Capitalism, Climate Change, Corporate State, Eco-Apocalypse, Ecological Overshoot, Energy and Societal Complexity, Financial Elite, Human Culling and Depopulation, Inverted Totalitarianism, Law of the Conservation of Energy, Mass Die Off, Overpopulation, Political Thermodynamics, Roman Empire, Security and Surveillance State, Slavery, Sociopaths/Psychopaths, Spartan Empire, The Elite 1%, The Global Elite, unwashed public, Zdzislaw Beksiński
A Word from the ‘The Big Club’
The Power of
What’s with these eco-freaks!?! Don’t they see they’re destroying the economy. We need to defang the EPA and go balls out like China’s doing. So what if we create a little waste! There’s money to be made from gas masks, water filtration, hazmat suits and cancer treatment. If the Earth worshippers get really bothersome, we’ll just sic the security and surveillance state on them. Send over a couple unmanned aerial vehicles on their ass. Drones… a multibillion-dollar industry! Beautiful, isn’t it? If we have to lock them up, we’ll profit from that too. There’s no problem that can’t be turned into a business scheme.
The upper class that creates wealth, like myself, is just better at procuring what this world respects –money, power, prestige and all the other measurements of social status. They say “money makes the world go round”, but really it’s just a symbol for energy exchanged for work, as in human labor or the virtual slave labor of our fossil fuel-based civilization. Based on the law of the conservation of energy and political thermodynamics, all organisms seek to conserve energy and overcome the disorder and decay of entropy. Humans are following their biological inclination to search out the richest source of energy and procreate. In fossil fuels we found the mother lode of them all to do both, live like kings and fill the planet with our numbers. We have an innate instinct to burn the stuff and have sex. Just look at how the Dutch and Flemish became the first in pre-industrial times to exploit fossil fuels in the form of peat:
The opening of the peat bogs in the northern provinces from the 1580s onwards meant that the Dutch had a cheap energy source that was widely available, while most other countries in Europe were entirely dependent on wood – which had become ever more expensive as deforestation advanced. The Netherlands’ ample fuel reserves stimulated the development of various fuel-intensive and export-oriented industries…
…The high energy consumption of the Dutch was an anomaly in seventeenth century Europe. The same goes for their prosperity, and for the level of urbanization and industrialisation in the country…
Consequently, their economy became the most powerful in the world. Eventually the peat bogs were mined to exhaustion until new technology arose which allowed even deeper mining below the water. This more intensive process came at the environmental cost of losing agricultural land to the lakes which formed from this new mining technique.
…The authorities, horrified by the loss of agricultural land – and the associated tax income – tried to stop the peat diggers during the sixteenth century by placing export prohibitions and restrictions on peat mining below the water table, but they failed. Digging out peat was more lucrative than cultivating crops. In total, peat digging would turn more than 60,000 hectares (600 km2) of land into water in Holland and Utrecht – almost 10 percent of their total surface area…
This all sounds eerily familiar with America’s current binge on fracking, doesn’t it? These days the entire world is scavenging the hard-to-get energy resources since all the low hanging energy has been consumed.
Blood, Sweat, Oil and Psychopaths
There is some archeological evidence that Romans used coal in England during the second and third centuries (100-200 AD), but they relied primarily on slave labor along with lesser-used sources of fire, animal labor, and wind:
Historians estimate that in the first century of the empire, Rome consumed between one hundred thousand and half-a-million slaves every single year . The slaves used for hard agricultural labour and as rowers in Roman ships had a life-expectancy of perhaps only a few years – and those in the mines only a few months. Slaves were, quite simply, an energy resource to be exploited. Nevertheless, despite the high mortality rate, such was the quantity of slave imports that they comprised between 30 and 40 per cent of the population in the empire’s Italian provinces – an enormous proportion .
There were, however, cultures much more reliant on slaves than the Roman Empire such as the Spartan Empire with its slave class of helots who, according to Greek historian Herodotus, outnumbered the free by seven to one.
“Parts of iron slave chains that native Britons were forced to wear under Roman rule. This particular item was found at Sheepen, Colchester.”
You so-called wage slaves and working poor of industrial civilization have never had it so good, have you? The average person has dozens and sometimes hundreds of slaves working for them at any given time, courtesy of our gift of fossil fuels. Of course there’s always an oddball Luddite in the crowd, but the average person is not going to walk away from such a life of Riley. And do you really believe that the wealthy elite, whose self-image is infinitely more tied up in their bank account digits than the lowly commoner, is going to give up their amassed fortunes and vaunted position in society for the betterment of mankind? Hell, they think there’s too many of the “unwashed masses” as it is. Why would they want to save the disposable bottom feeders? The global elite clawed their way to the top by stomping on whoever got in their way and dominating the competition. Some degree of lying, cheating, tax-dodging, bribing of officials and “bending” of the law is always buried beneath the squeaky clean propaganda of their PR machines. Show me a truly “sustainable” corporation and I’ll show you a virgin prostitute. Of course they all want to be the benefactor of some humanitarian foundation once they’ve secured their riches, but not a single one of them is a Mother Teresa.
We’ve got the perfect economic system for psychopaths to rule the world in broad daylight under the cloak of democracy and normality:
One in a hundred regular people is a psychopath…That figure rises to 4% of CEO’s and business leaders…The reason why is because capitalism, at its most ruthless, rewards psychopathic behavior –the lack of empathy, the glibness, cunning and manipulative behavior… Capitalism at its most remorseless is a physical manifestation of psychopathy, a form of psychopathy that has come down to affect us all.
About this little problem of climate change that you all are wringing your hands over, I can tell you that the elite think this is really The Market’s way of clearing the dead wood from the economic forest floor. Yes, they really believe they have the inside track on how to beat this thing. Their immense wealth is going to protect them like a cocoon and then they’ll emerge like a butterfly into a new world free of all the huddled, diseased, and starving masses. Who knows, maybe they’ll even feed all those corpses into one of their newly invented biomass energy converters. In their technotopian thinking, they believe the next few decades is sufficient time to develop geoengineering technology that will allow for the rehabilitation of the Earth once the overpopulation problem is taken care of. They know climate change is going to make life nearly impossible for most everything no matter what we do, so they calculated that it serves their interests to simply let business-as-usual run its course and allow the catastrophe to unfold rather than change the rules of the game, in which case all their wealth and privilege would be lost. Yes, they would rather cling to their loot while developing strategies to survive the human culling. Climate change will bring novel viruses that could make short work of it all without any major wars or mass starvation, and no one will ever know what hit them. Its true origin will forever remain a mystery as the powers-that-be sit comfortably behind guarded walls, safely inoculated from the spreading pandemic.
Cold, Dark, and Soulless: Culling the Numbers
Don’t waste your energy hoping that heartless moneyed interests will find the wisdom and virtue to heal a fractured planet or mitigate the untold human suffering that is to come. The global elite has more in common with each other than their own countrymen. Superfluous workers need to be trimmed. Natural resources must be replenished. There will be no more nation states. We’ve been building up our police states for when the time comes. Who will survive the overshoot and collapse has already been decided and it won’t be the billions of dim-witted mouth-breathers. Robots will be ours workers and slaves. They will collect the dead and clean up the aftermath while the Earth is allowed to regenerate in due time. The few selected for their skill, talent, intelligence, and allegiance will preserve and maintain our computers, technology, and culture. We’ll reboot the earth and a new era will dawn for the chosen few. We’re counting on the masses to be malleable and do nothing, to die quietly. As a matter of fact, our planning and research on social and behavioral control gives us a near 100% certainty that this will be the case. We’ve raised them to be obedient consumers and docile sheep.
They will go to the slaughterhouse without a fight, clutching their religious icons and babbling their insane conspiracies.
“You can’t beat death but you can beat death in life, sometimes.
And the more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be.”
~ Charles Bukowski
Kevin Moore said:
Oh, really? Do those rich folks honestly believe they will be able to maintain present-or-higher levels of technology in a world several degrees C warmer?
It won’t be possible.
-From vanishing water supplies (so many industries are critically dependant upon),
— to sea ports going under water because of accelerating sea level rise (and thus halting much of international trade),
— to melting permafrosts which literally sink industrial installations built on them,
—- to intense (up to the new 6th cathegory strong) hurricanes which destroy whatever industrial facility happen to be in their path,
—– to industrial agriculture failing in large regions when prolonged droughts or floods kill crops (genetically modified or not – doesn’t matter any much),
—— to many other damages increasingly done to industrial complexes all around the world, –
insurances can only do so much, and repairs are only possible as long as damage is not too devastating.
If powers that be seriously think they are going to make it through (the thermal maximum) while maintaining present-or-higher technology levels – then they are in for a huge surprise of eventual cascade failure of globalized industrial complex.
Somebody tell ’em, please. May be some of those poor “elites” folks – have enough brain to wake up.
The population will be drastically smaller and there will be no global industrial civilization. That’s implied and understood.
No, that’s not implied, Mike. Quote:
” Robots will be ours workers and slaves. They will collect the dead and clean up the aftermath while the Earth is allowed to regenerate in due time. The few selected for their skill, talent, intelligence, and allegiance will preserve and maintain our computers, technology, and culture. ”
Now, excuse me, but ROBOTS – are things which can only be created, so far, by a global industrial civilization. Why? Because of so many parts, pieces and software required to make any advanced robotics working, – and quite some of those parts and pieces are made “elsewhere” – i.e. all around the globe.
Maintaining computers – is indeed relatively simple thing. However, no computer is able to function for more than a few decades, due to physical nature of semiconductors upon which any computer is built: p-n transition zone in any transistor is the subject to diffusion processes, which degrade and eventually disable transitors. Can’t be repaired.
New computers are required every few decades if electronic networks and data banks are to be kept operational. Yet to make new computers (CPUs, in particular) – extremely complex science and facilities are needed. Intel’s factories which create CPUs are each multi-billion (in US dollars) worth. And there will be the need to maintain and renew those.
Furthermore, for said factories to work, and for said computers and CPUs to work as well – electricity is required. Therefore, maintenance and also renewal of power plants and transition lines – is also required. Which means heavy and light metallurgy is required, mining is required, lots of transportation is required. And to make the latter three maintained and sustained – dozens of other industrial activities are required in turn, such as logistics, industrial chemistry, automotive industry, railroads, large communication networks and so on.
Presently existant global industrial civilization is so far UNABLE To create robots who can be workers and slaves, able to to much/most of above mentioned industrial activities on their own and “en masse” – for two reasons:
– in order to create a worker or even a slave who can be nearly as useful as a human worker slave can be – an AI is needed. Despite massive efforts, no AI comparable to human intellect is yet created, it seems. If decades of such efforts were spent without reaching desired results – what makes them think it’ll be done any time soon, if at all?
– robots are darn expensive. Very expensive. Especially in compare to a single “cheap workforce” human being – like a poor chinese worker.
So you see, what is implied by quoted part – is that higher-than-present level of technologies will be both achieved AND kept for a long time (otherwise no such robots would be possible), and this in turn implies global industrial civilization will still be present, – it doesn’t matter how much of it will be run by humans and how much by said robots; industrial facilities and activities all around the globe, with lots of transportation between huge industrial centers, mining operations and so on – all having place.
And as i said, with climate going nuts – this won’t be possible. Robots or not.
Kevin Moore said:
Industrial robots run on electricity or compressed fluids which have been compressed using electricity or some other fossil-fuel-dependent system.
Autonomous robots require an energy source such as a storage battery which needs relatively frequent recharging, and eventually complete replacement,
Gears and cables wear out, bearings wear out, seals degrade and leak. No robot could function for more than a relatively short period without energy and resource inputs from high-level industrial systems and maintenance by skilled technicians.
Humanity is headed for fourteenth century living arrangements at best, and very likely something akin to traditional Australian aboriginal living conditions, minus climate stability and minus most of the extant biodiversity of course. All the evidence indicates human living arrangements will return to normal by 2040 at the latest but perhaps long before then.
The information about the Dutch peak economy was new to me. As mentioned previously, there is always something interesting on CoIC.
Kevin Moore said:
Dammit, so used to writing peak I wrote peak when I meant peat.
Some time ago there was discussion about the remnants of Irelands peat bogs being dug up at a globalised industrial rate but I have heard nothing of note recently
This isn’t a hard science report for crying out loud, it’s meant as an allegorical tale. LOL.
I guess I’ll have to spell it out.
The author is someone of the global elite who fully believes in techno-utopian scenarios of the future. They treat the masses as disposable, just like the Romans did with their slaves These attitudes and ideas amongst the elite in our society actually do exist and are widespread.
Have you heard Bill Gates talk recently? He believes in geoengineering and that there will be no need for lots of human workers anymore because everything will be automated. Hell, even many top scientists believe in geoengineering.
Perhaps you should be arguing with them on these ideas, not me.
There’s more to it than that though. If you’re confused on anything, I’ll help you to understand.
I took your point immediately. While I agree that there will be no robot slaves serving some remnant of the population drawn from the financial elite, they seem to believe such things (or variations on this theme) are possible despite ecological degradation, mass die off of everything, and most importantly, irradiation of everything (the trump card we often forget). The point is they believe such nonsense and even now use their wealth and power to create a supposed future for themselves while discarding everything else. The belief is pathological.
Twilight Zone indeed. I thought this was supposed to be a piece of dark humor and the first response by F. Trinoli, had me scratching my head. I wondered how could I have completely misunderstood the theme of this blog all these weeks. Then Mike clarified that the piece was written as allegory dripping with irony and sarcasm.
This comes on the heels of a response I left on the last thread and F. Trinoli’s comment there left me with a quandary, do I respond? In the end it was just too much effort. I’m still not sure what point he was trying to make.
Glad that recent comments made by Gates were mentioned. Gates has his own agenda and a critical thinker would drive a truck through his statements. We need to reduce corporate taxes to zero to encourage the Captains of Industry such as Gates to create jobs. Then he said most jobs will be done by Robots so what humans will he need to employ.
Don’t know if Gates is delusional, really believes what he spouts or it’s all an act on his part.
The reality is that Corporations such as Microsoft already have low to negative tax rates and they aren’t hiring people. Only most don’t discuss such things.
Yep. Excellent comment. Spot on.
Why is he doing the anti-malaria thing in Africa, then, do you think?
Johnny Hansen said:
He’s making sure he has people who can buy Microsoft kit. Can’t sell Coca-Cola to people in Africa until you control the water supply, and make sure some of your potential customers don’t die of malaria. That’s the business model, not to mention the advertising.
I think it’s mostly PR and maybe guilt reduction. If a child told you they wanted to help people and asked you for career suggestions, would you A, Tell them to become a nurse, teacher, doctor, social worker etc, or B, Tell them to first become a cut throat, monopolizing, overly rewarded, captain of industry who buys political favor, uses dirty tactics to crush all competition (which stifles real innovation) and charge your customers for help with your shitty product that they already paid for and then and only then show the world how much you care about others by throwing some money at a high profile cause, with the cameras rolling.
