Crash Course Crash: On Making a Living from Overshoot Education

Chris Martenson yesterday unveiled what has been going on behind the scenes at Peak Prosperity.

I salute Martenson’s honesty for explaining how difficult it has been to make a living from overshoot education.

As an aside, I don’t think he’s aware of it, but the reason it’s so hard to teach overshoot is explained by Varki’s MORT theory.

It seems there were 3 key problems at Peak Prosperity:

  • insufficient revenue from selling overshoot education;
  • one partner who wanted to focus on science based journalism, and one partner who wanted to focus on how to profit from the coming economic collapse;
  • a threat to revenue from YouTube’s censorship of Martenson’s excellent science based COVID-19 journalism.

Martenson shared something that troubles me (even more than I already was) about out future:

I created the Crash Course in 2008 because it didn’t exist. I’m proud of all that the Crash Course has accomplished – without it Peak Prosperity would never have come into being – and while it represents some of the best work of my life (so far), if it didn’t already exist I would not invest the time to create the Crash Course today.

Why not? Because the world has changed and I don’t think it would be even slightly receptive to that material now. The Crash Course had a huge impact in 2008. My assessment is that today it would fall flat and gain little traction. The programming against critical thinking and independent thought is too pervasive and successful. In brief, from my perspective, the world has gone a bit mad. It’s lost its grip on reality.

In case you aren’t aware of it, Martenson’s Crash Course is the best introduction to our overshoot predicament available anywhere. It was instrumental on my personal journey to awareness, and I thank Martenson for his excellent work.

There are two dimensions to his statement that trouble me.

First, Martenson is saying that citizens today are less interested in understanding reality than they were 10 years ago. It’s a concern because to reduce future suffering we need the overshoot awareness trend to be increasing rather than decreasing. The more we grow our population, deplete critical resources, degrade ecosystems, and inflate our debt bubble, the greater the eventual suffering we will experience. By denying an unpleasant reality we are making the eventual reality more unpleasant.

Although I think I understand the underlying reason for this trend, which is that our genetic tendency to deny reality is proportional to the unpleasantness of the reality, and our predicament today is much much worse than it was 10 years ago, it still deeply troubles me.

Second, Martenson is saying that if he were to start Peak Prosperity today he would not invest the time to create the Crash Course because insufficient people would pay for it.

Martenson is one of only two individuals out of eight billion (the other being Nate Hagens) that has taken the time to create a high quality video course on everything every citizen should understand to be a good citizen.

And he says he wouldn’t do it again because no one would watch it.

What else is there to say than WASF.

164 thoughts on “Crash Course Crash: On Making a Living from Overshoot Education”

  1. Rob,
    I read Martenson’s piece early this morning and I agree with you fully. I had Peak Prosperity on my blog roll from a few years ago and occasionally went there. When Chris started his covid-19 coverage early last year I started going there every day (I even became a paying member for about 6 months). He was/is honest and followed the science more than anyone (except this site) I was aware of. Last summer when he stopped his daily covid coverage I stopped reading the site every day. Their economic analysis is ok, but trying to figure out how to profit from collapse and “come out ahead” seems futile to me. Collapse is surly coming but how in detail is to complex to profit from – and why? Profit from any collapse seems short lived and a futile exercise because ultimately we are probably all going to be farmers, hunter-gatherers or dead. Those trying to game collapse are truly in denial. The only path ahead for civilization would have to be rapid population reduction along with acceptance of a greatly constrained level of consumption. IMHO.


  2. This reminds me of the creator of this short film.

    If I remember correctly he discovered peak oil and various other overshoot topics and decided to quit his job and work on this single movie to wake people up. Published in 2012, while now at almost a million views (oh wow) people didn’t care at all back then and he was seriously disillusioned.

    You said “By denying an unpleasant reality we are making the eventual reality more unpleasant.”, it’s a hen or egg problem to me. Without denying an unpleasant reality we wouldn’t be in the situation in the first place. How many serious people already warned about overshoot issues? “Sorrow is knowledge, those that know the most must mourn the deepest, the tree of knowledge is not the tree of life.” Nietzsche pits this against Horace Odes 2.11: an invitation to lie down under a tree.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wrote about that excellent documentary and the producer’s disappointment in its effect.

      By Dermot O’Conner: There’s No Tomorrow

      I get what you’re saying about the inevitability of our predicament. On the other hand, there are hundreds of millions of concerned people around the world trying to improve our future through environmental activism, vegetarianism, recycling, electric cars, tiny homes, etc. etc.

      The problem is almost none of these people understand what’s going on. If we could somehow redirect their energy in a more useful direction, like advocating for population reduction policies, then we might have a chance at reducing future suffering.

      You don’t need a majority to influence policy, just a committed minority, like the women who were fed up with drunk husbands and pushed through prohibition despite the fact that the majority wanted to drink.


    2. Rob, I am one of those up to now, anonymous lurkers that visits your site regularly, but never quite feels the need to add to what’s generally a well-informed, articulate comment section. I’ve also for the most part, agree with the tone and tenor of your posts, in particular because you have such a thorough grasp of the energy/natural resources issue. In this regard, I consider your site one of best on the web. Over the past decade, we have lost many excellent contributors to the topic of planetary overshoot and I predict we will continue on this trajectory until the lights finally go out. So, for what its worth, keep up the good fight and rest assured that there is a small, but dedicated cadre of well-informed individuals that NEED a place to go where there is excellent commentary minus the hidden or overt agendas. Any attempt to deliver a candid, unvarnished cataloguing of our Post Modern Industrial Society Collapse and all of its trappings, with the intent of making it a commercially viable endeavour, is a fool’s errand. Not only are people in denial, but they now occupy an inescapable state of crippling complacency.

      I wouldn’t have interrupted the comment section without attempting to add something meaningful to the conversation. In this regard, I suggest a visit to this site;

      Here you will find a number of excellent videos with nuanced insights and recommendations. In addition, there are excellent articles which you can access on the website. The headers on the video page will direct you to them. I have been following this site for 3 years and it has evolved as circumstances changed. A good thing. I suggest watching the videos in sequence because I believe each one builds on the other. I am sure it was the intent. The creator and presenter, Lord Hugh, is an acquired taste, but don’t be fooled, he is a deeply informed polymath with an engineering background. Right up your alley Rob, I would assume.



      1. Thanks for popping your head up. It’s nice to know I’m not talking to myself.

        Not only are people in denial, but they now occupy an inescapable state of crippling complacency.

        Well said. I have some very green friends who get very angry with me when I question the wisdom of their solar panels and electric cars.

        With a name like “Lord Hugh R. Adumbass” I can already tell that I’m going to enjoy your YouTube tip.


      2. Sorry to say I’m quickly losing interest in Lord Hugh.

        The introductory essay on his site is 31 pages of dense text without a single heading. I will not invest hours to read that ramble.

        I’m half way through his 90 minute video on money and he still hasn’t explained the essence of money: a call on energy. Nor the relationship between a dollar and energy: 9.7mW = US$1 (1990). Nor the essence of our monetary system: debt backed fractional reserve. Nor why we use that system: maximizes wealth and growth of wealth by maximizing available credit. Nor the problem with that system: requires an infinite planet because it crashes without exponential growth.

        Perhaps you could point me to a few of his best works?


        1. Rob,
          You will grateful to know that I am not going to consume a great deal of space and energy on your blog defending my suggestion that Lord Hugh’s work might add some worthwhile insights to the ongoing conversation and concern over societal collapse. Except to say, not every source worth studying touches on every point of what we may consider vital. Yes, I agree, the energy depletion card is front and center to understanding why we have run out the clock on Modern Industrial Society and for that reason alone, I have limited my readership to either those that do, or those (as in the case of Lord Hugh) add another important dimension to the discusson. If all we ever do is read what our predetermined biases confirm, small progress is likely. I am not suggesting that you’re in that category, but I sense a frustration on your part after only a short period of time.
          In my initial comment, I introduced the act or non-act of”complacency.” It wasn’t just a passing thought or assumption. I very intentionally introduced it. A central theme to your work is the act of “Denial” which I consider to be crucial to understanding why we are where we are, however, it’s not the only reason because there are many reasons, some more important than others, but none the less, valid. “Complacency, in my estimation, is just as important as denial. You can agree or disagree, it doesn’t matter to me. Assuming it’s a contributing factor to our predicament, I suggest that Lord Hugh’s contribution to this condition is the best resource I have come across to explain why we have as a society allowed ourselves to be steam rolled into an inescapable Dark Hole. That’s why I consider his work important, not as THE central source on our current situation, but as an important added contribution to the discussion.
          ‘Nuff said.


          1. I’m not dismissing Lord Hugh. I’m asking you as someone familiar with his work to provide 2 or 3 links to his best work to save the rest of us from having to sift the wheat from the chaff.


  3. Alice Friedemann today reviewed the book Bright Green Lies by Derrick Jensen et al.

    More than any other book, this one zeroes in on the massive amount of ecological destruction that mining the materials to make millions of wind turbines, solar panels, nuclear and other electricity generating devices will cause. In many ways the harm is more substantial than greenhouse gases, which get all the attention. I am just sickened by the harm mining for wind and solar contraptions causes. Tremendous harm, agricultural areas seeded with toxic metals, great harm to creatures great and small with consequent biodiversity loss, polluted rivers, lakes, and oceans from all the toxic chemicals used to extract metals from ores, and much more.

    The authors expose the huge negative ecological impact wind turbines can have on landscapes, especially from the mines required to get copper, iron, and other ores to construct them with. There’s a lot to be said about this, and not surprising when you consider the scale of Stuff required. Just the blades to generate 2.5 TW of power would need about 90 million metric tons of crude oil to make the resins. The 3.8 million 5 MW turbines Mark Jacobson calls for would need 2.4 billion tons of steel, 1.9 million tons of copper, 2.6 billion tons of concrete, and much more. We’re talking 60,000 Hoover dams of materials here!

    On top of that, wind, solar, and other renewables are not reducing emissions, nor are they making a dent in energy use except for a teeny tiny amount in electricity generation. Germany, which has gone further than any other nation to wean themselves off fossil fuels, known as “Energiewende”, is a huge failure as shown in Chapter 3: The solar lie part 1. Yet the most expensive attempt in the world to replace fossils with renewables is falsely praised as a success by the Sierra Club, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, and other environmentalists. The authors also point out that solar power may actually have a negative energy return on energy invested (EROEI), especially in northern climates.

    Friedemann concludes by making the case that it will be game over for modern civilization in less then 20 years.

    Within the next few years, oil will be declining at a rate of 6% a year. Oil is the master resource that makes all other goods possible: coal, natural gas, mining, logging and so on. Nothing could possibly reduce greenhouse gases more than oil decline. No geoengineering project could even come close and would almost certainly bring on unexpected side effects worse than the “cure”. Oil decline will be exponential, which means in as little as 16 years we could be producing just 10% as much oil, and everything else for that matter, that we produce today. Or sooner than that if a shrinking economy triggers enough instability to case civil war, social unrest, and war over the remaining oil.

    I read the last and most important chapter titled “Real Solutions” to see what the authors say about population reduction:

    Overconsumption and overpopulation must be addressed through bold and serious measures. Right now, more than 50 percent of children born are unplanned or unwanted. The single most effective strategy for making certain all children are wanted is the liberation of women. Therefore, all forms of reproductive control must become freely available to all, and women must be given absolute reproductive freedom and full political, economic, and sexual liberty.

    That policy might sell books, or at least not hurt sales, but it’s not enough to reduce our overshoot predicament. We need aggressive policies that constrain births so that our population falls faster than fossil energy depletes.

    And it looks like we need another book: “Really Bright Green Lies”.


  4. Sorry I post so much Wolf Richter but debt is just so damn interesting because its growth is the only thing preventing a wholesale collapse of modern civilization, and Richter ferrets out the juicy debt bits better than anyone.

    Violent thunderstorms this summer?

    During the six months through June, the government will spend $1.1 trillion that it doesn’t have to borrow because it already borrowed it a year ago and that the Fed monetized at the time. But this ends in June.

    What does this mean?

    Not having to borrow this $1.1 trillion of spending during the first half of 2021 is taking pressure off the Treasury market. And yet, despite that relief, the 10-year Treasury yield has surged to 1.72%.

