An Energy-Related Reason Why US Healthcare Outcomes are Awful

Back in January 2013, the US Institute of Medicine published a report called U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health. This poor health outcome for US citizens is in spite of the US spending twice as much as a percentage of GDP on healthcare as other high-income nations.

As an example of the problems the US has, the report showed the following exhibit, pointing out that the US has made much smaller advances in life expectancy since 1980 than other high-income nations.  The US is now seventeenth of the seventeen countries analyzed in male life expectancy, and sixteenth out of seventeenth in female life expectancy.

Figure 1-6 Female life expectancy at birth

I am sure I do not know all of the reasons for the US divergence from patterns seen elsewhere, but let me try to explain one energy-related reason for our problems. It has to do with a need to get a wide variety of nutrients at the same time we need to balance (Energy In) = (Energy Needed for Life Processes), in a period of time when the food we eat is increasingly of the “processed” variety. There may also be an issue of eating too much animal protein in our food mix, thanks to today’s ability to ramp up meat production using grains grown and shipped around the world, using fossil fuels.

An Overview of Energy-Related Modifications to Food

If we look at primates in general, it is pretty clear that all of the nutrients such animals need come prepackaged in the food that they gather with their limbs. They get the level of exercise they need from gathering this food and from their other daily activities. They have a pretty good balance between (Energy In) = (Energy Needed for Life Processes), without any special effort.

We humans have been modifying food for a very long time, dating back to the days of being hunter-gatherers. Our earliest changes were successful from the point of making humans more dominant. They allowed us to grow larger brains and allowed human population to grow.

The changes made in recent years, thanks to abundant fossil fuels, seem to be excessive, however. The new processed foods are often missing necessary nutrients and fiber, providing mostly empty calories. It becomes a balancing act to get enough of the right nutrients without filling our bodies with calories we don’t need. Some foods (juices, added sugars, very finely ground grains) are sufficiently different from natural foods that our systems don’t react properly to such food. Also, the exercise our body was expecting is often much reduced.

The way our current system works, the food that is closest to its original form is hardest to ship and store, so tends to be highest-priced. The most calorie-dense, over-processed food tends to be cheapest. As a result, the least-educated people (who tend to be poorest) tend to be most damaged by our poor food supply. According to one study, at age twenty-five, men with less than a high school education have a sixteen-year shorter life expectancy than men with a graduate degree.

Remaining Years of Life_prbOf course, at least part of the problem is the disproportionate lack of health care of less-educated US citizens. There are no doubt effects related to feeling like second-class citizens as well, because of reduced work-opportunities for those with poor educations. But having to work around a poor food system with an inadequate income is an issue that likely plays a major role as well.

How Did Humans Develop Larger Brains?  

There is a popular belief that eating meat made us human. While meat eating may have played a role, there seem to be other factors as well. National Geographic in an article in the September 2014 issue, The Evolution of Diet, observes that modern day hunter-gatherers typically get about 30% of their calories from meat. When meat supplies are scarce, they often live for long periods on a plant-based diet. The article says, “New studies suggest that more than a reliance on meat in ancient human diets fueled the brain’s expansion.”

The point National Geographic mentions is the one I have brought up previously–the theory advanced by Richard Wrangham in Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human. It seems to be the ability to control of fire, allowing humans to burn biomass, which set us apart from other primates. This allowed us to cook food, and in doing so, allowed the food to be more easily chewed and digested. Reduced chewing time freed up time for other activities, such as making tools. Nutrients could be more easily absorbed from cooked food. The fact that the food was easier to chew and digest allowed chewing and digestive systems to shrink, and brains to increase in size. It probably also made it easier for more human children to survive.

Furthermore, we now know that some other primates eat meat, so humans are not unique in this regard. Chimpanzees even hunt animals for their meat. National Geographic reports that baboons eat birds, rodents, and even the young of larger mammals, such as antelopes and sheep. But meat makes up only a small share of their diet. We also know that when monkeys are fed a diet that includes very much meat, they gain weight and experience degenerative diseases like humans.

Food Processing: A Little of a Good Thing vs. Too Much of Good Thing

The experience with cooking some food back in hunter-gatherer days shows that a little help in getting more nutrition from foods can be helpful. Plant cell walls are made of cellulose. Cooking vegetables helps break down these cell walls, making nutrients more accessible. There are other ways of processing food–pounding meat to make it more tender or using a blender to chop it into fine pieces. Humans have been milling grains for a very long time.

But it is easy to overdo the processing of food, especially with the help of fossil fuels. Grains can be ground very finely, far more finely they would have been ground, years ago. Sweeteners of various types can be derived from sugar cane, sugar beets, and corn, and added to products of many types. Parts of fruits and vegetables that are deemed “less desirable” such as skins can be removed, even if these parts have a disproportionate share of the nutrients in them.

There is even a second order kind of change to the food supply that can be put in place. For example, before recent “improvements,” cattle ate a mixture of grasses and digested them in their four-part stomachs that are designed from that purpose. Now cattle are being fed all kinds of foods that are not suitable for their digestive systems, including corn and dried distillers grain, a byproduct of making ethanol from corn. There are many other shortcuts taken, from hormones to antibiotics, so as to produce more meat at less expense. Our bodies aren’t necessarily adapted all of these changes. For one thing, there is much more fat in the beef, and for another, the ratio of Omega 3 fatty acids to Omega 6 fatty acids is badly skewed.

There is the additional issue of whether plants actually contain the nutrients that they did years ago. Many of us have learned Liebig’s Law of the Minimum, which states that plant growth is not controlled by total amount of resources available, but by the scarcest resource. In other words, a plant needs all of its nutrients–just adding more of the most abundant nutrient isn’t good enough. But Liebig’s Law of the Minimum doesn’t remove all deviations in nutrient quantity. Plants will still grow, even if some of the trace elements are present in smaller than the usual quantities. Adding fertilizer (or even crop rotation) does not entirely fix this situation. We still end up with soil that is deficient in some micronutrients. This situation tends to get worse with time, as our sewer systems send human wastes out to sea.

In recent years, we have been hearing more about the role intestinal bacteria play. The processing of our food is especially likely to remove the less digestible portions of our food that these bacteria depend on for their nutrition. This adds yet another dimension to the problem of food that deviates from what our bodies are expecting us to eat.

Thanks to fossil fuels, processing of all kinds is cheap. So is adding sugar, artificial colors and artificial flavors to help cover up deficiencies in the original crop. The shortcuts farmers take, including heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides, are ways to produce food more cheaply. The food we end up with is inexpensive and convenient, but doesn’t necessarily match up well with what human digestive systems are adapted to.

What Kind of Exercise Do We Need? 

The story I keep reading is that we need a certain amount of high-intensity intermittent exercise to help our bodies operate as they are intended to. Running for even an average of five or ten minutes a day is said to reduce cardiac causes of death by 30% to 45%, and to increase overall life expectancy by three years. We can easily imagine that hunter-gatherers quite often needed to sprint from time to time, either to avoid predators or to catch potential prey. The finding that human beings need short bursts of high intensity exercise, such as running, would seem to be consistent with what our ancestors did. We also can’t sit for long periods–something our ancestors didn’t do either.

How about strength training? One thing that occurred to me when I visited India is how unnatural it is to have chairs to sit on. Much of the world’s population, even today, sits on the ground when they want to sit down. Needless to say, people who don’t sit on chairs get up from the floor many times a day. This is a type of fitness training that we in this country miss. We in the West also don’t squat much–another type of fitness training.

Even with the beneficial effects of exercise, some researchers today believe that food plays a more important role than exercise in obesity. (Obesity is linked to ill health and shorter life expectancies.) A recent study by Herman Pontzer and others compared the energy expenditure of the Hazda hunter-gatherers to Westerners. The study found that average daily energy expenditure of traditional Hazda foragers was no different from that of Westerners, after controlling for body size. The body seemed to compensate for higher energy expenditure at times, with lower energy expenditure at other times.


It seems to me that our appetites don’t work correctly when we fill ourselves with overly processed foods that are lacking for essential nutrients. We often don’t stop eating soon enough, and then we quickly feel hungry again. In part this may be from eating highly processed foods that would never be found in nature; in part it may be because the foods are missing the micronutrients and fiber that our bodies are expecting. Low-income people especially have a problem with such diets, since diets rich in fruits and vegetables are more expensive.

Many people believe doctors can fix our health problems. Looking across countries, diet and public health issues tend to be much more important than the medical care system in the health of a population. With most chronic health conditions, doctors can only take bad health situations and make them somewhat better. High rates of illness and increased mortality remain, similar to what we see in the United States.

Many of us have heard about the so-called calorie restriction diets of monkeys. This is a misnomer, in my view. In at least one version of it, it is a comparison of monkeys fed a low calorie diet that provides a wide range of nutrients found in vegetables, with a diet typical of Americans. If, in fact, we humans also need a wide range of nutrients found in vegetables, we should not be surprised if we have similarly poor health outcomes.

NYT 31aging_graphic_lgAccording to the graphic, Owen, 26, is affected by arthritis. His skin is wrinkled and his hair is falling out. He is frail and moves slowly. His blood work shows unhealthy levels of glucose and triglycerides. Canto, 25, is aging fairly well.

I personally have been eating a diet that is close to vegetarian for twenty years (heavy on vegetables, fruits and nuts; some fish and diary products; meat only as flavoring in soups). I also cut way back on processed foods and foods with added sugar or corn by-products. When I first changed my diet, I had a problem with arthritis and was concerned that I was at high risk for Type II diabetes. I lost weight, and my arthritis disappeared, as did my blood sugar problems. In fact, I rarely have reason to visit a doctor. In many ways, I feel like Owen on the right.

As I pointed out at the beginning of the post, we need to get a wide variety of nutrients at the same time we need to balance (Energy In) = (Energy Needed for Life Processes). Back in hunter-gatherer days, this was easy to do, but it is increasingly difficult to do today. Besides cutting back on processed foods, eating a diet that is low in meat may be a way of doing this. Studies of people who eat mostly vegetarian diets show that they tend to have longer life spans. There is also direct evidence that diets that are higher in animal protein tend to shorten life spans. These findings don’t necessarily correlate with studies of what works best for losing weight, which is what most people are concerned about in the short term. Thus, we are deluged with a lot of confusing findings.

Food and health problems are issues that tend to strike a nerve with a lot of people. I can’t claim to be an expert in this area. But stepping back and looking at the issue more broadly, as I have tried to do in this article, can perhaps add some new perspectives.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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658 Responses to An Energy-Related Reason Why US Healthcare Outcomes are Awful

  1. Adam says:

    “Germany’s Ailing Infrastructure: A Nation Slowly Crumbles”:


    “Despite its shiny façade, the German economy is crumbling at its core. That, at least, is how Marcel Fratzscher, the head of the German Institute for Economic Research, sees it. With the country’s infrastructure becoming obsolete and companies preferring to invest abroad, the government advisor argues that German prosperity is faltering.

    Companies and private households are sitting on trillions in assets, but half of all autobahn bridges are urgently in need of repair. Fratzscher calls it “Die Deutschland Illusion” (“The Germany Illusion”), the title of his new book which German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel will introduce on Friday. In his study, he lists Germany’s biggest investment problems from companies to the transportation network, and from education to the Energiewende, the federal government’s shift away from nuclear power and toward green energy. Supporting evidence for his theories can be found all over the country.