This is Dimitry Orlov from 2012.
“Lastly, we have the über-rich: those who have simply too much money. People like George Soros or Bill Gates make a big deal of their philanthropy, promoting democracy or fighting malaria; couldn’t they help? Theoretically they could (they certainly have the money) but we have to understand what they are. They are vampires. They suck not our blood, literally, but our time and our toil.”
Oh, I getcha.. I’m just wondering about his choice of beneficence.
Kevin Moore said:
Sure Mike, we understand that. Maybe is was a mistake not to use quotation marks. None of us is perfect,
I think this blog is read by people at many levels of understanding, and some have English as a second language.
it’s the internet where we only have words, videos, and pictures to interpret things.
F., I think they do think they can survive it. I was just listening to the C-Realm which had an interview with a guy who does the AgroInnovations podcast. He recounted being at some ag. seminar where he talked to a farmer type who’d been hired by some billionaire to set up a mega-doomstead in the Midwest, crops, animals, and high walls all around. Then there’s -who is it?-Ellison? with his island.. Or maybe that’s Glenn Beck. or both.
Carryover from the previous thread:
B9K9 “Some kind of cabal of privateers is manipulating poor, innocent clueless proles in order to achieve their own, selfish nefarious ends.”
KM “I have to disagree completely. In fact I’d go as far as saying that’s a load of bollocks. New Zealand was specifically established as colony of Britain, with the specific objective of looting the place and transferring the proceeds into the hands of a very tiny minority.”
Kevin, that ‘very tiny minority’ represented a very sizeable majority of potential sea pirates who all wanted to get in on the act back in Mother England. The fact that the PTB restricted membership does not preclude the desire of others to engage in the same kind of rape & pillage. Larceny lies in the heart of every man.
My point is that people don’t have to be persuaded, convinced or otherwise manipulated in order to seek out means of enhancing their own advantage. In other words, core demand is inherent; it’s who we are – it’s what defines us.
The only limiting factors are the second order effects of those who seek to limit the access of others to newly discovered stores of riches & resources.
Apneaman: I’m contesting the concept of people being induced against their own free will to pursue mindless consumption. As is evident from my postings, I believe human behavior is primarily based neither on the cerebral cortex or reptilian brain, but something much deeper and older.
Using that as a baseline, the ensuing competition over scarce resources enters a series of different dynamics, each proscribed by various levels of cooperation aimed at limiting access to other possible competing individuals & groups. This is the PTB – they don’t create (core) demand, but they do limit participation.
Marx labeled it as a class struggle; others simply point out that any relationship involving more than 1 individual life form will lead to a match to determine dominance.
Advertising is designed to create impulse buying. That’s a fact.
Kevin Moore said:
No, what you say is nonsense.
Whilst the majority of humans will take advantage of a resource which is readily available, very few are prepared to take food out of babies mouths, orchestrate mass slaughter for personal gain, and steal from their neighbours and family members. Such actions require a high degree of sociopathic tendency, which has been identified as occurring at the 1 to 5% level.
The whole basis of human existence prior to agricultural settlement, and especially prior to colonisation and industrialism was co-operation, sharing and caring, the so-called gift economy, whereby you took care of those around you, and when you were in trouble they came to your assistance.
That instinctive behaviour still exists and is demonstrated in volunteer work and charity work. However, the greedy bastards who manipulate western consumer societies continually take advantage of the basic instinct, the generosity of ordinary folk, and turn it into for-profit activities; hence those who watch television are subjected to advertisements telling them they can cure the ills of Africa or Asia for ‘just a dollar a day’. (Little of the money donated ever reaches those in the greatest need, and what does usually magnifies the problems of the recipient communities.)
I will grant you that the US has gone further down the selfishness-and-greed-and- manipulation-by-corporate-advertising-spin-doctors route than any other nation, but that has been as a consequence of deliberate training, and not a consequence of basic instincts. That one reason why America is noted as being the most dysfunctional and basically fucked up nation on Earth. And the transition took only four generations.
Don’t forget that in medieval Europe there were very stratified societies no outright slavery. It was the high death rate of transported European workers that instigated the idea of transporting Africans to work on plantations in the New World. There was some doubt about the morality of such action until the pope ‘verified’ that Africans were not actually human beings and therefore were not to be considered with any greater regard than pack animals or chattels. One man influenced the course of history. If the pope had said that Africans were ‘our brothers and sisters’ and should be respected as such we would be living in a very different world today in which ‘white death’ would not be a major constituent of industrially manufactured ‘food’, and people would not be suffering physical and mental disorders that result from ingesting large quantities of industrially produced ‘food’.
If what you suggest were true white Americans would still be slave masters and the bulk of the black people would still be in chains.
The fact that people of white European ancestry have tended to be more prone to rape and pillage than many otter ethnic groupings may be attributed to the harsh living conditions of the Norwegian fiords and the need to be damned tough to survive. However, within Viking societies it was all love and co-operation most of the time. Societies operating on the basis of competition within the society do not survive, which is a major reason why collapse of present arrangements is inevitable.
That is apart from the fact that numerous institutions, including the district council here, have declared war on the next generation.
Mike: thanks for taking me up on the suggestion! Great job – and there’s so much to cover! We have the Fukushima comi-tragedy; the Ukraine (pretense to WWIII?); global banking and economics (every central bank is in trouble); and, of course, the environmental trump card to it all. There are still others, like emerging diseases, slow societal collapse (in all countries), etc. that reveal the promising vein of this topic.
We can start with the predatory nature of humanity, the built-in, evolved “flawed wiring” of our ‘intelligence’ that doesn’t change significantly (ie. doesn’t surrender control) and isn’t tempered with the addition of more complexity or any wisdom offered by the few of the species looked upon as enlightened. Besides that, it seems we’re compelled (as Paul C. and others pointed out) by the physics and biology that describe our general behavior and it looks as if ‘cancerous’ is a good descriptor.
Of course there’ll be winners and losers in the evolutionary drama unfolding within the species – along the line of intelligence but ‘shanghaied’ by the base biology that’s kept us alive all along – to the point that the predatory and cunning among us will rise to positions of power and influence, gaining control for their own ends.
Short-sightedness, instant gratification, and blindness to consequences has been a hallmark of humanity throughout our brief evolution. Cutting to the chase, we’re not a very wise species. Now that we’ve oafishly (as a species) stumbled upon the fact that we’re killing ourselves living the way we inhabit the place, our crowning ignorance truly shows when all the evidence is denied, misconstrued and distracted against to continue this parade into oblivion.
There won’t be any survivors for very long, and those few that do won’t be enjoying themselves when our habitat is finished being destroyed in a few more years (and going forward). It’s in our nature. Like the replicant (from the movie Blade Runner) said in his waning moments after reflecting on all he’d seen and experienced:
“Time to die.”
Boy, nice comment. I particularly like the phrase ‘shanghaied’ by the base biology.
Except for the obligatory false hope, this interview gives a pretty good overview of our circumstances.
It has some great insights, especially about how civilizations grow and become more complex. For instance he says:
“The broad point here is that growth and collapse is a much more fundamental process than capitalism, the debt-based monetary system or technological change, as the history of collapsed civilizations and extinct species can attest. It’s part of us, part of life.”
And he does a good job of quashing the persistent questions about the possibility of a deliberate “switch” to green growth:
“Steady-state from where we are now is, according to many ecological indicators, way in overshoot. So if there were to be something like a sustainable steady-state economy it would be in terms of resource consumption far below where we are now. Far, far below. And how do we get there? …For all sorts of reasons the possibility of a controlled orchestrated de-growth to some viable steady-state position is probably deluded in the extreme.”
But then, inevitably, comes the “Titanic hubris”:
“I’m pretty sure there will people living good, meaningful and ecologically responsible lives long into the future.”
He just danced past everything else he said about human nature, evolution, climate change, complex systems, and physics (energy). When it comes to the prospect of mass extinction, there is only one kind of comfort, just like there is only one kind of hope.
That article came up on the last blog post more than once and now has come back to haunt this thread.
The allegorical tale I spin in this post addresses the hardline determinisitic ideas puth forth in your referenced article. In the big scheme of things, we’re not all unthinking biological robots fulfilling predetermined genetic destinies.
Determinism and materialism are interesting thought experiments with a fair bit of support, but they still don’t account for the profundity of human experience. As I said before, it’s smart people outwitting themselves using tools of mind from science (reductionism) to explain away high complexity. I say that while admitting I’m a materialist!
buz painter said:
Truth, raw and distilled in an allegorical way is quite satisfying, no? I know that we aren’t doing much in the way of numbers today, but one slight quibble. I have seen numbers for psychopaths in the normal population as high as 6% and in positions of power anywhere from 25- 50%. We can’t know the real numbers because psychopaths generally don’t volunteer to sit down and take the test. Most of the ones who do take the test represent the bottom tier of the less intelligent lower income variety who find themselves guests of the prison system.
Psychopaths by their very brain wiring are quite capable of taking themselves down along with the rest of us. It is the nature of the beast. They aren’t quite human which means that they don’t see the world like others do. (Scorpion and the Frog)…
And if that’s not enough, this socio-economic system we live in encourages it.
In replying to your comment I came across an excellent blog that I am now following:
Will the disordered always rule us? Capitalism, anti-capitalism and psychopathy revisited
The first point to note is that the problem of the successful psychopath or personality disordered manager is not just prevalent in capitalist organisations. There is an unmistakable alignment between the aims of capitalist corporations – destroying the competition and achieving monopoly status – and the personal aims of ambitious senior managers, beating rivals and contributing to the success of the corporations, oblivious the externalities and costs to others. But other types of organisation are not immune. Speak to the employees of government departments, charities, universities, schools or quangos and you will soon realise that senior managers making other people’s lives a misery is not a malaise confined to commercial organisations. Money is not the only motivation, power is as well, and you can find power in definitely non-capitalist organisations such as, historically speaking, ruling Communist Parties (Stalin is widely considered to have been a psychopath) or contemporary public sector institutions.
It is unquestionably true that the public sector has mimicked the private sector in the last 30 years. The thumbprints of right-wing economists such as Milton Friedman and James Buchanan are all over the Anglo-American public sector, evident in a disdain for the public service ethos, ubiquitous outsourcing and an obsession with measurement and targets, as proxies for growth or sales. But even a public sector cleansed of all capitalist imitations would not be rid of hierarchy or unaccountable management power.
And society itself has been psychologically remoulded. In a later book, Office Politics, James says the disordered traits of the ruthless, the calculating, the remorse-less and the narcissistic at the top of society in the US and Britain “have spread widely through those populations”. According to Professor Jean Twenge, who seems to have made a career out of tracking psychological traits over time, narcissism has dramatically increased in the US since the late 1970s. By 2006, two-thirds of American college students scored above what had been the average narcissism score in 1982. Narcissistic people tend to have insecure high self-esteem, to be insensitive to others and to have a preoccupation with their own success. In the 1970s, the social ecologist Murray Bookchin (more of whom soon) pioneered the concept of the “market society”, the idea that the amoral, selfish values of capitalism were now longer confined to the economy but had burrowed deep into society itself. In vogue philosophers like Michael Sandel are belatedly discovering exactly the same concept and it is undeniable that western societies are more “marketized” than they were thirty years ago. The old left-wing dictum, change the institutions and you will change human nature, still holds, but the question now arises, who exactly is going to change the institutions?
buz painter sez: They aren’t quite human which means that they don’t see the world like others do.
Ya know, the trope that others aren’t quite human is refuge for some of the most scandalous events in history. It rationalizes slavery, among other things. I can’t look upon the reclassification of humans as not-humans without pause. Better we admit that humanity has a lot of range and that some behave inhumanely. We ought to limit them or remove them from society. But we’re only one species.
I took it that he meant they’ve lost their humanity, but you make an intelligent point.
buz painter said:
My comment about them being not quite human was not a moral judgement. They aren’t human in the Neanderthal/Cro Magnon sense. There is species variation in all of the animal kingdom. (Sometimes my wife says I’m from another planet).
Pingback from Forgottenness:
10 years later and this is still news? So, an ex-girlfriend from 10 years ago is just discovering that no, you never intended to call her back in the morning?
Another from 10 years on…
Mike, I really enjoy your writing. This allegorical tale, while holding some elements of truth, artfully utilizes hyperbole in order to excite reaction. However, its very use tends to ring fence the information contained in the article as mere fantasy, rather than serve as a useful starting point to examine possible outcomes.
Further above, you responded to Gail stating “we’re not all unthinking biological robots fulfilling predetermined genetic destinies.” The deep subconscious is a monster, isn’t it? Always sowing seeds of discord and inducing self-doubt in order to manipulate and control the higher functions to the point where it’s actually convinced it possess agency & free will.
But who can blame it for the way it behaves? It was around – and still lurks there deep inside – when death came suddenly and without notice from any quarter, You too would act in a similar manner if your experiences, nay, your DNA was shaped by the pressures brought to bear just surviving on a moment-to-moment basis.
Now, let me link up these two seemingly disparate comments to develop a cohesive overall point: Your anchor post contains all kinds of useful facts and plausible scenarios, but fails to incorporate the fear, uncertainty & doubt that exists in everyone – even psychopaths. Secondly, if we enter an element of chance into the picture, then we can begin to infer some logical possibilities and outcomes.
What I come up with are a couple of major markers that identify different players/groups and their respective motivations, but consider the appropriate means and opportunities to achieve such goals as no sure thing.
This is where the fun is going to be had; if it was simply a matter of shoe-in, then it would hold no entertainment value. But the element of chance, of changing allegiances, in fact, the possible emergence of different skills sets that could prove more adaptable to future environmental conditions, all make the game very much worth playing.
It seems to be dripping with fear and doubt to me. So much so that each post I do is almost my last.
“Stay vood Pinochio, stay vood!” [Geppetto’s advice to becoming human]
Mike, you have to be an exceptionally tough person to deal with this predicament and remain ‘sane.’ In fact, I think that’s what will cause most people’s deaths early on – loss of sanity and will to live. Hang in there. Let’s see how it plays out and discuss it all so we can continue to process the information if nothing else, as long as we can. This is a significant period in human development/dissolution. We get to live it.
Kevin Moore said:
Could you please translate that comment into coherent standard English. I really cannot understand point you are trying to make.
One thing is for sure; I do not live in a state of fear and doubt. I am not sure how collapse will play out, other than very badly for everyone.
Utterly disgusted by the behaviour of the self-serving liars and sociopaths who manipulate society for short-term gain, and appalled by the lack of concern of the bulk of the populace -yes. But afraid of them -no.
