberspace under the rubric of the Sustaining Universal Needs or SUN Project. You will be reading more about that in the weeks and months to come here on the Diner, and in more detail on the SUN Project’s own website which is under development. For Doomers interested in developing a solid working plan for transitioning off the Oil Economy and toward a Low per capita Energy consumption society, I highly recommend joining with us in Discussions here on the Diner as we refine the model.
Finally, on the Paleolithic Rewilding model, I don’t see anything wrong with learning the means and methods of this lifestyle, nor even going out and actually LIVING it either, although to do so you will have to go VERY far out into the Bush and even there at least in the FSoA you will have to avoid the “authorities” of Park Rangers, Fish & Wildlife hunting and fishing regulations etc. Removing yourself from civilization as we know it to this level is an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. I don’t see this as necessary to do inside this generation, though if things slide downhill REALLY fast I could be proven wrong on that one. LOL. In any event, I am not suited to that lifestyle anymore, you gotta be pretty young and in good health to live that way. For the Medium Term of Collapse as I believe it will play out in my lifetime, I feel the best way to Prep Up is together with a pretty large group of friends, find a good fairly defensible location not too close to the major Cities, park yourselves and set about the task of making the land you live on productive enough to support yourselves.
An EZ thing to accomplish? No, but nothing worthwhile ever comes EZ either.
*Phyle- Phyles are a concept developed by Neal Stephenson in his novel The Diamond Age.
Society in The Diamond Age is dominated by a number of phyles, also sometimes called tribes. Phyles are groups of people often distinguished by shared values, similar ethnic heritage, a common religion, or other cultural similarities. In the extremely globalized future depicted in the novel, these cultural divisions have largely supplanted the system of nation-states that divides the world today. Cities in The Diamond Age appear divided into sovereign enclaves affiliated or belonging to different phyles within a single metropolis. Most phyles depicted in the novel have a global scope of sovereignty, and maintain segregated enclaves in or near many cities throughout the world.
Off the keyboard of Gail Tverberg
Published on Our Finite World on April 30, 2013
Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Table inside the Diner
I have written in recent posts that oil limits are more complex than what many have imagined. They aren’t just a lack of a liquid fuel; they are inability to compete in a global economy that is based on use of cheaper fuel (coal) and a lower standard of living. Oil prices that are too low for oil exporting nations are a problem, just as oil prices that are too high are a problem for oil importing nations.
Debt limits are also closely tied to oil supply limits. It is actually debt limits, such as those we seem to be reaching right now, that may bring the whole system to a screeching stop. (See my posts How Resource Limits Lead to Financial Collapse, How Oil Exporters Reach Financial Collapse, Peak Oil Demand is Already a Huge Problem, and Low Oil Prices Lead to Economic Peak Oil.)
We have many Main Street Media (MSM) paradigms that mischaracterize our current predicament. But we also have what I would call Green paradigms, that aren’t really right either, because they don’t recognize the true state of our predicament. What we need now is new set of paradigms. Let’s look at a few common beliefs.
Inadequate Oil Supply Paradigm
As I stated above, indications that oil supply is a problem are confusing. MSM seems to believe, “If the US can be oil independent, our oil supply problems are solved.” If a person believes the goofy models our economists have put together, this is perhaps true, but this is not true in the real world.
Without a huge, huge increase in US oil production (far more than is being proposed), being “oil independent” simply means that we are unable to compete in the world market for buying oil exports. US oil consumption ends up dropping, and we end up on the edge of recession, or actually in recession. Oil exports instead go to the countries that have lower manufacturing costs (that is, use oil more sparingly). See Figure 1 below. In fact, even some of the oil products that are created by US refineries end up going to users in other countries, because it is businesses in other countries that are making many of today’s goods, and it is these businesses and the workers they hire who can afford to buy products like gasoline for their cars or diesel for their irrigation pumps.
Figure 1. Oil consumption by part of the world, based on EIA data. 2012 world consumption data estimated based on world “all liquids” production amounts.
The Green version of this paradigm seems to be, “If world oil supply is rising, everything is fine.” This is related to the idea that our problem is “peak oil” production caused by geological depletion, and if we haven’t hit peak oil production, everything is more or less OK. In fact, the limit we are reaching is an economic limit, that comes far before world oil supply begins to decline for geological reasons. See my post, Low Oil Prices Lead to Economic Peak Oil.
The real paradigm is, “Limited oil supply leads to financial collapse.” This is true for both oil exporters and for oil importer. For oil importers, the problem occurs because they cannot import enough oil, and oil is needed for critical parts of the economy. The belief by economists that substitution will take place is not happening in the quantity and at the price level (very low) that it needs to happen at, to keep the economy expanding as it has in the past.
Limited oil supply first leads to high oil prices, as it did in the 2004 to 2008 period; then it leads to government financial distress, as governments try to deal with less employment and lower tax revenue. By the time oil prices start falling because of the poor condition of oil importers, we are well on our way down the slippery slope to financial collapse.
The MSM version of this paradigm is, “Growth can be expected to continue forever.” A corollary to this is, “The economy can be expected to return to robust growth, soon.”
In a finite world, this paradigm is obviously untrue. At some point, we start reaching limits of various kinds, such as fresh water limits and the inability to extract an adequate supply of oil cheaply.
Economists base their models on the assumption that the economy only needs labor and capital; it doesn’t need specific resources such as fresh water and energy of the proper type. Unfortunately, substitutability among resources is not very good, and price is all-important. In the real world, growth slows as resources become more expensive to extract.
The Green version of the growth paradigm seems to be, “We can have a steady state economy forever.” Unfortunately, this is just as untrue as the “Growth can be expected to continue to forever.” Even to maintain a steady state economy requires far more cheap-to-extract oil resources than the earth really has. (US shale oil resources, which are the new hope for oil growth, can only grow if oil prices are sufficiently high.)
We are very dependent on fossil fuels for making our food supply possible and for our ability to make metals in reasonable quantity. Fossil fuels are also necessary for making concrete and glass in reasonable quantities, and for making modern renewable energy, such as hydroelectric dams, wind turbines, and PV panels. We cannot keep 7 billion people alive without fossil fuels. Perhaps the quantity of fossil fuels consumed can be temporarily reduced from current levels, but with continued population growth, any savings will be quickly offset by additional mouths to feed and by the desire of the poorest segment of the population to have the living standards of the richest.
Unfortunately, the correct version of the paradigm seems to be, “Overshoot and collapse is to be expected.” This is what happens in nature, whenever any species discovers a way to way to increase its energy (food) supply. Yeast, when added to grape juice will multiply, until the yeast have consumed the available sugars and turned them to alcohol. They then die.
The same pattern has happened over and over with historical civilizations. They learned to use a new approach that allowed them to increase food supply (such as clearing land of trees and farming the land, or adding irrigation to an area), but eventually population caught up. Research shows that before collapse, they reached financial limits much as we are reaching now. The symptoms, both then and now, were increasingly great wage disparity between the rich and the working class, and governments that needed ever-higher taxes to fund their operations.
Eventually a Crisis period hit these historical civilizations, typically lasting 20 to 50 years. Workers rebelled against the higher taxes, and more government changes took place. Governments fought wars to get more resources, with many killed in battle. Epidemics became more of a problem, because of the weakened condition of workers who could no longer afford an adequate diet. Eventually the population was greatly reduced, sometimes to zero. A new civilization did not rise again for many years.
Figure 2. One possible future path of future real (that is, inflation-adjusted) GDP, under an overshoot and collapse scenario.
It seems to me that unfortunately overshoot and collapse is the model to expect. It is not a model anyone would like to have happen, so there is great opposition when the idea is suggested. Overshoot and collapse is very similar to the model described in the 1972 book Limits to Growth by Donella Meadows and others.
Role of Economics, Science, and Technology Paradigm
The MSM paradigm seems to be, “Economics and the businesses that make up the economy can solve all problems.” Growth will continue. New technology will solve all problems. We don’t need religion any more, because we now understand what makes people happy: More stuff! As long as the economy can give people more stuff, people will be satisfied and happy. Economics even can allow us to find “green” solutions that will solve environmental problems with win-win solutions (assuming you believe MSM).
The Green version of the paradigm seems to be, “Science and technology can solve all problems, and can properly alert us to future problems.” Again, we don’t need religion, because here we can put our faith in science to solve all of our problems.
I am not sure the Green version of the paradigm is any more accurate than the MSM media version. Science is not good at figuring out turning points. It is very easy to miss interactions that are outside the realm of science, and more in the realm of economics–for example, the fact high-priced oil is not an adequate substitute for cheap-to-extract oil, and it is the lack of cheap oil that is causing a major portion of today’s problem.