    Autobahn bridges are the most visible sign that a significant portion of Germany’s infrastructure is ailing. Autobahns and federal highways, bridges and locks, railway networks and shipping routes — much of this infrastructure has gotten old. In the last two decades, federal, state and local governments have neglected to properly maintain these kinds of structures, and their investments in maintenance and repairs have steadily declined since the early 1990s.

    To stop this trend, Germany would have to invest at least an additional €10 billion a year. The federal government, however, only plans to spend €1.25 billion a year — an eighth of what the economists believe is necessary.”

    The article also discusses “The Botched Energiewende”, but I’ll let you read that for yourselves. Gail has discussed all these general subjects in her blog posts, of course.

    • VPK says:

      Sounds a lot like Amerika

    • It sounds like inability of the government to borrow is behind the lower investment planned. Between the borrowing limit and the electricity issues, I can understand why businesses would decide to invest elsewhere. It is impossible for a country to compete in a global marketplace, if it doesn’t keep up with what is available elsewhere.

  2. afreeman says:

    Didn’t have time to read all comments, hope you are still reading Gail:
    I thought my eyes were wide open (having read Weston Price), until I read Steve Solomon’s the Intelligent Gardener, Growing Nutrient-Dense Food, 2013. I will never garden the same. Note neither Solomon nor I say “farmer” or “farm.” In Steve’s words, most farmers stop at what consultants call “sufficient” to minimize “overpriced” product rotting unsold. Eye-opening Book on that subject: Waste, Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, Tristram Stuart, 2009.

    Solomon at

    • Daddio7 says:

      Commercial farming is a for profit business, it’s to make money, not feed people. I grew chip potatoes. Processors want a certain size potato. One year the weather caused much of the area’s crop to overgrow. No one wants a potato chip the size of a pancake. At least a ton per acre had to be culled out on twenty thousand acres (yes, 40 million pounds). Average yield is sixteen tons per acre so the loss wasn’t that noticeable. This was unexpected and no market was available for these over sized spuds so they were just scattered back in the fields or near by pastures.

    • Thanks for the note about the Food Waste book. It seems to be very favorably rated.

  3. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Gail and All
    This will address the issue of energy and health from an oblique (and doubtless infuriating to some) angle.

    ‘Two recent studies point to potential causes of dementia and AD (Alzheimer’s Disease…my note) and suggest relatively simple interventions to reduce risk. In an article published in BMJ this month, researchers showed that benzodiazepine ever-users had more than a 50% increased risk of AD (odds ratio = 1.51), even when benzodiazepines were taken many years prior to diagnosis.1 A dose-response relationship was also seen, with those taking higher doses for longer periods having the greatest increase in risk. Although the mechanism underlying this risk is unknown, the findings suggest that other interventions should be considered when treating anxiety and sleep issues in older adults.’

    The drugs in question are widely used for anxiety and sleep problems. So…if people are anxious and don’t sleep well, and if the drugs cause brain diseases, what’s a person to do?

    And that’s where the link to energy gets interesting. It can be argued that the cheap, abundant fossil fuels are behind a lot of anxiety and sleep problems. For example, we convince ourselves that we need electricity after dark so that we can watch television or the internet, which interrupts our circadian rhythms and disrupts many bodily functions, including sleep. If we didn’t have the cheap fossil fuels, we would most likely sleep better.

    As I have recently noted, we also sleep very well after vigorous sex (or, as vigorous as males are capable of…which women will tell you is sometimes nothing to brag about). It’s about serotonin and melatonin. Instead of driving our two ton SUV around after dark looking for excitement, we should be entertaining our mate.

    Similarly on the anxiety front. With all those fossil fuels, we need not grow anything we eat ourselves. Without the fossil fuels, we would need to garden. And, guess what? Gardening relieves anxiety.

    Don Stewart
    PS This is an example of Fukuoka’s ‘antecedents of antecedents’

    • I don’t take medicines of any kind, with rare exceptions. I looked up bezodiazepines. It mentions Librium and Valium. Also seizure medicines, medicines for muscle spasms and alcohol withdrawal, and insomnia. According to Wikipedia,
      “A 2012 study concludes that new use of benzodiazepine by persons 65 and over is associated with an approximately 50% increase in the risk of dementia.” You seem to be mentioning a new study that adds more evidence along these lines.

  4. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Gail and All
    Two quotes from some recent reading are perhaps relevant to the subjects discussed here:

    Masonobu Fukuoka writing about The Natural Way of Farming…’The more research progresses, the larger the body of scholarly data grows. The antecedent causes of causes increase in number and depth, becoming incredibly complex, such that, far from unraveling the tangled web of cause and effect, science succeeds only in explaining in ever greater detail each of the bends and kinks in the individual threads.’

    And ‘we are complex innovations of the bacterial community’.

    The Fukuoka quote might well be applied to our understanding of health matters. The bitter disputes between the diet doctors, and the accusation that each of them are simply cherry-picking the specific research that supports their view. The fact that the Mediterranean diet was good in history, but seems to have lost its efficacy as an agent of change in the 21st century….(the antecedent causes of causes?) The explosion of ‘new’ diseases such as food allergies and brain diseases and the evidence that the poisons in broccoli may help because a mild toxin stimulates an outsize response by the immune system…more poorly understood antecedents…exactly what is so toxic in the modern environment as to cause the epidemic of the new diseases?…some think it is the daily industrial chemical bath we are all bathed in without our consent.

    And what do the bacteria tell us? The bacteria have erected an unbelievably complex web of life on what was a dead planet. But, but, but…what about Tainter and the Laws of Thermodynamics? It might be well to remember that in an ordinary cell there are 100,000 distinct things interacting. Impossible?

    Don Stewart

  5. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Gail and All
    A free ‘self-reliance’ series of speakers via the internet.
    Subjects such as medicine, food, water, energy, tools, mental attitude, etc.

    Don Stewart

  6. Paul says:

    For climate change activists and those hoping for an energy future dominated by renewables or even less-polluting natural gas, the death of coal cannot come quickly enough. But with coal still the dominant form of cheap electricity throughout the world, it is unlikely the bogeyman of climate change will disappear anytime soon.

    That’s because the price of coal, compared to other fuels, is just too good to refuse. Just look at China, where the country’s double-digit economic growth has largely been fueled by coal, which fulfills 60 percent of its energy mix.

    According to a chart showing the levelized cost of energy — the price at which electricity must be generated from a source to break even — coal is the second-cheapest form of energy behind hydropower, at $40 per megawatt hour.

    Compare that to the cost of nuclear at $60, natural gas at $70, and solar — which at $280 per MWH, is seven times the cost of coal. Coal is also plentiful, relatively easy to extract — though admittedly dangerous if mined underground — and requires minimal processing. And it can be used for power generation (thermal coal) or steelmaking (metallurgical coal).

    Of course, coal-fired plants have exacted an enormous price on air quality, and the Chinese government – which has declared war on pollution — recently banned the use of coal in smog-cloaked Beijing. Last week, it was announced that for the first time in over a decade, Chinese coal imports and coal consumption both dropped.

    While that may seem like a dart in coal’s balloon, coal’s continued use elsewhere is more than making up for China’s restraint.

    Germany doesn’t like to talk about it, but the world leader in the use of renewable energy, particularly solar, is also a big consumer of coal. As The Economist recently pointed out, Germany’s production of power from lignite coal is now at 162 billion kilowatts, the highest level since the smokestack-belching days of East Germany.

    The same article notes that Japan, which has no natural energy resources of its own and is scrambling to meet electricity demand — most of its nuclear reactors have been offline since the 2011 Fukushima disaster — approved a new energy plan in April that includes coal as a long-term electricity source. The Japanese have also invested almost $20 billion in overseas coal projects in the past seven years, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

    In the United States, even though a shale-gas supply boom has seen many utilities shift to cheaper natural gas, the country will still be generating a third of its energy from coal by 2040 (only 10 percent less than now), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). That’s despite a concerted effort by the Obama administration to force the nation’s coal-burning power plants to reduce their carbon emissions by a third over the next 15 years.

    U.S. coal producers have responded to the trend of falling domestic consumption by exporting more coal overseas. A Wall Street Journal chart shows exports of U.S. coal grew from around 50 million metric tons in 2000 to 106.7 million MT in 2013. Most U.S. coal is destined for Europe, with Brazil, South Korea and China close behind.

    All of this is not to suggest that coal producers haven’t had their problems. The price of benchmark thermal coal over the past three years has dropped from more than $130 a ton to around $80. Metallurgical coal is also at a six-year low.

    Despite a huge cutback in production, the coal market continues to be oversupplied. As pointed out recently, waning steel demand in China has forced mines in Australia to close. Australian producers are also threatened by Chinese plans to build more rail capacity for its domestic coal, which would undermine its coal imports.

    In the United States, coal producers are finding it increasingly difficult to lock utilities into long-term contracts that provide stability and protection from price fluctuations. That’s because the utilities want the flexibility to have short-term contracts, or even buy coal on the spot market, since natural gas continues to be a competitive option.

    Looking ahead, though, there doesn’t appear to be a declining demand curve for coal. Consider this: in Africa, some 60 percent of the continent’s population, or more than 600 million people, do not have access to electricity. The EIA predicts African coal consumption will rise by 70 percent by 2040. In India, another big consumer of coal, 300 million people remain disconnected to the electricity grid. The country plans to increase its use of renewable energy by 15 percent by 2020, but still faces the challenge of energy demand exceeding supply by 10 percent.

    Coal is a likely contender to fill that gap. A recent article in Australian Mining states that by 2025, India’s electricity generation from coal will be reduced from 60 percent to “only 50 percent of installed generation – but that doesn’t necessarily mean less coal generation.”

    In the end, it all comes down to price and government policies. If the economics of coal can be beaten by other electricity sources, the old-school fuel will face pressure, as it already has in the U.S. But as market forces continue to drive the various options available for utilities, coal use — particularly in developing nations — is almost certain to go up. Unless governments enact American-style laws to sharply curtail coal power plant emissions, expect King Coal to retain its crown.

    • VPK says:

      Paul, post this all on’s website and be the wet blanket for the upcoming People’s Climate March being held in Manhattan NYC. Actually, I “was” an staunch concerned citizen regarding this “crisis”. Seems the world leaders are staging a get together this upcoming weekend there to act out some sort of agreement on how to continue to use the atmosphere as a sewer and appear that they are really making strides in fighting Global Warming. I expect there will a stately worded protocol on some fanciful reductions that will kick in after the SHTF.
      One thing is I disagree with your reasoning on not acting in a authentic life.
      Have you read Dorothy Day?

      • B9K9 says:

        LULZ. When you really, really understand the true nature of the situation faced, how can you not smile to yourself at the total & complete absurdity? Crack another beer, fire up the BBQ, and watch the fine collection of freak shows displayed on 100s of TV channels.

        I’ve become so inured to what is occurring that it would truly be a shock to be placed in a 1945 America. Small(er) population, still the world’s #1 oil producer, and perhaps the closest we ever got to the principles espoused in the constitution. (BTW, the ultimate bait & switch play of all time – the ultimate “sell the sizzle” while hiding the fine print.)

        On that thought, maybe there is something about cultural influences. Sh!t, the greatest generation really took the entire hook, line & sinker. Even thought a sh!tstorm is looming on the horizon, I actually prefer being alive at this exact moment in time.

      • Paul says:

        The problem is — and the green brigade fails to recognize this — is that these actions are futile…

        And even if they got what they wanted — I guarantee you — they will wish they hadn’t.