Watch: California’s water supply dries up in before your eyes
After reading that, you realize that economic growth will not stop unless Mother Nature stops it. Graphite mines close up in China in a bid to clean the air and the demand for batteries simply opens up new mines in other countries.
Joe Driscoll said:
In 2003 I attended a presentation made by UC scientists in Sacramento forecasting the impact of global climate change specifically on California. Everything they predicted 40-100 years out is happening now: drought, flooding, heat waves. Based on that briefing I sold my home, closed my business, and moved to Oregon’s Williamette valley in 2006. The people I told in 2006 that I was a global climate change refugee thought I was crazy.
Joe Driscoll said:
Yesterday my HP printer finally gave up the ghost, and I bought a new one which used the same ink cartridges, or so I thought. The new printer (called an “Envy”) immediately complained about the old ink cartridges, and would not run at all! Come to find out, HP (and Brother and Canon) is putting integrated circuits into their freaking printer cartridges to measure the precise composition of the ink, which also prevents their being refilled by my local supplier. When I commented to a store employee that this was a) an enormous misuse of resources and b) harmful to local business, his response was “That’s how they (HP) make money”. When I pressed him further, he agreed with my points, but said he couldn’t afford to think about such things, which is literally true. Anyway, I returned the “Envy” printer (now there’s a stupid name, which should have clued me in right away) and bought a Canon which uses old style refillable ink tanks.
Nice story. My foreign friends are somewhat put off when they are in America and almost immediately the first thing they are asked is “What do you do for a living?” Everyone wants to know how you generate money, the source of life.
A couple of comments have touched on morality and theivery. I was looking at a site to do with forensic accounting, and it said that there was an informal 10-80-10 rule: 10% of the people never steal, 80% will steal given the right combination of motive and opportunity, and 10% were generally thieving. That was based on their experience, anyway, in a corporate wage-slave context. Not sure if that can be extrapolated.
Wow. Wired good post and good electric comment section.
May I say that “oil” is pronounced “all” in the places where that matters.
I also dare say that we ignore the epoch of machine evolution that preceded the epoch of carbon based life evolution, even though we do have a grasp of the very short-lived carbon based life evolution (The New Paradigm: The Physical Universe Is Mostly Machine). The big problem with that is Dollo’s Law. Which reminds me of the Irish Joke about a guy who became lost on an Ireland courtry side tourist trip. So he stopped to ask an Irish fellow, who was raking his lawn, “How do I get to Dublin from here?” The Irish regular responded “Oh no, you cannot get to Dublin from here.”
Another new commentator wades in without any apparent appreciation of our prior discussions. And, he’s promoting a mechanistic view of the universe. Well, duh, we’re all made up of chemistry and physics and mechanics and electricity and other constituent parts of the universe. So that makes us meat robots, right? Pshaw.
And what the hell is machine evolution? Evolution occurs in biology, though the term is generalized sometimes to culture and society. Marketers may use the term to describe wireless networks or automobile dashboard interfaces, but that’s just salesmanship.
I also daresay (one word, that) those few who survive past the bottleneck will devolve in opposition to Dollo’s Law not in their biology but in their behavior, such as cooking the hacked-off limbs animals over fires built on the ground. May take a while or may not, but the paradigm shift imagined at the link provided is pointed the wrong direction. Perhaps you should read Bill Joy’s article in Wired from 2004 about nanotech, robotics, and GMOs. There’s not as much future there as one might think.
Your advocacy for status quo ideology of the science textbooks one finds in used book stores seems strange here.
The words “new paradigm” don’t mean what they did in your grandpa’s textbooks there in the used book store:
“A new paradigm exists for understanding how cells function. Scientists are recognizing that the cell is a highly integrated biological factory with a modular architecture. Each modular unit acts as a molecular machine. These machines have highly specialized functions and are large assemblies of proteins and nucleic acids. They range in size from about 10 – 150 nanometers (10-9 m) and provide environments in which chemical species can interact in a highly specific fashion. Molecular machines also function as mechano-chemical energy transducers, converting chemical free energy into mechanical energy for cellular processes. They operate cyclically, and can reset themselves.
With the genetic information gained from the U.S. Human Genome Project and DOE’s Microbial Genome Program, scientists now have the raw information with which to observe, manipulate, characterize and, ultimately, replicate these large protein assemblies. Using conventional and newly developed microscopy techniques, PBD researchers, through an initiative called Microscopies of Molecular Machines (M3), are creating a toolkit for probing the inner workings of these molecular machines.” (The New Paradigm: The Physical Universe Is Mostly Machine, quoting Lawrence Berkley National Lab, DOE).
Your ignorant statement about evolution not existing prior to carbon based life forms that developed some 10 billion years after the Big Bang is unconvincing.
The big evolutionary story is abiotic evolution interms of number of years of evolution, biotic evolution taking up only a small percentage of that timeframe (The Uncertain Gene – 9).
Dredd sez: Your advocacy for status quo ideology of the science textbooks one finds in used book stores seems strange here. The words “new paradigm” don’t mean what they did in your grandpa’s textbooks there in the used book store
The new paradigm you are describing is still a clockwork universe, which is a 400-year-old idea. It just exchanges pulleys for gears, metaphorically speaking. Further, modular cellular factories do not substitute for whole organisms except perhaps single-cell organisms.
Also, Your ignorant statement about evolution not existing prior to carbon based life forms that developed some 10 billion years after the Big Bang is unconvincing. The big evolutionary story is abiotic evolution interms of number of years of evolution, biotic evolution taking up only a small percentage of that timeframe
Where did I say that? If you want to generalize the word “evolution” to include abiotic change (e.g., formation of stars and galaxies), well, fine. But then we’re no longer confined to biology, which is where discussions of evolution typically occur. I’m not entirely opposed to liberalizing the term, but then we’re talking about very different things and must forge a whole new set of understandings what commonly used terms mean.
“It” is not my idea if the idea is 400 years old, neither is it my idea if Lawrence Berkley National Lab, DOE made the statement which I quoted, which they did.
It is not old and new at the same time.
I think you are wilfully ignoring what was said because your head is in the used book store.
Brutus sez: “Where did I say that? If you want to generalize the word “evolution” to include abiotic change (e.g., formation of stars and galaxies), well, fine. But then we’re no longer confined to biology, which is where discussions of evolution typically occur.”
Way wrong again.
Abiotic evolution takes place in RNA/DNA (The Uncertain Gene), which is not alive.
Rather, it is a molecular machine system composed of hundreds of thousands of sub-molecular systems: “We took this approach because so many RNAs are rapidly destroyed soon after they are made, and this makes them hard to detect,” Pugh said. “So rather than look for the RNA product of transcription we looked for the ‘initiation machine’ that makes the RNA. This machine assembles RNA polymerase, which goes on to make RNA, which goes on to make a protein.” Pugh added that he and Venters were stunned to find 160,000 of these “initiation machines,” because humans only have about 30,000 genes. “This finding is even more remarkable, given that fewer than 10,000 of these machines actually were found right at the site of genes. Since most genes are turned off in cells, it is understandable why they are typically devoid of the initiation machinery.” The remaining 150,000 initiation machines — those Pugh and Venters did not find right at genes — remained somewhat mysterious.” (Putting A Face On Machine Mutation – 4).
Your “400 years ago” is fabricated because they did not know of genes or DNA … neither did Darwin way more recently.
Stay out of the used book stores and research more before you blather.
Brutus and Dredd are both valued commenters with their own blogs. Both of you have something of importance to say. Keep it cool guys.
Likewise, your comment about Dollo’s law is inapposite.
Dollo merely says that evolution does not go backward, it goes only forward (Dollo’s law of irreversibility).
Some of the 1% (“We’ve Got It All Under Control“) are influenced by scientists who say that humans may evolve into sentient machines (Will Humans Evolve Into Machines?, cf. Rich ‘may evolve into separate species’).
Knowing the parameters of Dollo’s Law might dissuade those 1% who are infected with that madness enough to kill off the hoi polloi (“Hell, they think there’s too many of the “unwashed masses” as it is. Why would they want to save the disposable bottom feeders? The global elite clawed their way to the top by stomping on whoever got in their way and dominating the competition. Some degree of lying, cheating, tax-dodging, bribing of officials and ”bending” of the law is always buried beneath the squeaky clean propaganda of their PR machines.” – xraymike79).
Some of them evidently expect to pay their way into timelessness (“buying off Dollo?”), to become sentient machines that will fill the cosmos.
That is why abiotic evolution is important to think about.
The abiotic evolution of machines which preceded carbon based biotic evolution.
Because if it can’t be returned to, they won’t evolve into sentient machines or any other machines from whence we may have evolved.
The “We’ve Got It All Under Control” people, the deceived this xraymike79 post talks about, don’t seem to grasp that picture yet.
Dollo Pollo Rollo Who gives a shit. All them assholes at the DOE will soon have new careers anyway. As farm laborers. They can argue the finer points all day while stooped over picking broccoli.
Dollo did not work for the DOE.
He formulated his hypotheisis or theory well before the DOE came into existence.
His work is still respected by biologists even with the much greater knowledge on the subject today.
Kevin Moore said:
Our way of life is under threat but ‘It’s all under control’ and ‘if we act now it will all be fine because we are well positioned’.
Of particular interest to me is the fact that although the following item highlights New Zealand’s appalling emissions profile, practically all central and local government policies are predicated on increasing fossil fuel dependence and increasing emissions rates.
However, since I’ve known for many years that it’s all Orwellian, nothing surprises me anymore.
The reference to avoiding adverse consequences is particularly ‘amusing’ since we are already experiencing massive adverse consequence. which get worse by the day.
Gotta keep the proles dumbed down and believing.
New Zealand is being urged to move faster to create a green economy because environmental problems are threatening the way we live.
In Facing the Future: Towards a Green Economy for New Zealand, the Royal Society of New Zealand says human activity is reducing water quality and changing the climate, and bio-diversity is reducing.
“Many natural systems are so affected by humans that they are starting to limit the quality of life, and if left unchecked will severely degrade wellbeing,” the report says.
It says greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from New Zealand’s agriculture sector are among the highest in the world.
“New Zealand will need to review its development trajectory in order to reduce GHG in both the agricultural and energy-transport sectors, and/or increase its carbon sinks, if it is to meet its 2050 emissions target,” the report says.
It concludes New Zealand can achieve a number of economic, social and environmental gains by accelerating its move to a green economy.
It can avoid adverse consequences if it reconsiders its direction of development.
The Green Party says the National-led government has failed to stop dairy farmers from using the country’s rivers as drains.
“Since taking office, the National government has unfortunately chosen to further exploit the environment for the sake of the economy leaving both the poorer,” Greens co-leader Russel Norman says.
A green economy is defined by the United Nations Environment Programme as being resource efficient, low carbon and socially inclusive.
The report says New Zealand is well positioned to become a green economy with its many natural advantages, such as extensive renewable energy sources.
But it also says “a wide range of indicators all point to the need for New Zealand to reduce its GHG emissions to limit the deterioration of New Zealand’s environment”.
Have you guys ever heard/seen/read this book referenced over @ Gail’s blog?
As a side note, I guess there really isn’t any way to resolve this disagreement. On one side, we have Kevin, Mike, Brutus, U and a host of others who are adamantly opposed to the notion that man cannot rise above his primitive nature and exhibit wisdom & sapience. Others, such as myself & Gail, don’t believe it’s a small group of evil doers who are preventing universal justice and happiness, but rather the internal demons that govern all species. And yes Kevin, you’d be surprised what ‘peaceful’ people can do if they believe their own survival is at stake, real or imagined.
Plague Species – The Spirit in the Gene
“… Here, evolution had hit on the sweetest of solutions. Such perceptions were guaranteed to produce a faith-dependent species that believed itself to be thoroughly separate from the rest of the animal kingdom, but followed its genetic instructions to the letter—and left more offspring as a consequence. Here was a gene-driven animal just like any other, yet one that believed itself to be under special guidance—guidance that was not merely ‘spiritual’, but in most instances ‘divine’. Here was a wonderfully practical insanity, an invincible, hereditary madness that eventually enabled this under-endowed ‘paragon of animals’ to devour the planet like a ripe fruit.
This breathtakingly innovative derangement—present in all mammals to some extent—seems to have switched into overdrive in humans to minimise the immense risks inherent in the major brain enlargement that began almost three million years ago. The human brain has doubled its volume and quadrupled the surface area of its rational cortex in that time, a degree of enlargement unprecedented in the evolution of any other species. If behavioral control had gradually transferred from the ‘instincts’ to the rational brain during this period—as is commonly assumed—I believe our end would have been bloody and swift. Even today, given our tenuous grasp of evolution and its complexities, the most genetically advantageous behavior usually lies far beyond the scope of instant rational computation. A million years ago too much rational thought would have been suicidal. In other words, without a genetic override mechanism securely wired into the brain of Homo erectus, that cortical enlargement would, I believe, have been lethal.
Armed with an X-factor, an automatic override device that cuts off rational thought at a moment’s notice and draws directly from a reservoir of pretested genetic behavior, we remained fully functional animals. It enabled us to continue to feed, mate, and reproduce without interference from our enlarged cortex. To put it yet another way, our neuronal circuitry remained ‘hot-wired’ to our genes so that we would not be handicapped by logic when genetic responses were called for. That is why, under the spell of our carefully programmed ‘spirituality’, we cannot help falling in love, yearning for sexual gratification, nurturing our children, forging tribal bonds, suspecting strangers, uniting against common enemies, and on occasions, laying down our lives for family, friends or tribe. No gene could ask for more.”
And yet to this day rationality, at it’s core, can be compressed into a single phrase, “If it feels good, do it.” And so they shall, do it and do it and do it until nothing remains to be done, until great globs of fat protrude from overstuffed bodies, until the last shot of heroin stops the heart, until the last million dollar bonus destroys the last rainforest. “Oh Lord, is there soma in heaven?” “Yes, my son, there is, but you will not be going to heaven, you have had your share of pleasure and malignancies are forbidden in heaven. But don’t despair, I see your end will be fast and painless. Good luck to you on earth and goodbye.”
Kevin Moore said:
‘On one side, we have Kevin, Mike, Brutus, U and a host of others who are adamantly opposed to the notion that man cannot rise above his primitive nature and exhibit wisdom & sapience.’
Call me egotistical if you like but I do believe I (and thousands of others ) have risen above primitive nature where it counts (or if you take the more common view expressed on this site, have resisted or escaped the imposition of phony values by the empire) and do consider the common good and the likely very adverse consequences of present-day actions.
Guy McPherson cited the existence of Buddhist monks as evidence of human ability to rise above the instinctive, the trivial and the worldly; he also noted the paucity of Buddhist monks.
Kevin, indeed, there are always outliers. That too, is in the nature of things. Notably, monks tend not to reproduce, btw. On the other end of the spectrum, many of those who act most rashly won’t tend to, either.
