By Jean-Marc Jancovici: Will technology save us from Climate Change?

Brilliant new talk by my favorite alien engineer, Jean-Marc Jancovici.

If you only have 90 minutes to spare, and you want to understand everything that matters about how the world works, and the nature of our overshoot predicament, and what we need to do to minimize future suffering, then this talk is the best use of your time.

spoiler alert: the answer is no


Jean-Marc Jancovici is an advisor to the French government on climate change and energy as part of the French High Council for Climate. He is a founding partner of Carbon 4, a Paris-based data consultancy specializing in low carbon transition and the physical risks of climate change ( He is also the founder and president of The Shift Project, a Paris-based think tank advocating for a low carbon economy ( Jean-Marc Jancovici also serves as an associate professor at Mines ParisTech.


The thermo-industrial development of our society has been possible due to resource extraction and the transformation of our environment. Unfortunately, it has led to severe environmental consequences that humanity is experiencing around the globe: shifting and unpredictable climate, extreme weather events, and biodiversity collapse. Humanity is paying the consequences for technical and technological progress. Thus, can technology still save us from climate change?

Jean-Marc Jancovici will address this question through the paradigm of energy. He will first detail how modern society is structured around thermal and nuclear energies, and will then discuss the impact of this structure on global climate and society. Finally, Jean-Marc Jancovici will conclude by exploring the trade-offs between economic growth and sustainable climate stewardship.


125 thoughts on “By Jean-Marc Jancovici: Will technology save us from Climate Change?”

    1. Hey, why all the negativity? The MSM loves Bill Gates, he’s a genius billionaire (one of the wealthiest) (just lucky?) AND he says we can fix this with more research!! (yeah, has he ever heard of Jevon’s Paradox, denial or MPP?). Trust in the MSM is fraying? – not among people around me 😦 .

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hopium at any price

    Flood-prone Miami to spend billions tackling sea level rise

    “We must continue to focus on restoration, preservation and protection of this sacred space,” she told a news conference.

    “And so we will be together investing billions of dollars… in our infrastructure so that we can lift this community and others that are so affected by sea level rise,” she added.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Bill you fucking cull.

      Just write a few security updates for the planet to download & everything will be fine.

      Hey Bill, maybe ‘we’ will reintroduce a disruptive technology that’s been in storage for a couple of centuries. Perhaps you’ve heard of it – the guillotine. It works by gravity & provides dopamine squirts galore among the peasantry.

      Complex Life Threatened

      “That one fact alone, as highlighted in the Bradshaw report, describes an enormous hole in the lifeblood of the planet. Wetlands are the “kidneys for the world’s landscape” (a) cleansing water (b) mitigating floods (c) recharging underground aquifers, and (d) providing habitat for biodiversity. What else does that?

      Once wetlands are gone, there’s no hope for complex life support systems. And, how will aquifers be recharged? Aquifers are the world’s most important water supply. Yet, NASA says 13 of the planet’s 37 largest aquifers are classified as overstressed because they have almost no new water flowing in to offset usage. No wetlands, no replenishment. Ipso facto, the Middle East is on special alert!”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you think Bill Gates is in denial? 🙂 Perhaps after commercials like that he retires to the planning room and moves little Covid and windmill pieces around on a theater of operations board. The “Great Reset” board with a HAL-9000 spitting out statistics and answers to “What if………….” questions. The first round of technological growth is in the process of killing life on earth. Replacing and reworking most everything won’t help and will only add to the burden. We actually need massive downsizing in every respect and then we may avoid extinction. Sort of goes against the grain. I’m not even sure forcing seven billion people into subsistence living or smart city pod living would be enough. Maybe HAL-9000 knows.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bill Gates is intelligent and understands energy because he’s read Vaclav Smil’s books. He also understands the threat of climate change and the challenges of doing something about it, as demonstrated by this talk he gave 11 years ago.

      In 2006 Gates had high hopes that nuclear might save us, and he thus co-founded TerraPower to accelerate progress. Now 15 years later, TerraPower is still 10 years away from demonstrating feasibility.

      I suspect that the denial circuit in Gates’ brain has switched on and he now hopes that intermittent low power density (which he understands) solar and wind will save us.

      If his denial circuit had not switched on he would have become depressed and unable to function normally.


      1. No open circuits allowed. That denial circuit is like an on/off switch and well…necessary. For most people. I feel as though I belong to one of those Mystery Cults of Antiquity. I’m pretty sure that breaking the denial circuit qualifies as a frightening initiation ceremony. Desecration of sacred cows, absorption of arcane knowledge…I mean come on, how many people know about pteropods or Canfield Oceans? Actually I almost wrote Canfield Lakes that is how mysterious this stuff is.

        That we party of apes could do this much damage in a mere 200 years. That is quite an accomplishment.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I still remember the exact moment when my denial circuit switched off. I was reading about oil and I realized in an instant that our civilization would collapse as oil depleted. It felt like someone hit me in the guts with a 2″x4″.

          I know nothing about Canfield Oceans. Please give us a couple sentence summary of what you’ve learned.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. You would not want to set your time warp back 252 million years ago. Imagine a primordial ocean of your worst nightmare. Stagnant purple water stinking of rotten eggs belching hydrogen sulfide, killing life as we know it. The bog of eternal stench but stretching over the entire planet. That is a Canfield Ocean.

            How do you take paradisaical oceans and theoretically turn them into hellish Canfield Oceans? You warm everything up by pumping massive amounts of C02 into the atmosphere which the oceans, especially near the poles, then sequester a large part of. I am grossly simplifying here, but by acidifying and warming the ocean you create ideal conditions for sulfur bacteria. Sulfate reducing bacteria thrive in low oxygen environments. producing large amounts of hydrogen sulfide.

            It is theorized that during the Permian Triassic Extinction Event aka the “Great Dying”, oceanic upwelling of H2S released deadly emissions into the atmosphere, poisoning terrestrial plants and animals, weakening the ozone layer, exposing whatever life remains to fatal levels of radiation. And as the hydrogen sulfide in the water column reached the sunlit upper layer of ocean, photosynthetic green and purple sulfur bacteria bloomed profusely. Peter Ward describes it all in “Under a Green Sky.”


              1. Ya, nothing like that is happening at all.

                The Great Dying: Earth’s largest-ever mass extinction is a warning for humanity

                By Jeff Berardelli, Katherine Niemczyk

                March 4, 2021 / 8:44 PM / CBS News

                “Right now our planet is in the midst of what science says is an unprecedented rate of change, unlike anything seen in tens of millions of years. Overconsumption, unsustainable practices and the release of immense amounts of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels are altering our life-sustaining climate at a dangerous pace, oceans are acidifying and losing oxygen, and species are dying off.

                But this is not the first time that life on our planet has faced an epic challenge. The worst came a little over 250 million years ago — before dinosaurs walked the earth — in an episode called the Permian-Triassic Mass Extinction, or the Great Dying, when 90% of life in the oceans and 70% of life on land vanished. ”

                “Recently, two groundbreaking studies on the Great Dying reveal that the causes of that mass extinction bear some striking similarities to what’s happening today. In fact, in some ways the pace of change, such as the rate of release of greenhouse gases, is much faster today than it was 250 million years ago.”

                “In fact, the evidence compiled by scientific research on today’s pace of change is ominous to say the least. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing at a pace 100 times faster than it naturally should. Our planet is warming 10 times faster than it has in 65 million years. Our oceans are acidifying 100 times faster than they have in at least 20 million years, and oxygen dead zones in our oceans have increased tenfold since 1950.”

                ” You got hit on this side with temperature, on this side with acidification and then finally the knock-out punch came from deoxygenation.”


                The same thing, LIP’s/volcanism/Deccan traps led to the KT extinction (dinosaurs), not the asteroid.

                Recent evidence for another mass extinction with the same MO.