        Because if we stop burning fossil fuels or even slow the burning of them — their fairy land of Prius and Tesla cars… their organic diapers…. their Iphones … their sipping of lattes while reading the NYT…. in essence their version of heaven on earth….

        Will not exist.

        They probably think we are living in a version of hell at the moment as we pollute the planet and rape it’s resources….

        But hell on earth is what comes after the the raping stops… when the land supports no crops… when the nuclear waste piles go up in flames…

        This is another one of those matrices that people are captured by — if you explain why what they envision is not possible — they tend not to very interested in the facts…. and they tend to react with a great deal of anger…

        I remain fascinated by this phenomenon… and I am vigilant for matrices that I may be captured by — so that I can smash them.

        Because having epiphanies are most enjoyable experiences… I have had many.

        • Stilgar Wilcox says:

          “Because if we stop burning fossil fuels or even slow the burning of them — their fairy land of Prius and Tesla cars… their organic diapers…. their Iphones … their sipping of lattes while reading the NYT…. in essence their version of heaven on earth….

          Will not exist. ”

          Well put, Paul. So easy to sit upon Mt. Olympus and gaze down upon the fettered masses with disdain for the oil age, while playing with toys extrapolated from the complexity derived from it.

        • VPK says:

          Paul, to be fair, they (we) do have good intentions and unfortunately they are not at all a practical fit to support “our way of life”. Bill McKibben’s book “EAARTH” attempted to define the changes we would have to enact….but are they realistic? Still waiting….

    • dashui says:

      look at coal’s quickly declining productivity-

      • VPK says:

        Best to procure a professional axe and woodcutting tools….

        • Calista says:

          Best to plant something worth coppicing. 😉

          • Jan Steinman says:

            I’m experimenting with Empress Tree (Paulonia tomentosa). Grows as fast as a Normandy poplar, high-tannic rot-resistant wood for fences and such, coppices readily, huge leaves for mulching, and beautiful clumps of purple flowers, too!

            • Calista says:

              Do you know the hardness of that? Does it have good BTUs for the effort put in? I know it is one of those “carvable woods” so it might be considered a softwood with lower BTUs?

            • Jan Steinman says:

              Unless you buy wood by the cord, or have limited storage, I think the volumetric energy density of wood is not very important. All wood has a mass energy density of about 8500 BTU/pound. If it’s less dense, you need more storage and need to feed the stove more often, but I find dense wood to be overrated in general — it’s certainly harder to get burning and keep burning!

              There’s no free lunch. Fast growing trees produce light wood; slow growing trees produce dense wood. They all operate within photosynthetic limits, and produce roughly the same BTUs in the same growing time. But a fast-growing tree can produce shade, habitat, windbreak, mulch, etc. quicker than a denser tree.

              Empress is probably somewhere between cedar and chestnut on the density scale, and nowhere near Maple or Ash. But you’ll have a 40-foot tree in ten years, instead of a 20-foot tree.

              (But I believe in a mix, and we also are growing walnut, which I won’t live long enough to see mature.)

        • Calista says:

          Actually a practical note to add to my previously funny or flippant comment. In the older book “Farmers of 40 centuries” written about China and South East Asia farming techniques in the early part of the 1900s there is something that really grabbed me when I read it. What grabbed me is how they pulled crops from the fields and the stalks of the plant were considered fuel for the kitchen fire. How much of their commerce seemed to be oriented around moving around and saving biomass for fuel. It struck me as obsessive until I realized the lack of other sources of energy that we take for granted today. It gave me a very different perspective towards the “we’ll just burn wood” response. The rich will burn wood or charcoal, the poor, cold beans after they are cooked.

          • Paul says:

            Or: Dry animal dung is used as a fuel in many countries around the world. It is a source of Green fuel used by more than two billion people.[1][2] However it might have some disadvantages as air pollution.[3] As a cheap bioenergy source, it has gained growing interest


          • Thanks for your thoughts. Cooking food is the biggest source of energy use in countries that use very little fuel in total (warm countries that have not have much fossil fuel use). It is surprising how much animal dung is gathered for fuel in some countries. We are far enough away from this situation that we don’t think about it.

      • Thanks for the link. That is a good chart.

    • edpell says:

      Paul, your cost for solar is for daytime solar without any night time storage cost added? If so, what do you estimate the cost for solar with night storage cost added in?

      • Paul says:

        Actually I am not calculating ROI with solar…. I don’t calculate ROI on anything these days because I using the standard measures, I don’t expect a return.

        The way I look at this is what extra cash I have available – and how can I use it to soften the landing post collapse.

        Solar for irrigation makes sense because water is crucial. So I would focus on the gear for that — with redundancy ideally.

        Beyond that I could look solar to power lights etc using battery packs… things that are more superfluous (i can live without solar powered lights but I cannot farm without water) — but the batteries need replacing and I cannot see how that can happen post collapse ….

        So I doubt I will do much about that beyond a few flashlights and lanterns that I have bought that can be charged using solar…

        I am trying to get my thinking process to go Beyond Petroleum (is BP gong to sue me for using that…) — Beyond BAU …. so I am attempting to purge thoughts of cash ROI and the other remnants of civilization that I do not think will apply.

        • kesar says:

          I guess there will be plenty of free batteries. All these useless cars waiting on the streets. At that time you can have any Porsche/Lamborghini/Ferrari for one apple or slice of bread. If you have skills the batteries will be almost free.

      • kesar says:

        There are many places on the web, where you can find these calculations. It depends, as always… what kind of climate you live in? what is the ratio of sunny days? how many people you expect to maintain? what kind of lighting you install? what is your evening/night demand for electricity? what class of energy efficiency appliances you have there?
        Answering those questions is crucial to calculate the costs. For the average family (3-4 persons) my estimations say $30k-100k depending on the parameters above.

        • Paul says:

          I bought a Lorentz submersible pump for $1900+ along with the other kit required to run it — solar panels for this rig would run about $1000 more… my engineer buddy will help me install it for ‘a few beers’ … he’s an Aussie so I am budgeting around $100 for the ‘few beers’

          So there you go – all in for about 3 grand and an endless supply of water (while the rig lasts)

          • kesar says:

            Right, I meant the full rig, including water, heating, cooking, lighting, etc.

            • Paul says:

              Right… I won’t bother with the full rig — here in Bali there is no need for heating or cooling due to moderate temps — although it might be nice to have a fan at night at times (no AC necessary where we are) … lots of forest so I guess we’d cook using wood or a solar oven…. we don’t heat shower water as it is so no need to do that … lighting would be mostly candles – we have a lot of oil lanterns and coconut oil in storage as well …

              I bought some Goal Zero gear a few months ago though — the lanterns and flashlights I mentioned — they come with a battery and panels… was thinking of those mainly for reading and charging the kindles on which I have loaded hundreds of extra books..

  7. Jeremy says:

    Just for fun….more spin on anti-peak oil
    Geo-thermal will save use all….50,000 times more energy than fossil fuels
    and you all here just a bunch of worry warts:

    • Paul says:

      I think we need to start digging holes to the centre of the earth — think of all the jobs that would create — and if we dug enough of them think of all the power we could generate from the intense heat!

      • VPK says:

        Better yet, have Engineers from India draw up plans for a Hole digging machine, the Chinese build it, the Mexicans operate it, and the Government pay for it, while you keep almost all the profits, and have your corporate headquarters in some island state and don’t pay any taxes. Simple is it not?

    • You just have to be in the right place, or have very long electrical transmission lines. Perhaps geothermal could help Japan.

      • edpell says:

        I would venture to say every renewable energy scheme requires lots of long distance transmission. It could be buried under ground bipolar DC lines that emit near zero EMF and are near zero visual impact.

  8. Adam says:

    Since 2008 much has changed, and in a few hours the Scots will start voting on the subject of their future. The opinion polls show that they will vote narrowly in favour of remaining in the UK. The bookies (bookmakers) certainly believe so, and they are rarely wrong. So, everything will soon return to normal. Think so? Think again, says Dan Hodges (son of actress and politician Glenda Jackson), in an extraordinarily trenchant opinion piece. (Incidentally, if you’re wondering about the scars on his face, he was “glassed” in the 1990s, while trying to stop a pub fight).

    Edited extracts:

    “Whatever it is the Scots are voting for tomorrow, it is not a United Kingdom. The Union is nothing more than an apparition. Try to actually touch it, and it melts away. Last week David Cameron made an emotional plea for Scotland to stay. Sadly, only a small number of Scots got to hear his appeal directly. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom wasn’t actually able to walk the streets of the United Kingdom to deliver his message. He had to stay safely within the confines of a small building for his own security. Yesterday, Ed Miliband was chased from those same streets by an angry mob.

    If the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition cannot safely walk the streets of the Union without being accosted by an angry, jeering crowd, precisely what sort of Union is it? Certainly not a political one. If they vote “No” to independence, the Scots will still be offered what has been described as “home rule” (maximum autonomy). In other words, they have been given a guarantee that, whatever people in the rest of the Union might decide, they will be insulated from their political choices. That isn’t political union, it’s political apartheid.

    We currently have a two-tier parliament. Scottish MPs can vote on English issues, but English MPs can’t vote on Scottish issues. Not a union of equals, but a union that gives one nation an effective veto over the affairs of another. In Scotland we see that just under half the people are toying with turning their back on the United Kingdom for good, and the other half are demanding almost total autonomy as the price for remaining within it. In England there are growing calls for similar autonomy. In Wales support for independence is now nudging twenty per cent, and there are similar calls for more devolution. In Northern Ireland people are currently refraining from murdering each other, which apparently represents a great success. If this is union, what exactly would fragmentation look like?

    Scottish nationalism has not been confronted over the course of this campaign. It has been appeased. Similarly, a new English nationalism will not be the product of independence, but the product of the rejection of independence. And I know this because I’m going to be part of it. Before this year I would have described myself as British. But the spectacle of the political establishment tearing up and rewriting the current constitutional settlement, in a desperate attempt to placate Scottish voters, has altered my view. Strong? Our supposedly mighty Union wasn’t even strong enough to withstand one rogue opinion poll.

    Those people who say tomorrow could mark the final day of the Union are wrong. The Union, if it ever really existed, died a long, long time ago.”

  9. B9K9 says:

    For those who doubt what Paul, I and a host of others say about US motives and actions, perhaps it would be wise to revisit a famous quote attributed to K Rove.

    But first, a little background; my father always said the number one fear of the establishment was another Depression. The deep state came “this close” to actually losing control. While the US has always been engaged in empire building, they really embraced the fascist ideal established by the Nazis after WWII.

    Here, presumably, was a sure fire way to not only have mfg production running at full tilt – to supply the MIC – but also to ensure domestic accord and unity of purpose with a common enemy. That is why the Soviet threat had to be exaggerated to create Cold War I, and why when the USSR collapsed, we needed a new enemy as soon as possible.

    Now, I can’t say that I can complain about defense expenditures, because our family was a primary beneficiary. Nice neighborhood (still one of the finest in the Silicon valley), lots of travel, good education, etc. The one key to remember was that the economic prosperity was all an illusion, one that could be economically dangerous if you didn’t understand what you were dealing with.

    OK, so back to Rove:
    “That’s not the way the world really works anymore.” We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

    Here we have a deeply imbedded actor actually telling the truth. Listen to what he’s saying and accept it as the Dog’s honest truth. If you understand what he means, and don’t have any latent/continuing emotional hang-ups like Paul, then you too can enjoy an easy life by simply living life according to these principles.

