On Drunks Flying Planes

We don’t allow drunks to fly planes.

Because we understand that alcoholism is common, partly genetic, and very dangerous at 30,000 feet.

We therefore screen pilots to keep ourselves safe.

And alcoholics support this policy because they also want to fly safely.

Why do we allow our leaders to deny reality?

Reality denial is common, mostly genetic, and very dangerous.

Many key government policies are rooted in reality denial, and will cause much more harm than a plane crash.

Why don’t citizens demand we screen leaders for reality denial?

Because most citizens can’t see reality denial, and are not aware of Varki’s MORT theory.

And faster than you can say WASF, we’re back to denial of denial being the key impediment to making the future less bad.

137 thoughts on “On Drunks Flying Planes”

  1. Tim Watkins today with a different spin on why EVs will cause more problems that they solve. Personally, I’m not worried about this threat because I think the coming depression will make EVs too expensive for most people.

    https://consciousnessofsheep.co.uk/2020/11/27/the-real-great-reset/

    The modern global communications network along with all of the critical infrastructure we depend upon can only survive so long as it can access cheap energy. This has always been the technocracy’s blind spot because – until recently – energy has been viewed as just another low-cost input to production; costing much less, for example, than even the wages of a minimum wage worker. Rather than understanding that technology is both shaped and limited by its energy source, the technocracy has always mistakenly believed that technology is the driving force behind the economy. But here’s the rub; cheap energy is only cheap because its costs are spread widely across the 8bn humans residing on the planet. Consider, for example, the life-blood of the global economy – diesel fuel. For all of the nonsense spoken about electric cars, we still depend upon diesel to power heavy trucks, heavy mining and plant machinery, agricultural machines and shipping.

    Although different oil deposits vary, broadly an average barrel of oil will provide 43 percent petrol, 23 percent diesel and heating oil, nine percent aviation fuel and four percent heavy shipping oil. The remaining 21 percent is used to create a plethora of important by-products such as lubricants, asphalt for road surfaces and chemical feedstocks for a host of products from toothpaste to paint and pharmaceuticals.

    Now consider what would happen if we could wave Schwab’s magic wand and swap all of the petrol-powered cars and light vehicles for electric and hydrogen ones. Suddenly, 43 percent of every barrel of oil we extract would have gone from being a valuable product which can be widely sold, to an expensive waste product that we must somehow dispose of; presumably in an environmentally-friendly way (so not burning it). Some, perhaps, might be mixed with heavy oil from tar sands – as is currently done with fracked shale oil – to create an approximation of diesel. But the lost revenue from the petrol together with the cost of safely disposing it must now be loaded onto the price of the remaining 57 percent of the barrel. This, in turn, means that all of those other products must more than double in price. The result – assuming central banks don’t repeat the catastrophic error of 2006 – is that consumer demand for the products which use or are transported by the remaining 57 percent of each barrel must also fall until, in the end, mining, farming, transportation and even oil extraction itself becomes so costly that bankruptcy becomes inevitable… a recipe of mass starvation!

    If we were talking solely about replacing an energy source that provided a tiny fraction of our primary energy, this might not be a problem. In strictly energy terms (i.e. setting aside the impact on climate) if all of the wind turbines and solar panels on Earth were to disappear overnight, we would barely notice that they had gone. Oil, in contrast, is still the single biggest fuel source driving the global economy. And much as you might not like the environmental consequences of burning it, you are going to dislike the material consequences of its disappearance far more.

    Peak oil extraction had already occurred before SARS-CoV-2 put in an appearance; and the pandemic may provide politicians and economists with an excuse to ignore it. With a large part of the developed world still subject to restrictions and lockdowns, demand for oil has fallen and extraction curtailed; allowing the illusion that when it is over we will simply go back to where we were at the end of 2019. Unfortunately though, much of the resource that was shut down will be too expensive to bring back on line at a price that a severely depressed post-pandemic economy can afford.

    The future shortages that Herr Schwab would accidentally inflict upon humanity in the belief that he was saving us from a climate emergency are built into the system anyway. There is no currently available energy mix which allows us to continue to grow the industrial economy in the aftermath of the pandemic; and the attempt to do so risks an even greater humanitarian catastrophe than it aims to prevent. If there is to be a viable reset of any kind, it will be akin to what I have called a “brown new deal” in which we use what remains of the energy available to us to de-grow, de-materialise and re-localise our economies while saving some, at least, of the benefits of our current way of life such as basic healthcare and access to clean drinking water. Unfortunately, as the old adage has it, people would much prefer Herr Schwab’s reassuring fantasies to my inconvenient truths.

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  2. “Pollard’s Law of Human Beliefs: We believe what we want to believe, not what is actually true. We want to believe in happy endings, simple answers, the inevitability of progress, self-control, karma, responsibility, destiny, miracles, a proper order of things, the power of love, and infinite human capacity and agency. Most of us want to believe in a higher power that can step in when we falter. We want to believe what those in our circles of trust believe (even if it’s crazy, gaslighting or propaganda). So we tend to seek sources that reinforce those beliefs and ignore those that undermine or unsettle them. Our hopes and expectations are determined by those beliefs. Our worldview is the sum of those beliefs, hopes and expectations, and bears no necessary resemblance to truth or reality. This invented reality is the only way we can make sense of a world that is vastly too complex to ever make sense of.”

    I wonder if Dave Pollard is aware of Varki?

    Liked by 2 people

          1. Don’t worry about me. I didn’t pay the bill again. May let it rest for a while. But, the question is “Why don’t we screen physicists for reality denial?” But then again, maybe they’re aware of reality but just aren’t telling us.

            Liked by 1 person

              1. Thanks Rob, oblivion can always be around the next corner but I think the universe wants me to waste some more fossil fuels to make more brain babble before all is said and done.

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                    1. Yes, I too should engage more, but it’s better to listen to articulate people like yourself and James than say “Ditto” like some other idiots. You supply the emotional support for what is a lonely vigil of supporting awareness of denial and entropy driven existence. This “holiday” has been exceptionally depressing when one has family that insists that everything will get better in this best of everything world (don’t they understand that Voltaire in Candide was being ironic?). I too have always thought that incompetence, ignorance and denial explain the world so much better than conspiracy. Conspiracy always seems to require superior competence that I never see in business, government or academic science. Denial I see everywhere (even in myself once in a while as a coping mechanism (useful when not drinking!!)).
                      AJ

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Thanks. I catch myself denying reality on a regular basis, and have to tell myself to cut it out. It’s amazing how many different voices there are in our heads.

                      A small tip for reducing depression that helps me. There is more than one way to look at the same reality. One view is to be depressed knowing that everything is trending in a bad direction and darkness may not be far into the future. Another view is to be aware and grateful for how good many things are today. I smile, for example, when I turn on the water tap, or cook a nice meal with food from my fridge.

                      Liked by 1 person

            1. Let that rest be short, James, since your voice is irreplaceable and unique in collapse studies, and with a collapse in process we can’t afford to rest (or maybe that’s exactly what we should do?)
              Cheers!

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    1. About Covid and conspiracy – wasn’t CIA that created the term “conspiracy theory” as a curse word to stop all questions about its activities?
      I don’t think conspiracy is required for Covid – most people are deathly scared of death and will do all kind of stupid things when panicked.

      What do you think about the actual disease though? All statistics point to something like a flu despite all the propaganda (https://swprs.org/covid19-facts/)

      Why don’t you talk more about it – after all here is a perfect example where the fear of death and denial of death lead to major changes in human society. Weird that you are ignoring this…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re right, I don’t talk about Covid much because what should have remained a science based issue has become a political issue devoid of intelligent discussion. I try to avoid politics because it’s a distraction from the important issues that we collectively deny and should be discussing.

        Since you asked, this is what I think about Covid:
        – I think the probability is high that the virus was created in the Wuhan lab by people with good intentions seeking fame and fortune, and that it escaped by human error.
        – I think the WHO was criminally incompetent in the early days and should not be forgiven.
        – I think our leaders should focus much more on prevention strategies (weight, diet, vitamin D, etc.).
        – I’m hopeful that my lifestyle will protect me from serious harm if I get Covid, but accept there is some risk due to my age and random luck that I could become very ill with permanent damage to my health.
        – I therefore am being reasonably careful not to catch and spread the virus.
        – I will let some millions of other people beta test the vaccines before I take one.
        – I expect things to become worse before they become better, and have prepared as best I can.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks for your reply and for what it’s worth, I agree.
          I am also trying hard to avoid politics discussions – just like talking about sports, it serves no purpose other than the “5 minutes of hate” that stops people from actually revolting. I prefer to spend my time trying to see the big picture (so reading history) or physically working for the future (gardening).

          That being said, it is amazing how fast societies have switched from corrupt, neoliberal oligarchies to fascist, authoritarian oligarchies.

          I think there are some lessons we can learn from that and I would like to hear your opinion. We thought it’s impossible to convince people to recycle for example but it turns out that if govt/massmedia/corps are behind the propaganda, you can convince people of almost anything!

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      2. You’re political beer boy. Don’t pretend you have any interest in Covid other than your political/conspiracy agenda.

        Swiss Policy Research – gimme a fucking break.

        Plandemic & The Great Reset are crisis cults for wealthy nation whites, mostly, Americans, mostly men & mostly conservative who cannot accept limits to growth has caught up with their exceptional ass. For the educated middle class whites this is the 1st overshoot consequence that wasn’t abstract. Up till now it was 3rd worlders & deplorables who’ve suffered. 1st sign of adversity & y’all fold like a cheap suit & go running to crisis cults that will tell you, you’re special & a victim of evil forces. All those endless hours of collapse studying,, analysis, commenting & predictions on Overshoot consequences & timing have been stuffed down the memory hole because they’ll fuck up the plandemic-reset narrative. Your limbic systems trumped a decade of collapse study in an instant.

        Nope, declining net energy & limits to growth that neither governments, corporations or consumers can paper over with ever more retarded levels of debt. Doomers have done nothing but talk about these topics since WWW day 1. They love to talk about declining energy, the systemic nature of collapse, historical comparisons, physics, evolution, bla bla bla then when the next step down happens & some of it happens to them it’s all the plot of a hyper competent cabal of super elites. Tell yourself.

        I can’t count the number of journeyman doomers who’ve lost their shit with Covid, proving once again that adversity brings out ones true character. I can’t imagine how y’all will react when things get really fucked up, but I would not pick any of you for my team.