    By June, this pressure valve will close, and the government will borrow more, and the market will have to digest it, and there is a huge amount of new borrowing being lined up to fund the added spending. This will put further upward pressure on long-term yields.

    The fact that the government is now spending the proceeds from debt sales a year ago that the Fed monetized a year ago has been adding liquidity to the economy and the markets – liquidity that had been stuck in the TGA – possibly adding to the craziness of the markets in recent months. But that will end in June.


  5. Hi Rob, I’ve been following your blog for a while, dipping in from time to time for a read. On this occasion I’d like to comment for the first time – on the subject of overpopultion. You mention this often and so do others in relation to our predicament, but for me there are many issues with this topic:
    No 1 being human rights. How will they be impacted by any form of ‘drastic’ population reduction?

    Now, considering that declining fossil fuels will in itself probably cause a reduction in the population over time, why should it be done drastically and how would that be done without a reduction in human rights (it always comes back to that). Also, this topic is always approached (by everybody concerned with it) from a global perspective, but surely there’s not over-population everywhere? Clearly there are many nations and areas that are vastly under-populated. So, should the overpopulated nations not deal with this issue first (keeping human rights in mind of course)? One would have to look at population density and, as said before, there are vast areas that are under populated.

    My view is that looking at global problems globally is too generalised and creates a different perception than looking at them regionally and locally (first), for a more nuanced approach. However, human rights should always be factored in, and also it’s worth bearing in mind that nations are sovereign, so who would decided on their behalf re population redection? Many questions come up for me on this subject every time.


    1. I don’t think there is a human right to unlimited breeding, because exercising that right causes future harm to others when in a state of overshoot as we are today.

      We have laws to control the populations of our pets and livestock to prevent suffering caused by insufficient resources. We should extend the same compassion to our own species. Of course we’ll only be able to use democratically supported birth rate laws since anything else would violate human rights and would be unethical.

      I can’t think of a single country on the planet that is under-populated if you assume a significant reduction in fossil energy use and falling agricultural yields due to climate change. Please name a few under-populated countries.

      I agree global coordination will be a challenge. Let’s start with Canada and then we can apply pressure to other countries to follow our lead.

      Imagine if the Canadian Prime Minister publicly stated that one way or the other the global population will drop by at least 6 billion by the end of this century, and provided good science and data to back up his statement, and said Canada was creating policies so that its path for a 75% population reduction will avoid the default path of starvation, genocide, and war.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, in terms of population density (there are resources on the web lisiting population density by surface area) some countries are very sparsely populated compared to others. Especially the countries with small populations and large surface areas (Mongolia and Greenland, for example – and their populations aren’t very urbanized either), meaning some of their urbanized populations would have more alternative options (Argentina comes to mind – massive surfcace areas, although also urbanized).

        Fossil fuels won’t disappear altogether, but globalisation (of goods shipped around the world) and mass consumerism that rely on fossil fuels would become unsustainable. However it’s imposssible to project that all countries will be in the same boat (pickle) and would most likely find innovative ways to deal with the situation as it unfolds, large populations notwithstanding in many cases.

        The other factor to keep in mind is that populations are dropping (and have been for some time already) virtually across the board, with few exceptions (mainly in Africa). In fact some countries have been reverting to immigration programs to boost their workforces. BTW: Canada’s Population Density: 3.92 per Square Kilometer – one of the lowest in the world (about 10 or 11 from the bottom).

        So, all in all I don’t see it as such a big crisis – all countries will have to adapt to dwindling resources in their own way in relatation to their populations and some countries will have much bigger challanges in doing that than others. Canada has low popolation density and access to energy, so should be in a better position than many other places.

        I’m writing from South Africa, just so you know, and here we have major energy ralated problems, mainly due to mismanagement, so that’s an added issue, some countries will be more adept at handling the adjustments than others.


      2. Former Canadian Prime Minister who publicly stated that one way or the other the global population will drop by at least 6 billion by the end of this century.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Another great post Rob.
    I have another population question for you, based on a criticism I regularly hear. “Population growth rate is declining, so why do we need to worry about population?”
    I think the answer is because the population is still increasing, but curious how you respond to this?


    1. Hi Kelly, the size of our population is already too large and therefore even if population growth was zero we would still have a big problem.

      Approximately 7 out of 8 people exist today because we have used fossil energy to temporarily increase the carrying capacity of the planet. Evidence for this includes:
      1) our population was about 2 billion prior to fossil energy use, and we’ve since degraded soils and climate so should not assume that 2 billion is still feasible without fossil energy;
      2) about 50% of the nitrogen atoms in your body were made in a Haber Bosch factory that converts natural gas into fertilizer;
      3) about 2% of the population feeds the other 98% by using diesel to power tractors, combines, and trucks.

      We are not going to run out of fossil energy tomorrow, but the quantity we can extract has peaked, and the cost of extracting what remains is steadily increasing which is a root cause of an unsustainable increasing trend where we must now borrow $4 of debt to generate $1 of economic growth.

      We should expect total available fossil energy to decline by 1-6% every year going forward, and this rate could accelerate if our central banks fail to keep the banking system functioning due to the rising debt levels mentioned above.

      A wise society would acknowledge this reality and would create policies to cause the population to decline at least as fast as fossil energy is forecast to decline. If we deny the problem exists there will be a lot of unnecessary suffering from starvation, genocide, and wars, as any reading of history will confirm.

      It’s also worth noting that since our wealth is directly proportional to energy use, we can influence the level of affluence or poverty at the destination by the rate we choose to reduce the population. For example, without fossil energy the planet might support 2 billion living as medieval peasants, or 100 million living as middle class Canadians.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The block universe is a corollary of relativity. It says that the future already exists and we cannot change what is meant to be. A global collapse probably already exists just like the new Bond film already exists although we haven’t seen it.

    Determinism is the view that people are not free to choose how they behave and all our choices in life are fated to happen.

    Tim Garrett is a determinist. He suggests that we are falling deterministically through a series of life events. According to his tweets determinism is required by the second law of thermodynamics. He says that our hope of controlling climate change (and other global problems) is human agency or free will but questions its existence. That would require dissipation of energy in which case free will wouldn’t be free but subject to the laws of physics like everything else.


  8. Hi Rob

    Maybe…Collapse now and avoid the rush, or similar, was never the right strategy, from an individual basis. Running with the herd, swimming with the school, is better from an individual survival and reproductive point of view.

    Maybe…higher levels of awareness of impending doom produce no real change in collective behavior. As individuals, we are programmed with basic needs, and mostly inextricable from our societies, and so bound to that society’s destiny. To break away is to reduce your reproductive fitness. So mostly, we are like fish in a school. As the external pressures to tear us apart mount, we pack more tightly together, and move faster and faster together, in an attempt to survive. But unlike the fish, we have a level of consciousness that allows us to contemplate what is happening to us. Better to deny reality and enjoy the water….

    Maybe…this global human superstructure is more resilient than we gloomers think. The system of accumulated capital and human knowledge that was built by using vast amounts of fossil energy, with vast amounts of fossil fuel energy still at its disposal, is now calling upon all of its resources to maintain its energy usage and structure. Central bank measures to inject liquidity in the system (railed against by Chris Martenson) are just part of the systems efforts to maintain itself.

    Possibly…we are not on the Business As Usual scenario detailed in “Limits to Growth”, but on the comprehensive technology scenario,( Update on Limits to Growth: Comparing the state of our world with the World3 model. ( ) With the computational power now available to use through super transistor dense computer chips and artificial intelligence, new breakthroughs in basic science are happening now, as well as continued improvements in technology and manufacturing. Instead of near term downward slope following the decline in fossil fuel production predicted by the collapse community, we might go forward from here at more or less the same economic level, for several decades more. The joy ride we are on continues for a while longer, until we utterly and totally exhaust the resources available in the earth’s crust and raise the temperature of the planet by 5C. That collapse would be truly spectacular.

    Finally…maybe…. Martenson is generally right, but off a bit in timing. A few years from now, we are all sitting around the campfires, saying we should have listened to that guy.


    1. It’s not the technology that will keep the high consumption society going unless a specific technology improves the net energy equation. What keeps it going now is debt: promises, promises.


    2. Your maybe’s are I suspect possible with different levels of probability.

      I think our superstructure is definitely more resilient than many doomers assume. Both Martenson and myself (and many others) were at least 10 years premature. In my case, I was unable to imagine that central banks would respond as they have, nor that their responses could have survived for as long as they have without destroying the money system.

      I believe your hopes for a technology solution have a low probability of success. For the most part, technology is a means of exploiting available energy, not a means for increasing available energy.


      1. Hi Rob
        Like you, I underestimated the ability central bankers to maintain the current system.
        Yes, I think one can imagine different futures, and assign some probability to them.
        I agree the future with the highest probability is one of collapse driven by near term fossil fuel decline.

        However, of late I have become intrigued with the recent breakthroughs in basic science being achieved with artificial intelligence. It seems possible that AI might bring about futures that we are not imaging. Science/AI driven breakthroughs in energy production and storage would be necessary extend the growth of our global civilization, or stop its collapse back to the medieval times or further.

        Other, darker AI driven futures have been imagined by Sci Fi writers. Many of those futures would not be good for the majority of our 8billion humans.

        I don’t believe it, but my Sci-fi influenced mind sometimes conjures up the idea that there is a secretive cabal of central bankers directing civilization. Their massive interventions to maintain the current economic system are really about making a bet on that technology future. It is an all or nothing bet, because without the energy breakthroughs, the central bank actions are allowing us to rapidly burn up the last tranches of easily extractable oil. Instead of a slow decline over decades, we will go over a Seneca Cliff.

        Yes, I am aware that computer chips and AI are dependent on oil production, minerals, electricity, etc. Just as new breakthroughs are occurring in various fields due to accumulated human knowledge, massive computational power, and AI, the resources necessary to maintain the computers and networks seems posed to fall away. But if the current system can be more or less maintained for another 10 or 20 years, we may need to look to Sci Fi for ideas about possible futures.


        1. Just a reminder that the laws of thermodynamics say we cannot “produce energy”. We can only capture or transform energy that already exists, and we’ve used up most of the good quality dense energy, with the possible exception of nuclear.

          I once did but no longer dream of an energy breakthrough because we face other important limits to growth like ecosystem destruction, species extinction, climate change, ocean acidification, ground level ozone, and dependence on many other non-renewable resources like copper for Elon’s dream, phosphorus for the permaculture dream, and aquifers for the vegetarian dream.

          My dream is a few hundred million people enjoying this amazing planet for the next hundred thousand years.

          What rays of hope do you think AI might bring to energy?


          1. There is still “hope” than can come from unexpected site – nature taking care of that in a bit less violent maner like described in “Count Down” (also mentioned here). But it might come too late as well.
            I started reading the book, but so far I completed Part I and it didn’t impress me very much. It still looks that main problem with fecundity is older age of conception (at least in western worlds). I see no problems in area of reproduction in Africa or less-developed Asia countries.
            Statistics show we still produce +-100 mln new people annualy and even COVID didn’t change it. You can see as example Phillipines – COVID caused increase of pregnancies, not descrease.


          2. It is hard to define the nature of “hope” when it is unclear to my little brain how we should view the human race and its role in the earth system (from a non-religious perspective). Are we a species that broke out of its ecological niche and is now acting as a plague against all other life, or are we the very rare expression of the evolution of consciousness in the universe that should be preserved at great cost?

            Eight billion human are responsible for a vast amount of suffering and death of other life. One philosopher has suggested that if an AI “wakes up” with an ethics program it might address this imbalance.

            Others has suggested that it is the “duty” of the human species to create a technological civilization that can protect the planet and other life from extinction events such as asteroid strikes. And to ultimately expand off the planet, as that would be an expression of our survival and reproductive imperative. I know, such talk feels fanciful and untethered to reality, especially while central bankers create trillions of dollars to keep the current system burning fuel inside of a billion plus internal combustion engines.