    • Paul says:

      if they feared a Depression then they must be absolutely horrified by the current situation … because what is coming will make the Depression of the 30’s look like prosperity…

      We are talking the end of civilization here — the least of their worries will be the loss of control, wealth and power…. their very lives are at stake.

      I would suggest that for the first time in history the PTB are under direct threat… they are about to know what defeat tastes like… they are about to see what despair feels like.

      Of course that is why we are seeing every trick in the book thrown at this crisis — they are in a corner — and they are frightened…

      As they should be. The silver spoons are about to be taken from their mouths.

  10. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Gail and All
    Resilence has posted a very good interview with Dan Barber, a New York chef who practices a new form of ‘farm to table’.

    I want to call your attention to a couple of items. Let it be known that I think Barber is doing the Lord’s work…I just don’t think Dan or anyone else has all the bits and pieces of this jigsaw puzzle assembled as yet.

    For example, in the article you will see that distribution is a major stumbling block. A sustainable and highly productive farm does not look at all like an Iowa field of beans or corn. But the Iowa field is absolutely the cheapest way to distribute the product….given cheap fossil fuels and the industrial system they support.

    Consider the crop rotations that the farmer’s who supply Dan use. These are essentially successaive monocultures. That is, the winter cover crop is succeeded by the summer crop which is succeeded by the planting of a different cover crop. Many small farmers around here have 7 or more year rotations worked out on paper. The small farmers mostly sell directly to consumers through vehicles such as farmer’s markets or locally owned grocery stores or CSAs. The farmer knows, around here, that this is pepper season, and has one plot of land dedicated to the peppers, including the supporting trellises that the peppers grow on.

    Contrast this system with the 3 Sisters system widely used by native Americans. The 3 sisters used a nitrogen fixer, a tall maize plant, and a climbing squash plant, all planted together. The 3 Sisters are an ecosystem in a way that no rotational system ever attains. The 3 Sisters are much more like gardening than like farming.

    If we aspire to take advantage of all the wonderful things that Mother Nature can do to feed us, we have to move beyond the 3 Sisters and think in terms of perennial polycultures with annuals playing a subservient role. Plants are designed to communicate with their environment, including other plants, microbes, insects, water, seasonal cycles, etc. The communication powers neural nets which optimize ecosystem functioning. But these neural nets never form in a field of genetically identifical corn or beans which is killed at the end of the growing season.

    If you want to see the power of self-organizing neural nets in action, find some undisturbed prairie and study it. Or an old-growth forest. Or an undisburbed wetland.

    My conclusions are threefold:
    1. Dan Barber’s system will not survive a serious reduction in fossil fuel supplies.
    2. In the future we will have to become more dependent on gardening and less dependent on farming. Or farming will have to move in the direction of gardening.
    3. The less fossil fuels we have to overpower Nature, the more we will have to move in the direction of highly productive self-organizing neural nets. Monsanto and the USDA have no clue.

    Don Stewart

    • Don Stewart says:

      Dear tmsr
      Consider the difference between the 3 Sisters which uses a nitrogen fixer as one of the Sisters and the maize growing method which the native Americans showed to the Pilgrims.

      The Pilgrims were shown how to bury a fish along with the seed for the maize. The fish rotted underground and released nitrogen which fed the maize. The natives did not throw all the fish onto a pile, wait until it rotted, and then bury it. The Plymouth natives were one of the antecedents of Bokashi. There were apparently people doing similar things in the East, and the scientist who developed Bokashi studied these ancient systems and modernized them.

      I’m not knocking either method. Geoff Lawton has speculated that lots of humans will die because of the disappearance of synthetic nitrogen. So…it may very well be true that we should be perfecting lots of methods for keeping nitrogen in the soil.

      Don STewart

      • Jan Steinman says:

        “Geoff Lawton has speculated that lots of humans will die because of the disappearance of synthetic nitrogen.”

        And yet, each one of us produces 100-200 mg of bioavailable nitrogen every day!

        Pee on your plants, folks! (Preferably after diluting about 10:1 with water.)

    • VPK says:

      Perhaps, that is if the angry HUNGRY roving mobs don’t overrun, devour these beautiful, rotating gardens and stomp the gardener in the process. Of course, that is unlikely because our police will be their to enforce law and order and protect “private” property.

      • Christian says:

        I’ve noticed people around me (which are not gardeners neither work on ag) doesn’t see very much interest in buying land, working on the soil etc. It’s risky to be found in the organic wave when TSHF: everybody will remember you and many will come to visit. And selling one’s house to buy land is not obviously useful given the later will be free in some years. People rather tends to wait until TSHF and trust the soil will give something.

        There is an organic distribution “coop” (informal: black market) in my area; they don’t work on fresh but on long lasting stuff: grains, flours, jams etc. I came to know there is a guy who is an economist and a politician behind this kinda coop. And I know he is aware of PO and LTG just as we are. While he plays in the governing party his suggestions (don’t know what he had proposed) resulted unheard and he was “frozen” (meaning he was not dismissed from his unimportant job but he is no more allowed to drive political gatherings). I suppose he was not dismissed because his father was a very important person. Now, what I see is this guy’s strategy stands on keeping in touch with organic producers and have a permanent stock of fresh organic seeds, so at any moment he can plant himself.

        The scarcest resources here will be organic seeds, gardening tools and houses in the land; also fertile land while some plots (say those that will be holding cows) will work somewhat. But when electricity goes out the really scarcest resource will be water cause it’s pumped or treated in plants in more than 95% of cases. I expect when electricity goes out people will leave cities and walk along the rivers, so perhaps it’s not good to be found there. The point is the best places to develop a non industrial society are somewhat to avoid, and people doesn’t invest in building some post collapse structure because chaos is expected to destroy it.

        • kesar says:

          Wise men you have there, Christian. I wish I could find similarly aware in my neighbourhood.

          Durable, low-maintenance and well insulated (depends on the climate, obviously) buildings are crucial, I guess. You will not have civilization without good long lasting buildings. For people and for animals as well. IMO this is the last stage, when the energy and the most technologically advanced materials and technologies are available. You won’t get better designed houses for post-peak-oil architecture, than right now.

          The issue with water is real, I believe. On one hand people will need fresh, clean and plenty of water. On the other hand you are right, the hordes from cities will migrate and some of them will use roads, others might follow river beds. Tough choice, I guess. Also mine. I am looking for the right (safe, moderately isolated, lot of resources – forest, arable land, water, low density and integrated community) location for my house.

          • Paul says:

            I wonder if the hordes will pour into the countryside when the SHTF…. my prediction – which I have mentioned previously – is that the PTB will not allow this chaotic situation …

            I think they will declare martial law … tell people to stay put — leaders come on the teeveee and explain that the situation is tough but we will get through it — they will deliver the usual hopium about green shoots (and this time we will be hoping that is not a metaphor hehe) are about to sprout…. the cavalry is coming with food and warter…

            Nobody is allowed into the streets — those that try are shot dead — people weaken — they die — and within a month or sooner so most people are dead.

            I am sure the PTB would see this as a much better solution than hordes rampaging through the streets looting and pillaging … they would not want a Mad Max outcome.

            • VPK says:

              Maybe….maybe not…..unruly mobs have overturned best laid plans….maybe the soldiers decide not to obey or the citizens are armed and fight. Hard to predict.
              I know for one thing…I won’t stay put and starve….rather be shot

            • Paul says:

              Or get out of dodge before the SHTF and martial law is declared…

              I would hope there would be warning signs before this hits — but I am not sure — if the PTB have concluded there is nothing more they can do — say the data comes in and they see peak all oil is imminent — I doubt they would wait until the oil markets and economy started to collapse… they’d pre-empt the chaos with whatever Plan B is (I am certain that involves martial law and shoot to kill) … likely with an announcement on a Sunday evening…

              Since people tend to obey their government I doubt many would take to the streets — they will hold up and wait for the promises…

              If I happen to be caught in a city when this happens I doubt I will run … I don’t want to be gunned down without watching the Main Event — heaven no — I would never consider missing the Big One!!!

              I am generally in hotels when I am in cities so I suppose I will order up some food and the best scotch they have — I’ll flip on the tube — most DEFINITELY CNN (because I am curious to see how they spin this…) — and will watch things unravel until the signal goes dead….

              Difficult to say what I’d do after I ran out of sustenance — but I’d probably take a flying leap out the window vs lie in bed and slowly expire…

              I’d like to say I hope I am on the farm at the time — but I might later find myself wishing I was in the city … a quick sharp pain is often better than a long drawn out throbbing pain… particularly when the end-game is the same.

            • kesar says:

              I know your predictions, Paul. And even if I take them as probable, such scenario (1984 like) seems possible in some parts of the world, like US for example. And it will be temporary till the juice runs out.

              I can’t see it where I live. It will be played with regional specific. Unless we have total global warfare.

            • Paul says:

              Yes I agree – temporary. Till the mega die-off is complete.

            • VPK says:

              The rebel Earth First! author Edward Abbey once wrote that it was INTENTIONAL to push the family farmers off their land and concentrate all the people in the cities. better to control the masses. he said the “PTB” were wary of the farmers because they were independent, vocal, political and hard to control.
              So, Paul, you may be right.
              P.S. Believe it or not say a car in a Walgreen parking lot with 3 or 4 children climbing about the seats with 3 Little Caesar”s Pzza on the dash and a couple of Liters of Soda being past about. Mom was at the Redbox renting a movie screaming at them.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              “Edward Abbey… said the “PTB” were wary of the farmers because they were independent, vocal, political and hard to control.”

              As Eliot Coleman (forgot to put him on my list of charismatic farmers) put it:

              The small organic farm greatly discomforts the corporate/industrial mind because the small organic farm is one of the most relentlessly subversive forces on the planet. Over centuries both the communist and the capitalist systems have tried to destroy small farms because small farmers are a threat to the consolidation of absolute power. Thomas Jefferson said he didn’t think we could have democracy unless at least 20% of the population was self-supporting on small farms so they were independent enough to be able to tell an oppressive government to stuff it. It is very difficult to control people who can create products without purchasing inputs from the system, who can market their products directly thus avoiding the involvement of mercenary middlemen, who can butcher animals and preserve foods without reliance on industrial conglomerates, and who can’t be bullied because they can feed their own faces.

        • Jan Steinman says:

          “selling one’s house to buy land is not obviously useful given the later will be free in some years.”

          I don’t know. That would depend on the severity of the crash, no?

          In 2008, we suffered an “Orlov Level One” crash. Some people may have died as a result, but farmland did not become “free.”

          It seems more likely that there will always be competition for resources that supply food, unless you really think a lot of people will go away very fast. I just don’t see any credible models that support that.

          In many ways, “doomer culture” is as delusional as “business as usual.” What is more truthful, sustainable, or responsible about waiting for a big die-off, so you can live off dead people’s land?

          • kesar says:

            I agree. There is some level of drama, which will not be worth living in.

          • Paul says:

            Jan – I am with Gail on the conclusion that when the system cracks up — the oil and gas that are in the ground will almost certainly remain in the ground – because they require BAU to get extracted… as we can already see — even with BAU functioning — Big Oil is having trouble with making extraction work….

            2008 was the shot across the bow — it was not the real deal – I think the next iteration of this is the big one…. I think the central banks are throwing the entire arsenal at this thing now…

            So assuming the oil and gas stop — I fail to see how we don’t have a massive die-off…. we cannot feed 7.2B people without oil and gas inputs.