                Researchers unearth ‘new’ mass-extinction
                New analysis brings total of species extinctions to six

                “Here, the researchers observe, the end-Guadalupian extinction event — which affected life on land and in the seas — occurred at the same time as the Emeishan flood-basalt eruption that produced the Emeishan Traps, an extensive rock formation, found today in southern China. The eruption’s impact was akin to those causing other known severe mass extinctions, Rampino says.

                “Massive eruptions such as this one release large amounts of greenhouse gases, specifically carbon dioxide and methane, that cause severe global warming, with warm, oxygen-poor oceans that are not conducive to marine life,” he notes.

                “In terms of both losses in the number of species and overall ecological damage, the end-Guadalupian event now ranks as a major mass extinction, similar to the other five,” the authors write.”


                In a way, all these calamities gave rise to us. Now it’s time for earth to shed it’s skin once again. People will claim “it’s not the same, not natural”, but I beg to differ. The earth made the humans the same as it made volcanic traps. Nothing could be more natural.

                Liked by 2 people

  3. Mr. Gates should not be so worried about what those displaced by the new ec0nomy will do. They will become farmers. It’s win-win. People employed and less energy used to grow food. The lower incomes are but a small problem.


    1. I worked on a farm that used zero diesel. Among other tasks, I scythed and threshed grains and legumes by hand, and hilled and harvested potatoes by hand. You can do it, but it’s very hard work, and I doubt you could feed 8 billion people.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And that’s the energy problem with feeding 8 billion. Now throw on drastic climate change (like some of us in the PNW had last year) and that farming and the food that it produces becomes even more difficult to provide. (The 7 days of smoke blotted out skies with no sun really crimps the yields of produce – if it doesn’t kill the plants).

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Smoke blotted skies..pah. Concern with life sustaining food is inconsequential folderol. Think of drear summer days as an opportunity. Go rent a villa like the Shelley’s, Lord Byron and Polidori did when Mt. Tambora blew in 1816 and unleash your imagination. It’s how we got Frankenstein.


    2. What kind of farming I wonder? Vertical farming? Recently read that a 1/3 of the farmland in the US cornbelt has lost its topsoil. Top soil erosion is a huge problem.


  4. Smart people continue to disagree on whether it’ll end in deflation or inflation.

    Tim Morgan thinks inflation. I wonder if he reads un-denial?

    It was once famously said that inflation is “always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon”. In our current situation, inflation is likelier to be a ‘denial phenomenon’, if we insist on trying, financially, to engineer “growth” when the critical energy equation is heading in the opposite direction.


  5. Ideas 3 March 2021 John Gray

    Can humanity conquer the virus?

    Evolution has always been indifferent to the myth of inevitable human progress. Now, in the age of Covid-19, it has turned against us.

    ” A mutating virus is destroying a world-view that has ruled governments, business and popular culture for a century or more. A model in which humankind was achieving ever higher levels of control over the planet has shaped much of modern thinking. Evolution has been understood as the ascent from primeval slime to unchallengeable human dominance over all other forms of life.

    Fundamentally at odds with the theory of natural selection, this was never more than pseudo-science. Yet from the late 19th century onwards it became a ruling paradigm, captivating generations of thinkers and inspiring world-changing political movements. Today the myth is crumbling. For the first time in history, using genomic sequencing, natural selection is being observed, in detail and real time, at the level of genes. Evolution is continuing, rapidly, with the virus as the chief protagonist.

    The disintegration of a near-ubiquitous world-view presents a curious spectacle. While science is providing a clearer picture of evolution at work than ever before, the impact of the pandemic is to reinforce archetypal fantasies in which evils and misfortunes are blamed on hidden forces and secret cabals. If there is evolution in ideas, it works to propagate some of the worst human beings have conceived.

    With the aid of growing scientific knowledge, human beings can protect themselves from the virus and renew a reasonably secure way of life. Heroic dedication by doctors, nurses and other defenders of public health has been vitally important in coping with the pandemic. But adjusting to the irreversible changes the pandemic brings will demand clear-headed realism. Clinging to a cod-scientific view of evolution is a hindrance to the task ahead, which is adjusting to a world in which the virus is endemic.

    In April 2020 I wrote in the New Statesman: “The belief that this crisis can be solved by an unprecedented outbreak of international cooperation is magical thinking in its purest form.” (“Why this crisis is a turning point in history”, 3 April 2020). Vaccine wars were wholly predictable, but the same magical thinking is expressed in the slogan that no one will be safe from the virus until everyone is safe. ”

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This is a superb interview brought to my attention by Nehemiah @ OFW on monetary system problems and probable outcomes.

    I like Brent Johnson’s perspective despite the fact that he appears to be unaware (or in denial) that growth is over due to energy depletion.


  7. Art Berman knows energy, and if he says failure of wind generation was a key trigger for the Texas outage, I believe him.

    Explanations for the outages include lack of generating plant winterization, natural gas shortages from frozen wells and pipelines, and poor grid management. These were all factors but the triggers for the power crisis were the failure of electricity generated by wind and poor planning by the state’s grid operator ERCOT.


  8. Since most of Art’s analysis is behind a paywall I don’t know if he addressed the “political” aspect of Texas’s problem. I thought Tim Watkins analysis was better. As Tim stated, other colder climate providers know how to handle deep freezes (their coal fired plants and natural gas plants keep running). Texas, since it officially denies climate change, probably doesn’t prepare well for extreme cold for multiple days? Tim suggested that wind was a small portion of the problem whereas Art seems to blame most of it on wind/solar (yes, they are intermittent but considering how small a portion of the “Texas grid” they are it would seem they shouldn’t get the largest blame?? – seems political since the governor tried to blame them too.). I think the real political problem was that Texas is so anti-federal that they did not tie Texas to the larger U.S. grid so that they could (for purely political reasons? (or so unscrupulous providers could screw the users??)) run their own show, free from federal regs. So, unless Art castigates the Texas system I think he has it wrong. IMHO.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Art’s a straight shooter IMO. The blackout is multifaceted & was long in the making (privatization-greed, deferred maintenance, corrupt & incompetent bureaucracy, etc) but it don’t happen w/o climate change.

        Another week & it’ll go down the memory hole with all the other 21st century AGW jacked disasters.

        It’s getting crowded in the memory hole.

        Memory hole 2019

        No End in Sight for Record Midwest Flood Crisis

        High waters continue to swamp towns and agricultural fields throughout the Mississippi basin

        “It doesn’t require a hydrologist to know how the 2019 flood differs from previous high-water events. The mayors have lived it close up. They have comforted friends, family and neighbors and tried not to break promises that their communities will rebuild.”

        “With prior floods, “it was a nuisance and then we were back in business,” he added. “But the duration [of this flood] wears and tears on the minds of not only the business owners but the homeowners. I know several that are done.”

        “He stressed that the 2019 flood has a rare distinction as a “total system flood,” meaning every sub-basin of the Mississippi River has been subject to high water, exacerbating conditions in Southern states like Mississippi and Louisiana.

        “There is more water that has passed under the Vicksburg bridge during this flood than in the 2008 and 2011 floods combined,” Gartman said. “That gives you testimony of the duration of this flood.”

        The Texas blackout is small potatoes compared to the flooding in 2019.

        What’s really scary is what’s to come with the flooding in America. A major disaster is pretty much a certainty since it would take (more) hydraulic engineering of monumental proportions to control the flooding to come courtesy of climate change and our neo hydrological cycle.

        The 3 part series below is very informative.

        America’s Achilles’ Heel: the Mississippi River’s Old River Control Structure

        Escalating Floods Putting Mississippi River’s Old River Control Structure at Risk

        If the Old River Control Structure Fails: A Catastrophe With Global Impact

        On a happier note, some wetlands will be making a comeback.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Good point.

          It’s become very difficult to keep an eye on the important things. There’s so much going on now. It’ll get really interesting when there are liquid fuel shortages. People in LA will go bat shit crazy.