            As for what AI can do for energy production, I can only speculate. Fusion? Nuclear reactors that are not collectively existential risks? New materials unknown to science as of now? Solar energy collection system based genetically engineered cells? Here is a link to one article that does a pretty good job in summarizing the accelerating developments in science and tech from AI. “Top 5 Artificial Intelligence (AI) Breakthroughs of 2020 | by Pace LaVia | The Startup | Medium” Some time with other articles on the internet can provide a sense of other advances on the horizon. Of course, the tech writers are cheerleaders for this brave new world, a few grains of caution are necessary when reading, but my sense is we are in fact at a moment where accumulated knowledge, computational power, and AI/machine learning might provide fundamental breakthroughs.

            I don’t know whether those breakthroughs will bring about the “comprehensive technology scenario” scenario of Limits to Growth (extended growth, faster and farther collapse), or an escape path off the planet, or a dark Sci Fi novel future. But I think it has been good for me to challenge my we are going straight to hell thinking.

            BTW, on your proposal that we might find a way to prosper for another thousand years or two, I wonder if some kind of planetary defense from asteroid strikes etc. is necessary to assure a high probability of that scenario.



            1. Thanks for the thoughtful answer.

              I feel about AI the same way I feel about powering modern civilization with renewables.

              Show my one country, or one province, or one city, or one town, or one neighborhood, or one house anywhere in the world that has a modern lifestyle with zero fossil energy dependence and I will become more optimistic.

              Similarly, show me one breakthrough discovered by AI and I will shift from pessimism to optimism.

              I haven’t studied the probability of an asteroid strike but I put it in the same bucket as me having a heart attack on my next hike. I don’t think about it because I’m already doing what I can to avoid it.


        2. If you are looking for a bit longer Sci Fi perspective, I guess Peter Watts’ books (Rob sometimes mentions him) are excellent.
          “Blindsight” / “Echopraxy” – as far as I remember around 2070.
          “Rifters” trilogy – a bit earlier, around 2050.
          In both visions nothing good comes out of this postponement of the Collapse 🙂 . In both we are using extensively new sources of energy and sophisticated geoengineering to keep kicking the can…

          Liked by 1 person

  9. EnergyShifts: You have never been to the Boreal forests, nor certainly not to the tundra of Canada. If you cannot find a caribou, you starve. That area is over half of this country, thus raising the population density by more than a factor of two. The Inuit and Inuvialuit of the far north are losing their knowledge (not to mention their climate=ice) for survival in that region, and not many southerners could last more than a couple of days. Russian Siberia is much the same. Deserts of the warm variety offer no subsistence either. Your model lacks a great deal of reality, sorry to say.


    1. You make good points, Bruce. Similar situations in Australia and Namibia,(low population density vs surface areas, but most surface area is dessert …).

      That said, there are as many variables as there are countries (and in some countries there are numerous variables depending where you are in the country) and the one-shoe-fits all approach is simply too generalised and vague – and that’s the issue with global thinking, which is why every country would have to asess their own situation strategically would have to prepare to adapt accordingly re their resources, energy, regional supply chains, geography, population density, infrastructure, level of development, urbanized population vs rural, farming capacity, etc, etc, etc. So my point remains. Uruguay for example has 3.5 million peoplem, but there are more cows than people, because the country is basically one big farm with a capital city and a few coastal towns. Take Paraguay – situated on a massive aquifier with vast areas of jungle, very fertile land, not very developed, lots of room for expansion, netxdoor neighbour to Brazil – Brazil has sufficent energy, so Paraguay can get at least some energy from next-door, but their demand is not high anyway, so most likely they would do quite well in a crisis (you get the idea – that’s just taking one example). Huge variables.

      So, to simply say “the whole world is overpopulated and that’s the biggest challenge facing us, so we must all depopulate” is just short-sighted. While it may be true for some countries, when a proper analysis is done probably only two or three dozen countries would qualify has having major over population issues. Also energy is not going to simply evaporate within 5 years. The most industrialised countries have the highest energy demands even when their populations are relatively low, so some countries are consiming more per capita than others. Many things to consider. I’ll leave it there, but you all get the point.


  10. In WWII Germany converted coal into diesel to power its war machine. Could we do the same to power the tractors, combines, trucks, trains, ships, and mining machines needed to feed 8+ billion when oil depletes?

    Scientific American (2007) examined the U.S. government’s recent push to promote coal-to-liquid as a partial answer to the problem of oil supply. Their conclusions were: …liquid coal comes with substantial environmental and economic negatives. On the environmental side, the polluting properties of coal — starting with mining and lasting long after burning — and the large amounts of energy required to liquefy it, mean that liquid coal produces more than twice the global warming emissions as regular gasoline and almost double those of ordinary diesel…. One ton of coal produced only two barrels of fuel [gross return, not counting the energy input to produce it]. In addition to the carbon dioxide emitted while using the fuel, the production process creates almost a ton of carbon dioxide for every barrel of liquid fuel….Which is to say, one ton of coal in, more than two tons of carbon dioxide out.


  11. Tom Murphy today uses a clever allegory to explain why the value of a roast chicken is about $1000 more than we pay at Costco.

    A 2018 paper by Bar-On, Phillips, and Milo in PNAS contains a fascinating figure (Figure 1) that bears staring at for some time. It shows the dry carbon biomass distribution of various forms of life on Earth. Plants account for 450 Gt (giga-ton; 1012 kg) of mass, while the sum of all animals adds to 2.5 Gt. Humans comprise only 2.4% of animal mass on the planet, but that’s almost ten times as large as wild mammal mass. Add human livestock (outweighing human mass) and wild mammals are only 4% of the human-livestock-mammal trio.

    I think it is far easier to argue that humans can survive and thrive without gold than to argue that we could exist without a single non-human animal participating in the web of life on this planet. Humans did not evolve in isolation, even if we partition ourselves in our narcissistic brains as being special, removed, above it all—certainly not mere animals. The intertwined ecosystems on this planet are evolved on the premise of animal existence, so that plants require services of animals to fulfill functions like pollination, seed dispersal, soil maintenance, and god knows what else. Remove the animals, and I suspect the rest of the ecosystem comes crashing down, taking humans with it.

    Okay, then provisionally we’ll say that animals carry more value than all the accessible gold.

    Now a neat quantitative coincidence falls into our laps. The mass of gold under land to a depth of 6 km (as deep as we might imagine mining) is about the same as the (wet; living) mass of animals: 10 Gt—4 times higher than dry carbon mass. This derives from gold’s crustal abundance of 4 parts per billion (by mass), about 150 million square kilometers of land, and crustal density around 3,000 kg/m3.

    Having concluded that animal life is more valuable than gold, and that the masses are effectively the same, we conclude that animals are at least worth their weight in gold—if not considerably more.

    Compared to the real value of earth and its organisms, our minuscule annual economy is like a flea on the dog, yet our decisions are always about maximizing short-term gain for the flea, as if it’s all that matters. Without the dog, the flea loses any worth it presumed it had.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present

    Frank M. Snowden – 2019

    A wide-ranging study that illuminates the connection between epidemic diseases and societal change, from the Black Death to Ebola This sweeping exploration of the impact of epidemic diseases looks at how mass infectious outbreaks have shaped society, from the Black Death to today. In a clear and accessible style, Frank M. Snowden reveals the ways that diseases have not only influenced medical science and public health, but also transformed the arts, religion, intellectual history, and warfare. A multidisciplinary and comparative investigation of the medical and social history of the major epidemics, this volume touches on themes such as the evolution of medical therapy, plague literature, poverty, the environment, and mass hysteria. In addition to providing historical perspective on diseases such as smallpox, cholera, and tuberculosis, Snowden examines the fallout from recent epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, SARS, and Ebola and the question of the world’s preparedness for the next generation of diseases.

    Audio version has ‘…a new preface addresses the global threat of COVID-19. ‘


    1. Apneaman

      You might enjoy reading Samuel Pepys diary. He writes about The Great Plague of London from 1665-66.

      There was also a parody Samuel Pepys twitter account running for a while at the start of the pandemic @Pepys_Diaries. It’s a modern-day take on Pepys, imagining him writing in the modern world.

      “On hearing ill rumour that Londoners may soon be urged into their lodgings by Her Majesty’s men, I looked upon the street to see a gaggle of striplings making fair merry, and no doubt spreading the plague well about. Not a care had these rogues for the health of their elders!”

      “The taverns are fair full of gadabouts making merry this eve. And though I may press my face against the window like an urchin at a confectioner’s, I am tempted not by the sweetmeats within. A dram in exchange for the pox is an ill bargain indeed.”

      Samuel Pepys quotes

      “Up, and put my coloured suit on, very fine, and my
      new periwig, bought a good while since, but durst not
      wear, because the plague was in Westminster when I
      bought it; and it is a wonder what will be the fashion
      after the plague is done, as to periwigs, for nobody will
      dare to buy any hair for fear of infection, that it had
      been cut off the heads of people dead of the plague.”

      “I went on a walk to Greenwich, on my way seeing a
      coffin with a dead body in it, dead of plague. It lay in
      an open yard . . . It was carried there last night, and
      the parish has not told anybody to bury it. This disease
      makes us more cruel to one another than we are to

      “The people die so, that it now seems they are willing
      to carry the dead to be buried by daylight, the nights
      not being long enough to do it. And my Lord Mayor
      commands people to be inside by nine at night that the
      sick may leave their domestic prison for air and

      “. . . to my great trouble, hear that the plague is come
      into the city . . . but where should it begin but in my
      good friend and neighbour‘s, Dr. Burnett in Fenchurch
      Street . . . To my bed, being troubled at the sickness . . .
      and particularly how to put my things and estate in
      order, in case it should please God to call me away.”

      “Great fear of the sickness here in the City, it being
      said that two or three houses are already shut up. God
      preserve us all.”

      “This day, much against my will, I did in Drury Lane
      see two or three houses marked with a read cross upon
      the doors, and ‘Lord Have Mercy Upon Us’ writ
      there – which was a sad sight to me, being the first of
      that kind . . . that I ever saw. It put me into an ill
      conception of myself and my smell, so that I was forced
      to buy some roll-tobacco to smell and chew, which took
      away the apprehension.”

      “Plagues and Peoples” by William McNeil (1976) is also a good book.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually the second quote about gadabouts where I mention the parody twitter account is by Pepys himself and a personal favorite

        “The taverns are fair full of gadabouts making merry this eve. And though I may press my face against the window like an urchin at a confectioner’s, I am tempted not by the sweetmeats within. A dram in exchange for the pox is an ill bargain indeed.”

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks, Apneaman. I downloaded it and will read it after I finish “Cataclysms” (another book which you referred me to . . . thanks again!).


  13. James today with a nice elaboration of his theory that human culture is analogous to RNA.

    I omitted his last sentence which states there is a global conspiracy to cull humans with COVID19. We all have our weaknesses, one of mine is hoping that we someday might collectively break through our genetic tendency to deny unpleasant realities.

    Your self-perception is the product of cells within a system organizing themselves and specializing so as to create the effect of “you”. This occurs mostly in the central nervous system that continues into the peripheral nervous system. The cells use biochemicals such as dopamine and opioids along with hardwiring to nudge “you” in the right direction towards energy acquisition (food) and sex (egg cell must meet sperm cell). There are other algorithms being run by the cells such as social positioning and even sociality which are supposed to enhance your energy and mate attracting capacity. In short, the cells must get you to fill your hand with the tissues of other animals and deliver it to the buccal cavity where mastication may occur and from there the digestive system can further extract anything useful to be distributed throughout the system to the cells. The cells are also trying to encourage males to copulate with females while females are doing their best to selectively be inseminated. Then there are even more neural controls and influences regarding child-bearing and rearing. Once you get those things done and spend some time as a loving grandparent, your telomeres are running short and you can eventually be deposited back into the soil.