            The central banks will do absolutely everything they can but at some point they will lose control…. as we saw in 08 – the system can unravel in literally days — in fact it can happen overnight.

            The next time around I cannot see how they can back stop BAU.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              “So assuming the oil and gas stop…”

              That’s too big an assumption for me.

              Yea, tight oil will stop, perhaps tar sands, too. But there is a lot of conventional oil still out there, and we can function on much less oil. Decline rates of 3% to 6% (as predicted by Hubbert) will allow a steadily decreasing supply of conventional oil, punctuated by crises as the odd shale oil company goes bankrupt and causes another 2008-style panic.

              Ugo Bardi shows that Italy is currently using the same amount of petroleum they used in 1967! And yet, things there don’t look too crashed.

              Civilization will go out with a whimper, not a bang. I know that’s a hard thing for all you doomers to think about! In many ways, that’s a lot worse; not as dramatic. The skeletons of doomers will be found next to their bug-out bags, surrounded by plastic wrappers of their emergency food.

              Kunstler calls this “The Long Emergency” for a very good reason. It’s boiling frog time!

              Doomers don’t like to hear this, but this means that some of us have some time to get our act together… if we started yesterday. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it! 🙂

            • Paul says:

              Jan – if a single part breaks on one of the rigs that pumps conventional oil breaks – how do you replace it? Those are complex machines — I am sure they break constantly. The manufacturing of the parts require BAU

              And even if you could still pump the oil — what use is it without a refinery?

              Let’s have a look inside a refinery

              I am not clear how we keep something like that operating without BAU.

              The oil will still be there — but you won’t be able to get it out or refine it. Ugo Bardi doesn’t seem to understand the second part of the equation.

            • Jarle B says:

              Jan Steinman wrote:
              “Ugo Bardi shows that Italy is currently using the same amount of petroleum they used in 1967! And yet, things there don’t look too crashed.”

              Remember: First there is decline, than at some point a quake. I think Italy is not far from what can be called a crash…

            • Paul says:

              To those who do not dig deeply it will always look fine (because that’s what the MSM tells them) — until it explodes.

              That is why very few people get out of the markets before any crash. And then afterwards they remark ‘I didn’t see that coming and I got destroyed’

            • Jan Steinman says:

              See Ed Pell’s comment about Egypt — for which I am grateful! I was running out of patience with the doomers.

              Think of human civilization as a pyramid. The base of the pyramid is our basic energy pool. It is huge, starting out at about 250 million years of stored sunlight.

              At the apex of the pyramid are smart phones, MRIs, Credit-Default-Obligations, etc. Along the outside slopes of the pyramid are things that have become needlessly, overly complex, such as engines with computerized fuel injection, genetically modified organisms, modern medicine.

              But inside the pyramid are treasures of technology of days past: mechanical diesel engines, herbal medicine, donkey carts.

              As fossil fuel goes into decline, the base of the pyramid becomes smaller, and things at the apex and outer surfaces must slough off. They land near the base with a mighty roar of a crash, and everyone says, “Life cannot possibly go on without our smart phones and computerized engines and heroic life support!”

              And then some guy in Cairo whips out a file and fixes the alternator of an old, non-computerized car. He tries to call his client on a rotary dial phone to tell him the car is ready, but the phones are down today, so he sends a kid on a run with a piece of scrap paper, written in pencil — all the ball-point pens quit working long ago, and only the wealthy have fountain pens. The pencil was made in a nearby village using a simple hydraulic press, but sometimes when that isn’t working, they use levers of wood and heavy rocks to press the charcoal into graphite.

              Cairo is ready for the next reduction in the base of the pyramid. When the angle of repose becomes too great, and the difference between the static and kinetic coefficient of friction becomes nil, the telephone system and the hydraulic presses will stop working, and the next layer of the pyramid will be revealed.

              Civilization will go out with a whimper, not with a bang.

            • kesar says:

              To be honest I am ambivalent in this matter.
              I can’t imagine fast collapse, since I know that humans have a lot of adaptation capabilities.
              I can’t imagine slow decline either, since our system is very complex and interconnected and Paul’s arguments/questions (as well as mine) are unanswered.
              Egypt is a good example. Egypt is several levels less complex society, than the western ones. Their use of energy per capita is small fraction of US. Therefore their fall is less dramatic and they can somehow adapt. At the same time they still consume oil and its derivatives, so it’s not the full blowout.
              The model of behaviour of people in Egypt is similar to other nations reaction – food prices go up, people go out to the streets, they organise riots, economy is crumbling… so forth.
              There are some certain differences, though. People in cold climate, say NY or Washington will not survive winter without heating – or maybe they will survive 1-2 winters burning furniture or nearby trees, but then what? Food prices will not only skyrocket. Food will be unavailable in many places – no oil = no food.
              So maybe instead of calling any one doomer you can answer questions like: how do you feed 7.2 billion people with say 50% of today’s oil consumption? Or how do you heat their homes? How do you provide basic health-care service? How are you going to maintain security? How do you organise work for people to keep them busy?


            • Jan Steinman says:

              “I can’t imagine fast collapse, since I know that humans have a lot of adaptation capabilities.
              I can’t imagine slow decline either, since our system is very complex and interconnected…”

              It’s going to be both.

              The ecological term is “punctuated equilibrium.” I find HT Odum explains it nicely in Chapter 5 of A Prosperous Way Down.

              “how do you feed 7.2 billion people with say 50% of today’s oil consumption? Or how do you heat their homes? How do you provide basic health-care service? How are you going to maintain security? How do you organise work for people to keep them busy?”

              We don’t.

              They will have to make do with what still lies within the emergy pyramid.

              Back to Odum:

              The developed nations that depend on nonrenewable resources for 80 to 90 percent of their energy will eventually have to reduce either their populations or their living standard (emergy use) by 80 to 90 percent. (pp 169-170, A Prosperous Way Down)

              The good news is that, as Odum notes, we can reduce emergy as at least a partial substitute to reducing population. This can take place over some period of time. Not sure we will do it, though — reducing population is so much easier.

            • kesar says:

              Yes, Odum is one of the very few pioneers of real science. And I agree.

              “The good news is that, as Odum notes, we can reduce emergy as at least a partial substitute to reducing population. This can take place over some period of time. Not sure we will do it, though — reducing population is so much easier.”

              But how do you call “reducing population” within 5-15 years period? Isn’t it a collapse? If not what is? Maybe the real issue in our discussion is the lenght of this period?

            • Jan Steinman says:

              Tongue in cheek. I was alluding to the fact that it is easier to let people die, or even to actually kill them, than it is to change one’s own behaviour.

              Ideally, some combination of voluntary restraint coupled with somewhat accelerated attrition would do the trick, but I’m not optimistic. Not many will give up their “necessities” until they are taken away.

            • Paul says:

              Egypt (like the collapsed USSR) continues to be supported by BAU.

              The US, Saudi’s and others continue to keep Egypt on life support by providing money. If that were cut off you would see a right proper collapse in Egypt. The government provides huge food subsidies particularly for bread — if the foreign aid stopped that would stop.

              What we have seen in the past couple of years would be nothing compared to what a full collapse would look like i.e. a complete collapse of the global economy.

              The military would quickly run out of bullets and tear gas — and fuel. So the hordes would eventually overrun the government demanding democracy — which really means they demand prosperity.

              And no government could deliver that. You cannot get water from a stone.

              And the die off would commence very quickly — because the shops would empty – the bread subsidies would remain but there would be no bread… and the die-off would begin.

              The thing we have to get our minds around here is that this will be a global collapse. It will not be a tsunami here… an earthquake there…. there will be no BAU to help — there will be no UN to help — or OXFAM …

              When the oil stops – civilization stops.

              We need to push this out of the way to get a grasp of what is coming our way

            • Jarle B says:

              Jan Steinman wrote:
              “Civilization will go out with a whimper, not with a bang.”

              I have never said anything about bangs; falling down the stairs with some high steps is what I expect.

            • Calista says:

              Can you imagine a broken leg in that situation. Ouch.

            • Daddio7 says:

              I don’t have to imagine. I have been trying to ignore the dull ache in my lower jaw but I know it’s another failed root canal. I have broken into my stash of antibiotics but next week it will have to pulled. Now imaging that without Novocaine!

            • Calista says:

              I can imagine. I had a tooth abscess to the point of temporary blindness. Teeth are very close to optic nerves. 😀 Good Luck!

            • Paul says:

              I don’t recall that scene on Little House on the Prairie… the one where Laura’s tooth splits … and the drag her out to the barn and pappa braces against the cow stall … forces open her mouth … and rips that tooth out with pliers… blood gushes out… she howls in agony… and prays that it doesn’t get infected …

              Just a little whiff of the reality that is coming our way when BAU is no longer there to help.

              Keep on printing Janet… I need a crown on a cracked tooth before the SHTF…

            • Jan Steinman says:

              People have been setting broken bones long before there was petroleum. Not as unpleasant as it is with anesthesia and antibiotics, but comfrey is supposed to work wonders — it’s also known as “bonestitch.”

            • Paul says:

              Jan – I was in the middle of a massive riot in Cairo last year — bottles, stones, tear gas — the works. BAU was still maintaining control — the hordes could do minimal damage because there were armed soldiers stopping the worst of it — and as we subsequently saw – the PTB in Egypt started to shoot protestors — sending a message – you stop – or you die.

              Without BAU the people would tear that place apart — I have experienced nothing like this in my life — the power and the anger of the mob — the sweating snarling desperation on the faces of 20 year old kids — who have nothing — who demand a decent life.

              If left unchecked (i.e. total collapse of BAU) these hordes would indict and destroy government after government because there would be no way to deliver what they want – jobs and food. The country would tear itself to pieces. Tens of millions would definitely be killed – in the violence – from starvation – from disease.

              The same would play out in country after country. The masses will demand that governments do something – and the governments will be powerless beyond imposing martial law for a time.

              I agree that yes some would survive – and they would attempt to patch old junk together kind of like McGyver — or Mad Max…. they’d put to use some of the detritus of the previous civilization to help the grow food.

              But what are the odds of being one of those that make it through what is going to be ultimate chaos — and what sort of life will those who survive have?

              I am with you on trying to come out the other side alive — but I wonder if I might wish had not when I see that looks like.

              I was reading the Atlantic article ‘I want to die at 75’ — as the author states for him life is about quality – not about hanging on while suffering mentally and physically…

              There are parallels here — do I want to continue to live a life that is likely involve continuous suffering … violence, disease, deprivation….

              My DNA obliges me to attempt to do so — we are hard-wired to survive

              Look around the world at the horrific conditions humans endure — yet most do not kill themselves… But I bet a great many of them wish they’d be put out of their misery.

              I see something more along the lines of Mad Max rather than Chris Martenson…. humans have never co-existed peacefully… we are vicious animals…

              That will not stop just because the PTB are gone.

            • Unfortunately, the great levelers are viruses and other microbes. When things start going wrong, I am afraid death rates start going up. Everyone doesn’t die at once, but we can expect current life expectancies.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              Yes, reduced life expectancy is part of the outer layer of the civilization pyramid that will “slough off.” Some people will still live to 90. Many more will die earlier, bringing down the average. There are some things we can do to stay in the “live to 90 group,” but there is a lot of it that will be totally up to chance and random events.

            • Don Stewart says:

              Dear Jan and Gail
              Regarding chance. Charles Hugh Smith has an article in his weekend note to subscribers about the potential for Ebola to mutate into an airborne disease, rather than a bodily fluids disease, in terms of transmission. There are already demonstrated cases of airborne transmission between different (non-human) species. Might be worth dusting off The Plague by Albert Camus.

