Is Covid-19 providing cover for Jay Hanson’s Society of Sloth?

Gail Tverberg made a comment today that rings true and motivated me to write about something I’ve been mulling for a while…

I think the reaction to COVID-19 is part of how a self-organizing system works. People were looking for a reason to cut back/shut down. The illness provided this.

I do not believe in most conspiracy theories, but I do believe that crises are frequently used to implement plans that would be impossible without a crisis. The responses to Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, 9/11, and the 2008 GFC are good modern examples.

Perhaps the virus has provided (mostly subconscious) cover for:

  • citizens tired of commuting 2 hours a day to a stressful job so they could keep up with their neighbor’s latest unnecessary status symbol purchase
  • citizens who intuited they should reduce discretionary spending and pay down credit card debt, which interestingly declined in 2020, rather than increasing as it did during the 2008 GFC
  • leaders that sensed we should voluntarily throttle back, because we’d soon be forced by limits to growth
  • leaders that understood we needed to rapidly reduce CO2 emissions, and the only way to achieve this is by contracting the economy
  • leaders that needed an excuse to restrict freedoms to maintain civil order in preparation for a significant contraction of our energy/economic system
  • central banks that understood we had hit limits to growth and that needed an excuse for massive corporate bailouts to prevent a catastrophic economic collapse, and for MMT to keep citizens fed

Perhaps this helps to explain why our responses to the virus have not been intelligent or optimal:

  • effective means of containing the spread were ignored or procrastinated in the crucial early days
  • existing cheap and effective preventative measures are ignored and not promoted; new preventative measures are not researched
  • promising cheap and effective treatments are ignored and/or aggressively undermined
  • some lock-down measures lack logic or good judgement
  • the source of the virus is not being aggressively investigated to better understand appropriate responses, and to prevent a reoccurrence

To be clear, I am not suggesting a conspiracy to release a virus. I think the most probable explanation is that the virus was engineered in a lab with good intentions, and that it escaped by accident, as explained here:

I am suggesting that people at all levels of our society appear to be using the virus as an excuse to make changes that were impossible to make prior to the crisis. Some of these plans may have been well thought out and sitting on a shelf waiting for the right circumstances, like for example MMT, and other responses, like for example citizens paying down credit card debt, may be an instinctual response to anticipated scarcity.

Jay Hanson, who died in 2018, was one of the greatest thinkers about human overshoot. I wrote more about Hanson here:

Hanson concluded that civilization was doomed due to genetic human behaviors that were unlikely to change, and that it would probably end with a nuclear war, as discussed in this 2008 interview with Jason Bradford:

right click save as to download

Hanson did however describe one path that was thermodynamically feasible, and that might avoid some of the worst suffering.

Perhaps we have (mostly subconsciously) decided to implement some of Jay Hanson’s ideas.

<begin extract from Hanson’s essay>


In order then that the social compact may not be an empty formula, it tacitly includes the undertaking, which alone can give force to the rest, that whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free; for this is the condition which, by giving each citizen to his country, secures him against all personal dependence. In this lies the key to the working of the political machine; this alone legitimises civil undertakings, which, without it, would be absurd, tyrannical, and liable to the most frightful abuses.
— Jean Jacques Rousseau, 1762

(What follows is not meant to be a comprehensive description of a new society, but only presents some conceptual ideas for consideration.)


  • GLOBAL PROBLEMATIC (after The Club of Rome, 1972): Global tragedy of the commons because people are genetically programmed to more-than-reproduce themselves and make the best use of their environments.
  • COMMONS: “A commons is any resource treated as though it belongs to all. When anyone can claim a resource simply on the grounds that he wants or needs to use it, one has a commons.” [32]
  • NEEDS: Human “needs” have a scientific basis which is defined by human biology. 35,000 years ago, three million hunter-gatherers “needed” community, shelter, health care, clean water, clean air, and about 3,000 calories a day of nutritious food. Today, people still “need” the same things that hunter-gatherers “needed” then (except fewer calories).
  • eMergy: [33] eMergy (with an “M”) is the solar energy used directly and indirectly to make a service or product. In other words, eMergy is the “cost” of a service or a product in units of solar energy.
        Why eMergy? In reality, the economy is nothing but a monstrous, energy-gulping Rube Goldberg machine to deliver “needs” to people. But each of those three million hunter-gatherers was the energy-using counterpart of a common dolphin, whereas each of today’s 280 million Americans matches the energy use of a sperm whale. Obviously, the “economy” is incredibly inefficient at delivering “needs” to people.
        No doubt my statement will stick in the economist’s craw, because after all, isn’t “efficiency” what economics is all about? The problem with “economic efficiency” is that “money” is not a measure of anything in the real world (like, say, BTUs). Money is power because money “empowers” people to buy and do the things they want — including buying and doing other people (politics). Thus, “economic efficiency” is properly seen as a “political” concept that was designed to preserve political power for those who have it.
        For over a century, theorists have sought ways of integrating economics and environmental accounting, often using energy as a common measure. But these efforts met with limited success because different kinds of available energy are not equivalent. The measure of “eMergy” allows us to compare commodities, services and environmental work of different types. “Transformity” – the eMergy per unit energy – allows us to compare different kinds of available of energy.
        So we need to totally junk the present economic system and replace it with a new one that minimizes eMergy costs (not money costs ) and delivers basic needs (not Cadillacs) to everyone in a sustainable way.
  • SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Sustainable development both improves quality of life and retains continuity with physical conditions; it requires that social systems be equitable and physical systems circular (industrial outputs become industrial inputs).
  • AUTHORITY: Goals (or ideals) are not produced by a consensus of the governed, rather a qualified authority determines goals. For example, physical goals for sustainable development must come from “scientific” authority — because no one else knows what they must be. All contemporary political systems are “authoritarian” with the moneyed class ruling the pseudo democracies.
  • COERCION (politics): To “coerce” is to compel one to act in a certain way — either by promise of reward or threat of punishment. Two obvious examples of coercion are our system of laws and paychecks.
  • THE ONE-AND-ONLY HUMANE SOLUTION: “Mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon.” [34] A global system of coercion — laws, police, punishments and rewards. In principle, the global commons can only be managed at the global level by people who understand the physical systems involved: scientists. Global coercion can be seen in the worldwide reactions to ozone depletion and global warming. Remarkably, even economists find that authoritarian coercion can make them “better off”:

A group of economists had gathered at my house for dinner. While we were waiting for the food in the oven to finish cooking, I brought a large bowl of cashew nuts into the living room where people were having cocktails. In a few minutes, half the bowl of nuts was gone, and I could see that our appetites were in danger. Quickly, I seized the bowl of nuts and put it back in the kitchen (eating a few more nuts along the way, of course). When I returned, my fellow economists generally applauded my quick action, but then we followed our natural inclinations which was to try to analyze the situation to death. The burning question was: how could removing an option possibly have made us better off? After all, if we wanted to stop eating cashews, we could have done that at any time. [35]

Besides laws and paychecks, coercion can take many forms:

It is not necessary to construct a theory of intentional cultural control. In truth, the strength of the control process rests in its apparent absence. The desired systemic result is achieved ordinarily by a loose though effective institutional process. It utilizes the education of journalists and other media professionals, built-in penalties and rewards for doing what is expected, norms presented as objective rules, and the occasional but telling direct intrusion from above. The main lever is the internalization of values. [36]

Step one would be to establish a global government of some sort with the authority to protect the global commons — our life-support system — as well as protecting universal human rights. This government would also oversee the “clean” manufacturing of “repairable” and “reusable” energy-efficient appliances and transportation systems. It would also insure the sustainable production of staples like wheat, rice, oats, and fish.

Does this new global government sound repressive or restrictive? Not at all. A great deal of freedom is possible — in fact, far more than we have now.

Step two would be to replace the organizing principle of “avarice” with the principle of “sloth”; break out of the money-market-advertising-consumption death trap. The Society of Sloth would not be based on money because that would be inherently unsustainable. Instead, it would be based on “eMergy Certificates”. [37]

Global government would determine the “needs” of the public, set industrial production accordingly, and calculate the amount of eMergy used to meet these needs. Government would then distribute purchasing power in the form of eMergy certificates, the amount issued to each person being equivalent to his pro rata share of the eMergy cost of the consumer goods and services.

eMergy certificates bear the identification of the person to whom issued and are non-negotiable. They resemble a bank check in that they bear no face denomination, this being entered at the time of spending. They are surrendered upon the purchase of goods or services at any center of distribution and are permanently canceled, becoming entries in a uniform accounting system. Being non-negotiable they cannot be lost, stolen, gambled, or given away because they are invalid in the hands of any person other than the one to whom issued.

Lost eMergy certificates would be easily replaced. Certificates can not be saved because they become void at the termination of the two-year period for which they are issued. They can only be spent.

Insecurity of old age is abolished and both saving and insurance become unnecessary and impossible. eMergy Certificates would put absolute limits on consumption and provide people with a guaranteed stream of “needs” for life.

With modern technology, probably less than 5% of the population could produce all the goods we really “need”. A certain number of “producers” could be drafted and trained by society to produce for two years. The rest can stay home and sleep, sing, dance, paint, read, write, pray, play, do minor repairs, work in the garden, and practice birth control.

Any number of cultural, ethnic or religious communities could be established by popular vote. Religious communities could have public prayer in their schools, prohibit booze, allow no television to corrupt their kids, wear uniforms, whatever. Communities of writers or painters could be established in which bad taste would be against the law. Ethnic communities could be established to preserve language and customs. If someone didn’t like the rules in a particular community, they could move to another religious, cultural, or ethnic community of their choosing.

In short, the one big freedom that individuals would have to give up would be the freedom to destroy the commons (in its broadest sense) — the freedom to kill. And in return, they would be given a guaranteed income for life and the freedom to live almost any way they choose.”

<end extract from Hanson’s essay>

330 thoughts on “Is Covid-19 providing cover for Jay Hanson’s Society of Sloth?”

  1. It’s nice to see that you somehow made peace with Hanson. At least I remember that you had a grudge against him.

    On topic, I’m very firmly in the human extinction camp and have a very hard time to even entertain other possibilities. At least I haven’t met someone how could argue a case for continued human survival that went beyond wishful thinking. Which is also the drawer where where I would put Hanson utopist thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No grudge against Hanson. He was a great thinker that got a lot right. He was also closed minded and unethical in his treatment of Varki’s MORT, which is an important new theory on human behavior that explains not only the uniquely powerful human brain with its extended theory of mind, but also its tendency to deny unpleasant realities, like overshoot.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rob, I honestly have no idea whatsoever how Jay Hanson thought of Varki and MORT, but, as you know, there are some of us (certainly, me) who seriously valued the book, Denial, yet, ultimately ended up with a different understanding of how and why denial is so pervasive in civilized cultures but not in indigenous cultures. My personal sense is that tribal (pro-future) cultures – i.e., the first 95% of our Homo sapiens time on Earth – did not “believe” in life after death. They KNEW that when you died, you became an ancestor! And, thus, you would be as ‘present’ as the ancestors you and your people regularly consulted (imaginatively, of course,) with respect to how to live in such a way that you would honor the past AND honor the future AND honor the body of Life upon which you and your descendants (and your ancestors) depended. So I both deeply and profoundly value Varki and Brower’s work AND I have a view that, to my mind at least, is less complicated an understanding of our “denial instinct.” It seems to me that the indigenous view wins by virtue of Occam’s razor. But I know, of course, that you would disagree. And, truth be told, I love the fact that you are Varki’s bulldog! 🙂


        1. My old brain can only chew on one big idea at a time. and I’m currently mulling your “bad to blame” idea and am thinking about writing a contrary “using democracy to do the right thing” post.

          So I’m not going to engage with you now on our species’ ubiquitous and unique belief in life after death since the emergence of behaviorally modern humans. We’ve tried to discuss this in the past without success at changing either of our views so let’s agree to disagree.


    2. Florian, when you say you are very firmly in the human extinction camp do you mean that it’s a good idea or just that it’s likely this century as the final consequence of Overshoot Cancer?

      For me it’s both. I see no reason why we need to exist & have yet to hear anyone who wants humans to go on give me an explanation why.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. If you believe high intelligence is common in the universe then I can understand your view on humans.

        I suspect high intelligence with a big store of fossil energy it can leverage to understand science is extremely rare in the universe, and may exist on only one planet, because it requires a cascade of improbable evolutionary and geologic events.

        Knowledge has intrinsic value that should be conserved because it’s close to a miracle that it can emerge from a cloud of hydrogen.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fabulous, Rob! Wonderful that you featured Jay; he’s been one of my heroes for years.
    If you’ve not already seen it, I think you’ll like my latest (7,o00+ views and nearly 200 comments in less than a week): “Irreversible Collapse: Accepting Reality, Avoiding Evil”:

    Keep up the great blogging!
    … and Happy New Year!
    ~ Michael (and Connie)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! There are some actual doomers in the comment section who take human overpopulation seriously. Here’s a good one by “peyton”:

      . . . as one of the ten population doomers (I’m possibly being overly optimistic about that count!), I have found that overpopulation folks in general understand that it is too late to stop the ecological juggernaut of destruction; however, that isn’t the point. The point is to prevent suffering, one sentient being at a time. I’ll quote Jesse 987 here, who quoted “Barton,” since it really does bear repeating:

      [Quote] Personally, I don’t have an issue with any type of overpopulation discussion, unlike 99.9 percent of the human herd … probably because my wife and I decided to remain child-free over 40 years ago. However, preventing our eventual extinction has never been an option for our cancerous, invasive species. We compete, reproduce, expand, and will eventually kill the host, but I agree with the Real Green New Deal’s main premise concerning the overshoot topic: the fewer babies born now, the less suffering endured later.

      I was watching a conversation on a doomer channel in which a couple of folks were trying to shut the overpopulation conversation down because “it’s too late to do anything about it.” The concept of actually preventing future suffering for the unborn was beyond them, which is ironic since parents are supposed to be the sensitive entities while the child-free are considered selfish. [End quote]

      And don’t forget the great Finnish naturalist Pentti Linkola: “. . . the chief cause for the impending collapse of the world – the cause sufficient in and by itself – is the enormous growth of the human population: the human flood. The worst enemy of life is too much life: the excess of human life.”

      “The coming years will prove increasingly cynical and cruel. People will definitely not slip into oblivion while hugging one another. The final stages in the life of humanity will be marked by the monstrous war of all against all: the amount of suffering will be maximal.” ― Pentti Linkola, Can Life Prevail? – A Radical Approach to the Environmental Crisis

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Another commenter brought up Bill Hicks, massive animal lover who never considered bringing a child to a dying planet: “Eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions god’s infinite love.” The suffering schtick seems to be popular with those of a religious mindset.
        Reading all the content in that thread, I think he was right. And so was Louis-Ferdinand Celine concerning humanity in general:

        “So many vaginas, stomachs, cocks, snouts, and flies, you don’t know what to do with them . . .  shovelsful!   But hearts? Very rare! In the last five hundred million years, too many cocks and gastric tubes to count. But hearts? Only on your fingers!”  

        Liked by 2 people

    2. The best way to avoid evil?

      “Right now, across the world, there are places where you can literally walk 10 feet without seeing a squirrel or where you won’t spot one the very second you look out your window. It is absolutely vital that every ecosystem—whether or not squirrels are currently present—be absolutely teeming with squirrels, because squirrels should be everywhere at all times.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think George Carlin was in denial in that clip. Humans have definitely made a negative difference to the planet big time, especially in the last 150-200 years. That’s why it’s been called the anthropocene. I wonder if he’d still feel the same if he were to come back now and study the growing effects of climate change, the micro plastics in seawater, in rivers and in life forms of all kinds. Plus the rate of habitat destruction and pesticide use and consequent accelerating rate of loss of species, including bees and insects. Not to mention the current and future dangers posed by the nuclear industry.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you are missing Carlin’s main point. I’ve seen others do the same with this clip. I’ve seen climate deniers re title & use this clip for their agenda.

      Carlin was no denier. What he is taking a shot at is the human’s ‘it’s all about me/us’ arrogance & illusion of control.

      This was a running theme with Carlin……as it is with me.

      “The Planet is Fine. The People are Fucked.”

      “The Planet isn’t going anywhere. We are.”


      1. I usually like what Carlin had to say, but on this occasion, he did not express himself well. The fact that climate change deniers have promoted this clip confirms my opinion.


  4. “I do believe that crises are frequently used to implement plans that would be impossible without a crisis.“
    I don’t think there was any plan adopted by the Trump administration to take advantage of the Covid crisis, just as there was no plan to ameliorate the pandemic. The disbanding of the Pandemic Response Team instituted by a previous administration, refusal to listen to scientists, sheer incompetence and bloody mindedness were what led to the situation today with the US being the worst affected country in the world.


  5. Re Lockdown. This can be a really effective response if done correctly. Australia and New Zealand prove it. First of all, both countries, closed their borders relatively early, with only citizens and permanent residents allowed to enter from oversea. Immediately upon arrival, they were bussed to quarantine facilities for a stay of 14 days.
    Unfortunately the virus had already entered my country Australia and by July/August last year , my home city of Melbourne, population 5 million, had a very serious outbreak of Covid. The State Government of Victoria implemented a strict lockdown, with schools closed and only essential services and supermarkets open. No hotels, pubs, gymnasiums were allowed to open and restaurants could only provide take away meals. People were allowed to exercise outside for one hour a day and within a five kilometre radius of their homes. People were not allowed to mix with other households, unless a caring function was involved. Mask wearing outside the home was mandatory. A curfew was instigated between 10 pm and 6 am. Transgressors were fined. Lump sum and fortnightly income support was provided to all affected workers. 6 / 7 weeks of this and the virus was not only flattened, it was completely eliminated. Everyone resumed normal life, with all its freedoms. Our hospitals are operating normally, with the usual pre Covid surgeries etc. Ditto dental surgeries, restaurants, sporting events etc. etc. Kids resumed school.
    And Australia is officially out of recession.
    Australia has a population of 25 million people, (with nearly half resident in our two major cities, Sydney and Melbourne). So we have approximately 1/14 th of the US population. As of today ( Jan 7, 2021) Australia has had a total of 909 Covid deaths, whilst the US has had 356,000.
    Good governance and a disciplined, co-operative population can achieve much.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marg, masks are still required in most places. And social distancing in shops and supermarkets and signing in at some. It’s still far from normal.


      1. I take your point. ‘Normal’ compared to what it was and normal compared to some other countries – like the UK which has just entered another lockdown – hopefully a longer one than before and more strictly enforced.
        (Although I lived most of my life in Melbourne, I feel lucky that in recent years I live in Tasmania – where, except for a short period of lockdown in the northwest in May, we have been living fairly normally for months – not a mask in sight, everything open and only half hearted social distancing. Not that I think that it will last now that we have opened our state borders and given the number of citizens returning from overseas…)


      1. I agree with David. As a declared Trump supporter, Kuntsler lost me forever. The excesses on the left side of politics ( identity politics, political correctness etc) were no justification to support the most incompetent , self serving, narcissistic and pro corporate President ever.


  6. When bad things are happening that most citizens don’t have the time or motivation to understand, and their leaders deny reality and make up fictional stories their followers want to hear, you end up with a really toxic soup.

    When I listen to mainstream influencers not one person speaks honestly about our overshoot predicament.

    When I listen to the few who do understand our overshoot predicament, almost none discuss the need for rapid population reduction policies.

    I went back and watched all 5 interviews this year by one of my favorite thinkers, Nate Hagens. He’s REALLY worried, bordering on panic, about the economic implication of Covid-19, because he thinks we need to extend and pretend the system a little longer so we have time to fashion a new non-growth system.

    I’m thinking that we knew the jig was up with the 2008 GFC and did absolutely nothing intelligent in response. In fact all we’ve done for 12 years is widen the wealth gap thus destabilizing society, and made the inevitable crash even more harmful for most people. So exactly how will extending and pretending again be any different? It won’t.

    We must get the population down. Nothing else matters. If someone influences just one person to support population reduction policies, and they influence just one person, and so on, pretty soon we can have a mainstream discussion and a vote.

    I noticed that Nate’s come around to acknowledging that climate change is a big deal. But not one word on rapid population reduction policies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rob, I bet you 1 million condoms there will be no mainstream discussion and a vote.

      When it gets bad, look for unspoken population reduction policies like ending the breeding allowance & tax breaks for families, stop buying Narcan to keep habitual overdosers alive & cuts or ending of many other welfare state benefits. Increase retirement age & cut the amounts. Stop covering drugs & treatments that keep people alive. Insulin prices so high only the well to do can afford it. Telling the kids they no longer need to wear bicycle helmets & it’s ok to accept rides from strangers should help whittle the numbers down too.


      1. I totally get your perspective: humans can’t change and they’re not worth trying to save anyway.

        The majority of doomers agree with you on the can’t change piece.

        What fascinates me are the people that understand at least some of the problem and that still want to find a better path forward. For example, pretty much every climate scientist, every environmentalist, and a few doomers like Paul Beckwith, Alex Smith, Nate Hagens, Tim Watkins, Tim Morgan, Richard Heinberg, Chris Martenson, George Mobus, Art Berman, etc.

        What’s fascinating is not one of these people promote population reduction. I get that it will be very hard to gather sufficient support for rapid population reduction laws, but given that it’s by far our best response, you’d think they’d be up for trying. I mean if you don’t even try to influence friends and family, they’re guaranteed not to support population reduction laws.

        It’s also odd because if you really want to communicate the gravity of the situation and get people’s attention, what better way than telling them they can’t have children because most of them will suffer or die?

        I wonder if these people care more about what other people think of them than they do about preserving some of our best accomplishments, and reducing the suffering of humans and other species.

        Or perhaps it’s a denial thing again: population isn’t the real problem, we just need to redistribute the wealth and make do with less. Good luck with that.


        1. Rob,
          The MPP and MORT got us here. We are just dissipatives (thanks James). This awareness comes to a few of us way to late in life to have had much effect. I doubt that even rapid population reduction policies could avert total civilizational collapse and probable species extinction. It seems that I am watching a slow motion train wreck (that’s speeding up) and there is absolutely no hope – just watch the crash with more awareness and less denial than everyone around me. Jack Alpert seems to get it but his solutions seem like hopium. It truly is depressing – one of the few rays of sunshine it talking to my dog who is blindlessly optimistic that a better day is just one walk away.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Correct. I think nearly all the people you mentioned have had children of their own – maybe that’s the reason they don’t mention population reduction strategies.
          I read that Africa is the main problem at the moment because everywhere else, few couples now are having more than 2 children- that is even the case in Bangladesh, for example. ( Even 2 is too many of course).
          Maybe we need a more effective pandemic ?? Or at least a virus that renders 2/3rd.s of women infertile -which was the theme of one of Dan Brown’s books.