I see that you do fight on the side of “right” at some cost to yourself. I certainly don’t go to such lengths. But think about what you are asking for: a cleaner, better planet and continued life, why? More life for you and your family. That’s exactly what’s driving the frackers who are after energy under the ground. Their understanding may be of a different quality or level, but the motivation is really identical, don’t you think?
When I walked away (to the extent that I did.. my voyage is not at its end yet), it was an act of selfishness, not renunciation, because I see that the current system takes more than it gives. Trying to establish alternative arrangements, however temporary, behooves me; it’s not a sacrifice. The sacrifice is to keep offering one’s self up onto the altar of the status quo.
What does “the common good” mean? Killing 90% of the people on the planet? Because that’s what it would have taken, 40 years ago, to *not* be where we are now (with no guarantee that we wouldn’t just be back “here” again a couple of centuries down the road).
You’re not really getting the fact that, when times are fat, populations explode, and when times are lean, they implode. This is without irreversible climate change. There is no “common good” for a species with minimal, if any, natural predators. It’s all bad, always leading to exponential overshoot. If people were as intelligent or insightful as you want to give them credit for, they would have changed tactics by now, and permanent birth control would be free of charge. Look at how stimulated by and attached people get to religions which preach peace, and see what the results of that are after 2000 years. Bupkis. We’re not reformable.
Your egoism doesn’t lie in laziness or any of that, obviously… It lies in thinking that humans are reformable, that they can be something they’re not. That they can rise above instinct immediately, *en masse*. This is too much by far to expect.
Kevin Moore said:
For me the common good means not squandering energy and resources on trivia and entertainment, not generating unnecessary emissions via the production and use of concrete and steel to build infrastructure which will have no utility a decade from now, not flying people around the world so they can kick or run with balls, or hit them repeatedly while others watch, not building tracks so that cars can go round and round to determine which driver can use the most fuel in the least time..
Sure, humans have exterminated most of the natural predators of the past, but industrialism has created new ‘predators’ -air pollution, obesity, early onset diabetes, plus a range of ‘superbugs’ that proliferate in hospitals. We could even think of heat exhaustion and malnutrition due to eating ‘crap food’ as manmade predators.
I don’t think much killing as such will be necessary (although the military-industrial complex is clearly not averse to toiling).
‘You’re not really getting the fact that, when times are fat, populations explode, and when times are lean, they implode.’
I suggest you reassess. Take Britain or New Zealand (countries I know a lot about) as examples. The higher the standard of living. the lower the rate of natural population growth. In both cases actual increases in population have been due almost entirely to immigration, which could easily have been controlled if there had been political will to do so and if corporations and money-lenders had not be polling the levers of government. I think you will find that many countries which have experienced near static population growth (or actual declines) have been very ‘fat’, Japan being a classic example (Birth rate about 1.36 per woman, way below replacement level of 2.1 last I heard).
The global population explosion has been more a matter of religious doctrine and cultural practices than whether times were fat or lean. Indeed, the classic line of any narrative coming out of Sudan, Somalia, Mali or any other place where food aid has been supplied has been that mother X has walked tens of kilometres with her 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 children, and carrying one or two. to reach a food depot.
Responsible governments can control population. An unlikely example for many Westerners is the case of Iran, as explained in this interview with Alan Weisman about Iran having the best family programs in history:
“squandering energy and resources on trivia and entertainment, not generating unnecessary emissions via the production and use of concrete and steel to build infrastructure which will have no utility a decade from now, not flying people around the world so they can kick or run with balls, or hit them repeatedly while others watch, not building tracks so that cars can go round and round to determine which driver can use the most fuel in the least time..”
Kevin, all these things drive me crazy, too. But there’s no remedy to it. Past cultures would do things like build pyramids or create ornate gilded churches or bury thousands of clay soldiers or use it all up in a potlatch.
Your noting the reduction in children in developed economies doesn’t account for the fact that 1 Western child consumes as much as 5 or 10 Africans or Haitians. They’ve reached the limits to growth for their context (available fiat currency for schooling, daycare while the mother works outside the home, clothes, toys, Wii, Disneyworld). Have you noticed what’s required nowadays for suburban kids’ birthday parties? Yikes.
I understand rising above. I’ve crawled out of the sewer & into the gutter.
It’s never too late for self improvement. rofl
Kevin Moore said:
936 years of crawling out of sewers, and other forms of self-improvement:
Buddhist monks? Wait a minute. I was just booted from teaching English at a Buddhist high school in Thailand (founded by a monk, funded by a temple) – because I complained too loudly and often about all the nice, peaceful Buddhist teachers constantly beating the holy cr*p out of their students, day after day after day – despite the fact that it’s illegal – despite the fact that the kids show visible signs of trauma and PTSD. Further, over the past 4 months I have watched while one notorious Buddhist monk, well sponsored by the filthy rich, spent weeks and weeks openly supporting a violent fascist military sponsored coup against the elected government. So please don’t come on with that peaceful transcendent Buddhist monk crap. Many thanks.
Kevin Moore said:
Just quoting Guy.
My personal experience of Buddhists is very limited but I do recall a humungous temple complex being constructed in South Auckland, with the ‘obligatory’ massive car parking area at the entrance occupying enough land to keep several families permanently supplied with fruit and vegetables.
Apparently modern Buddhists have learned how to waste energy and resources and destroy the future jut as quickly as non-Buddhists.
Kevin Moore said:
Mike and others; here is how things stand in this neck of the woods, third week of March, 2014.
One of the largest organic orchards and sources organically-grown vegetables and herbs etc. in the district is likely to be lost to housing development because the owner can no longer battle on, due to age, failing health and ‘strangulation’ by the money-lender/corporate system.
After many years of struggling, the operators of a prominent organic food supplies business in the CBD have reached the end of the line and will close their business in the near future.
The district council has just released its so-called plan for the district, and it contains almost exactly the same hogwash presented in previous years, with a few numbers tweaked. There is no mention of anything connected with reality, nor any planning for it. The submission process has been demonstrated to be flawed, and senior council officers have been demonstrated to be liars. The mayor has been demonstrated to be a liar.
The NZ government is proceeding down the path that morphs from covert fascism to overt fascism, with certain forms of protest against the agendas of global corporations now criminalised.
The vast majority of people in the district are completely clueless about the details of the corruption and lies, but are feeling the effects of global trends, with many major employers having downsized or closed shop completely, resulting in increased unemployment, lower incomes and lower employment security.
Offshore drilling over the past year or so has been unsuccessful but there is still sufficient flow of natural gas from old wells and newly-fracked wells to maintain gas supplies to decrepit and grossly inefficient chemical plant that convert natural gas into solids and liquids (urea, methanol etc.)
Last year witnessed an unprecedented drought, and this year significant drought has occurred, but there has been sufficient dairy production to keep the dairy Ponzi scheme afloat. Indeed, very poor conditions elsewhere in the world have resulted in record payouts to many farmers.
Every day I see everything that matters getting progressively worse overseas, and see everything that matters getting progressively worse around here. That said, there is still enough fat in the system for music festivals, art festivals, garden festivals and car-culture festivals to be promoted and attended.
As everything turns to shit overseas and migrants flow in, and as international speculators look for places to park money, the NZ dollar rises against most currencies. At around 85 cents US (up from a low of 42 cents US around 2000) the Kiwi dollar protects and promotes the delusions of car culture and what Kunstler described as the days of happy motoring forever. Petrol recently dropped in price from $2.18 a litre to 2.16. (people have short memories and the days of 93 cents a litre are long forgotten) as international oil prices languish in the meantime. The high dollar encourages imports of second-hand vehicles from Japan and new ones from China and Korea.
Unlike many nations, NZ has an extraordinarily large economic exclusion zone which still has catchable fish. Unlike many nations, NZ still has healthy trees that can be cut down and replaced. Unlike many nations, NZ still has water in reasonably abundant quantities most of the time.
The nation that supplied some of the finest fighting men in the world to various British adventures is morphing into a nation of overfed clowns, as Kunstler describes Americans, with tattoos being the latest must-have fashion accessory.
The saboteurs in parliament busy themselves promoting schemes to bring about further impoverishment of the general populace and rapid degradation of the local and global environments via unsustainable development and increased fossil fuel consumption: this under the auspices of a ‘better, brighter future’.
Yesterday I received a personalised invitation from NPDC policy coordinator, Helen Begg, to participate in the submission process I know to be utterly flawed, and in which I know any presentation of reality will be ignored on principle.
The letter to me from NPDC was probably posted on Thursday, around the time Maryanne Priest, Regulatory Services Manager and I were discussing the complete and utter failure of NPDC to abide by its own regulations (my reason for seeing her) or Local Government Acts, the failure of senior council officers to carry out any proper risk assessment or even tell the truth about anything, and the fact that the most common statement in the NPDC so-called plan is: ‘There are no significant negative effects from this activity’ -which is an absolute lie, of course. And it must have been about the time Maryanne said to me: “We don’t want you to feel frustrated.”
Yesterday I was advised by counter staff that council officers would no longer be available for discussion. I am still awaiting response to my request to have a session with the CEO. Barbara McKerrow.
I also received in the mail yesterday a note as follows:
Extinction climate chaos
Since 2008 I thought that planting tree and a carbon tax would prevent climate chaos
it is now too late to prevent 6c rise in temperature by 2050. At this point we go extinct.
The only thing that might save us now is an economic collapse THAT OCCURS SOON.
and handwritten on the note: ‘I like your blogs’
Now since I don’t operate my own blog and only make occasional comments on NBL, I guess that handwritten PS refers to CoIC.
I understand fully why you feel like giving up, Mike. The stress of confronting the monster regularly is debilitating.
All I can say is the game has to be played to the end, and the end has not arrived. So keep doing what you do and help us maintain our sanity in a world gone mad. I have an appointment to discuss government policies with the district’s MP next week. That should be ‘interesting’.
Whether McKerrow can actually face up to the truth delivered by a ‘bulldog’ or can think of a pretext for refusing to make an appointment is yet to be seen. . Why do I do it all? As I said to one of the NPDC counter staff (who doesn’t need to be named), if it were just me I wouldn’t bother, but since I do have children and grandchildren, I must. Also because nobody else will.
Thanks for all the great comments and links, everyone.
Global Warming Speeds Up Methane Emissions From Freshwater
British scientists have identified yet another twist to the threat of global warming. Any further rises in temperature are likely to accelerate the release of methane from rivers, lakes, deltas, bogs, swamps, marshlands and rice paddy fields. read the rest, that Jonny Mnemonic over at JJFH has been all over for years now]
and from Dmitri (no matter the messenger, listen to the message before making a dismissive decision):
Collapse and Systemic Failure at All Levels Coming to U.S.-Dmitry Orlov
Dmitry Orlov is a Russian blogger who writes about the parallel between the U.S and the USSR. Orlov lived through the financial collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s, and he thinks the U.S. is on the same trajectory. Orlov contends, “The trajectory is defined by this sort of incompetent militarism where more and more money results in bigger and bigger military fiascos around the world and less and less of actual foreign policy that can be pursued or articulated. There are massive levels of corruption. The amount of money that is being stolen by the U.S. Government and its various appropriations processes is now in the trillions of dollars a year. Runaway debt, the United States now has a level of debt that is un-repayable. All we’re waiting for is interest rates to go across the magic threshold of 3% and the entire budget of the country explodes. There are also all types of other tendencies that point in the direction of collapse and systemic failure at all levels.”
So, how close are we to collapse or system failure? Orlov contends, “I am pretty sure that anyone who makes a prediction when the collapse will happen is wrong. Nobody can say when it will happen. It’s the same as saying a bridge that is structurally deficient; you don’t know when a truck is going to fall through into the river below. . . . You can be chronically sick for a long time, and then one day, you go into a coma or your heart stops. You cannot predict what day that will happen. Orlov does say, “The United States right now, from my point of view and the point of view from observers from around the world, is on suicide watch. It’s a country that is going to self-destruct at some point in the near future.” [there’s more, including his thoughts on Ukraine]
A super El Niño on the way? Subtle signs emerging
Mashable’s Andrew Freedman has penned an intriguing and important piece suggesting the possible El Niño in the pipeline may be a doozy, comparable to the strongest ever recorded:
Since climate forecasters declared an “El Niño Watch” on March 6, the odds of such an event in the tropical Pacific Ocean have increased, and based on recent developments, some scientists think this event may even rival the record El Niño event of 1997-1998.
Recall an El Niño event is an episodic warming of the eastern tropical Pacific ocean, which often has worldwide weather implications.
Freedman interviews two scientists, Eric Blake from the National Hurricane Center and Paul Roundy from SUNY-Albany, who see early indicators reminiscent of the development stages of past whopper El Niño events.
One important possible indicator of the lead up to an El Niño is a reversal in the trade winds observed in the equatorial Pacific, from a prevailing easterly (from the east) to westerly (from the west) direction. In recent weeks and months, there have been strong westerly “bursts”.
From Freedman’s piece:
“It’s something we haven’t really seen since the ’97 El Niño,” Blake said of the westerly wind bursts and ocean observations. Instead of having trade winds blowing from the east at five to 10 mph, some locations in the western Pacific have had winds from the west blowing at up to 30 miles per hour, Blake says. This is important because it has ripple effects on the sea and below the sea surface.
So impressed by the strong and persistent westerly winds, Roundy told Freedman he thinks there’s “around” an 80 percent chance of an unusually strong El Niño. [there’s more]
and, finally (there’s so much going on, this post could extend for a long time)
Japanese Journalist: Fukushima workers die suddenly but it’s not reported, says nurse at plant — Gov’t agents following me for surveillance (VIDEO)
Transcript of Oshidori’s presentation by Fukushima Voice, Transcription by Takashi Mizuno/Translation by @YuriHiranuma, Mar. 21, 2014: […] government agents began following me for surveillance. I heard about it from researchers who were my friends as well as some government officials. I will show you a photo I secretly took of the agent, so you know what sort of surveillance I mean. When I would talk to someone, a surveillance agent from the central government’s public police force would come very close, trying to eavesdrop on the conversation. […] I would like to talk a little about my interview of a nurse who used to work at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP) after the accident. […] He was a nurse at Fukushima Daiichi NPP in 2012. He quit his job with TEPCO in 2013, and that’s when I interviewed him. As of now, there are multiple NPP workers who have died, but only the ones who died on the job are reported publicly. Some of them have died suddenly while off work, for instance, during the weekend or in their sleep, but none of their deaths are reported. Not only that, they are not included in the worker death count. For example, there are some workers who quit the job after a lot of radiation exposure, such as 50, 60 to 70 mSv, and end up dying a month later, but none of these deaths are either reported, or included in the death toll. This is the reality of the NPP workers. [again, read the rest]
I just did a simple calculation that shows that somebody HAS to be right if we assign a prediction (down to the second) for every day for everyone one Earth. In other words if, beginning right now, we say that one person predicts that the collapse will happen in the next second, then for everyone on the planet (7 billion) we’d stretch the guesses out to 221.96 years. There’s a negligible probability that the collapse would occur that far out, or further. Also, since the population is still growing, the guesses would actually extend even further out. Surely, after reading all the scientific data, we won’t last more than a few decades, let alone 200 years, so I think Dmitri is wrong in that statement. He just doesn’t want to guess when.