              Don Stewart

            • Mary Odum’s article on Ebola is interesting.

              She usually writes about Emergy, but her “day job” is teaching nursing, so writes about Ebola from her nursing perspective. According to her

              The ECDC has recently defined high-risk exposure criterion for Ebola as “close face-to-face contact (e.g. within one metre) without proper personal PPE, including eye protection, with a probable or confirmed case who was coughing, vomiting, bleeding, or who had diarrhea.” That definition contradicts WHO claims that air travel is “low risk,” especially as the epidemic spreads. The difference between airborne and droplet precautions is a matter of distance, and there is no established science on what distance is safe.

          • Christian says:

            Hey Jan, waiting and taking it’s not my plan, while it’s what most people think when confronted with the expression “capitalism evaporation”. It’s not land scarcity which affraid them most because land is there and will remain, beyond propery issues. It’s the only thing that will surely be there, as rivers and aquifers and trees perhaps. What scares most people is the lack of skill and will and almost all known certainties

        • Paul says:

          I agree that when things really go on the boil there will be plenty of land available — the issue will be that most of it has been farmed with chemicals…. additionally, even if one finds good clean land, it takes time to get a crop out of the ground …

          How to survive in the meantime?

          Perhaps shift to a low density farming area (no mega industrial farms – ideally an area where there are many small scale organic farms) and take a long term lease (or buy if you have the cash) — fill the basement with at least 2 years of canned and dried food — buy tools, seeds, etc… install a bore powered by solar (buy back up gear) for irrigation and wait….

          If one has to remain in the city for work then this would be the bolt hole to speed off to when the SHTF — in the meantime it could also be a pleasant weekend retreat in the country….

          It may or may not work but it would give one some peace of mind that one has options…

          • Christian says:

            Exactly Paul. Don’t do so much before, but be ready to full gear when needed. Can perhaps stockpile some NPK. It’s springtime here and I’m planting everywhere in my small garden. The kid likes it and helps, which I found most rewarding.

            And Paul, you know at some point if you have extra tools you will found some young people highly interested in doing something for you… 20 kgs. of iron and some trees look better than a pension fund, that’s where we are

            Regarding the general trend, the only thing I take for granted is things will worsen and one day lights will go out forever. The process is playing out differently along many places, and will involve more political, financial, economical and demographical changes. And the laters will be the real game changers: it’s important to remark we use to believe economics are driving mainstream ideology but this is not entirely true. Life preservation is a general value of greater incarnation, so it’s easier for a gov to mask and dismiss 5% less GDP than 5% less population. So I expect the day the gov (civil or militar) fails in feeding almost everybody it’s over for the gov and the lights goes off.

            While there are some delays at different places, at some poing this will play out worldwide at the same moment or so. Not just because of supply chains, but because of the ideological need of a somewhat functioning world; we can’t play soccer world championship if say a fifth of the participants can’t send a team

            So the govs will hold on at maximum speed allowed till lights goes off. And then what? The trend I see is several million dead people in a few months, because of lack of everything rather suddenly. Imagine the lights goes off tomorrow. Imagine next year, the next one, in five years, ten; how much could this change? Paul asks if some big cats will act and turn it a ceremony

            That’s what is called the bottleneck. A transitory migration to a remote place (hiding some things at home or in a selected location) may result very useful, provided you are able to come back walking or riding some animal, in case roads are blocked

            • Paul says:

              Agree – but I think billions vs millions dead – in short order. I fail to see how we will be able to feed people. It’s not as if there has been a movement to permaculture – if anything we have accelerated industrial food production based on chemical inputs.

              It’s as if Kirk sees the wall ahead — and instead of slowing he screams at Mr Scott – WARP SPEED SCOTTY!!!

              And Scotty’s saying the engines can’t take any mooor captun… WARP SPEED SCOTTY WARP SPEED!!!

              See – the best of warp speed

    • Man has evolved as a predator, not a gardener
      Our forward facing eyes with steroscopic vision proves that—whereas ‘grazers’ have eyes generally on either side of the head.
      fantasise all you want about gardening, but you won’t undo 5 million years of evolution

      • Jan Steinman says:

        “Man has evolved as a predator, not a gardener… Our forward facing eyes with steroscopic vision proves that”

        Oh, I thought our “forward facing eyes with steroscopic vision” evolved so that we could do intricate things with our hands, like technology!

        And if we had been meant to fly, we would have evolved wings.

        • the most important intricate thing you do with your hands/eyes is catching food and eating it.
          By and large grazers eat food that cannot run away

          • It is hard for me to imagine humans being capable of catching much in the way of prey without the help of tools. Mostly little things like earthworms and insects.

            • my personal pet theory about tool use/brain development/hand-eye coordination, that it’s all due to the womenfolk.
              Men go after big nasty creatures that a/ can run faster, or b/ will turn and eat you.
              whereas women have young to care for whether men get eaten or not.
              So—where’s the best food supply that doesn’t run away? Shellfish.
              And what do you need to get inside shellfish? Tools
              men use brute force, women, being weaker, have to work things out
              A woman can prise open shellfish, and supply her offspring with the best foodsource with minimum risk, thus ensuring survival

    • Daddio7 says:

      Have you tried subsistence farming? You can do it if you want but we (the rest of the world) are not going to. You and a few hundred million like minded people can put guns to our heads and make us but we are not going back to the 1st century voluntarily? I did the monoculture farming thing for 25 years and that was hard enough.

      • Don Stewart says:

        Dear Daddio7
        My plate is full just doing what I do. It has its rewards. Other people have to follow their own inclinations.
        Don Stewart

        • Daddio7 says:

          Do any of you people have a job or business to run? I’m on SS and disabled so I have an excuse to sit in front of my computer all day and half the night.
          Seriously, the people here understand that people are going to look after their own interests and comfort even if it’s going to come to grief soon. No one wants to bicycle to work, even the Chinese and Indians are buying cars, their cities are clogging with motorized traffic.
          These discussions are entertaining but like you say, each of us can only look after our own affairs.

          • Jeremy says:

            Ya, I bought a cheap 10 speed bike and have used it not that often. The streets are not rider friendly and the folks in cars are dangerous. In the Boston area I was hit 3 times by a car on a bike. After reading about several fatalities of cars and autos, I decided to stop.
            I tried again and found it has not changed at all today, 15 years later.
            Sorry, but I do not want to be crippled by someone looking at that smart phone while driving

            • Jan Steinman says:

              “I was hit 3 times by a car on a bike.”

              Wow. How do they get their big, fat tires into those tiny toe-clips?

              (Sorry. Couldn’t resist my English teacher upbringing… 🙂

          • Paul says:

            Daddio — my job mainly requires that I sit in front of a lap top waiting for emails and skype messages…. so in the intervals I scour the internet for knowledge and understanding — and I drop in here from time to rattle the cage …

          • ordinaryjoe says:

            “Do any of you people have a job or business to run? I’m on SS and disabled so I have an excuse to sit in front of my computer all day and half the night.”

            Thats nice that your on SS but its really none of my business. Perhaps we all could send you our resumes so you could judge our relative work ethic? Your repeated attempts to characterize the participants of this forum- in this case lazy- reveals either a unwillingness to honestly discuss issues or other agenda. Please prove me wrong. Your posts generally add value to this forum. You dont seem like the shy type. No need to call names whats on your mind?

            • Daddio7 says:

              I really need a sarcasm key on my computer. I meant just the opposite. I believe all you here are successful, busy people but most any commit by me receives an immediate response from someone. I am pleased that you personal think I ad value to the discussion. Just like when I comment on the Slashdot tech site I try to sound as rational and intelligent as I can. Unlike trolling Drudge Report where everyone tries to be outrageous.

            • ordinaryjoe says:

              “I really need a sarcasm key on my computer. I meant just the opposite. I believe all you here are successful, busy people but most any commit by me receives an immediate response from someone. I am pleased that you personal think I ad value to the discussion. Just like when I comment on the Slashdot tech site I try to sound as rational and intelligent as I can. Unlike trolling Drudge Report where everyone tries to be outrageous.”

              Thank you for your response. Im reading too much into things.. Please accept my apology. I saw your post as either a attempt to have people disclose personal information or a attempt to characterize patrons of this site in a negative fashion. This is a pretty common technique on the internet to gain disclosure of personal information- insult or characterize in such a manner that rebuttal requires disclosure of personal information. My bad. Im not very trustful of internet persona’s..

        • InAlaska says:

          In my neck of the woods (Alaska, obviously) we are shutting down for the growing season. Just harvested the last of our carrots and potatoes (several hundred pounds), green beans and snow peas in the freezers. Last month, my wife and I harvested 74 red salmon from the river below the house which will provide high quality omega 3 fat and protein. Last night, my son and I killed a bull moose from a tree stand down the vallye which, after processing, will provide us with about 1000 pounds of red meat. We have yet to lay aside our wood for winter heating, but with 4 cords of spruce left over from last winter, we only need to cut 8 more cords. October is a sweet month. Still warm with golden yellow leaves fluttering to the ground. I feel like a rich man.

      • Paul says:

        Subsistence farming…. tough stuff and I can imagine most people would rather die that live like that …

        I was thinking about that last night … imagining what it will be like to only eat what I grow … to be locked into the prison that would be the immediate area where I make my stand … no vehicle save a bike — no spare energy (or time) to go much beyond the gate…. no shops to buy an ice cream or a bag of nuts — no restaurants… no medical care… this well and truly would be a prison.

        And I was thinking …perhaps the best option would be to shuffle up to Laos — I’ve always liked Luang Prabang … and just drift away on a peaceful cloud of opium….

        Unfortunately other obligations preclude that… but it remains a romantic and tantalizing thought…

        • Jan Steinman says:

          “Subsistence farming…. tough stuff and I can imagine most people would rather die that live like that … I was thinking about that last night … imagining what it will be like to only eat what I grow … to be locked into the prison that would be the immediate area where I make my stand … no vehicle save a bike — no spare energy (or time) to go much beyond the gate…. no shops to buy an ice cream or a bag of nuts — no restaurants… no medical care… this well and truly would be a prison.”

          Sheesh. You’re one spoiled dude!

          My parents grew most of the food for a family of seven while both working full-time jobs. I had only been out of my home state once, and then not outside three counties, until I was 20. I spent most of my first 20 years within a five-mile radius of our farm. Today, I get off my island about every other month, and spend most of my time in a three hundred metre radius. Prison? I consider it heaven! Can’t remember the last time I bought an ice cream cone, although I make a batch from time to time. Restaurant? What’s that? Oh yea, those places that I sell food to! Medical care? A naturopath is 1 km from here; I last saw him in 2009, I think. I grow and process a dozen or so herbal preparations that take care of 95% of my medical needs.

          People today are way too soft. They’ll be tested soon enough. When I bring my excess veggies down to the food bank, I see people chatting and texting on smart phones while they wait in line — I can’t afford a smart phone, let alone a data plan! But if the excrement is applied to the ventilator, I’ll be eating, while they conceivably can text someone for help, I guess. If the phones are still working.

          • Paul says:

            Jan – think this through — we are not returning to Little House on the Prairie — we are returning to a situation somewhere between the stone age and Mad Max…

            Keep in mind there was energy available pre-industrial revolution – coal — massive forests – oil bubbling to the surface — I have read a number of books written by pioneers in Canada in the 1800s… and even with the availability of energy and them having the skills and mentality to live in a very difficult world — they were in many years on the verge of starvation.