It is also very easy to put together climate change models that are based on far too high assumptions of the amount of fossil fuels that will be burned in the future, because economic interactions are missed. If debt collapse brings down the economy, it will bring down all fossil fuels at once, meaning that the vast majority of what we think of as reserves today will stay in the ground forever. A debt collapse will also affect renewables, by cutting off production of new renewables, and by making maintenance of existing systems more difficult.
The real paradigm should be, “Neither science and technology, nor economics can solve the problems of humans. We have instincts similar to those of other species to reproduce in far greater numbers than needed for survival, and to utilize all resources available to us. This leads us toward overshoot and collapse scenarios, even though we have great knowledge.“
Because of our propensity toward overshoot and collapse scenarios, humans have a real need for a “moral compass” to tell us what is right and wrong. If there is no longer enough food to go around, how do we decide which family members should get it? Is it OK to start a civil war, if there are not enough resources to go around? There is also a need to deal with our many personal disappointments, such as finding that the advanced degrees we worked so hard on will have little use in the future, and that life expectancies are much lower. Perhaps there is still a need for religion, even though many have abandoned the idea. The “story line” of religions may not sound exactly reasonable, but if a particular religion can provide reasonable guidance on how to handle today’s problems, it may still be helpful.
Climate Change Paradigm
The MSM view of climate change seems to vary with the country. In the US, the view seems to be that it is not too important, and that it can be adapted to. Perhaps the models are not right. In Europe, there is more belief that the models are right, and that local cutbacks in fossil fuel consumption will reduce world CO2 production.
The Green view of climate change seems to be, “Of course climate change models are 100% right. We should rationally be able to solve the problem.” There is only the minor detail that humans (like other species) have a basic instinct to use energy resources at their disposal to allow more of their offspring to live and to allow themselves personally to live longer.
Unfortunately, a more realistic view is that climate change may indeed be happening, and may indeed by caused by human actions, but (1) we are already on the edge of collapse. Moving collapse ahead by a few months will not solve the climate change problem, and (2) collapse itself is an even worse problem than climate change to deal with. By the time rising ocean levels become a problem, population is likely to be low enough that the remaining population can move to higher ground, and agriculture can move to where the climate is more hospitable.
Climate change may indeed cause population to drop even more than it would if our only problem were overshoot and collapse. But because the cause is related to human instincts (having more offspring than needed to replace oneself and the drive to use energy supplies that are available), changing the underlying behavior is extremely difficult.
Over the eons, the earth has been cycling from one climate state to another, with one species after another being the dominant species. Perhaps natural balances are such that the time has now come that humans’ turn as the dominant species is over. The earth is now ready to cycle to a state where some other species is dominant, perhaps a type of plant that can use high carbon dioxide levels. If this is the case, this is another disappointment that we will need to deal with.
Nature of Our Problem Paradigm
The MSM’s paradigm seems to be, “Our problem is getting the economy back to growth.” Or, perhaps, “Our problem is preventing climate change.“
In a way, the MSM paradigm of “Our problem is getting the economy back to growth,” has some truth to it. We are slipping into financial collapse, and in a sense, getting the economy back to growth would be a solution to the problem.
The underlying problem, however, is that oil supply is getting more and more expensive to extract. This means that an increasing share of resources must be devoted to oil extraction, and to other necessary activities (such as desalinating water because we are reaching fresh water limits as well). As a result, the rest of the world’s economy is getting squeezed back. See my post Our Investment Sinkhole Problem. Squeezing the world’s economy creates great problems for all of the debt outstanding. The likely outcome is widespread debt defaults, and collapse of the world economy as we know it.
The Green paradigm seems to be, “We have a liquid fuel supply problem.“ If we can solve this with other liquid fuels, or with electricity, we will be fine. Many Greens also emphasize the climate change problem, so their big issue is finding electric solutions for the liquid fuel supply problems. There is also an emphasis on local food production, especially with respect to perishable foods.
Unfortunately, the real problem seems to be, “We are facing a financial collapse scenario that is likely to wreak havoc on all energy sources at once.” Using less oil products may be helpful for a while, but in the long term, we are dealing with an issue of major system collapses. Using less of a particular product “works” as long as the supply chain for that product is still intact, including the existence of all of the factories needed to make the product, and the existence of trained workers to operate the factories. Banks also need to remain open. World trade needs to continue as well, if we are to keep our supply chains operating. The real danger is that supply chains for many essential services, including fresh water, sewage disposal, medicines, grain production, road repair, and electricity transmission repair will be interrupted. As a result, we will need to find local solutions for all of them.
The situation we are facing is not at all good. While we can do a little, it will be very challenging to build a new system that does not use fossil fuels. In the past, when the world did not use fossil fuels, the population was much lower than today–one billion or less.
Also, in the past, we started simple, and gradually added complexity to solve the problems that arose. This time around, we need to do the reverse. We already have very complex systems, that are too difficult to maintain for the long term. What we need instead is simpler systems that can be maintained with local materials. This is not a direction in which science and technology is used to working.
Creating new systems that require only local resources (and a few other resources, if transport can be arranged) will be a real challenge. Areas of the world that have never adopted modern technology would seem to have the bast chance of making such a change.
Importance of Tomorrow Paradigm
MSM seems to assume that we can save and plan for tomorrow. Greens have a similar view.
Perhaps, given the changes that are happening, we need to change our focus more toward to day, and less toward tomorrow. How can we make today the best day possible? What are the good things we can appreciate about today? Are there simple things we can enjoy today, like sunshine, and fresh air, and our children?
We have come to believe that we can and will fix all of the problems of tomorrow. Perhaps we can; but perhaps we cannot. Maybe we need to simply take each day as it comes, and solve that day’s problems as best as we can. That may be all we can reasonably accomplish.
Off the keyboard of Jason Heppenstall
Published on 22 Billion Energy Slaves on April 5, 2o13
Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner
If you want to see a picture of what defying progress as defined in the modern sense looks like, see the picture above. I came across it today as I’m reading the classic Farmers of Forty Centuries by the American agronomist F.H.King.
Published in 1911, King travelled to a China before petroleum powered agricultural machinery and artificial fertilizers. It’s quite an amazing book, and in it he details all the ingenious methods that Chinese farmers used to enrich the soil and continue the traditions of forty centuries. The book is a cross between a travel journal and a permaculture handbook – my kind of book!
But the copy I have seems to be a bit of a dud – all the illustrations are missing! I was reading about King’s fascination with Chinese burial mounds- or ‘graves of the fathers’ – of which he saw many thousands as he sailed up the Hwangpoo River towards Shanghai. These burial mounds were sacrosanct; nobody was allowed to plant crops on them but shallow burials meant that the nutrients of the corpses didn’t go to waste. He writes:
“These grave lands are not altogether unproductive for they are generally overgrown with herbage of one or another kind and used as pastures for geese, sheep, goats and cattle, and it is not at all uncommon, when riding along a canal, to see a huge water buffalo projected against the sky from the summit of one of the largest and highest grave mounds within reach.”
Intrigued, I Googled the subject to see if any of these grave mounds were still there, which yielded the above picture. So, yes, at least one of them remains, although in this case it is only there because some elderly and traditional Chinese person didn’t grant permission for the development company to build a condominium complex on it!
Off the keyboard of RE
Discuss this article at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner
It’s hard these days to remember “life before the internet”, when if you were in correspondence with anyone, you generally would take weeks between exchanging letters. Now, if I don’t get a response to some email I send out to somebody or some corporation that screwed up on billing me for something by the next day, I figure I am either being ignored or it is a conspiracy or both. LOL.
I used to watch TV in those days though, so that filled the need for constant information input, and I didn’t get the Writing Jones until PCs were well into their development in the early 90s. I started but never finished a couple of Sci Fi novels before that and wrote some Poetry during my College Years, but writing wasn’t a big part of my life until the Laptops showed up and I turned Solitary as an OTR trucker.
The Internet was already in existence by then, although accessing it while OTR was pretty difficult. It was Dial-Up modems in those days, and I had to find access to a phone line with a Local Number I could call in order to stay online for anything more than a few minutes. Typical 800 Number charges were 10 cents/minute, $6/hr to stay online on the times I went that route. So in those days I would often compose as I am doing now in a word processor, copy into the buffer and then briefly sign on at some truckstop and paste my post into one of the yahoo groups I ran at the time, then sign off again. My email POP program would download messages I could read off the computer while not online in a few minutes, so for about $1/day I stayed caught up with my friends and net acquaintances that way.