Forgot this one from Robert:
Far Worse than Being Beaten with a Hockey Stick: Michael Mann, Our Terrifying Greenhouse Gas Overburden and Heating the Earth by + 2 C by 2036
I’m going to say something that will probably seem completely outrageous. But I want you to think about it, because it’s true.
You, where-ever you are now, are living through the first stages of a disaster in which there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no safe place on Earth for you to go to avoid it. The disaster you are now living through is a greenhouse emergency and with each ounce of CO2, methane and other greenhouse gasses you, I, or the rest of us, pump into the air, that emergency grows in the vast potential of damage and harm that it will inflict over the coming years, decades and centuries. The emergency is now unavoidable and the only thing we can hope to do through rational action is to reduce the degree of harm both short and long term, to rapidly stop making the problem worse, and to put human ingenuity toward solving the problem rather than continuing to intensify it.
But damage, severe, deadly and terrifying is unleashed, in effect and already happening, with more on the way. [read the rest]
super fucking excellent work
What will you do when you smell smoke in the theater? Sit in your seat, observe, and comment sagaciously upon the unfolding tragedy, only to be burned to death by inaction? Run for the only exit in the theater which gets smaller each moment you wait, while tripping as many people as you can on the way out? Stand and address the theater patrons, “There is a fire, please proceed slowly and cautiously towards the exit.”
It seems apparent the tragedy has arrived, the trigger is being pulled, the tsunami is rising, the train has left the station and so on – the theater is on fire. Any broad knowledge of this will only increase the demand for energy consuming ameliorative action that will only dig the hole deeper, like trading hulking steel cars for half-sized Priuses or building sea walls around doomed cities. How do you tell 100 people in the theater that only 10 are going to get out alive? Where was the fire brigade that should have put the fire out 40 years ago? Where was the doctor that should have prescribed chemo 40 years ago? So what to do? Be the blogging martyr mouse in the corner of the theater squeaking warnings that go unheard by a crowd transfixed and addicted to entertainment? Gather your things, quietly leave and hope for the best? But leave to where, and if I may mix metaphors, the cancer is pervasive and still growing.
If you find a pristine area, pretty soon everyone shows up and they need work to be there, so the road construction begins, the developers see an opportunity, the suburbs spread. Loans and money are created, taxes rise and the complex cancer envelops all and now your just back in the cancer again and yet more of the ecosystem no longer exists.
I think I’ll start making journal entries in Noodler’s Red-Black, looks like dried blood, very appropriate for chronicling our passage unto death.
I think you have a false characterization there. Try this: the theater is on fire; the doors are locked. You gonna burn no matter what.
Reblogged this on Gaia will prevail.
The most interesting comments I’ve read in a long time.
I really like the fact that steel reinforced concrete will decay quickly along with computer chips. This means the pyramids and Roman coliseum will be around after civilization is gone. I also like the conservation of energy in terms of economic activity expressed by Tim Garrett that one dollar equals one milliwatt. To make 5 one-megawatt wind turbines requires the processing of 1 ton of neodynmium which produces 75 tons acidic waste water and 1 ton of radioactive debris. Any survival efforts would require the storage of many computers left offline(powered off) to preserve their operability.
Here’s a bunch of stuff everybody hates.
The climate danger threshold point is roughly 2036. 20 years from now, if we are lucky.
Everyone magically thinks we’ll just switch to renewable energy along with cutting back and becoming more efficient so that voila, earth saved, story over, back to business. Sorry, but that’s just another feel good fantasy. Why?
Energy conservation or efficiency doesn’t really save energy, but instead spurs economic growth and accelerated energy consumption.
MONEY = POWER = MONEY
1/100th watt = 1 dollar of global economic activity
500 megawatts = 1 average power plant
600 megawatts = China’s increased coal use every 10 days to 2024
500,000 megawatts = 500 new nuclear plants in China by 2050
25 billion megawatts = World power output in 2014
Each year, C02 per megawatt of power increases
Every 4½ days, 1,000,000 new carbon users are born.
Click to access WORLD2.pdf
GREEN ENERGY IS UNSUSTAINABLE FOR 7 BILLION PEOPLE
4 tons = Coal used to make 1 solar panel baking silicon 3,000°F
500 tons = Annual sludge & water waste per solar production plant
California state records show that 44 solar panel manufacturing facilities, produced 46.5 million pounds of sludge and contaminated water from 2007 through the first half of 2011. Hazardous waste disposal costs are not included in solar carbon footprint data.
WHO HAS SEEN THE WIND?
1 ton = Radioactive waste to make 5 one-megawatt wind turbines.
The refinement of one ton of rare earth metals results in 75 tons of acidic wastewater and 1 ton of radioactive residue. Five 200 kilowatt wind turbines producing one megawatt of power requires one ton of neodymium. There are no replacements for neodynmium, nor are there likely to be for a long time, despite claims to the contrary.
MEAN GREEN MACHINES
Electric cars are dirty, expensive and unreliable.
I work cutting grass at a trailer park in Canada.
I never graduated high school.
If I can figure this out, so can you.
What part of the country are you in BeezleyBub? I’m in a small town in the interior of BC, but moving to greater Vancouver in 3 weeks. I know I know, people should be fleeing the city not moving to it, but I is broke and need to eat while waiting for collapse and possible extinction in my life time. I was financially wiped out by a few serious medical conditions the last 3-4 years. I have largely recovered so I’ll take that trade any day.
I’m a 56 year old prepper in Northern Ontario. Moved from Toronto in 07. I now realize that many people move back to the country at my age, only to get sick and be forced to move back to the big smoke. I’m working for grid independence for ungrateful and suspicious kids. You can get the plans for this video from Mother Earth News.
That is not me in the video, but it’s what I’m working towards. I’m also making an alcohol still. I never went to BC because of the drugs, I knew I wouldn’t come back.
I know all about the drugs. I probably shouldn’t be alive, but here I am. I did 6 months of chemo a while back and got rid of the hep-c. How I never ended up with HIV is beyond me. Best of luck to you with your project.
Laughter Is The Best Medicine
Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He’s not breathing and his eyes are still, so his friend calls 911. “My friend is dead! What should I do?” The operator replies, “Calm down, sir. I can help. First make sure that he’s dead.” There’s a silence, then a loud bang. Back on the phone, the guy says, “Ok, now what?”
In your previous comment you said:
Any survival efforts would require the storage a computers left off to preserve their operability.
I think you meant:
Any survival efforts would require the storage of many computers left offline to preserve their operability.
I meant to say “left powered off” as in totally off, probably with batteries removed thanks
the Heretick said:
a good article, while not exactly accurate in its particulars, it does pretty well sum up the attitude of the uber-mensch. the thing is, attitudes and prejudices and mistaken ways of thinking are not realized most usually by those who hold them.
most of the wealthy are wrapped up in self-delusion the same as the poor.
their is an old quote about our rulers are not just doing their duty, but deciding their own duty and the duties of others; true enough i suppose; but then there is also the possibility that none of this was planned, and the entire edifice of industrial society is like a kid playing with matches who sets the house on fire and is trying to put it out with a garden hose. that’s not what i think personally, i think it’s planned down to the finest detail, and as Lucky Jack said, they will grind whatever grist is required.
here’s my little 2 cents worth, and it has to do with the final passage of your text
“They will go to the slaughterhouse without a fight, clutching their religious icons and babbling their insane conspiracies.” living as i do among the hoi-polloi, being a proud member thereof, i don’t see a lot of difference between their views and the common view, and that is that the world is controlled by the very few, and everyone else is getting screwed. the nihilism which is affecting the world at large is affecting them just as much, belief in religions and or govts. is ebbing among the great unwashed as well as among the cognoscenti. but that’s not what worries me, oh no…………..
what gets my warning bells clanging to wake the dead is the adverts on teevee, it’s the slim young hipsters in their smart cars with their cell phones, bright faces going places, the packaged and commodified non-conformists creating their calling plan so nobody is late for the show, where no doubt they will strum their Made in China guitars and drums and lament the death of the late great planet Earth, Hal Lindsey reference not intended.
it’s creepy, i see them on the street, texting, talking, in their spandex on the treadmill (why don’t they hook those things up to a generator? people would pay).
the perfect people, the enlightened, i’m sure they don’t drink coffee or smoke cigarettes. these people are scary, all in their own orbit, and if they know that they are being controlled? they seem to like it.
maybe this is just a roundabout way of saying i agree with your premise, just that it doesn’t go far enough.
yes, our entire society is capable of violence, we have been bred to it, taught it, fed it with our mother’s milk, but what worries me more is those who would see someone getting beat down and their first thought wouldn’t be to jump in and stop it, but to record it on the “personal digital device”.
That’s some heavy shit you’re slinging and get’s me to want to write again.
Reminded me immediately of this particular story:
Crowd dances, cheers as man burns during Halloween carnival
the Heretick said:
thank you for your kind words.
more and more i question the conventional wisdom, i was raised as a pacifist, we all are more or less, respect for the law, the golden rule. an aversion to violence is the natural way, witness the Honey Badger facing down a Leopard, animals instinctively avoid injury, risk and reward, always better to live to fight another day.
i wonder if violence is not just sublimated, if we are not just intrinsically violent, and by denying this truth we don’t just make it all the worse. our species did not get to the alpha position by being nice guys.
oh yes, it’s passed off as we are just so much smarter, but then that it just subjective, how much processing power is contained in a giant anthill? are the conformists just displaying adaptive behavior? or are we to the point where going with the flow just takes us over the falls?
obviously your site is dedicated to the proposition that we are adapting our way to the grave, i wholeheartedly agree, probably it’s my early conditioning that makes me hope that the situation is not as dire as it seems.
it’s a simple question of group dynamics, we evolved to breed and replicate, this behavior is hard wired, so to speak, into our genes, the same as most species. when i see humans being compared to cancer and such it makes me want to scream, what else should we expect? living organisms behave this way down to the cellular level, why should we be different?
anyhow, whether temperature rise or topsoil depletion, lack of clean water or cosmic rays, we are as a species wreaking havoc upon the ecology. when the energy inputs start to run out there is going to be a population crash, which is just a sanitary way of saying that a lot of people will die.
the tendency to anthropomorphize nature is to my mind a bad habit many people fall into, nature just is, it does what it does, a tornado doesn’t care what is in it’s path.
I know it’s not fair to condemn the entire generation, but there is something rotten going on. I am especially disgusted with the rape culture attitudes. In my day, late 1980s, if you talked rape you would be shunned and possible punched out. This shit is not taking place on the so called “wrong side of the tracks” by the “uncouth” and “uneducated”, but rather in some of Canada’s leading universities by some of Canada’s supposed future leaders.
In addition, we are sexualizing children more and more every year. There are claims that we have become a hypersexualized world and I tend to agree. I have always felt that anything goes between consenting adults, but I am concerned. I can’t recall where I read it, but hypersexualizeation has been recorded in the late stages of collapsing societies. I did a number of searches on some of the countries where collapse is already under way, Greece rape, Syria rape, Egypt rape, Venezuela rape, etc. In all cases rape is on the rise and it comes from the masses and the authorities too (as a weapon).
Good stuff on the rape comment. Chimpanzees are a violent offshoot of Bonobos. I think tool-making and hunting changed our character. I was a peace-lovenik from the 70s who watched the horror of Rambo up to the present “family values and violence” that passes for entertainment. I just watch Mr. Peabody And Sherman where they portrayed romantic inclinations of 6 year olds. It’s fucking creepy. Here’s some more of my craziness.
Green Energy Is Ecologically Unsustainable For 7 Billion People
► The manufacture of 5 one-megawatt wind turbines produces 1 ton of radioactive residue and 75 tons of hazardous waste water to process the needed neodynmium. Numerous rare earth and conflict minerals are required for batteries, computers etc.
► Each solar panel requires 4 tons of coal to produce because the silicon has to be baked to 3,000 degrees F. Their manufacture produces super strong greenhouse gases. Solar manufacturing plants produce 500 tons of hazardous sludge per year.
► Bio-fuels are ecologically unsustainable. The crop mono-cultures are bio-diversity deserts that increase soil erosion. Food supplies are already at risk going forward.
Even the official predictions intensify.
►Hadley Centre for Meteorological Research (2009)……….. +4°C by 2060.
►United Nations Environment Programme (2010) up to……+5°C by 2050.
These predictions do not include feedback data because they are “too difficult” to model.
Here is why you don’t have to worry about rising seas and temperatures.
The Sixth Mass Extinction By The Numbers.
► 90% of Lion populations gone in 20 years.
► 50% of Great Barrier Reef gone since 1985.
► 50% of all Vertebrate Species may disappear before 2040.
► 90% of Big Ocean Fish populations gone since 1950.
► 50%of Fresh Water Fish populations gone since 1987,
► 28% of Land Animal populations gone since 1970.
► 30% of Marine Bird populations gone since 1995.
► 28% of All Marine Animal populations gone since 1970.
► 40% of Plankton populations gone since 1950.
► Species extinction is 1000 times faster than normal.
► Ocean acidification to double by 2050, triple by 2100.
► 5 million dead in the Congo since 1998 because of conflict minerals.
► 2 million of them were children.
► 1 million killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
► 500,000 Iraqi children died of disease thanks to the 1990s embargo.
► Millions of innocent civilians killed by the U.S. since WWII.
► 3,000 killed when steel reinforced concrete collapsed at free fall speed into a small footprint. This is physically impossible without demolition.
On a final note, ecological cascading extinction collapse is irreversible and unstoppable once it has started. This will lead to an ecological planetary state shift devoid of basic ecological services we take for granted, like breathing and eating. No one knows when the ultimate final tipping point will be past, until after we pass it. Some say in 30-40. Climate change is only one of six reasons for the 6th mass extinction. Invasive species is probably number one, and we and our crops and animals are the most invasive thing there is.
the Heretick said:
can’t figure out how to send something to the site, a submission.
I’ll send you an invite. Let me know if you get it. Once you submit it, I’ll proof read it and maybe add art.
Joe Driscoll said:
Some in our society are more prone to violence than others, specifically males. History (HIS story) can be summed up as follows: groups of aggressive violent males led by psychopaths rule (i.e. thieve from and murder) less aggressive groups (peasant, farmers, citizens, etc). For most of humanity’s existence (hu MAN) the level of technology involved in resource exploitation was sufficient only to decimate local ecosystems while also serving (via war and starvation) to limit population growth. Today these constraints are gone.