    Most animals can be manipulated by their cells to go down various behavioral paths via dopamine and opioids. Mostly it’s a stimulus-response reaction without much input because a brain capable of exhaustively modeling the world with additional extensive algorithms is not necessary and could not pay for itself. Humans have taken the evolutionary path of building an extensive analog mind which can model the discoveries their curiosity uncovers. Most other animals besides humans do not have “curiosity” about the world. But curiosity, although useful in discovering new things and places to feed, only delivers a greater pay-off when enough of the world can be remembered and analyzed to make predictive models. Predictive models are especially useful in manipulating technological information (the equivalent of cellular DNA). The human brain consumes twenty-percent of total bodily energy expenditure. The human brain has “paid-off” for the cells that built it. The return on investment comes largely from exploration of the world, the construction of an elaborate analog mind in which many different things are sampled for suitability of consumption and remembered via dopamine reinforcement and the amygdala and disgust circuits that tag “bad experiences.” But an analog mind with only hands and teeth is an underused asset. Instead of using the hands directly as tools directed by the brain, the hands could be used to make an extensive number of technological tools including the appropriately name “monkey wrench”, capable of so much more than unaided hands. Eventually tools were manipulated to create hard-copy information that could be passed from generation to generation with fidelity. Industrial evolution took-off after the invention of the printing press. With hard-copy information, human RNA and the resulting tools (like proteins), much more could be gleaned from the environment. The cells of civilization grew and grew and grew and refined and ate and…………………………………

    A human capable of building tools is the equivalent of a cellular RNA. These cellular RNA build tools too using hard-copy information. They don’t have an analog mind and therefore cannot imagine useful changes to the tool information before making them. They must await mutations and hope they’re good ones, although usually they’re not. And so here we humans are, self-organized into cells (factories/businesses) using our information to get things done (mostly finding energy to shovel into the industrial metabolism), maximizing opioids and minimizing fears/disgust. The organic cells were always somewhat limited in their chemistry to things that could be easily obtained and recycled (CO2, sunshine, oxygen and a few more). Humans, in their equivalent tool-building efforts have stepped outside the limitations imposed upon organic life by using materials and energy sources of limited duration, recyclability and with toxic effects upon organic life. Whereas organic life’s mutations are tested immediately for suitability and compatibility, humans have built their complexity much more rapidly without “nature” having time to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to their efforts. Such is the enthusiasm of the human organism to get rich and suffuse their brains with opioid-releasing experience. The details are left to nature.

    As we continue our senseless evolutionary juggernaut in pursuit of fame, fortune and good times, nature is about to pass judgment. No amount of “information technology” or reorganization of the human RNA will make the human technological experiment work-out for its participants. It was too rapidly and haphazardly constructed without regard to the inherent long-term damages to organic systems.


    1. “We all have our weaknesses, one of mine is hoping that we someday might collectively break through our genetic tendency to deny unpleasant realities.”

      Definitely a weakness, man. Or should I say a case of DENIAL? LOL.

      Maybe go for acceptance and do whatever you really like doing, gardening, fishing, whatever. That’s what I try to do (along with following your blog and similar ones just to remind me I’m not crazy).

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Fantastic! I thought you did do some gardening/farming. Nice work! I walk in nature daily too. It’s very helpful, as long as I don’t look too closely at the dying trees everywhere.


  14. Another, almost completely unnoticed, milestone for the Cancer Apes

    421.21 ppm – 421.21 ppm – 421.21 ppm – 421.21 ppm – 421.21 ppm

    Highest-Ever Mauna Loa CO2 Levels in recorded human history and beyond

    “Marking the latest CO2 records is not an act of celebration, but of bearing witness.

    The achievements are a sobering reminder of the chemical changes that we humans are collectively making to the atmosphere–changes with disruptive impacts that affect every living being in the biosphere. ”

    “A New Daily High Each Year

    The graphic below from Teem Earth partner @NumberLens presents NOAA CO2 readings since 1999 to show the seasonal peak for daily CO2 readings at Mauna Loa. It shows that CO2 levels usually peak in April or May, a phenomena discovered by Charles David Keeling in the late 1950s and early 1960s when he began what became the world’s longest-running, high preceision record of direct measurements of CO2 in background air. ”

    “Atmospheric CO2 is higher now than at any time in the past 200,000 years of human history. In fact, studies of past CO2 levels have accumulated evidence of CO2 levels being lower than 400 ppm for the past 23 million years. That makes the CO2 records on this page the highest in human history plus a period that’s a hundred times short 200,000-year time that homo sapiens have graced the earth. The higher levels of this planet-heating gas is just one part of the problem. The other is the speed of the changes, more than a hundred times pre-human times, and faster than many ecosystems can adapt to. ”


    1. My very first post in February 2012 was a review of James Hansen’s book “Storms of My Grandchildren” in which he makes the case that a CO2 level above 350ppm is incompatible with human civilization.

      In case anyone does not know James Hansen, he is the climate scientist that has made the largest contribution to our understanding of the problem, has good ethics, leads by example, and has a lower dose of reality denial than most other climate scientists.

      book review: Storms of My Grandchildren by James Hansen

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I also used to believe some of James Hansen’s theories, until I stumbled across this guy’s presentations recently and now I’m not so sure anymore …

    Rob here. I deleted the link. This site has zero tolerance for speculation that climate change is not a problem. There are thousands of other sites that will welcome your ideas.


    1. Well, I only posted it because I thought that the information would be refuted factually, if it’s off. Although I am unable to say whether his presentation is completely accurate since I only discovered his presentations recently, he does seem to cite legitimate courses. But it’s your site, so I aplogise for upsetting the apple cart.


        1. Just to be a little clearer, I don’t think all aspects of climate change science are settled. I would say we know it will be bad but we don’t know how bad, how fast, or whether the coming economic collapse will be enough to spare us from the worst.

          What I do know after watching the scientists make predictions over the last 10 years is that almost every new prediction has been worse than the previous prediction, which is a very bad sign.

          I also know they ignore some big threats, like methane, because they don’t know how to model it.

          I also know their modern civilization continues scenarios assume things that are highly improbable/impossible like massive carbon capture technologies and running our civilization on wind turbines and solar panels without fossil energy.


          1. My first day of reading on this blog.
            I have some doubts on things you are sure off.
            I am writing this in August 2022 and (for me) it is safe to say that the machinations behind ‘the-condition-of-covid’ successfully address population reduction, be it by force. Climate change, talking about the human factor, while studies shows the humans barely attribute to that change.
            Apart from that we are moving into a mini-ice-age.
            I regret your decision to remove the link to an alternative idea.


            1. I don’t know what link you’re referring to but if the science is as settled as you can get that humans are causing most of the warming since 1950 (even the climate science darlings of the deniers don’t deny that). The best estimate is that humans are responsible for all of the warming since 1950. I’m not aware of any “studies” which show otherwise, though I do recall one which didn’t attribute the change but merely showed that the earth is still rebounding from the last ice age (i.e. with no reason for the rebound).


                1. That’s a really odd thing to call “confirmation bias”. Actually, I used to believe that it was impossible for humans to have that effect on the climate. A good friend convinced me to look at the science. I did (about 20 years ago) and changed my mind. It’s now so obvious that it’s hard to believe that I was so stupid.


  16. Those of us external to the world’s reserve currency tend to be smug that we would never repeat the folly of our overlords.

    This will not end well.

    Bank of Canada Now Owns 40% of Government of Canada Bonds. Fed a Saint in Comparison.

    The Economics and Strategy shop at the National Bank of Canada, the country’s sixth largest bank, sent a missive to clients today that would be hilarious if it weren’t pointing at such a serious and massive issue: It celebrated “40,” referencing a 40th birthday, but instead of a birthday, it referred to the Bank of Canada’s ballooning holdings of Government of Canada (GoC) bonds, which will hit a stunning 40% of all GoC bonds outstanding this Friday.

    By comparison, the Fed holds 17.6% of all Treasury securities outstanding: It holds $4.94 trillion in Treasury securities, of $28.1 Trillion outstanding. We – that’s the universal “we,” meaning “a few of us” – complain about the Fed’s crazy buying of Treasury securities and all the distortion and craziness this causes. But compared to the Bank of Canada, the Fed looks like a saint.

    “Looked at another way, central bank purchases offset 95% of what was overwhelmingly record net GoC bond issuance in the just completed 2020-21 fiscal year—an absorption rate that’s really hard to overemphasize.” [meaning, in the fiscal year, the BoC has monetized 95% of net issuance of GoC bonds; one of the resulting distortions is Canada’s spectacular house-price inflation].


    1. If your political opponent doesn’t think energy is important or just assumes it’s in infinite supply, why listen to him/her? There is a reason why most turn off political discussion–because it’s just unsubstantiated opinions.


    2. Chris Rock lol.

      His mini rant reminds me of my 8 years living in the USA. Over the years a number of curious Americans, like pestering nut job mother in law, asked me what I thought the biggest differences were between Canadians & Americans & the first difference I always mentioned was, I had never in my entire life met a Canadian who self identified as a political party – I’m a [insert political party]. Not once. Never.

      Another one we don’t do is bumper stickers <1%

      My ex pestering nut job American mother in law was a real piece of work. She was semi retired with a part time home business as a “psychic therapist”. She converted one of the spare bedrooms in their McMansion in to a Woo Woo den full of crystals & candles & incense & floor lighting & speakers in the wall & framed quotes from Chopra & other Woo Woo props. It was quality work because I did it. I did plenty of contracting work for them & they paid well. They had money – she did the psychic therapist gig because she was a believer & probably got the high priestess buzz. She charged $150 hr & the dupes never stopped coming.

      Onetime she ceremoniously presented the wife & I with a hard cover copy of Rhonda Byrne’s “The Secret” & told us we could have anything we wanted – riches, fame, etc – if only we ‘believe’ in the “law of attraction” hard enough. Will your heart’s desire into existence. It didn’t work for me because she’s still alive.

      About a month later, I unceremoniously gave her a paperback copy of the “Demon-Haunted World” cuz I’m nice-N-stuff.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Awesome! 😂
        Yeah, the believers are legion, whether traditional, evangelical or new agey astrology tarot psychic etc. Homo unsapiens is going down.


        1. Total mess is in their heads 😦 . The biggest problem is that there are many of them…
          I am talking from the first person perspective – my mother is this type.
          For them “feeling” = “evidence”. You don’t need nothing more, just your “feelings”.

          And if you disagree – you are just labeled as “low awareness” being.
          It is really sad, because it is hard to get any serious discussion with these people 😦 .


  17. This YouTube channel has 15 million subscribers and is about an attractive Chinese woman who lives an idealized low carbon lifestyle on a small farm surrounded by beautiful nature. The production quality is amazing. I read somewhere that the channel is sponsored by the Chinese government for propaganda purposes but I don’t know if that’s true.


    1. She looks like she’s doing/making Dollar store junk like any typical lowly Asian factory worker-slave except she is gorgeous & her work station-bench is surrounded by idyllic scenery instead of a couple thousand miserable co worker-slaves who haven’t had a piss break in 5 hours.

      They could give them an extra piss break, but then our closets, garages & landfills would be full of useless toxic junk that we had to pay $1.25 for instead of $1.00


  18. These guys are talented musicians fronted by an Elvis impersonator that cover one of my favorite bands Led Zeppelin with a reggae twist. They always bring a smile to my face. Their first album is their best album.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. They are from my home town, not from Leningrad or Alabama… So was the late guy who played guitar with them c. 1982 and in this. Old Alabama, just a sweet Carolina, and arguably some best rock guitar ever.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. My own post reminds me of Royals, a short-lived band with the same guitarist. They were sort of a 1970s Finnish version of Cream and even their name resembled Cream. The singer/bass player died a few weeks ago of ALS.

            About Einstein’s block universe.
            The laws of physics suggest the future is predetermined, leading some physicists to say that it is impossible for free will to exist.
            Part two of a three part series on free will.

            Liked by 1 person

  19. Selling overshoot education is tough. Selling glamour, not so tough.

    Kim Kardashian has officially achieved billionaire status for the first time, according to Forbes, who announced her inclusion in their World’s Billionaires list.

    The publication cited Kim’s two massively lucrative businesses, KKW Beauty and Skims, for the reasons behind her increased wealth, as well as income from Keeping Up With The Kardashians, real estate and various endorsement deals.

    It comes just weeks after it was announced that Kanye West, who is currently in divorce proceedings with Kim, is officially the richest black man in US history, with an estimated net worth of £4.7 billion. Last April, it was announced that Kim’s half-sister Kylie Jenner was Forbes’s youngest self-made billionaire for the second year in a row.

    Kim landed the cover of Forbes for the first time in 2016. During the interview she famously said: “Not bad for a girl with no talent.”