        In addition to being another irritating American conspiracy phenomena, your plandemic hysterics make y’all look fucking weak. Mark your foreheads with a V for I’m a victim. Most of you ain’t gonna last more than another round or two.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. It’s true. A lot of formally wise and aware people are losing their shit. It’s not hard to imagine how food and energy scarcity, when it comes, will be Mad Max, rather than a relatively civil rationing exercise like WWII. We’ve become soft and entitled.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Kurt Cobb today on trouble in the oil industry…

    http://resourceinsights.blogspot.com/2020/11/low-prices-batter-oil-industry-and.html

    It is a sign of the times that the largest oil company in the world, Saudi Aramco, the state oil company of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, must borrow money to pay its shareholder dividend. I have written about the twice-delayed and often troubled initial public offering of the company previously (here and here).

    Now it seems that the cash which the company is generating from operations is far less than the dividend payout—which leaves nothing for new drilling to replace reserves and other capital expenditures needed to keep the company going. Hence, the need to borrow.

    All of this is due, in part, to low oil prices. And, the Saudis are not the only ones suffering, of course. U.S. producers, mostly those focused on high-cost shale deposits, continue to head toward bankruptcy or merge with other stronger companies. Another part of the equation is heavy debt. Naive investors kept handing over fresh capital, oblivious to the fact that the shale oil and gas industry as a whole has been free cash flow negative for years. That’s okay for a few years, but as a long-run strategy it means a company is simply consuming the capital of its investors.

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    1. Signal v. Noise?
      I know this has been gone over by others before (Chris Martenson). I am not a statistician or epidemiologist, but I did get a degree in biology and rigorously learned the scientific method (falsifiability) and only then became a lawyer (sadly;)). The question here is: Is this charting of cases a true signal or is it noise (a political agenda?)?
      The problem is that “cases” (from my cursory reading of: https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cid/ciaa1491/5912603) in Europe and the U.S. are based on a PCR replication of 35 – 40 cycles. IF that is correct then it would appear the media and governments reactions to a rise in cases is misplaced. The referenced article appears to support a reading that at 35 – 40 cycles some 90% of the positive results are false. AND that any policy based on that reading is probably misinformed. Please, someone tell me why this is wrong? Has the media/government decided on an incorrect result and they are then denying the correct result? It wouldn’t be the first time.
      AJ

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      1. Sounds like you know a lot more than I do on this issue. I see I made a mistake and posted the wrong graph. I intended to post this one comparing the death rate which I think most people agree is a better statistic to monitor. Do you see a problem with the death rate graph?

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        1. I generally think the death graphs are accurate. I know that there is a whole group of people claiming that deaths from Covid-19 are inaccurate. I have not seen (hopefully no wilful blindness on my part) any studies disputing the deaths. I have seen breakdowns of the deaths showing the vast majority (but of course not all) are in elderly and those with underlying conditions (with obesity and it’s attendent pathologies being foremost).
          AJ

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Alice Friedemann on offshore wind turbines…

    http://energyskeptic.com/2020/navigant-2013-offshore-wind-manufacturing-and-supply-change-development/

    The Department of Energy high wind penetration plans require a lot of offshore wind. But is it possible, affordable, or wise to do this? Corrosion leads to a short lifespan of just 15 years. To reduce maintenance, offshore windmills use limited rare earth metals. A 500 MW offshore wind farm could cost $3.04 billion dollars (Table A-1). The materials (i.e. steel & concrete) needed for 730,099 2 MW windmills in America are staggering. Offshore turbines of 6 MW weigh 757 tons, nearly 2.5 times more than onshore turbines (table 4.3), each one weighing as much as 505 cars of 3,000 pounds each. Most components are made in China and Europe, so supply chain disruptions would delay repairs or repowering.

    Wind turbines can be battered, rusted, corroded, or destroyed by tides, storms, hurricanes, lightning, icebergs, floes, large waves, and marine growth, shortening their lives and increasing maintenance and operation costs.

    Why build risky, expensive, short-lived offshore wind farms if a renewable electric grid may not be possible given the lack of a national grid, lack of commercial-level utility-scale energy storage, and the insurmountable issue of seasonal wind and solar? Peak oil occurred in 2018, so sometime within the next 10 years oil shocks will hit and be too precious for building such contraptions, and oil will eventually be rationed mainly to agriculture (if government is not controlled by libertarians, republicans, or demagogues), and after that, the center will not hold. Best to use the energy to build offshore wind turbines on creating organic farms and other postcarbon strategies.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bill Gates and Yuval Harari thrash around today trying to explain why most humans believe lies (aka deny reality).

    Unfortunately their just so stories are weak because they are not aware of Varki’s MORT theory.

    Most modern societies place a high value on truth and honesty—but people can’t seem to resist falsehoods, from little white lies to vast conspiracy theories. In our third podcast episode, Rashida and I attempt to answer a question that feels like it has taken on extra relevance this year: why do people believe lies?

    https://www.gatesnotes.com/Podcast/Why-do-we-believe-lies

    Dear Bill and Rashida,

    It was a pleasure to speak with you yesterday – thanks for having me on the podcast. After we said goodbye, I kept thinking about one salient point that should be made crystal clear. It is a key to understanding human history in general and conspiracy theories in particular.

    When speaking about conspiracy theories, it is vital to distinguish lies from fictions. When you lie, your intention is to deceive. But fictions are often spread in good faith. Suppose you see a Youtube video explaining that Bill Gates created the coronavirus in a secret laboratory in order to take over the world, and you then forward this video to all your friends and relatives. The people who created the video in the first place might have deceived you intentionally. But you send the video to your friends and relatives because you sincerely believe it. You are not trying to deceive anyone.

    It is vital to make this distinction, because otherwise we cannot understand the popularity of conspiracy theories, nor can we combat them effec­tively. If you tell people who believe in some conspiracy theory that they are lying, it will only anger them – and for a good reason. They may not know much about viruses, but they do know what’s going on in their own minds, and they know for a fact that they are not lying – they have no malicious intent of deceiving anyone.

    Quite often, even the leaders who create the conspiracy theory really believe in it. A case in point is Nazism. When we think “conspiracy theories” we usually think small – things like “who murdered JFK?” or “who was behind 9/11?”. But Nazism too was basically a conspiracy theory about a cabal of Jewish financiers that rule the world behind the scenes and orchestrated Germany’s defeat in the First World War. This particular conspira­cy theory has earned the more respectful name of “ideology”, because it has managed to take over an entire country and launch the worst war in history. But it was still a conspiracy theory.

    In the case of Nazism, all the evidence indicates that even Hitler and most of the Nazi leadership sincerely believed in the conspiracy theory. They were of course happy to lie about many other things, but they honestly believed in the core tenets of Nazism. It is important to acknowledge this, because dealing with fanatics who sincerely believe in a ludicrous story requires very different methods than dealing with cynics who deliberately deceive their followers.

    Yours,

    Yuval

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    1. Nice one Harari. Using the Bernays handbook you now associate conspiracy theories with Hitler and Nazism and give central bankers a pat on the back. I am sure there was no conspiracy to murder the Iranian nuclear scientist. To think so puts you league with Nazis and Hitler, so just don’t go there. And there was no conspiracy to steal the elections in the U.S. either and Antifa is a natural, home-grown organization and……………………………… Sorry, I didn’t mean to be a conspiracy theorist because they’re so bad, …………..bad, bad, bad. It makes you wonder what they’re plotting next.

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      1. To James: what do you expect? Gates is the oligarch par excellence and as for Harari, most intellectuals throughout history knew very well who pays for there nice cushy lives. Just read the Roman philosophers defending slavery.

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        1. I expect chimp dissipatives to lie, cheat, steal, plot and murder their way to energy and survival. What else has life been doing on earth for the last few billion years? The atrocities become easier to commit if somehow you believe your own tribe is the chosen one and the others, because of their inferiority, had it coming to them. If somehow we could resurrect the woolly mammoth and Neanderthals we would just murder them and make them go extinct again while maximizing our own growth and profit (which also happens to make us happy). With a decrease in available energy and some climate chaos thrown in, the competition should be quite intense. The propaganda, surveillance and Crispr machines will be working overtime.

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    1. This will turn out to be a textbook case of deferred maintenance. From what I’ve read, the cause was corrosion on the cables. Growing up in the San Francisco bay area, the Golden Gate Bridge is regularly worked on and repainted, given its exposure to ocean air and fog. There may not have been the money available to keep Arecibo in top shape; looks like it would be a difficult structure to work on. But then, this may be a recurring pattern going forward – there won’t be enough money and resources to maintain everything we’ve built.

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      1. Yes, I think you’re right. I saw another video explaining the engineering challenges (and very high cost) to fix it.

        I enjoy watching documentaries on how people lived 100-150 years ago. They provide good insight into what’s coming in the not too distant future.

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  6. Another example of someone who gets almost everything correct, except what matters.

    I left this comment on the video: “Your assessment of our predicament is correct but your conclusion on what to do about it conflicts with the evidence you collected. The only thing that will help is the only thing you did not mention: Democratically supported rapid population reduction policies.”

    h/t Mike Stasse

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  7. The collapse of advanced technology has indeed begun Rob. And who is the god of that collapsing technology? The super-smart god of mathematics and classical physics and atheism. The god that the Gnostics, Newton (who was an alchemist), Blake and Einstein discovered but refused to worship.

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    1. I do not understand what you’re saying. Please clarify if it’s important.

      This video is by The Middle Way Society. Their about page on YouTube provides some obtuse philosophical mumbo jumbo that makes no sense. I looked them up on Wikipedia and they are a derivative of Buddhism which is one of thousands of religions that believes in life after death so I won’t be watching it because I already have plenty of evidence in support of Varki’s MORT theory.

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      1. Thanks Rob!
        I started watching this at 2 a.m. and after a few minutes figured I’d let someone else comment first (either my brain hadn’t woken up yet or I was stupid). For me when they start mentioning GOD I start thinking there is something irrational here and do I want to invest in the time necessary to figure out what it is. I agreed with one of your past comments on Richard Dawkins and denial but think he is somewhat redeemed by the fact that he came up with two ideas that resonate with me: 1. God is a virus meme that people infect children with (and it took me way to long to rid myself of); and 2. That the fact that as a species and individuals we should take great joy in the fact that we exist and have a consciousness that can appreciate nature/evolution and how improbable that event/existence is (from Climbing Mt. Improbable).
        Thanks,
        AJ

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        1. Yes, there are plenty of science based reasons for us to rejoice and to be in awe of our existence. The fact that most people need some god to be happy reinforces my belief that the core reason religions exist is to support our genetic need to deny death, as Varki’s MORT theory explains. Everything else about religion is window dressing.