  9. Flashback 2015

    On the Supersonic Track to Extinction

    “Where is the “Misanthropocene” right now in relation to past extinction events? The chart below tells the tale. Notice that our current rise in GHG’s is essentially instantaneous in relation to past warmings which took place over thousands of years. As far as scientists can tell, the current warming from industrial civilization is the most rapid in geologic time. Ice core and marine sediment data in the paleoclimatology archive have revealed brief periods of rapid warming and there is no reason to believe modern man is immune to such catastrophic and abrupt climate events. In fact, we know that the Arctic is already warming twice as fast as anywhere else on the planet. Earth sensitivity to climate change is now thought to be possibly double that of previous estimates. An entirely different planet can result from just a slight change in temperature:

    We’re about halfway towards the same CO2 levels as the Paleocene Thermal Extinction, but our speed of trajectory surpasses even that of the Permian Extinction:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. xraymike79 is writing about genetic reality denial without being aware that’s the topic:

      If we shed our anthropocentric blinders, the harsh reality is that nothing of substance is being done to prevent our own extinction, and after looking back at humanity’s track record for slowing down this beast of globalized industrial civilization even one iota, any sane and rational person would have to conclude that there are forces at work well beyond the control of any one group of people, any state, or even any one country. Humans have the dubious honor of being the earth’s first sentient beings to have thoroughly documented their own demise while arguing with each other over whose fault it is.


      1. mike knows, but he began with an anti capitalist agenda and, due to the evidence, acknowledged that the humans are not in control. That said, he never stopped his criticism of capitalism’s many wrong doings and showing the link between capitalism and planetary destruction.
        It’s hard to argue against the evidence that no system speeds us towards the endtimes as efficiently as capitalism does. mike is American & anti imperialism is a big part of his beef with capitalism too.

        I had featured Varki’s book for discussion on mikes blog before I ran into you. We covered tons of stuff on the MPP, evolution & human behaviour there.

        IMO, mike is one of the smartest doomers I’ve come across. Excellent writer, very insightful, does his homework & provides supporting material.

        I see mike posting on reddit from time to time, but I don’t know why he stopped blogging.

        Like you & James, mike was asked by other doomer bloggers to do audio or video interviews, but h said NO too. (chicken shits 😉

        Your core pet project, thesis or whatever you want to call it is Denial. xraymikes was capitalism. I’ve heard both of you grudgingly concede that humans look to be unable to change to save ourselves, but 15 minutes later y’all are back on topic. Me too. No matter how much evidence piles up to support a deterministic view, I just can’t stay in that mindset for any length of time. My brain won’t let me. It wants me to find a target & write a scathing rant about how the target is way more guilty than me & other lowly commoners & should be punished harshly – preferably live streamed with scantily clad cheerleaders on the sidelines.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I didn’t mean to imply that I don’t respect mike. I very much do.

          My little niche in the world is to discuss a theory that I think is probably true that says humans exist with uniquely powerful intelligence, and wacky beliefs that cancel out the usefulness of our high intelligence, because we evolved to deny unpleasant realities.

          I like to point out that many, if not all, intelligent aware people that write about overshoot discuss reality denial without drawing a connection to Varki’s MORT. I guess it’s a little corner I’ve eked out in which I like to think I have a better understanding of what’s going on, and despite my corner being small, it has huge explanatory powers for everything that matters. On other topics, the other person usually has a better understanding than me.

          With regard to capitalism, I find criticism of it tiresome because they miss the real point, which you get. All “isms” strive for infinite growth on a finite planet, the only difference being how the booty is distributed. Capitalism won out because it destroys the planet the fastest.

          My guess is that xraymike79 stopped writing for the same reason Paul Chefurka and other greats stopped writing. Nothing’s going to change for the better, and everything will be worse soon, so it’s wise to enjoy life now, rather than wasting time worrying about what’s coming. I may join them.

          I hope you’re still thinking about a writing a guest post. It would be nice to see your ideas consolidated and polished into one essay, rather than randomly sprinkled across hundreds of comments.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Don’t stop blogging! You are not wasting your time. The posts and the discussions that follow provide consolation that what we as individuals see is not truly delusional (as my wife tells me it is at every opportunity) and gives a better understanding of reality (which helps with the loneliness).

            Liked by 2 people

            1. It’s true. I see people all around me ignoring and/or denying what appears to me to be obvious factual information (none of it good) and I keep wondering “maybe I’m the crazy one.” Megacancer and Undenial are my 2 favorite blogs, because my highly-tuned bullshit detector is triggered the least.

              Liked by 2 people

          2. It would be sad if you stopped writing :|. I almost never comment but I am avid reader. You are the last site when subjects make… hmmm… common sense? Year after year some excellent blogger drops out :|. Last year I visited almost daily two sites, but when M* blog became harbour for people who hate Jews, blacks, women, etc and who preach that virus must be Jews/Chinese/Rich/Democrats/Gates*-made – I gave up on it.

            Sure I love writings of Sam Carana, Alice Friedmann, Andrew Glikson and a few others, but they are rather focused on their areas of expertise.

            As everything in man’s world is based on denial 😉 , at your blog one can read about everything from more philosophical perspective.

            choose your favourite

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Rob, I never took your comment as disrespectful towards xraymike in the slightest. I was assuming you were not familiar with xraymike & CoIC blog. I should not have assumed anything – mea culpa.


          4. I am with Rob on this one. Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Hydraulic, Feudal, CAPITALIST, Fascist, Socialist, Neo-liberal – doesn’t matter. All these systems are prey to the same unconscious, impersonal forces that inevitably lead to overshoot.


            1. Yes, and for me the most interesting question is what blocks our amazing intelligence from acknowledging and acting on (or even whispering about) human overshoot, when we regularly acknowledge and act on the overshoot of other species.

              It’s fascinating how a powerful general purpose computing machine can aggressively and ubiquitously deny unpleasant realities.

              My theory is that the Maximum Power Principle (MPP) is the master law in all life, and that intelligence (or any other trait) can evolve provided it does not conflict with the MPP. The trick evolution found for creating behaviorally modern humans with their outsized intelligence was to evolve a tendency to deny unpleasant realities. Humans can thus use their intelligence to outcompete all other species, and to maximize growth, regardless of the negative consequences, which is consistent with the MPP.

              Liked by 1 person

  10. What is magical thinking and do we grow out of it?

    “Eventually we are supposed to grow up. And most of us like to believe that as adults, our opinions, understanding or attitudes are grounded in solid realistic principles. However, it may come as a huge shock that most adults (even extremely well educated ones) will hold on to their favourite magical thinking quirks, and/or quickly fall back on magical thinking – especially in times of high emotion/stress, or where clear links are difficult to elucidate.”

    “Some forms of magical thinking are more culturally accepted than others, as comedian Arj Barker points out here in the hypocrisy behind mainstream religion’s criticism of Scientology:

    They’re like, ‘hey, man, I just can’t believe that you would put your faith in a religion which is based on science fiction. That’s just about the craziest thing I’ve ever heard in my whole life. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna continue reading my bible.’ - ‘And then the talking snake said, 'here, eat the magical apple.“

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Recently I was inspired by the Tim Watkins and his blog. And while they are always read-worthy it was not about some specific blog entry but the name of his blog (Yes, ‘The Consciousness of Sheep’). For all of us who don’t know it’s basically the idea of how sheep might think of the farmer who feeds them as servant only to be slaughtered soon after.

      Just as we humans like to think that the whole universe is only there for us and our enjoyment. Which is ironic since we arguably at the same time know that the universe doesn’t care about our well-being at all and only wants one thing from us, the same it wants from every single thing else, entropy. Why? Who knows, but it soothing to my soul to realize that all the pollution, destruction and rapacious behavior at least has a grand reason.


      1. I’ve had similar thoughts in the past. It’s very very cool to have an evolved computing machine that can understand all of this.

        Since the universe started as high quality dense energy and its destination is low quality diffuse energy it is reasonable to state that the objective of the universe is to degrade energy.

        Structures and mechanisms which degrade energy can and will form provided they are consistent with the laws of physics. Those structures and mechanisms which degrade energy the most effectively are the most likely to exist.