A couple of years into my OTR driving years, a company called Park-n-View started providing Cable TV, Phone and Internet service to truckers right in your Truck, by connecting up with Phone line and Coaxial Cable to a Port that was installed in each parking spot for the trucks. It was a pretty robust port made out of heavy metal in case the truck tandems ran over it in parking, as they almost always did. It also had to be well shielded from the elements, and remarkably to me these ports worked most of the time. Hadda be hell for the guys driving the Snow Plows in those parking lots though during the Winter. I suspect they kept the Plow Blades up 2″ or so off the ground level to clear the ports. Well built as they were, at right is what they look like today. Nice metaphor for technology in general, and in a sense its just a miniaturized version of Detroit screwed right down into the pavement.
At the very end of my trucking years, rudimentary WiFi began to hit the scene, I got a Sprint Cell Phone I could access a dial up modem with, and had an Unlimited Minutes plan for this. It was mighty slow of course, but in those days it was all just Text, no Pics and certainly no Vids. I was off the road a long time before REAL High Speed WiFi started to be offered in all the Truckstops.
There were of course many hours/days where I had no access to a phone line or even a Park-n-View connection to check in on the net, check my email and so forth, stuck in a Shipper or Receiver waiting for a load or unload. To fill those many lonesome hours in the cabin of my Freightliner, I played on my laptop. I installed graphics programs and publication programs and database programs. I taught myself rudimentary database programming and started creating publications that incorporated pictures into them. I learned the basics of HTML during this time as well, though never have really become a super geek with the uderlying Code that runs websites like the Diner. All of what I did accumulate in knowledge during that time though I now use to make the Diner a lively looking and functional website, though the underlying code comes from Peter, not me.
Most of all though during those lonesome times, I wrote. Not about Doom though in those days, other topics occupied my mind back then. Still in the course of that writing I developed the Gonzo Style and “Atitude” I still use today in my writing, bombastic and over-the-top quite often.
As it progresses here to today, I find some things very interesting in exactly who you find on the Internet to chat with. It is very demographically skewed of course. Despite the prevailing zeitgeist that it is the younger people who are conversant with Computers and the Internet, you wouldn’t know that as you travel around the Collapse Blogosphere, that is for sure. The main Bloggers are just about all 40 & Up, and the older they are, the more Prolific they are in what they write. Likely because once Retired from whatever their normal job was, they have tons of time on their hands to write whatever comes into the Senior Mind. LOL.
Similar demographics in the Commentariat on these Blogs also, heavily weighted toward the aging population of Boomers & Silents. Almost everyone of these folks has developed a “Lifetime Philosophy”, which often breaks down to very conventional Political Classifications of “Socialist” or “Capitalist”. There are of course innumerable variations on these ideas, but basically it seems to me to come down to those who think the Individual is more important versus those who think the whole Community is more important. Individual “Rights” versus Social “Welfare”, that sort of thing.
It is not just in age demographics that you get a skewed perspective, it is also across cultural lines as well. Even though a good part of the “well-educated” of 3rd World countries speak English and can afford a Laptop and Internet connection, I have never had a Native Chinese or Indian or Brazilian or Russian show up on any of my blogs or forums, though I did run into a few Eastern Europeans on Peak Oil in the HOT years from around 2006-2010. Mostly though what you find on the Internet in the Collapse Blogosphere are people from the native English Speaking countries of the FSofA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. So is it just these English-speakers who are concerned with Collapse Issues? The Well-Educated of China and India and Russia have no interest in investigating this stuff and discussing it?
Perhaps on their own local net in their own languages there is something similar going on, but you know I really doubt it. I think the whole “contemplation of collapse” meme is pretty consolidated into a relatively small demographic of Boomers & Silents living in the 1st World English Speaking countries. Why is that?
First off, I think the theories put forth by folks like M. King Hubbert and Richard Duncan have been very poorly disseminated outside the English Speaking world, hell even INSIDE this world said theories are not well known. I think in most countries particularly in the 3rd World that the “Progress Meme” is still being highly promoted amongst the Intelligentsia, and these folks are more concerned with CATCHING UP ot the 1st Worlders than with Reverse Engineering their societies toward a low energy footprint society.
The “progress” or move toward Social Media as a primary function of the Internet is also IMHO in large part responsible for poor information dissemination in this area. The English speaking world got Computers and the internet early enough on in the game that your current 40-70+ year old class of people here have been researching and reading about these things for quite some time, at least the most active of them have been. for the younger folks, the Internet has become more of a Sound Bite medium much like Television, with the Internet mainly used as a Comunications medium between friends, not as a Research medium for Information. If ya can’t consolidate it down to a 3 line Tweet or a 2 minute Vid, you can’t get many people to pay attention to what is presented on the net. I certainly have been criticized ENDLESSLY for the fact most of my Essays and Articles run in the Nabe of 2000-5000 words as being just too LONG for people to read. WTF? How can you detail out any reasonably complex idea in much less than this? Books are much longer…oh but yea people don’t read them anymore either!
The upshot of all of this is that the truth about Collapse is very poorly disseminated information, both Globally across cultures and Demographically across age groups. It is most certainly NOT taught in the Schools ANYWHERE at all. What is taught and promoted is to take out huge loans to get an Engineering Degree which in all likelihood by the time the average 18 YO today graduates will be quite worthless. If even the “well educated” class of people with access to computers and the internet are systematically routed away from exploring these issues, it certainly makes it quite difficult to generate a new consensus. Is that a Purposeful Plan of the Illuminati? If not, then it certainly was a fortuitous outcome for them to have a generation of clueless people distributed around the globe just about everywhere.
Henry Ford remarked once that if J6P understood the Monetary System at all, there would be a Revolution the next day. Ignorance is promoted and promulgated by the Illuminati. Anybody SMART enough to understand any of it is Coopted into the Game, and becomes a Mid-Level “Successful” Apparatchik, and over time develops a Rationale which explains and justifies his “Success” to himself. In justifiying that success, the same person demonizes and denigrates those less successful than himself as simply too stupid or too lazy to be successful. These are the people who make our Enslavement possible, these are the people who have brought us to the Brink of Extinction.
This facet of cultural development represents the “Banality of Evil”. The apparatchiks aren’t the ones truly “running the show”, but they ARE the ones who make the show possible at all. In one respect or another, anyone who participates in the system as a middle level apparatchik ends up functioning to perpetuate the Evil we have before us. You work, you pay your taxes, you vote, all of this serves to perpetuate the system. Dropping OFF this system, or “Dropping Out” really is an extraordinarily difficult thing for most people in Industrial Society to do at all.
If you buy yourself a Doomstead somewhere to set up Permaculture Farming, you are going to have Property Taxes to pay, and it is quite questionable as to whether the farm can both Feed you and Family AND sell the excess produce to increasingly broke populations. Trying to go out Rewilding, you will find that nearly every spot on the Globe is “owned” by somebody, or by Da Goobermint which has restrictions on just what you can Fish or Hunt up and kill. More or less a version of the old “King’s Fox Hunting Ground”, nobody but the King can go there and shoot anything, all the creatures on that plot of land belong to HIM. You gotta go mighty far out in marginal territory to be let alone to hunt & fish and gather as you will, at least for now that is the case.
Here on the Diner, we engage in the process of “Work Arounds” for these many facets of the failing industrial economy and how you might negotiate the shitstorm to come. The FOOD problem remains of paramount concern to most Diners, as we are all aware that the JIT shipping paradigm that utilizes the kind of Big Rig I drove is amongst the most vulnerable of the systems we are dealing with here and if/when it fails can rapidly bring extreme Hunger & Starvation to the most highly populated neighborhoods in the industrialized world, the Big Shities as I refer to them.
Is there ANY reasonable solution which has some CHANCE at success? In fact there is, though hope is slim that it will be implemented on a large scale in a near enough timeline to ameliorate an extreme and rapid Die Off event for Homo Sapiens.
What IS that HOPE? It is Hydroponics, a means of growing vast quantities of food in a Water and Energy conservative manner that can utilize much of the flotsam and jetsam of the Age of Oil ALREADY manufactured to produce vast quantities of food in many locations otherwise unsuitable for typical Ag techniques, including Permaculture. Here on the Diner, you can begin your exploration of Hydroponics in the Hydroponics NOW! thread inside the Diner, along with numerous other threads devoted to this topic.
Is Hydroponics a FOOLPROOF Solution to the Food Problem we will face as the spin down progresses onward here? No it is not, there are many difficulties involved, not so much with the technology or even having available the varous plumbing stuff from the Age of Oil. Even though you can scale down to create a system just big enough to provide for our own needs as the above pictured setup does for Diner Admin Peter, you do face the problem of Have Nots, aka as “Zombies” who in all likelihood will resort to violent tactics to acquire the food you have or are producing. Although more secure than exposed plots of land, not that much more secure.