            Maybe some amongst us have those skills — but wait till put to the test and we shall see — one thing we most definitely won’t have is much in the way of energy beyond wood…

            Of course others may overrun you rip up your fields leaving you starving… how do you get ready for that?

            In this world there will be no job to go to – non income to soften the blow and buy some food.

            There will be nothing but spending your days on your farm growing food. That’s it. Period.

            No electricity. No money to buy anything. Not much of anything to buy.

            Your shovel breaks? Where will you get another one?

            You cut yourself and you might suffer and die.

            Your tooth hurts? Pull it out with pliers

            I have been to places like this — remote places in Indonesia — where they might not see a trekker for years. They subsistence farm. They don’t even have a plastic bottle – you can literally buy nothing – save some vegetables or a pig.

            There are no smiling faces in these villages — the children are sullen and sickly looking – this is a nasty short and brutish life.

            Call me soft — or call me realistic. Do I want to live like the people in these villages? No way.

            Has anyone on this site every tried to go a month without any sort of contact with the outside world?

            Without buying a single thing. Without eating anything other than what they have produced themselves (no cheating and digging into the cupboard for a jar of peanut butter). Has anyone turned off the electricity for a month. Parked the car and the tractor and the tiller in the shed and done everything by hand.

            Jan – you recommended a book (forget the title) but it was about a family that tried to do this in the US… on land they bought from the Nearings… it didn’t take very long before they started to ‘cheat’ and use mechanization for a lot of tasks…. not that I blame them — if it is available why not?

            My point being that even these very dedicated young people suffered tremendously when they started out… and they chose to remain on the fringes of BAU (they ended up as most do – motivated by money…)

            Are they soft? We are all soft – it is all relative.

            I do not think that I am soft — I have done some very difficult things specifically to test my mettle — to see where my physical and mental breaking points are. I have been close but never given up….

            However lock the gates up here in the jungle and force me to live exclusively off this hunk of land — to likely never see most friends and family again — to never enjoy any sort of convenience that I am used to …

            I probably wouldn’t break — but I guarantee you — when faced with that life for the rest of my days

            I am absolutely certain that I will fondly remember the pre-collapse days…. and I think that anyone – regardless of how well they are prepared or how tough they may be mentally and physically… when the reality sinks in — will be thinking the same….

            • Jan Steinman says:

              We must agree to disagree. Collapse is not an event; it is a process.

              We will go through a series of steps. You only need to be ready for the next step, then you have until the next one to prepare. The first one was in 2008; I divested my entire stock portfolio just a few months before the crash, and put every cent of it into farmland.

              I figure productive farmland will remain valuable until population begins to decline significantly, at which point, farmland will deflate.

              I’m not claiming any sort of prescient ability; I simply figured that something that cannot go on forever, will not go on forever. The timing of my divestment was luck over skill, but the divestment was a necessity!

              Figure out what’s necessary to get past the next step as you see it. Do it. Then start thinking about the next step, but don’t get too far down that path, lest it be a wrong direction. Accept feedback. Don’t be dogmatic.

            • Paul says:

              I don’t disagree with your approach… but I don’t look forward to the collapse… because i think it is going to be far far worse than most people are anticipating.

            • Daddio7 says:

              The pioneers had it rough because they left support system in the East behind. With good planning and firm leadership we could return to an animal powered agrarian society. My grandfather got up at 4:00 am (the time it is right now as I type this) and started a fire in the kitchen stove. At about 4:30 my grandmother got up and started breakfast as my grandfather took a lantern and went into the barn to feed the horses and livestock. He then came back to the house and ate breakfast then went out to hitch up the team and start for the field as dawn broke. As the light dimmed at the end of the day he reversed the process. He would listen to his battery powered radio for a while then go to bed about 8:00. My dad was born at home in 1930. They didn’t have electricity until 1945. He remembers the The Depression as the good old days.
              Hard work may wear you down but it rarely kills you. Grandpa was 89 when he died and my dad is very much alive. He did farm work and tractor driving until he was eighty. He and mom live on her mom’s old place 20 miles outside of town.
              The culture shock might kill some people and most will hate that kind of life. I don’t see any charismatic leader coming along to do this (although it is phropisized). We will just toddle along until the collapse and skip right to Armageddon.

            • Paul says:

              Daddio – nothing wrong with that life….

              My concerns are:

              – in the 1930’s there was still a source of energy available (and skills) to make the tools that were required to farm – I am not so sure that will be possible going forward — one of the things I am stocking up on are tools – wheelbarrows, shovels, saws, hoes, hammers, chisels, etc….

              – I wonder about security — in the 1930’s there was an organized structure and government — when this hits, most people will have made no preparations – it may sound callous but I think the best result would be a quick die-off

              I think even a hardened farmer from the 1930’s would find what is coming very different — and quite likely far more challenging….

            • Jan Steinman says:

              “I don’t see any charismatic leader coming along to do this (although it is phropisized).”

              There are lots of them! They just don’t get much airtime.

              Masonobu Fukuoka, Wendell Barry, David Holmgren, Bill Mollison, Mark Shepard, Gene Lodgsdon, the Rodale family… the list goes on and on!

              But you have to be paying attention. Charisma can’t make up for a lack of interest. Once things get bad enough, people will get more interested in food instead of the latest reality TV show, or Justin Beaver’s latest arrest.

            • Daddio7 says:

              Charisma: a special charm or appeal that causes people to feel attracted and excited by someone (such as a politician). How much air time did Barack Obama get? The Anti-Christ will make him seem like Wendell Willkie. You did see Obama’s rally in Berlin didn’t you? If (when?) things go south anyone who has what looks like the solution will get plenty of air time. With the internet he could even go viral. If this prophesy comes true, that is.

        • InAlaska says:

          I will be in a prison of my own making populated with my family. If any of us survive, the small things of life will become more meaningful and pleasant. We won’t have ice cream, but we’ll have blueberries, we won’t have iTunes, but we’ll have guitars. There won’t be televised pro-football,but there’ll be ice hockey down by the pond. Why drift off on a cloud of opium when life could be so sweet?

          • Paul says:

            Has anyone on this forum ever tried to disconnect from BAU for say a month?

            Shut off the power (no tv radio internet, fridge, lights, phone, running water, toilet)
            Buy nothing from a shop.
            Consume only food you produce.
            Stop taking all medication.
            No visits to the doctor or dentist.
            No tractor.
            No pick up truck.
            No tilling machine.

            I am sure I have missed a few things – feel free to point them out.

            Oh let’s add another twist — try doing all of that for a month in the middle of winter.

            I don’t imagine anyone would be using the words ‘life is sweet’ at the end of that month.

            But alas the good thing would be that at the end of the month you could plug back into BAU — and all the nice things we take for granted would be available again…. and I am sure most people — if they survived that month — would breath a sigh of relief and say thank god that is over!

            When the SHTF — the month will not end – ever. BAU and civilization will be done.

            Let’s add another twist — government and security as we know it will almost certainly end — hunger and desperation will be everywhere — disease and pestilence — oh and of course there are all those nasty nuclear facilities that will likely be lighting up the night skies…

            When faced with that one might wish one were in Laos with a stockpile of opium and a pipe…. and perhaps a wind up music box that plays this

            • Jan Steinman says:

              “Has anyone on this forum ever tried to disconnect from BAU for say a month?”

              That seems quite disingenuous.

              I know many people who have “disconnected from BAU.” They are not on the Internet, so they can’t participate in your little survey. And they’re doing quite fine, thank you. And they’ll keep doing fine after all the things you hold dear go away, which seems to be your fondest desire.

            • I think it is a reasonable question. A lot of people have not thought about the details of what this would involve. I know I visited a couple who lived off-grid. I was surprised how dependent they were on chocolate chip cookie mixes and the like.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              “I was surprised how dependent they were on chocolate chip cookie mixes and the like.”


              We’re on-grid, and yet I can’t conceive of using “chocolate chip cookie mix.”

              I agree that, to some people, “off-grid” is some sorta badge they wear, rather than a means to an end.

              When we want cookies, first, we grind the flour by hand from wheat berries we gleaned from a neighbour’s field…

            • Paul says:

              Completely off the grid? – no solar panels? – they buy nothing from outside? – don’t use gasoline? – every single thing they eat they produce themselves without using any machinery… they light the fire using a flint….

              I know one guy who tried that in another mountainous area of Bali — a hard core chilled out hippy type with extensive farming experience… that didn’t last long…

              I cannot imagine anyone who attempted such a thing would consider it a pleasant experience at all…. I most definitely wouldn’t

              How about you give it a try – one month – then come back and tell us about it.

              Absolutely no cheating. A complete cut off from BAU.

              For anyone who is expecting to be forced into this when the SHTF I think it would be an excellent idea to do a test run — things could be learned from this — like which items you missed the most from BAU — allowing you to stockpile while BAU still exists…

              One of the reasons I keep a substantial stockpile of canned and dry food is because I know when BAU goes down this is going to be one hell of a shock… I prefer to be able to soften the blow at least in terms of food.

              I challenge anyone to try this for just a weekend – shut off the power – stay on your property – eat only what comes out of your garden…. nothing that was purchased from a shop. Just to get a taste of what you are facing (keep in mind when the SHTF it gets much worse… winter, no dentist, no proper medical support…)

      • Jan Steinman says:

        “we are not going back to the 1st century voluntarily?”

        Who said anything about “voluntary?”

        At some point, the survivors will be those who can feed themselves, those who coerce others to feed them, or those who are coerced to feed someone else.

        Given the unlikelihood of Door Number Two and my revulsion for Door Number Three, I choose Door Number One.

        • InAlaska says:

          I’m with you, Jan. All of this doomer porn is so tantalizing to fall into, but it’ll be slower and more measured of a decline in some places than in others. In areas where there are less people things will unfold in a more orderly way. If you live in a populace place you won’t do as well. Some people will handle this depopulation better than others, some people and regions will adapt better than others. If you can grow it or hunt it or fix it, and you’ve put away some stock of useful things for the future, you’ll do better than most. People with brains and hands that can work together will prosper, the sheep will be herded or slaughtered, as always.

    • It takes a lot of human energy (if fossil fuels and animals are not available) to rotate crops, especially over the winter. The soil is disturbed in the process, leading to more erosion. I agree with you. It is hard to make into a long-lasting system. Nature expects constant ecosystems.

  11. Paul says:

    Another signal that supports the position that lower oil prices are related to growth issues:

    Cie. Financiere Richemont SA (CFR), the world’s largest jewelry maker, posted the slowest start to a year since the global recession as consumers held back on buying luxury-goods in Hong Kong, halting Asian growth.

    Sales rose 4 percent excluding currency shifts in the five months through August, the Geneva-based owner of the Montblanc and IWC brands said in a statement today. That’s the weakest growth for those months since 2009. Analysts estimated 6 percent growth, according to the median of 18 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. The stock fell as much as 3.5 percent.

    Revenue declined in Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China, which drove sales from the Asia-Pacific region to a standstill. That market was the source of 40 percent of Richemont’s sales last year. Luxury-goods makers such as LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC) have been reporting weaker Asian consumption after the Chinese government’s crackdown on bribery and extravagant spending.

    • ordinaryjoe says:

      My wild ass guess is we are in for some serious deflation in the next year. Why? As the intervals of quasi boom produced by QE get shorter and shorter and produce less effect than the last round timing becomes important. 2016 is a election year. I figure massive QE to start about December 2015. Hold on to your hats until then.. Total WAG.