        Another way to think about this is that wherever an energy gradient exists, things (work) can happen, and given enough time they will happen, provided the laws of physics permit it.

        This is important because life is an excellent mechanism for degrading energy. Life is thus probable everywhere in the universe that has conditions that permit it to exist.

        Humans are the Earth’s most effective species at degrading energy. We dominate the planet because of this talent, and although in the process we are causing the extinction of many other species and probably causing our own collapse, it is interesting to observe that humans are doing what the universe wants. That is, burning all of the fossil energy as quickly as possible to convert it into low quality waste heat thus helping the universe to arrive at its destination as quickly as possible.

        If humans had not learned to exploit fossil energy then some other species would probably have evolved to exploit this energy gradient.

        It is probable that intelligent life has evolved many (but not too many) times in the universe but always collapses shortly after it learns how to exploit fossil energy. This may explain why we have not heard from any other intelligent life despite years of listening.

        Liked by 2 people

  11. I keep running into smart people who think “The Fourth Turning” by Strauss and Howe is a profoundly important book.

    I’ve avoided it because I said to myself anyone who thinks they can detect repeatable cycles in a one-time 200 year extravaganza powered by non-renewable energy is an idiot.

    After running into yet another person today speaking highly of it I decided to download the audiobook and see what all the hullaballoo is about.

    LOL, I found this comment on the download thread:


    August 12th, 2019

    Ooooo destiny!! prophecy!! Oooooo. Sounds real scientific….pseudo.

    Try Peter Turchin instead.

    I’ll read and let you know if Apneaman and my instincts are right.


    1. I read “The Fourth turning” and it’s complete bullshit. Just anecdotes from history used to construct a gigantic pattern (not a model) that they impose on the reality.

      Here is a simple thing – they use newspaper articles from the past to support their hypotheses.
      Imagine reading The New York Times in the eve of Iraq invasion and taking that as basis for historical fact.

      There is one thing that they mention which is important (they talk about it in the preface). Most historians in the past have noticed cycles and recurrences and there are some patterns to it. Modern so called historians ignore that and instead focus on “progress” or post-modernism.

      So read a historian that talks about cycles of civilizations and learn from it. Ignore this book.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! Sounds like I’ll be quitting the book soon after I start.

        I often say that if you don’t understand energy, you understand nothing. This applies to all disciplines including historians. Civilization grows and contracts with the energy it can capture.


      2. Bullshit that Biosphere Bannon raves about. Books with”Prophesy” in the title should be viewed with suspicion and contempt.


  12. Narrator: Solo retired man walking on secluded beach runs into solo retired woman walking in opposite direction. They strike up a conversation and check each other out.

    Her: Sure a lot of problems in the world. Him: Yes, it’s bad and getting worse.

    Him: I’ve visited this beach since 1962. It used to be vibrant with life but is mostly dead now. Her: Yes, it’s sad.

    Her: There’s too many people. Him: Yes, we need to get the population down.

    Him: Problem is there’s no one we can vote for that understands the problem. Her: I agree.

    Narrator: Conversation is getting warmer, possible friendship forming.

    Him: I figured out why we collectively don’t discuss overshoot and why most of us believe in life after death. There’s this new theory by Dr. Ajit Varki….

    Narrator: A curtain comes down over the woman’s eyes and the conversation turns chilly. Pleasantries are exchanged and the walkers continue on in opposite directions.

    Her to herself: Why do I always meet crazy guys?

    Him to himself: I like being single.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LMFAO Rob. Just classic. [I right clicked on both photographs and opened the large versions in new tabs. They’re really great, especially the driftwood.]


    2. Sad. I sometimes wonder if it would be better to be single and lonely or with someone and have all your thinking constantly repudiated in words and deeds. Each side of this divide has some advantages.


        1. Gazing at a half glass of Arbor Gold will make you happy. And in the immortal words of Tyrion Lannister, “A girlfriend would be nice…but I’m already in a serious relationship with alcohol and bad decisions.”

          Liked by 1 person

  13. The evidence in favor of Ivermectin is now so strong that we can draw conclusions about the competency and/or motives of our health officials if they do not act.

    My personal view is that health officials are not evil and not very bright.


    1. “not evil” – is that denial kicking in?
      If you have ever seen children piling up on someone weaker (laughing or disparaging or even physically attacking him/her) then you know that being evil can be as natural as being good.
      My assumption is that everyone with power will abuse it for pleasure or for gain. Yes, I am sometimes pleasantly surprised but less than 50%.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe. It seems implausible that health officials from hundreds of countries are all uniformly evil. I can’t speak for other countries, but I don’t think our Canadian health officials are evil.

        Low intelligence coupled with group think is more plausible. It’s mostly C students that run our governments.


        1. C students and lawyers. I (a biology undergrad with a chem minor) was on an elevator going to the CA bar exam and one of my fellow test (masochistic ordeal) takers remarked that she was a going to be a lawyer because she was bad at math. I thought she was pretty representative of what I observed in the legal profession-good with words, not so much with science and math. I too think that most of the advice on Covid is slanted by group think and the Pharma/Med establishment money/punishment system. Keeps 95% in line with the propaganda.


        2. I never buy arguments that disparage people’s intelligence. Yes, it might make you feel superior but why not give the people the benefit of the doubt?

          Idk about ivermectin so here is an example about reopening the schools. The quality of remote education is dismal and the kids are psychologically hurt by the lack of socializing. And yet the teachers union don’t want to go back to school. This while the head of the teachers union joins other famous figures (like Ca governor) in sending his kids to private school where they attend in person.

          Is it stupidity or a conspiracy? Or is it simply the fact that the teachers want to stay home and be paid for doing 2-3 hours of blabbing in front of a camera.

          And in US at least no medical authority ever cared about people. They just cared about money – look at all the scandals surrounding low-fat, sugar, corn syrup, cholesterol medicines, psychotropic drugs for kids etc. I honestly cannot find an example where they actually did something to help people.


          1. And I don’t buy arguments that assume people are mostly amoral and greedy. I see much more evidence in Canada of health officials with good intentions that simply don’t think or question anything.

            Perhaps it’s different in the US. The little I know about Fauci makes me suspect he is corrupt. Ditto for Ancel Keys.

            The few teachers I know here in B.C. feel very exposed because there’s lots of Covid in some of the schools, and because they don’t force kids to wear masks.


            1. Rob said: “And I don’t buy arguments that assume people are mostly amoral and greedy.”
              Did you notice you changed the subject? I was talking about people in position of power, you are talking about general population.
              Even in the general population, a large majority has no inner moral code, instead using cues from peers and leaders (I read this in Sapolski but if I understand correctly, it’s accepted as basic psychology).

              As for the teachers feeling exposed – how come the essential workers go to work every day and risk their lives (I am using your assumption here that Covid is dangerous), but teachers are cowards? Is the future of the kids so unimportant?
              Not to mention that all the studies made show that kids are basically never transmitting the disease.


              1. Please use one name on this site. It’s confusing having a conversation with someone that uses various names.

                Sorry, I didn’t intend to change the topic. I don’t think it changes my point because there’s not much difference between leaders and citizens.

                I don’t want to engage further on teachers. I just wanted to say that the one teacher I know is genuinely worried, is not lazy, and teaches every day in a small classroom with kids that regularly test positive.


            2. Dr Fauci & Dr Bonny may be the top Gov health officials, but they are still only advisors, not law makers. The politicians make the calls & they have plenty of others ‘advising’ them including special interest cunts people who don’t work for the government.


  14. HA HA science proves me right again – I am Mighty!

    My nieces listen to all that shite. I kinda feel sorry for them. They don’ t know what they’re missing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I basically agree, Apneaman. There are, however, exceptions, such as Radiohead, whose eight consecutive albums from “The Bends” through “A Moon Shaped Pool” (although “The King of Limbs” is relatively weak) are consistently outstanding in regards to harmonic complexity and timbral diversity (not to mention other wonderful sonic and musical qualities).