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      2. I guess it’s not important. Too much booze makes me philosophical and then I may post something I regret next day. So today I have a few questions and tomorrow never knows.
        1) In your opinion, what is the function of the brain? What does it do? How does it do it and why?
        2) You write about reality denial. In your opinion, what exactly is reality? For example physicist Sir Rudolf Peierls admitted that he doesn’t know that. If reality is a mystery, or mumbo-jumbo, then what is denial of a mystery? Isn’t that denial mumbo-jumbo too?
        3) Overshoot is obvious but wasn’t it inevitable after we discovered fossil fuels? Overshoot is like Mount Everest, of course it’s too big but that’s not the point.
        4) About belief in life after death despite zero supporting evidence and plentiful contradictory evidence. Here’s an engineer who researched life after death for decades. His expert opinion was that the evidence supporting life after death is very good. And where’s the contradictory evidence? That question is like ‘where’s the evidence that dragons do not exist’? You cannot have such evidence.

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        1. I’m not going down those time wasting rabbit holes. If you think there is any doubt about the function of the brain, or the existence of reality, or life after death, then this is not the place for you to discuss those issues. There are thousands of other sites that will welcome you.

          I do agree that fossil energy made human overshoot inevitable, but we first had to simultaneously evolve high intelligence with denial of unpleasant realities, which is an amazing and improbable event that this site focusses on.

          I looked up Arthur Ellison just long enough to learn that he was a paranormal researcher who converted from Christianity to Islam late in his life, which tells me he has a triple-dose of reality denial genes, so I won’t be wasting any time on his thoughts.

          That was your last post on this site.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I always make time for Matt Taibbi.

    Maybe this explains why Al Jazeera is my favorite source of news these days.

    The five media behemoths who own more than 90% of all US media outlets (Comcast, Viacom, Disney, Time Warner, Newscorp) have discovered that its much more profitable to focus on discrete audience segments and give them the information they want to hear.

    Which is why the former approach of “just the facts” reporting to a general audience has practically disappeared. There’s less money in it.

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  9. Gail #2 picks up where Gail #1 left off.

    Here’s Gail #1’s final post at the end of 2019…
    http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2019/11/well-well-well-i-can-hang-up-my-hat.html

    The spread of modern humans out of Africa has caused a sixth mass extinction, a greater than 40,000-year event extending from the disappearance of Ice Age mammals to the destruction of rainforests by civilisation today. But were other humans the first casualties?

    We are a uniquely dangerous species. We hunted wooly mammoths, ground sloths and moas to extinction. We destroyed plains and forests for farming, modifying over half the planet’s land area. We altered the planet’s climate. But we are most dangerous to other human populations, because we compete for resources and land.

    History is full of examples of people warring, displacing and wiping out other groups over territory, from Rome’s destruction of Carthage, to the American conquest of the West and the British colonisation of Australia. There have also been recent genocides and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, Darfur and Myanmar. Like language or tool use, a capacity for and tendency to engage in genocide is arguably an intrinsic, instinctive part of human nature. There’s little reason to think that early Homo sapiens were less territorial, less violent, less intolerant – less human.

    Here’s Gail #2’s post today…
    https://ourfiniteworld.com/2020/12/02/humans-left-sustainability-behind-as-hunter-gatherers/

    With the use of fire, pre-humans had many powers. They spent less time chewing, so they could spend more time making tools. They could burn down entire forests, if they so chose, to provide a better environment for the desired types of wild plants to grow. They could use the heat from fire to move to colder environments than the one to which they were originally adapted, thus allowing a greater total population.

    Once pre-humans could outcompete other species, the big problem became diminishing returns. For example, once the largest beasts were killed off, only smaller beasts were available to eat. The amount of effort required to kill these smaller beasts was not proportionately less, however.

    In this post, I will explain further the predicament we seem to be in. We have deviated so far from the natural economy that we really cannot go back. At the same time, the limits we are reaching are straining our economic system in many ways. Some type of discontinuity, or collapse, seems to be not very far away.

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  10. Another Themist gives up and goes dark. This time it’s Post Peak Medicine.

    https://postpeakmedicine.wordpress.com/2020/12/03/the-end-of-an-era/

    The End of an Era

    With the Winter Solstice approaching, it’s that time of year when we look to the past and the future, review our successes and failures during the old year and try to predict what the New Year might bring.

    I’d like to start off with an announcement: this will be my last post on this blog as I am planning to shut down this blog and the accompanying Post Peak Medicine website early in the New Year. To explain why I am doing this and to put it into context, I would like to take you on a super-fast tour through the 300,000 year history of our species, compressed into about 10 minutes.

    Our species – Homo sapiens – evolved about 300,000 years ago, and until about 10,000 years ago we lived a roaming, hunter-gatherer life. We occupied a place at or near the top of the food chain and coexisted with a great many other species without threatening their existence or the integrity of our shared habitat.

    About 10,000 years ago the first human civilisations emerged, based on sedentary agriculture and the domestication of plants and animals, initially in the Middle East between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in an area which corresponds to parts of modern day Iraq, Kuwait, Syria and Turkey. The first settlements were founded on the fertile lands bordering the rivers and were sustainable, but as the population grew and the area of cultivated land increased, it became necessary to develop irrigation channels to bring water to the drier land further away from the rivers. This proved to be unsustainable as the soil became increasingly saline and the settlements in those areas declined – probably the earliest example of the diminishing returns of technology.

    Over the next 10,000 years, as numerous civilisations and empires rose and fell, the human population of the planet gradually increased and our effect on local ecosystems became increasingly noticeable. For example, large areas and sometimes whole countries were deforested in order to create more arable and grazing land to feed the growing human population – the United Kingdom being a case in point. Some civilisations collapsed through over-population and severe environmental degradation, for example, those of the Mayans and Easter Islanders. Nevertheless, these failures were the exception rather than the rule. Most human civilizations continued to exist sustainably, to coexist with other species and not permanently damage the carrying capacity of the environment.

    The next major turning point for human civilisation came in the mid-18th century with the exploitation of fossil fuels, starting with coal in Britain, to power new inventions such as the steam engine, spinning and weaving machinery and new iron and steel manufacturing processes. The Industrial Revolution improved the quality of life for most people who participated in it, and made a few industrialists fabulously wealthy, but it was unsustainable from the start. The earth only has a finite amount of fossil fuel, and once it has been burnt and released its energy, it can never be re-burnt.

    The world’s human population at the start of the Industrial Revolution was about 1 billion. With increasing quality of life, better sanitation and more efficient food production, the population increased to around 2 billion in 1930, 4 billion in 1974, 6 billion in 1999 and 7.8 billion today. It has more than doubled during my lifetime. Not only is this rate of increase unsustainable, but it is unsustainable for the numbers to continue at the current level even without any further increase. Most of today’s population is fed by the burning of fossil fuels and depletion of topsoil, minerals, fresh water and fish in the ocean, all of which are non-replaceable within any realistic timeframe. When these finally go away we will find out what the carrying capacity of the planet really is, and my guess is that it’s probably less than the one billion people who lived at the start of the Industrial Revolution when fossil fuels, topsoil, fresh water and fish were abundant.

    The people who were around at the start of the Industrial Revolution couldn’t possibly have known that they were setting human civilisation on an unsustainable course. They had no way of knowing that burning coal in Britain would eventually lead to global warming, the melting of the polar ice caps, sea level rise, 10,000 mile long fossil fuel powered food supply chains and the death of the Great Barrier Reef – how could they? However, increasing numbers of warning lights have been flickering on our civilisation’s dashboard since the 1950s. These include M King Hubbert’s warning about peak oil (1956), Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), the Limits to Growth report (1972), the 1970s oil crises (1973 and 1979), the beginning of the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef (1980), the collapse of the Newfoundland cod fishery due to over-fishing (1992), the Great Financial Crisis (2008) and increasingly strident warnings about climate change and species extinction – including possibly our own. Most of these warnings have been ignored, or at least, not acted upon effectively.

    I came onto this scene rather late. Born in 1959, I didn’t take much notice of most of the above, assuming, as most people did, that governments had it all in hand and knew what they were doing. In 2008 I became aware of the existence of peak oil and the impossibility of perpetual growth on a finite planet, and I decided to try to do something about it. I thought that perhaps if I wrote a book about how one might create a workable healthcare system in a post peak oil society, it might wake up and persuade some people. Hence, “Post Peak Medicine” (the book and website) were born in 2010 and have been online ever since. In the last ten years, to the best of my knowledge, they have woken up and persuaded precisely nobody, although a lot of people have read them who were probably thinking along those lines already.

    Food, fresh water, energy, minerals, manufactured goods and humans are all going to decrease in quantity from now on until they reach a new equilibrium at a fraction of their current levels, which will probably be a few hundred years in the future. This is going to happen whether we like it or not, and whether we plan for it or not. Reality requires it, and is going to do it for us if we don’t do it for ourselves. Despite this, governments, economists, the mainstream media and the general public are still calling for more material, economic, energy and population growth, although there has been a shift towards the rhetoric of “green energy”, “green growth” and “sustainable growth” and much talk (although considerably less action) about the need to limit climate change.

    Ten years is enough. If the world has ignored 60 years of warnings including 10 years from me, it is unlikely to start listening any time soon, I’m not planning to spend any more time or energy trying to persuade it, and I’m closing down the Post Peak Medicine book, website and blog. Instead, I’m directing my energy into learning how to grow food for myself and my family and developing my knowledge about toxic plants (see my previous post) in the hope of developing safe and effective plant-based anaesthetics which may be of some practical use to people in the future. I’ve set up a new website and blog at toxicplants.co.uk and toxicplantscouk.blogspot.com respectively, and I’ll continue to publish a blog quarterly, with the emphasis (as the name suggests) on toxic plants, and maybe a few edible plants as well. Please feel free to visit and comment!

    Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Or a good Winter Solstice if that’s your preference.

    Slaynt vie, bea veayn, beeal fliugh as baase ayns Mannin

    P.S. Themist is a much better name for doomers proposed by Gail Zawacki here:

    http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2019/07/in-praise-of-themis.html

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even Jay Hanson said he wished he’d spent his time differently. I guess it’s not that we can’t figure-out how to save ourselves, it’s that we deny the need to do it. We’re also trained to function in a technological metabolism and don’t have the means or know-how to back away from it and stay alive too. It also seems that the AI revolution is just another God-like denial of death belief system that will keep us on the technological track until we are sorely disappointed. Regarding anesthetics I would recommend poppies.