In more remote areas, you probably can pursue such a technique with reasonable security, but inside a Big Shity or Suburb, even hidden in a basement your neighbors will quickly recognize you are not getting so skinny quite so fast as they are. They will knock on your door to ask for food, and eventually at the Point of a Gun likely ask to search your premises for food.
So even though it is technically feasible to pursue Hydroponics as a Solo Adventure for yourself and family, this really is not the best route to go for most people in most neighborhoods.
Rather, instead of HIDING what you are doing, ADVERTIZE IT! Let as many people as you know in the neighborhood KNOW about it, and TEACH them to do the same thing.
Learning to do anything like this takes Time & Experience, and time you put in now to teaching yourself how it is done makes you a VALUABLE member of your Community. People will Look to YOU to HELP them, and you will have the means to do that. Not with Money, but with that which NEVER can be taken from you by Da Goobermint, what you KNOW HOW TO DO.
Will it be IMPOSSIBLE to do Hydroponics once JIT fails and the Parts you buy now are no longer available from the Big Box Stores by way of Slave Laborers working in China? Not at ALL, because just about ALL of it can be scavenged from the parts used to construct your McMansion and your SUV! What cannot be scavenged this way can be facsimilated from local materials. Even Timers and Pumps can be created locally out of available materials.
If like some of the Diners here you decide to try and build a Hydroponics grwoing facility in your McMansion or Garage or Basement, I urge you not to think of it as just a means to feed self and family, but rather as your autodidactic method of gaining the knowledge necesary to help everyoneelseinyour community do the SAME THING. So you do not need a HUGE setup for this, and a good beginner system can be set up at an affordable price. for all but the totally destitute already.
The Diners are here to help you. We are all in the same mess of course, and this is something you CAN DO. Wherever you live right now, even in a Big Shity it is possible. Perhaps, just PERHAPS it is possible to get enough of your neighbors to WAKE UP in time to stave off the Zombie Apocalypse. Is this the Picture you want for the Future?
Or is it THIS
You can CHOOSE right now to make the second picture the OUTCOME here. Or at least make the EFFORT at it. Even if you FAIL, at least you know when you Buy your Ticket to the Great Beyond, you did NOT quit, you did NOT go down without a fight, and you made your very BEST effort to….wait for it…
Save As Many As You Can
Off the Keyboard of RE
In the Waste Based Society series Part I & Part II, I detailed many of the reasons why it behooves those in control of the resources of the earth to pursue such practices as Planned Obsolescence and R&D as a means to create ever more dependence on Control Conduits themselves ever more dependent on Energy Extraction from Earth resources. For the most part, this Energy comes from NON-RENEWABLE Fossil Fuel sources, becoming ever more expensive to extract from the Earth. If indeed we were able to develop RENEWABLE sources of energy to continue the paradigm, then also Industrialized Society might be a sustainable model. Diner A.G. Gelbert often makes the case that such Renewable Sources of Energy are within grasp, and he also contributed to the Waste Based Society series in Part III. I do not agree with him, but he makes a good case for this idea.
However, what neither of us really covered in that series is what DRIVES the Industrialization Paradigm to BEGIN with. Steve from Virginia who publishes Economic Undertow, one of our Cross Posting Bloggers on the Diner often posits that the choice to live the Industrialized Life is a FASHION choice.
From Steve’s Debt-o-Nomics Part III:
– The productive sector isn’t productive, this is so generally by design. Production answers the dictates of fashion and nothing else. The production enterprises are supported by borrowing. Finance provides enterprise profits, to ‘entrepreneurs’ who are shills. Finance provides essential initial capital without which enterprises cannot be born. Finance provides required enterprise cash flow when it is not natively available. Fashionable enterprises which have no hope of gaining a productive return are supported entirely by borrowing over extended period. Given fashion demand — for supersonic jet fighters, for instance — tens of trillions in any currency can be borrowed without end.
Bombarded as we are by all the Propaganda to buy Automobiles, GINSU Knives and Salad Shooters, every last person in the Industrialized World buys this paradigm because it is Fashionable to do so. Certainly true is it IS much more Fashionable to live this way than to live as a Kalahari Bushman feeding off Grubs, Lizards and Roots in the Kalahari Desert. Crap, the KBs don’t even have Wireless Internet or I-phones! Talk about being Out of Fashion! A KB is like a Beatnik showing up at Andy Warhol’s Factory or a Hippie showing up at Phillips Exeter, Andover or Choate! You just do not FIT IN with the crowd there Dude! Get With the Program!
However, is it REALLY true there as in we are immersed in this Industrial Civilization as simply a FASHION choice? Not at all. In reality, Industrialization is the outgrowth of the Will to Power as a Sentient Species evolves, first just attempting to SURVIVE in a Hostile World where many other species view you as FOOD.
In the beginning, without TOOLS, incipient Homo Sapiens was little more than a modern Chimpanzee. As such, said Great Ape was quite vulnerable to other Predators running around the Savannah once we dropped down out of the Trees to try to make a go of it out there on the Plains, where lots of FOOD for us was available. We are talking Africa of course here, with a wonderful variety of Predators running around. Lions and Tigers with Big Teeth and Big Claws of course. Cheetahs that can run a whole lot faster than the typical small child can run. Pack Animals like Hyenas that will Gang Up on you. Very tough environment overall for a two legged creature with no Claws and no Big Teeth to make a go of it. Not too big either, and for a lot of time there was Mega Fauna around MUCH bigger and stronger than we ever have been. Bears 12 feet tall, that sort of thing.
Given our apparent Weakness relative to the other Predators out there, you would figure that we couldn’t make it. Except we did, for two reasons mainly. Our Hands with their Opposable Thumbs, and our VERY BIG Brains relative to all the rest of those other predators. Smart suckers who figured out how to use TOOLS to lever up an ADVANTAGE over all the rest of them. Just some Rocks and Sticks at first, but always Improving on these Weapons. Spears came along, then Atlatls, then Bow and Arrow. Death at a DISTANCE, something no other Animal in the whole Kingdom can accomplish. For a Lion to make a Kill of a Wildebeest for example, it has to actually JUMP it and sink in the Claws and the Teeth. Wildebeests are not without their own defense here, that got some nice Horns to GORE with, and they can KICK mighty hard with legs strong enough to run that kind of weight around the Savannah. Lion makes Mistake ONE in his attack, he is likely to be STOMPED in a big hurry. A swift Kick to the Ribs cracking a half a dozen of them and puncturing a lung, Lion is TOAST. So it is a relatively Even-Steven Battle between the Wildebeests and the Lions, and a Balance is achieved in the ecosystem, though it varies from year to year in cycles between Predator and Prey. Lions being no complete dummies of course try to prey on either old or young or sick or injured Wildebeests rather than the tough suckers in their reproductive Prime years, but Wildebeests gather together to PROTECT AND DEFEND their weak ones. they are at the Center of the Herd, the tough guys run the Perimeter. Only if a Lion manages to catch a weak one outside this perimeter does he make the EZ Kill. Otherwise, if he is Hungry he HAS to take on a Tough Guy. A relatively even battle most of the time in that situation.
No such danger in preying on a Wildebeest for Homo Sapiens armed with an Atlatl and Spear though. From 20 yards away, HS can easy hurl a spear with an Atlatl so hard and fast even equipped with a roughly hewn Stone Point on it the spear will penetrate toughest Hide and go clear through the unfortunate Wildebeest before it ever knew it was even coming. Not only that, Brainy Homo Sapiens figures out how to Enlist the Assistance of a whole other Species, the Canines. They become Good Buddies, and work together. The Dogs run down the Wildebeests chasing them right into a fucking Ambush, traps laid to break their legs as they run, whatever. HS is now SUPREME KILLER out there, no other higher level Animal can stand up to his tools, his dogs and his SMARTS. Eventually he also enlists the aid of Horses, which allow him to run down all but the very fastest and nimble of other creatures as well.
Once this level is achieved, HS now begins to expand over the whole Globe with the Hunter Gatherer paradigm, knocking down just about all the slow and lumbering Mega Fauna as they go. Quickly enough by Geologic Standards, HS comes to completely dominate the entire Planet as an HG, actually migrating all the way from origins in Africa right down to the tip of South America by around 15,000 BC or so, after recovering from the Toba Supervolcanic Eruption which likely knocked down Human Population to around 10,000 Human Souls or 1000 Breeding Pairs approximately 75,000 years ago.
It is at this point that the Weapons once used just for Hunting purposes against other species become turned on each other. Why?
Essentially because the H-G paradigm takes a LOT of territory to support a relatively small number of HS, but HS was now reproducing faster than this amount of territory could support, so each group or Tribe of HS is now in COMPETITION with each other for territory. So now the Tribes of HS begin to use their weapons on EACH OTHER, in the attempt to gain or retain their territory. We are now Full UP as can be on Planet Earth for H-G style living, which began to decline probably around 10,000BC or so except for a few areas we were real late in making it to, like the Big Island of Hawaii, the very last pristine environment of good size H-Gs found and colonized around 1000AD.