Evolution is the survivability of random mutations over time. I am athiestic and no believer in life after death. But, I am a believer in intelligent design because its so fucking obvious. I don’t believe that a random mutation caused an Arctic rabbit’s fur to turn white in winter and then brown in summer to exactly match a random background colour. Our senses are über complex designs in response to external stimulii such that our eyes are designed to respond to assorted electromagnetic waves, and our hearing to variations in sound pressure, wings are designed to a normal air pressure.
How can a random genetic mutation account for a chameleon’s ability to change its skin colour to match random background colours? Sorry for the tangent, it’s a pet peeve of mine. But, there is a consistent pattern of human behaviour where one group is more timid and another group aggressive. I believe nature does this to increase the survivability of the species in response to the environmental variables. It’s nature’s way of not putting all its eggs in one basket. Most environmentalists believe in the political uprising narrative. Uprisings do occur, but always too late, and they never play out the way they are supposed to. Sure there are a few successes, but they are the exception. In short, extinction is so final, who cares if it’s next week or next century. There will be hell to pay before then, it’s human nature.
p.s. – I always thought my views on no life after death, and intelligent design were unique until an Indian cab driver told me that in India there was a name for people like me. That guy loved his country. Although he very much wanted, he knew there was no going back.
Joe Driscoll said:
While genes do mutate randomly, natural selection is not random, and therein lies the genesis of “design” if you will. That selection can achieve precise and unusual characteristics is well demonstrated by guided selection (breeding) in both plants and animals.
The evolution of eyes by natural selection is also now well demonstrated by biological studies of traits and species. Our kind of eye – the type common across vertebrates – evolved from a simple light detector for daily and seasonal rhythms around 600 million years ago to an optically and neurologically sophisticated organ by 500 million years ago. And far from being an intelligently designed organ, it has major flaws – the scars (another proof) of evolutionary process.
Look, if you mean by Intelligent Design an Intelligent Designer, aka a God, that’s just ridiculous naive thinking by people who need more education.
But likewise simplistic neo-Darwinism is atrocious.
What IS ‘the environment’ that selects ? It’s all been made BY the living things, the O2, the limestone, etc, is their product. You can’t separate.
What IS the biosphere ? Stop thinking of separate organisms and species and genes. It’s ALL ONE THING. Look, it’s co-evolution, everything talking to everything else all the time.
This ‘thing’ shifts information around in feedback loops. It does this at all levels. It is a LEARNING system. It LEARNS by incorporating and distributing INFORMATION.
THIS, btw, afaik, is my own original idea, that I just had today 🙂
Patent the fucker if you want and get rich !
Humans fucked up because they thought ‘Oh we are so smart and cool, we don’t need to be part of that anymore’.
When did that happen ? Fucking Thales. So that mean that all the great heroes of Western science and secular rationalism who are worshipped here, Carl Sagan, Newton, Einstein, Darwin, etc, are actually part of the reason why we go extinct…
Ironic isn’t it. Without them, we would not know this.
Joe Driscoll said:
“design” wasn’t my term, that what why it’s in quotes. In any event, I respect those willing to look around them and attempt to discern and describe what they see, and make predictions that turn out to be true. That’s hardly worship.
Everything is interconnected, so what? Does that idea invalidate the laws of gravity, evolution, thermodynamics? Hardly. Are those laws incomplete? Of course, and every scientist you mentioned acknowledged that. As shown by the rise of holistic scientific studies (ecology, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, chaos), the subject of interconnection is quite complex. And here’s a paradox, the growing scientific knowledge about interconnection is based upon the fundamentals uncovered by scientists who mostly subscribed to Descartes mechanistic views.
And please, spare me lectures about what to think or not think. All models, including the one you propose – which by the way is not original – are flawed.
Hahaha, see how utterly pointless any attempt to discuss here is ? I KNOW ID wasn’t YOUR term, isn’t it obvious ? My reference was to the B guy. Where do I deny gravity, fer fuck’s sake ? All models are flawed ? Gosh what a genius. Total waste of time.
This planet is one big insane asylum.
Shaming and protesting will not change anything overall, but it can still help on the local level.
Bigger Faster And Uncut (not me – well, maybe the fast part)
The largest mass extinction event was the Permian event of 250 million years ago where 95% of life disappeared thanks to the hydrogen sulfide gas emissions from over-acidified oceans. We are acidifying our oceans faster than that event.
The fastest mass extinction event occurred 65 million years ago when the asteroid wiped out Dino the dinosaur. It still took as long as 33,000 years to finish them off, long after the initial impact damage. We are on track to wipe out 75% of species on earth within 300 years. This is 100 times faster than the dino thingy.
“I think a lot of people on TV are good people and they don’t even quite realize that they are part of this machine. What happened was they got promoted because they towed the line. They think they got promoted because they were so good on TV, but the reality is that most of the people who stick their head out… are put in the closet.”
“But chains never really went out of style.”
Deep ocean current may slow due to climate change
Far beneath the surface of the ocean, deep currents act as conveyer belts, channeling heat, carbon, oxygen and nutrients around the globe.
A new study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Irina Marinov and Raffaele Bernardello and colleagues from McGill University has found that recent climate change may be acting to slow down one of these conveyer belts, with potentially serious consequences for the future of the planet’s climate.
“Our observations are showing us that there is less formation of these deep waters near Antarctica,” Marinov said. “This is worrisome because, if this is the case, we’re likely going to see less uptake of human produced, or anthropogenic, heat and carbon dioxide by the ocean, making this a positive feedback loop for climate change.”
If that’s too long range of a problem to worry about, here’s one from your fellow humans:
This drone can steal what’s on your phone
The next threat to your privacy could be hovering over head while you walk down the street.
Hackers have developed a drone that can steal the contents of your smartphone — from your location data to your Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) password — and they’ve been testing it out in the skies of London. The research will be presented next week at the Black Hat Asia cybersecurity conference in Singapore.
The technology equipped on the drone, known as Snoopy, looks for mobile devices with Wi-Fi settings turned on.
Snoopy takes advantage of a feature built into all smartphones and tablets: When mobile devices try to connect to the Internet, they look for networks they’ve accessed in the past.
“Their phone will very noisily be shouting out the name of every network its ever connected to,” Sensepost security researcher Glenn Wilkinson said. “They’ll be shouting out, ‘Starbucks, are you there?…McDonald’s Free Wi-Fi, are you there?”
That’s when Snoopy can swoop into action (and be its most devious, even more than the cartoon dog): the drone can send back a signal pretending to be networks you’ve connected to in the past. Devices two feet apart could both make connections with the quadcopter, each thinking it is a different, trusted Wi-Fi network. When the phones connect to the drone, Snoopy will intercept everything they send and receive.
“Your phone connects to me and then I can see all of your traffic,” Wilkinson said.
That includes the sites you visit, credit card information entered or saved on different sites, location data, usernames and passwords. Each phone has a unique identification number, or MAC address, which the drone uses to tie the traffic to the device.
The names of the networks the phones visit can also be telling.
“I’ve seen somebody looking for ‘Bank X’ corporate Wi-Fi,” Wilkinson said. “Now we know that that person works at that bank.”
CNNMoney took Snoopy out for a spin in London on a Saturday afternoon in March and Wilkinson was able to show us what he believed to be the homes of several people who had walked underneath the drone. In less than an hour of flying, he obtained network names and GPS coordinates for about 150 mobile devices.
He was also able to obtain usernames and passwords for Amazon, PayPal and Yahoo (YAHOF) accounts created for the purposes of our reporting so that we could verify the claims without stealing from passersby.
Collecting metadata, or the device IDs and network names, is probably not illegal, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Intercepting usernames, passwords and credit card information with the intent of using them would likely violate wiretapping and identity theft laws.
Wilkinson, who developed the technology with Daniel Cuthbert at Sensepost Research Labs, says he is an ethical hacker. The purpose of this research is to raise awareness of the vulnerabilities of smart devices.
Installing the technology on drones creates a powerful threat because drones are mobile and often out of sight for pedestrians, enabling them to follow people undetected.
While most of the applications of this hack are creepy, it could also be used for law enforcement and public safety. During a riot, a drone could fly overhead and identify looters, for example.
Users can protect themselves by shutting off Wi-Fi connections and forcing their devices to ask before they join networks.
just a tidbit from the news:
Plane search hampered by ocean garbage problem
Another debris field, another new and so-far futile focus in the search for Flight MH370.
Two weeks after the Malaysia Airlines jet disappeared, one thing has been made clear: the ocean is full of garbage, literally.
“It isn’t like looking for a needle in a haystack,” Conservation International senior scientist M. Sanjayan said of the difficulty in finding the Boeing 777 aircraft. “It’s like looking for a needle in a needle factory. It is one piece of debris among billions floating in the ocean.”
“One piece of debris among billions”
Environmentalists like Sanjayan have warned for years that human abuse of the planet’s largest ecosystem causes major problems for ocean life and people that depend on it.
With the world’s eyes now scouring Asian waters for any trace of the plane that was more than 240 feet long and weighed more than 700,000 pounds, the magnitude of the ocean debris problem has become evident.
New Search: Nothing Yet
Two objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean, including one nearly 80 feet long, initially were called the best lead to date when a satellite detected them last week.
So far, though, search planes have yet to find them or any other plane debris, with speculation mounting that the larger item was a shipping container lost at sea.
No definitive records exist, but estimates for how many containers go overboard range from about 700 to as many as 10,000 of the roughly 100 million that the World Shipping Council says get shipped each year.
Most ocean garbage comes from land
Lost containers are only a minor part of the problem. While ship waste also adds to ocean pollution, most of the garbage comes from land, Sanjayan said.
More than a third of the world’s 7 billion people live within 60 miles of an ocean coast, and their waste inevitably reaches the water — either deliberately or indirectly.
Estimates from various sources, including the Japanese government, indicate that more than 10 million tons of debris — including houses, tires, trees and appliances — washed into the sea in the 2011 tsunami.
No answers yet as ships, planes search vast stretch of Indian Ocean
In addition, discarded plastics — including countless bags like the kind routinely provided by retail stores and fast food restaurants until a movement in recent years to decrease their use — form huge, churning garbage fields in the rotating currents of ocean gyres. One in the north Pacific is estimated to be at least 270,000 square miles, or an area larger than Texas.
[there’s more, but you get the idea]
oh, and in case you didn’t know (like me):
The biggest lease holder in Canada’s oil sands isn’t Exxon Mobil or Chevron. It’s the Koch brothers.
You might expect the biggest lease owner in Canada’s oil sands, or tar sands, to be one of the international oil giants, like Exxon Mobil or Royal Dutch Shell. But that isn’t the case. The biggest lease holder in the northern Alberta oil sands is a subsidiary of Koch Industries, the privately-owned cornerstone of the fortune of conservative Koch brothers Charles and David.
The Koch Industries subsidiary holds leases on 1.1 million acres — an area nearly the size of Delaware — in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, according to an activist group that studied Alberta provincial records. The Post confirmed the group’s findings with Alberta Energy, the provincial government’s ministry of energy. Separately, industry sources familiar with oil sands leases said Koch’s lease holdings could be closer to two million acres. The companies with the next biggest net acreage positions in oil sands leases are Conoco Phillips and Shell, both close behind.
What is Koch Industries doing there? The company wouldn’t comment on its holdings or strategy, but it appears to be a long-term investment that could produce tens of thousands of barrels of the region’s thick brand of crude oil in the next three years and perhaps hundreds of thousands of barrels a few years after that.
[there’s more; they assume there will always be enough fresh water for them to irreversibly fuck up in their tar-sands processing]
Aye carumba! (I know, I’ve used it before, but really, have you ever come across a phrase that is so evocative?)
Since I was (am) a finance guy, let me help explain how the system works:
– let’s assume the Koch brothers invest $1b
– if the enterprise is successful, let’s say it generates $1b in gross annual revenues
– after all capital expenditures, wages/salaries, overhead and taxes (if any) are paid, the Koch brothers business generates a 10% profit or $100m per year (note the 10 year payback period)
Question: where did the $90m per year (or $900m in total over 10 years) go? Ah, it went to the vast multitude of suppliers, utilities, employees, agencies, governments and others who in turn have their own 5-10% profit factor.
“Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.
And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on,
While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on.”
The central point being – of course because I think every single person is culpable – is that the huge lion’s share of any endeavour is spread amongst a veritable army of dependents. Just because a small number at the top collect 5-10% doesn’t really mean anything outside the influence they can purchase/control to prevent others from gaining control.
There is simply no way you can even (a) explain to anyone with an IQ under probably 125 what is happening in the first place; and then (b) get them to voluntarily accept living as a chimpanzee to help restore health and order to the Earth. Ain’t gonna, never gonna, no chance in hell it’s ever gonna happen.
This sucker is on a trajectory to go supernova; crying, whining, complaining, being depressed, etc, etc is just a fucking waste of time. The Marines have a great saying: “You can run, but you’ll just die tired”.
KM is on the verge of having a restraining order placed against him. And for what? What did he achieve? Wisdom is knowing what the fuck is going on – not complaining about coulda, woulda, shoulda, but assessing the situation and figuring out how to best get on.
Kevin Moore said:
Since you are a finance guy and are explaining to us how the system works, how come you have omitted all the important steps?
The Fed and the government collude to create money out of thin air via the issuance and purchase of bonds. If no overseas buyers can be found for Treasury bonds, the Fed buys the bonds using the money ‘printed’ by the government money-printer (The Fed.) and passes back the money behind the bike shed on moonless nights, though usually this dire state of affairs [no willing purchaser] is dealt with by having the central bank of a friendly nation agree to buying the bond in exchange for the US government buying one of its own bonds that it is having trouble selling. Or they can just negotiate credit default swaps or currency swaps and adjust their own figures with exchanging anything. If an overseas buyer can be persuaded to buy the bond, the purchaser is supplied an official-looking IOU, which promises some token amount of interest (in recent times bind have offered between 0.25% and 2% for ‘stable nations) to be paid to the purchaser at a later date. Since the US government has no money, any interest payments due to bondholders are covered by the issuance of yet more bonds, and the necessary digits are transferred to the bondholders account via digits generated in one of the Fed’s computer systems by hitting the appropriate keys. (Andrew Jackson was the last president to successfully tackle the ‘den of vipers;\’ and clear the US of money-lender debt ,around 1836 from memory).
Back to the present. The government offers money created out of thin air at discounted interest (or no interest at all) to those close to the ‘printing press’. This fictional money is then used to create fictional investment products and fictional securities, which can in turn be used by those ‘in the big club’ to create even more money out of thin air via commercial bank loans. These loans are then ‘invested’ in loot-and-pollute projects, at no risk to the ‘investor’ since no money actually changes hands just signatures applied to bits of paper and various promissory notes, with bailout by government at taxpayers’ expense being guaranteed if any part of the Ponzi scheme should start to fall over. Tax write-offs and government subsidies add to the allure and the profitability.