      Like

      1. I sent an email to the Sackler Family Charitable Trust asking if they would ship me a life ending mega-dose of Oxycontin. They said no, but sent me a PDF with the names of 50,000 Dr’s who will gladly write me Oxycontin prescriptions every week. Not enough to kill me. Just enough to keep me strung out for years until my organs fail.

        It’s good that we have oligarchs who care.

        The case for prosecuting the Sacklers and other opioid executives

        Opioid company executives and owners are set to walk away from the drug overdose crisis as billionaires. There’s another way.

        https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/10/10/20881636/sacklers-purdue-opioid-epidemic-prison-prosecution-criminal-investigation

        Indeed there’s another way.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I would say that a third of your Blogroll posts so infrequently they might as well not exist either. I think most of them have come to the conclusion that it’s not worth beating a dead horse. Another third sounds like a broken record. You, Rob continue to keep your posts interesting which is why I come to your website every day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words.

      I think what keeps me going is that it’s just so damn interesting that 99% of 8 billion people selectively turn off their impressive intelligence when confronted with something unpleasant like overshoot, despite it being in-your-face obvious, including the recursive fact that denying overshoot makes the outcome even more unpleasant.

      It’s amazing!

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I remember as a kid in the 70’s growing up in Campbell River, the “salmon capital of the world”, a flotilla of small boats going out every evening to fill up with their limit (and often illegal over limit) of coho salmon. Everyone thought the coho were infinite; today they are mostly gone.

    https://desdemonadespair.net/2020/12/tire-dust-killing-coho-salmon-returning-to-puget-sound-new-research-shows-i-find-it-incredibly-sad-to-watch-the-adults-when-they-are-sick.html

    First they circle. Then they gasp at the surface of the water. Soon they can’t swim. Then they die.

    For decades now, scientists have known something was killing beautiful, adult coho salmon as soon as they hit Seattle’s urban waters, ready to spawn. They had escaped the orcas, the fishermen, traveled thousands of miles, only to be mysteriously killed as soon as they finally reached home.

    In a breakthrough paper published in the Dec. 3 issue of Science [pdf] a team of researchers revealed the culprit behind the deaths of coho in an estimated 40% of the Puget Sound area — a killer so lethal it takes out 40 to 90% of returning coho to some urban streams before they spawn. It is a killer hidden in plain sight.

    Tires.

    More specifically, a single chemical, 6PPD-quinone, derived from a preservative that helps tires last longer.

    Like

  13. Hello Rob, I’ve seen you mention here that you volunteer at an organic farm, have you come across Professor Rattan Lal’s work on carbon sequestration via increasing soil organic matter content? He notes that it’s possible to return up to 2.5 gigatons of carbon to soil per year (and thereby decrease the need for NPK fertilisers and pesticides, look up Singing Frogs farm to see how this looks in action), which has the potential to remove up to 157 ppm CO2 from the atmosphere by 2100. This is a recent talk from him: https://youtu.be/a-YDypJ4vBQ?t=1455

    Like

    1. Thanks, I’ll watch the video.

      I do work on a small organic farm. We do what we can to reduce inputs by composting, mulching, cover cropping, seed saving, using electric golf carts for farm chores, and lots of manual labor, but we are still very dependent on organic fertilizer and manure shipped to the farm with diesel trucks, and diesel to run our small tractors, and diesel to run our truck which delivers produce to market, and gasoline to run our chain saws and mowers, and synthetic fabric for crop covers, and PVC for irrigation pipes, and plastic for greenhouse skins, and electricity for irrigation pumps, and electricity for produce refrigeration, and electricity for seedling lighting/heating, and steel and plastic for fencing, and natural gas for greenhouse heating, etc.

      A few years ago I worked for a different farm that used almost zero fossil carbon. Our soil was exceptionally fertile due to it being a drained bog, but we were depleting it and could not have continued for long without fertilizer inputs. We also scythed and thrashed our grains and legumes by hand. I therefore have a pretty good sense of what is possible and what is not possible.

      I have a good friend who is a retired university professor with a PhD in soil science. I will ask him if your claims are reasonable and feasible.

      Like

      1. Hi, thanks for the swift reply. The idea of carbon sequuestration via soil is supported by plenty of peer-reviewed science, for example:

        Global Potential of Soil Carbon Sequestration to Mitigate the Greenhouse Effect
        https://doi.org/10.1080/713610854

        “An increase in atmospheric concentration of CO2 from 280 ppmv in 1750 to 367 ppmv in 1999 is attributed to emissions from fossil fuel combustion estimated at 270±30 Pg C and land use change at 136±55 Pg. Of the emissions from land use change, 78±12 Pg is estimated from depletion of soil organic carbon (SOC) pool. Most agricultural soils have lost 50 to 70% of their original SOC pool, and the depletion is exacerbated by further soil degradation and desertification. The restoration of degraded soils, conversion of agriculturally marginal lands to appropriate land use, and the adoption of recommended management practices on agricultural soils can reverse degradative trends and lead to SOC sequestration. Technological options for SOC sequestration on agricultural soils include adoption of conservation tillage, use of manures, and compost as per integrated nutrient management and precision farming strategies, conversion of monoculture to complex diverse cropping systems, meadow-based rotations and winter cover crops, and establishing perennial vegetation on contours and steep slopes. The global potential of SOC sequestration and restoration of degraded/desertified soils is estimated at 0.6 to 1.2 Pg C/y for about 50 years with a cumulative sink capacity of 30 to 60 Pg. The SOC sequestration is a costeffective strategy of mitigating the climate change during the first 2 to 3 decades of the 21st century. While improving soil quality, biomass productivity and enhanced environment quality, the strategy of SOC sequestration also buys us time during which the non-carbon fuel alternatives can take effect.”

        There does seem to be a dearth of people aware of this, but there’s at least one organisation promoting the idea, after COP21:

        “The international initiative “4 per 1000″, launched by France on 1 December 2015 at the COP 21, consists of federating all voluntary stakeholders of the public and private sectors (national governments, local and regional governments, companies, trade organisations, NGOs, research facilities, etc.) under the framework of the Lima-Paris Action Plan (LPAP). The aim of the initiative is to demonstrate that agriculture, and in particular agricultural soils can play a crucial role where food security and climate change are concerned.

        Every year, 30% of this carbon dioxide (CO2) is absorbed by plants thanks to the photosynthesis process. Then, when those plants die and decompose, the living organisms of the soil, such as bacteria, fungi or earthworms, transform them into organic matter. This carbon-rich organic material is essential for human nutrition because it retains water, nitrogen and phosphorus, essential for growing plants. Global soils contain 2 to 3 times more carbon than the atmosphere. If this carbon level increased by 0.4%, or 4 ‰ per year, in the first 30-40 cm of soil, the annual increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere would be significantly reduced.”

        https://www.4p1000.org/

        A nice infographic that your soil-scientist friend might be interested in:

        I think one element missed in a lot of typical organic farming these days is the role of human waste. Urine can be used to charge biochar, and humanure is a source of phosphate, which is yet another peak-name your element problem. Fermenting humanure can transform human waste into usable material in a few months, speaking from personal experience.

        Like

  14. Fears, Outbreaks, and Pandemics: Lessons Learned

    November 14, 2019

    “Infectious outbreaks have shaped the psyche of humanity for times immemorial. Epidemics and pandemics propagate fear and erratic behavior and, long after they are over, remain entrenched within the global psyche, often in the form of folk tale and literary or historical accounts. Naturally, logically, and unsurprisingly, the larger the scale of an outbreak, the larger the impact and magnitude of its sequelae. The black plague pandemic, starting in 1345, claimed up to 100 million lives and is still the topic of lively speculation and research to this day; the influenza pandemic of 1918 still receives attention. The Table summarizes major historical outbreaks, with estimated lives affected.”

    https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/fears-outbreaks-and-pandemics-lessons-learned

    I think if I wrote a book on pandemics, I’d call it – ‘Pandemics: A History of Humans Losing Their Shit’

    I’ve read at least a dozen pandemic history books & listened to a few ‘Great Courses’ lecture series on pandemics & the humans do what they always do when they feel threatened & are under pressure for a lengthy period of time.

    Even here in warn-N-fuzzy BC with obedient citizens and low per capita deaths & economic support, I can see the pressure getting to the plebs. Pandemic fatigue. I’ve seen a number of people go off at someone for not wearing a mask & plenty of bitching & moaning in grocery store line ups. I lost my shit the other day in the line up & yelled at the loud guy complaining to his buddy to ‘STFU.’ ‘What?’ You heard me – none of us want to hear your fucking belly aching!. He shut up, but part of me hoped he carried on because I had so much adrenaline I would have snapped him like a twig & my inner barbarian wanted to. For months now there seems to be 1 or 2 ass holes loudly complaining in line about pandemic ‘bullshit’ – like they’re the only ones who have to deal with it. I’ve also watched some white people complaining on the bus about immigrants & protecting ‘our culture’……. whatever that is.

    I enjoyed this one the most.

    The Great Courses – The Black Death: The World’s Most Devastating Plague – Dorsey Armstrong

    “In the late 1340s, a cataclysmic plague shook medieval Europe to its core. The bacterial disease known to us as the Black Death swept westward across the continent, leaving a path of destruction from Crimea and Constantinople to Italy, France, Spain, and ultimately most of Europe, traveling as far west as England and Iceland. Within these locations, the plague killed up to 50% of the population in less than 10 years—a staggering 75 million dead.

    Many of us know the Black Death as a catastrophic event of the medieval world. But three vital elements of the story often go unrecognized:

    The Black Death was arguably the most significant event in Western history, profoundly affecting every aspect of human life, from the economic and social to the political, religious, and cultural.
    In its wake, the plague left a world that was utterly changed, forever altering the traditional structure of European societies and forcing a rethinking of every single system of Western civilization: food production and trade, the Church, political institutions, law, art, and more.
    In large measure, by the profundity of the changes it brought, the Black Death produced the modern world we live in today.

    While the story of the Black Death is one of destruction and loss, its breathtaking scope and effects make it one of the most compelling and deeply intriguing episodes in human history. Understanding the remarkable unfolding of the plague and its aftermath provides a highly revealing window not only on the medieval world but also on the forces that brought about the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, and modernity itself.

    Speaking to the full magnitude of this world-changing historical moment, The Black Death: The World’s Most Devastating Plague, taught by celebrated medievalist Dorsey Armstrong of Purdue University, takes you on an unforgettable excursion into the time period of the plague, its full human repercussions, and its transformative effects on European civilization.