Despite the fact a form of Warfare has now begun between tribes of Homo Sapiens, it’s mostly a pretty Level Playing Field, all armed with similar Weapons and similar Numbers. We essentially maintain a fairly steady-state in the environment through this period as well, and our numbers Level Out to just what the environment will support in terms of our numbers on a sustainable level.
This all CHANGES again on one Fateful Day when some Homo Sapiens somewhere probably in the Fertile Crescent around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers grasps that many of the veggie foods he eats grow well in his Latrine and Garbage Dumps. He realizes the SEEDS grow well in these well Fertilized locations. AGRICULTURE IS BORN!
This REVOLUTION completely changes the balance in nature for Homo Sapiens, both with respect to the rest of the animal kingdom as well as with respect to other HS stilll living the H-G life. Ag allows for a group of HS to reproduce even FASTER, remain sedentary on a given plot of land and then develop out of the excess population a Class of Warriors, aka an ARMY. The job of the Army is to protect the area already taken for Ag, and also to rid the surrounding neighborhood of H-Gs so that land also can be converted to Ag. Even without better Weapons, the Ag CIVILIZATIONS now developing start to overwhelm the H-Gs just by virtue of greater Numbers. Then it gets still WORSE for the H-Gs. Why?
Reason, now that the Ags have lots of people and no need for all of them to be involved in food collection, they have time to mess around with their Big Brains and they develop METALLURGY! Their new Bronze Pointed Weapons are better than the Stone Age weapons of the remaining H-Gs. Same Metal stuff also makes Ag more productive as well. Now the Ags are basically STEAMROLLING over the H-Gs just in the Bronze Age, but it gets still WORSE when the Iron Age hits.
But of course, the Ag Civililizations themselves start running up against each other here, now fielding some Big Ass Militaries to go up against each other in Full On Warfare we have become all too familiar with over the last few millenia. Again though, for the most part they all are armed with similar weaponry and something of a Balance is achieved with respect to each other, but we are now out of balance with Nature as a whole because Ag is pushing out of existence many other species and also soaking up resource faster than it gets replenished. Desertification begins in some of the areas earliest transformed to the Ag paradigm, the Middle East in particular there. We also run up against another Limiting Factor to further Exponential Growth at this time, the “Beasts of the Earth” in the form of PESTILENCE, or disease vectors.
8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
By around the 1300s, because of increasing population density as well as the practice of keeping so many Domesticated Animals in such close proximity with so many Homo Sapiens, a whole HOST of diseases begin to appear knocking down vast SWATHS of population every time one of these PLAGUES crop up. At this time, the HS population more or less stabilizes again at around 500M Human Souls walking the Earth at any given time, JUST prior to the NEXT REVOLUTION, application of Thermodynamics to Metallurgy which results in FIREARMS. AKA, Guns and Cannon. This preceeds the full on Industrial Revolution by a couple of centuries, but Tips the Balance of competition between the Ag societies towards the ones that made use of this Weaponry FIRST, the Europeans who made the Scientific Discoveries. Together with Sail and Navigation technology this set of discoveries now allows this Civilization to begin overwhelming all the other Ag Societies. The understanding of Thermodynamics leads then to the Steam Engine, from there to the Internal Combustion Engine, and thereafter it is another Total ROUT as the Europeans proceed to waltz all over the world in the colonial era from about 1750 through to 1900 or so.
The process results in Mechanized Warfare which really got underway with WWI, though you can see its beginnings in the War of Southern Secession (aka the Civil War) here in the FSofA . Finally after WWII, the powerful Industrialists are pretty much in control of the entire World, and they have built a HUGE Industrial Plant to build the Weapons of War, but now that they are in control of everything, unless they can put these Factories to other uses, they are malinvestment that will not pay off anymore. To make them continue to pay off, the Bomb Plants are turned into Fertilizer Plants, the Tank Factories are turned into Sports Car factories. The Green Revolution and the Mall Culture is BORN! Here in the FSofA, biggest WINNER after WWII, credit flows out fast and furious as Levittowns are built for the Victorious GIs to come Home and Breed Up the Boomer Generation. Over in Eurotrashland, the Losing Krauts are handed the Marshall Plan to allow them to rebuild what was destroyed of their Industrial Infrastructure, with the SAME folks who owned them before the War STILL in control of them! Together, the Anglo-American Illuminati and the Teutonic Illuminati join forces to turn the world into the Konsumer Paradise of Strip Malls and Ring Roads and Suburban Subdivisions all run on the OIL they now control worldwide, making themselves RICHER THAN GOD, far more wealthy and powerful than any Pharaoh or Chinese Emperor ever was, and really we do not even know who most of them ARE at all.
Industrialization did not arrive because it was FASHIONABLE, nor does it hang around because of that either. It evolved from the Will to Power, a gradual accretion of knowledge over many millenia which first allowed Homo Sapiens just to survive and prosper in a Hostile World where other Predators were Out to Get Him, and then allowed one group of H-S to dominate and squash out of existence other groups.
Where does the EVIL crop up in all this stuff? Tough question to answer, but IMHO it comes once one group becomes vastly more powerful than another group. At this point the Playing Field is no longer LEVEL, and one group can exercise POWER over another group willy-nilly without Consequence to themselves, at least on this side of the Great Divide anyhow. Once nasty consequence to your actions is removed, Evil begins to grow inside the Individual and inside the Society Unchecked. Today, for the top .01%, there are NO nasty consequences to THEM for their actions, only nasty consequences for EVERYBODY ELSE. So they have essentially become completely CONSUMED by Evil at this point.
I still hold out the HOPE that Homo Sapiens can make it through this trial, where Evil has now become so dominant a force in society. If we are to do that, there must be CONSEQUENCES for Acts of Evil. It is up to the GOOD people of the Earth to step up to the Plate now and administer the consequences, or suffer the results of leaving Evil to run amok unchecked in our society.
Are there viable solutions and alternatives to the Energy intensive Waste Based Society we currently live in, which do not entail a return to Paleolithic levels of technology? Diner and TAE Commentariat member A. G. Gelbert outlines a myriad of technologies which might be employed to maintain a higher technological base for society.
Solutions and Alternatives to the Waste Based Society
by A. G. Gelbert
We are cursed with a rather effective propaganda machine that defends the status quo and works mightily to provide allegedly iron clad arguments exposing our desperate dependence on fossil fuels and the enormous debt we owe to them for our ‘wonderful civilization’. The media has cleverly weaved fact and fiction to present plausible arguments against the practicality of going cold turkey on fossil fuels and 100% on renewables. Not one word about the fact that fossil fuels are easy to meter and conveniently provide a constant revenue stream for the rich along with governmental control of a populace that simply cannot move or function without daily use of fossil fuels ever seems to be mentioned. Not one word about how renewables cannot be metered or taxed easily and how that feature gives everyone a large degree of independence aand flexibility in disaster situations to help themselves or a less fortunate neighbor is mentioned. On the other hand, the continuous and vociferous denial of the link between fossil fuels and environmental problems, regardless of scientific concensus on this very real link, never seems to go away either. The actual history of the industrial revolution involving some very brutal measures to coerce humans to abandon horses, as only one of many coercive measures, for tranportation and farming are always ignored and replaced with a stream of pejorative comments about horse dung in big cities. People did not want to get rid of their horses! I am not simply talking about city ordinances and fines targeting horses. Right around 1865 a big push began to sell farm machinery. Amazingly, a huge horse plague hit the U.S. that year that killed a massive amount of horses. No explanation beyond “Civil War stress” blarney was ever given. These horses were not just city horses in population centers but out in the country as well.
The move to horseless carriages began on the farm with steam power and hydrocarbon lubricants. The automibile came later along with the bone cancer. Bone cancer from the original automoblie fuel, benzene, is seldom mentioned by the media and apparently is considered no big deal in comparison to horse shit odor. Moving on to the early 20th century, Rockefeller has a waste product in his refinery cracking towers (after separating all those great heavy and light lubricants) called gasolene and he talks Henry Ford into modifying the carburators to run on it. Of course the ‘minor’ problem with benzene fuel may have helped make the switch. There were electric cars on the road at the time. Cleveland had wind generators creating electricity at that time! You’ll never guess what happened to them and the electric trolleys all over many towns in the USA. So, enough of that. Everyone here knows how predatory capitalism attempts to game the system to achieve price control and a monopoly. Once much more efficient and sustainable technologies are shoved aside by hook or by crook, the distorted and mendacious meme that our current technology is the result of friendly capitalist competition in the ‘free market’ is pushed. Predation occurs followed by propaganda versions of history. That is the real history of the industrial revolution in regard to our choices of energy production. Renewables got squeezed out, not because they couldn’t compete favorably, but because the pollution and health costs of fossil fuels got ‘externalized’. Along the way, the independence of the mostly agrarian American in energy production and use was crushed.