      Another exception is the band Tortoise, who I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live in a small club here in Omaha, and who are simply fantastic (especially “TNT”):


      1. Sure there are exceptions, but how do you find them without having to listen to the radio or following music critics? I don’t know.

        How did you hear about Radiohead?

        Sometimes I stumble across talented musicians on youtube and such. People that don’t fit the music industry mould. Some of them can make a living by getting exposure on youtube they would otherwise not get.

        Stumbled across this talented lady a couple years back.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Tim Watkins is good today. I like his explanation for why economic growth is so sensitive to the price of energy.

    Why the global economy should have faltered in response to a relatively small decrease in the surplus energy available is to do with the massive levels of complexity that surplus energy has been used to build and support. This is not immediately obvious to conventional economists, journalists and political decision-makers; who tend to regard energy as just another cheap input to production. Indeed, even at the current $60 or so per barrel, oil appears so cheap as to be inconsequential – of less value – in currency terms – than a bottle of coke.

    It is what a barrel of oil – or ton of coal, BTU of gas or KWh of electricity – can do for you which is dangerously overlooked in the mainstream. As I explained in my latest book, Why Don’t Lions Chase Mice?:

    “Prior to the 2020 SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, a barrel of oil was trading on world markets for around £48 ($60) per barrel. Yet that barrel of oil provided the equivalent energy output to eleven years of human work. Even at the Minimum Wage, that eleven years of work (eight hours a day, five days a week, 48 weeks per year) would cost £184,166. At the average wage it would cost £334,620…

    “As a result of the massive difference between the price of extracting and refining fossil fuels and the value which they generate, only a tiny change in the price is required to produce a major change in profitability. At the 2019 price of £48… for every pound spent on energy, we can generate up to £6,980 in return. If – in ordinary conditions – the price were to fall to, say, £20 per barrel – roughly the price in the boom years 1953-1973 – each pound spent on oil could generate £16,750; one reason why the post-war economy boomed while today’s economy struggles to grow at all. In the event that the price increased to £80 per barrel or more – as happened in 2008 – then each pound spent on oil returns £4,187.50 or less – just a quarter of the returns made during the post-war boom.”

    That is, tiny fluctuations in the price of energy – a reflection of its energy cost – have a dramatic impact on the amount of value we derive from it. And it is for this reason that exchanging low-density, low-EROI energy sources – wind, solar, tidal, etc. – for high-density fossil fuels cannot save us. Their energy cost is too high and the surplus energy – and thus economic value – they provide is far too low.

    The Apollo 13 crew ultimately survived because the mission controllers were able to ruthlessly dispense with all non-essential calls on finite energy. In addition, they were able to cannibalise what remained of the spacecraft to maintain minimal life support. In other words, they started with the resources available to them, and then worked out what amount of life support these would allow. There was no room in that calculation for dreams about yet-to-be-invented technologies riding to the rescue. It was a zero sum game.

    Although they do not realise it, today’s economists, politicians and corporate CEOs face a similar – although bigger and far more complex – problem. While the Apollo 13 crew needed to power up the stricken command and re-entry modules, we need to power down the globalised economy of spaceship Earth. Our planetary life support systems too, are being undermined by our collective waste and our fast-depleting surplus energy requires a dramatic reduction in discretionary consumption and – in the developed states at least – some reassessment of what is and what is not truly essential.

    Sadly, in practice those hard decisions will never be taken simply because they are too unpopular at a time when we have unconscionable levels of inequality and appear to have a growing economy. Instead, we find ourselves increasingly engaged in a blame game in which the supporters of the blue political team blame everything on the red team and vice versa. If we – and our craven political class – had been in charge of the Apollo 13 mission, I fear we would have considered the problem too arduous to solve. Instead, most likely we would have divided our time between dreaming about the arrival of impossible new energy sources, and casting the blame for our predicament onto someone else. Meanwhile, our three ill-fated astronauts would have quietly expired as they drifted off into infinite space… paving the way for where all of humanity will surely follow.


    1. Not sure about this analogy. There were THREE astronauts on the Apollo 13 crew. Similar age, similar background. Supported by brilliant, problem solving minds at Mission Control (again similar ages, similar backgrounds) pursing ONE goal, solving ONE multi-component problem operating within a tightly controlled time-frame. How is that anything like the global economy/energy market supporting 7.9 billion people, 195 independent sovereign nations vis-à-vis decision making?


  16. This kid rocks.

    Climate Activist Spends 589 Days And Counting Picking Up Litter In Calif. Park

    “After spending 589 consecutive days picking up litter at one of Los Angeles County’s most popular hiking spots, 20-year-old Edgar McGregor says the park is clean of municipal waste. But his job is far from over.

    The climate activist, who says he has autism, made the trip to Eaton Canyon — part of the Angeles National Forest in southern California — throughout the pandemic and in extreme weather, picking up litter left behind by visitors and posting his progress on social media.

    He announced on Friday that there was no more trash to be found, but that he plans to return several times a week for maintenance while also turning his attention to new parks.”

    I think of all the enviro advocates jabbering away online or jetting off to the next, mean nothing, conference then compare them to Edgar and ask myself who has the mental health disorder?

    You go Edgar!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Twilight of the American empire

    After years of liberal imperialism, the US has finally overstretched itself

    “…China’s rise “suggests that we can no longer claim with confidence that economic prosperity and political freedoms can only go hand in hand”.

    “The pursuit of global hegemony since the end of the Cold War has seen the United States overstretch itself, taken on unsustainable levels of debt to fund its military expansion, eroded the country’s image abroad, militarised policing at home, enabled the rise of China and fostered disillusionment and political radicalism in America.”

    “How does this end for America? Biden and the presidents after him will be forced to make a hard choice: whether to retrench to a smaller and more manageable empire, or to risk a far greater and more dramatic collapse in defence of global hegemony.”

    Not one maleducated expert predicted a free market communist ruled China. It’s not supposed to happen – it’s unnatural!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The interview I posted above with Brent Johnson provides an intelligent counter argument for why the US will stay on top until it collapses along with everyone else. I tend to agree with Johnson. If you had to hold your savings in one of yuan, euros, or $US, which would you choose? Most global citizens dislike US behavior but they’d still pick $US.


            1. If you expect high inflation then gold is one of the best protections. Most people today expect high inflation. My guess is they’re wrong and we’ll have a deflationary crash first. Then at a date later, after politicians have responded with helicopter money, we’ll have high inflation.


  18. Featured in Aeon online magazine (video) is that German theoretical physicist Rob’s so sweet on.

    Sabine Hossenfelder: searching for beauty in mathematics

    Against ‘beauty’ in science – how striving for elegance stifles progress

    That there is an inherent ‘beauty’ and ‘elegance’ to the laws of nature is a view that permeates the field of physics. But, according to the German theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder, the notion that the further you peer into reality, the easier the equation gets, has no basis in reality. Indeed, since the mid-20th-century, the maths of physics has become increasingly knotty, even as many physicists have continued to search for a path back to simplicity. In this interview with Robert Lawrence Kuhn for the PBS series Closer to Truth, Hossenfelder makes the case that this fixation on beauty isn’t just misguided – it’s stifling scientific progress.


    1. I’ve read her book twice and will no doubt go back a third or fourth time. The book is dense and hard to fully understand but it’s very satisfying letting her summary of the pinnacle of human intellectual accomplishment wash over you.


  19. Michael Dowd has produced a new video on overshoot. I left the following comment in YouTube.

    Well done Michael! Another excellent survey of human overshoot.

    Your talk points to hundreds of the best resources available on overshoot. I observed that I was the only resource you said you did not completely agree with.

    Many people share your discomfort.

    I suspect the discomfort is evidence that the implications of Dr. Ajit Varki’s MORT theory are both profound and true.

    P.S. I liked your reminder to thank people that have been kind or helpful. I’m going to work on this.


  20. Here’s another amazing example of reality denial.

    I’ve been recently listening to a bunch of smart people passionately debate the pros and cons of bitcoin.

    Not one person, not a single one, discussed what I think is the main risk they should be considering.