    A Catastrophe Unprecedented in Human Experience

    In 24 richly absorbing lectures, you’ll follow the path of the epidemic in its complete trajectory across medieval Europe. You’ll examine the epidemiological causes of the disaster; the social panic it spawned; its influence on religion, society, politics, economics, and art; and the long-term consequences for a continent that, less than two centuries later, would have the technology and the wherewithal to explore a new world.

    In the process, you’ll learn about these remarkable and emblematic effects of the Black Death:

    By revealing the corruption and inadequacies of the Church in the face of people’s desperate need, the plague sowed the seeds of the Reformation.
    The plague upended the class system in Europe, permanently changing the balance of power between laborers and lords, peasants and nobles.
    The epidemic transformed social opportunities for the working and merchant classes: peasants could become clergy, serfs could become tenant farmers, merchants could marry into the nobility, and women could enter trades and professions.
    Perhaps most surprising of all, those who survived the plague were often wealthier than they’d been before, and had access to more opportunities.

    These changes utterly upended structures of social, economic, and religious power that had been in place for centuries, leaving chaos in their wake—and room for new ideas and institutions to arise.

    An Epic Story of Loss and Metamorphosis

    In measuring the Black Death’s vast societal impact, you’ll explore subject matter such as:

    The medical causes and underpinnings of the plague – Investigate the epidemiology of Yersinia pestis, the plague bacterium. You’ll study the three main varieties of plague, how the disease was transmitted, and how other disease factors may have contributed to the Black Death’s monumental devastation.
    The epidemic’s transit across medieval Europe – Track how the plague traveled by both maritime and overland trade routes, and witness the individual stories and shattering drama of its arrival in communities such as Florence, Avignon, Walsham, and Paris.
    The Black Death’s impact on religion and faith – Discover how the Church appeared powerless to provide any remedy or relief from the plague, which eroded its prestige, moral authority, and temporal power. Observe how direct expressions of religious devotion by common people, such as pilgrimage, flagellation, and veneration of saints, increased dramatically in response to the plague’s ravages.
    The plague and European economies – Examine how the huge loss of labor and manpower led to social mobility and greatly increased economic opportunities for workers and merchants, and accelerated the rise of the merchant class to rival the economic power of the nobility.
    Political reverberations of the Black Death – Grasp how the political scene in many places changed dramatically, as nobles came under new economic pressure. The traditional ruling order of those who fight (nobles), those who pray (clergy), and those who work (everyone else) was undone by the new power of labor and trade, and the nobles’ attempts to maintain their previous status triggered unrest and revolts.
    The historical legacy of the epidemic – Take account of the ways in which the events of the Black Death shaped the future of the West, leaving behind a world in which serfs could buy their freedom, and where, for the first time, leaders and governments were answerable to every level of society.

    The Astonishing Human Dimensions of the Plague

    In a masterful act of historical storytelling, Professor Armstrong reveals the unfolding of the plague as an endlessly surprising and enthralling saga, illuminating the story with vivid maps, works of art, and manuscripts, as well as gripping contemporary accounts by writers such as Boccaccio and Petrarch. In the course of the narrative, you’ll encounter the full spectrum of poignant human reactions to the epidemic, from terrified families abandoning their stricken children and clergy recoiling from the dying to astounding individual acts of compassion and self-sacrifice for loved ones and strangers alike.

    You’ll bear witness to many psychosocial responses, among them the Flagellant movement, whose members publicly tortured themselves to appease the wrath of God; the French town whose populace believed riotous merrymaking would keep the plague at bay; and a range of extreme behavior from hedonistic indulgence and crazed dancing to the tragic scapegoating of Jewish communities. In a fascinating view into the medieval mindset, you’ll explore 14th-century theories of the plague, from theological constructs to explanations of its origins in astrological conjunctions, “corrupted air,” and earthquakes. You’ll also encounter, in medical treatises, the singular figure of the plague doctor, dressed in broad-brimmed hat, long coat, and a beaked, birdlike mask filled with sweet-smelling herbs.

    Professor Armstrong details how the plague brought new forms of visual art, such as the extraordinary paintings of the Danse Macabre and Triumph of Death traditions. In the unusual economic climate of the times, plague-themed works of art were commissioned not only by the nobility, but also by the likes of bakers, gardeners, and blacksmiths. And you’ll discover how, in the midst of devastation, the plague directly inspired some of the greatest literary masterpieces the world has ever produced, such as the works of Boccaccio, William Langland, and Geoffrey Chaucer.

    Majestic in scope and remarkable in detail, The Black Death: The World’s Most Devastating Plague takes you to the heart of one of Western history’s most catalytic and galvanizing moments, the effects of which gave us the modern world.”

    http://audiobookbay.nl/audio-books/the-black-death-the-worlds-most-devastating-plague-dorsey-armstrong-2/

    Like

    1. Thanks for the tip. I also found the video version and am downloading.

      I too catch myself losing my shit from time to time. I especially get angry when I see an Alberta license plate driving around my community. I give them the finger to let them know they’re not welcome here spreading the fucking plague around.

      Like

  15. I’m always looking for people who explain the economy and our money system from a different perspective. I recently found this guy and I like him, although I often don’t understand him.

    Today he shows that none of the economic data makes any sense, which suggests something is broken in the system.

    There’s so much deflationary pressure in the system that even a massively weakening dollar is not enough to raise the price of oil and gold. Yet despite this, everyone is massively bulled up on risk assets and cannot see what’s right in front of them.

    Of course readers of un-denial know we’ve hit limits to growth in a system that requires growth. But this guy, not being a Themist, doesn’t know this, or more likely, denies this.

    In any case, he provides an interesting viewpoint.

    Like

  16. Hi Rob,

    Hope you are well.

    Linked below is a discussion between Daniel Schmachtenberger and Eric Weinstein. Danial and Eric discuss three futures facing humanity:

    Plan A – Business as Usual leading to resource depletion and catastrophic Climate Change
    Plan B – Humanity adapts to live within the confines of a finite planet
    Plan C – Humanity leaves planet Earth via yet discovered and developed technology

    Daniel argues Plan B and Eric plays devils advocate. This is a thought provoking conversation about the human condition and how we might adapt to survive an uncertain future. Recommended for those that enjoy deep and nuanced discussion as it relates to our current state of world and national affairs. As to their thoughts on death denial, it never comes up. Though having watched the complete conversation, one suspects that Daniel Schmachtenberger would understand the concept.

    Like

    1. Thank you. I’ve got a feeling I already listened to this episode but will re-listen in case I didn’t.

      My denial detectors are already lit up:

      Plan A implies we have more time before resource depletion and climate change become serious problems, which of course is not true, and anyone who thinks we have time to contemplate what to do is in deep denial.

      Plan C is not technically feasible with the energy we have at our disposal, and Weinstein being a physicist should know this, if he wasn’t in deep denial.

      Like

      1. Daniel argues Plan B because??

        Because in the last 50 years, by every single metric that matters, the humans have said FUCK YOU to plan B.

        Keep hoping (and talking) Danny boy in spite of ALL evidence to the contrary.

        HOPE, n. Desire and expectation rolled into one.

        http://www.thedevilsdictionary.com/h.html

        It’s just a different flavour of denial.

        Like

    2. Confirming I had already listened to this episode. It’s full of additional evidence that Weinstein denies our overshoot reality.

      There’s lots of impressive sounding intellectual language here, but little or no awareness of our most pressing and certain risks. Namely that the survival of 7 out of 8 people is totally dependent on rapidly depleting fossil energy, and on a climate that is irreversibly changing away from compatibility with large scale agriculture.

      If you pay attention they focus on problems that we can do something about, and ignore the problems that have no solutions except democratically supported rapid population reduction policies, which of course they do not discuss.

      More here.
      https://un-denial.com/2020/08/08/eric-weinstein-a-case-study-in-denial/

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Doug Nolan’s “irony” is actually genetic reality denial.

    Reality is that the people in charge don’t have a clue what’s going on.

    https://creditbubblebulletin.blogspot.com/2020/12/weekly-commentary-monetary-disorder-in.html

    There’s more than a little irony in former Fed chair Janet Yellen shepherding the administration’s efforts to rectify inequality. Reuters quoting Yellen: “There really is a new kind of recognition that you’ve got a society where capitalism is beginning to run amok and needs to be readjusted in order to make sure that what we’re doing is sustainable and the benefits of growth are widely shared in ways they haven’t been.”

    Fed policy is singlehandedly the greatest force in propagating inequality, with the past nine months an unimaginable episode of inequitable wealth distribution. Gross monetary mismanagement and financial excess are principle causes of capitalism running amok. And how might egregious Fed stimulus measures now be expected to promote a more equitable and moral allocation of our national wealth across society?

    Lost in the discussion is the fact that we’re in the throes of a historic experiment in central bank monetary management. The Fed some years ago abandoned the traditional mechanism of operating chiefly through the banking system with subtle adjustments to reserves and interbank lending rates – a process arguably superior at disbursing resources more proportionately throughout the economy.

    Having evolved over the past couple decades, the Fed now executes policy directly through the securities markets. Policy stimulus enters the system chiefly through massive purchases of Treasury and agency securities, creating liquidity excess for financial markets more generally. Moreover, low (now zero) rates foster stimulus effects through the promotion of leveraged speculation and by spurring speculative flows into higher-yielding (riskier) securities and other assets.

    This failing central bank experiment has unleashed myriad deleterious processes. Historic speculative Bubble Dynamics have become deeply ingrained throughout the financial markets – equities, Treasuries, agencies, corporate Credit, derivatives, leveraged lending, etc. In the real economy, increasingly oppressive inequality is ravaging the fabric of our society – fomenting deep social and political division along with economic instability. This brutal pandemic will run its course. Meanwhile, a runaway historic financial Bubble poses grave risk to our nation’s future. Inequality creates great risk to social and political stability.

    Like

  18. I agree with Norman Pagett…

    The laws of thermodynamics, and behaviors evolved by natural selection subject to the laws of thermodynamics, are in charge. The elites are as much in denial as the poor, just luckier if you believe more wealth than you need is a good thing.

    https://ourfiniteworld.com/2020/12/02/humans-left-sustainability-behind-as-hunter-gatherers/comment-page-4/#comment-270107

    maybe I’m missing a trick here–but I can never see this ‘plans of the elite’ thing.

    Who qualifies as elite for a start?–Her Maj Queen Elizabeth? Rupert Murdoch?–Biden?–Bezos, Gates, Musk? Trump’s kids?

    there has to be something that says you’re ‘elite’—and so by definition says you’re not.

    Is it money–class– brains?

    Does one volunteer or is one ‘recruited’? Can it be bought? Trump might try that if he had any actual money

    All that has to be resolved before they can begun to ‘plan’ the future for the rest of us. And themselves.