          1. A few comments ago you praised your states great reaction to the pandemic. Reminds me of Al Bartletts old lecture re exponential curve, all the “good” things in one column and “bad” in the other. Who’s going to get out there and advocate for more disease?


            1. “Who’s going to advocate for more disease” No one of course, but it will happen anyway. Something that can’t be so readily controlled. It could even be new, extremely virulent versions of Covid, which take out younger people.
              And I’m pretty sure that no government will bring in mandatory fertility control – even China changed its mind on that one.


  7. Friedemann today on peak batteries.

    Since oil and other fossils are finite and emit carbon, the plan is to electrify society with batteries. But doh! Minerals used in batteries are finite too. And dependent on fossil-fueled transportation and manufacturing from mining trucks, to smelter, to fabrication, to delivery.

    Batteries use many rare, declining, single-source country, and expensive metals. They consume more energy over their life cycle, from extraction to discharging stored energy, than they deliver. Batteries are an energy sink with negative EROI, which makes wind, solar, and other intermittent sources of electricity energy sinks as well.

    Minerals used to make batteries are subject to supply chain failures (stockpiles will eventually run out).


    1. MAGA-tards just need someone to explain things for them.

      Scientists Attempt To Convince Public To Take Covid More Seriously By Explaining Concept Of Death

      “NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—As the 10-month-old pandemic continued its rampant spread and the nation’s death toll passed 350,000, top medical scientists attempted Tuesday to convince the American public to take Covid-19 more seriously by issuing a statement in which they patiently clarified the concept of death. “We just want to be perfectly clear about this: When someone dies from coronavirus, that means they’re gone forever, and they never come back,” read the Rutgers University report, which explained that sometimes people who were sick got sick so badly that every part of their whole body ceased to function—including their heart and brain—and that this was a permanent state from which no one could ever recover. “Now, we could understand if you were shrugging off the consequences of Covid because you thought hundreds of thousands of Americans were just sleeping and would wake up eventually. But that simply isn’t the case here. Let’s try this: Have you ever had a pet, maybe a dog or a cat that you loved, and one day it stopped breathing and became very, very still? Maybe you had a little burial out in the yard? So this is the same thing, only it’s happened to almost 2 million people around the world, some of whom lived in your very own community. Notice we say ‘lived,’ in the past tense. That’s because these people are no longer alive. That’s what can happen, and if it does happen to someone you love, you’ll never see them again, and they’ll never see you again, and that will probably be very sad. Hopefully this clears things up a little.” The report coincides with an attempt by top economists to convince Congress to take Covid’s financial effects on the American people more seriously by explaining the concept of people.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Give it up, James. I really admire your work on MPP, dissipation and RNA/tech cells, but your conspiratorial bent is fucking retarded, man. This aspect of your thinking, just like that of all conspiracy theorists, cherry picks shit to attempt to overturn the overarching reality/truth in order to better fit what you want it to be. Cut the crap!


        1. Oh good-can you give us a quick run down on what this overarching reality/truth thing is? Many have searched and you appear to have found it -remarkable.


          1. I see we have another conspiracy-tard here at un-Denial. I was referring to the obvious truth/reality that MAGA-turd terrorists attacked the US capitol on Wednesday, not Antifa or any other conspiracy theory bullshit. If you can’t see that, MickN, then you’re thinking is shit and I’ll leave you to your abysmal descent into the idiocracy-space. People who think like you are a huge fucking problem that clearly isn’t going to end well no matter where you’re located.


            1. I’d like to amend the last sentence of my last comment (i.e. the one immediately above) to read: “The thinking of people like you is a huge fucking problem that clearly isn’t going to end well no matter where you’re located.”

              I need to remember to criticize people’s thoughts/thought process and arguments (or lack thereof), not their being. Thanks.


  8. Is the Collapse of Civilization Inevitable?

    Like human beings, who are born, go through different phases, and eventually die, maybe human cultures too follow a trajectory that ends in their collapse. History is filled with great civilizations that have collapsed. Maybe all of them do eventually. But what is the cause?

    “Joseph Tainter’s View of Civilizational Collapse

    American anthropologist Joseph Tainter explores cataclysmic views about civilizations and categorizes them into 12 basic explanations for why societies collapse. Eleven of them, he says, are wrong. The twelfth view is the one he has developed. Looking at the fall of the Roman Empire, the fall of the Western Chou Empire, the fall of Egyptian Old Kingdom, the fall of the Minoan civilization, the fall of the Olmec, the fall of the Mayans, not to mention the fall of the Mycenaean civilization, we see some interesting trends emerge.

    It’s not that Malthus was right and cultures out-produced their resources. It’s not that catastrophes––like the meteor that doomed the dinosaurs––also wipe out society. It’s not that they fail to rise to circumstantial challenges they face or are replaced by more complex societies. They’re not destroyed by intruders from outside or conflict and mismanagement from inside. No, Tainter argues; it’s that they sputter and die from a lack of energy.”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Electrons never rest but they can get more comfortable. Seventy-five percent the speed of light, around and around they go and where they end-up nobody knows. But in the same time a human can slowly plod their mass around this planet for one-hundred years, EM radiation can travel 600 trillion miles. Just like the gears in a watch don’t need energy, neither do our atoms. But to move them does require a flow of energy. We are on the cusp of much less movement (unless there are some great technological breakthroughs). Too bad we’re messing-up the plant and phytoplankton habitats, they’re rather essential in maintaining the flow through humans.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Climate change causes collapse of Angkor civilization

    “The late professor of geography at Yale University Ellsworth Huntington focused on the fact that many large countries in the past either prospered or perished depending on how advantageous or disadvantageous climate conditions were. Indeed, climate change was the cause of the prosperity or collapse of civilizations. For example, the Mesopotamia civilization, which is the first civilization in human history. As city states, such as Uruk founded by Sumer, began to emerge, a civilization was born and the region was unified by the Akkadian Empire. However, a severe drought continued for about 300 years from 2200 B.C. with the temperature dropping by two degrees Celsius. A drought and an average temperature drop of two degrees Celsius are critical to the growth of crops. Once its economy collapsed, the Akkadian Empire had no choice but to disappear into the mists of history.”

    Food is energy. Feed the workers & army. Store some for leaner times. Sell or trade surpluses for other resources.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m increasingly convinced that conspiracy theory cognition and belief (CTCB; not an agreed upon technical term, just an acronym for simplification) functions like a virus and is a real threat to the cohesion of our societies. Living in the United (oops, I mean Divided) States of America makes it impossible to avoid CTCB. Here it is everywhere, everyday, increasing, and I’m fucking sick of it as it’s contributing in a VERY REAL way to the destruction of even basic civility. More of us need to understand how this phenomenon really works (precisely in both fundament and function) and I welcome any insights and knowledge others may have on it. We need to act more forcefully to minimize and destroy it (or is this impossible?).

    “The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories”

    “We have reviewed the current literature on the psychological factors that appear to drive conspiracy belief. We conclude that conspiracy belief appears to stem to a large extent from epistemic, existential, and social motives. Research has yet to demonstrate that it effectively serves those motivations, and early indications are that it may often thwart them. It is possible, therefore, that conspiracy belief is a self-defeating form of motivated social cognition. However, important questions remain open, and more controlled research on the consequences of conspiracy beliefs is needed, particularly on the vulnerable and disadvantaged populations that have been identified as most likely to benefit from them. We hope that this review will serve as an organizing schema for future research on the psychology of conspiracy belief.” [emphasis mine]


    1. [asterisks mine] should read [emphasis mine]. I still haven’t learned to apply text formatting in WordPress comments and didn’t realize that placing asterisks would italicize the text I wanted to emphasize. Nice surprise. 😊


    2. Conspiracies and other fantasies have a long history in the USA.

      You might enjoy the book “Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History” by Kurt Andersen.

      In this sweeping, eloquent history of America, Kurt Andersen demonstrates that what’s happening in our country today—this strange, post-factual, “fake news” moment we’re all living through—is not something entirely new, but rather the ultimate expression of our national character and path. America was founded by wishful dreamers, magical thinkers, and true believers, by impresarios and their audiences, by hucksters and their suckers. Believe-whatever-you-want fantasy is deeply embedded in our DNA.

      Over the course of five centuries—from the Salem witch trials to Scientology to the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, from P. T. Barnum to Hollywood and the anything-goes, wild-and-crazy sixties, from conspiracy theories to our fetish for guns and obsession with extraterrestrials—our peculiar love of the fantastic has made America exceptional in a way that we’ve never fully acknowledged. With the gleeful erudition and tell-it-like-it-is ferocity of a Christopher Hitchens, Andersen explores whether the great American experiment in liberty has gone off the rails.

      From the start, our ultra-individualism was attached to epic dreams and epic fantasies—every citizen was free to believe absolutely anything, or to pretend to be absolutely anybody. Little by little, and then more quickly in the last several decades, the American invent-your-own-reality legacy of the Enlightenment superseded its more sober, rational, and empirical parts. We gave ourselves over to all manner of crackpot ideas and make-believe lifestyles designed to console or thrill or terrify us. In Fantasyland, Andersen brilliantly connects the dots that define this condition, portrays its scale and scope, and offers a fresh, bracing explanation of how our American journey has deposited us here.

      Fantasyland could not appear at a more perfect moment. If you want to understand the politics and culture of twenty-first-century America, if you want to know how the lines between reality and illusion have become dangerously blurred, you must read this book.

      I wrote this brief book review on Goodreads in March 2019:

      “Very nice argument backed up with lots of facts about why the US really is special, in a crazy way.

      All good until Andersen starts speculating about root causes. Unfortunately he does not understand limits to growth and its underlying thermodynamics, nor our genetic tendency to deny reality, and therefore completely misses the boat on why people are angry and seeking magical solutions to their problems.”

      See also my review of another relevant essay by Andersen here:


      1. Thanks, Rob. I’m aware of this book by Kurt and I should have read it when it was first published. I should read it soon. BTW, Kurt’s hometown is the same as mine, Omaha, Nebraska. He’s on the Advisory Board of a great little independent cinema here in Omaha named Film Streams.


    3. Yes David, conspiracy thinking is certainly a worrying worldwide phenomenon and as another commenter has pointed out , it isn’t just confined to our era , although the internet and social media have undoubtedly increased its prevalence.
      Psychologists have carried out numerous studies trying to understand why some people are drawn to conspiracies. The research has found evidence of certain personality and thinking traits, including a general distrust of government, academics and scientists as well as foreigners, lower levels of analytical reasoning, a tendency towards confirmation bias, and tendencies to rush to judgement, to see “patterns” in often unrelated events and to see intentionality in chance events.

      According to a research article published in the journal Social Psychology by Anthony Lantian of France’s Universite Paris Nanterre and his co-authors, people are also drawn to conspiracy theories because of an underlying need for Uniqueness. Lantian and his research team conducted a series of studies which found that people with a high level of conspiracy belief are more likely to show a higher need to feel special or above average, to reject conformity and “not follow the crowd”. The embrace of conspiracy theories can provide believers with the knowledge of “truths” that ordinary people are unaware of, and a sense of certainty and empowerment about how the world “really” works. In addition, the acceptance of simple explanations is psychologically rewarding and creates pleasant feelings of comfort and understanding. Complex explanations requires a lot of effort and a long time to understand them fully. These psychological benefits may cause believers to reject any evidence that might shake those beliefs.
      Of course not all conspiracy theories are irrational. Sometimes collusion and corruption do happen. It’s natural for people to be on their guard for these things. But the problem with people predisposed to such thinking is that it can become an habitual way to look at the world — to see a world full of conspiracies, big powers behind the screens pulling all the strings. And actual conspiracies (like reports of scandal on the news that are indeed real) also feed into it.
      Neuroscience has highlighted how neural pathways become deeply engrained by a combination of thoughts, feelings and trigger reactions. Observations that agree with established beliefs will lead to strong activations of brain networks. Contradicting observations will arouse only transient weak activations of brain networks and may be ignored.
      Accordingly, conspiracy thinking can become self perpetuating with the deepening of automatic neural response. The more conspiracy theories a person believes in, the more susceptible they become to others. I’ve read where one study involving MRI scans of the brain have shown that the parts normally associated with paranoia are much more highly activated in conspiracy thinkers.
      Yes, it’s a worry, and I have an acquaintance who immediately views things from a conspiracy point of view. I find, like other such thinkers, that she’s quite arrogant in her beliefs (Dunning Kruger) and seems incapable of admitting she’s wrong.
      Here’s an Australian article on the problem.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Here’s some food for thought.

    What Today’s Headlines About Famine Get Wrong

    “A new book offers a surprising perspective about the hunger crises dominating the news.

    ‘The History and Future of Famine’ by Alex De Waal

    The author, Alex de Waal, a professor at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, is an old hand on this subject. For three decades he’s been writing about famines — and in several cases assisting with the response. But in an interview with NPR, de Waal says this latest take — the book is called Mass Starvation: The History and Future of Famine — marks an evolution in even his own thinking.

    Herewith some of the takeaways:
    As bad as things are now — they used to be so much worse.

    The past year has been unquestionably terrible, notes de Waal, with famine or near-famine conditions putting millions of people at risk of severe malnutrition and even death across Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Nigeria and Yemen.

    But de Waal says the current situation still represents a relatively small deviation from an overall trend of enormous progress.”

    “If we look at the history of famines over the last 150 years, what we see is that about 100 million people died in famines globally over this period. And almost all of these — 95 percent — died in the 100 years up to 1980.”

    ebook –


    1. From a review on amazon :
      ‘De waal also takes the opportunity to dismiss doomsayers who fear that overpopulation,infectious diseases,or resource depletion will lead to catasrophic population declines eventually. Nor does he think climate change will be disastrous for the food suply……’
      Sounds like we can put de waal in the ‘fuckwit’ folder.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bingo! Energy #1 reason for famine reduction starting in the 70’s. Even the institutions, NGO’s, UN that did the relief work & the public donations come courtesy of fossil fuel growth/wealth.

        Alex researched famines for 30 years & those findings are all I’m interested in from him. As for climate change et al overshoot issues, his anthropology degree does not qualify him as an expert on any of those matters.

        Bio from wiki

        “In 1988, de Waal received a D.Phil in social anthropology at Nuffield College, Oxford for his thesis on the 1984-5 Darfur famine in Sudan. This research formed the basis of his book, Famine That Kills: Darfur, Sudan (1989). The following year he joined the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, only to resign in December 1992 in protest for HRW’s support for the American military involvement in Somalia. ”

        Alex de Waal. is an idealist & all idealism is hope & faith based. There are no idealist doomers, although many doomers are ex idealists. “Idealist doomer” is an oxymoron….unless you’re a sadist.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The small organic farm I volunteer on is owned by friends who are serious environmentalists committed to doing everything they can to be green. Despite best efforts and lots of investment, the farm is still totally dependent on fossil energy.


  12. An open access, peer reviewed, interdisciplinary journal exploring all aspects of the relationship between human numbers and environmental issues.

    The fractal biology of plague and the future of civilization

    William E Rees, Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia


    At the time of writing, the CoViD-19 pandemic was in its second wave with infections doubling every several days to two weeks in many parts of the world. Such geometric (or exponential) expansion is the hallmark of unconstrained population growth in all species ranging from sub-microscopic viral particles through bacteria to whales and humans; this suggests a kind of ‘fractal geometry’ in bio-reproductive patterns. In nature, population outbreaks are invariably reversed by the onset of both endogenous and exogenous negative feedback—reduced fecundity, resource shortages, spatial competition, disease, etc., serve to restore the reference population to below carrying capacity, sometimes by dramatic collapse. H. sapiens is no exception — our species is nearing the peak of a fossil-fueled ~200 year plague-like population outbreak that is beginning to trigger serious manifestations of negative feedback, including climate change and CoViD-19 itself. The human population will decline dramatically; theoretically, we can choose between a chaotic collapse imposed by nature or international cooperation to plan a managed, equitable contraction of the human enterprise.


    1. Outstanding find, Apneaman. It appears that this journal has been published since 2016, with nine issues thus far. Now I know what my primary reading will be for the next few days.


    2. I respect and like Rees. I remember listening to interviews with him back in my early days of discovering peak oil. He’s also from my alma mater.

      I note that he did a great job of describing out predicament and that we need to choose to contract to avoid a chaotic collapse.

      But I also note that he was not brave enough to state that we need democratically supported rapid population reduction policies.

      In other words he blew it.

      A warm and fuzzy call for “contraction” doesn’t even come close to the reality of what we need to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. GM, Toyota, Ford sales down 5th year in a row. Nissan in a death spiral. The Pandemic accelerated what had started in 2016.

    During the infamous year 2020, with all its distortions and shifts, automakers delivered 14.46 million new vehicles in the US, retail and fleet combined, down 15.4% from 2019, the largest year-over-year percentage decline since 2008 (-18%). Topping off years of declines, 2020 took auto sales back to levels first seen in the 1970s.


  14. Very good essay today by Antonio Turiel.

    He voices some of what I’ve been thinking since the insurrection.

    Extract using Google translate follows.

    Winter is Coming

    On The Day of Kings of this 2021 we witnessed the embarrassing spectacle of seeing a mob of American protesters who do not accept the results of the last presidential election in that country, and who were trying to stop the validation process that took place in their Congress by force. Outgoing President Donald Trump’s continued appeal to alleged voter fraud has just spurred on his supporters, who have finally decided to take justice into his own hands.

    That in the country that is also regarded as a universal reference for democracy, such events, more typical of less consolidated democracies, are to some extent surprising. It cannot be said to be a complete surprise, because the four years of Donald Trump’s presidency have been characterized by populism, the spread of fake news and the astracanadas. For anyone who has followed the political and social situation in the U.S. it was clear that a large mass of Trump supporters see him as a saving messiah, which will free them from the oppression of a demonic kabbala of corrupt political and economic leaders, and take them to a land of promise, in which America will be great again. What may have surprised some is that delirium and desatining led a crowd to try to bring down democracy while they thought they were trying to save it.

    Much has been written about the dissociation of the reality of Trump’s followers, and how their bigotry is pushing them into a radicality that may end up leading the country into a civil war. A repeated trend in these analyses is to look at Trump’s followers like a bunch of lunatics, ignorant gañans that let themselves be fooled by anyone. However, such visions have a considerable lack of self-criticism and are therefore not useful either to understand the present moment or to propose valid solutions. Because while Trump supporters live in deceived, believing in a past idealized world they want to return to, do supporters of Joe Biden, the new president-elect, live less deceived? I mean, do you think Joe Biden is going to do something really effective with any of the serious problems afflicting your country? For example, will you be able to re-industrialize your country and have the lower classes recover the living wages they enjoyed 40 years ago? Are you going to take effective action to improve the environment in general, and particularly in the fight against climate change? Is it going to reduce international conflict in those scenarios where the U.S. has a lot to say? Will Joe Biden stop the aspirations of big companies to increasingly control and shear their citizens and those in other countries? Anyone who examines the recent history of the U.S. and the new president’s trajectory with a little objectivity will see right away that none of that is to be expected. There will perhaps be some improvements in terms of social rights, and some significant gestures on one of the above topics, but little else. And, if it’s effective, you won’t or won’t know how to do anything really effective.

    We explained it four years ago, when Trump came out ect. Trump supporters know that no one actually represents them, and that’s why they believe, they need to believe, that Trump will make them better. They believe in him because Trump wasn’t the establishment’s favorite, it was a free verse, a stray bullet. With his radical, blunt, lacky and disrespectful speech, saying “truths like fists,” Trump presented himself, for those desperate to see them sink, as their last option. And that’s why they catch him in desperation. Are Trump voters wrong to think Biden won’t do anything for them? Well, probably not, does that mean Trump will do something useful for them? Well, neither; in fact, apart from his boutades, during these four years he has made no substantial change in his country, except radicalizing his electorate with lies and insidious (sad legacy). But in spite of everything, many trump voters are probably deceived about their leader less than Biden’s.

    The discussion between Trump and Biden, between Republicans and Democrats, is actually an empty discussion of content. It is not between these two options that we will find a real solution to the problems we have. It is the metaphor of the ant that notices the smell of an apple hanging over its head but is not able to reach it because it moves in two useless dimensions when it should move in the third to reach the block. That is why society is divided into almost equal parts between the two options, because the two are equally useless in solving the problem and, in substance, the proposed choice is random, independent of the problem to be addressed. All the political discussion, in the US but also in the rest of the countries of the world, is completely useless because it moves in the useless dimensions of the problem, as if to address how to put out a fire we discuss whether the flames are red or yellow.

    But the pro-Trump conglomerate has a crucial trait: what unifies the great diversity of opinions within the Trumpist field is its strongly reactionary component. In a country with a strong Christian tradition, many Trumpists declare themselves devout people and attribute america’s current problems that the country has turned its back on God (it is following that logic that it is not difficult to conclude that Democrats should be a criminal band of Satan worshippers, paedophiles, and God knows what more barbarities, as one of the conspiracy theories with more predicament proposes , QAnon’s). But, without having to go this far in hallucination, the truth is that trumpists want to go back to those times of yesteryear when everything was easier and one could make a good living from a decent job. And it is clear that something has twisted over the last few decades; in reality, we can all agree that something has gone horribly wrong: economic instability, the risk of unemployment, growing domestic and international insecurity… There is no point in denying what is evident: in developed countries we have been worse in the last 20 years. The policies that were undertaken, globalization, liberalization, etc., have led us to a worse place. What recipes do American Democrats propose? Deep down, delve deeper into that path, which is strongly called the Path of Progress. That’s why Trump voters think it’s necessary to react, and they’re not wrong about that: we can’t go down that same path because it’s a dead road.

    As readers of this blog know, the real reason for this growing hardship, of this rampant Great Exclusion, is the scarcity of energy. The maximum oil production, or peak oil, was in December 2018; and because the most versatile oil, conventional crude oil, has been in decline since 2006,the peak production of diesel (the true blood of the system, because it is needed for trucks and heavy machinery including tractors) was in 2015. Years before we reached these peaks we already had problems because it was increasingly hard to increase oil production, but since we have overcome them we have not stopped bandazos (like those that have been with the bans on diesel cars). Basically, everything we’ve been doing in the 21st century has been an uphill number of growing difficulties in keeping up with an economic system that needs unlimited and accelerated growth in order to move forward. A system that needed an equally unlimited and growing power supply but has begun to fail. That’s why investment and growth opportunities were lacking, so subprime mortgages and other un baseless financial gadgets flourished: because the real world, the physical world, didn’t give for more. Now, the illusion that we could keep this system alive is fading quickly; worse, having stretched its duration for a few more years with dubious patches leads to a more hasty drop than it should be. And we all know this: no one looks after the interests of ordinary citizens, who feel deceived and crushed by power. So it is also not surprising that people are suspicious of siren chants about the Ecological Transition to “renewable paradise”, because it already senses that renewables actually have their limits even if they are not talked about, which in many cases serve to transfer more money from the poor to the rich, and that all the current fanfare about green hydrogen only hides a large-scale scam.