    When the financial system crashes, as it must eventually, the grids in many countries will become unreliable.

    When people become aware that they cannot depend on the internet 24/7, the value of bitcoin will trend to zero, exactly when they need the savings they’ve stored in bitcoin.


  21. Everything’s becoming dumbed down.

    Modern Marvels is the best ever TV series on engineering and technology. It began in 1995, produced about 650 episodes of which I have about 400 in my library, and then quit about 2010.

    I’m seeing a few new 2021 episodes on cable now. They are complete crap produced by idiots for idiots. The old episodes were dense with well researched information.


    1. When we talk TV shows, did you watch the new Adam Curtis ‘Can’t get you out of my head’ yet? While I don’t think will top ‘The Century of the Self’ I look forward to it.


      1. I got into it about an hour and quit. Curtis was making a few interesting points but they were too infrequent to spend another 7 hours. I’ll probably try it again in the future. Let us know what you thought of it.


    1. Wow, first time I’ve listened to Rogan. This was a good interview. Too bad Metzl wasn’t able to get traction a year ago. This is the same stuff that Chris Martenson was saying a year ago. Basically, his take was that there are all sorts of players with conflicts of interest (WHO, some scientists), who we should be skeptical about what they say vis-a-vis, the origin. He always said to go with the science and almost all the time linked to the journal articles.
      Great video. Thanks.


      1. Rogan has the most popular podcast on the planet. He recently moved from YouTube to Spotify for a gazillion dollars. It’s usually very good when he’s not talking about aliens and MMA.


  22. This guy seems to have some legitimate concerns about our vaccine policy. I was reluctant to post this because there are so many whack jobs in this space but I listened to it 3 times and I think he might be legit.

    He’s not questioning the safety or effectiveness of the vaccines. He’s saying that vaccines are the wrong weapon for our enemy, and may create new more serious problems.

    Anyone know more about this than me?

    Geert Vanden Bossche PhD, is an internationally recognised vaccine developer having worked as the head of the Vaccine Development Office at the German Centre for Infection Research.

    Coordinated Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation’s Ebola Vaccine Program and contributed to the implementation of an integrated vaccine work plan in collaboration with Global Health Partners (WHO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CDC, UNICEF), regulators (FDA) and vaccine manufacturers to enable timely deployment or stockpiling of Ebola vaccine candidates.

    Highlighting the principle of using a prophylactic vaccine in the midst of a pandemic. Likely to create more more viral variants in the process.

    Sharing his perspective on mass vaccination in COVID-19.


  23. Will more of what helped get us into this mess get us out? Well here’s a mess that all our chemicals got us into that should help with the over population problem.

    Been reading about this for a decade or so and like so many other problems we’ve created with our technology the rate seems to be speeding up. It has created problems for other species as well. We keep shooting ourselves in the foot or in this case the testicles.


    1. Definitely something big going on. Peanut allergies and learning disorders and obesity were uncommon when I was a child in elementary school.

      I suspect glyphosate is one piece of the puzzle. The article doesn’t mention it but farming practices have changed in the last 10 years. They now use glyphosate to desiccate some grain crops right before they’re harvested. This increases the yield a little and reduces weather risk for the farmer, but it means that some grains are sprayed right before they go into the food chain. Tests show that the one of the worst sources of glyphosate is a favorite food moms give to their babies: Cheerios. I only eat organic oats now.

      Another irony that the article missed is that it is probably safer to eat GMO grains because the most common function of GMO is glyphosate resistance which means you can’t desiccate GMO crops with glyphosate right before harvest.

      They do use glyphosate on GMO crops early in the growth cycle to suppress weeds until the crops get big enough to outcompete the weeds, which is a much safer way to use glyphosate.


      1. Call me evil, but this doesn’t make me horrified.
        50% children less?? 50% less beings. That would mean 50% less people to suffer. And each year they would suffer more and more.
        So no, this is not a bad news 🙂 .


    1. I submit to you Rob, a worthy addition to your sidebar quotes. On…da-dum-da-dum…..Denial. Our favorite topic. From Dan Brooks: Parasitologist, evolutionary biologist, author, winner of numerous academic awards.

      “The Neocortex lets us imagine our own mortality; the brain stem keeps us from believing it.”


      1. Thanks, I’ll add it after I understand it. Why does he think the mechanism for blocking unpleasant realities exists in the brain stem? Or this just a metaphor for primitive instinct?


        1. Yes, I’d say its a metaphor for instinct. Phylogenetically older systems (fish and reptile brain) are still online, running scripts and sub-routines in the basement. And those scripts are powerful. Old organs like the amygdala for instance, are so cued in to survival that in times of stress (and life is one big stress test) they override more recent brain architecture concerned with higher thinking. Maybe he also saying the brain stem is so ancient, so fundamental, so embedded, that it takes precedence over the neo-cortex. Neuters it, kicks its ass. So ultimately the old brain stem takes precedence, we embrace optimism and ignore unpleasant realities/threats that are not directly in our face. No near term adaptive advantage to do otherwise.


          1. That’s consistent with Varki’s speculation that denial of unpleasant realities could have been implemented by a tweak to the fear suppression module that mammals engage when they have to fight.

            I speculate that whatever the mechanism, it needs to be fairly simple for evolution to implement because behaviorally modern humans emerged in a very short period about 1-200,000 thousand years ago.

            Quote added to the sidebar.


  24. A true Canadian patriot

    Conspiracy Theorist Who Stormed Trudeau’s Property Sentenced to Six Years

    Corey Hurren posted about Event 201—a conspiracy that posits the COVID-19 pandemic was planned—shortly before storming the property the Prime Minister lives on with his family.

    “The man who drove his truck through the gates of Rideau Hall—where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lives with his family—and had an armed standoff with police was sentenced to six years today.

    Corey Hurren, a 46-year-old Canadian Armed Forces reservist, posted conspiracy content on social media shortly before ramming the gates. He pleaded guilty to seven firearms charges in February and mischief. When he was arrested, he was armed with three long guns, including a semi-automatic rifle, and had said that he was prepared to die during the standoff with police. Hurren said he was hoping to “speak” to Trudeau when he stormed the property. The prime minister nor his family were at Rideau Hall during the time of his attack. ”

    Hey Corey……


  25. Raúl Ilargi Meijer from the Automatic earth had a copy of the open letter by a virologist Geert Vanden Bossche. It is a little easier to follow without the accent in the video.

    Tom Lewis also has a good one today from The Daily Impact from the latest self driving miracle the Tesla.


  26. Here is the open letter by Geert Bossche pasted in full.

    Geert Vanden Bossche, DMV, PhD, independent virologist and vaccine expert, formerly employed at GAVI and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. To all authorities, scientists and experts around the world, to whom this concerns: the entire world population.

    I am all but an anti-vaxxer. As a scientist I do not usually appeal to any platform of this kind to make a stand on vaccine-related topics. As a dedicated virologist and vaccine expert I only make an exception when health authorities allow vaccines to be administered in ways that threaten public health, most certainly when scientific evidence is being ignored. The present extremely critical situation forces me to spread this emergency call. As the unprecedented extent of human intervention in the Covid-19 pandemic is now at risk of resulting in a global catastrophe without equal, this call cannot sound loudly and strongly enough.

    As stated, I am not against vaccination. On the contrary, I can assure you that each of the current vaccines have been designed, developed and manufactured by brilliant and competent scientists. However, this type of prophylactic vaccines are completely inappropriate, and even highly dangerous, when used in mass vaccination campaigns during a viral pandemic. Vaccinologists, scientists and clinicians are blinded by the positive short-term effects in individual patients, but don’t seem to bother about the disastrous consequences for global health. Unless I am scientifically proven wrong, it is difficult to understand how current human interventions will prevent circulating variants from turning into a wild monster.