    Which is why I think such a notion is vanishingly unlikely.

    The only guarantee of the future is that it won’t be what you plan. Even if there was ‘plan’ it could only involve some kind of elevation of the aristos into walled enclaves while the rest of us were doomed to the rank of serfs. In that event the aristo need guards, lots of them.

    Who will only stay loyal as long as they are paid well. And the guards wages can only be paid by the labour of the serfs.—who quickly figure out that they are paying to be oppressed and subjugated.

    That is an arrangement that never ends well.

    the trouble with that idea is that the serfs of the 14th c saw their ‘lot’ as ordained by god.

    Now the proposed serf class would know differently. The result would be bloody carnage.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. In my book it’s totally ok to be abrasive if you’re mostly correct about the important issues.

        Assholes are abrasive people that don’t have a clue or deny how the world works.

        You’re therefore not an asshole.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Bingo!

    https://srsroccoreport.com/green-energy-double-talk-begins-first-major-oil-producer-announces-deadline-to-end-oil-extraction-but-theres-a-catch/

    GREEN ENERGY DOUBLE-TALK BEGINS: First Major Oil Producer Announces Deadline to End Oil Extraction, But There’s A Catch

    According to the Washington Post article published yesterday, Denmark was the first major oil-producing country to announce a deadline to end oil extraction. While this may sound like a “Victory” for the Green Energy Movement, there’s a catch. While Denmark announced that it would end all oil extraction by 2050, the country will likely run out of oil reserves well before that date.

    I find this quite hilarious because all anyone has to do is look at a bit of data, and you can find out that Denmark’s oil-producing days are quickly coming to an end… WITH OR WITHOUT GREEN ENERGY.

    Like

  20. Nice history on industrial agriculture by Albert Bates today.

    I support his recommendation of the book “The Wizard and the Prophet” by Charles Mann.

    http://peaksurfer.blogspot.com/2020/12/the-great-pause-week-38-corn-science.html

    A homesteader farm family in 19th century Iowa would perhaps spend 100 man-hours, on average, to till, sow, cultivate, harvest, transport, shuck, store seed, and cover crop to obtain each bushel. There might be variations in output depending on the quality of land, rainfall, whether the family had a horse or mule, whether they owned a mechanical shucker, and so forth, but chances are the fertilizer was applied by a family cow browsing the stalks in the field in the winter and there were no bank loans involved in operating the farm.

    Before the 20th Century it was not a normal routine to transport and sell the part of a crop needed to be saved for seed for the following year to a grain storage elevator, and to use a portion of those receipts to pay off a bank loan so you could take another loan to buy the seed back from the elevator when it was time to plant again. Of course, all of that was made possible by cheap fossil fuels that allowed large grain trucks to travel to and from every farm and for silos to dehydrate the grain with hot air blowers. No one paid for the damage to the atmosphere.

    Like

  21. A detailed look at the Rube Goldberg plan by the EU to use hydrogen as storage for solar and wind generated electricity.

    It smells like desperate not too bright politicians in denial trying to do something about climate change, egged on by a rapacious financial sector that sees an opportunity for more government secured debt.

    It’s a little tricky to read with Google translate but the gist of the insanity is clear.

    https://crashoil.blogspot.com/2020/12/la-fiebre-del-hidrogeno-20-y-iii.html

    Like

    1. They at least have to pretend they are looking out for the plebs. Illusion is part of ruling. Tell them what they want to hear. There is no hanging onto power without belief & hope unless you put on the iron glove & smash them. Problem with that is techno industrial civilization is a very complex system that depends on peace & cooperation to function.

      If I was a manager & I wanted to keep my status for as long as possible, I’d keep feeding them hope. Continue with the techno saviour promises. It’s what they want to hear.

      There is no nation states or civilization without our fictions & pretending. We made it all up in the first place. It runs on faith.

      “How do you cause people to believe in an imagined order such as Christianity, democracy or capitalism? First, you never admit that the order is imagined.”
      ― Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

      “Humans cannot live without illusions. For the men and women of today, an irrational faith in progress may be the only antidote to nihilism. Without the hope that the future will be better than the past, they could not go on.”
      ― John Gray, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals

      Like

      1. We may disagree but I think deceivers must also deceive themselves.

        In other words, those idiot politicians probably have good intentions, as well as a desire to keep their jobs.

        A successful preacher must believe what he preaches.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Xraymike79 with a rare but good post today.

    https://collapseofindustrialcivilization.com/2020/12/06/tim-garrett-physicist-professor-of-atmospheric-sciences-who-hypothesised-that-civilization-is-effectively-a-heat-engine-whose-power-is-expressed-in-the-form-of-economic-growth-admits-that-we-will-ne/

    Like

    1. PV is not cheap or useful if you want 24/7 electricity, or any electricity in the winter here. Nor does it solve the real problem which is diesel for tractors, combines, trucks, trains, and ships. Screw cars and lights. We can walk and go to bed early if we have to. But we can’t survive for even a week without trucks and tractors.

      Like

      1. Yes, that’s it. I search in vain for at least some indication that the net energy is getting better. If it were, maybe we could live without vehicles and in pre Green Revolution conditions but with 24/7 access to Netflix

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh yes,
        Before I knew any better I installed a 4Kw solar system (complete with battery backup). What good is it in the middle of winter in the Pacific NW? Not much. It barely keeps the batteries charged – so I at least have some lights and freezers when the main power goes off (a normal occurrence). I could easily have purchased a great used tractor but then I realized it wouldn’t be much good without a huge diesel backup tank. There are some individuals out there who have done wood gas conversions but that appears to be no easy task and again would not be sustainable in the long term (unless there was some kind of sharing of the tractor). But then what happens when it breaks – no endless supply from the factory of parts. We all should get used to farming by hand (shovel, hoe, rake (if we are lucky)).
        AJ

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Some of my friends have installed expensive $20K+ PV systems. They’re grid tied, which means they reduce their electricity costs, at the expense of all the other electricity consumers, and their systems don’t work when the grid is down, nor do they produce any power when it’s cold and dark, so they provide no value when you need them most.

          It’s a big capital expense, and a gamble that the wheels stay on long enough to recoup the costs, with a lot of complexity that will require hard to find spare parts when supply chains break down, and no improvement to the thing we all really need: increased resiliency.

          But it does make you look green and feel good.

          I’ve gone the opposite direction. I plan to make do with much less electricity if and when I have to.

          Like

  23. Mac10, instead of providing his usual entertaining frothy rant, today wrote a fairly meaty and interesting comparison of the 2008 financial crisis with today, and as a bonus, he ended it on a nice note of denial.

    https://zensecondlife.blogspot.com/2020/12/the-big-long-2021.html

    The Big Long 2021

    This year has many of the similarities of 2008, and a few fatal differences from that successful bailout…

    At this lethal juncture, strip away the monetary heroin induced speculation bubble and all you are left with is lethal delusion on a biblical scale.

    There are several factors that are eerily similar to 2008, and then major differences.

    Similarities:
    – Fake reflation
    – Election
    – Bailout/Vaccine false dawn
    – Clueless leadership
    – Wall Street criminality
    – Corporate defaults

    Differences (Factors that make this situation far more dire):
    – Lethal pandemic
    – Negative global GDP growth
    – Record layoffs
    – Record small business decimation
    – Accumulation of debt versus deleveraging
    – Record speculation
    – Extreme overvaluation
    – Permanently changed consumption patterns

    …the biggest difference between now and then is that people are even dumber now than they were back then.

    And they will believe ANY circus clown when he tells them the economy is great.

    But they won’t believe the truth, even if their life depended on it.

    Like

  24. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/12/07/weather/november-2020-hottest-month-climate-intl/index.html

    The world just experienced its hottest November on record while Europe had its warmest fall, according to an alarming report from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.

    Temperatures were most elevated in a large region across northern Europe, Siberia and the Arctic Ocean, where sea ice was at the second lowest level ever seen in November.

    h/t Panopticon

    Like

    1. I loved Star Trek as a young person (my conservative father would not allow it because it didn’t acknowledge Christianity). To me it was a universe without gods which was inspiring. My biggest problem with it at the time was that the people had not biologically changed or evolutionarily advanced (less emotion more logic, other than Spock) in the hundreds of years in the future that it was set. As an adult it took time to realize that physics doesn’t let you do whatever you dream (or wish) you could AND that the “gift” of ancient sunlight is not enough to get more than a token few off this globe for any length of time (Musk must be in deep denial). Would we be better off without having had that gift? Perhaps, because with the gift, denial and MPP will probably lead to our extinction.
      AJ

      Like

  25. Canadian Blair Fix expands on Gail Tverberg’s thesis from the perspective of a rare aware PhD in Economics.

    https://economicsfromthetopdown.com/2020/12/03/as-we-exhaust-our-oil-it-will-get-cheaper-but-less-affordable/

    As We Exhaust Our Oil, It Will Get Cheaper But Less Affordable

    Aren’t ‘price’ and ‘affordability’ two sides of the same coin? If the price of oil drops, doesn’t oil also become more affordable? The answer is yes … in the short term. That’s because over a short period (a few months), your income will probably stay the same. So when the price of oil drops, you can afford to buy more oil.

    Over the long term, however, your income changes. And that means prices are not the same thing as affordability. Prices can go up at the same time that resources become more affordable. And prices can go down at the same time that resources become less affordable. What matters is not prices themselves, but how they relate to income.

    Today, we drill for oil in the most unlikely places — thousands of feet below ground that is itself thousands of feet under water. But while this oil is far more difficult to extract, operations like the Troll A platform (Figure 5, right) are orders of magnitude more productive than the Drake well. That’s because they use far better technology.

    Looking at this growth of technology, Julian Simon claimed that it would trump resource scarcity. And in a certain sense, he was right. That’s how it’s worked in the past. But that’s not how it will work forever. The problem comes down to basic thermodynamics. Technology isn’t powered by human ingenuity (as Simon claimed). Technology is powered by energy. Think of technology as a tool for creating a positive feedback loop. It allows us to use energy to harvest energy. We harvest fossil fuels and then feed this fuel into technology that harvests still more fossil fuels. The result is that productivity grows exponentially.

    Unfortunately, this feedback only works if we can perpetually feed our technology more energy. That means technology can’t save us from resource exhaustion. The endgame (for oil) happens when there’s no oil left to harvest. At that point, the fact that we have marvelous oil-extracting technology is moot. But the problem starts long before we run out of oil. As we exhaust the easy-to-get reserves, we move on to the harder ones. Yes, our technology improves. But at some point, the oil becomes so hard to find and extract that this difficulty trumps technology. (Think drilling in 2 km of water.) When this turning point happens, oil productivity stops growing and begins to decline.