    What Trump fans are wrong about is how to react. They represent the reactionary movement (the Reaction), which seeks to return to something earlier that is not really achievable either (in fact, they idealize it and it is not so desirable either, but that is already another discussion). In addition, the Reaction includes not only a return to ancient modes in production, but matute wants to sneak social setbacks (especially loss of minority rights) that are not really necessary for the purposes they claim to pursue. As we explained in his day, reaction is not needed as opposed to the deletarian Progress, but conservationism. But there is one thing in which the Reaction is right: in overcoming the left-right axis, which leads nowhere.

    On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden Jr. will be sworn in as President of the United States. Four very difficult years await you, in which you will face a dangerously rapid fall in global oil production, driven by the strong disinvestment of the last 7 years. There is no government in any country in the world that is prepared for this challenge, and Biden, with a country divided and radicalized after Trump, is probably in a worse position than many other countries. When the U.S. economic situation is a complete disaster and the ultimate disappearance of fracking aggravates the deep industrial crisis in Midwest states, discontent will grow. What will that white trash that is abandoned by the establishment and will be confirmed by its prejudices do? What will ex-trumpists do when they see that a president they consider to have been delegitimated at source is sinking them further into misery? Revolts will be the least of evil; the hard will come when secessionist movements appear in some states. Civil war in the U.S. before 2030? Years ago, considering the possibility seemed nonsense; today, who knows…

    And here? How will we be in Spain? Looking at the current tone of the political discussion in Spain, it cannot be said that we are much better. The Covid crisis (or, rather, the steps taken to deal with it) are dusting small businesses. On top of that, the jets and horses begin to splatter, however, of large corporations; corporations that, for example, will be the great beneficiaries of the European economic recovery fund (by the way, I will soon devote several posts to talking about the scams that come in the energy world). The lack of real capacity of the Government of Spain to deal with what is coming (remember: by 2025 global oil production could be half that of today) and the hardship of small entrepreneurs, traders and freelancers and their workers will raise increasing collective outrage against a precarious government in its political support and in its ideas of government. How this will end, no one knows, but it doesn’t seem right.

    It’s getting colder and colder. Winter is coming.


    1. Interesting Rob. Hopefully, at least the Biden administration will reverse all the pro corporate environmental, workplace and consumer de-regulation that has occurred in the last few years under Trump and which no one seems to talk about.
      But, as suggested, nothing that Biden’s administration does can save the majority of the American people from a steady continuing descent in their living standards. As a result, there will probably be a swing back to the republicans and to populist saviours.
      Perhaps the real problem is one of expectation. We have all been exposed, via the media and advertising, to this great consumer culture of always wanting more. And bigger and better than previously. One survey asked children what they wanted to be when they grew up. Too many answered “rich and famous”. Maybe we all need to learn to be happy with less, and to be grateful for living in an era in history unparalleled for technology, for the availability and variety of food, cheap clothing, and entertainment. I’ve been looking at some online videos of people whose way of thinking makes them relatively contented and happy, even though they are not well off financially. Even ‘poor’. They have deliberately decided to focus on what’s good in their lives and to make the best of what they have, and what their community can offer. It would be great if people, kids especially, could also learn to think like that , although it seems that this might be an impossible task in modern western capitalist societies, which work on creating desire for status and personal material affluence.
      In the future though, as environmental, energy and economic collapse really takes hold, I guess that not even the most positive mental outlook or personal resilience will help .

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m deeply concerned about the recent increase in size and strength of right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) that is clearly “winning” in communities all across the planet. This recent episode of RWA terrorism at the US Capitol is just the tip of the iceberg here. Tens of millions of US Americans likely support the behavior of the RWA terrorists (insurrectionists is too light a term for these assholes) on Wednesday. Trump isn’t the problem. The ideology and worldview of people who support him definitely are an extraordinary problem.

      Antonio Turiel is wrong when he states:

      “But there is one thing in which the Reaction is right: in overcoming the left-right axis, which leads nowhere.”

      Nonsense. Trumptards don’t give a fuck about “overcoming the left-right axis”. These people couldn’t compromise if their lives depended on it. They just want things to go back to what they were like in the US up to the mid-late 20th Century.

      Whoever minimizes the current threat of RWA is a fool and may pay a very heavy price for it indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Hi Rob, I’m Spanish, excuse me, but I know Antonio Turiel perfectly and he’s just a bad scientist apart from being a idiot.

      I take this opportunity to thank you for your blog.


        1. Turiel is not interested in overcrowding. He is not interested in physics, especially thermodynamics. He is not interested in economics, etc. etc. He’s interested in nothing more than peak oil as an excuse to create his outdated anti-capitalist narrative. Therefore, Turiel is foolish.
          Sorry, I use Google Translate.


  15. See comment below left by “Name” at Tim Morgan’s website on 12/28, 3:58 pm. One man’s conspiracy theory is another man’s accurate description of reality.

    “You mistake second-tier elites, the managerial class – who really believe in convential economics, who write the newspapers, who appear on television to tell you stuff – with the Real™ Elites.
    Here, for you. A 2005 article predicting the 2008 financial crisis and our current predicament of the 2020s, all well known by the elites of the time:

    Bilderbergers estimate the extractable world’s oil supply will last a maximum of 35 years under current economic development and population. However, one of the representatives of an oil cartel remarked that they must factor into the equation the population explosion and economic growth as well as demand for oil in China and India. Under the revised conditions, there is apparently only enough oil to last for 20 years. No oil spells the end of the world’s financial system—which has already been acknowledged by the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, two newspapers that are regularly represented at the annual Bilderberg conference. The conclusion: expect a severe downturn in the world’s economy over the next two years as Bilderbergers try to safeguard the remaining oil supply by taking money out of people’s hands. In a recession or, at worst, a depression, the population will be forced to dramatically cut down their spending habits, thus ensuring a longer supply of oil to the world’s rich as they try to figure out what to do.

    Don’t be under the illusion that all of those Climate Change/Global Warming/Green Energy initiatives were for real – they were taxation schemes and desperate measures.
    We won’t have EV Cars, and Combustion cars will be phased out increasily fast, in a hurried fashion.

    Nothing worked. Only one thing will: Crash the economy, on purpose, with a fake threat of some underwhelming manufactured virus. That way people’s spending power (energy comsuption) is cut.
    Seek depopulation, either hard (deaths) or soft (diminish birth rates).

    You yourself know the predicament we are in. It’s not to be expected for things to go smoothly, neither unnoticed by the elites.”


  16. Irv Mills with part 5 of his series on collapse, this time focusing on over population.

    Is overpopulation the main problem we should be trying to solve? I would say no, but it is certainly part of the problem. Increasing the size of our population makes coping with over consumption harder, and vice versa. The thing to remember about trying to control overpopulation is that, because of the large delay between reducing population growth rates and eventually reducing our population, this project is not likely to bear fruit in time to get us through the bottleneck we face. Unless we tackle consumption at the same time.

    As a successful species we have the built in tendency to multiply if resources are available and to expand until we overuse the resources. Can anything be done about this? The demographic transition is tied to affluence in many ways, so it seems likely to make things worse by increasing consumption. Greater awareness of our situation could lead to cultural influences which would make smaller families more desirable in areas where the growth rate is still high. Educating women can do much to help with that, without requiring excessive consumption. Like so many of the problems we face, the solution is probably doable, but not likely to be implemented in a timely fashion for ideological and political reasons.

    Reducing the food supply would definitely reduce our population, and this is likely to be what happens in the event of dieoff, whether we want it to or not. But to deliberately quit feeding people should be morally repugnant. Especially if forced on poor people by rich people who are exempt. The term “eco-fascist” has been coined for people who are in favour of this sort of thing.

    I am not one of those people, and I should make it clear that I am not blaming the problems I’ve been talking about here on the poorer and more heavily populated areas of the world. Indeed, the high level of affluence in the developed nations is directly supported by their exploitation of the developing nations. And the ridiculously high level of consumption by the rich everywhere is a major factor in the overshoot that I’ve been talking about. Ten percent of the population of the world does over 50% of the consumption.


    1. “Is overpopulation the main problem we should be trying to solve? I would say no . . .”

      Yes, Irv, it is. Preventing more humans from being born (anywhere, everywhere) IS tackling consumption. It is, in fact, the best way to tackle consumption: the way of no-tackle-required. If the birth of another human being is prevented you obviously don’t have to tackle consumption for this non-being.

      Is tackling consumption for existing beings at the same time (as preventing further births) almost equally important? Yes, it is.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Rob and David, there are at least some of us who do, indeed, fully ‘get’ overshoot yet also feel certain that, just as virtually every previous empire and civilization experienced a 70-90% population reduction due to die-off (we are, after all, honoring Jay here, yes?) so, too, IF there are any humans at all on Earth in 50 years there most likely wont be more than 10-50 million total…in isolated pockets of relative habitability. I see arguing for democratic population reduction similarly to the argument that everyone should become vegan: it’s demonstrably true it would make a ginormous difference and it’s theoretically possible – and it’s totally admirable for those who choose to not have children, or eat meat, and it’s an infinitely more solid ethical/moral position than saying, “Fuck it. I’m going to have kids and eat as much meat as I want.” But if I and everyone I know and love are likely to be dead in 20-30 years (possibly this decade given abrupt climate change, BOE, and all), it just feels better for me to not be judgmental toward those who make different ethical choices than I do. Ma Gaia is going to do one kick-ass population reduction in the very near-term future, with or without any conscious participation on our part. I give a multi-breadbasket failure with 1-3 billion or more people dying no more than ten years out. If either of you watch my video linked above and interpret things differently, let me know how, and what your evidence is. I respect you both and value your comments, even if I don’t chime in myself a whole lot.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks Michael.

            I should have chosen better words. What I meant to say is that it’s remarkable how few overshoot aware people “who don’t think it’s too late and still advocate for societal changes to preserve some of our best accomplishments and to reduce total suffering” are willing to address the need for rapid population reduction policies.

            In your case you believe there is no hope and pretty much everyone will die. I assume you have also calculated that the value of a parent enjoying a child exceeds that cost of that child suffering and dying a horrific death 10 years later.

            I don’t agree with your conclusions because I think 8 billion minus 1 suffering is better than 8 billion suffering, but I can respect your views because you don’t advocate anyone do anything to change the outcome.

            I have a problem with people that understand our predicament and advocate for changes that won’t help.

            I also don’t understand why we make such a big deal about population reduction laws. We already impose our will on others with the force of law to prevent the suffering of sentient life.

            For example, we forcibly remove a child from parents that abuse or do not provide a minimum standard of care. We have laws that force farmers to manage their livestock populations to be in balance with their feed resources. We have laws that prevent pet owners from abusing or owning more pets than they can humanely care for. We have laws that govern how animals must be treated in research labs.

            And yet we don’t care that the 250,000 children born every day starting tomorrow will suffer or die.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Wow, what a wonderful and generous response, Rob…thank you!!
              Warmly, and getting warmer and crazier every year,
              ~ Michael


          2. Michael, I’m not arguing for “democratic population reduction”. I’m arguing for the PRINCIPLE (even with TEOTWAWKI, principle matters to me and it always will) that even one less human being born is essential as it will prevent tremendous suffering for this being (and others already existing, as individuals obviously don’t live in a vacuum). It will clearly also reduce consumption as a non-being can’t consume anything. And we know that it’s much more likely for terrible shit to happen to humans in the very near future which gives this principle even more validity.

            A terrible ethical/moral position is to say, “Fuck it, I’m going to have more kids because shit is totally fucked anyway, so what’s it hurt to bring a few more onboard?” It’s also unethical to support such a position which it sounds like you’re doing. Or, at best, you’re turning your cheek to avoid being “judgmental toward those who make different ethical choices than I do.” Bringing more humans into a world which is fast turning to shit isn’t just a DIFFERENT ethical choice, it’s a LESS ETHICAL choice than choosing not to.

            I viewed the referenced video you produced. It offers much food for thought and I thank you for your efforts in making it. I try to avoid predicting numbers, including the number of humans who’ll die in a given period of time, because I think it’s a fool’s game. But I do agree that it’s extremely likely that massive numbers of humans will die this century, or even closer to now than the end of it.

            Liked by 1 person

        2. No need to mention “overpopulation” with this image. “Democratic Population Reduction” should have been added as another doomed to fail support, IMHO.


  17. Can’t open that link.

    If depopulation is part of the ‘plandemic’ scheme, does anyone know when that part is supposed to get

    Last time I looked the humans added 225,000 new consumers per day (births minus deaths) making for a net increase of 82,125,000 annually. Covid deaths 2020 worldwide are estimated at 1.9 million.

    They need a better depopulation plan. I’m not impressed, but incompetent PTB are the order of the day – decade actually.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Because it’s not a PLANdemic. Viruses and pandemics do occur naturally after all. Even IF Covid 19 was made in a laboratory – as part of various experiments that researchers do in those places, it escaped and wasn’t deliberately released. IMO.
      A deliberately thought out and organised plan would have seen the Covid virus being more potent and released simultaneously in a number of areas around the world. Don’t forget we had SARS and MERS and other things in the past which were actually more lethal, but, being less contagious, they were more easily contained.


      1. Apneaman, IMHO “Voluntary or democratic population reduction” should be included as one of the doomed-to-fail props, right along with “everyone should become vegans” and “everyone should stop flying” and “everyone should stop driving cars” or “everyone should GET that denial is our biggest problem”, wouldn’t you agree?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. btw… (separate topic) I read (listen to the audiobook) of Kurt Anderson’s book, “Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire”, and loved it.


  18. I sometimes wonder, as I stated in the most forceful way I know how in the video I linked to above, “Unstoppable Collapse: How We Can Avoid the Worst”…

    Will we, individually and collectively, ever learn that we can’t WIN the blame game? Sure, we can still PLAY the blame game. But it’s kind of like masturbation. Sure it feels good, but ultimately, we’re just screwing ourselves.”

    My most radically honest (and un-denial) sense of reality is this, “No, we cannot stop playing the blame game.” Vegans will continue to blame meat eaters until they die. Those who choose to be childless will blame the “pro-natalists” and those who have children until they die. Those who choose to not fly, or drive cars, or use disposable items will continue to blame those who do until they die.

    Such, it seems, is life (or at least human nature).

    Personally, I want to live the best damn life and have the most joy and happiness I possibly can until the Grim Reaper comes for me and my loved ones … which I suspect will happen in the next decade or two.

    Being judgmental toward those who have different ethical or moral values than I do simply doesn’t serve that desire.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Very nice example of a person that is smart but blind to thermodynamics and overshoot, struggling to find the words to adequately express the insanity of our economy.

    If you do not understand energy, you understand nothing.

    Key Issue 2021: Will the latest speculative cycle, arguably the most egregious and destabilizing yet, be sustained through the year?

    Ebullient markets celebrate the Fed’s unprecedented 2020 measures, with more faith in “whatever it takes” than ever. More sober analysis would recognize the relationship between systemic speculative leverage, underlying fragility, and the scope of the Fed’s response necessary to thwart Bubble collapse. Importantly, the need for such monumental Fed measures confirmed the unprecedented scope of leveraged speculation and speculative excess more generally.

    The Fed and global central bank 2020 crisis response pushed unparalleled leveraged speculation and financial excess to even more precarious extremes. While presumed otherwise in the markets, last year’s market bailout and resulting mania have significantly exacerbated what was already acute Bubble fragility.

    Typically, a speculative cycle’s manic phase has a limited duration. As in life, it becomes difficult to sustain the intensity of extreme euphoria. But this is the most extraordinary of cycles. Myriad signs of rank excess that in the past would have aroused concerns from the more sophisticated market operators are today paid no heed at all. Not with markets over-liquefied and the Fed determined to inject $120 billion monthly for the foreseeable future. This promotes an extended cycle – an elongated “Terminal Phase” – with only more egregious speculation and speculative leverage.

    The 2008 crisis was labeled “a hundred-year flood.” Crises inflict enormous pain. Normally, lessons are learned, and behaviors are altered. Speculators are chastened, while policymakers assume a more assertive role in safeguarding against lending, debt accumulation and speculative excesses. But contemporary central bank doctrine has transformed age-old dynamics. QE, zero rates and using asset inflation as the key mechanism for system reflation ensure anomalous dynamics. The Bubble was reflated and then some, ensuring only greater future Bubble collapses.

    The global Bubble was again at the precipice in 2020, with reflationary policy measures employed more quickly and in incredible dimensions. Bubbles were rapidly resuscitated. Pain was ameliorated before it altered risk tolerance and speculative impulses.

    It would be highly unusual to have back-to-back years of financial crisis. But the speed by which intense speculative excess reemerged post-crisis has been extraordinary. There are some similarities to the post-LTCM bailout rally that briskly ripened into the 1999 technology stock mania – with less than 18-months from bailout to a major market top in March 2000.

    Yet the scope of the current global Bubble across asset classes so dwarfs 1999. Between September 1998 and the end of March 1999, Federal Reserve Assets expanded $55 billion to $580 billion. For this cycle, the expansion of Fed Credit is now up to $3.580 TN in 69 weeks. Central bank largess has spurred history’s greatest Credit expansion – in the U.S., China and globally. Many governments over the past year ran deficits surpassing 10% of GDP. The U.S. fiscal deficit exceeded $3.0 TN, or approaching 15% of GDP. In the face of an unprecedented supply of new bonds and debt, market yields nonetheless collapsed. Central bankers completely disabled the market pricing mechanism.


    1. Per Hendry’s Iron Law of Disney markets, the one reliable constant for the past decade+ of non-stop monetary bailouts has been stocks rallying on an imploding economy, in anticipation of further dramatic monetary euthanasia. According to Hendry’s Law, when everyone finally loses their job, the stock market will reach infinity. We’ll all be rich and we will have all of our money in Bitcoins. You have to be an idiot to believe all of this, which is why it’s the consensus view.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. “The 2008 crisis was labeled “a hundred-year flood.” LMAO, we are now using climate change jacked disaster analogies to describe other calamities. The tables have turned.

      Rob if declining net energy is at the root, then one can’t blame it ALL on their preferred target – bankers, politicians, libtards, right wingnuts, China or the popular targets Michael mentioned above.

      The MPP or any determinism takes all the fun out of it. What are the chimps supposed to do, type out self righteous blaming rants at the universe?

      Then there’s the fact that Americans are the biggest per capita energy pigs at the trough. Subtract the US war machine energy use & Canadians have consumed & dissipated just as much or more per. If N Americans were to acknowledge declining net energy, overshoot & their hugely disproportionate consumption (4-5 generations running) compared to the rest of the humans, it makes any & all of their scapegoating & bellyaching absurd.

      No doubt there are criminals & incompetents in many positions of authority & their numbers have steadily increased over the last few decades & they seem to operate with impunity or only get their wrist slapped at worst, but I see most of this as a consequence of decline, not the root cause. I don’t see the plebs as total innocents or victims. Most of them grabbed as much credit as they could & refinanced their house (Bank of Domicile) so they could go on an Alaskan cruise or remodel (again) & various other vapid consuming-experience dopamine hits.

      If all the people were aware of ‘The 3 E’s’. Aware of the consequences because they watched 23 Nate Hagens & Chris Martenson videos (or spent a day with me), do you think they would behave any differently? I don’t.

      If all the people were aware & given a vote after the GFC on whether to get real (major energy & consumption reduction) or let the financial wizards cast their can kicking spells for an unknown length of time so they could carry on with their lifestyles, what do you think they would vote for?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “If all the people were aware…”

        It’s an important question, maybe the question.

        I don’t know the answer. I’m trying to figure it out.

        Here’s what I do know:
        1) leaders have never tried speaking honestly about overshoot to citizens
        2) almost everything we’re told today is untrue – I’m sure many sense this and it causes division and disrespect for authority
        3) most people have a very strong tendency to deny unpleasant realities
        4) I see some examples of us responding to scarcity with civility and good judgment
        5) I see many historic examples of us responding badly to scarcity (revolution & war)
        6) I think most people are mostly good and want to do the right thing, provided pain is shared fairly

        I’d like to try honesty. What have we got to lose? Out current path leads to chaos and ruin.

        P.S. perfect video

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Didn’t Jimmy Carter try the experiment of speaking honestly to the American people about the concepts of limits and energy constraints ? Which Reagan promptly exploited politically by ridiculing the idea of limits to growth,morninn in America Hollywood fantasy bullshit ? I think so. We also know which path the USA chose. Fantasy all the way.
          Not only the USA. Everyone followed the fantasy path if they could.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Carter is a good man and he did speak a partial truth about fossil energy to the American people in 1979, and yes citizens did reject his message.

            I wrote about Carter here:

            Here is the text of Carter’s Crisis of Confidence speech:

            Here is my summary of what he actually said. Notice that we actually did a lot of what he proposed.
            • context was gasoline shortage lineups caused by OPEC embargo
            • current path leads to “fragmentation, self-interest, chaos, immobility”
            • dependence on imported oil threatens USA security
            • quotas to prevent growth in imported oil
            • funding for alternate energy: coal, shale oil, gasohol, unconventional gas, sun
            • goal of 20% solar power by 2000
            • $10B for public transportation expansion
            • financial aid to poor citizens for energy costs
            • windfall taxes and citizen purchased bonds to pay for above
            • electricity utilities forced to switch from oil to coal
            • relaxed environmental standards to facilitate refinery and pipeline construction
            • home energy conservation program
            • gasoline rationing policies if required
            • citizens requested to carpool, park car 1 day per week, use public transportation, obey speed limit, reduce thermostat setting
            • don’t worry about running out, we have lots of shale oil and coal

            What Carter did not say:
            • date that global oil supply will begin to permanently decline
            • ditto for coal and natural gas
            • why there is no substitute for oil
            • economic growth is not possible without growing consumption of fossil energy
            • our monetary system requires growth to enable our standard of living
            • 7 out of 8 people will starve without diesel and natural gas
            • we are in overshoot and require population reduction policies to reduce suffering

            A citizen listening to his speech was left with the impression that the problem could be fixed by more drilling and a bigger military presence in the middle east (which we did), and got no sense of the human overshoot threat (which we ignored and made worse).

            So I’d say we’ve never tried honesty with our citizens.