Rather than ‘every single person being culpable’ as you put it, the reality is that a very tiny minority of the populace operates these various scams for the benefit of a very tiny minority of the populace, usually described as ‘the ‘1%’, ‘the 0.1%’, or ‘the 0.01%’.
The evidence for the success of these scams is there for everyone to see: falling real wage rates, falling total assets and falling employment rates amongst the masses whilst the top echelon makes off with the booty, usually tax free, resulting in the gap between rich and poor widening by the hour. Many of the workers involved are naïve victims of the various corporate scams being operated, and are entirely expendable. In many one-industry regions the choice was work for the boss on his terms or starve. The architects of the ‘new economy’ appear to have a return to such arrangements in mind.
As for your contention that an IQ in excess of 125 is required to understand, I can quote Robert Atack, who described himself as a fourth-form dropout and one-time petrol-head. He used to say; “If a fourth-form dropout can get it, anyone can.”
On the other hand Upton Sinclair suggested it was difficult for a man to understand something when his salary was dependent on not understanding it. Substitute wealth/power/status.
Your contention that it would be necessary for humans to live as chimpanzees for the Earth to be restored does has some merit, though in practice I don’t know of anyone on this site who has seriously advocated a semi-arboreal existence, humans having lost the capacity to grip with the big toe about 3 to 5 million years ago.
There is no question, however, that present arrangement are collapsing and that those humans who do not perish at the various bottleneck stages will end up living as indigenous people did before frequent transoceanic travel become commonplace, i.e. the fourteenth century.
There was no need to mention you are a finance guy. Your consistent attitude towards the the struggle and future suffering of others makes it obvious.
I always knew Prime Minister Harper had some Koch up his ass.
Kevin Moore said:
Soil Moisture Anomaly is affecting the prime dairying regions of Waikato and Taranaki. More ‘interesting times’ ahead, I’m sure.
Kevin Moore said:
Lack of rain affecting regions where most Australians live.
@ Gail, Lidia, Brutus, B9K9, others…
Many thanks for stimulating thoughts now and previously…
I’m deeply absorbed in digging, so only a very brief response…
I think the determinist paradigm cannot be correct, it’s shown to be wrong at a fundamental level, as is the materialist paradigm, by the quantum physicists. Probably, about half would agree, but they grow in number as the understanding grows.
Then there is the other matter of our brains and genetics and culture and so on, which B9K9 outlined as genes v. wicked elite, whatever.
I think Marx is helpful with his idea of the bourgeoisie.
As I see it, we could have been, once were, seamlessly integrated into the global ecology, just like all the other organisms. Small tribal communities with culture.
So, imagine this. You have a fishing village, (like kevin’s Vikings) with a benign but strict social code. In the community, there’s genetic outliers, saints and sinners. The cultural rules compensate for both. The psychopaths get restrained, the village idiot gets fed, and so on.
Then something goes wrong. Community too large, or some other perturbation. Some guys go down the coast and do a raid, slaughter the people, bring back the plunder.
First time it happens, the people are outraged, and the perpetrators are punished and ostracised. But times are very hard, and the loot gets shared out anyway, even though the majority think it should be returned to those from whom it was stolen along with an apology.
So, that’s the start. The trigger, to a new culture. Like in a gang, where everyone has to stab a victim, so everyone is guilty of the murder, and nobody can claim to the cops they were not involved, the responsibility is distributed.
That’s how capitalism works. Everyone benefits from the destruction, everyone evades direct responsibility, because it’s the ‘evil corporations’ who do the slave trade and the mining, not us, who buy the products.
Marx explains this, in the Communist Manifesto, how the bourgeoisie destroy all traditional soceities and values.
That’s what we have. Global bourgeois culture. Nobody takes responsibility for anything, nobody can take responsibility for anything any more.
So, NOW, we ARE locked into our fate, NTE, but we did not HAVE to be.
At least, that is how I see it. Like Rousseau said, when the guy said,’This land is mine’ WE could have said ‘NO, it’s NOT !’. 🙂
Joe Driscoll said:
ulvfugl, your observation that humans were once seamlessly integrated into the global ecology, etc, is not born out by historical or archaeologic evidence. The book “Constant Battles” (Leblanc, 2003) lays out the evidence that human bands, tribes, states, etc., pretty much always expanded at the expense of their local ecology and waged constant violence to either protect or garner resources. The idea of the noble savage is a 19th century romantic myth. There is no evidence that any human group ever decided to lessen the impact on their supporting ecosystem or reduce their population growth, quite the opposite.
I’m not going to get sucked into a pointless haggle. I know exactly what you are saying. So where do you draw the line between human and non-human, on the time-line of our evolution? At one point we were no different to the bears or the dolphins or any other organism, all of which are integrated into the ecology.
Also re your point re quantum stuff and determinism. I’m not going to waste my time haggling here over such complicated and difficult topics.
Joe Driscoll said:
Your own definition was “small tribal communities with culture”. You also brought up quantum stuff etc. In any event, your points are relevant to your case, which is why I “haggle” over them.
At one point we were no different than amoebas, but that’s hardly relevant. Humans are unique in the quality of their Theory of Mind (see “Denial: Self-Deception, False Beliefs, and the Origins of the Human Mind” 2013 Varki Brower) which may have evolved 300,000 years ago. Until then we were just clever chimpanzee relatives, living in ecological balance. After that, did we have a choice? Was a different choice other than population growth, urbanization, resource exploitation (including human), and ecological exhaustion ever demonstrated?
@ J. Driscoll
Okay, put my small tribal communities at 300,000 years, or 800, 000 years, whatever, then perhaps you’ll see what I meant, that at ONE TIME, we were integrated like all the rest.
Then something changed. What was it ? People have different views.
People want to argue that we had no choice. For this reason or that reason.
I have already had lengthy disputes with names I mentioned. I’m not going through it all again here.
My answer to your question, obvious, YES. Nenets, San, Australian aborigines, Kogi, etc, etc.
Re quantum stuff and in/determinism, materialism,etc, I was not addressing you, I’ve already discussed with Brutus, Gail, others. It is hopeless trying to argue such complex matters here, in a tiny text box in this format, it just makes for misunderstanding and wastes my time, so I am not going to do it.
Joe Driscoll said:
Appreciate your response. Being new here I don’t know the history of various discussions, and I respect your stand.
Joe Driscoll said:
I don’t agree that determinism cannot be correct in the light of quantum mechanics. To my mind, they are BOTH correct. Generally speaking, most macro level processes – including chaotic systems – are deterministic in origin even though their behavior may appear random. The fact that determinism and quantum probabilities appear paradoxical is a function of our inherent inability to develop fully inclusive models. This is a fundamental problem highlighted by Godel’s incompleteness theorem.
Let me add my support for Joe Driscoll’s statements above. I’ve made my point repeatedly about massive discontinuities between macro, micro, and quantum levels, and I do not believe anyone has it all sorted out and understood. Besides, as some point it becomes about angels dancing on the head of a pin.
As to haggling, I want the variety of perspectives that comes with discussion but not the discord and name-calling. Like ulvfulg, I recognize that fora such as this make it difficult (to say the least) for discussions to stay disciplined enough to be worthwhile, so I’m disposed to exiting the discussion once it sours. I try not to do so preemptively, which looks to me more like a power play.
I’ve made my point repeatedly about massive discontinuities between macro, micro, and quantum levels, and I do not believe anyone has it all sorted out and understood.
Agreed, but dogmatic statements by physicists one month become obsolete a month later.
The quantum weirdness operates up to the level of small diamonds visible to the naked eye ! and the reason it’s not apparent in the everyday macro world is because everybody assumes a priori that it’s not there ! Physicists INSIST it can’t operate in warm wet macro world. Why don’t they read Nature and the other literature that shows it’s being used in photosynthesis by plants, and many other organisms ?
The problem is that all scientists are trained in the previous paradigm, which makes it almost impossible to get their heads around a completely different one. This also applies to your good self, no offence intended 🙂
@ Joe Driscoll
CLASSICS OF SOCIAL SCIENCE 1: KARL MARX THE FIRST ECOLOGICAL SOCIOLOGIST?
…Marx’s concept of ‘metabolic rift,’ as elaborated by Bellamy Foster. For Marx, human-nature relations include a social-ecological metabolism carried out through labour processes:
Marx, using the ecological crisis of large-scale soil degradation in United Kindgom during the first half of the 1800s, identified a ‘rift’ in this metabolism. Prior to industrialization soil nutrients were replaced by rural populations living off the land. But with the invention of Watt’s coal and water-fuelled, double-acting steam-engine, machines became mobile and “permitted production to be concentrated in towns instead of being scattered over the countryside” (Marx 1976 : 497-498). The English countryside depopulated while in crowded London nutrients were washed away in the Thames. This ‘rift’ – produced by growing differences between the urban and rural – supported Marx’s broader claim that capitalism is inherently self-destructive…
from: Resilience Science | Navigating the surprises of the anthropocene
Joe Driscoll said:
It’s not just capitalism that is inherently self-destructive. The application of industrial technology has simply amplified a dynamic that has existed between urban and rural since the establishment of cities in prehistory. Most of the middle east and north africa are good examples, where agricultural surplus fostered population growth which furthered plundering of the local environment, leading both the collapse of those cities and the extinction of the surrounding ecosystem (turned into desert).
Technocapitalism is what the scholars call it these days. Modern technology is the scalpel with which capitalism can extract profit from the Earth on a scale never heretofore seen. We don’t need a nuclear exchange between global superpowers to kill ourselves off; we’re doing it quite efficiently through the markets and everyone invested in the stock market supports it.
TR, is that you?
You got me! That’s hilarious. Can’t stop laughing.
Kevin Moore said:
One of many variations on the theme ‘The Orcs have Won’:
The climate change deniers have won
Scientists continue to warn us about global warming, but most of us have a vested interest in not wanting to think about it
Nick Cohen 23/02/2014
The Observer, Saturday 22 March 2014 17.30 GMT
The Amazon rainforest is burnt to clear land for agriculture near Novo Progresso
Smoke billows as an area of the Amazon rainforest is burnt to clear land for agriculture. Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters
The American Association for the Advancement of Science came as close as such a respectable institution can to screaming an alarm last week. “As scientists, it is not our role to tell people what they should do,” it said as it began one of those sentences that you know will build to a “but”. “But human-caused climate risks abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes.”
In other words, the most distinguished scientists from the country with the world’s pre-eminent educational institutions were trying to shake humanity out of its complacency. Why weren’t their warnings leading the news?
In one sense, the association’s appeal was not new. The Royal Society, the Royal Institution, Nasa, the US National Academy of Sciences, the US Geological Survey, the IPCC and the national science bodies of 30 or so other countries have said that man-made climate change is on the march. A survey of 2,000 peer-reviewed papers on global warming published in the last 20 years found that 97% said that humans were causing it.
When the glib talk about the “scientific debate on global warming”, they either don’t know or will not accept that there is no scientific debate. The suggestion first made by Eugene F Stoermer that the planet has moved from the Holocene, which began at the end of the last ice age, to the manmade Anthropocene, in which we now live, is everywhere gaining support. Man-made global warming and the man-made mass extinction of species define this hot, bloody and (let us hope) brief epoch in the world’s history.
If global warming is not new, it is urgent: a subject that should never be far from our thoughts. Yet within 24 hours of the American association’s warning the British government’s budget confirmed that it no longer wanted to fight it.
David Cameron, who once promised that if you voted blue you would go green, now appoints Owen Paterson, a man who is not just ignorant of environmental science but proud of his ignorance, as his environment secretary. George Osborne, who once promised that his Treasury would be “at the heart of this historic fight against climate change”, now gives billions in tax concessions to the oil and gas industry, cuts the funds for onshore wind farms and strips the Green Investment Bank of the ability to borrow and lend
All of which is a long way of saying that the global warming deniers have won. And please, can I have no emails from bed-wetting kidults blubbing that you can’t call us “global warming deniers ” because “denier” makes us sound like “Holocaust deniers”, and that means you are comparing us to Nazis? The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do.
Tempting though it is to blame cowardly politicians, the abuse comes too easily. The question remains: what turned them into cowards? Rightwing billionaires in the United States and the oil companies have spent fortunes on blocking action on climate change. A part of the answer may therefore be that conservative politicians in London, Washington and Canberra are doing their richest supporters’ bidding. There’s truth in the bribery hypothesis. In my own little world of journalism, I have seen rightwing hacks realise the financial potential of denial and turn from reasonable men and women into beetle-browed conspiracy theorists.
But the right is also going along with an eruption of know-nothing populism. Just as there are leftish greens, who will never accept that GM foods are safe, so an ever-growing element on the right becomes more militant as the temperature rises.
Clive Hamilton, the Australian author of Requiem for a Species, made the essential point a few years ago that climate change denial was no longer just a corporate lobbying campaign. The opponents of science would say what they said unbribed. The movement was in the grip of “cognitive dissonance”, a condition first defined by Leon Festinger and his colleagues in the 1950s . They examined a cult that had attached itself to a Chicago housewife called Dorothy Martin. She convinced her followers to resign from their jobs and sell their possessions because a great flood was to engulf the earth on 21 December 1954. They would be the only survivors. Aliens in a flying saucer would swoop down and save the chosen few.
When 21 December came and went, and the Earth carried on as before, the group did not despair. Martin announced that the aliens had sent her a message saying that they had decided at the last minute not to flood the planet after all. Her followers believed her. They had given up so much for their faith that they would believe anything rather than admit their sacrifices had been pointless.
Climate change deniers are as committed. Their denial fits perfectly with their support for free market economics, opposition to state intervention and hatred of all those latte-slurping, quinoa-munching liberals, with their arrogant manners and dainty hybrid cars, who presume to tell honest men and women how to live. If they admitted they were wrong on climate change, they might have to admit that they were wrong on everything else and their whole political identity would unravel.
The politicians know too well that beyond the corporations and the cultish fanatics in their grass roots lies the great mass of people, whose influence matters most. They accept at some level that manmade climate change is happening but don’t want to think about it.
I am no better than them. I could write about the environment every week. No editor would stop me. But the task feels as hopeless as arguing against growing old. Whatever you do or say, it is going to happen. How can you persuade countries to accept huge reductions in their living standards to limit (not stop) the rise in temperatures? How can you persuade the human race to put the future ahead of the present?
The American historians of science Naomi Oreskes and Eril M Conway quoted a researcher, who was asked in the 1970s what his country’s leaders said when he warned them that C02 levels would double in 50 years. “They tell me to come back in 49 years,” he replied.