    Racing against the clock, I am completing my scientific manuscript, the publication of which is, unfortunately, likely to come too late given the ever increasing threat from rapidly spreading, highly infectious variants. This is why I decided to already post a summary of my findings as well as my keynote speech at the recent Vaccine Summit in Ohio on LinkedIn. Last Monday, I provided international health organizations, including the WHO, with my analysis of the current pandemic as based on scientifically informed insights in the immune biology of Covid-19. Given the level of emergency, I urged them to consider my concerns and to initiate a debate on the detrimental consequences of further ‘viral immune escape’. For those who are no experts in this field, I am attaching below a more accessible and comprehensible version of the science behind this insidious phenomenon.

    While there is no time to spare, I have not received any feedback thus far. Experts and politicians have remained silent while obviously still eager to talk about relaxing infection prevention rules and ‘springtime freedom’. My statements are based on nothing else but science. They shall only be contradicted by science. While one can barely make any incorrect scientific statements without being criticized by peers, it seems like the elite of scientists who are currently advising our world leaders prefer to stay silent. Sufficient scientific evidence has been brought to the table.

    Unfortunately, it remains untouched by those who have the power to act. How long can one ignore the problem when there is at present massive evidence that viral immune escape is now threatening humanity? We can hardly say we didn’t know – or were not warned. In this agonizing letter I put all of my reputation and credibility at stake. I expect from you, guardians of mankind, at least the same. It is of utmost urgency. Do open the debate. By all means: turn the tide!

    The key question is: why does nobody seem to bother about viral immune escape? Let me try to explain this by means of a more easily understood phenomenon: Antimicrobial resistance. One can easily extrapolate this scourge to resistance to our self-made ‘antiviral antibiotics’. Indeed, antibodies (Abs) produced by our own immune system can be considered self-made antiviral antibiotics, regardless of whether they are part of our innate immune system (so-called ‘natural’ Abs’) or elicited in response to specific pathogens (resulting in so-called ‘acquired’ Abs). Natural Abs are not germ-specific whereas acquired Abs are specifically directed at the invading pathogen. At birth, our innate immune system is ‘unexperienced’ but well-established. It protects us from a multitude of pathogens, thereby preventing these pathogens from causing disease. As the innate immune system cannot remember the pathogens it encountered (innate immunity has no so-called ‘immunological memory’), we can only continue to rely on it provided we keep it ‘trained’ well enough. Training is achieved by regular exposure to a myriad of environmental agents, including pathogens.

    However, as we age, we will increasingly face situations where our innate immunity (often called ‘the first line of immune defense’) is not strong enough to halt the pathogen at the portal of entry (mostly mucosal barriers like respiratory or intestinal epithelia). When this happens, the immune system has to rely on more specialized effectors of our immune system (i.e., antigen-specific Abs and T cells) to fight the pathogen. So, as we grow up, we increasingly mount pathogen-specific immunity, including highly specific Abs. As those have stronger affinity for the pathogen (e.g., virus) and can reach high concentrations, they can quite easily outcompete our natural Abs for binding to the pathogen/virus. It is precisely this type of highly specific, high affinity Abs that current Covid-19 vaccines are inducing. Of course, the noble purpose of these Abs is to protect us against Covid-19. So, why then should there be a major concern using these vaccines to fight Covid-19? Well, similar to the rules applying to classical antimicrobial antibiotics, it is paramount that our self-made ‘antiviral antibiotics’ are made available in sufficient concentration and are tailored at the specific features of our enemy.

    This is why in case of bacterial disease it is critical to not only choose the right type of antibiotic (based on the results from an antibiogram) but to also take the antibiotic for long enough (according to the prescription). Failure to comply with these requirements is at risk of granting microbes a chance to survive and hence, may cause the disease to flare up. A very similar mechanism may also apply to viruses, especially to viruses that can easily and rapidly mutate (which is, for example, the case with Coronaviruses); when the pressure exerted by the army’s (read: population’s) immune defense starts to threaten viral replication and transmission, the virus will take on another coat so that it can no longer be easily recognized and, therefore, attacked by the host immune system. The virus is now able to escape immunity (so-called: ‘immune escape’). However, the virus can only rely on this strategy provided it still has room enough to replicate.

    Viruses, in contrast to the majority of bacteria, must rely on living host cells to replicate. This is why the occurrence of ‘escape mutants’ isn’t too worrisome as long as the likelihood for these variants to rapidly find another host is quite remote. However, that’s not particularly the case during a viral pandemic! During a pandemic, the virus is spreading all over the globe with many subjects shedding and transmitting the virus (even including asymptomatic ‘carriers’). The higher the viral load, the higher the likelihood for the virus to bump into subjects who haven’t been infected yet or who were infected but didn’t develop symptoms. Unless they are sufficiently protected by their innate immune defense (through natural Abs), they will catch Covid-19 disease as they cannot rely on other, i.e., acquired Abs. It has been extensively reported, indeed, that the increase in S (spike)-specific Abs in asymptomatically infected people is rather limited and only short-lived.

    Furthermore, these Abs have not achieved full maturity. The combination of viral infection on a background of suboptimal Ab maturity and concentration enables the virus to select mutations allowing it to escape the immune pressure. The selection of those mutations preferably occurs in the S protein as this is the viral protein that is responsible for viral infectiousness. As the selected mutations endow the virus with increased infectious capacity, it now becomes much easier for the virus to cause severe disease in infected subjects. The more people develop symptomatic disease, the better the virus can secure its propagation and perpetuation (people who get severe disease will shed more virus and for a longer period of time than asymptomatically infected subjects do). Unfortunately enough, the short-lived rise in S-specific Abs does, however, suffice to bypass people’s innate/natural Ab. Those are put out of business as their affinity for S is lower than the affinity of S-specific Abs.

    This is to say that with an increasing rate of infection in the population, the number of subjects who get infected while experiencing a momentary increase in S-specific Abs will steadily increase. Consequently, the number of subjects who get infected while experiencing a momentary decrease in their innate immunity will increase. As a result, a steadily increasing number of subjects will become more susceptible to getting severe disease instead of showing only mild symptoms (i.e., limited to the upper respiratory tract) or no symptoms at all. During a pandemic, especially youngsters will be affected by this evolution as their natural Abs are not yet largely suppressed by a panoply of ‘acquired’, antigen-specific Abs.

    Natural Abs, and natural immunity in general, play a critical role in protecting us from pathogens as they constitute our first line of immune defense. In contrast to acquired immunity, innate immune responses protect against a large spectrum of pathogens (so don’t compromise or sacrifice your innate immune defense!). Because natural Abs and innate immune cells recognize a diversified spectrum of foreign (i.e., non-self) agents (only some of which have pathogenic potential), it’s important, indeed, to keep it sufficiently exposed to environmental challenges. By keeping the innate immune system (which, unfortunately, has no memory!) TRAINED, we can much more easily resist germs which have real pathogenic potential. It has, for example, been reported and scientifically proven that exposure to other, quite harmless Coronaviruses causing a ‘common cold ’ can provide protection, although short-lived, against Covid-19 and its loyal henchmen (i.e., the more infectious variants).

    Suppression of innate immunity, especially in the younger age groups, can, therefore, become very problematic. There can be no doubt that lack of exposure due to stringent containment measures implemented as of the beginning of the pandemic has not been beneficial to keeping people’s innate immune system well trained. As if this was not already heavily compromising innate immune defense in this population segment, there comes yet another force into play that will dramatically enhance morbidity and mortality rates in the younger age groups: MASS VACCINATION of the ELDERLY. The more extensively the later age group will be vaccinated and hence, protected, the more the virus is forced to continue causing disease in younger age groups. This is only going to be possible provided it escapes to the S-specific Abs that are momentarily raised in previously asymptomatically infected subjects. If the virus manages to do so, it can benefit from the (momentarily) suppressed innate immunity, thereby causing disease in an increasing number of these subjects and ensuring its own propagation. Selecting targeted mutations in the S protein is, therefore, the way to go in order for the virus to enhance its infectiousness in candidates that are prone to getting the disease because of a transient weakness of their innate immune defense.