            1. Thanks for those details. It is still relevant that Reagan’s campaign ridiculing ‘limits to growth’ was the one that
              one. Look, I wish you all the best with your efforts to encourage rapid population reduction. But if you are really interested in honestly informing people about how unsustainable our current civilisation is,then the truth is that
              we are in a Russian doll situation. One damned preicament after another. Do you intend to tell people that if they
              want to live sustainably on this planet ,they’ll have to give up living in cities ? Have you efforts at understanding our predicament extended that far ? Cities convert nutrient systems from cyclic systems into linear systems.
              It is theoretically possible to return those nutrients to the land where they originted, but the pravticalities mean
              that it is not feasible. A huge eenergy and material requirement,which will be increasingly constrained .
              The nutrient supplies for industrial agriculture ,suppling the linesr system that is in place,will be ending this century. Small human settlements which allow the nutrient systems to remain cyclic, are a pre-requisite for human societies to endure over thousands of years. That is just one of the Russian dolls.


              1. No. I propose we tell people that we are in a severe state of overshoot and that about 7 billion people may die horrible deaths this century and that we need population reduction policies because they will improve every problem we face, and even if it’s too late to avoid some problems, population reduction will reduce total suffering.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. A couple of years ago,I put a comment on OFW, saying that the children born now will certainly live lives of great
                  suffering, and to reduce that suufering,people should not have children. Gail replied that we never know what surprises god has in store,and that people should continue having children. So there you go. God’s going to come to the rescue.


                    1. Thank flying spaghetti monster that my country Australia is a far less religious country than the US ( having had 2 Prime Ministers who were declared atheists) !
                      I guess the rapture won’t save us here….


  20. Norman Pagett insight…

    But as Superman’s girlfriend said, when he ‘saved’ her (he was always doing that) for the first time:

    ”Don’t worry, I’ve got you” says Superman.

    “You’ve got me??? Who’s got you?” Replies Lois Lane

    Problem these days is there’s no phone boxes to change in.

    Politicians are just ordinary people with louder voices. We vote for men and expect them to turn into supermen and then complain when they don’t. Or accuse them of being accomplices in a grand conspiracy against us.

    I don’t think most of them are ignorant of the situation. They cannot alter things to any great extent any more than you or I can.

    Nobody is going to ‘save’ us, because we chose this mess for ourselves 200 odd years ago, by choosing infinite growth on a finite planet. Simple when you think of it that way, and dispense with all the hoaxes and conspiracies.


  21. Rob, have you read “The Future a Eaters” by Tim Flannery? I read it a long time ago. Good book if haven’t read it. Tim Flannery has long campaigned for a small Australia.


    1. No I haven’t but it sounds very good, thanks for the tip. Future Eaters is a great title. I have Flannery’s book on climate change “Now or Never” in my library. I know most of the nooks and crannies on the internet for books but could not find Future Eaters. Perhaps I’ll buy it some day.

      Here is a good review:

      Everyone I’ve mentioned this book to over the last week has made the same comment: The Future Eaters is brilliant, but—Tim Flannery cherrypicks the evidence about megafaunal extinction, or he’s bit out of date now, or he’s too harsh or too easy on Aboriginal people/white settlers/more recent immigrants. It is both remarkable and utterly predictable that The Future Eaters inspires such nitpickery. It is a vast book, and any book encompassing so many thousands of years of history and so many different disciplines—biology, climatology, anthropology, history, litearture—is bound to make little errors of fact. It is also a controversial book. Anyone who claims, as Flannery does, that ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘immigration’ are actually unrelated, for example, is bound to raise hackles.

      However predictable the nitpickery, it isn’t warranted. Flannery is one of the most circumspect historians I’ve ever read. His chapter on megafaunal extinction, for instance, is scrupulously evenhanded. He believes that humans wiped out the giant kangaroos and diprotodons that once grazed in Australia’s primeval rainforests, and the large carnivorous lizards and marsupials that once preyed on them. But before he explains his own point of view, he carefully considers the opposing hypothesis, that these presumably once graceful creatures were eliminated by climate change. He also quite willingly admits where his own evidence is weak: ‘at present we have no clear evidence about the nature of interaction between humans and megafauna, for we have no kill sites and very few sites where there is possible evidence for human and megafauna coexisting.’ If he really is so prone to cherrypick his evidence, it is remarkable that he should pick this particular piece.

      As for his controversial statements, he admits they are often provocations:
      “I have introduced some radical and provocative views principally because I believe that, given our present understanding, they are the right way to begin. Even if they are eventually discarded, the knowledge gained in investigating them would be invaluable as a base from which to make a beginning.”

      Flannery is one of Australia’s greatest historians. His training is actually in zoology and paleontology. He spent his PhD years trekking all over Australia and PNG discovering extinct species of kangaroo, and describing the evolution of the genus macropodidae. He is a great historian because he thrusts beyond this (admittedly already broad) disciplinary boundary. The Future Eaters is full of references to great writers, explorers, economists, artists and war heroes as well as scientists. He is a bold thinker. He spends much of the book describing events long in the past—30, 40, 50 or 60 thousand years in the past—and has to fill in many of the gaps with theories. But his theories are always rooted in a sane and personal and detailed view of nature’s ways.

      Nature, Flannery shows, is frighteningly and beautifully plastic, and we humans have an extraordinary power to meddle with it. His main thesis is that the human settlers of the Pacific were the first ‘Future Eaters’, the first humans to enter a truly vulnerable environment and subdue it to our will. Like the Israelites in Canaan, Future Eaters find themselves in a land of milk and honey. But they glut themselves, and in a few short decades that the bounty of the earth reveals its finitude. Some Future Eaters, like the Australian Aborigines or the Papua New Guineans, then embark on a millenia-long quest for adaptation and balance, and can develop new and beautiful forms of life in a new and revitalised environment. Others, like the M&amacr;ori, or the Easter Islanders, are never given the chance.

      It is no wonder this story struck such a chord with Australians when it was published in 1992. This was the very experience of early white settlers. For the first decades, they pitilessly exploited the land. They ringbarked whole forests for a scrap of roof-bark. They felled vast woodlands. They butchered the seals and whales. They neglected to burn the undergrowth. They killed or drove away or seduced the traditional managers of the land. They hardly bothered to cultivate local flora and fauna—indeed, their descendants, me among them, still fail to do so. They tried to recreate English gardens and English households and English fashions in a hot dry land ruled by the El Niño Southern Oscillation.

      The tragic thing is, this kind of exploitation can seem to work. Australians were taller, stronger, fitter, longer-lived and more fertile than their English and Irish counterparts for basically the whole nineteenth century. As they observed the Future Eaters of North America rampage across the continent and transform themselves into the world’s most powerful society, they thought they might have a crack themselves. But then the droughts came, and the duststorms, and the rotting carcasses of sheep. Then the bandicoots and pademelons and rock wallabies started to die. Then the forests thickened and roared into flame. Then the rabbit warrens tore the soil to pieces. Then the mice broke out, then the prickly pears, then the cane toads. Then the rivers belched poisonous algae. Then the Great Barrier Reef started to perish and petrify.

      Luckily, people like Tim Flannery are not alone in Australia today. There is a growing consciousness of our dependance on the land. More people are becoming more aware of just how little we know. And more people are coming to recognise a salient fact that Flannery demonstrates beyond rebuttal in his book:
      [Aboriginal] cultures are the result of over 40 000 years of coadaptation with Australian ecosystems. The experience and knowledge encompassed therein is perhaps the single greatest resource that Australians living today possess, for without it we have no precedence; no guide as to how humans can survive long-term in our strange land.

      This is the hope Flannery holds out to us: it has been done before. Humans have made made peace with their environment. We can never quite go back, it is true. An industrial society of millions cannot live in the rainforest, and even if we could, the soft-footed herbivores that once maintained the understory are long gone. Likewise an industrial society of millions cannot forage on the grasslands, and even if we could, probably too much of the soil has been ruined to support the stupendously biodiverse garden-like environments the Europeans encountered in 1788. We must make a new treaty with the land. To do that, we have to finish making our treaty with the first people of it.


      1. ‘They ring-barked whole forests for a scrap of roof bark.’
        The reason forests were ring-barked was not to obtain roof bark ( though I guess some of the bark was used ).
        It was because it was the easiest method to kill the trees and allow more grass cover to grow. They wanted more
        grass in order to stock more cattle and sheep.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Another Themist loses his mind, this time Ugo Bardi.

    It would seem that many scholars of collapse can’t cope with collapse.

    The first victim of the Great Reset has been retail commerce. Mom and pop shops everywhere are the modern Kulaki, replaced by the onward marching militias of virtual commerce under the Amazon banner. It is impressive how nobody in the field dared to oppose the destruction of the source of their livelihood — they were overwhelmed just like the Kulaki.

    Other victims are waiting for the ax: Universities and schools are going to be defunded, obsolete against the onrush of e-learning. Public transport has become nearly useless with the triumph of virtual work and the fear of boarding a crowded bus. It will be replaced by the smart cars produced by Tesla and using Google’s AI software. Mass tourism and mass air travel are already relics of the past, resources that can be saved and used for other purposes. And the pervasive control of everyone is advancing: now just as at the time of the Soviet Union, those who control the message control everything.

    Of course, the Silicon Valley Companies are not the same thing as the Soviet Government of the 1930s. But there are similarities. Those companies that dominate the management of information on the Web operate very much Soviet-style: they are large, pyramidal organizations, often dominated by a charismatic leader (Zuckerberg, Gates, Bezos, etc.). In terms of size and planning style, they are not different from the People’s Commissariat for Agriculture (Народный комиссариат земледелия) (Narkomzem), established in 1917, the entity that carried out the dekulakization. And they reason mainly in terms of power balance: they don’t like and they don’t tolerate competition.

    The difference is that the Narkomzem was part of the state, whereas the Silicon Valley companies are not. They are best seen as feudal lords, barons if you like, in conflict with the central government. The current situation looks not unlike when King John of England signed the Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215, forced to do so by England’s Barons. Right now, the US government seems to be overwhelmed by the Barons of the Web, not unlike King John of England was. At least, when you see that Twitter can cancel the account of the President of the United States, then you understand who is the boss.

    It is not clear what the military think of the current situation. Probably they don’t have special objections about the elimination of retail commerce and other obsolete economic activities. But they also understand who is paying them: they get their money not from the Web Barons, but from the Government. And they may decide to do something to avoid going the same way as mom and pop shops. A few tanks in front of the Capitol Building would send a much clearer message than that conveyed by a half-naked, horned shaman. On the other hand, nothing prevents the Web Barons from building up their own military forces. Fluid situation, indeed.


    1. A side comment: OK, perhaps Twitter is a monopoly (effectively, see what happened to Parler). But Bardi recognizes that the company is not the state. We are so accustomed to limitless consumption and speed that we have to have the freedom to get our message out immediately. However, that’s not a right. You can actually still print out a newsletter; you can create an email tree, etc. Finally, 99%+ of Twitter comments are venting. If I were on it, the same percentage of my comments would be the same.


    2. Rob, I really think Right Wing Authoritarianism (RWA, accompanied by a stronger-than-average tendency towards conspiracy theory) is the primary cause of this type of thinking. Some people are simply more prone to a paranoid, conspiratorial thinking style, as described by Richard Hofstadter in his 1964 book, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”.

      Here’s a June ’20 article from the research journal, Political Psychology, which revisits The Paranoid Style in American politics and which found that paranoid, conspiratorial thinking is more highly correlated with RWAs than with other ideologies.

      I’m not trying to be partisan here. I have huge gripes and even outright hostility with/about some left wing ideology and practice as well. Their are probably also many left wing folks more prone to conspiracy theory than the average person, but not as prone to it as RWAs. I think both parties in the US are total shit and I’ve made on-the-ground efforts in the past to try to get more parties (way more than three) more power in Nebraska and the US as a whole, to little success due to the absurdly powerful, resistant, and entrenched political establishment.

      *One more thing important to remember about conspiracy theories. There’s almost always some truth to them, but overall their logic falls apart (or is completely absent) upon close inspection/investigation.


      1. Thanks.

        I think all political orientations tend to deny reality. Those on the right believe in god and conspiracies. Those on the left believe climate change can be fixed with solar panels. Everyone denies overshoot.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. In some way (my way) the very definition of conservative is fear of change. They have a narrow & rigid comfort zone.

        Fear and Anxiety Drive Conservatives’ Political Attitudes

        Can brain differences explain conservatives’ fear-driven political stances?

        “Peer-reviewed research shows that conservatives are generally more sensitive to threat. While this threat-bias can distort reality, fuel irrational fears, and make one more vulnerable to fear-mongering politicians, it could also promote hypervigilance, perhaps making one better prepared to handle an immediate threat.”

        Conservatives tend to focus on the negative.
        Conservatives have a stronger physiological response to threats.
        Conservatives fear new experiences.
        Conservatives’ brains are more reactive to fear.

        ‘3. Conservatives fear new experiences.’ – well that explains their strict adherence to the missionary position.

        Indeed some left wing ideology is conspiratorial, contradicts scientific evidence & is just plain ridiculous. I don’t like them, but I fucking hate the white nationalist types. All the US politicos have pretty much crossed the fanatical line.

        As for the politicians, I don’t see any major differences.

        CONSERVATIVE, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.
        -Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

        Liked by 2 people

        1. The well balanced mental inclination for caution or risk taking has been important for homo sapiens success both on an individual level, but especially on the tribal group level. I found E.O. Wilson’s “The Social Conquest of Earth” to be helpful in understanding how we got here. Our genetic proclivities, unfortunately, don’t do well with distant, conceptual risk. Since he argues that our group behavior dynamics are more or less hardwired, it does not bode well for us. Getting well out past Dunbar’s number has generated emergent behaviors, and made it all the worse.

          What more accurately explains the current frantic whining of U.S. politics is simple desire to stay at the trough, and not wanting to share as the pie begins to get smaller. ( to mix a metaphor).


        2. I used to consider myself a conservative when they cared about constraining debt since with less debt we have less overshoot.

          Now I don’t have a label and I don’t vote because no party offers overshoot reduction policies.


  23. Nice overview of well intentioned climate change initiatives that have failed in the Pacific Northwest.

    Cascadia Was Poised to Lead on Climate. Can It Still?

    BC, Washington and Oregon all aimed to slash emissions. After epic battles, they failed. First in a series on creating a zero-carbon bioregion.

    I wrote the following comment:

    “How many more years of good intentions without results before we accept we do not understand the problem?

    The only thing that might help, assuming it’s not too late, is fewer people or poorer people. I prefer the former and would like us to vote on rapid population reduction policies. If you prefer the latter, all we have to do is raise the interest rate, which one person at a keyboard can implement.”


  24. Norman Pagett today on god…

    if you are a godbotherer, then you have the certainty that god is looking out for you, for your own best interests, (in general terms) and so life will pan out rather well.

    but that philosophy doesn’t match life itself. in fact it usually screws up.

    God cannot be at fault, that would be heresy.

    ‘you’ cannot be at fault, because you obey god’s laws and stuff.

    so it must be someone else.. ‘others’.

    so ‘others’ become the focus of your rage and hate, anyone who looks different to you, or lives elsewhere. or possesses what you do not.

    Al that is needed then, is a so called ‘leader’ to confirm this, and ‘licence’ to act as a mob, and you have mass hysteria and insurrection.

    The ‘mob’ on Jan 6th were screaming ‘god’ and carrying crosses. I doubt if any of them were card carrying atheists.

    As I keep saying, the USA will break up, and much of that breakup will be along religious lines, into Theo-fascist dictatorships.

    When that happens, god help us all.

    I agree with Pagett’s outcomes but I think about religion differently. The human species succeeded in large part because of social cooperation facilitated by religions which serve to define, unite, govern, motivate, and entertain groups, and (especially in times of scarcity) define outside groups as enemies.

    But here’s the interesting bit:

    The one and only thing common to the thousands of religions is that they each have some form of life after death story. Religions can and do tell every conceivable story, but religions do not need a life after death story to define, unite, govern, motivate, and entertain a group. It might be reasonable for a few random religions to include life after death in their stories, but it is not reasonable that every religion has a life after death story.

    Unless the need for a life after death story has an important genetic foundation.

    Enter Varki with his MORT theory which explains our denial of death and other unpleasant realities.


  25. I get the feeling someone is trying to manipulate me. What’s wrong with this statement?

    New research shows that stopping greenhouse gas emissions will break the cycle of warming temperatures, melting ice, wildfires, and rising sea levels faster than expected just a few years ago. There is less warming in the pipeline than we thought, said Imperial College climate scientist Joeri Rogelij, a lead author of the next primary climate assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “It is our best understanding that, if we bring down CO2 to net zero, the warming will level off. The climate will stabilize within a decade or two,” he said. “There will be very little to no additional warming. Our best estimate is zero.”

    1) “stopping emissions” – is not feasible unless our species goes extinct; if they meant to say “achieve net zero emissions” it’s still not feasible without a medieval lifestyle

    2) “break cycle of warming temperatures faster than expected” – this is very misleading, it’s already too warm (Artic ice gone soon, Antarctic is melting now), and there’s about another degree of warming coming due to momentum regardless of what we do

    I suspect they’re trying to build optimism and support for net zero policies at COP26 in November 2021, which is what I think the Great Reset is all about. More on this later.

    If I’m right this means we’ll waste a few more years by avoiding the real issue – rapid population reduction.


  26. ‘godbotherer’ that’s new to me. The term, not the disciples it describes.

    Robespierre & Co, Lenin, Stalin & Co, Mao & Co & Pol Pot & Co did the same thing only they substituted their ideology for god & had a many millions body count & all of it was in the name of justice & making a better/Utopian nation.

    Belief in god is not needed to live in denial & do stupid shit. Being a human is the only prerequisite for that.

    All those leaders I mentioned were intelligent & educated, which served to help them to rationalize the killing they ordered.

    Why Do Smart People Do Foolish Things?

    Intelligence is not the same as critical thinking—and the difference matters

    “We all probably know someone who is intelligent but does surprisingly stupid things. My family delights in pointing out times when I (a professor) make really dumb mistakes. What does it mean to be smart or intelligent? Our everyday use of the term is meant to describe someone who is knowledgeable and makes wise decisions, but this definition is at odds with how intelligence is traditionally measured. The most widely known measure of intelligence is the intelligence quotient, more commonly known as the IQ test, which includes visuospatial puzzles, math problems, pattern recognition, vocabulary questions and visual searches.”

    “You might imagine that doing well in school or at work might lead to greater life satisfaction, but several large-scale studies have failed to find evidence that IQ impacts life satisfaction or longevity. University of Waterloo psychologist Igor Grossmann and his colleagues argue that most intelligence tests fail to capture real-world decision-making and our ability to interact well with others. This is, in other words, perhaps why “smart” people do “dumb” things.”

    The Intelligence Trap: Why smart people do stupid things and how to make wiser decisions by
    David Robson (2019)

    ” A startling, provocative and potently useful book’ Sunday Times
    Instant Evening Standard bestseller

    ‘As a rule, I have found that the greater brain a man has, and the better he is educated, the easier it has been to mystify him,’ Houdini to Arthur Conan Doyle

    Smart people are not only just as prone to making mistakes as everyone else-they may be even more susceptible to them. This is the “intelligence trap,” the subject of David Robson’s fascinating and provocative debut.

    Packed with cutting-edge research, historical case studies, entertaining stories, and practical advice, The Intelligence Trap explores the flaws in our understanding of intelligence and expertise, and reveals the ways that even the brightest minds and talented organizations can backfire – from some of Thomas Edison’s worst ideas to failures at NASA, Nokia, and the FBI. With a knack for explaining complex ideas and featuring timeless lessons from Socrates to Benjamin Franklin to Richard Feynman and the latest behavioral science, Robson shows how to build a cognitive toolkit to avoid mistakes and protect ourselves from misinformation and fake news.”

    Just grabbed them – haven’t read.

    IQ is largely a pseudoscientific swindle

    “Background : “IQ” is a stale test meant to measure mental capacity but in fact mostly measures extreme unintelligence (learning difficulties), as well as, to a lesser extent (with a lot of noise), a form of intelligence, stripped of 2nd order effects — how good someone is at taking some type of exams designed by unsophisticated nerds. It is via negativa not via positiva. Designed for learning disabilities, and given that it is not too needed there (see argument further down), it ends up selecting for exam-takers, paper shufflers, obedient IYIs (intellectuals yet idiots), ill adapted for “real life”. (The fact that it correlates with general incompetence makes the overall correlation look high, even when it is random, see Figures 1 and 2.) The concept is poorly thought out mathematically by the field (commits a severe flaw in correlation under fat tails and asymmetries; fails to properly deal with dimensionality; treats the mind as an instrument not a complex system), and seems to be promoted by:……”

    View at

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you completely. I experience this quite regularly when I interact with people I deeply respect for their knowledge and experience. Here is an example of that. This is my exchange with Dennis Conye who is one of the admins of Dennis is really knowledgeable but seems to disregard EROI which is the most important aspect when it comes to energy production. It is really baffling and difficult to wrap my head around it.
      Here is my exchange with him where he did not address any point I raised.

      Just scroll in above comment to see the complete exchange.


      1. I haven’t frequented the site for a while. I think I left because EROEI was seldom, if ever, part of the discussion. At least there is a recognition that the EROEI of society is important. In the meantime, debt can paper over decreasing EROEI. Perhaps Mr. Coyne would acknowledge decreasing EROEI, although still high enough for now.


      2. “I agree with you completely.”

        Really? OMG I adore you 😉

        Great timing eh? Well into the endtimes and I finally meet the woman of my dreams.

        Just my luck. Hell, I couldn’t win a ham sandwich if I owned a pig farm.


  27. The big fat Orange Peach, The Presidents of the United States of America, got im-peached. Again

    Moving to the White House gonna get a couple of impeachments

    Moving to the White House gonna get a couple of impeachments


  28. 2020 was hottest year on record by narrow margin, Nasa says

    Due to different methods, US Noaa judged year as fractionally cooler than 2016 while UK Met Office put 2020 in close second place

    “The world’s seven hottest years on record have now all occurred since 2014, with the 10 warmest all taking place in the last 15 years. There have now been 44 consecutive years where global temperatures have been above the 20th-century average.

    Scientists said average temperatures will keep edging upwards due to the huge amount of greenhouse gases we are expelling into the atmosphere. “This isn’t the new normal,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “This is a precursor of more to come.”

    The record, or near-record, heat came despite the moderately cooling influence of La Niña, a periodic climate event. “While the current La Niña event will likely end up affecting 2021 temperature more than 2020, it definitely had a cooling effect on the last quarter of the year,” said Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at Berkeley Earth, which found 2020 was narrowly the second hottest year on record.