  20. The little book, Limits to Growth, published in 1972, has been shown to have been correct about the problems of the future that would occur in the early 2000’s. Also, the word “fiction” should be the first indication that any visions of the future included in ‘SciFi’ works are not really noteworthy!


  21. Michael Wood is one of my favorite historians. I have most of the 20 or so TV series he’s produced in my library.

    I really enjoyed his most recent 90 minute documentary on the Vikings.

    They believed that when they were killed in battle they went to Valhal, the hall of the slain, where everyday they would feast and get drunk, fight another battle, get killed, and do it all again the next day.


    1. Michael Wood is one of my favourite historians too. Soon I will dive into his latest book, “The Story of China”. Wood always does a great job of explaining his subjects beliefs & motivations & he is a masterful story teller.

      Out of his many documentaries, I like the 6 part, ‘In Search of the Trojan War’ the best.


  22. Doug Nolan draws attention to similarities between the start of the 2008 GFC and today. An ominous difference is that this time it is a government finance bubble. The monkeys will say no one saw this coming. Denial on, party on.

    The S&P500 was trading near record highs and pulled back only about 3% on the initial Bear Stearns saga – before promptly rallying almost 5% to new record highs by mid-July. It was during this rally (July 9th) that Citigroup CEO Chuck Prince bestowed market historians with his infamous remark: “When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still dancing.”

    After a five-year boom, where the S&P500 almost doubled from 2002 lows while Credit market conditions turned extraordinarily loose, bullishness was well-entrenched. It was easy to dismiss the relevance of a couple smallish mutual funds. Sure, post-2008 collapse, it was as if the Bubble had been rather obvious all along. But in early-summer 2007 – at the pinnacle of Bubble excess – few recognized the scope of the Bubble, and even fewer appreciated the ramifications of the Bear Stearns fund collapses. Most believed subprime was a relatively small issue and clearly not systemic.

    Yet in less than two months, crisis dynamics were in full force. Key markets had turned illiquid. In particular, liquidity for high-risk mortgage loans, securities and derivatives had all but evaporated. Institutions – including the highly-levered hedge funds, securities firms and insurance companies – were unable to accurately value holdings. Scores of mortgage companies had lost access to new borrowings and were failing. Even lending behemoths Countrywide and Washington Mutual were facing funding market disruptions. CDS prices were spiking higher.

    Almost everyone was blindsided by the scope of the 2008 financial crash and subsequent economic downturn. Somehow, policymakers remained oblivious to how mortgage Credit had come to dominate both financial and economic spheres. The unprecedented expansion of speculative leverage had become key to financing the housing Bubble, with the tsunami of “Bubble finance” fostering systemic distortions and maladjustment. When risk aversion eventually took hold, the dramatic tightening of market liquidity conditions forced deleveraging and an abrupt reassessment of lending terms. Mortgage Credit tightened, home prices began to sink, and prices of trillions of dollars of securities were increasingly detached from the harsh unfolding reality. Destabilizing adjustments were unavoidable.

    The world is now more than a decade into the historic “global government finance Bubble.” In contrast to the previous Bubble period, government “money” (sovereign bonds and central bank Credit) has been a principal Bubble fuel. Policymakers have enjoyed incredible latitude to inflate government finance, a unique dynamic that has worked (miraculously) to prolong this incredible cycle. Consistent with the mortgage finance Bubble, speculative leverage has expanded momentously over the course of this cycle – to the point where it has greatly exceeded previous cycle peaks. I’m convinced it has ballooned exponentially over recent years, as the incredible lengths policymakers were willing to go to sustain the boom emboldened the speculator community.

    Mounting inflationary pressures are a global phenomenon. While the Fed has been dismissive, the prospect of an overheating U.S. economy seems clearer by the week. The Federal Reserve should begin contemplating when to signal an approaching QE tapering. Such unparalleled government monetary inflation has stoked myriad inflated price levels and distortions throughout the asset markets and real economy. Accordingly, we should expect any attempt to ween the system from QE will at this point prove highly destabilizing.

    “Melt-up,” indeed. It all reeks of a historic market topping process. A tightening of conditions throughout speculative finance has commenced. Global bond yields have been rising. China has begun a tightening cycle fraught with extreme risk. Vulnerable emerging markets have sustained the first round of de-risking/deleveraging. And the global central bank community is facing a confluence of runaway speculative manias and mounting inflationary pressures.

    The risk of market liquidity accidents is highly elevated – and rising. Those that dispute this analysis should ponder the scenario where the leveraged speculating community and public race to the exits simultaneously: panicked speculator deleveraging and a run on the ETF complex (kind of like March 2020 but bigger). It’s not farfetched. At this point, with the Bubble inflating so late-cycle crazily, it’s not clear how such a scenario is to be avoided. And while Archegos has started the clock ticking, inebriated markets are hell-bent on Keeping the Dance Party Rolling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. …”even though you recycled,” joined a topless Extinction Rebellion protest and dressed up like an octopus flailing on the pavement blocking traffic around Parliament. Are you saying these things don’t make a difference?

      There was a record surge in methane for 2020.

      Lori Bruhwiler, physical scientist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the jump in methane levels was “fairly surprising — and disturbing”.

      A surprise is an unanticipated outcome. What is not surprising and totally predicable? The tendency for scientists working for established institutions to almost never appreciate the full range of possible outcomes.


      1. Thanks. Not good.

        How is it possible that a sane educated person can say these words with a straight face?

        Human activity is driving climate change,” said Colm Sweeney, assistant deputy director of the Global Monitoring Lab. “If we want to mitigate the worst impacts, it’s going to take a deliberate focus on reducing fossil fuels emissions to near zero – and even then we’ll need to look for ways to further remove greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere.”

        Seriously. Zero carbon emissions means you’re dead. Proposing to remove greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere means you’re brain dead. What he should have said was “If we want to mitigate the worst impacts we need to get the population down quickly.”

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Tim Watkins today on stupidity…

    Cipolla’s five basic laws of stupidity are:
    1) Always and inevitably, each of us underestimates the number of stupid individuals in the world.
    2) The probability that a certain person is stupid is independent of any other characteristic of the same person.
    3) A stupid person is one who causes harm to another person or group without at the same time obtaining a benefit for himself or even damaging himself.
    4) Non-stupid people always underestimate the harmful potential of stupid people.
    5) The stupid person is the most dangerous person that exists.

    In the post peak economy in which we now find ourselves, the lack of surplus energy and resources mean that the number of intelligent, win-win situations is falling rapidly. From climate change to resource depletion and food shortages, our ability to respond intelligently and positively, diminishes with each passing day. At the same time, banditry – the psychopathy of the elites – has become the only means of increasing the wealth of those at the top in what is fast becoming a zero-sum game. This, perhaps, is why the mass of humanity appears to fit into Cipolla’s “helpless” category – forced to sell their time to ever less generous bandits. It is also why so many seem driven to take what at face value are stupid courses of action like buying lottery tickets, responding to emails from Nigerian princes, voting to leave the European Union or expecting nationalist populist leaders to make their countries great again. As prosperity collapses, the appearance of stupidity is the one thing that we can reliably bet will keep on rising.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Sea-level rise is creating ‘ghost forests’ on an American coast

    In coastal North Carolina, evidence of forest die-off is everywhere. Nearly every roadside ditch I pass is lined with dead or dying trees

    “Like all living organisms, trees die. But what is happening here is not normal. Large patches of trees are dying simultaneously, and saplings aren’t growing to take their place. And it’s not just a local issue: seawater is raising salt levels in coastal woodlands along the entire Atlantic coastal plain, from Maine to Florida. Huge swaths of contiguous forest are dying. They’re now known in the scientific community as “ghost forests”.”

    “Rising seas are inundating North Carolina’s coast, and saltwater is seeping into wetland soils. Salts move through groundwater during phases when freshwater is depleted, such as during droughts. Saltwater also moves through canals and ditches, penetrating inland with help from wind and high tides. Dead trees with pale trunks, devoid of leaves and limbs, are a telltale sign of high salt levels in the soil. A 2019 report called them “wooden tombstones”.”


  25. Labor without energy is a corpse.
    Capital without energy is a sculpture.
    — Steve Keen

    Individuals compete for status.
    Status is usually wealth.
    Wealth is produced by energy.
    Wealth without fossil energy requires slaves.
    Growing wealth without growing energy is a zero-sum game.
    Rebel slaves therefore want to be freed to own their own slaves.

    Tom Holland. 2005. Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic.

    Human beings were not the least significant portion of the wealth to have been plundered by the Republic during its wars of conquest. The single market established by Roman supremacy had enabled captives to be moved around the Mediterranean as easily as any other form of merchandize, and the result had been a vast boom in the slave trade, a transplanting of populations without precedent in history. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, had been uprooted from their homelands and brought to the center of the empire, there to toil for their new masters.

    Even the poorest citizen might own a slave.

    In the countryside, where conditions were at their worst, gangs were bought wholesale, branded, and shackled, then set to labor from dawn until dusk. At night they would be locked up in huge, crowded barracks. Not a shred of privacy or dignity was permitted them. They were fed the barest minimum required to keep them alive.

    Exhaustion was remedied by the whip, while insubordination would be handled by private contractors who specialized in the torture—and sometimes execution—of uppity slaves. The crippled or prematurely aged could expect to be cast aside, like diseased cattle or shattered wine jars. It hardly mattered to their masters whether they survived or starved. After all, as Roman agriculturalists liked to remind their readers, there was no point in wasting money on useless tools.

    This exploitation was what underpinned everything that was noblest about the Republic—its culture of citizenship, its passion for freedom, its dread of disgrace and shame. It was not merely that the leisure that enabled a citizen to devote himself to the Republic was dependent on the forced labor of others. Slaves also satisfied a subtler, more baneful need. “Gain cannot be made without loss to someone else.” so every Roman took for granted. All status was relative. What value would freedom have in a world where everyone was free? Even the poorest citizen could know himself to be immeasurably the superior of even the best-treated slave. Death was preferable to a life without liberty: so the entire history of the Republic had gloriously served to prove. If a man permitted himself to be enslaved, then he thoroughly deserved his fate. Such was the harsh logic that prevented anyone from even questioning the cruelties the slaves suffered, let alone the legitimacy of slavery itself.

    It was a logic that slaves accepted too. No one ever objected to the hierarchy of free and un-free, merely his own position within it. What the rebels wanted was not to destroy slavery as an institution, but to win the privileges of their former masters.


  26. Kurt Cobb is excellent today.

    Climate change and the “law of acceleration”

    …scientists reported that carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere reached a new record last week…

    “The build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere has also been accelerating. It took over 200 years for levels to increase by 25%, but now just over 30 years later, levels are at a 50% increase.”

    Contemplate that for a bit. The amount of excess carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere doubled in the last 30 years or so. But, the first half of the total buildup took 200 years.

    As of 2011, half of all the oil ever consumed was consumed between 1985 and 2011. The same is true of copper. The rate of electricity consumption worldwide has more than doubled between 1990 and 2019.

    …between 2000 and 2020, internet users mushroomed by 1,266 percent. The total amount of data created, captured, copied and consumed has risen by a factor of 30 since 2010.

    Climate scientists tell us we need not just a deceleration in growth of greenhouse gas emissions, but actual rapid declines to address climate change with any hope of success. Given how we think about acceleration, it’s hard to imagine that our global society will seek accelerated reductions in emissions as a primary goal.


  27. A reader who wishes to remain anonymous sent me a couple of papers proposing new theories related to the evolution of humans.

    The first paper proposes that humans shifted from hunting to farming because they caused the extinction of large animals.

    I think this theory is probably true for two reasons. First, large animals went extinct everywhere on the planet shortly after the arrival of humans, with the exception of Africa, where large animals co-evolved with humans and thus had a healthy respect for us. Second, we usually don’t change our behavior unless we are forced to change.

    The second paper proposes that the human brain grew rapidly because we were forced to become smarter to catch small swift prey after we ate all the large animals.

    I think this theory is possible but I am more attracted to the theory that our unique command of fire allowed us to capture more food and to predigest that food to extract more nutrition thus enabling a shift of resources from muscle and guts cells to brain cells.