A love afffair with the car was fostered to the point that in the late 1920′s more Americans had cars than flush toilets. Of course they were better off, ecologically speaking, without flush toilets, but the point is the job of selling Americans on fossil fuels was a done deal by that time. So please remember that nobody was doing us any favors, like the media wants to claim; they were selling us something in order to concentrate wealth and power in a few hands. They were using us as a cash cow to the point of introducing planned obsolecence, rampant consumerism to keep the factories going and simultaneously thwarting moves to sustainability like Henry Ford’s plan to make cars out of hemp plastic in the early1940s. We like new stuff and are always looking for the latest model year of the car or whatever because we have been manipulated by experts to do so. It has absolutely nothing to do with our health, well being or happiness. Bernays really messed us up. Fast forward to the present where the witches brew of ecological harm brought about by industrialization has caught up with us. And NOW, all of a sudden, we just can’t live without all this ‘wonderful’ energy packed fossil fuel economy.
Methinks somebody wants to slap a guilt trip on the chumps so they agree to clean up the mess even though the media keeps claiming there isn’t really that much of a mess. We, the masses, are accused of being wasteful pigs that bred like rats thanks to fossil fuels.
Where to begin? How about the fact that family size has been decreasing, not increasing, througout the industrial revolution? That’s right. The numbers were baked in by 1800 and the wars slowed them down a bit. Louis Pasteur and Lister did a hell of a lot more to create our present population ‘problem’ than fossil fuels. Most of the key scientific advancements in medicine were not exactly high tech and fossil fuel dependent. A human makes it past 5 years of age and he has a huge chance of living out his 3 score and ten. It was the enormous reduction in infant mortality brought about by antiseptic procedures that caused the population explosion, not fossil fuels. It’s a stretch to say that fossil fuels alowed people to obtain clean water to wash their hands before delivering a baby, but I’m sure the media verbal contortionists would toss it out there to further muddy the waters of historical truth.
The much touted plumbing advancements that require machinery and factories powered by fossil fuels, while they did reduce disease in population centers and prolonged life, were setting us up for more fossil fuel use through improper humanure handling. I maintain that the main cause of our population explosion is knowledge of disease microbes, their propagation methods and our changes in hygiene as a result.
What about all this waste we now produce that we have been folded, spindled and mentally mutilated through Freud’s nephew Wall Street amygdala reptilian brain control propaganda? They set us up and now WE are the bad guys? They want us to shop till we drop and WE are the problem? And how much ‘waste’ do WE actually produce on a carbon footprint basis compared to the global 1%?
Well, Senator Bernie Sanders stated recently that less than 1% of the U.S. owns about 40% of the assets (I’m not talking about income increases although they have gotten the lion’s share over the last ten years as well). Yes, I know he talks about banks too but he mentions those 400 or so elite families every now and then. Now figure the carbon footprint of those people and compare it with the rest of us. All those endless films about diapers, milk gallons and so on used in our middle class lifetimes with the obligatory landfill mountains thrown in are nothing compared with the horrendous and gigantic amount of crap these families generate. Isn’t it amazing that when it comes to pollution and wasteful habits, we are ‘all in this together’? No attempt is made to segregate out the worst offenders. On the contrary, the poor and middle class are constantly demonized as being irresponsible useless eaters. It’s all quite Orwellian on the part of the media.
But yeah, we do waste and we have a waste problem that is real so let’s talk about it.
Waste can certainly destroy a society, species or most of the ecosphere if, as many point out, we continue with the ridiculous paradigm that we can industrially do multi-generational damage to the life support systems humans depend on and not define this as suicide. It’s almost like our nuclear nuts and oil fetish fucks have morphed us into a mass version of the heaven’s gate cult. Those people thought they could hitch a ride on a comet by commiting suicide. Every single step in industrializaton has, for anyone willing to do the TOTAL math, NOT been ecospherically cost effective. The fact that a small group of humans has temporarily benefited at the expense of the overwhelming majority of humans and all other earthlings right now, not to mention the obvious acceleration in environmental degradation promising a super bleak future, seems to go right over the heads of way to many otherwise intelligent people.
Just like the heaven’s gate cult, people are addicted to a dream that never was, PERIOD. All talk about this and that from our youth and how much fun we all had and how nostalgic we are for those nicer times is the exact same phenomenum of a drug addict longing for his first high. LISTEN UP! We are a function of the ecosphere. We DO NOT, despite all the best propaganda efforts of our scientific community, understand the mechanism of the ecosphere sufficently to tinker with it, let alone wantonly pollute it with “externalisms”. EXTERNALISMS!? That’s just some economist bullshit! There are NO externalisms inside the life bubble called the ecosphere; it just takes a while to catch up with you when you mine, bomb and toxify with chemicals NIMBY areas for a few centuries. We are there and yet our scientific community and our financial community and our political wheeler and dealer con-artists with their new techno death toys and ‘miracle’ GMO crops and drug after drug to replace patent expirations, new ripoff scams, more war profiteering and emotional button pushing divide and conquer racist crap just DO NOT GET IT (or maybe they do get it and are insanely trying to make hay out of it).
The people in charge of our dysfunctional clusterfuck are akin to that psycho Whiteapple that led the heaven’s gate cult. They will not change to a sustainable paradigm because THAT requires subordination to the reality that we are a product of the ecosphere and the humble acceptance that we do not understand it yet so, until we do, we must henceforth emulate natural processes of cradle to grave recycling in all industrial technology and outlaw destructive activities like war or perish. No, they prefer to insanely reduce the world population by environmental collapse in the ridiculous la-la land elite hope that then the ecosphere will cure itself and they can continue their merry resource extraction paradigm as if nothing happened. It won’t work because these reductionist morons in power with their scientific priesthood of techno nut balls are so full of pride from all their tremendous ‘contributions’ over the last two centuries that they cannot see the monstrous downside of the technology explosion and that, yes, technology can be developed and used in an environmentally friendly manner. They don’t want to do the work. They are supremely irresponsible and supremely greedy and incredibly stupid.
Instead of doing a rethink, they are just flooring the accelerator and increasing their propaganda blitz.
I am not against technology. Since about 1970 we have had the knowledge to use technology to produce an environmentally friendly and sustainable society free of poisons in food and industry in the scientific literature. It has been deliberately supressed time and time again. Imagine what it cost to cover the country with roads and power lines. Well, decentralized power, food and transportation would cost a hell of a lot less. It’s total bullshit that we can’t do this or that we are ‘hooked’ on oil or nuclear or natural gas. We could have switched away decades ago. In the 70s NASA used solar panels to bring electricity to a Navajo community which was not served by the local electric utilities in a southwestern state. It worked great and the utilities went ballistic. They wrote to NASA requesting the solar panel project be stopped because, even though those areas targeted by NASA were not adequately served by the utilities, the fossil fuel free energy would ‘force’ the utilities to lower their rates. NASA stopped the project.
The planet earth DOES NOT have an energy crisis. For you engineering types out there, just do the math on the energy required daily to lift trillions of tons of water vapor out of the rivers, lakes and oceans and deposit this at higher elevations in the form of rain and then try to tell me about how much it COSTS (ZERO!) and how we are running out of energy. What the planet earth has, is a HUMAN GREED AND STUPIDITY crisis among the 1%. But suppose we could dispense with all the agenda laced perjorative propaganda about renewables, agree to clean up the planet and eliminate fossil fuel, nuclear and any other kind of poisonous technology because we have no other choice?
Can it be done? Yes. Will it be done? Probably not. I just heard today (June 11, 2012) on the Thom Hartmann show that phytoplankton replacement in a bay in Maine has dropped 500% over a period of a decade or so. The phenomenum has now been confirmed as occurring globally. Phytoplankton produce approximately 50% of the oxygen on this planet through photosynthesis. They are not regenerating adequately because increased ppm of CO2 (now 400 ppm) is acidifying the oceans and killing them. Can the elite be so insane that they plan to meter our oxygen? I hope not. At any rate, we must accept that the fossil fuel economy is not an exercise in fun conveniences or a requirement to maintain ‘civilization’; it’s killing our oxygen supply now as well. We must switch to renewables.