    “It suggests that we’ve added an equivalent of a permanent El Niño event worth of global warming in just the last five years,” Hausfather added, in reference to the counterpart climate event that typically raises temperatures.”

    No one wants to hear it. I don’t know one person who wants to discuss any of it. It ain’t easy being a Doomer. Especially a bachelor doomer who would at least like to have a girlfriend.

    Unless I’m willing to fake it (I can’t) my only hope for companionship is winning the lotto or having a rich, long lost uncle die & inherit his millions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No it’s not easy. Awareness colors everything.

      I hate small talk. And it’s all small if you’re aware and not discussing overshoot. No one wants to talk about anything that matters.

      One date in the last 10 years and it was scary. I’m at peace with spending the rest of my life alone.


      1. Rob, can you believe all of this rain we’ve been having? I hear they’re calling for thunderstorms all weekend. How about them Canucks eh? Did you watch the game last night? What do you do?(boo hiss). Did you hear what [insert politician or celebrity] did/said? Have you checked out that new burger joint?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You two are definitely not alone. Sam Mitchell of Collapse Chronicles/ Humpty Dumpty Tribe also despairs of finding a “doomer chick”.
        I think about the problems facing our planet every day. And follow all the appropriate sites. And yes, when it comes to conversation with ‘ordinary’ people, there is just too much attention given to trivialities, especially celebrities! Ugh!
        It’s so good when you do find informed, like minded people to chat with – something that the Internet allows us to do virtually at least. Short of someone starting up an online dating site specifically for educated and informed doomers and collapsniks , I think the main chance of finding a satisfactory real life partner would be by joining an environmental group….
        Failing that, there’s always a good dog, or two.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I don’t know what is worse: 1. Being alone or, 2. Being with someone in denial who refuses to discuss what really matters (and accuses you of being in an intellectual echo chamber)? Having married when I was somewhat unaware of overshoot (40 year ago) and becoming aware over a period of time tears at all relationships.
        My dog is my best companion and discussion partner – other than the people here;).

        Liked by 1 person

  29. Q: Hey honey buns, did you hear ocean temperature records were smashed again?

    A: I want a divorce.

    Upper Ocean Temperatures Hit Record High in 2020 – Poses “A Severe Risk to Human and Natural Systems”

    “Using a method developed at IAP/CAS, the researchers calculated the ocean temperatures and salinity of the oceans down to 2,000 meters with data taking from all available observation from various measurement devices from the World Ocean Database, which is overseen by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the National Center for Environmental Information.

    They found that, in 2020, the upper 2,000 meters of the world’s oceans absorbed 20 more Zettajoules than in 2019. That amount of heat could boil 1.3 billion kettles, each containing 1.5 liters of water.

    “Why is the ocean not boiling?” Cheng asked. “Because the ocean is vast. We can imagine how much energy the ocean can absorb and contain, and, when it’s released slowly, how big the impact is.”

    Q: Hey honey buns, did you know that latent ocean heat is what powers hurricanes & is why they have grown more powerful & destructive with no end in sight?

    A: I’m taking the kids & we’re moving in with my mom.

    Q: Hey honey buns, have you heard of professor Guy McPherson?

    A: I’ve met another man.

    Q: Have you heard about the Lonesome Doomer?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But but but Alex Smith interviewed yesterday the world famous climate scientist Michael Mann who said they made a calculating mistake and now believe the oceans can save us by absorbing much more CO2 if we’d just stop emitting, oh and don’t worry, we can still grow the economy without fossil energy.

      Mann says the problem we face now is that climate denialists have shifted their strategy from denying climate change to saying that it’s too late to do anything about it.


      1. Mann is just re-purposing his long running & absurd ‘blame it on the Doomers/Guy McPherson’ fairy tale.

        So a few thousand internet doomers, almost no one has heard of, are responsible for 30 years of global inaction on climate change? Responsible for influencing 8 billion humans & 200 governments? Sounds plausible Mikey.

        Mann’s a PhD halfwit. Made stupid by his careerism & American progressive ideology.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Apneaman, I specifically focus on DENIAL (thanks, Rob!) and take on Michael Mann, specifically, with this video, which I consider my most important contribution to-date. Would love to know what you (you, too, Rob) think of it. You both can be radically honest with me:

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Gates & Mann are of the same mind & neither knows it. They could share a title for their new books.

            How To Fight Climate Change, Save The Planet, Civilization & My Privileged Position In It”



              1. Thanks for saying.

                As seen on r/collapse yesterday:

                “Society -Are there any good YouTube channels related to societal collapse? (self.collapse)
                submitted 20 hours ago * by peacetweety”

                “Rit0tiR45 6points 15 hours ago

                Thegreatstory on YouTube is pretty good. It is run by a guy named Micheal Dowd and he focuses on coping with collapse and how to minimize collapse for yourself and others.”


                I don’t visit r/collapse as often as I used to & I don’t comment & rarely read comments. I just go there looking for links. r/collapse ain’t what it used to be. Many young, angry, ignorant (not knowing) young men. Lost souls. I lack the patience (effort) & desire to engage there any longer.

                I’ve seen you, Rob, James, nutty professor McPherson & many other science-reality based ‘DOOMERS’ mentioned & almost always as teachers. Many of them say that learning the real root causes of Overshoot takes the edge off & enabled them to stop carrying around & drop that big heavy sack of bricks – Blame. I know exactly what they mean.

                I have to come clean. I’m more than a little envious of y’all big time Doomers with your fancy blogs, videos, millions of adoring fans, high dollar endorsement deals & groupies (especially the groupies).

                See, I tried for years to emulate y’all famous Doomers, but, no matter what I did, nothing worked.

                Now I just mope around all day mumbling & feeling sorry for myself – “It’s not fair”……”Every Doomer’s making it big but me :(”


                1. Last time I visited reddit was probably 4 years ago. Too much noise for my taste.

                  I like that maybe our work might reduce blame a little. I’m thinking blame via war is what will likely bring us down much faster than necessary.

                  You are more than welcome to take advantage of my millions of readers to write a feature post anytime. Maybe a monthly “Apneaman Rant”? You really should consider it, you’ve got a lot of unique and useful stuff to say.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Reduce blame (self & others), expectations & thus disappointments. Dooming done right is stoic.

                    If I decide to write a ‘formal’ rant, I’ll email it to you for editing. Thanks for your confidence.

                    I really really really want groupies.

                    Liked by 2 people

          2. Hi Michael,

            I just finished watching your video. Here are a few thoughts which I’ll also copy to your YouTube channel in case you don’t come back here.

            Unstoppable Collapse is indeed your best work to date. It’s a great primer on our overshoot predicament with many useful references for a person that is learning. It’s difficult to synthesize so many complex topics in a short talk and I thought you did an great job. You’ve clearly been working very hard over the last decade.

            I would say this is the first time that I’ve understood the underlying intent of your message. That’s a good thing. I now have framework in my mind for interpreting your work.

            I was pleased to see your emphasis on denial as a core impediment to anything changing in a positive direction. I of course would go a step further and say denial explains the existence of our species, but I understand that you (and others) have not yet bought into Varki’s MORT theory.

            If I have a criticism I would say that I am confused about your advice to people on what they should do.

            On the one hand you encourage people to work to shut down nuclear plants, to plant trees in different regions with compatible climates, and to build regenerative agriculture.

            On the other hand, you do not encourage people to have fewer children, or to advocate for population reduction policies which would reduce suffering of all species including humans, and which would improve every dimension of a post collapse world. Fewer people would also reduce demand for more nuclear plants and more industrial agriculture.

            Your logic does not make sense to me. The probability of shutting down nuclear plants is about the same as passing a one child law. Could it be that one message is agreeable with your audience and the other is not? If true, that’s a very bad criteria to be using for a message like this.

            If your message was simply “be kind and try to do no harm” it would resonate better and would be less vulnerable to criticism.

            On the other hand, if you are going to advise people to do something pro-future, then you must include on your list advice to not have children.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Rob, thanks for taking the time to watch my video and thank you for your thoughtful response. You are, of course, correct. Too many people consuming too much of the biosphere and producing too much waste exacerbates every ecological and social problem we face.

              The main reason I don’t tend to emphasize the obviously ecologically wise advice of having fewer children (or, better yet, no children!) is two-fold: (1) It would be hypocritical of me, as I had three children before I got a vasectomy at the age of 32 (I’m 62 now), and (2) Just as virtually every previous civilization experienced a 70-90% population reduction after overshooting their carrying capacity, I see it as inevitable that our civilization will experience such a die-off, too (most likely this decade) due to runaway climate change, societal collapse, and a multi-breadbasket failure.

              So while I would certainly not advise or recommend that anyone bring a child into the world at this time, it would be wildly hypocritical for me to condemn it. (As I mentioned in the video, four months ago Connie and I moved to Ypsilanti, Michigan precisely so I could care for my 8-month-old granddaughter five days a week for 90 minutes or longer.) My only son, who is 35 years old, had a vasectomy last year.

              Thanks, again, for your comment… and, more importantly, for your vital role as Varki’s bulldog! 🙂


              1. I think you said you learned about overshoot and collapse later in life which means that you would not be a hypocrite to share your new found wisdom and advice with young people.

                My point is that if you’re going to provide specific guidance on things to do, then you should include the thing that will by far do the most good. Or don’t tell people to do anything, like most doomers do.


                1. I respectfully disagree, Rob. Telling people to not breed makes little to no difference, in my experience. It’s like wishing or hoping or telling people to stop eating meat, or stop flying, or stop driving. Doing so mostly just gives me a judgmental attitude which is not what I want to cultivate in what is likely to be the last decade of my life and most of our lives.
                  In the days, months, and possible years we might have before we all boil like lobsters or starve to death, I want to encourage folk to live life fully, love the life they live, and be of service to others and the world however they can. I want to encourage people to (A) spend as much time as possible outdoors, (B) to learn to grow at least a little of their food, (C) to learn about and support systemic change to ensure as few nuclear meltdowns and toxic contamination as possible, (D) to assist native trees and shrubs in migrating poleward, and (E) to invest time and energy in anything and everything regenerative. That’s just my work, that’s all. You have your work to do (which both overlaps some and diverges from mine). I am a deep bow of respect to your work, Rob…and to you.


                  1. Thanks Michael. It seems to me a person should either give up and accept fate, or work on changing what matters. We’ll have to agree to disagree on this point. I think you’re doing a great job on the other dimensions of your work.


                  1. I don’t recall visiting your About page before, Rob. Do you update it every year on your birthday or have you decided to remain 62 years 0ld from now until Dooms day? Why not eh?

                    It’s very informative Rob. For instance, I wasn’t aware until just now that they allowed dinosaurs to roam around Strathcona Park.


  30. Art Berman predicts a 30% spike in oil prices later this year.

    If he’s wrong, oil companies will continue to lose money, supply will decline, and the economy will be harmed. If he’s right, consumption will fall, and the economy will be harmed. This is the triangle of doom pioneered by Steve Ludlum.


    1. U.S. oil production has fallen more than 2 million barrels per day since March 2020. It will fall much lower.

      Output has fallen from almost 13 mmb/d in late 2019 to below 10.5 mmb/d in October 2020 (Figure 1). EIA forecasts an increase in November to 11.0 mmb/d and then an average level of about 11.1 mmb/d for the rest of 2021.

      EIA’s forecast is impossible. It does not account for the low level of drilling and for the high decline rates of U.S. wells. It seems more likely that production will drop by at least another million barrels per day below October’s level later in 2021.


  31. If we consider that we need to stop population growth, then we need to reduce fertility and increase the death rate to come up wit a reduction of 86 million a year. But with the loss of only two-million humans our societies are already paralyzed. The viruses and perhaps fertility reducing vaccines will really have to wallop the humans just to put their MPP on pause. Then if you want to maintain net energy per capita in an environment where net energy is falling by about six-percent a year, then you have to eliminate about 462,000,000 the first year and then six-percent every year thereafter of what remains. Of course, you may be told that you will own nothing and be happy, which is a way of cutting net energy and allowing you to stay alive. A world war may knock-off 100 million in a single year, but even that’s not enough. The big fall will come with system collapse, both technological and biological. Even if we lose ten -million to this virus we’re not going to awake to a bright and shiny morning after. What if we lost 462 million out of 7.7 billion in a single year? The entirety of the interconnected technological system would collapse and we would then lose another seven billion in short order. They promoted the growth of the human population to the edge of the the petri dish and time is almost up. They’re a day late and a dollar short.


  32. Move along, nothing to see here.

    The federal deficit for the first quarter of the new fiscal year was reported at $573 billion, up 61% y-o-y. Washington borrowed 45 cents of every dollar spent during the quarter. After the passage last month of the $900 billion stimulus legislation, estimates were placing this year’s deficit above $2.3 TN.


  33. Norway has had 511 Covid-related deaths during the past year, or about 10 deaths/week; they have just had 25 vaccine-related death since the beginning of the vaccination program on December 27th, or about 10 vaccine-related deaths/week.

    The English-speaking media seems mostly cricket-like on this, and there are some suggestions (by a professor who has over 100 peer reviewed publications, with over 5000 citations and a H-index is 31, which is in the top 10% globally for the Biomedicine discipline) that this is perhaps the tip of an iceberg, as previous animal models of mRNA vaccines have seen severe ADE responses from later challenges with similar viruses:


    1. no, you’re a fucking retard.

      Please don’t get vaccinated, never wear a mask & frequent as many ‘kissing booths’ as is humanly possible.

      Professor Dolores Cahill: Anti-vaxxer turned Covid Grifter

      May 30, 2020·21 min read

      Professor Dolores Cahill has become popular with anti-lockdown activists following interviews where she has dismissed social distancing and lock-down, as well as promote COVID-19 conspiracy theories and vaccine hesitancy.

      Prof. Cahill’s background is in developing proteomics technology and immunological assays for research and medical applications. She can be accurately described as an immunologist, but not a virologist or epidemiologist. It’s important to acknowledge that most scientist’s expertise is incredibly narrow, with even virologists often spending their entire scientific career researching a single virus, or virus family. Expertise in one area of science often doesn’t translate to expertise in even closely related areas.

      Prof. Cahill’s published research output is consistent with an active research scientist, publishing several peer reviewed articles a year up till the end of 2015 where her publications listed on her university profile abruptly stops.

      A custom search of publications by Prof. Cahill since 2016 shows a single retracted study. A retraction is often considered a death sentence in research as it makes getting grants from mainstream funding agencies more difficult. They see it as a red flag, and in the competitive world of grant applications you might not be given a second chance.”

      “Prof. Cahill seems to be pivoting from an academic to a political career as the party chairperson for the Irish Freedom Party where she failed to get elected in 2019 and well as the Irish General Election 2020.”

      View at

      From Retraction Watch

      “The paper is extremely flawed:” Journal retracts article linked to vaccines

      Anti-ribosomal-phosphoprotein autoantibodies penetrate to neuronal cells via neuronal growth associated protein, affecting neuronal cells in vitro

      “Shaye Kivity, Yehuda Shoenfeld, Maria-Teresa Arango, Dolores J. Cahill, Sara Louise O’Kane, Margalit Zusev, Inna Slutsky, Michal Harel-Meir, Joab Chapman, Torsten Matthias … Show more

      Rheumatology, kew027,
      06 May 2016

      A retraction has been published:
      Rheumatology, Volume 56, Issue 10, October 2017, Page 1827,

      This article has been withdrawn, please see retraction notice kex259 for further details.”

      Covid-denial, Dolores Cahill and the international far right

      “Belltower News — which provides monitoring updates on far right and related activity, and which is supported by the German Amadeu Antonio foundation, has concluded that there are significant links between leading figures in Querdenken and the German far right, including Holocaust deniers.”

      UCD professor asked to resign from EU committee over Covid-19 claims
      Dolores Cahill promised to ‘debunk’ pandemic in interview with alt-right activist

      So much for your desperate & amateurish argument from authority.

      As for the vaccine related deaths, I’d need numbers, like 23 deaths in Norway plus all other know vaccine related deaths in the world for that specific vaccine vs total number of people who have been given that vaccine. Are you starting to see how this science & math works? Next I need ages & known preexisting conditions. It’s my understanding many of the deaths in Norway are old (80+) frail people, which is funny because you denier conspiracy inbreeds never STFU about the elderly & pre existing conditions when it comes to Covid deaths. Hell y’all are making up preexisting conditions for any under 50 who dies of Covid ….’Ya, well… um….sure she was only 21 years old & a fit athlete, but she was left handed & everyone knows being left handed is a preexisting condition – doesn’t count!’.

      no, don’t feel too sad 😦 about getting your ass whopped since your ass just got whooped by the best. Fucking cull.

      Liked by 2 people

  34. When I reflect on the last 10 years of our mistakes and lost opportunities the one that makes me the most angry is not holding anyone to account for the 2008 frauds. I think it had important consequences.

    Albert Bates touches on this and other issues in a good essay today…

    When Barack Obama took over the 2008 economic crash and the absurd war legacy of his predecessors, he kicked those smelly cans down the road. Rather than investigate, prosecute lawbreakers, and legislate lasting correctives, or — dare we suggest? — make reparations to those harmed, “Look forward, not backward” became the Democrat’s mantra. How did that work out? The Beltway scoundrel class took their free pass as a birthright. When opportunity next presented, they repeated the calumnies, with vastly greater profits. They are getting very good at what they do.


    1. Rob,
      I too thought that Albert Bates was good today. He appears to accept denial and says we have to reduce population to avoid extinction. I agree that Obama & co. missed the opportunity to take Wall Street (and corrupt politicos) to task. But I think Obama also took from the Clinton playbook by selling out the people who voted for him (hoping that he would be transformational) for the moneyed interests and the “educated” elite. Dems have been selling out the working class since Clinton. However, I think Republicans are just as bad. Trump sold out his people, but convinced them he was their champion with better propaganda from Fox and right-wing web sites. None of the working class has progressed in 20 years. Not that progress (growth) is possible from an extreme overshoot position. I fear anybody that thinks politics is anything but a distraction at this point. They are just hubris soaked idiots. Collapse here we come.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The last paragraph of that essay is about the most delusional that I have ever read. Not oinly does he expect this civilisation to be able to shift to ‘zero carbon emissions ‘ but there is miraculously going to be enough of that ‘zero
      carbon emissions ‘ energy to be able to resequester atmospheric and oceanic CO2. He definitely deserves some sort of prize.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re right! I stopped reading at the line above thinking that was the end of his essay. It is true that the elites are on a path to try to implement the last paragraph. That’s essentially the Great Reset. I think they’ll try it until their efforts blow up the monetary system due to negative real growth, and then they’ll realize there’s no substitute for fossil energy and it’ll be war for what remains.

        Liked by 1 person

  35. It’s time for Albertans to go back to farming, and then thank god they’ll be too poor to buy up real estate in B.C..

    U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is planning to cancel the permit for the $9 billion Keystone XL pipeline project as one of his first acts in office, and perhaps as soon as his first day, according to a source familiar with his thinking.


    1. Good! At least the environment, the animals therein , the acquifers etc will be safe – at least for a while longer ….


  36. Cataclysms: An Environmental History of Humanity – Laurent Testot

    “Humanity is by many measures the biggest success story in the animal kingdom; but what are the costs of this triumph? Over its three million years of existence, the human species has continuously modified nature and drained its resources. In Cataclysms, Laurent Testot provides the full tally, offering a comprehensive environmental history of humanity’s unmatched and perhaps irreversible influence on the world. Testot explores the interconnected histories of human evolution and planetary deterioration, arguing that our development from naked apes to Homo sapiens has entailed wide-scale environmental harm. Testot makes the case that humans have usually been catastrophic for the planet, “hyperpredators” responsible for mass extinctions, deforestation, global warming, ocean acidification, and unchecked pollution, as well as the slaughter of our own species. Organized chronologically around seven technological revolutions, Cataclysms unspools the intertwined saga of humanity and our environment, from our shy beginnings in Africa to today’s domination of the planet, revealing how we have blown past any limits along the way–whether by exploding our own population numbers, domesticating countless other species, or harnessing energy from fossils. Testot’s book, while sweeping, is light and approachable, telling the stories–sometimes rambunctious, sometimes appalling–of how a glorified monkey transformed its own environment beyond all recognition. In order to begin reversing our environmental disaster, we must have a better understanding of our own past and the incalculable environmental costs incurred at every stage of human innovation. Cataclysms offers that understanding and the hope that we can now begin to reform our relationship to the Earth.

    Categories: History Year:2020″

    No Cancer does it better

    Makes me feel sad for the rest

    No Cancer does it half as good as you

    Humans, you’re the best

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Peter Watts is an angry aware Canadian who every once in a long while writes a good essay.

    My favorite quote by Watts is:

    Reap the whirlwind, you miserable fuckers. May your children choke on it.

    Today Watts wrote a good news essay on Covid which I paste in full here.

    The Viral Vasectomy: Covid’s Silver Lining.

    “May we live long and die out.”
    —Motto of the Voluntary Extinction Movement

    We begin the new year with a glimmer of hope: Covid remains ascendant, and it might have ecological impacts far beyond what we first thought.

    I’m not talking about the obvious drop in carbon emissions. That was nothing, a mere blip: it didn’t stop 2020 from ending up as the hottest year in recorded history (technically tied with 2016, but 2020 pulled it off without getting a boost from El Niño).

    Nor am I talking about crass mortality: C19 in all its many gloried forms still only kills about 2% of its victims. It could infect everyone on the planet and there’d still be over 7.7 billion of us standing when the dust had cleared.

    I’m not even talking about the quantum leap in RNA-vaccine tech that Covid singlehandedly kickstarted: an approach that could immunize against a whole trunkload of viral infections from HIV to your garden-variety annual flu (and a whole range of those simultaneously, with a single shot). If you’re any kind of human supremacist that is very good news indeed, especially in light of the fact that we’re just at the start of a whole cascade of pandemics waiting in the wings. Still—it’s not what I’m talking about here.

    I’m talking about reproductive rate.

    For starters, Covid-19 seems to have boosted the (admitted still minuscule) number of people who’ve decided not have kids; not only has there been a recent spike in people deciding to postpone (or even better, entirely avoid) procreation, but the social stigma traditionally associated with childlessness (not to mention the odious and paternalistic taboos thrown up within the medical profession) look increasingly idiotic. It’s kind of hard to argue for more children in a world that’s already falling down around your ears, facing a future in which today’s children will probably end up dying of violence or heat stroke. (Not that people aren’t still doing that, of course, but the Emma Teitels of the world look more shrill and irrelevant with each passing day.)