    On the Emergence of Behaviorally Modern Humans: The Denial to Domesticate (DtD) Theory

    Neither of these theories addresses the human evolution fact that most interests me. We had relatively large brains for over a million years before one small tribe in Africa got religion and then exploded to take over the planet. I think the key change was an ability to deny unpleasant realities like mortality.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Gail Tverberg today makes a good case that we will be forced to learn to live with the virus.

    I agree with her. I expect our current precautions will be more or less permanent. This doesn’t bother me too much because I’m not a very social animal, but I expect it will be tough for some to accept.

    We can’t expect COVID-19 to go away; we should plan accordingly

    While it is possible to see what change in direction seems to be needed with respect to COVID-19 and infectious diseases in general, it is not something that those in leadership positions will be able to implement. Instead, we will likely “go off the cliff” at full speed. Changing expectations in advance is almost impossible.

    At most, a few interested people can try to explain to their fellow citizens what is happening. Perhaps, in our own little spheres of influence, we can make some small changes in the right direction, starting with strengthening our own immune systems.


    1. Yes. He writes well. He just wants us to virtually die, so we will be ready for the actual event. I like this quote.

      Not one of us is innocent, not one of us safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Tom Murphy today muses on the question:

    Is the 10,000-year-old human civilization in its infancy, or nearer its end than its beginning?

    It’s a good essay but it seems we can add Murphy to the list of people who dance around but don’t mention directly the only thing worth discussing: rapid population reduction policies. We don’t have a lot of time left. The handful of people who understand what’s going on need to get on the only bus going in a good direction to influence other citizens. Yes I know it probably won’t work. What’s the alternative?

    The first lesson from physics is that growth cannot be a long-term prospect. The last few-hundred years are the anomaly. We can be sure of that. A 1% growth rate—thought of as modest in the present era—has a doubling time of 70 years. 10,000 years means 140 doublings, which is 42 orders of magnitude. Physics says: not gonna happen. If each year, 1% of any resource is “destroyed” (mined, chopped, burned), it will be utterly gone in 10,000 years. According to the Attenborough show, A Life on Our Planet, wild spaces declined from 62% of the planet to 35% from 1960 to 2020 (very close to 1% reduction per year). Clearly, we’ve been doing it all wrong for the last 60 years, so that the lifestyle to which we’ve become accustomed is a terrible template for the future, and should probably be utterly ignored: discarded like smelly trash. We have been deceived by rapid exhaustion of the extravagant inheritance into thinking life will always be at least this rich.

    Human civilization in 10,000 years therefore cannot afford to continue any exploitation or destruction of one-time resources. Fossil fuels will be long gone or abandoned. Deforestation must stop. Aquifer depletion must stop. Jeopardizing the survival of any species must stop. Soil erosion or degradation must stop. Anything that is not replenished by nature as fast as we’re using it cannot be part of a successful future.

    To me, that rock-solid and rather obvious insight is a big deal. Suddenly, we have a rule book for success. In the end, success can only mean sustainability. The rule book could get by with that one line. The converse is also true: unsustainable is unsuccessful.

    Present practices are fundamentally incompatible with nature.
    Is it even possible to maintain technology over the long term?
    We, ourselves, will never know the answer.
    Meanwhile, the universe says… nothing.


    1. “It’s a good essay but it seems we can add Murphy to the list of people who dance around but don’t mention directly the only thing worth discussing: rapid population reduction policies.”

      Precisely. And this to our ruin.


    1. Thanks, very good essay by Pagett.

      I like his denial theme. New favorite quote added to the sidebar: “The danger we face is in the denial of it.”

      The great hype was that human ingenuity created our current dreamworld. It didn’t, it was the availability of cheap iron and the heat engine burning hydrocarbon fuels. Nothing more. Cheap surplus hydrocarbon fuel allows the development of new technologies. But they will not deliver cheap surplus hydrocarbon fuels. Technology cannot circumvent the laws of physics and produce a perpetual motion machine that will allow us to consume forever.

      We are currently in denial of that.

      The danger we face is in the denial of it. The desperate rise of conspiracies, hoaxes and plots, fed by an all pervasive social media. The insistence that political ideology will substitute for our lack of resources, backed by violence when that doesn’t happen.
      We pray to the right gods, so kill off those who pray to the wrong gods.

      Then all will be well. A mantra repeated down the centuries, always with the same result.

      The tsunami of debt is breaking over us. At some point in the next ten years, maybe sooner, we will find ourselves fully occupied chasing energy that costs more to get hold of than the value it produces.

      That is when industrial civilisation ends.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Nice comment on Pagett’s essay by James.

      It made me think of the Jenga game. As various aspects of civilization become unfundable with diminishing fossil energy we’ll have to play Jenga, a game where wood blocks are removed from a solid wood tower until finally one block too many is removed and the tower collapses. If the blocks at the base of the tower are the fossil fuel industries, then removing them requires removing some of the blocks above that they support. Removing the base energy blocks could certainly collapse the whole structure unless a substantial number of the upper story blocks are removed in just the right places to maintain a balance. But removing upper story blocks to balance removal of an energy block at the base can cause it’s own partial collapse of the structure. The oil block (or two) will be removed soon. The massive tower, which is always trying to grow larger will teeter and perhaps fall depending upon how gingerly the block is removed. Then there will be only coal and natural gas and perhaps a renewable block holding things up. We probably should have started removing blocks from the top decades ago or at least not built the tower any higher. Perhaps as an optimistic species we figured a few fusion blocks would fill-in the gaps or that another oil block would be found in the Arctic. We’re still waiting. If nothing is produced on the energy front the tower will soon look like Swiss cheese and those that live their lives within the tower will pensively watch as the clumsy players fiddle with the blocks below.


  30. I’m allergic to conspiracies, and so is Dr. John Campbell, but something really stinks.

    It’s poisoning my trust of my local leaders. If they can’t get the simple stuff right, why would I trust them on the complicated stuff?

    Perhaps it’s as simple as there’s more money to be made from vaccines than off-patent theraputics.


    1. It’s poisoning your trust of your leaders, Rob? What??? Surely you haven’t trusted them for a loooong time.

      As far as “Perhaps it’s as simple as there’s more money to be made from vaccines than off-patent therapeutics.” Of course! Absolutely. 100%! Pfizer has been upfront about how their vaccine will be the most profitable drug they have ever made.

      Meanwhile, the topic of COVID came up today at a store with the saleswoman. She said her whole family, including her 80-year-old mother, got COVID last year. Very mild, no big deal, she said. (I’m assuming she didn’t even take extra Vit D, C, zinc, quercetin, etc.). “That’s great,” I said. “Now you have natural immunity – the best.” Then she told me she just got her J & J jab. She said the effects of that were worse than COVID, but still no big deal. She said she trusts J & J. (She has no idea of their lengthy criminal record.) The blood clots? Oh, those people had underlying conditions.

      In my opinion – and that of many docs – she did not need that vaccine. But they are punishing them on everyone. (Who then become part of their clinical trials, in essence. The official trials won’t be complete until 2023 or 2024.) If you are under 70 with no serious medical conditions, your chances of dying from COVID are miniscule. But they have successfully terrorized most of the population.

      We are surrounded by sheep who are willfully misled by our (NOT) trusted leaders. Homo unsapiens deserves its fate which is unfolding rapidly.


      1. Once it was clear that a global pandemic was underway my brain did what it always does (without permission) – start making predictions. All my expectations have been met. Right at the top of the list was that Big Pharma will be the primary solution no matter WHAT & it’ll be the easiest sell of all time due to fear & the moderns faith in the authority of ‘the science says’. My grand parents & their friends used to say ‘the bible says’ – plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

        The biggest surprise was the UK government acknowledging the link to vitamin D deficiency & covid severity & deaths & shipping out free vitamin D to citizens, albeit too low of a dose & only to the lowest income seniors.

        Long before covid, vitamin D deficiency was/is recognized as a serious & wide spread nutritional deficiency leading to medical conditions we supposedly conquered last century.

        Huge increase in ‘Victorian diseases’ including rickets, scurvy and scarlet fever, NHS data reveals

        ‘Concerning’ rise in rickets and vitamin D deficiency-linked conditions putting children at risk of muscle and bone weakness

        Vitamin D is dirt cheap & you have to guzzle a shit ton to reach toxicity level.

        I’ve read a few opinion pieces by scientists poo pooing Vitamin D as a covid ‘cure’, which is a lame strawman & equating everyone who mentions Vitamin D with scum-fuck supplement scammers like ‘The Health Ranger’, Alex Jones & thousands of others.

        I’m not a big fan of privileged progressive Naomi Klein, but her book, “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” is spot on & disaster capitalism has thrived even more since the book’s release in 2007.

        Widely shared economic growth (Pie) is long gone, but the capitalist overlord’s profits are as strong as ever & will probably continue until revolution or total collapse.

        Disaster capitalism

        work of Klein

        In Naomi Klein
        <i>…examined what Klein termed “disaster capitalism,” a form of extreme capitalism that advocated privatization and deregulation in the wake of war or natural catastrophe. The Shock Doctrine was adapted as a feature-length documentary film by director Michael Winterbottom in 2009. </i>

        Coronavirus Is the Perfect Disaster for ‘Disaster Capitalism’

        Naomi Klein explains how governments and the global elite will exploit a pandemic.

        “These are the perfect conditions for governments and the global elite to implement political agendas that would otherwise be met with great opposition if we weren’t all so disoriented. This chain of events isn’t unique to the crisis sparked by the coronavirus; it’s the blueprint politicians and governments have been following for decades known as the “shock doctrine,” a term coined by activist and author Naomi Klein in a 2007 book of the same name.

        History is a chronicle of “shocks”—the shocks of wars, natural disasters, and economic crises—and their aftermath. This aftermath is characterized by “disaster capitalism,” calculated, free-market “solutions” to crises that exploit and exacerbate existing inequalities.”

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I don’t trust global leaders like Fauci and the WHO because they have clear financial conflicts of interest, but I have no reason to suspect the premier of my province or Dr. Henry, his respected right hand woman, have any financial conflicts of interest.

        It’s as if no one in the health sector is capable of thinking independently from the herd. I don’t feel it myself but I read somewhere that humans are a social species that worry about what others think of them.


        1. Rob – Yes, I think you nailed it exactly – humans in general are greatly concerned about what others think of them. “Thinking independently from the herd” probably got the tribe killed millenia back, and social media proves this concern is alive and well today. So even your decent province premier and Dr. Henry are influenced by their peers. Like Fauci or equivalent. Fauci having significant financial interests in vaccines.

          So is wealth a motivator for creating and relentlessly promoting these vaccines, with basically no promotion of Vitamin D, zinc, Ivermectin, etc.? (And even continually saying re Ivermectin “We need more studies. Nothing conclusive.” The biggest pile of BS ever.) Nice work if you can get it:

          “Zaks leaves a rich man: He has earned tens of millions of dollars since the start of the pandemic last year, according to filings with the SEC, regularly selling shares that are allowed under the SEC’s rules and have seen him make around $1 million a week, but have earned the ire of some observers. This comes after Moderna’s stock has soared on its COVID vaccine promise, putting it in the Premier League alongside Pfizer/BioNTech, and nabbing billions in government cash for trials at the same time.”

          Liked by 1 person

      1. I deleted your link because it suggests there is a conspiracy to murder billions of people which is crazy talk.

        I think some combination of the following explains what we observe:
        – our genetic fear of death has triggered irrational behavior
        – almost everyone is hoping for a technology solution so they don’t have to change their lifestyles and economic growth can resume (no different than climate change)
        – politicians and organizations like the WHO are being influenced by money from pharmaceutical companies who are acting to maximize their profits as their shareholders expect and their fiduciary responsibilities require them to do
        – health care workers are following the herd and fear damage to their careers if they think independently
        – health care workers do not usually have our species’ highest intellects

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “– politicians and organizations like the WHO are being influenced by money from pharmaceutical companies who are acting to maximize their profits as their shareholders expect and their fiduciary responsibilities require them to do”

          Is that not a conspiracy?

          Why the need for some to avow their lack of belief in “conspiracy theories” when history abounds with them, including many in the very recent past (WMDs in Iraq?). Healthy skepticism about everything is always called for but over-defensiveness about the possibilities of conspiracies conducted by our betters seems a kind of denialism in itself.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I’m allergic to conspiracy theories because usually there is a simpler more probable explanation.