In regard to available energy to maintain some level of ‘civilization’ with renewables, when I mentioned the world evaporation energy example, I wasn’t alluding to energy collection through hydroelectric power (although dams certainly help as long as salmon runs aren’t thwarted), but using this vast amount of energy available free to shed light on the scientifically bankrupt view of quantifying energy by using bomb calorimeters like we did in college and energy mass per mole in rapid oxidation. Nature has never done it that way. Everything in our culture always wants to scale up a process or else judge it as wanting. That is assbackwards from a sustainable biological process point of view. In our bodies, the reason we have enzymes lowering the energy of activation in myriad chemical reactions occurring per second is to keep us from overheating and/or rapid ph changes that would kill us but the fact is that the enzymes accomplish a task with less energy than a straight forward math computation of the chemical reaction energy requires.
Capillary processes in us are unconcerned with “stream head’” like scientists or engineers are when they want to build a dam yet they work just fine manipulating Bernoulli forces to use the absolute minimum energy needed to move that blood so the heart pump doesn’t have to work as hard against vessel friction and pressure changes. In our techno-love affair, everything we do is geared to centralized and maximum power. For example we really do not need a lot of stream head to power a house because we can gradually pump water up to a reservoir in our house to give us electricity on demand. But the techno math says you need X amount of head for Y amount of kilowatts. That’s only true if you need all of that all the time. Sure, not everyone lives by a river or a stream but that is simply a small example. A giant Sequoia pumps over one hundred gallons of water hundreds of feet up every day through transpiration. The tracheal elements can stretch water molecules 27 atmospheres as long as the vacuum holds. The technology to make artificial tree water pumps has been around for decades but our society is STUCK on the energy density per mole fixation like a teenager that wants a hot car to ride to school instead of a small electric rechargable scooter.
Have you heard about the roaring forties? That’s an area of latitude in the oceans of the southern hemisphere that is always turbulent. They alone could power the world’s energy demands after a ten year installation of wave and undersea current power collection systems that are already being deployed off of England and Scotland. In regard to corrosion issues with sea water and maintenance of deep water (massive pressures to deal with), I only ask that you consider technology equivalence hurdles that have long since been surmounted in nuclear power plants (the ultimate in corrosion challenges including hydrogen embrittlement that is not present with sea water) and oil undersea pipelines (pump sea water to a land reservoir and start the power cables from there as a cost effective low maintenance option). At present, ocean oil rigs (which are mostly metal) have sacrificial anodes placed on them so electrolysis in most areas is thwarted. The anodes are replaced as they are used up. And remember all we have learned through space exploration about metallurgy, high temperature insulation during re-entry and don’t forget microwave power transmission technology. We can do all this stuff. It’s really not as hard as putting a robot vehicle on Mars or building a space station in orbit.
It’s telling that Einstein described the photoelectric effect at the very beginning of the 20th century but the US government has had to be dragged kicking and screaming to develop solar panels (we only did it when we needed them in space) but it spent a fortune on the development of the bomb in the 30s while a large part of our populace was going hungry.
Have you ever wondered why the oil lobby never attacks nuclear power but spares no expense to demonize renewables with disingenuous propaganda and mendacity? Think about that a while. If you come to the conclusion that the nuclear power plants were put out there to make bomb material and get you to pay for it and were never, ever considered a viable alternative to fossil fuels for the production of electricity or a serious source of oil lobby competition, you win the prize.
There is also no excuse whatsoever for not using solar and electric power to run every single ship in the ocean. It would be child’s play to switch all automobiles and trucks to full electric as long we had geothermal, wind, tide and ocean current derived power 24/7, not to mention solar panels.
Do you know what oil tankers do after they offload the oil? They fill huge portions of the holds with sea water (for ballast) and then dump it when they get back to reload with oil. This massive pollution goes on day in and day out. We have a guaranteed continuous oil spill as long as we have a fossil fuel ocean tanker economy.
As for fertilizers and food production machinery requiring a massive amount of fossil fuels to feed 7 billlion humans, the fact is that using decentralized permaculture with humanure (after appropriate and low tech local processing to avoid disease pathogens) along with greenhouse technology for nordic climates can replace the fossil fuel required to run tractors, make fertilizer and insecticides and herbicides. I mention farm machinery because there is increasing evidence that plowing needs to be replaced by non-plowing with perennial crops in order to stop the massive top soil loss and lowered nutrition of crop yield (they look the same but don’t have the same nutritional content). Other posters here are up on humanure and they are right. I recommend anyone repulsed by this to think again. Feces are an inseparable part of being human and it’s high time we stopped with this Victorian idiocy of seeing it as bad stuff; it’s part of our salvation as a species. An added plus with humanure through the avoidance of chemical fertilizers is no more ocean dead zones and massive top soil degradation. Also the energy and water savings in not pumping human waste to be treated with chemicals (made with fossil fuels) in a sewage treatment plant would save billons of dollars.
Examples of how renewables can switch us off of fossil fuels quickly: www.euronews.com/2012/05/27/germany-breaks-solar-energy-record www.euronews.com/2012/06/06/solar-plane-completes-maiden-intercontinental-flight www.euronews.com/2012/03/05/sea-solution-to-future-energy-needs www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/renewableenergy/3535012/Ocean-currents-can-power-the-world-say-scientists.html
Pelamis wave power device that looks like a giant snake: www.weirdlyodd.com/10-renewable-energy-sources/
Zero energy balance hotel: www.euronews.com/2012/05/16/go-green-get-growing
I think this can be done in TEN years, not forty: www.euronews.com/2012/05/18/in-40-years-every-home-every-building-will-be-a-power-plant-says-jeremy-rifki
Growing food and the fossil fuel ‘requirement’ is a dependency created by the fossil fuel industry but we CAN shake that dependency without mass starvation and depopulation: www.greenlivingtips.com/articles/85/1/Fuel-and-food.html
“The strategic goal of biofuel is to supplement or even replace fossil fuels, the amount of which is constantly and rapidly diminishing.” haitireconstruction.ning.com/page/biofuel-1
I’ve already mentioned my views on the population explosion and its causes but I wish to point out how the oil lobby has tried to make fossil fuel brownie points out of it.
Remember the green revolution of the 60s, 70s and 80s that supposedly caused the population explosion? The numbers are in. The yields are not statistically different with all the fossil fuel fertilizer, herbicides and insecticides than without them. The green revolution is a lie fostered by, you guessed it, the fossil fuel lobby. Their only valid claim is the fuel for machinery which now turns out to lower crop nutrition from top soil plowing degradation. This degradation is caused by a combination of chemical fertilizers and plowing (bare soil tends to blow away when dry or erode when wet) which leaches the soil of trace minerals needed to produce nutritious and tasty as opposed to bland crops. The way things stand right now, agricultural guidelines in the U.S. state that it’s okay to lose 4 tons of top soil per acre per year from ‘modern’ farming techniques. The government claims it is the price we pay for high ‘yields’. Are you comfortable with that? I’m not. Considering top soil regeneration takes over 100 years, I cannot believe we are doing anything but losing massive amounts every year.
And last but not least, the militaries of the world are the most voracious users of fossil fuel. We sure as hell do not need them to keep 7 billion fed and clothed. The U.S. Navy, in particular, has the top spot as fossil fuel user AND polluter.
We need gradual, decentralized trickle charge or slow pumping energy storage systems for sustainable humanity. Anything else is not viable for the planet. If we want to zip around at high speed and be able to have instant this and that, yes we have an energy crisis. If we want to emulate biological processes and eschew the love affair with higher energy density per mole of fossil and or nuclear poisons killing the planet, we don’t have an energy crisis.
Nature paces everything; so should we.
All that said, there is the 1% with their hubris and arrogance and there is the rest of humanity. The agenda of the 1% is a tad different from the rest of us. I agree the knockdown is coming. The people controlling the levers of innovation and adaptation in our governments and the elite parasites that own them want this knockdown so it will come. I maintain that the false notion of a causal relationship between a large population and a polluted, unsustainable, fossil fuel dependent human society is the driving force behind this elite desire for a knockdown. The elites are the only truly unsustainable population on this earth because of their mega-carbon footprints. So, in true Wall Street Orwellian fashion, they blame the bulk of the 7 billion humans for THEIR piggery and slavish dependency on fossil fuels. The 1% that owns our governments loves the predatory resource extraction paradigm despite the fact that some of them probably suspect that it will cause a population knockdown, not from lack of fossil fuels, but from environmental collapse. Billions of humans dying is considered a good thing by the 1%. They think it will solve the world’s environmental problems and provide a more manageable population of slaves. The 1% probably grumble about minimum gene pool diversity species population required in order to perpetuate homo sapiens. The 1% think robots will take care of all the ‘important’ work while medical technology available to the 1% will provide them with 150 year plus lifetimes. They are wrong and they are the cancer that is destroying humanity.
There’s a way to clean up this world and live sustainably. Killing off several billion is a straw man. It’s typical elite bullshit adding two an two and getting whatever answer keeps them in the catbird seat. The media will continue to block the truth from the people 24/7.