    Anything that edges us, philosophically, even slightly closer to the Voluntary Extinction movement is not a bad thing in my book. But Covid may well have a far more direct impact: it may cause male sterility.[1]

    There’s this enzyme, ACE-2 (Angiotensin-converting-enzyme), recently discovered; like its better-known homolog ACE, it plays a role in regulating blood pressure (specifically via vasodilation of blood vessels). ACE-2 interacts with the body’s cells via receptor sites on the cell membrane; your standard docking-hatch arrangement by which cargo gets hooked out of the bloodstream and brought into the cytoplasm.

    As chance (and natural selection) would have it, those ACE-2 receptors on the cell membrane are also what Covid’s spikes latch onto to get inside.

    To quote Seymen 2020[2] directly:

    “…SARS coronaviruses damage multiple organs, including testis, and generally cause leukocyte infiltration, impaired spermatogenesis, widespread germ cell destruction with very few or no spermatozoa in the seminiferous tubules, thickened basement membrane, and macrophage (+) stainings in the testis.”

    Of course, ACE-2 receptors aren’t limited to the reproductive tract: they show up in a variety of tissues, prominently in the lungs and the brain (which fits nicely with Covid’s diffuse array of respiratory and other symptoms). But they seem especially fond of gonadal tissue for some reason—and Seymen speculates that the ACE-2 receptors in the brain also have a role to play in compromising fertility, insofar as the hypothalamus and pituitary exert hormonal control over the reproductive system:

    “A low level of [Gonadotropin-releasing hormone] causes a decrease in [Follicle-stimulating hormone] and [luteinizing hormone], resulting in impaired function of the Sertoli and Leydig cells. Ma et al. showed that COVID-19 patients had significantly higher serum LH levels but decreased testosterone/LH and FSH levels than healthy men, suggesting potential hypogonadism.”

    Note the use of the word “suggesting”. The whole paper is based on preliminary studies, and as such is speculative; its predictions are founded as much on extrapolations based on basic cellular mechanics as on field data. Still,

    “…all preliminary findings mentioned above suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic affects the male genital system in direct or indirect ways and shows a negative impact on male reproductive health, inducing spermatogenic failure.”

    Let’s take a moment to zoom back and review the big picture. We are dealing with a semi-stealth virus that is highly infectious and growing more so (the UK variant is apparently 40-70% more contagious than previous strains; I don’t know R for the South African strain but apparently it accounts for 90% of the new cases in that country so it’s obviously kicking the baseline’s ass). Asymptomatic cases account for anywhere between 20-45% of the total; only 14% of cases exhibit “severe” symptoms; global mortality is a minuscule 2.1%. It may be overwhelming health-care capacity around the world but a lot of us just don’t give a shit; why should we stay inside and wear a fucking mask over something that, even if we get it, will probably let us off with a few sniffles?

    So we’re talking about a disease that spreads, largely under the radar, like wildfire, and which confounds our attempts at containment because people still just refuse take it seriously. (I’ve lost count of the politicians, just here in Canada, who told everyone to stay home for Christmas and then snuck off to spend their holidays on Maui). The Covid World Tour has already been going on for a year and it’s only picking up steam; at this rate, how long will it be before most of the humans on the planet have been exposed?

    If Cemile Seymen is right, a huge chunk of those infectees won’t even know they’ve been hit until, strangely, they can’t have kids any more. It’s like Zika only better, because it doesn’t rely on scaring people into reforming their behavior. It’s like “The Screwfly Solution” without the femicidal misogyny. It’s like “Children of Men” without the Hollywood cop-out ending.

    It’s stealth sterilization by our own hand.

    The human population is supposed to start collapsing by the back half of this century anyway. Why not start now, and avoid the rush?

    More quotes and another good essay by Watts here:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1 fertile woman +100 fertile men = 1 pregnancy
      100 fertile men + 1 fertile man = 100 pregnancies
      It is women that control the birthrate.
      There was mention by Pfizer ex president that the mRNA could affect female reproduction, so still could be in luck yes?


  38. I get angry at people who think inflation is higher prices and deflation is lower prices, like today’s muddled thinking from Charles Hugh Smith.

    If the price of food goes up because climate change reduces crop yields, it’s not inflation. It’s a natural market response to falling supply with steady demand.

    If, on the other hand, the price of food goes up because the government prints money to subsidize their citizen’s income, that is inflation. It’s more money chasing the same supply.

    Inflation should be defined as the ratio of money to available goods and services.

    Then maybe we could shut up the boneheads who think MMT has no consequences.

    And maybe support would grow for an energy backed monetary system, since energy unpins everything we buy, and the money supply would automatically grow or shrink with available energy, thus avoiding economic catastrophes that undermine civilization.


  39. A non-doomer friend sent me this video on the unfairness of Canada’s central bank QE policy.

    I replied with this comment…

    Pierre Poilievre has a good understanding of the what but a very poor understanding of the why.

    Most central banks in the world are doing QE because our fractional reserve debt backed monetary system, which every country now uses, requires growth in the money supply or else the system will collapse.

    Growth has been constrained for many years by rising energy costs due to depletion of low cost reserves, and rising debt levels that were required to pay for the higher energy costs, and now a slowdown from Covid.

    To prevent the system from collapsing central banks have to create money. The question is where to put it?

    They could give it to citizens but that would result in social unrest from higher food and energy prices. Or they can push the new money into the financial markets thus inflating asset prices and causing social unrest from a widening wealth gap.

    They have chosen the latter as the lesser of two evils. All things considered, probably a wise choice.

    What’s the alternative?

    We need citizens that do not prefer to deny reality and who elect governments that speak honestly about what’s going on. Then we’d have to live within our means with much less credit and we’d all be a lot poorer.

    The advantage of this alternate path is that we could continue with a civil society for much longer than our current path which is to drive at high speed off a cliff with everyone saying “but no one saw this coming”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How long will it take, till we will be finally driving off the cliff? Do we have enough time for the undenial, honest alternative?
      I do not think so. To many fuses have been burnt near to the end!
      To all: What is your guess?


      1. It’s a good question and most people agree with you. We’ll find out the answer before too long. I think a bigger bubble pops with a bigger bang and the farther we fall the harder it will be to pick up the pieces.

        I guess if you believe there is no civilization beyond the next economic crash then it makes sense to keep kicking the can. I think there is something beyond the crash and I would prefer it was not despots and war.


    2. How many historical examples are there where ‘they’ giving it to citizens resulted in social unrest from higher food and energy prices?

      There’s an entire tome of historical examples of social unrest & suffering of millions when there is a too big wealth gap & concentration of power. It also never gets corrected without much blood & death.

      It’s all econ 101 bullshit anyway, which is the not science, but rather the legitimizing of the status quo & ruling class under all circumstances.

      How many trillions of QE free money have they handed out to the already rich in the last 12 years?

      Did it result in inflation of private jets, luxury yachts, 3rd, 4th & 5th vacation mansions & high dollar whores?

      If they did supplement incomes and/or give UBI at 2-3x’s greater than current monthly income assistance (welfare) or employment insurance (unemployment insurance) & there was inflation, how would you know that’s the reason why.

      Seems to me food & energy prices have steadily risen over the past 12 years & a handful of emergency covid payments the last year is the only ‘free money’ for the plebs.

      I don’t comment much about economics, because I don’t like using the terminology of what’s essentially a quasi religious pseudo science. It’s not just me. Plenty of main stream priests economists & big finance scammers (most often retired) have said the same.

      The new astrology

      By fetishising mathematical models, economists turned economics into a highly paid pseudoscience

      “Unlike engineers and chemists, economists cannot point to concrete objects – cell phones, plastic – to justify the high valuation of their discipline. Nor, in the case of financial economics and macroeconomics, can they point to the predictive power of their theories. Hedge funds employ cutting-edge economists who command princely fees, but routinely underperform index funds. Eight years ago, Warren Buffet made a 10-year, $1 million bet that a portfolio of hedge funds would lose to the S&P 500, and it looks like he’s going to collect. In 1998, a fund that boasted two Nobel Laureates as advisors collapsed, nearly causing a global financial crisis.

      The failure of the field to predict the 2008 crisis has also been well-documented. In 2003, for example, only five years before the Great Recession, the Nobel Laureate Robert E Lucas Jr told the American Economic Association that ‘macroeconomics […] has succeeded: its central problem of depression prevention has been solved’. Short-term predictions fair little better – in April 2014, for instance, a survey of 67 economists yielded 100 per cent consensus: interest rates would rise over the next six months. Instead, they fell. A lot.

      Nonetheless, surveys indicate that economists see their discipline as ‘the most scientific of the social sciences’. What is the basis of this collective faith, shared by universities, presidents and billionaires? Shouldn’t successful and powerful people be the first to spot the exaggerated worth of a discipline, and the least likely to pay for it?

      In the hypothetical worlds of rational markets, where much of economic theory is set, perhaps. But real-world history tells a different story, of mathematical models masquerading as science and a public eager to buy them, mistaking elegant equations for empirical accuracy.”

      Another reason talking about how the pie should be divided is because there are only a few ways it gets divided more fairly & none of them involve talking….unless you count screams of pain & horror talking.

      The Only Thing, Historically, That’s Curbed Inequality: Catastrophe

      Plagues, revolutions, massive wars, collapsed states—these are what reliably reduce economic disparities.

      “Calls to make America great again hark back to a time when income inequality receded even as the economy boomed and the middle class expanded. Yet it is all too easy to forget just how deeply this newfound equality was rooted in the cataclysm of the world wars.

      The pressures of total war became a uniquely powerful catalyst of equalizing reform, spurring unionization, extensions of voting rights, and the creation of the welfare state. During and after wartime, aggressive government intervention in the private sector and disruptions to capital holdings wiped out upper-class wealth and funneled resources to workers; even in countries that escaped physical devastation and crippling inflation, marginal tax rates surged upward. Concentrated for the most part between 1914 and 1945, this “Great Compression” (as economists call it) of inequality took several more decades to fully run its course across the developed world until the 1970s and 1980s, when it stalled and began to go into reverse.

      This equalizing was a rare outcome in modern times but by no means unique over the long run of history. Inequality has been written into the DNA of civilization ever since humans first settled down to farm the land. Throughout history, only massive, violent shocks that upended the established order proved powerful enough to flatten disparities in income and wealth. They appeared in four different guises: mass-mobilization warfare, violent and transformative revolutions, state collapse, and catastrophic epidemics. Hundreds of millions perished in their wake, and by the time these crises had passed, the gap between rich and poor had shrunk.”

      There will be another trillion words written & spoken today trying to analyze the big mess the US has become. Look no further than James Carville – ‘It’s the economy stupid’. Most of the MAGA-tard cosplay terrorist/protesters are bottom feeders with not much left to lose who’ve been duped & had their justifiable anger at a system that’s been fucking them for decades redirected at most of the wrong people & only half (left jersey wearing half) of the establishment. They’re basically political cannon fodder & so are Antifa, etc. They’re all walking Jay Hanson’s Overshoot Loop steps 3, 4 & 5.

      Declining net energy, yes, but that is not a free pass, nor a complete explanation for the unprecedented concentration of wealth & power. Much of that is pure greed & criminality which flourish in the later stages of decline.

      Here is a synopsis of the behavioral loop described above:

      Step 1. Individuals and groups evolved a bias to maximize fitness by maximizing power, which requires over-reproduction and/or over-consumption of natural resources (overshoot), whenever systemic constraints allow it. Differential power generation and accumulation result in a hierarchical group structure.

      Step 2. Energy is always limited, and overshoot eventually leads to decreasing power available to some members of the group, with lower-ranking members suffering first.

      Step 3. Diminishing power availability creates divisive subgroups within the original group. Low-rank members will form subgroups and coalitions to demand a greater share of power from higher-ranking individuals, who will resist by forming their own coalitions to maintain power.

      Step 4. Violent social strife eventually occurs among subgroups who demand a greater share of the remaining power.

      Step 5. The weakest subgroups (high or low rank) are either forced to disperse to a new territory, are killed, enslaved, or imprisoned.

      Step 6. Go back to step 1.

      The above loop was repeated countless thousands of times during the millions of years that we were evolving[9]. This behavior is inherent in the architecture of our minds — is entrained in our biological material — and will be repeated until we go extinct.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. Historic examples of inflation:

        A reality based approach to our problem could have addressed wealth inequality. For example, “we need to print money and pump assets to avoid collapsing the economy, but we’re also going to implement a new capital gains tax to prevent a widening of the wealth gap, and use these taxes to pay down public debt which will stabilize the currency and benefit everyone as we all become poorer fairly together”.

        Denial of reality has led us to the worst of all possible outcomes.

        Liked by 1 person

  40. Rob, this is the video where I focus almost entirely on supporting people in deeply adapting to what’s real and what’s coming, as well as to (as my previous comment suggested) “Live Life Fully and Love the Life You Live, Even at TEOTWAWKI.”


    1. Mark Knopfler is a most special guitarist. It doesn’t hurt that his songwriting and singing voice are also exceptional. Great post, thanks Rob.


  41. Nice discussion of the politics opposing population reduction laws.

    In a world of vexing issues—and our topic this week is certainly that—population growth might just be the most ironic. That’s because it should be among the simplest of issues; almost trifling in its mathematics. Yet opinions about it are beset with political, economic, and even some technical controversy.

    For steady staters it seems perfectly clear: Population must be stabilized for the sake of societal well-being and even mere sustainability. On this, steady staters are aligned with ecologists, anthropologists, and most folks grounded in the natural sciences. Steady staters are more than just academic observers, though. Population stabilization is a central policy goal in advancing the steady state economy. It must be pursued through public education, fiscal policy, sustainable immigration, and international diplomacy.

    Unfortunately, for many other groups, population growth is like the elephant in the room at an 800-pound gorilla convention. Most environmental organizations, despite dealing with one controversy after another, won’t touch population with a 10-foot pole. Conventional economists and politicians think little about limits to growth and almost invariably promote population growth. Even the Degrowth movement in Europe tends to dismiss population as an issue for colonialist hypocrites to wring their hands over.

    If our global population of 7.8 billion grew at 1 percent per year—a tenth of a percentage point slower than the current rate—we’d have 21 billion people on the planet a century from now.

    It is crucial for steady staters, population activists, and environmentalists to understand how conventional economists think about population growth. The “second team” of sustainability—anthropologists, engineers, and perhaps public health professionals—should understand likewise. Most would already know that economists are very pro-growth, at least GDP growth. But most of these same rational thinkers probably also assume that economists aren’t necessarily pro-population growth. Most would probably surmise that economists are for GDP growth with a stable population. That way, everyone would have more—a higher per capita consumption—while the hand-wringing over population growth would cease. Surely our GDP-promoting economists would be for that, right?

    Wrong! As I described at length on the Steady Stater, the most shocking idea to come out of conventional economics is this: Not only does it take a growing population to increase GDP, but it takes a growing population to increase…(brace yourself)…GDP per capita!

    Yes, you read that right. Mainstream economists believe it takes a growing human population not only to grow the economy but to grow the economy per person. In other words, not only can a growing per capita consumption be reconciled with population growth—it requires population growth. So, if you want your grandkids to have a bigger piece of the pie, you better hope the world provides more mouths to feed!

    Imagine instead that the USA announces it is undertaking a transition, pursuant to the Full and Sustainable Employment Act, away from unsustainable growth to a steady state economy. Imagine the president announcing that, as part of this transition, the borders will be gradually tightened until the population is stabilized. Meanwhile, the USA will assist poverty-stricken nations in their own backyards. The Secretary of State clarifies that such assistance will be predicated on goals of population stabilization in those nations as well. The USA will be practicing steady statesmanship, in other words.

    Now that would be good for national security, and good for the soul of America.


  42. Is this mania another form of genetic reality denial?

    This spike in margin debt over the past few months is another sign that markets have gone nuts, and everyone is chasing everything, regardless of what it is, whether it’s a penny stock with a similar name to something Elon Musk mentioned in a tweet, or whether it’s Tesla’s stock itself, or any of the EV makers or presumed EV makers that might never mass-produce EVs, or a even legacy automaker that is now touting its EV investments, or whatever it is, including Bitcoin – which exploded higher, before plunging 28% in two weeks.


  43. Alice Friedemann is working on a new book “Wood World”. Her last book, “When Trucks Stop Running” was very good.

    There’s just one problem with Friedemann’s vision for a wood based future. Trees worldwide are sick and dying due to a rising level of ground level ozone that is a byproduct of industrial combustion as researched and explained by Gail Zawacki at

    Just look at the materials to make a 2 MW wind turbine. To generate just half of U.S. electricity with wind would require 1,095,000 2 MW wind turbines (Friedemann 2015), each of them requiring 1,671 tons of material, including 1300 tons concrete, 295 tons steel, 48 tons iron, 24 tons fiberglass, 4 tons copper, and Chinese rare earth metals 0.4 tons of neodymium and .065 tons (Guezuraga 2012, USGS 2011). Then rinse and repeat every 20 years with 3.7 trillion pounds of materials.

    Add billions more tons of materials to the rebuildable power shopping list for transmission, power plants, hundreds of square miles of backup utility-scale batteries, and then replace them in 20-25 years.

    Using fossil energy every step and releasing a lot of CO2, since mining consumes 10% of world energy (TWC 2020).

    If you can get these minerals that is. By mid-century many minerals and metals needed for high-tech could be running short , including stainless steel, copper, gallium, germanium, indium, antimony, tin, lead, gold, zinc, strontium, silver, nickel, tungsten, bismuth, boron, fluorite, manganese, selenium, and more (Pitron 2020 Appendix 14, Sverdrup 2019, Kerr 2012 and 2014, Frondel 2006, Barnhart 2013, Bardi 2014, Veronese 2015).

    Computers are made of 60 minerals, many quite rare with no substitutable element (EC 2017, NRC 2008, Graedel 2015). Fortunately the abacus can be made entirely with renewable wood.


    1. BtD and I had lunch with Alice Friedemann once, years ago. It was very enjoyable, even though I found we could not agree on doom. Alice was convinced then that (she felt, according to her reading of scientific/economic/geological assessments) fossil fuels would run out before climate change could become catastrophic, never mind an existential threat. This is after all, the contradictory message we receive from various experts.


      1. Hi Gail, quite a few peak oilers share Alice’s view but the winds may be shifting. Three years ago I had a spirited exchange with Nate Hagens about the severity of climate change. He tried to convince me that energy depletion would avoid the worst scenarios. In an interview last year I noticed that Nate was taking climate change much more seriously. It’s getting pretty hard to deny the reality of CC given daily news.

        Wish you’d come out of retirement and write again.

        P.S. To other readers. BtD is BenjaminTheDonkey who writes excellent themist limericks here:


        1. Thanks, Rob! Nate and I had that same disagreement more than once, but unlike with Alice it was rather acrimonious as I recall, since he was – at least at the time – quite dismissive. Then again, Peter Kalmus blocked me on twitter ages ago for being too pessimistic, and look at him now lol! I don’t write anymore because 1. it won’t make any difference, I don’t see the point in continuing to count the angels dancing on the top of the pin and 2. I had enough with the personal attacks which got pretty vicious, so I just stay in my safe online group (You should come back, we all miss you! It is smaller now & called Shelter from the Storm) and 3. I don’t want to be on the first bus to the gulag.


          1. I understand. I still cling to this vain idea that it’s a worthwhile endeavor to prove to the universe that a few monkeys can break through their genetic denial of reality.

            I’m thinking you and I are getting too old to have worry about anyone wasting diesel on shipping us to the Gulag. 🙂

            If you move your group to a platform that is less evil than Facebook I’d probably rejoin.


  44. Tim Morgan today on fiat…

    If ‘too much debt’ is one risk, ‘too much monetization of debt’ is another, and both seem to have gone into overdrive since the start of the coronavirus crisis. SEEDS data and estimates indicate that, during 2020, a group of sixteen advanced economies (AE-16) are likely to have run fiscal deficits of about $8.8 trillion, or 20% of their combined GDPs, a figure pretty much matching the $8.9tn that the four main Western central banks deployed in net asset expansion (QE) during the year.

    Even if vaccination does indeed quickly bring the pandemic under control, continuing fiscal intervention – and the need to alleviate burdens placed on lenders and landlords by debt and rent payment ‘holidays’ – imply further big increases in public debt, and central bank monetization, during the current year.

    Does this put the viability of fiat money itself at risk?

    It’s certainly starting to look that way.

    What the authorities have been doing during the pandemic amounts to a rapid acceleration of established policies which assume that, by injecting cheap credit and cheaper money into the system, we can go beyond the reasonable moderation of cycles into the unreasonable creation of perpetual growth.

    This misunderstanding of economic fundamentals might be likened to the way in which trainee pilots are sometimes warned that “Isaac [Newton] is always waiting”. What sages of aviation – who tend also to remark that “there are old pilots, and bold pilots, but no old bold pilots” – mean by this is that gravity always lies in wait to punish aviators who allow hubris and ignorance to outweigh prudence and a proper respect for the laws of aerodynamics.

    The corollary here is that excessive self-assurance, and a failure to understand the thermodynamic basis of economic activity, have led us to play ducks-and-drakes with the viability of fiat money.

    Conceptually, the existence of fiat has always made it possible for us to create monetary claims which exceed the capabilities of the real economy. The events and fallacies of recent years seem, beyond question, to have led is into precisely this fundamental mistake. We are – to paraphrase a former pilot – trying to fly under economic conditions in which “even the birds are walking”.


  45. I received the Moderna C-19 vaccine yesterday afternoon. My left deltoid muscle (injection site) is sore and I’m having some fatigue and general malaise but nothing serious or otherwise concerning. I’ll provide un-Denial readers an update in a week or so and again after receiving the second dose as I think it’s important for us to provide one another feedback on our experiences with these vaccines.


      1. We will need updates for the next 10 years. To know long term consequences.
        If you die in the next year from covid, do we blame covid or the vaccine?
        Wish you all the best.


  46. Went grocery shopping yesterday. The stores were well stocked. No big signs of inflation. Everything feels normal other than people wearing masks and keeping their distance. I suspect we are in the calm before the storm, but maybe I’m wrong and we’ll squeeze a few more good years out of the system. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

    Any attempt to reopen the economy must result in inflation and shortages because the material basis of the December 2019 economy no longer exists. But keeping the economy on lockdown can only result in further irreparable damage to the economy’s life support systems. In the same way, create eye watering volumes of new currency and you devalue the currency to the point of worthlessness; but seek to rein in the excess currency and you vaporise the nominal wealth of the global elites (and everyone’s pension pot to boot)… in short, we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Xraymike79 was good today, if you ignore the concluding partisan politics.

    I agree with him, but very much like having the extra understanding that our unique intelligence exists, and is destructive, because we evolved to deny unpleasant realities.