Most of the rest of us think like the Washington politicians of the Carter era. And most of us have no right to sneer at Dorothy Martin and her cult either. We cannot admit it, but like them, we need a miracle to save us from the floods.
Kevin Moore said:
With the devastating flooding in the UK, unprecedented drought in California, wild swings in temperature across the US, Slovenia, crippled by ice storms, Pacific Islands disappearing completely, large tracts of South America suffering unprecedented drought and parts of Australia possibly in ‘meltdown’ etc. one wonders about the credibility of the following headline.
Global warming to hit Asia hardest, warns new report on climate change
Flooding, famine and rising sea levels will put hundreds of millions at risk in one of the world’s most vulnerable regions
Robin McKie, science editor
The Observer, Saturday 22 March 2014 21.21 GMT
Farmers in Asia
Asia will face new challenges over food security because of climate change. Photograph: Jiang Kehong/AP
People in coastal regions of Asia, particularly those living in cities, could face some of the worst effects of global warming, climate experts will warn this week. Hundreds of millions of people are likely to lose their homes as flooding, famine and rising sea levels sweep the region, one of the most vulnerable on Earth to the impact of global warming, the UN states.
The report – Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability – makes it clear that for the first half of this century countries such as the UK will avoid the worst impacts of climate change, triggered by rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. By contrast, people living in developing countries in low latitudes, particularly those along the coast of Asia, will suffer the most, especially those living in crowded cities.
A final draft of the report, seen by the Observer, will be debated by a panel of scientists set up by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this week at a meeting in Yokohama, Japan, and will form a key part of the IPCC’s fifth assessment report on global warming, whose other sections will be published later this year.
According to the scientists who have written the draft report, hundreds of millions of people will be affected by coastal flooding and land loss as global temperatures rise, ice caps melt and sea levels rise. “The majority of it will be in east, south-east and south Asia. Some small island states are expected to face very high impacts.”
In addition, the report warns that cities also face particular problems. “Heat stress, extreme precipitation, inland and coastal flooding, as well as drought and water scarcity, pose risks in urban areas with risks amplified for those lacking essential infrastructure and services or living in exposed areas.” The report adds that this latter forecast is made with very high confidence.
In addition, climate change will slow down economic growth, further erode food security and trigger new poverty traps, particularly “in urban areas and emerging hot spots of hunger,” it is argued.
This combination of a high-risk region and the special vulnerability of cities make coastal Asian urban centres likely flashpoints for future conflict and hardship as the planet warms up this century. Acrid plumes of smoke – produced by forest fires triggered by drought and other factors –are already choking cities across south-east Asia. In future, this problem is likely to get worse, say scientists.
The authors warn that some other climate change effects will be global. “Climate change throughout the 21st century will lead to increases in ill-health in many regions, as compared to a baseline without climate change,” the report states. “Examples include greater likelihood of injury, disease, and death due to more intense heatwaves and fires; increased likelihood of under-nutrition resulting from diminished food production in poor regions; and increased risks from food-borne and water-borne disease.”
Other potential crises highlighted by the report include the likelihood that yields of major crops such as wheat, rice and maize are likely to decline at rates of up to 2% a decade, at a time when demands for these crops – triggered by world population increases – are likely to rise by 14%. At the same time, coral reefs face devastating destruction triggered by increasing amounts of carbon dioxide dissolving in sea water and acidifying Earth’s oceans.
The report makes grim reading. “This comprehensive scientific assessment makes clear that climate change is having a growing impact in the UK and around the world, and that the risks of catastrophic consequences increase every day as more greenhouse gas pollution is pumped into the atmosphere. I hope David Cameron will read this report and understand the huge dangers of delaying the bigger cuts in emissions that are required to protect our children, grandchildren and future generations against this devastating threat,” said Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change.
Book of interest:
Our early ancestors lived in small groups and worked actively to preserve social equality. As they created larger societies, however, inequality rose, and by 2500 bce truly egalitarian societies were on the wane. In The Creation of Inequality, Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus demonstrate that this development was not simply the result of population increase, food surplus, or the accumulation of valuables. Instead, inequality resulted from conscious manipulation of the unique social logic that lies at the core of every human group.
A few societies allowed talented and ambitious individuals to rise in prestige while still preventing them from becoming a hereditary elite. But many others made high rank hereditary, by manipulating debts, genealogies, and sacred lore. At certain moments in history, intense competition among leaders of high rank gave rise to despotic kingdoms and empires in the Near East, Egypt, Africa, Mexico, Peru, and the Pacific.
Drawing on their vast knowledge of both living and prehistoric social groups, Flannery and Marcus describe the changes in logic that create larger and more hierarchical societies, and they argue persuasively that many kinds of inequality can be overcome by reversing these changes, rather than by violence.
HA-HAAAAAAAAAA; Here’s what voting gets you!
The Honeymoon Is Over: Ukraine To Stun Citizens With 40% Gas Price Hike
[selected quote – please read the article]
Alas, Ukraine’s honeymoon period with its new rulers may end far sooner that most expect, and it will be certainly accelerated with news such as this. A few hours ago, Interfax reported that Ukraine expects to increase domestic gas prices by 40% once discounted import prices from Russia expire, the country’s Energy Minister Yury Prodan told journalists in the European Parliament on Thursday.
Just as we warned a few weeks ago when we were discussing the creeping capital controls gripping the crisis-riddled country with the foundering currency and its rapidly depleting reserves, the first thing that usually happens, with or without foreign aid, is runaway inflation. And a 40% jump in one of the core staples will certainly dent much of the quite brief and tenuous hope and change the population may have had as a result of recent events. Because once the downstream effects of nat gas funnel through the economy, we wouldn’t be surprised if Ukraine ends up with hyperinflation of all goods and services within the year.
What is certain, is that the struggling population, most of whom never wanted the recent political overhaul and were quite happy with life as it was, will suddenly demand a return to the living standards under the old, if “horrible” regime, and demand an even quicker overhaul of the current administration.
Something Putin knows all too well.
It’s actually worse than that –
It is widely known that Russia is owed billions by Ukraine for already-delivered gas (as we noted earlier, leaving Gazprom among the most powerful players in this game). It is less widely know that Russia also hold $3b of UK law bonds which, as we explained in detail here, are callable upon certain covenants that any IMF (or US) loan bailout will trigger. Russia has ‘quasi’ promised not to call those loans. It is, until now, hardly known at all (it would seem) that China is also owed $3bn, it claims, for loans made for future grain delivery to China. It would seem clear from this action on which side of the ‘sanctions’ fence China is sitting.
Via RBC Ukraine (Google Translate),
In 2012, The State Food and Grain Corporation and the Export-Import Bank of China agreed to provide Ukrainian corporation loan of $ 3 billion, which was planned to be on the spot and forward purchases of grain for future delivery to China.
Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Igor Schweich confirmed that China has filed a lawsuit against Ukraine in a London court for the return of a loan of $3 billion.
The Ukraine minister disagrees with China’s case:
“filed false information that there are no claims to us from China. According to the contract have different interpretations, different interpretations, which led to the treatment of the Chinese side in court Gaft who works in London. Registered dispute between the parties exists,” – said Minister told reporters.
According to him, the parties agreed to take the following week a representative of the Chinese corporation for the possibility of peaceful settlement of the dispute.
“We, for our part, will do their steps to ensure that the other party or retract its announcement, or we found another way to a peaceful settlement,” – he said. According to Schweich, a meeting will be held on March 26.
Ukraine appears to claim that these loans were made by the previous administration
The Minister added that the main problem lies in the fact that some leaders of PJSC “State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine” incorrect information. “These people are now removed during the protest,” – said Schweich, noting that China “is relevant to understand.”
In February 2014. the current Prime Minister of Ukraine Yatsenyuk said that “location $ 3 billion is not found.”
While China has been relatively quiet in the background – though abstaining from the UN vote waqs a clear signal of relative support for Russia – this is a meaningful step in the direction of pressure against the West, as yet again, any bailout funds would flow straight to either Russia (gas bills or callable bonds) or China (agriculture loans).
So we see that the Chinese bubble collapse currently underway will draw in more and more countries in the near term, all of whom owe other countries vast sums which probably cannot be repaid. Then what . . . .?
We’ve got it all under control…
Boulder scientists report record-early high CO2 readings at key site
400 parts per million at Mauna Loa reached two months ahead of 2013
…Butler said readings from across the Earth show that the presence of CO2 is steadily growing by about 2.1 ppm each year. In the 1960s, he said, the annual global average growth was lower, about 0.7 ppm per year.
Sites in the Arctic Circle registered CO2 of 400 ppm or higher a year before Mauna Loa reached that level last May. Butler said the South Pole should also reach that level in a few years.
“It’s going up faster,” Butler said. “If we want to stabilize carbon dioxide, we have to be reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent. That would stabilize carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, where it is now.”
But Butler is not optimistic the trend will be reversed.
“I’ve been watching for decades, and I don’t see any changes in behavior, worldwide,” he said. The drivers of climate change continue unabated in the developing world, he said, and he doesn’t see options to fossil fuels, such as solar and wind power development, and utility companies’ deployment of smart grids, becoming a significant enough factor quickly enough to reverse the trend.
“Those would be good things to do. But we’re not doing it,” Butler said. “I expect to see CO2 levels keep rising until changes are made.”…
They knew it was warming all along…
The Myth of the 1970’s Global Cooling Consensus shows that most scientist were in agreement about what would happen over the proceeding decades.
A remarkably accurate global warming prediction, made in 1972
Shale reserves are not a miracle; they are a high-cost source of fuel,
writes John Dizard
If you listen to the whisperings in the chancelleries of the great
powers of Europe, or the musings of editorialists, US shale gas has
become a key strategic asset in the chess game of global power. The US
can move its gas castle to block the Russian knight from putting Europe
in check . . . or whatever.
One would think this would put US natural gas exploration and production
companies in a strong position, one made even stronger in the short term
by a long, cold winter. Oh, and the tightening environmental
restrictions on coal-fired power stations. It now seems that tighter
emissions rules will lead to the shutdown of more than 60GW of
coal-fired electric capacity by the end of next year. That would be
about equal to peak electricity demand in the UK. Natural gas prices are
up, and securities analysts are raising their price forecasts for this
year and next. Wow. More shale gas fortunes, right?
Well, no – not yet, anyway. The share prices of primarily gas-directed
US exploration and production companies are not doing so well this year,
at a time when the macro prospects could not be better. Not only are
there more equity sellers than buyers, but the junk-rated US E&P
companies are selling nearly 80 per cent less public debt this year than
they were by the same time last year.
Do natural gas investors and lenders know something other people do not?
In the short term, as in the next year or so, yes, they do. It is going
to take much longer, and require much more money, to get that
unconventional gas produced than global strategists presume. Five years
ago, investors and lenders were willing to believe any story about shale
gas. Now the money people are probably more sceptical than they should
be about the price prospects for natural gas, and the profits to be had
from producing it.
Essentially, the shale gas boom of the past decade turned a set of
engineering advances into a property bubble, in which investors were
selling development rights to each other, intermediated by the
exploration and production companies. The E&P promoters were spending
multiples of their operating cash flow on buying properties and drilling
them to show more production, then selling more stock and more debt,
etc. Eventually, the promoters could not pedal fast enough. After the
(temporary) fall of Aubrey McClendon, the most visible promoter, and
chief executive of Chesapeake Energy, the most visible shale gas
company, the investment world backed away from shale, even as the
political world embraced it.
However, there really is a lot of “unconventional” gas to be produced by
the North American industry, just at higher prices than the political
class now assumes, and in places that are not adequately connected to
pipelines. Unconventional gas is not a miracle; it is a high-cost source
of fuel that requires a lot of technical skill, time and capital. You
drill for it because there are not enough conventional gas resources on
offer in safe places.
The curve of exchange traded futures prices for gas, which is one of the
data series the lenders and equity investors crank into their
now-less-optimistic models, is almost certainly lower than the realised
prices will be. The US futures show a price sinking again next year,
before slowly rising out in the decade. To a large degree, though, that
is an artifact of the heavily borrowed gas producers being forced to
hedge too much of their future production to meet lenders’ covenants.
The large consumers on the other side of the trade, ie the utilities,
can simply pass along price increases to a captive public, so they are
not under equal pressure to buy future supplies on the exchanges. That
is why low Henry Hub futures prices probably understate what gas will
cost in years to come.
As the US and anyone counting on its gas exports will find out, inducing
enough rigs and crews to produce more gas, and building enough
processing facilities and pipelines to get it to where it is needed,
will probably cost at least another couple of dollars per million
British thermal units. Otherwise production will decline, or be trapped
in under-connected areas such as parts of the Marcellus Shale in the
And when prices for gas do rise in the years to come, they will, for a
while, rise further than central planners or grand strategists would like.
Investors in pipelines and processing facilities will do well. Buyers of
now-deflated natural gas properties will do very well. Those gas company
management groups who come out on top in the industry’s coming merger
and acquisition wave will do very, very well.
Joe Driscoll said:
From ourfiniteworld.com 25 Feb 2014 “the cost of oil extraction has been rising rapidly (10.9% per year) but oil prices have been flat. Major oil companies are finding their profits squeezed, and have recently announced plans to sell off part of their assets in order to have funds to pay their dividends. Such an approach is likely to lead to an eventual drop in oil production. “
…Today on “This Week,” the acting Ukrainian foreign minister, speaking exclusively with ABC’s Martha Raddatz, expressed deep concern about the buildup of Russian troops on the eastern border of Ukraine, saying that the chances of war were “becoming higher.”
“We are very much concerned about this development, the deployment of Russian troops on our eastern borders,” Ukraine’s Andrii Deshchytsia said on “This Week.” “We are ready to respond and, as you know, the Ukraine government is trying to use all the peaceful diplomatic means and diplomatic means to stop Russians but the people are also ready to defend their homeland.”
Deshchytsia said the issue had become “even more explosive” than a week ago when he was interviewed on “This Week, when he said the chance of war with Russia was “quite high.”
“I would say if you wanted to measure somehow, it’s becoming higher,” Deshchytsia said of the chance of war. “Because the problem is that Russians, and particularly the — Putin’s administration — Putin himself is not talking to the rest of the world, he doesn’t want to listen to the world, he doesn’t want to respond on the arguments … to deescalate [the] situation and stop invasion. We don’t know what Putin has in his mind and what will be his decision.”…
the Heretick said:
boilerplate. good guy/bad guy. standard fare for the corporate owned and controlled western media, as opposed to the corp. state controlled Russian media.
and what difference is there really? whether the state owns the media, or the corp. elite own the media? the big money calls the shots.
and for the average working Joe and Jill around the world the machine continues to grind them down.
no choice really, same as the old boss. the deed to the plantation passes to a new owner, or not.
samey, samey, hopey, changey.
Almost done with your guest post…
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