            Conspiracy is defined as “a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful”.

            For example:

            • Fossil energy companies are not conspiring to damage the climate by undermining renewables. They are selling a legal product that citizens want to buy to power their modern civilization. Renewables undermine themselves without any assistance from conspirators because renewables depend on fossil energy and can’t power most of our civilization.
            • Pharmaceutical companies are not conspiring to kill billions of people with deadly vaccines. They think they have a safe and effective product and are using legal tools to influence our governments to buy their product rather than competing lower cost solutions. The core problem in this example are laws that permit corporations to influence politicians with money.

            That doesn’t mean conspiracies don’t exist. I agree the Iraq WMD story probably was a conspiracy led by Dick Cheney to secure an oil supply for the US because at that time in history fracking and ZIRP were not yet things, and most people believed global oil production was about to decline.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. It is, however, fair to say that fossil energy companies, like the tobacco companies before them, coordinated, perhaps loosely and informally, and also by hiring third party “experts” to lie for them, created an effective PR campaign that successfully sowed disinformation regarding the harmful atmospheric effects of CO2. I would characterize that behavior as “intentional” and not a conspiracy in the legal sense (a punishable conspiracy exists when at least two people form an agreement to commit a crime, and at least one of them does some act in furtherance to committing the crime) but morally reprehensible given that unpublished internal memos and reports indicate company scientists (like those at Exxon) knew and suppressed the truth.

              Legality is a weak argument. Many things that are, or were legal, are harmful, including slavery, leaded gasoline, tobacco, transfats, Thalidomide, etc. True – pharmaceutical companies are not conspiring to harm people, but contrary to popular folk wisdom they do put a price on life. With every new drug or vaccine, projected fatalities are compared to the social benefit either by liability insurers or by the government approving the products. They are required to keep the fatalities below an acceptable level. There are no zero risk products on the market. Chemical companies do the same. This is done every time a chemical company applies for a permit to build a new facility. They have to calculate how many people they expect to kill during the life of the plant with emissions and show that the increase in deaths per million is less than a certain legal limit. The current horror in the legal system is that chemical companies can declare a new chemical as generally safe and start selling it without thorough testing.


              1. I have not experienced CO2 misinformation. What did they actually say?

                If they said “CO2 is not creating a climate incompatible with civilization” then I agree with you.

                If they said “the short term harm to civilization by stopping the use of fossil energy exceeds the short term harm from CO2 induced climate change” then they were speaking the truth.


                1. What did they say? Umm….they said bad stuff man! -like CO2 is not a pollutant. C02 is the gas of life. I will defend the honor of C02! It is just plant food after all. It’s used in soda pop, like whatever, get over yourself. It’s about tradeoffs…snow skiing will be hurt but water skiing will benefit. God buried fossil fuels because he loved us to find them. Stuff like that.


                    1. It’s called outsourcing your fuckery. Executives present a respectable face to the public and find proxies to sow disinformation behind the scenes. Clean hands you see.


                      Best to read the above article but here are a few choice nuggets:

                      “The judge mandated that those submitting briefs detail their funding sources, and they listed a litany of oil companies and fossil fuel-funded think tanks. Among those listed by Monckton and Soon’s group were ExxonMobil, the Heartland Institute, and the Charles G. Koch Foundation. Among those listed by Happer, Koonin, and Lindzen were the Heritage Foundation, Peabody Coal, the Cato Institute, and the Texas Public Policy Foundation.”

                      “It’s a perfect example of the oil industry’s two-faced behavior. For decades their own scientists quietly published peer-reviewed research concluding that humans are causing global warming. That was the face we saw from Chevron’s lawyer. But at the same time, oil companies were funding contrarian scientists and think tanks to spread denial and doubt about that same science. That was the face revealed in the denier briefs.”


                    2. Thanks. I understand.

                      I went and read some of the Heartland Institute policy papers. They are definitely bending facts to influence people.

                      I don’t think what I saw is any worse or more damaging than the policies of the Green Party here in Canada that promise a growing economy and falling CO2 with renewable energy.

                      Nobody speaks the truth today.


          2. over-defensiveness?

            Doesn’t exist when dealing with American political cunts & their relentless & aggressive insistence that their conspiracy de jour is the most important issue in the history of the universe…..and they’re 100% right.

            Ok let’s talk conspiracies. Why is it that a bunch of never heard from before commenters always show up on obscure blogs every time the 2 American tribes have hyper politicized some new event or issue? “only brainwashed sheeple believe in coincidences” is one of the conspiracy minded’s most common retorts.

            This ain’t my first rodeo. I’ve seen the same sock puppetry from cyber missionaries many times before under the same circumstances & it sticks out like a sore thumb when they show up at obscure niche blogs like

            It don’t work here because we’re Canadians & we know the Americans political zealots better than they will ever know themselves.

            The issue or conspiracy de jour doesn’t actually matter because each one is really just another American left vs right ideological proxy war in cyberspace.

            Exceptional expansionist empire babies couldn’t stop trying to convert others (the world) to their secular religion if their life depended on it. The internet was a godsend to them. Their empire went as far as it could with the military, institutions, pop music & Hollywood, but the internet potentially extends the reach to every wrong thinking human on the planet & that’s a fucking smorgasbord of potential converts to American political fanatics, left & right alike – all you can eat dogma.

            There is no corner of the internet, no matter how obscure, that they won’t seek out to wage their ideological proxy war. It’s the right of the chosen ones after all – cyberspace = manifest destiny’s final frontier.

            There are plenty of reasons I chill here & not on any one of the tens of thousands of websites solely dedicated to American political fanaticism. I don’t need to go into them all but near the top of my list is that they’re fucking boring as hell & whiners.

            500 evil conspiracies have been perpetrated upon them throughout their life & yet not one of them has so much as thrown a piece of rotten fruit at the perpetrators, who all have names, addresses & can be got to.

            Truthers spent over a decade flipping-the-fuck-out online, but again not so much as a shaving cream pie thrown at any of the perpetrators of “the worst crime against the American people in history”.

            Oh ya, there was that onetime ALEX JONES!!!, while followed by a herd of his disciples, yelled really really really loud on the street outside one of the overlords annual Bilderberg meetings.

            Apparently the overlords were so terrified & panicking that Alex-N-herd might break down the doors & yell at them to death, the serving staff were ordered to hand out bowls full of Xanax until calm ensued. Close call. War stories to tell the grand kids.


            1. Nailed it again, Apneaman. I spent two, three hours last night trying to write something similar, and failing miserably as most days I can’t put my thoughts and feelings into written word for shit. Which is why I didn’t post what I wrote and embarrass myself. So, thanks for stating (again) what I couldn’t. This and certain other comments/commenters are why I so appreciate un-Denial.

              Liked by 2 people

  31. The Shock Doctrine [2009] Documentary by Naomi Klein

    [Doc starts at the 1 minute mark]

    The Shock Doctrine is Canadian author and social activist Naomi Klein’s companion piece to her popular 2007 book of the same name. In short, the shock doctrine is a theory for explaining the way that force, stealth and crisis are used in implementing neoliberal economic policies such as privatization, deregulation and cuts to social services.

    The shock doctrine suggests that in periods of chaos often following wars, coups, natural disasters and economic panics, pro-corporate reformers aggressively push through unpopular “free market” measures. Klein posits that followers of Milton Friedman and other market fundamentalists have been perfecting this very strategy: waiting for a major crisis, then selling off pieces of the state to private players while citizens were still reeling from the shock, then quickly making the “reforms” permanent.

    The video was converted from the PAL DVD upscaled from 576i to 720p. This film is Copyright 2009 Shock Films Ltd.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. I liked this comment by Rendezvous Mountain Farm @ OFW.

    Well done post Gail. I agree with almost everything you said and it is a subject I am familiar with when I was practicing medicine. Your comment that Vaccine success has been low is not entirely accurate. It really depends upon the virus structure. The success against corona viruses has been very poor and will likely remain poor but smallpox, measles, mumps, whooping cough viruses which rarely mutate etc have been almost eliminated. Influenza is a great worry and if it hits populations of low immunity like it did in isolated villages in Africa and Canada and Alaska in 1918, it wiped out most of the village. The toll was 100-120 million people out of a world population of about 2 billion at the time. It killed 15% of young healthy military recruits in some camps and the pneumonic influenza sometimes killed healthy people in as little as 12-24 hrs. There have been terribly lethal pandemics in world history. The Plague in Atherns in the early 400 BC period resulted in a third of Athenians perishing and they lost the Peloponnesian War as a result. There was a terrible plague in the mid sixth century which was every bit as lethal as the plagues of Black Death in the middle ages wiping out 1/3 of the population. The etiologic agents were presumed to be both viral and bacterial. Population density was a big contributing cause and density of our current world will almost certainly guarantee that upcoming pandemics will wipe out hundreds of millions this century. While this Covid virus is nowhere near as lethal as the Flu pandemic a century ago, it has a significant multisystem morbidity which is unlike the flu. At least with the flu, you either recovered or died. Some of our current Covid victims have not recovered and may never recover which imposes long term costs to themselves and to society. There are lessons to be learned from studying the history of pandemics and many are applicable to today. I have read several books and strongly recommend John Barry’s book “The Great Influenza”. Here are the obvious lessons to be learned which you covered very well BTW.

    1. Do not live a life within crowds.
    2. Focus upon building a healthy body with proper diet with proper nutrients, vitamins and micronutrients, plenty of exercise, and avoiding obesity .

    If we continue to live a sedentary urban existence, we are doomed, vaccines or no vaccines.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Thanks to Tim Groves for finding this presentation by Moderna’s soon to be ex-Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks on how their mRNA technology works.

    As Moderna ramps up its COVID-19 vaccine efforts and has made one of the speediest moves from a hyped-up preclinical biotech to a commercial entity hoping to help save the world, its chief medical officer, Tal Zaks, M.D., Ph.D., is set to leave for pastures new.

    Zaks leaves a rich man: He has earned tens of millions of dollars since the start of the pandemic last year, according to filings with the SEC, regularly selling shares that are allowed under the SEC’s rules and have seen him make around $1 million a week, but have earned the ire of some observers. This comes after Moderna’s stock has soared on its COVID vaccine promise, putting it in the Premier League alongside Pfizer/BioNTech, and nabbing billions in government cash for trials at the same time.


    1. Self interested money grubbing scum-bags have been profiting off human misery (illness) since forever & that includes many scientists & doctors. That being said, there are still many doctors, nurses & other healthcare workers the world over who have worked tirelessly since covid to save the lives of people, many who are ungrateful cunts. Some of the doctors, nurses & other healthcare workers were infected & died. Some got sick & recovered. Some of them will be damaged for life. Many burnt out & quit. Some quit because financially they could. I suspect many more would if they weren’t financially trapped. It’s pretty much a thankless occupation & the systems they must work within are nightmares.

      We shall never see his like again.

      Frederick Banting discovered the insulin and turned down all offers from big corporations, saying that insulin was his gift to mankind

      “In 1923, Frederick Banting and John Macleod received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of insulin. Banting shared the award money with his colleague, Dr. Charles Best. As of September 2011, Banting, who received the Nobel Prize at age 32, remains the youngest Nobel laureate in the area of Physiology/Medicine. The Canadian government gave him a lifetime annuity to work on his research. In 1934 he was knighted by King George V.”

      “Banting and Macleod were jointly awarded the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Banting flew into a rage that he would share the Prize with Macleod, whom he felt had not contributed enough to deserve the Prize. He eventually decided to split his half of the Prize money with Best.”

      “At this point, large pharmaceutical companies offered the Banting huge sums of money for the patent to insulin. They proposed an insulin clinic with Banting in charge, and would make the medicine available to all who could pay for it. Banting, however, said that insulin was his gift to mankind, and it would be available to everyone who needed it rather than a commodity for anyone’s profit.”

      Greed will out

      Profit over death’: millions of American diabetics struggle to afford insulin

      Protect Canada’s insulin supply from U.S. buyers in search of bargains, advocates urge

      Trips to Canada by American diabetics seeking more affordable medication prompted the call to action

      Advocates in Alberta are calling on the federal government to protect insulin supplies for Canadian diabetics.