    I recently asked a scientist on Facebook how he copes with the knowledge that we are destroying the planet within the geologic blink of an eye. Here is his answer:

    Pot helps! 🙂 But psychologically, I reread Catton’s Overshoot recently, where he talks about how once humans started burning fossil fuels, we evolved (devolved?) into detritivores, species that depend on dead organic matter for our sustenance. This led me to think about Human Exceptionalism. The classic view is that humans’ assumed superiority has caused us to not consider the welfare of other species and blinded us in our ignorance to how our lifestyles were jeopardizing life support systems worldwide (including for us); I agree with this view. But I’ve also come to challenge another view of Human Exceptionalism; namely, that we have the intelligence and capacity for compassion to override what is every species’ imperative (humans and all other species): that is, to continuously consume available resources with no concern for future sustainability, with its concomitant and inevitable population boom and bust. Thus, I try to cope by accepting, with sad resignation, that we’re not any more special than other species – we’ve just lacked apex predators to keep our population in check and have used hundreds of millions of years of stored solar energy (i.e. fossil fuels) to temporarily shield ourselves from our population crash. This final kicking us off our superiority pedestal has helped me “let go” and inspired me to aspire to be more in tune with natural processes (such as organic gardening, which also helps on a very small scale to restore the soil biodiversity we’re regularly destroying with the Haber-Bosch process). How do you cope? 🙂

    I replied later that day…

    To cope, you first must know the truth. Our modern global civilization is a heat engine, subject to the second law of thermodynamics just as every civilization that came before. Our massive burning of fossil fuels has not only blanketed the atmosphere with heat-trapping gases and acidified the oceans, it has given humans the unfortunate ability to disrupt all the major biochemical processes of the planet, thus making the current civilizational collapse one of global proportions. There is no putting that genie back in the bottle and the environmental disorder it has unleashed. Thus we are firmly in the grips of entropy and no amount of techo-fixes, such as walls to hold back the rising sea or geoengineering schemes to blot out that fiery orb in the sky, will change this stark fact. As Jospeph Tainter argued, further complexity only brings more unforeseen problems that must be solved. Higher efficiency only leads to increased consumption (i.e. Jevons paradox). As you say, humans are no different than any other organism in that they will expand to consume all available resources until reined in by environmental limits. Our superior problem-solving capabilities have allowed us to dramatically overshoot the planet’s natural regenerative systems. And so it seems that Ernst Mayr was correct when he said human intelligence is a fatal mutation in the evolutionary process. According to Mayr, intelligence is a double-edged sword, serving as a tool for our survival or rapidly carrying out our own annihilation. How do I cope with all that? Other than adopting a stoic attitude towards our predicament, there is no coping. It is what it is. Find simple joys in nature while nature is still around. I love hummingbirds and watch them at the feeder when I am home. Live in the moment when you can. Enjoy mankind’s ability to create beautiful art. Be kind to your fellow human and nonhuman. We’re all just temporary passengers on Spaceship Earth.

    Liked by 2 people

  48. Good thing the UK voted to go local and doesn’t need the Chunnel any more.

    Eurostar, the company that operates the cross-Channel train service that connects the UK with France, Belgium and the Netherlands, is on the brink of collapse, the company’s management warned this week. With passenger numbers down 95% in the final quarter of 2020 and revenues down over 80% over the course of 2020, it is now “on a drip” and in desperate need of extra cash, says Christophe Fanichet, a senior executive of France’s state SNCF railways, which is the majority shareholder of Eurostar. “I’m very worried about Eurostar. The company is in a critical state, I’d even say very critical,” he said.


  49. Fast Eddy @ OFW today discussed the topic of my post, but added some conspiracy to spice it up.

    I don’t think you need conspiracy to conclude that our leaders are taking advantage of the pandemic to do what they think must be done. I think they have good intentions but their plan won’t work because they don’t understand the problem.

    I hope to write about the Great Reset soon, which has been publicly explained by our leaders and is available for anyone to see. There’s no need to assume conspiracies.

    I suspect the rationale behind these boondoggles is:

    1. Most people understand that oil is not abiotic i.e. it will run out

    2. Most people look at all the planes, trains and automobiles and think ‘holy shit – we are burning a LOT of oil!!!’ … and they get a little anxious about running out of the black stuff.

    3. Anxious people are not good for the economy — they get depressed – lethargic — they might not invest or spend….

    4. The Elders understand this and they have been trying for many decades to develop alternative energy sources — but after spending epic amounts on research — they at some point concluded — it’s impossible to replace fossil fuels.

    5. Rather than throw their hands up in the air and say sorry folks, when the oil peaks out we all die (revealing that would precipitate the collapse) they launch The Big Lie. They take a tiny amount of the excess energy we are producing and channel it into ‘renewable’ energy boondoggles. Then they instruct the MSM to pump out story after story about how we are transitioning off of oil. The masses rejoice.

    I dare you to ask anyone what they think about peak oil — I can anticipate the response —oh that’s decades away and by then we will be completely off oil … not concerned. (The MSM is doing a great job here!!!)

    6. Anyone who attempts to puncture this Big Lie — gets drowned out or deleted… Planet of the Humans which explodes the lie and was getting traction — cannot be found… you can however download it here

    A good mate of mine who was an oil and gas engineer in Texas and a big green energy fan responded with ‘wow that was confronting’ after watching that. He then fell into deep despondency and hung himself from a tree… (just kidding! he’s probably taking a lot of Xanax though…)

    7. The money pumped into renewable energy can be considered an investment in maintaining global sanity… it is an investment in hope…

    8. The other Big Lie is Gl War m ing. As a massive consumer of The Great Courses (with a focus on Ancient History) I am aware that many civilizations were toppled by dramatic swings in cl ima te. These changes occurred often over short periods — a few decades…. So things are always changing … always. Some places get warmer.. some colder… some drier… some wetter… and coal burning has a fairly limited impact (because they didn’t burn coal in ancient times … nor drive cars)

    This Big Lie is useful in that it vilifies fossil fuels without ever mentioning that we are running out. You don’t want people dwelling on the finite nature of energy…. they get anxious.

    This lie goes hand in hand with green energy … the Elders vilify fossil fuels (the problem) and then offer a solution (renewable energy). Advanced psychology at work.

    9. Conventional Oil peaked in 2005 – queue $147 oil — then the GFC hits when stimulus to offset expensive oil hit a wall — then shale comes online in a big way — mitigates the problem — shale peaks 2019 (see etc) — the global economy starts to crater (see — pre covid global economic indicators worst since WW2) … Fed is having to step in with emergency money in the overnight repo markets because the banks did not trust each other (revisiting the Lehman scenario)…. The World Was Falling Apart.

    10. BANG – covid hits… horrific photos out of china… a mate of mine has a client who works for WHO and he is rushing to the airport with family to get to NZ because this scientist has told him this is a very scary virus -they’d tested the bodies blah blah (funny thing a month later the same guy is telling him it’s not that scary….)

    11. Covid provides cover for monumental stimulus — the nuclear blast of stimulus (if you nuke a dying world and it survives for another year… why not eh?) … + it provides an excuse to dramatically reduce oil consumption….

    12. Covid also makes it possible to herd 8B people… and get them ready for the Holodomor Phase of the End of Oil…. the Elders have a plan (Canada Leak reveals part of it… but not the end game) that involved ratcheting up fear — so that 8B will do whatever they are told…. they will welcome lockdowns (just wait to see them beg for them as the Mutant Viruses strike!!!)…

    13. Ultimately 8B will be left cowering at their homes in fear — reporting neighbours who DARE break curfew. There will be extreme martial law (e.g. Lebanon)…. and they will be left to starve into extinction.

    Lots of pieces to this puzzle … no wonder almost nobody is able to put it together…. who would have thought renewable energy, Gw… covid… are all part of a comprehensive plan to deal with the end of cheap energy and the collapse of civilization.

    This is truly magnificent … not only in its conception .. but the execution….

    But at the end of the day the execution is only possible if you can convince those who need to administer the plan that it is the only option.

    The Canada leak states that this is in everyone’s interest…. there will be no discussion … the deal is done. And it’s done not only in Canada but globally…..

    If the Elders were to tell you what I have told you above and you were in the leader of your country …. would you not conclude that this is the right decision – the only decision?

    You might have a moment of despair once the implications hit home… you might have trouble sleeping … but ultimately unless you are stupid… you would conclude that it is your duty to help execute this plan.

    The energy is GONE. There can be no reset. There can be no going back to the 1500’s. It is your DUTY to carry out the plan. The alternative is mass violence … mass suffering ….

    But with the same outcome – extinction.

    Dylan Thomas got it wrong:

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


    1. That’s a good summary Rob. I think global warming is a problem, but it’s not the problem of the hour which is more immediate and has to do with oil and petrodollars, regardless of what Greta Thunberg says. Gold, Bitcoin, UBI and digital currency won’t solve the problem. The exponential curves, the LTG curves, the sharkfin curve are all pointing towards collapse. What you don’t want is to incite so much chaos that distribution channels are cut and society immediately goes into a chaotic collapse. Suppression and strategic pruning of various sorts will work better. But the suppression may create an explosion at any time. I don’t think people, in their current state, will welcome being incarcerated in an electronic pen without property or control over their lives. It seems we may lose life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The retreat has begun and it’s going to be a long trail of tears or worse, a death march.


    2. “I dare you to ask anyone what they think about peak oil — I can anticipate the response …”

      So can I, “peak what?”….”is he that new hip hop superstar?”

      When you’ve spent most of your free time over the last 10-20 years on peak oil/collapse blogs it’s easy to trick your self into thinking your fringe topics of interest are common knowledge. Doubly so for halfwits like slow Eddy.

      “6. Anyone who attempts to puncture this Big Lie — gets drowned out or deleted… Planet of the Humans which explodes the lie and was getting traction ”

      Sure thing Slow Eddy, except in this case the main ‘Anoyone’s’ behind the banning of ‘Planet of the Humans’ are the very same ‘Anyone’s’ you accuse of being behind The other Big Lie – “Gl War m ing”.

      Typical of habitual conspiracy tards to have major contradictions. Do they not see them or just not care?

      Michael Moore film Planet of the Humans removed from YouTube
      This article is more than 7 months old

      British environmental photographer’s copyright claim prompts website to remove film that has been condemned by climate scientists

      “YouTube has taken down the controversial Michael Moore-produced documentary Planet of the Humans in response to a copyright infringement claim by a British environmental photographer.

      The movie, which has been condemned as inaccurate and misleading by climate scientists and activists, allegedly includes a clip used without the permission of the owner Toby Smith, who does not approve of the context in which his material is being used.”

      “Planet of the Humans, which has been seen by more than 8 million people since it was launched online last month, describes itself as a “full-frontal assault” on the sacred cows of the environmental movement.

      Veteran climate campaigners and thinkers, such as Bill McKibben and George Monbiot, have pointed out factual errors, outdated footage and promotion of myths about renewable energy propagated by the fossil fuel industry. Many are dismayed that Moore – who built his reputation as a left-wing filmmaker and supporter of civil rights – should produce a work endorsed by climate sceptics and right-wing thinktanks.

      Several have signed a letter urging the removal of what they called a “shockingly misleading and absurd” documentary. Climate scientist Michael Mann said the filmmakers “have done a grave disservice to us and the planet” with distortions, half-truths and lies.

      On Moore’s official YouTube channel, the usual link to the film has been replaced by a page noting “Video unavailable. This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by a third party.” On the Planet of the Humans website, the link to the full movie is also dead, though the trailers and other video material are functioning as normal.”

      I’ll wager Big Green Energy was pressuring too.

      I’ve spoken out to Gail, more than once, about Slow Eddy & a handful of other fuck-head regulars & her silence spoke her choice. She’s an enabler.

      How ironic that an eddy has no clue as to why he’s circling the drain.

      Liked by 1 person

  50. Baba Brinkman wrote a new rap about molten salt nuclear reactors. I left this comment on YouTube:

    More energy means more human overshoot. Better to write raps about democratically supported rapid population reduction policies. A lower population reduces every threat we face, and will reduce total suffering as we adjust to the depletion of diesel which powers everything we need to survive (tractors, combines, trucks , trains, ships. mining machines).

    Liked by 1 person

  51. The Climate Crisis Is Worse Than You Can Imagine. Here’s What Happens If You Try.

    A climate scientist spent years trying to get people to pay attention to the disaster ahead. His wife is exhausted. His older son thinks there’s no future. And nobody but him will use the outdoor toilet he built to shrink his carbon footprint.

    “What happens if a human — or to be precise, a climate scientist, both privileged and cursed to understand the depth of the problem — lets the full catastrophe in?”

    WOW, he still has a wife.


      1. It was very good article. Thanks for the link. My family is in complete denial and thinks I am the crazy one (and maybe I am – I’m marginally depressed all the time. His wife is at least somewhat aware. Mine won’t take money out of her 401k or get Social Security because she thinks she will need it in 10 years (if we only had that long ;).


        1. I think it’s possible to be aware and not depressed. It’s very cool to have a brain that emerged from a cloud of hydrogen and understands why it understands that it is at the peak of a very rare event in the universe. Where else would you prefer to be? Enjoy!

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Surely it’s impossible that this bloke wouldn’t know that the single biggest contributor to CO2 emissions is having a child. Yet there they are, with not one,but two. The hand-wringing about ‘We couldn’t let little Johnny be an only child ‘ is just dumb. As if the child is going to be devoid of interactions with other childern. What percentage of people
      would have preferred to have been an only child,for various reasons. Bullying by a sibling, no time for solitude with all the other kids around all the time,etc. ? Craig Dilworth wrote a good book titled ‘Too Smart for our own Good. ‘
      It would be even easier to write a book on how we are ‘Too Dumb for our own Good’.

      Liked by 1 person

  52. Global Ice Loss on Pace to Drive Worst-Case Sea Level Rise
    A new study combines ice melt data from all sources to reaffirm one of the most serious climate change threats.

    “New research shows the annual melt rate grew from 0.8 trillion tons in the 1990s to 1.3 trillion tons by 2017, and has accelerated most in the places with the most ice—the Greenland and Antarctic ice shelves and sheets.

    Those massive systems of land and sea-based ice are melting as fast as the worst-case climate scenarios in major global climate reports, said Thomas Slater, a co-author of the new study in The Cryosphere that measured the meltdown from 1994 to 2017, which covers a timespan when every decade was warmer than the previous one and also includes the 20 warmest years on record.”

    The Great Lakes just set a record for lack of ice

    “Most years, by January the majority of the Great Lakes are so cold they look like a scene from “Frozen.” This year, that’s not the case.

    In fact, the Great Lakes are currently dealing with record low ice. According to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), the Great Lakes total ice coverage right now is sitting at 3.9%. This same time last year, it was sitting at 11.3%, and the year before at 18.5%.”


  53. Climate change creating vast new glacial lakes, with risk of ‘gargantuan’ floods, researcher says

    Amount of water in glacial lakes has jumped by 50% globally since 1990, study finds

    The Bow Glacier in Banff National Park melts into a small alpine lake that feeds Bow Glacier Falls. As glaciers shrink due to climate change, Canadian glacial lakes have swollen by about 20 per cent, and even more in British Columbia and Yukon.

    Fly over a melting Haig glacier to see how it could change the Alberta-B.C. border (great video)

    I grew up, for a time, 80 km south of Haig glacier. If I can, I’ll go back there to die. In the bush on the banks of the Elk River.


    1. Trust the morons in the news media to investigate an existential issue and then to focus on the one aspect that’s totally irrelevant: the BC/Alberta border is shifting a little. They should be talking about the destruction of civilization but that somehow flew over their heads. You can’t make this shit up. Thank god Varki is there to explain this madness.

      Liked by 1 person

  54. Mac10 spun a few sharp words today…

    The biggest stock market rally in the past decade just took place during a pandemic that caused the most economic damage since the Great Depression. COVID accelerated the end of the cycle, but the central bank Jedi Mind Trick made it impossible to see it ending. A generation of financial illiterates with no experience in bear markets, is now convinced they are invincible stock picking geniuses. When volatility explodes, the global margin calls will arrive night and day. It will be the reverse wealth effect, and the margin clerks will be much faster than the central banksters.


  55. I watched the news tonight and learned something very profound.

    Good paying union jobs, fixing climate change, building back better from the pandemic, and addressing racial inequality can all be fixed with clean energy.

    Who knew? What a relief!

    All we needed was the political will to build more solar panels and electric cars.

    Reality denial is apparently a non-issue, maybe it’s time to admit I was wrong and close this blog.


    1. Ugh!
      I’m just now reading the galley of “Bright Green Lies”, by Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, and Max Wilbert. It’s awesome (a denial free zone, for sure)!


        1. LOL. 🙂

          PBS was gushing over Biden’s announcements today. They interviewed a representative of the petroleum industry that tried to explain that nothing works without oil. They cut him off. No interest whatsoever in exploring reality.

          Even though I understand it, I’m still regularly shocked at the power of denial to override intelligence and common sense.


  56. Stumbled on some sad news today when working on my music collection. Jerry Jeff Walker died last October. My friends and I had many fun parties in the 80’s drinking and singing his songs. I saw him live around 1982 at a little coffee bar in Vancouver when he was at a low point in his career. Had a dream for many years to travel to Austin Texas for one of his legendary birthday parties but never followed through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Correct me if I am wrong;) Natural Selection is about reproductive fitness. Anything that augers better reproductive fitness is evolutionarily advantageous (and could survive). If a situation, such as the endosymbiosis of a prokaryotic cell with an ingested thing (mitochondrial organism) is advantageous (and MPP is operational) then Natural Selection through evolution would preserve that relationship. That the relationship between both the previously prokaryotic cell and the “thing” it ingested is good for the “thing” is not being selected for in the prokaryotic cell. Each entity(both the prokaryotic cell and the mitochondrial thing) is pursuing its own reproductive fitness. Everybody is smarted than Darwin (I think not). I think Ugo is on shaky ground – but I could just be a fool too. IMHO I am a fool.


      1. I don’t understand the essence of his new message.

        It’s probably something like “don’t worry be happy because we’re all connected by love and the universe is unfolding as it must”.

        A much better story for the grandchildren than those gloomy Seneca curves.

        Liked by 1 person

  57. Tim Watkins today explains what the UK could do, but won’t do, and why thanks to the MPP and denial, it is screwed.

    We could – in the time that remains – invest in rectifying at least some of this mess. A brown new deal approach, for example, would harvest and protect the remaining fossil fuels so that they are used for building and maintaining essentials – more fuel for farming; no fuel for frivolous air travel, for example. Developing genuine recycling centres to restore and rebuild goods which are currently either burned, buried or shipped abroad to be burned or buried, might allow us to extend the life of some of the material goods inherited from the days when there was enough energy to go around. Removing much of the funding from a bloated university Ponzi scheme and transferring it to craft skills and agriculture-based technical education might at least equip some of the next generation for the energy-deprived future that awaits them. Doing away with pre-pandemic vanity projects like HS2 and the Heathrow third runway in favour of electrifying a larger part of the diesel-powered rail network or extending fibre optic broadband, to further cut the need to drive, may also cushion the blow that is coming.

    It won’t happen of course. The closer we get to the edge of the Seneca Cliff, the faster the political class will reach for projects that are designed to drive us over the edge. The various bits of the green new deal which are adopted will rapidly run into resource shortages. This will result in the first serious supply-side shock since the 1970s. The result will be far greater stagflation than was experienced in that benighted decade. And this time around there will be no North Sea, Alaskan or Gulf of Mexico oil deposits to bail us out.

    Arguably, we have been squandering the last of our ability to soften the blow that is coming, ever since Ronald Reagan symbolically removed the solar panels from the White House roof. In the years following the 2008 crash, we might have questioned the received economic orthodoxy and taken more time to understand why neither productivity improvements nor real – i.e. non-financial – economic growth had put in an appearance. Eight years later we might have benefitted by examining why so many millions of our fellow citizens were moved to vote for such apparently economically damaging options as Brexit and Donald Trump. Even now, we might stop to ask why our economies and our public health systems have failed to live up to the task of managing what, in the grand scheme of things, is a relatively mild pandemic virus… it is hardly the Black Death.

    But we didn’t. We simply assumed that the past is our best guide to the future. In the same way, we will allow ourselves to believe that throwing more good money after bad on extra runways, high speed rail links and behemoth nuclear power plants will pave the way to the utopian New Jerusalem; even as our civilisation goes the way of every previous one.


    1. Yeah, the same awaits the U.S.of A. I just wonder how much of Biden’s $1.9 TRILLION “plan” is just giveaways to the top 10%/Wall Street/Banks and how much is for wasting on Green New Deals? Humans can’t seem to understand anything except MORE! (MPP at work?, denial is at least working overtime!!).

      Liked by 1 person

  58. Late to the party but love the conversation. I have been talking about all this for forever.
    I usually start my talk asking how many people in the room have or have had a dog. Usually nearly all respond affirmative. Then I say I will bet you $100 I could make that loving, cuddly, best friend ever bare its teeth, growl, and possibly even bit you. Lots of “no way man, not good ol’ Rags”. I said all you need to do is put the dog outside with no shelter and little or no food for a few days. Then bring out a chicken drumstick and hold it close to him and when he starts to eat it yank it away. I don’t recommend you try this but I guarantee you will get a negative response, perhaps even before the drumstick. Dogs are just bad and there is no hope for them,LoL! Obviously we would never do this to our beloved pet. In fact we lavish between $60 to $75 BILLION on our pets every year. In fact we often treat our pets better than we treat our fellow human beings.

    Point is we have organized ourselves, or I should say we have allowed ourselves to be organized under a system that is specifically designed to bring out the worst behavior humans are capable of and we do this knowing full well that we are capable of those terrible things and the conditions that are guaranteed to elicit those responses. Then we all love to point out bad behavior and condemn those people, then we condemn all of humanity as being bad and that that is just our nature and can’t be helped. Insane logic if you ask me.

    I do like Hansons list of solutions. I would add that we need to educate /reeducate humanity that we can not allow any activity or actions that we know will elicit bad behavior in fact we must make sure we do everything we can to insure that doesn’t happen. We need to treat people like dogs ;-}



      1. Actually, I believe that “nothing can or will change in a good direction”, period. It’s way too late for that and Rob knows it. This is precisely why I created this practical video for those who GET doom but ultimately are able to move to, what I call, “Post-Doom” (see definitions at this link: “Post Gloom: Deeply Adapting to Reality”:

        If you’re interested, you can find 75 “post-doom conversations” here:

        I keep inviting Rob, whom I’m sure would be great! But he keeps humbly declining. Rob???


        1. Oops. forgot to include the link, to my “Unstoppable Collapse: How to Avoid the Worst” video, that honors Varki’s view of denial AND an evidential understanding of (A) our perspective and (B) what we may still be capable of doing (and what might keep from making a bad situation catastrophically worse) in this hourlong video that I know you, Rob, know about.