    But in the meantime, we’re also facing a huge problem in vaccinated people as they’re now more and more confronted with infectious variants displaying a type of S protein that is increasingly different from the S edition comprised with the vaccine (the later edition originates from the original, much less infectious strain at the beginning of the pandemic). The more variants become infectious (i.e., as a result of blocking access of the virus to the vaccinated segment of the population), the less vaccinal Abs will protect. Already now, lack of protection is leading to viral shedding and transmission in vaccine recipients who are exposed to these more infectious strains (which, by the way, increasingly dominate the field). This is how we are currently turning vaccinees into asymptomatic carriers shedding infectious variants.

    At some point, in a likely very near future, it’s going to become more profitable (in term of ‘return on selection investment’) for the virus to just add another few mutations (maybe just one or two) to the S protein of viral variants (already endowed with multiple mutations enhancing infectiousness) in an attempt to further strengthen its binding to the receptor (ACE-2) expressed on the surface of permissive epithelial cells. This will now allow the new variant to outcompete vaccinal Abs for binding to the ACE receptor. This is to say that at this stage, it would only take very few additional targeted mutations within the viral receptor-binding domain to fully resist S-specific anti-Covid-19 Abs, regardless whether the latter are elicited by the vaccine or by natural infection. At that stage, the virus will, indeed, have managed to gain access to a huge reservoir of subjects who have now become highly susceptible to disease as their S-specific Abs have now become useless in terms of protection but still manage to provide for long-lived suppression of their innate immunity (i.e., natural infection, and especially vaccination, elicit relatively long-lived specific Ab titers). The susceptible reservoir comprises both, vaccinated people and those who’re left with sufficient S-specific Abs due to previous Covid-19 disease).

    So, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED for Covid-19 but a DISASTROUS SITUATION for all vaccinated subjects and Covid-19 seropositive people as they’ve now lost both, their acquired and innate immune defense against Covid-19 (while highly infectious strains are circulating!). That’s “one small step for the virus, one giant catastrophe for mankind”, which is to say that we’ll have whipped up the virus in the younger population up to a level that it now takes little effort for Covid-19 to transform into a highly infectious virus that completely ignores both the innate arm of our immune system as well as the adaptive/acquired one (regardless of whether the acquired Abs resulted from vaccination or natural infection). The effort for the virus is now becoming even more negligible given that many vaccine recipients are now exposed to highly infectious viral variants while having received only a single shot of the vaccine.

    Hence, they are endowed with Abs that have not yet acquired optimal functionality. There is no need to explain that this is just going to further enhance immune escape. Basically, we’ll very soon be confronted with a super-infectious virus that completely resists our most precious defense mechanism: The human immune system. From all of the above, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to imagine how the consequences of the extensive and erroneous human intervention in this pandemic are not going to wipe out large parts of our human population. One could only think of very few other strategies to achieve the same level of efficiency in turning a relatively harmless virus into a bioweapon of mass destruction. It’s certainly also worth mentioning that mutations in the S protein (i.e., exactly the same protein that is subject to selection of escape mutations) are known to enable Coronaviruses to cross species barriers.

    This is to say that the risk that vaccine-mediated immune escape could allow the virus to jump to other animal species, especially industrial livestock (e.g., pig and poultry farms), is not negligible. These species are already known to host several different Coronaviruses and are usually housed in farms with high stocking density. Similar to the situation with influenza virus, these species could then serve as an additional reservoir for SARS-COVID-2 virus. As pathogens have co-evolved with the host immune system, natural pandemics of acute self-limiting viral infections have been shaped such as to take a toll on human lives that is not higher than strictly required. Due to human intervention, the course of this pandemic has been thoroughly disturbed as of the very beginning. Widespread and stringent infection prevention measures combined with mass vaccination campaigns using inadequate vaccines will undoubtedly lead to a situation where the pandemic is getting increasingly ‘out of control’. Paradoxically, the only intervention that could offer a perspective to end this pandemic (other than to let it run its disastrous course) is …VACCINATION.

    Of course, the type of vaccines to be used would be completely different of conventional vaccines in that they’re not inducing the usual suspects, i.e., B and T cells, but NK (Natural Killer) cells. There is, indeed, compelling scientific evidence that these cells play a key role in facilitating complete elimination of Covid-19 at an early stage of infection in asymptomatically infected subjects. NK cells are part of the cellular arm of our innate immune system and, like natural Abs, they are capable of recognizing and attacking a broad and diversified spectrum of pathogenic agents. There is a sound scientific rationale to assume that it is possible to ‘prime’ NK cells in ways for them to recognize and kill Coronaviruses at large (include all their variants) at an early stage of infection. NK cells have increasingly been described to be endowed with the capacity to acquire immunological memory. By educating these cells in ways that enable them to durably recognize and target Coronavirus-infected cells, our immune system could be perfectly armed for a targeted attack to the universe of Coronaviruses prior to exposure. As NK cell-based immune defense provides sterilizing immunity and allows for broad spectrum and fast protection, it is reasonable to assume that harnessing our innate immune cells is going to be the only type of human intervention left to halt the dangerous spread of highly infectious Covid-19 variants.

    If we, human beings, are committed to perpetuating our species, we have no choice left but to eradicate these highly infectious viral variants. This will, indeed, require large vaccination campaigns. However, NK cell-based vaccines will primarily enable our natural immunity to be better prepared (memory!) and to induce herd immunity (which is exactly the opposite of what current Covid-19 vaccines do as those increasingly turn vaccine recipients into asymptomatic carriers who are shedding virus). So, there is not one second left for gears to be switched and to replace the current killer vaccines by life-saving vaccines. I am appealing to the WHO and all stakeholders involved, no mater their conviction, to immediately declare such action as THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY OF INTERNATIONAL CONCERN.

    Author: Geert Vanden Bossche, DVM, PhD (March 6, 2021)


    1. This is an important statement. Thanks for posting it, Rob.

      “Paradoxically, the only intervention that could offer a perspective to end this pandemic (other than to let it run its disastrous course) is …VACCINATION.” Precisely. I very much like his idea to use NK cell-based vaccines as a potential solution (or part of the solution set) to this viral pandemic.

      I disagree with Geert that SARS-CoV-2 [not SARS-COVID-2, as Geert stated] is “a relatively harmless virus”, particularly for those suffering from extended/long COVID, and other long-term health consequences we’re not even aware of yet.

      It will be exceptionally interesting (terrifying?) to see if Geert’s prediction (of disastrous public health consequences from the broad application of current vaccines) does or doesn’t play out.


  27. How My People Became the World’s Greatest Idiots

    Why America and Britain are Global Laughingstocks

    “Sorry. I’m going to apologise up front, because I have to say something ugly. But necessary. If I don’t say it, I feel like my head’s going to explode.

    My people, Anglo-Americans, have become the world’s and this age’s most spectacular, gigantic, colossal, hateful, preening, grinning, violent idiots. My people are the great, historic idiots of now. They’re idiots to an incredible degree: cheering each other on all the way to the cliff’s edge, and then jumping, hand-in-hand into the abyss. And then roaring in delight all the way down the abyss. By and large, my people don’t know the most basic thing about the modern world, they don’t want to know why it matters, and they don’t even want to know why they don’t know it. Do you know what that blinding level of wilful ignorance makes a person? You guessed it, an idiot.”

    I’m going to put this one to you a little bit more formally. If we know — empirically, factually — that the European and Canadian way works much, much better than the Anglo-American way, what are we really saying? Let’s say it the way pundits would — because it will reveal a truth they never tell you, at least in Anglo-American culture, which is my people are so painfully, tragically dumb.

    Social democracy works. “Conservatism” doesn’t. What unites Britain and America? They are the world’s two most conservative rich countries —and outside maybe Iran and Pakistan, some of the most conservative now. It’s not some kind of cosmic coincidence that they’ve plunged into collapse simultaneously. It tells us that “conservatism” is the modern world’s biggest failure.

    If Anglo-American conservatives were right, then Europe and Canada would be the failed states, and America and Britain the successful, happy, wealthy societies. Of course, the precise opposite is true.

    Liked by 1 person

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