      The call for action comes after a highly publicized trip to Windsor, Ont., by a group of American diabetics, seeking insulin at an affordable price.

      In the United States, a vial of insulin costs roughly $450 CAD.

      That same vial is only $30 here in Canada, which has prompted some Americans to travel across the border to buy their life-saving medication.

      It really sucks for type 1 people because unlike many/most type 2 diabetics they cannot eliminate their condition by dietary change, exercise & weight loss. Insulin is all they have, which is why Canadian diabetics are in fear of their life saving magic juice being bought out by American diabetics even though there’s no data indicating it’s happening.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jonas Salk also did this, more or less. Of course, in the 1950s, the USA was taxing high income earners at marginal rates in excess of 90%. Perhaps he didn’t have the “right” incentives.


        1. Salk was indeed the real deal.

          Edward R. Murrow interviewing Jonas Saul about his polio vaccine:

          EM: “Who owns the patent?”

          Salk: “The people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”

          ‘BLASPHEMY! BLASPHEMY!’ cries the neo liberal priesthood.

          ‘Fucking commie’

          I had to look up some details just now, but I still remembered we discussed polio & Salk in elementary school (70’s). Canadians suffered the same as Americans & Canada (Gov, taxpayers, researchers) helped put an end to it.

          Canada’s Key Role in Creating a Once Awaited Vaccine

          An American researcher created the polio vaccine, but a Toronto lab and a pioneering female scientist made its mass production possible.

          Canadians don’t have to go back to 1918 and the start of the Spanish flu pandemic to find an analogy to today. For decades, waves of polio outbreaks gripped the country with fear, death and uncertainty, as recently as the 1950s.

          At times, the outbreaks caused Canada to limit travel from the United States. Special hospitals were set up in some provinces to help children paralyzed by polio when physiotherapy was established. The iron lung began appearing in hospitals to assist patients’ breathing. School openings were delayed in many communities in a bid to reduce polio’s spread.

          Ultimately, about 50,000 Canadian children were infected with polio during four major epidemics, and 4,000 of them died.

          During the 1940s and ’50s, an era before publicly funded health care, the federal government and many provinces began pouring money and resources into efforts to eliminate polio through a vaccine.

          Dr. Jonas Salk, an American, became a global celebrity for developing that vaccine. But much less well known is the critical role the Connaught Laboratories in Toronto and Dr. Leone N. Farrell, one of its researchers, played in making testing and then mass production of that vaccine a reality.

          Connaught, however, had come up with a synthetic, liquid growth mixture, known as Medium 199, for cancer cell research that produced more virus, more quickly and without contamination. It was provided to Dr. Salk for his polio efforts.

          It was Dr. Farrell, one of a very small number of women then working as research chemists in Canada, who figured out how to safely produce vast quantities of virus in Medium 199. Adapting earlier work, she developed what came to be known as the Toronto Method. Racks of specially designed machines gently rocked bottles of Method 199 and the virus.

          Her next task was to get enough machines built and to hire enough qualified staff to make not only enough virus for the tests in the United States, Canada and Finland, but also to create enough vaccine to inoculate all of Canada’s children. In a bid to accelerate vaccination, the Canadian government gambled and placed an order with Connaught before knowing if the Salk vaccine would prove safe and effective in tests.

          It did, with the result made public on April 12, 1955, the day before Dr. Farrell’s birthday. “I could not help feeling that I had received a pretty fine present,” she said in a speech that fall.

          Variations of the Toronto Method were used until the 1970s to make polio vaccines, Dr. Rutty told me. Apparently, at Dr. Farrell’s request, Connaught decided not to patent the process.

          Fredric Banting, Jonas Salk, Leone N. Farrell – we shall never see their like again.

          Like all humans they were products of their societies. I’m not sure whether today our societies are incapable of producing such people or are designed not to.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Not being that familiar with Reddit I googled AMA and found it stands for Ask Me Anything. What sort format does this take Rob? Is it a video steam or do people just type in their questions?


        1. Rob-lure them in gently to the wonderful world of un-denial. Don’t go full un-denial to quickly- remember the woman on the beach. People spook easily.

          This thread has popped up on Peak Oil ( I know it’s gone very weird but I can’t stop checking in to see what the few sane commentators have to say). I don’t think it’s them but IMO it’s sort of James or JC Roberts standard-lots of good points that I hadn’t come across. Haven’t seen anyone on the usual sites using this name.


          1. Hold on-he may have gone overboard on another thread about the stock market crash – WW3 soon. Potentially ignore the above except about The Reddit AMAm


            1. It’s rare to find someone that understands a piece of the puzzle and doesn’t then veer off into crazy land.

              For example, because pharmaceutical companies are motivated to make a profit, and governments have decided to accept the risks of reduced duration testing, doesn’t mean there is a conspiracy to exterminate billions.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. The history of the pharmaceutical industry is riddled with conspiracies. Real ones/proven. Ones that have resulted in deaths & serious physical & psychological trauma of their customers, AKA fellow humans, & in many instances they knew, but kept selling their toxic drug anyway. Criminal behaviour in the pharmaceutical industry is as old as the pharmaceutical industry.

                They knew & kept it to themselves.


                Thalidomide: how men who blighted lives of thousands evaded justice

                Newly exposed files show how victims were betrayed by political interference in trial – and how the pill has remained on sale


                How A Groundbreaking Drug Birthed A Generation Of Thalidomide Babies

                Born with severe deformations, Thalidomide babies were the result of one pharmaceutical company’s coverups and dark past.


                Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America – 2020

                Award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author Gerald Posner traces the heroes and villains of the trillion-dollar-a-year pharmaceutical industry and uncovers how those once entrusted with improving life have often betrayed that ideal to corruption and reckless profiteering—with deadly consequences.

                Pharmaceutical breakthroughs such as anti­biotics and vaccines rank among some of the greatest advancements in human history. Yet exorbitant prices for life-saving drugs, safety recalls affecting tens of millions of Americans, and soaring rates of addiction and overdose on pre­scription opioids have caused many to lose faith in drug companies. Now, Americans are demanding a national reckoning with a monolithic industry.

                Pharma introduces brilliant scientists, in-corruptible government regulators, and brave whistleblowers facing off against company exec­utives often blinded by greed. A business that profits from treating ills can create far deadlier problems than it cures. Addictive products are part of the industry’s DNA, from the days when corner drugstores sold morphine, heroin, and cocaine, to the past two decades of dangerously overprescribed opioids.

                Pharma also uncovers the real story of the Sacklers, the family that became one of America’s wealthiest from the success of OxyContin, their blockbuster narcotic painkiller at the center of the opioid crisis. Relying on thousands of pages of government and corporate archives, dozens of hours of interviews with insiders, and previously classified FBI files, Posner exposes the secrets of the Sacklers’ rise to power—revelations that have long been buried under a byzantine web of interlocking companies with ever-changing names and hidden owners. The unexpected twists and turns of the Sackler family saga are told against the startling chronicle of a powerful industry that sits at the intersection of public health and profits. Pharma reveals how and why American drug com­panies have put earnings ahead of patients.



                Liked by 1 person

                1. You’re right and those are good examples.

                  Do you think they explain the belief that COVID vaccines are designed to kill billions?

                  I suspect we’d see the conspiracy theories without the sordid history.


                  1. Your suspicions are confirmed. The “Health Ranger”, Alex Jones & thousands of others in the American conspiracy industrial complex have been putting out depopulation conspiracy scare stories on a weekly basis since the early days of home internet & before that they were doing it on the radio & in monthly ‘snail mail’ news letters & books.

                    Their depopulation fear mongering goes back to The Limits to Growth (1972).

                    World population.

                    1972 3,851,650,245
                    2021 7,874,965,825

                    Any day now.

                    Liked by 1 person

          2. Haha. I’m a man of few words and like to skip the foreplay, but I’ll try.

            My denial schtick usually goes something like:

            1) People usually ask why humans evolved superior intelligence. It’s the wrong question. The correct question is why didn’t other intelligent social mammals evolve similar intelligence to humans?

            2) Why has every tribe everywhere for all time had a religion, and why is a belief in life after death the only thing in common to the thousands of religions?


        2. You might get trolled Rob. I’d just completely ignore those ones & put your efforts into the truly curious & appreciative.

          I was shadow banned (MAC address) on reddit a couple years back (ME?? I can’t believe it!!), so I have a ‘read only’ account. No commenting for me otherwise I’d show up as your bouncer – keep the hooligans in line.

          r/collapse has reached 275k subscribers. There are a ton of rightfully scared young men & teen subscribers who are just beginning to learn collapse fundamentals.

          Go easy on them professor Mielcarski.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks kindly for the advice. I’m glad you said ignore and don’t reply to trolls.

            Despite the dark clouds I think we have a lot to be grateful for and will try to mention some of that.


  34. Do We Have Free Will? Maybe It Doesn’t Matter

    You could also say that no such thing exists, a view which seems increasingly fashionable. “Cognitive neuroscience and popular media,” a new meta-analysis notes, “have been putting forward the idea that free will is an illusion, raising the question of what would happen if people stopped believing in free will altogether.” The paper, a preprint posted on PsyArXiv by University of Cologne social psychologist Oliver Genschow and his colleagues, delves into almost 150 studies, with over 26,000 participants, that sought to manipulate people’s belief in free will in order to tell whether believing, or disbelieving, in free will affects their morality.

    This isn’t an idle theoretical or academic question—beliefs about free will, Genschow says, seem to affect many “societally relevant” behaviors, like cheating. They also lie at the foundation of our criminal justice system, helping to justify retributive forms of punishment (the idea that people deserve to be locked up, for example, for committing certain crimes) as opposed to rehabilitative ones (confining and reforming people until they can safely re-enter society). Some philosophers, like Saul Smilansky, have argued that if we were to give up on free will, the consequences would be catastrophic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes, there is just too much navel gazing. I don’t think it matters. We don’t know, and probably will never know, so in the mean time, act like you have free will and do the right thing. Free will or not, denial and our other dysfunctional attributes are worth effort to understand and deal with.


  35. If only this video had been available for my parents to rent 60 years ago, I wouldn’t be wasting my time on

    Join faith-fueled friends, Muggles and Joy, as they visit the beautiful Finding Jesus Bay, a place where Christian stories are told night and day. Guided by the sea’s best storyteller, Professor Shark, they hear all about the endless kindness and boundless love of their Creator.


  36. You know you are in trouble when an expert has an epiphany that explains the market insanity and you can’t understand a word of his explanation.

    Today I had a major epiphany that the Nasdaq and momentum stocks are now 100% driven by the monthly options expiration cycle. Which explains why these tops keep occurring four weeks apart. The massive call option buying by the Reddit gang is literally pushing the market higher into opex week. And then the “gamma” lift runs out of gas and then reverses creating a gamma crash. Gamma is the variable hedging factor that market makers use to hedge their call option (delta) exposure arising from selling call options. As these options head towards expiration, the amount of stock that market makers must hold to offset their short call position declines with option decay, so they sell. Essentially option gamblers are renting capital to manipulate the market. All of this Reddit-driven market manipulation is of course widely accepted and widely ignored.


  37. h/t Michael L’Merchant


    A market analyst says everyone including farmers is having difficulty getting needed products. Mike North with says, “The supply chain right now is being stressed at a level that we’ve never experienced in our lifetimes.”

    North tells Brownfield the difficulty with getting some crop inputs is forcing some farmers to change crop rotations. “Not because I don’t want to, not because the ground is not ready for it, but I just simply can’t get my hands on the right things to grow a crop so I’m going to shift to something else. that is something that I have heard.

    North says certain fertilizers made from natural gas are in short supply. “Because of the ruptured pipelines in the south following the big freeze on Valentine’s Day, ultimately, there are a lot of products that are made from that natural gas that just couldn’t be made. The plants were shut down.”

    And, North says the crop inputs are not the only product lines facing shortages. “Talk to anybody that’s trying to get their hands on parts, supplies, materials. Everyone’s experiencing it right now. Agriculture is not alone in that. It canvasses the entire U.S. economy.”

    North says some producers obtained crop inputs they needed early, while others contracted for future delivery but were left out when retailers couldn’t get enough product to fill orders. He tells Brownfield he also has farmer clients waiting a long time for machinery parts.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s