I apologize if I tried to cover too much ground here but this situation we are in has matured for well over a century and we need to see how we got here to understand, if we survive, how to prevent a new set of snakes from selling us snake oil in the future.
Feel free to pass all or any part of this rant with or without attribution. Everything I wrote can be researched free on the internet if you want to post links about horse plagues, NASA correspondence with utilities, Henry Ford and hemp plastic, Rockefeller chicanery, U.S. solar panel development reasons, Americans starving while the bomb was being developed, Bernays propaganda tools, etc.
Background Music courtesy of “The Voice”, Jay Black and the the Amerikans
I’m currently sitting in a Luxury Hotel Room in Yuma, AZ after an exhausting Red Eye flight down here from the Last Great Frontier. Reason for the trip? Tomorrow I will walk across the border with Mejico into “Los Algodones”, a town of Dentists, Optometrists and Pharmacies that makes its living on Amerikans making day trips there to buy prescription drugs and get affordable dentistry.
Its soooo much cheaper there that the cost of the flight from Alaska and the luxury Hotel Suite and the Rental Car is more than made up for by savings on the Dental Work, if you have a decent amount to be done and I have a LOT. I may end up having them all pulled and get dentures, but I will try to get Implants instead, or at least implants that will help stabilize the dentures. For most people, if you just have a couple of Root Canals and Crowns to get done, this is enough to justify the trip. My Dentist comes to me Highly Recommended by numerous Alaskan friends who have used him.
Anyhow, every trip I make down to the Lower 48 these days brings me some new insights into how things are progressing with the spin down. Needless to say, up in the Mat Valley of Alaska, you don’t get a real feel for what is going on down here.
For my first new experience on this adventure, I got my first Molestation from the TSA Perverts. Ted Stevens International Airport finally got its Full Body Scanners and mine showed up “too many hot spots” so I got the full Blue Glove exploration of the Family Jewels. LOL. The pervert doing the job had a rehearsed Patter as a constant drone explaining what area he would touch next, when he would use the Back of his hand instead of the front, all almost unintelligible its spouted off in a monotone with no inflection to the voice. Anyhow, after coming up Clean I asked him just why I had “hot spots” that needed the pat down when nothing was there. His response was that sometimes the machine gets confused by folds in the clothing etc. Anyhow, its just freaking stupid, everybody knows you will get scanned so nobody will be carrying weapons this way. If you want to carry something, you will do orifice stuffing. Until they start doing Anal and Vaginal cavity checks, this is just a waste of time. I could come up with a zillion other ways to creatively turn the average Wheely Bag into a weapon also.
Anyhow, this bizness doesn’t bug me or embarass me and it certainly does nothing to keep me from carrying my weapons along for the ride. My weapons are words and ideas, and I carry them inside my head, not outside my body or even in my body cavities.When Fatherland Security bans Laptops on Commercial Airlines, I’ll have a problem. Until then, “ Have Keyboard, Will Travel”.
The next BIG Difference I saw or rather heard was Militarization Propaganda. First off, now in addition to First Class Passengers and Handicapped people and people with small children getting first Boarding Priviledges, Military Personnel in Uniform travelling also get to board first. I saw many more Military in fatigues travelling this go round then I ever have before. There were also numerous announcements about supporting our Troops defending our Freedom and so forth. Tourist and Bizness flying may be declining, but I suspect it is being made up for by the military using the commercial aviation system as a troop transport and redeployment mechanism.
Upon my arrival as I drove down here and saw the sprawl across the Arizona Desert, it drove home to me once again how appallingly unsustainable the model is here, there just is not enough WATER around natively to support towns and communities that are really dropped intot he middle of NOWHERE. They are only there because they serve as waypoints between the very few places that there IS enough water around, like in Yuma which sits right on top of the Colorado River, though by the time it gets down to Yuma its a pretty pathetically small river. Then of course you have the fact that down the line here the water needs of this side of the border are balanced against the needs on the CA side of the border, not to mention the Mexicans.
The water avaialble from the river does make Ag possible around here, I passed numerous Green Farms surrounded by Brown Desert. However, such irrigated Ag has salinization problems over time, and I doubt without liming the soil and the constant input of fossil fuel based fertilizer you could continue making this ag land productive. Then you have the fact its so far from everything and surrounded by vast stretches of Desert with NO water. Even if you can grow stuff around here, how will you move it from here to anywhere else without the Trucks and the Oil?
Regardless of all these very obvious problems, in these last 20 years or so Arizona was very attractive land for RE Developers on the Suburban Sprawl model. There is a lot of land, all very FLAT and easy to layout a road structure on and drop whatever kind of structure it is you would like on it, be it Mcmansions or Malls. The prices could be made attractive to aging Boomer Retirees since the land itself was so cheap. They love the nice Warm and Dry climate also, long as they have HVAC in the Malls and McMansions of course.
Even MORE than McMansions though, what you have down here are a PLETHORA of Bugout Machine Communities. This actually makes the most sense of anything done down here to date. All you need to do to set up a Bugout Machine community is provide Hookups for water, electric and sewer, a Pad to park on and the Retired Boomer can live cheaply down here most of the year, and then occassionaly drive the Bugout machine to visit Grandkids sprinkled all over the rest of the lower 48.
Besides the Boomers living in classy Diesel Pushers, you also have many more lower class older Mobile Home parks which are home to the local Ag workers, and the Service Personnel who staff the restaurants and Malls that serve the retired Boomers. Basically, an economy has developed here which takes the Social Security checks the Boomers live on and then filters it out to the rest of the community through the Malls and Restaraunts. Sense a problem with this?
Really, the economy here depends on the Transfer Payments made through Social Security. The overall cost of living for someone on SS is sufficiently cheap if you live in a Bugout Machine that even with JUST SS you have surplus income to spend at the Mall and Restaraunts. Since aging Boomers looking for cheap places to live on SS is a Growing Demographic, Yuma’s Future was so Bright you Hadda Where Shades if you were an RE Developer, and so they built up yet another one of those MONSTROUS Mall/Hotel complexes, where I am currently writing this missive from. It looks new enough to me that it was likely built in the last decade. Got your Dillards, Target, Sam’s Club, Olive Garden, Red Lobster et al, along with several redundant 3 star Hotels where in theory I suppose the developers figured Grandkids would stay when visiting Boomer Grandma and Grandpa, since they can’t all fit in the Bugout Machine. Also of course trying to attract the Convention Biz, so these hotels have the meeting Rooms and the Spas as well.
Know what I PAID for my spacious and comfy Hotel room here? $40/night on the Travelocity “Super Secret Deals” plan. On this one, you don’t get to know the name of the Hotel until AFTER you pay for it in advance, but I figured what the hell I would take a chance. In my trucking years, I stayed in many Roach Motels, I have no problem with this as long as the place has a working shower, a fridge for my beer and wireless internet I don’t mind sharing the space with a few roaches and spiders and having Welfare Moms for neighbors. I just paid the SAME price I paid for that kind of stay in a Roach Motel at this place! LOL. Its a freaking palace.
Obviously, my $40/night is not going to pay the mortgage on this CRE. This sucker has to be losing money hand over fist here.
In this respect, the Bugout Machine paradigm is pretty good around here these days, and probably for a little while yet to come also. Its certainly better than anyone who bought one of the Fixed Retirement Homes in the neighborhood, at least when it goes south here if you keep enough Gas inthe tank you’ll have enough to unhook and drive up into the Rocky Mountains where maybe you can find a spot to park it for good that actually gets some Rainfall.
For the older folks who need Medicines also, you can cross the border over to Los Algodones whenever you need to and buy your medications at 20% of what you would pay here for the same stuff. Of course, you will need Gas to get to the Border Parking Lot, and once the dollar goes south or Mejico completely collapses, this system will stop working also.
In the long term, most of the stuff built up around here is an ENORMOUS Ghost Town in the making. Those SS checks are not going to keep coming in perpetuity, and Gas to move around the vast sprawl of the Desert won’t be available either. The Water will get diverted from here to other places also. What this area can support sustainably is FAR less than the number of Bugout Machines you see parked all around the neighborhood. Until the Seneca Effect Sudden Stop occurs though, the economics here work a bit better than they do in some other places like the Rust belt and Inner Shities.
Until this occurs though, you can enjoy a first class Hotel stay and get your Teeth fixed up on the Cheap in Mejico down here in Yuma, and go visit the Prison also, which is a Legendary One and is one of their biggest Tourist Attractions. Culturally speaking of course, if a prison is your big Tourist Attraction, there is something seriously WRONG with your culture to begin with, but let us not dwell on that one too much here.
More tomorrow after I get back from over the Border.