    Ehrlich vs. Tverberg

    I’ll close by returning to where I started: the Simon-Ehrlich wager. What’s important about this wager is that it conforms to our expectations about prices. Ehrlich bet money on the idea that resource scarcity will cause prices to rise. It’s an idea that most people find intuitive. Simon bet money on an equally intuitive idea — that resource abundance will cause prices to fall.

    Looking at the bet, you can see that it’s really about two distinct hypotheses. The first hypothesis is that we’re exhausting our natural resources. The second hypothesis is that prices will rise in response. What’s interesting is that most of the discussion about the Simon-Ehrlich wager conflates the two hypotheses. Because Ehrlich lost the bet, people assume that resource scarcity is not a problem. But that’s faulty logic. What’s also possible (and what all the evidence points towards), is that the price hypothesis is wrong. As we exhaust natural resources, their price does not explode. Instead, it collapses.

    Even though Ehrlich lost his bet, his thinking remains widespread. Just look at peak-oil theory. Many peak-oil theorists think that as oil production declines, the price of oil will explode. But not everyone is convinced. The notable exception is the analyst Gail Tverberg. For years, Tverberg has been arguing that we’re headed for lower oil prices. (Here’s a thread of her writing on deflation.) But she doesn’t think prices will fall because of resource abundance. She’s a Malthusian much like Paul Ehrlich. Instead, Tverberg thinks we’re headed for a world where oil is scarce yet cheap.

    To many people, such a future makes little sense. But that’s because we can’t imagine a world in which incomes collapse. But Tverberg can. And so I propose a hypothetical bet for the future: Ehrlich vs. Tverberg. Both scientists assume that oil will get more scarce. But in the Ehrlich scenario, oil prices explode. In the Tverberg scenario, oil prices collapse.

    I once thought that the Ehrlich scenario was all but guaranteed. But today, my money’s on Tverberg. In the future, oil will be scarce and unaffordable. But I think it will also be cheap.

    Like

    1. Norman Pagett wrote a good comment on Blair’s post. Here it is with the partisan crap redacted. Notice the central thread of denial.

      https://economicsfromthetopdown.com/2020/12/03/as-we-exhaust-our-oil-it-will-get-cheaper-but-less-affordable/#comment-5474

      We have built an economic system that self driven, because it is powered by the surplus energy contained in the fossil fuels it produces.

      Not just energy per se—but the SURPLUS. This is the prime problem that most oil-users and producers. refuse to accept.

      Acknowledgement of the problem would mean staring into the pit of economic oblivion.

      It was that surplus the paid wages that were higher than subsistence level. That in turn allowed us to buy all the shiny whirry things that were the product of oil itself.

      We have been effectively creating the wages by which we could go on making buying and selling embodied blocks of energy.

      Quantity available isn’t the problem

      Affordability is the problem. We can no longer afford to do that.

      If the end user can’t afford to buy/use oil, then it will stay in the ground. And that seems to be the direction in which we are headed right now.

      It has been a century or more of surplus fossil fuel power that has brought us to where we are right now. But fracked wells do not deliver the surplus we need to survive and thrive.

      Our Industrial/commercial lifestyle needs a return of about 14:1 on oil well investment.

      Conventional wells currently deliver around 20 :1, whereas fracked wells deliver 6 or 8:1 at best..

      So there is nothing economically complicated about it: fracked wells are being subsidised by conventional wells

      Which is why they cannot produce positive returns on any investment. Fracked wells consume more in real terms than they produce. But of course they deliver OIL….which still carries the last-century emotional legacy of liquid gold.

      As long as the black stuff gushes out of holes in the ground, the ghost of Edwin Drake still haunts the drillers…there must be money to be made if only we keep on drilling deep enough

      Investors remain certain that Rockefeller’s billions are there to be remade as long as oil keeps flowing. Their financial genius does not extend to the simple truth:

      Oil in the ground has a price. It does not acquire value until it is converted into something else.

      https://end-of-more.medium.com/we-dont-need-oil-1c58ea432e90

      Like

      1. I wanted to buy Norman’s book The End of More, but it is only available on Amazon. I didn’t want to give anything more than necessary to Amazon, so I didn’t buy it.

        Like

  26. Very nice infographic overview of permafrost.

    https://graphics.reuters.com/CLIMATE-CHANGE/PERMAFROST/oakveelglvr/

    Currently, the world is following the unchecked-emissions trajectory, with the burning of fossil fuels in electricity production, manufacturing and transportation responsible for the bulk of emissions today. Efforts to bring down emissions could be frustrated by the additional greenhouse gas burden from climate change impacts such as thawing permafrost; the IPCC scenarios don’t account for this phenomenon.

    Permafrost covers almost 20 million square kilometers, or about five times the size of the European Union. With unfettered industrial emissions, nearly half of the world’s near-surface permafrost is expected to thaw within 20 to 40 years, according to an analysis published in March 2019 in the Nature journal Scientific Data.

    Like

  27. Interesting new BBC series on energy production.

    The denial theme here is that you will see copious quantities of diesel and kerosene burned in every episode, but there is no episode on the future of liquid fuels.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000lxp1/episodes/guide

    Powering Britain

    Series looking at the different sources of energy powering England, and the people who work in the industry.

    Part 1: Wind
    In the first episode, Wind, Keeley is trained to escape from a ditched helicopter before she heads 75 miles off the Yorkshire coast to see the building of the world’s biggest offshore windfarm. Hornsea One has broken every record for its size and scale, with 10,000 people involved in its construction in the North Sea. Keeley meets the staffs who’ve made it happen – but can she get to the top of one of the 174 turbines in the field?

    Part 2: Biomass
    Keeley Donovan takes a behind-the-scenes look at Drax near Selby, which is Britain’s biggest power station. She follows engineers as they undertake a £50 million maintenance programme that will see them move equipment weighing 300 tonnes. There are also giant boilers and turbines to refurbish as they get one of their six generating units reconnected to the National Grid.

    Part 3: Gas
    Keeley Donovan meets the people working in the gas industry in and around the Cumbrian Coast. She travels by helicopter to the Morecambe gas field as engineers find new ways of extracting the remaining fuel supply that’s been exploited for more than 35 years. Keeley also heads for the Barrow Gas Terminal where a complex network of pipes sends the gas to our homes.

    Part 4: Nuclear
    Keeley meets the people working at Britain’s biggest operational nuclear site at Heysham on the Lancashire coast. Heysham 1 and Heysham 2 power stations make enough electricity to power more than four million homes. Keeley follows engineers as they undertake a huge maintenance programme called an outage. But with Britain in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, will engineers be able to get one of the reactors back on line to provide much-needed energy to the nation?

    Better quality rips than these YouTube caps are available at the usual places.

    Like

  28. I was gonna start a new $35hr union job with full benefits at one of the 4000 manufacturing plants Trump was making corporations re relocate back home, but the great reset plotters screwed that up. My future & the futures of tens of millions of other white folk would have been so BRIGHT if not for the great reset.

    Millions of alcoholics & fentanyl addicts were 1 day away from going clean & sober for the rest of their lives, but the great reset came along & ruined their plans.

    Trump was going to pay the national debt of $27 trillion off, but that damn great reset done fucked up those plans.

    Consumer zombies the world over had planned to pay off all those trillions in consumer credit, but the great reset was implemented & now they will continue to be debt slaves – no really, we waz gunna pay it all off.

    On Jan 1st, 202o 2.5 billion obese people had pledged to get down to 15% body fat by Dec 31st, but the great reset was unleashed &…yup, you guessed it – fat bastards they shall remain.

    It’s just not fair dammit! The human future has never looked brighter – clean air, plenty of water, low pollution (especially plastic), only a tiny 8 billion population, the most stable climate in earth’s history, abundant oil & minerals, super healthy biodiversity, clean oceans full of fish & maximum plankton, booming forests at peak health, honest governments, benign elites & debt so low it can’t be metered – then BOOM! the great reset comes along & fucks it all up. Utopia had never been closer. Woe is us.

    Fuck you great reset & re-setters. You destroyed our perfect future …..damn you!

    Like

    1. LOL, good one.

      I’ve said it before but so many people with big reputations are so completely wrong about everything that matters that they’re all going to need a big excuse not to have to admit they denied reality.

      Q: How do you collapse from overshoot without acknowledging overshoot? God? War?

      Like

  29. REALgnd (Real Green New Deal Project) is a promising new organization with William Rees and Alice Friedemann, both people I respect, as directors.

    Unlike most “green” organizations, they don’t deny reality and get straight to the key points that must be addressed: energy depletion and over population.

    I suspect their call for a global one child policy is not aggressive enough to prevent a lot of suffering, but it’s a very good start.

    https://www.realgnd.org/overview

    Bursting the fantasy bubble about energy and sustainability…

    We recognize that the climate crisis is but one symptom of our underlying overshoot crisis.​

    Climate change, biodiversity loss, mass extinction, resource scarcity, ecosystem degradation – all are symptoms of one underlying problem: ecological overshoot. Too many people consuming and polluting too much, enabled by a one-off inheritance of abundant fossil energy.​

    The laser focus on climate change neglects this systemic nature of the bigger problem. It would have us believe we can isolate and treat individual symptoms with technological fixes while ignoring the cancer causing them in the first place.

    The only way to address the climate crisis is within the context of our overshoot crisis, which calls for a dramatic contraction of the human enterprise.

    “It is intellectually dishonest to talk about saving the environment without stressing the obvious fact that stopping population growth is a necessary condition for sustainability.” – Dr. Albert Bartlett

    “Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases which we do not yet understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess. What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution, but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and the education of the billions who are victims.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    “Democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive overpopulation. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears. The more people there are, the less one individual matters.” – Isaac Asimov

    “Once it was necessary that the people should multiply and be fruitful if the race was to survive. But now to preserve the race it is necessary that people hold back the power of propagation.” – Hellen Keller

    “If we don’t halt population growth with justice and compassion, it will be done for us by nature, brutally and without pity – and will leave a ravaged world.” – Nobel Laureate Henry W. Kendall​

    ​​Humans have controlled population sizes since time immemorial. As sociologist Jack Parsons said, “population control is an ancient institution.” Even cornucopian economist Julian Simon said, “every tribe known to anthropologists, no matter how ‘primitive,’ has some effective social scheme for controlling the birth rate.”

    Some of our oldest literary documents, the Babylonian “Atra Hasis” circa 1750 B.C. and the Philippine Code of Sumakwel from 1250 B.C., contain population control policies.