          1. Hey Michael,
            Just wanted to say what a fantastic job you have done of your presentations. I have watched them all.
            Also thanks for all the audio books. I am so used to your voice reading all the must reads/listens of books on collapse. What an incredible amount of work you have put in.


      2. Rob – I appreciate your perspective and I agree that we will not do anything preemptively, nothing positive at least. I do believe that there is a chance that there will be an inflection point, possibly during the bottleneck but maybe after, if there is an after, where we may have the opportunity to restructure to some degree. It is this point that I teach for, along with all the doom, if for no other reason than to avoid starting the madness all over.

        I reciently listened to Nate Hagens and he too seems to have this mentality.

        “The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology.”


        1. Yes, I respect Nate Hagens and have posted a lot of work by him over the years:

          Nate did a half dozen or so interviews last year (not posted here) that you can find on YouTube in which he discusses how Covid could be leveraged to implement some pro-future changes.

          Another very smart person who understands energy, has not given up, and has some interesting ideas for keeping modern civilization going, is Saul Griffith.

          I think the key question to focus on for both Hagen’s and Griffith’s plans is, do we have enough surplus fossil energy left that we can divert to implement a new energy infrastructure, and can this new system be self-sustaining?

          I suspect not, and I expect a climate incompatible with large scale civilization is now unstoppable, which is why I favor policies for rapid population reduction.


          1. I don’t mean to speak for Nate but I an certain that he would call Griffith’s plans delusional. Please listen to his talk on ecoshock for his latest evolved thinking.


            1. Yes, I know Nate well enough to believe you are correct.

              Saul Griffith would probably say Nate is delusional for believing that peak oil will save us from a climate incompatible with modern civilization.

              I say both Nate and Griffith are delusional for not focusing on democratically supported rapid population policies, because everything else is a complete waste of time.

              Both Nate and Griffith would probably say I am delusional for believing that evolved denial of unpleasant realities explains the singular existence of a species that can create, understand, and not even discuss the overshoot predicament we are in.

              Liked by 1 person

          2. I need to watch the hour long interview, but the three minute summary states the obvious: after the point of generation, electricity is much more efficient than fossil fuels. What it doesn’t state is more telling: a kg of fossil fuel is a lot more energy dense than 1 kg of batteries. Its energy density overwhelms its inefficiency.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I’ve followed Saul Griffith for many years. He is REALLY smart, and is an energy expert. So how do I reconcile this with your observations? I think it’s another example of how powerful the human tendency to deny unpleasant realities is.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Indeed it is. I listened to the long interview. He mentioned batteries a couple of times, but their lack of density compared to fossil fuels isn’t important. He does realize (of course) the necessity of mass batteries. He also did not say how they would be made solely by electricity.

                He also doesn’t realize that, to maintain our way of living, we need to produce more and more debt forever because the surplus energy isn’t there. That’s just my opinion, though. It won’t be a binge of borrowing to give us a glorious future.


          3. Here is more detail on Griffith’s plan.


            If I Were Secretary of Energy

            You can’t “efficiency” your way to zero

            Next, I would change the department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to the department of Electrification and Renewable Energy. Why? The time is long past when efficiency measures will work to address climate change. We need to be at carbon zero, and you can’t “efficiency” your way to zero. Efficiency is good, and I won’t discourage important work on more efficient insulation materials and machines etc., but we need transformation. We can no longer have any new fossil fuel-based technology. This includes investing in carbon sequestration, which I don’t believe will work economically at scale; the amount of CO2 that humans emit each year is as much tonnage of material as every other human activity, as much as all of our mining, manufacturing and agriculture, combined. Sequestering that much carbon just isn’t going to happen on the timeframe we need. It’s cheaper to not make carbon in the first place, by electrifying everything and powering it with renewables and nuclear.

            So the new Department of Electrification and Renewable Energy would focus on the things we know we need to do to transform the infrastructure: electrification of vehicles, improving batteries, lightweighting our vehicle fleets. Electrification of buildings needs to happen fast, and I’d focus on increasing the efficiency of heat pumps for space and water heating and cooling, including turning it into a shiftable load and giant battery; and developing the control systems for electrified homes and a larger, more complicated grid.

            The difficult bits to decarbonize

            After that, we would need to decarbonize the more difficult parts of our emissions. I’m confident that with scale, cost reduction and integration, we have most of the technology we need for 80% of our emissions. The last 20% is hard, though, and includes agriculture, emissions of refrigerants, land use, cement, steel, aluminum, the polymer industry, paper and pulp industry, and other things critical to our way of life. The DOE runs a small program that does bandwidth studies of industry and how efficient they can become. I think this is an incredible start to a much more powerful idea that I would get behind — scoping not only efficiency measures for these industries, but ways we can turn the industries into assets in the modern infrastructure that can shift loads, become batteries, and otherwise have benefits to the larger energy system. I’d also create a dedicated department of biological materials. Either we will build a competitor to the existing highly emitting polymer industry by using biology to make a precursor or feedstock for a green plastics industry, or even better we’ll harness biology in even more productive ways to make a plethora of materials that will sequester carbon as they also provide us better products and higher performance. Advanced timber construction of multi-story buildings that are a carbon sink is just one possibility.


            1. The third paragraph (Given the right resources….) is magical thinking. We don’t have the enormous amounts of energy and materials required to change an energy system that is currently around 85% fossil -fuel based into an
              energy system that is 60% or 70% supplied by rebuildables or nuclear plants by 2035. Oil is plateauing,copper
              ores being mined now are about 0.4 % Cu.,etc,etc..

              Liked by 2 people

  59. Alice Friedemann today on why we should not plan on having digital electronics in our future.

    The crowning achievement of our civilization is the ability to make microchips. It is by far the most complex object ever made by mankind. Probably second in complexity to the microchip is the $10 billion dollar clean room they’re made within. And third, the motherboard inside computers. Everything else pales in comparison. Nearly any electronic device you can think of depends on a microchip to function. Even toasters. Somewhere along the line, even complex objects that don’t have one, like batteries, were made with equipment that used chips.

    Enormously expensive
    Moore’s Law says that over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. Some say that Moore’s 2nd Law is the escalating cost of a semiconductor fab plant, which doubles every 3 years. For example, Intel’s Fab 32 cost an estimated $3 billion in 2007, revised to $3.5 billion in 2011. A 2009-2010 upgrade to an Intel fab, Fab 11X, cost $2.5 billion (on top of a 2007 $2 billion upgrade). The first stage of GlobalFoundries’ New York 1.3 million square foot fab will cost >$4.6 billion dollars. TSMC’s Fab 15 in Taiwan is estimated at >$9.3 billion, and they are preparing to start a fab in 2015 projected at >$26 billion.

    Only 5 companies can afford to make the best microprocessors: a supply chain threat
    The costs and risks involved in building new fabs have already driven many makers of logic chips (processor or controller chips) towards a “fabless” chip model, where they outsource much of their production to chip “foundries” in the Far East (Nuttall).

    High capital costs require fabs to keep their production lines running at full capacity to pay back the money sunk into them. “The most expensive thing on the planet is a half-empty fab,” says Brian Krzanich, general manager of Intel’s manufacturing and supply chain. Consequently, only the highest-volume processor manufacturers–such as Samsung and Intel are still sole owners and operators of state-of-the-art plants. As the elements on a chip become smaller, designing processors is getting tougher costing a lot more — R&D costs are rapidly increasing. In 2009, around $30 billion, or 17 percent of revenue, went to R&D across the industry–a 40 percent increase over 1999 (Mims).

    Back when 130 nm chips were made, there were 20 companies, but now there are only 5 companies making the cutting edge 20/22 nm. Below you can see the declining number of companies as the size got smaller and cost significantly more to make (Benini):

    20/22 nm: Globalfoundries, Intel, Samsung, ST Microelectronics, TSMC
    28/32 nm: 20/22 and Panasonic, UMC
    40/45 nm: 20/22, 28/32, and Fujitsu, IBM, Renesas (NEC), SMIC, Toshiba
    55/65 nm: 20/22, 28/32, 40/45 and Freescale, Infineon, Sony, Texas Instruments
    90 nm: 20/22, 28/32, 40/45, 55/65 and Dongbu Hitek, Grace Semiconductor, Seiko Epson
    130 nm: 20/22, 28/32, 40/45, 55/65, 90 nm and Altis Semiconductor

    Only 3 companies still make internal hard disk drives
    Seagate Technology, Toshiba, and Western Digital. Once there were 200 companies.

    One company, ASML, makes most of the lithography equipment for the semiconductor industry
    ASML is a lithography equipment manufacturer for the semiconductor industry, without which chip manufacturers cannot make computer chips for the computer and telecom industries. ASML is nearly a monopoly company in the semiconductor lithography market with 74% of the market share. Traditional lithography has reached the limits and smaller chips can only be made using extreme ultraviolet lithography [EUV]. ASML enjoys a monopolistic position in EUV as it is the only company that is developing EUV equipment to produce these smaller computer chips. The capital required is so huge that ASML’s main customers such as Intel (INTC) are participating in a customer co-investment program (SeekingAlpha).

    Benini says that Moore’s Law is about to hit a brick wall because of:

    Market volume wall: only the largest volume products will be manufactured with the most advanced technology (above)
    Thermal wall: transistor count still increases exponentially but we can no longer power the entire chip (voltages, cooling do not scale)
    Memory wall: larger data sets and limited bandwidth at high power cost for accessing external memory
    Financial fragility
    In a (civil) war, fabrication plants are a likely target. Given how expensive they are, could a company survive the destruction of one or two of their plants given that their revenues now are often less than the cost of building a new fab plant (i.e. TSMC $14 billion, Globalfoundry $3.5 billion)?


  60. Tim Watkins today on genetic reality denial, but no mention of Varki’s MORT…

    This gives the lie to the idea that “the government” knows – i.e., is conscious of – the overshoot predicament which is unfolding around us. It is certainly true that some people within governments are aware of various research papers relating to such things as the threats from: a global banking collapse, climate-related food shortages, mineral resource depletion, future energy shortages and a runaway greenhouse effect. But it is doubtful that Boris Johnson, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron or Joe Biden has the first idea about any of these things. Nor are you or I going to get an appointment with them to discuss these threats… “Can’t you see we’re busy dealing with a pandemic!?”

    Come up with a “solution” to one or more of those problems and it is a different matter… which is where Herr Schwab and his chums at the World Economic Forum come in. Far from some all-encompassing conspiracy to create a techno-dystopian hell on earth, the WEF is designed to bring together acceptable – i.e., within the neoliberal framework – experts and decision-makers to develop solutions for overcoming the crises that threaten to undermine the system. Just like fracking for shale gas, it matters not a jot if these proposed solutions are impossible – or at least too expensive to ever be viable. All that matters is that they offer a politically acceptable alternative to the slow-motion collapse of the neoliberal order. And so, with no sense of shame, supposed economics experts can talk about universal basic incomes and unlimited currency creation while self-proclaimed energy experts can extoll the virtues of non-existent nuclear fusion and hydrogen technologies to wean us off polluting and fast-depleting fossil fuels. Mix in a pinch of circular economy and a few self-driving cars and you have exactly the kind of vision that offers the elites the peace of mind they long for.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. All credit goes to Varki. My role is simply to explain the implications of Varki’s theory. I’ve tried to contact Watkins in the past but he does not permit comments on his essays, and does not provide any means of contacting him that I could find.


        1. Varki deserves many Kudos, but there’s no book & no ‘’ without the late Danny Brower. Technically speaking Varki did not write the book. He finished Brower’s book. I know because Varki told us so.

          Brower is the Alfred Russel Wallace of denial.

          So where did Brower get the idea? Lifetime of observation & reading is my guess. Humans have been baffled by denial (the other guys denial) since time immemorial.

          RIP Danny and thanks for getting the ball rolling.

          The Danny Brower Memorial Scholarship was established by the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology to honor the professional accomplishments of Dr. Danny Brower, Professor and scientist for over 25 years at the University of Arizona. In the Fall of 2007, Danny passed away unexpectedly. He was an inspiration to many, not only for his spirit and intellect, but also his ability to see the great potential and many connections between basic and translational science. Danny was widely recognized as an accomplished scientist and academician, as demonstrated by his numerous publications and service as the Head of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

          Brower, Varki & Rob all deserve credit for generating thought & discussion on denial. is more than just a blog. It’s a resource gold mine on denial & related topics. Plus I perform here 3 nights a week (2 drink minimum).

          Liked by 1 person

          1. You are absolutely right about Brower deserving credit for the original insight.

            I plead innocence for the oversight because on my Welcome page I say:


            It’s easy to become angry about overshoot and our denial of it. I know I was angry in the early days of my awareness. Denial often looks like ignorance or sloth or selfishness. But if Ajit Varki and Danny Brower’s theory (which for brevity I will from now on call “Varki’s theory”) is correct, denial is not a character flaw. Denial is what makes us human. Understanding this muted my anger.

            I believe Brower’s idea came from inverting the question most people ask about humans, “What happened during evolution to make human intelligence special?” to the more insightful question, “What has blocked other intelligent social species from evolving the same intelligence as humans?”.

            After all, human intelligence is clearly a good evolutionary idea because it’s permitted us to take over the planet. Evolution usually repeats good ideas, like for example, muscles, eyesight, hearing, flight, etc. Why not human intelligence?

            Varki did much more than echo Brower’s idea. He made some very important enhancements to the theory.

            My contributions to the theory have been to point out that MORT explains why humans can be in a severe state of overshoot facing imminent collapse, and not even discuss it. And why humans are the only species with religions, and why all religions have the common denominator of a belief in life after death.

            P.S. I’m checking my inbox every day for an essay from you. We need a new one soon. This post is getting too sluggish because of the large number of comments. I’m working on an essay about The Great Reset but am finding it a slog because most of our world leaders are C students at best, and poor writers, so it’s not enjoyable trying to figure out what the fuck they think is going on and what needs to be done.


            1. No need to plead, Rob. We all forget about the dead as time passes. It’s normal. I would love to have a long conversation with Danny Brower. Perhaps in Doomer heaven someday. If Danny Brower’s family doesn’t know about I think it would be nice if they did.

              I caught this last night. One of the first evolutionary psychology books I read – 1994, updated 2018..

              ‘The Evolution of Desire – David M. Buss’

              ” If we all want love, why is there so much conflict in our most cherished relationships? To answer this question, argues the prominent psychologist David M. Buss, we must look into our evolutionary past. Based on the most massive study of human mating ever undertaken, encompassing more than 10,000 people of all ages from thirty-seven cultures worldwide, The Evolution of Desire is the first book to present a unified theory of human mating behavior.

              In this fully revised and updated edition of The Evolution of Desire, Buss has incorporated the explosion of research in the field of human mating since its original 1994 publication, from startling discoveries about the evolutionary advantages of infidelity and physical attractiveness to new findings regarding sexual orientation, the emotion of sexual disgust, and incest avoidance adaptations.”



    1. I’ll volunteer for the first manned Mars mission, but first they’re gonna need to triple the circumference of the rocket to fit my fat ass inside it.

      Liked by 1 person

  61. Rob,
    Loved the piece about semiconductors. Truly one of the most complex things humans have made. However, I think the crowning achievement of homo sapiens could still be found on Mars in a half billion years – the Martian rovers. If memory serves me right J. Hansen had a similar idea in his book “Storms of my Grandchildren” where he has an alien arriving on Mars and seeing a hothouse earth and asking why we ruined a garden planet – or something like that.


  62. I’ve more or less tuned out on news about the virus. I am trying hard not to get it, and I’m prepared in case things get worse, but other than that I don’t think about it much.

    Andrew Nikiforuk is one of my favorite journalists. He’s Canadian and reasonably aware. When he speaks I listen. His recent essay about the virus is cause for concern.

    Are you tired of COVID?

    I fucking am.

    But as a longtime science writer and the author of two books on pandemics, I have to report what you probably don’t want to hear. We have entered the grimmest phase of this pandemic.

    And contrary to what our politicians say, there is only one way to deal with a rapidly mutating virus that demonstrates the real power of exponential growth: Go hard. Act early. And go to zero.

    Last January, one strain of this novel virus began its assured global conquest, and since then our leaders have hardly learned a goddamn thing.

    So yes, I am angry, and I will not disguise my frustration with comfortable or polite language.

    In the last three months, several super-variants have emerged that are 30 to 70 per cent more infectious than the original Wuhan strain.

    The old COVID-19 doubled its numbers every 40 days under a particular set of restrictions; under the same conditions, the variants double every 10 days. That means they can outrun any vaccination campaign.*

    That means if you haven’t eliminated — or almost eliminated — cases in your region, you are going to learn the meaning of grief.

    These highly-contagious variants have emerged in jurisdictions with high infection rates: the U.K., Brazil, South Africa and California. They became global tourists months ago, before you read about them.

    Meanwhile, governments still do not understand the threat at hand.

    To illustrate it, British mathematician Adam Kucharski recently compared a virus mutation that was 50 per cent more deadly with one that increased transmission by 50 per cent.

    With a reproduction rate of about 1.1 and a death rate of 0.8 per cent, current strains of COVID-19 now deliver 129 deaths per 10,000 infections.

    A virus that is 50 per cent more lethal will kill 193 people in a month. A variant that is more transmissible wins the game with 978 deaths in just one month.

    The virus is finding its optimal configuration, its ideal form for contagiousness. And you thought this was over?


    1. This sounds very much like fear mongering. Increased pos “cases” does not necessarily translate to a concomitant increase in mortality. In fact there has been several statements come out that the new variants are not more deadly and some have suggested they may be less deadly. It is too early to say for sure.

      What is known is that if the two safe, effective, proven treatments had been applied in mass there would be much less chance of mutation. Instead the “medical experts” tell people to just go home and sit around until they have enough symptoms to go to the hospital. In effect allowing the virus to load up and move from one person to another. The other benefit of using the the two safe, effective, proven treatments early on would be to reduce the possibility of “long covid”.

      In my opinion the suppression of these two safe, effective, proven treatments is a crime against humanity…but it is addressing the population thingy I suppose.


      1. I hope you are right that Nikiforuk is fear mongering. He’s been pretty level headed in the past.

        I agree about the inexcusable incompetence of our health leaders. It’s so bad that it motivated me to write the post that hosts these comments. I don’t understand how all of our health experts can be globally synchronized in such stupidity.

        I don’t agree with you that they are evil with bad intentions, but something very strange is going on.

        In addition to everything you said, they still can’t bring themselves to talk about, let alone hand out, cheap safe preventative measures like Vitamin D.

        I have Ivermectin in the cupboard and am ready for self treatment if I get the virus.


    1. The problem with this video was that it was looking at current deaths. Sure hydro (dam) failures can be catastrophic BUT civilizational collapse and all those reactors melting down could well be 7+ billion deaths and the end of the biosphere. So . . . the potential from nuclear dwarfs any other source of deaths.


      1. You’re right. But nuclear energy highlights another example of reality denial. The people who oppose nuclear want green growth, and they do not expect civilization to collapse soon. If they really believe BAU and growth must continue, then nuclear should be their top priority.

        Liked by 2 people

  63. How bad is it? Even scientists can’t grasp the reality of what is happening on this planet. 17 expert scientists poured through over 150 essential papers. Their summary is: “Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future”. Lead author, Professor Corey Bradshaw, is from Flinders University in Australia. Co-authors include Paul and Anne Ehrlich.


    1. Climate Scientists Erring on the Side of Least Drama

      “A paper recently published in Global Environmental Change by Brysse et al. (2012) examined a number of past predictions made by climate scientists, and found that that they have tended to be too conservative in their projections of the impacts of climate change. The authors thus suggest that climate scientists are biased toward overly cautious estimates, erring on the side of less rather than more alarming predictions, which they call “erring on the side of least drama” (ESLD).

      In this paper, Brysse et al. examined research evaluating past climate projections, and considered the pressures which might cause climate scientists to ESLD.”

      “Erring on the Side of Least Drama” (ESLD) to Avoid Alarmism

      The IPCC and climate scientists are often accused of “alarmism”, but clearly Brysse et al. demonstrates that these accusations are wholly unfounded and misplaced.

      "Our analysis of the available studies suggests that if a bias is operative in the work of climate scientists, it is in the direction of under-predicting, rather than over-predicting, the rate and extent of anthropogenic climate change."

      In fact, Brysse et al. suggest that these frequent accusations of “alarmism” and other climate contrarian attacks on climate scientists may be one reason why climate scientists have under-predicted climate change, or erred on the side of least drama.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This rings true with my experience. Every new climate related prediction I have read over the last 10 years, like for example expected sea level rise, has been worse than it’s predecessor. I don’t remember a single report going in the good direction.


  64. Gail Tverberg thinks COVID-19 is being used as cover for energy shortages. This is (I think) different than my speculation above which was about subconscious responses to problems.

    Gail seems to be suggesting a coordinated plan between the leaders of most countries, many of whom don’t trust each other, and which somehow have succeeded at not leaking the plan after 12 months of execution, which I think is highly improbable.

    I think that the strange response world governments made to COVID-19 was really linked to energy shortages as much as it was to the virus.

    The self-organizing economy works in incredibly strange ways to make things work out as needed. Closing down all except the essential segments of the economy and keeping people who were fearful of disease at home was, in a way, a stroke of genius. Energy consumption could fall without letting the whole system fall apart.


  65. Wow. The comment section at Our Finite World is shifting from a focus on non-renewable energy depletion to wide-ranging conspiracy theories. Other sites are doing the same.

    We may be observing in real-time the effect of anticipated scarcity on the mammalian brain.


    1. Rob,
      My feeling has always been that conspiracies (as you alluded to above) always require greater coordination, secrecy and competence than most organizations possess in their normal non-conspiracy affairs. That’s why I was always suspected of the “economic theory” that privatization of government services would create greater efficiency and save money for the taxpayer too. In my employment for some 50 years with multiple employers it was my personal perception that most businesses with more than a few employees always made mistakes, omissions, errors, screwups, what have you. It always seemed to me that the “Peter principle” was operational – most managers were incompetents. My experience in the military also corroborated that perception. So, how do organizations pull off conspiracies? You have to keep it really small and really sharply focused and even then the risk of it all collapsing is great. IMHO.
      So vast conspiracies I doubt, unless EVERYONE else is in constant denial of the conspiracy – and we don’t deny much around here!

      Liked by 1 person

  66. Close to the Edge was one of the first albums I bought in the 70’s. Haven’t listened to it in decades until today on a hike. I hoped the title led to wise lyrics relevant to our pickle today, but alas it’s just some stoners musing about spirituality. The music, nevertheless, is very good.


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