    Confucius, Plato, the “first city planner” Hippodamus in Greece, the Indian sage Kautilya, the influential Catholic Church figure Tertullian, and even Benjamin Franklin, all spoke of the dangers of overpopulation and the need to manage our numbers – before Malthus ever entered the scene.​

    Today’s population sizes – unprecedented in human history – have only been made possible by the unprecedented energy supply from fossil fuels. Two main factors drive the need to reduce our size: 1) the inability of a reduced future energy regime to support our current numbers, and 2) the destructive impact our bloated presence is having on the planet, its non-human inhabitants, and us.

    Best estimated optimum global sizes of one to three billion indicate that populations virtually everywhere need to be reduced. Given our sheer size of eight billion, reductions will take a very long time. A global one-child policy enacted by around 2045 would get us down to roughly 3.5 billion by the end of the century. On the other hand, business as usual will leave us with over 10 billion people by 2100. Our recommendations are made in light of this daunting reality and out of a commitment to reduce suffering.​

    Enact a national one-child policy, encouraging the global community to do the same

    Make all forms of birth control (including those for men) free, and in the case of non-surgical forms, available over the counter

    Make abortion free and widely available

    Pay women/couples a significant financial incentive to have one child or none

    Educate children and adults alike about the harmful impacts of overpopulation and its central role in our overshoot crisis, shifting from a human-centric view of the world to an inclusive view that honors and respects all life

    Replace the taboo surrounding population with a moral imperative to make it a front-and-center social topic

    Given our moral responsibility for global restitution, provide financial assistance to countries who seek it in order to help enact similar policies

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Apropos of nothing, it is interesting that in the USA , income and birth rates are inversely related by quintile, with the exception that the second lowest quintile reproduces a little higher than the lowest. What if people were paid not to have children?

    Like

      1. They definitely hit the nail on the head but the gulf between their ideas and the rest of the world is enormous. William Rees has been saying these things for years and I admire his persistence. He knows that human history is not on his side but he perseveres. For those of us who don’t have a public forum (the person I live with gets tired of hearing my “rants”) it’s a pretty lonely process. I send out links to friends and family to what I think are important ideas but mostly no one wants to deal with them. Too scary.

        Like

        1. I agree.

          Overshoot is pretty much the only thing we should be discussing in elections and other public forums, and yet it’s pretty much the only thing we do not discuss.

          Denial is amazing!

          Like

        2. Very lonely process. I tire of people thinking we should argue politics, as if who’s in office makes a difference. They are all in denial. Only here and at James site do I really feel some comradery.
          AJ

          Liked by 1 person

  31. DoorDash is valued at $68,000,000,000 because young people don’t want to cook.

    I expect batshit crazy unrest in the not too distant future when we will be very lucky to have a chicken we can kill and pluck before cooking it.

    Like

  32. Utopia was a 2013 UK TV series about overshoot and a shadowy organization acting to reduce the population.

    I liked it very much but it only lasted 2 seasons, presumably because of its denial rich themes.

    Amazon produced a US remake this year. Haven’t watched it yet but will soon. It too was cancelled after only 1 season.

    Here are a couple clips from the UK version:

    Like

    1. Where is Jessica Hyde? Where is Jessica Hyde? Where is Jessica Hyde? Where is Jessica Hyde?

      Great show. If the heavy themes are the reason it was not renewed it’s on the (not) viewing public, not the producers & ‘channel 4’…. $$$

      Why The Original Utopia Was Cancelled (& Could It Come Back?)

      “Unfortunately, fans eagerly anticipating Utopia season 3 were left bitterly disappointed when Channel 4 announced that Utopia had not been renewed for another run. In late 2014, the broadcaster wrote that ending Utopia was “a necessary part of being able to commission new drama.” In other words, Utopia didn’t attract large enough viewing figures to warrant its place on Channel 4’s 2015 schedule. Indeed, despite rave reviews and a loyal, passionate following, Utopia season 2’s viewership dipped consistently below the 1 million mark, with the winding story, uncomfortable themes and unique style perhaps not suited to retaining casual viewers. Dennis Kelly has since speculated that releasing in summer didn’t help Utopia’s chances, while its director suggested that the London-heavy setting might’ve played a part in deterring a wider audience.”

      https://screenrant.com/utopia-uk-original-cancelled-reason-return/

      I never bothered with the US remake. Never seen any remake that can match the Brits/UK. Pound for pound they produce the best actors. The US produces ‘movie stars’. Canada produces the laughs.

      Best scene (with the great Stephen Rea)

      Liked by 2 people

  33. Inferno (2016 film) has the same overarching plot as Utopia – infect the humans with a pathogen that will randomly sterilize enough humans to reduce the population to avoid horrors & possible human extinction.

    As benign as that strategy is most are offended by the notion. Every book, movie or tv show I’ve seen where a group or individual (Thanos) wants to reduce population to save the species they are always portrayed as the bad guys/evil.

    Many who are horrified at the idea of forced birth control will have no problem going to war & killing to get resources to feed their offspring. Humans are only opposed to population reduction when it’s their DNA being reduced. Not such a big deal when it’s the other guy’s DNA & they have fertile land.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. John Gray 10 December 2020

    The year of the Great Humbling

    Covid-19 has pricked the bubble of human supremacy and revealed our fragility. And the economic destruction means we cannot return to the free-market capitalism that made the pandemic inevitable.

    “Many would like to believe that, in the months ahead, we shall be returning to a time of accelerating progress in society, or at least of relative safety.

    Underlying these responses is a belief that humankind has reasserted control. With the pandemic soon to be contained, we can look forward to resuming the expansion of human power that seemed to be under way before it struck. In fact, the lesson of this year is that we must learn to live in a world we cannot fully know or control. ”

    “The pandemic is not a once-in-a-century traumatic event, but a revelation of the fragility that lies at the bottom of our way of life. When the true human situation is suddenly exposed, the result is cognitive chaos. Paranoid mass movements – in which human misfortunes are represented as resulting from the machinations of hidden elites – are emerging as powerful forces, not for the first time in modern history. The present danger is that they could divide society and undo the struggle to contain the pandemic. ”

    ” Links between industrialised farming of animals and infectious disease are not new. It was known that tuberculosis could be passed from cows to humans by the late 19th century, via contaminated milk. Since then, diseases including BSE, avian flu, swine fever and most recently a mutant coronavirus in mink farms, have posed threats to humans. Intensive farming of animals, birds and fish has never been on such a large scale, and as the single biggest user of antibiotics, animal farming has a major role in AMR (anti-microbial resistance), which reduces the effectiveness of drug treatments. The pandemic will not be the last assault on human health to originate in the way we treat our animal kin as if they were insentient resources.

    Behind habitat destruction and hellish factory farms is the unmentionable fact of overpopulation. To speak of the very idea is nowadays dismissed as crypto-fascist, but the seminal advocate of stabilising human numbers at a level that would best enhance the quality of life is John Stuart Mill, an old-fashioned liberal progressive who spent a night in gaol for handing out leaflets to working-class women detailing contraceptive methods. Accepting the reality of overpopulation is not Malthusian scare-mongering, but recognising the environmental damage it has produced. ”

    https://www.newstatesman.com/international/places/2020/12/year-great-humbling

    “When the true human situation is suddenly exposed, the result is cognitive chaos. Paranoid mass movements – in which human misfortunes are represented as resulting from the machinations of hidden elites – are emerging as powerful forces, not for the first time in modern history. “

    Apparently, I’m not the only one to spot the ‘humans losing their shit under pressure’ pattern.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry, but John Gray might be right about a few things – like population reduction, BUT doesn’t know squat about human overshoot and resource depletion. The reason I say this is his reference to feeding 10 billion humans with “vertical farming”. My best friend from my younger days who I mistakenly thought a genius gave me the “vertical farming” will save us all lecture some days ago. I was so flabbergasted that someone I thought brilliant could be in such fundamental denial of reality to think that something like “vertical farming” made sense. Vertical farming might make economic sense for extremely wealthy customers of high cost produce in Singapore but it does nothing to feed that extra 2 billion. AND I would guess (without delving into the energy involved) that the amount of energy needed to build the infrastructure and grow, maintain, harvest and transport this “food” would probably make it more expensive than growing avocados in Antarctica (or something similar). Please someone correct me if I am wrong (or just wrong headed).
      AJ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So you read the article & vertical farming was your main takeaway?

        I don’t know much about vertical farming, but it sounds like more techno hopium to me. That’s why I never included it in my selective quotes, nor did I mention it in my accompanying comments.

        I did include what I imagined was the main point/quote a second time & in bold after the link.

        “When the true human situation is suddenly exposed, the result is cognitive chaos. Paranoid mass movements – in which human misfortunes are represented as resulting from the machinations of hidden elites – are emerging as powerful forces, not for the first time in modern history. “

        Video analogy #2

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        1. I read the article. I see and agree with what you thought important. I was just attempting to point out that the author had huge blind spots. I thought his reference to vertical farming crazy.

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        2. More great tunes to accompany and emphasize meaningful posts. Thanks ‘man (and Rob) for making good music a mainstay here. One of the few remaining deep pleasures we have in this existence.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Vertical farming is of course crazy. But what about the amazing food production Denmark has achieved with high tech greenhouses?

        It sounds very promising until you dig a bit and learn that they are converting cheap natural gas calories into food calories via gas generated electricity for lighting, burned gas for heat and CO2 for the plants, nitrogen fertilizer produced with natural gas via the Haber Bosch process, and glass and cement produced with natural gas. They’re also producing calories we can do without like cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers, and not producing the calories we can’t do without like grains and legumes.

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  35. https://srsroccoreport.com/breaking-news-shocking-increase-in-u-s-money-supply-in-past-two-weeks/

    The increase in the U.S. money supply in the past two weeks is absolutely shocking. Something must be seriously wrong behind the scenes at the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve for the M1 Money Supply to increase more in the past two weeks than it did in six weeks during the beginning of the pandemic shutdowns in late March.

    The FRED – St. Louis Federal Reserve just updated their M1 Money Supply figures showing another increase of $312 billion, on top of the $498 billion added the week prior. So, the total increase in the U.S. M1 Money Supply for Nov 16th to Nov 30th is a shocking $809 billion. Compare that to the $388 billion increase from Mar 16th to Mar 30th when the pandemic shutdowns first began.

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    1. What does this increase mean? I can understand that the M1 increased and that it increased in an unprecedented way but why? What could be wrong ? (other than everything of course but I mean specifically.).
      AJ

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