      • Paul says:

        Agree – another indication that china is slowing are hotel prices in Hong Kong… on weekends the prices have dropped roughly 40% in the past 4 or 5 months… I used to avoid weekends because prices were so high — all due to mainland tourists coming in to shop for tax free luxury goods

        Now the prices are not much different than weeknights….

  12. Paul says:

    They get half the story right

    But believing the renewables will allow us to continue with BAU is rather uninformed…

    Gotta love this from the comments:


    Industry does not run on petroleum. it runs on electricity.

    Transportation runs on oil but we’re in the process of substituting electricity.

  13. Paul says:

    A couple of interesting stories:

    Scotland Yard called in after Respect MP George Galloway receives mystery substance in threat apparently linked to his views on Israel

    All is not well with the UK ‘recovery’

    Birmingham city council leader warns of ‘ticking timebomb’ of financial cuts

    Sir Albert Bore says cuts over next four years will lead to more job losses and leave council unable to provide some services

  14. VPK says:

    How Obama Became the Oil President
    He once talked of plans to reduce oil consumption—now the US drills more than ever. What happened?

  15. VPK says:

    Another article that claims technology will save the day or t least delay it in regard to Peak OIL
    The inherent issues of 2D and 3D seismic lie within the sheer cost and time of permits and execution, in addition to questionable environmental repercussions. Despite this, they’re very valuable in the exploration toolbox. The biggest new oil fields in the world are being found in frontier areas (East Africa, Colombia, Brazil etc.), where the cost of 3D seismic surveys can run up to $90,000 per square kilometre. Companies can spend hundreds of millions of dollars, permitting, preparing and shooting seismic in environmentally sensitive areas in hopes of finding something below the surface that justifies a 20-30 million dollar exploration well. This author doesn’t need to detail the negative impact of preparing and shooting seismic surveys in environmentally sensitive areas such as South American rainforests, The Arctic and the oceans.

    One technology that flies above these problems – literally – is an airborne quantum physics survey that scans the sub-surface for trapped fluid reservoirs (with potential to host economical oil and gas reservoirs) using a Stress Field Detection (SFD(R)).


    • Paul says:

      The other day someone mentioned that an unmanned craft was to land on an asteroid commenting that this could be the beginning of the end of our scarce resource problems….

      I opened my mouth as if to speak… my lips shuddered…my tongue twitched…. my mind said ‘say that this is no solution because it is too expensive’

      But something deep in my cortex, could have been the hippocampus… not sure… but something urged me to slowly close my mouth… stop moving my lips… and after a moment of contemplation ask ‘how about that nice sunny day out there – looks like a great weekend ahead!’

      I suggest that if anyone survives this period when searching for a name to describe the years prior to the Grand Collapse (and Die Off) they call it The Era of the Unthinking

      • InAlaska says:

        I believe that James Howard Kunstler has already captured this sentiment and coined the phrase, “the Era of Wishful Thinking.”

    • Paul says:

      Incredible that the MSM continues to publish such commentary without asking the obvious questions… I guess they need to keep people believing there is no energy problem – nor will there ever be

    • Rodster says:

      You can also read John Michael Greer’s take on “Technological Superstitions” which counters the argument and begs the question. Why aren’t all the technological achievements promised years and decades ago, still not available?

  16. VPK says:

    “All in all, the invasions, the occupations, the drone campaigns in several lands, the deaths that ran into the hundreds of thousands, the uprooting of millions of people sent into external or internal exile, the expending of trillions of dollars added up to a bin Laden dreamscape. They would prove jihadist recruitment tools par excellence.

    When the U.S. was done, when it had set off the process that led to insurgencies, civil wars, the growth of extremist militias, and the collapse of state structures, it had also guaranteed the rise of something new on Planet Earth: ISIS — as well as of other extremist outfits ranging from the Pakistani Taliban, now challenging the state in certain areas of that country, to Ansar al-Sharia in Libya and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen.

    Though the militants of ISIS would undoubtedly be horrified to think so, they are the spawn of Washington. Thirteen years of regional war, occupation, and intervention played a major role in clearing the ground for them. They may be our worst nightmare (thus far), but they are also our legacy — and not just because so many of their leaders came from the Iraqi army we disbanded, had their beliefs and skills honed in the prisons we set up (Camp Bucca seems to have been the West Point of Iraqi extremism), and gained experience facing U.S. counterterror operations in the “surge” years of the occupation. In fact, just about everything done in the war on terror has facilitated their rise. After all, we dismantled the Iraqi army and rebuilt one that would flee at the first signs of ISIS’s fighters, abandoning vast stores of Washington’s weaponry to them. We essentially destroyed the Iraqi state, while fostering a Shia leader who would oppress enough Sunnis in enough ways to create a situation in which ISIS would be welcomed or tolerated throughout significant areas of the country.

    If there were no Boggie man to fight we would create one…and that’s just what we did!

    • Paul says:

      1000% correct.

      Where do terrorists come from?

      Robert Fisk in gets into this… in a nutshell the only person who straps a bomb onto his back and leaves his or her family is a person without hope – without a job, without a chance at education, someone who is trapped (see Gaza) …. they must be at the absolute end of their tether… anything is better than life… and might as well take some of the people who have the boot on your neck with you when you decide the next life might be better…

      Chris Hedges also does a good job of explaining how terrorists are created

      My personal take is that for every reaction there is an equal reaction — you drops missiles from drones on innocent people — you steal their resources — you support dictators who torture them ….

      Well — when you do those things you piss a lot of people off — and because they have no conventional means to defend themselves such as F16’s — they turn to guerrilla tactics (kinda like how the first Americans did when fighting the British) ….

      The more brutalized a population is — the more desperate they are — the more twisted and militant is the reaction …. throw a little religion into the mix and you get some really nasty irrational characters as blow-back.

      For the most part though the terrorist thing is over-blown — NATO is making extensive use of such people in Syria — they did the same in Libya….

      At the end of the day they pose no threat — they are a bunch of angry men who are easily manipulated….

      And of course they are great bogeymen… BOO! …. and off we go to drop more bombs… (and create more terrorists…)

    • InAlaska says:

      No, not correct. While I agree with you that American blundering in Iraq created ISIS it was done out of incompetence rather than some plot to create a bogeyman for us to fight. WAKE UP. There is no upside for the US in fighting ISIS in the middle east. This country is fatigued with thirteen years of war and no one wants to spend the blood and treasure that it will take to defeat these people. President Obama does not want this war. He campaigned to get us out of it. Congress does not want this war. They know the budget realities. The American don’t want this war, because common people want to go home and concentrate on getting jobs and paying down their own personal debt.

      • Paul says:

        If ISIS or ISIL or whatever this is called is a creation to scare the people (and when I read stuff like this I suspect that may be correct … I wonder if this will have much effect in rallying the people behind yet another war

        They want jobs … not war…

        The social contract only works when the government guarantees the opporrunity to provide for oneself and one’s family — that is fraying quickly in the US and many other countries… when that goes then the government loses legitimacy … and that is a far greater danger than ISIL to those running the show…

      • Jarle B says:

        InAlaska wrote:
        “President Obama does not want this war. He campaigned to get us out of it. Congress does not want this war. They know the budget realities. The American don’t want this war, because common people want to go home and concentrate on getting jobs and paying down their own personal debt.”

        Then why is it happening?!?

        • Paul says:

          Might I step in…

          Because Obama is the front man – he takes orders from higher powers — and they want these wars. And Obama like a good boy – asks no questions – he does what is expected.

          It does not matter what the people want — because it’s not as if this is a democracy.

          Now why do the PTB want these wars… I’ve already posted this but it remains for me by far the most logical explanation

          The PTB absolutely have outstanding reasons for these wars…. it’s called preservation of their economic empire based on the USD as the reserve currency

        • B9K9 says:

          To quote Voltaire, the USA would have to cultivate its enemies if they didn’t exist.

          Like Jan and other practical farmers, the deep state, through its agencies like the CIA, are constantly tilling, fertilizing and preparing the “soil” for the next anticipated harvest. And like the good farmers they are, they also know they need to allow certain fields to remain fallow in order to regain some of their former productive power. But when the time is ripe eg the new cold war, they are rolled out to great fanfare.

          Once you understand the USA is in the business of fascism, and is run like any other commercial enterprise, then what the employees cum “citizens” want is of no concern to the ownership class. However, what is of major import is the continuation of the development of new markets, increased sell-through opportunities, the availability of customer credit, and of course periodic inventory clearance.

          The reason I admire the PTB is in recognizing just how clever their system is. What better way to construct a prison, than to have the prisoners believe that they are either free, or even that they are the wardens? InAlaska seems years removed from finally, if ever, recognizing the truth. Part of the problem is he’s naturally reacting to an outsider’s accusations; but what if insiders assured him that it operates exactly this way?

          My father was an agency guy, and intimated all of these concepts when I was a teenager. His #1 priority was to get out with enough assets to walk away. I too embraced the same methods and was able to walk at a fairly early middle-age. The trick is to appear, act and behave as the epitome of the establishment, while conducting your personal life 100% opposite as what is portrayed on TV.

          I reject entirely the notion of cooperation; I don’t have a problem with what the US and deep state are doing. My philosophy is if we weren’t doing it to others, they would be doing it to us. So, I have a big advantage over Paul in that regard. While it is true we both understand what is occurring, I react to events by saying “good job – that step was entirely expected – now for the next shoe to drop”.

          That’s why the next false flag has to be a biggie – but if it doesn’t take me out, the opportunities available to maximize one’s take will be considerable. Remember the 80/20 rule: the ownership class needs around 5-15% of the management class to effect 80% control. If you’re willing to cheer lead, rat out, or otherwise disenfranchise the other 80%, then you should be pretty set.

          • VPK says:

            I see you are seeking “sainthood”

          • Paul says:

            B9 – good summary.

            However you refer to ‘we’ as if the Deep State and you are aligned… as we have seen the Deep State is more than happy to throw Americans under the bus…

            They’d ship you off to war to die for them — they’d ship your job offshore (first blue collar then white collar) — they will tolerate you and reward you only so long they think they need you…

            Kinda like getting cozy with Tony Soprano — he seems like a nice guy — until….

            Remember that episode when the guy who owned the sporting goods store tried to make friends with Tony … he was going to the poker games with him… got in a little over his head… and Tony squatted in his shop and sold everything out the door (many times what the guy owed him) … and pocketed the cash…

            These guys have the conscience of a great white shark…. they will eventually come for you.

      • ordinaryjoe says:

        “President Obama does not want this war. He campaigned to get us out of it.”

        So the fact that he campaigned against war then used military force in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq is a mark for his character not a betrayal? Or is it that actions dont matter only expressed intent? Or is this like a criminal who has convinced the judge he regrets his actions and therefore deserves a lessor sentence?

        “Congress does not want this war. They know the budget realities”

        No one wants it but somehow it just happens? Executive and congressional branches are no longer responsible for decisions made regarding use of military force it just happens?

        There are no more budget realities, its pure fantasy, has been for a long time.

        MIC and the banksters own the US government. Any other conclusion is delusional.

        • Paul says:


          And what other result would anyone expect when you have legalized bribery in a country – when corporations and special interests can influence decision by donating millions to politicians – so long as it goes via a bagman —uh hum — I meant a lobbyist…

          And of course you see the results time after time after time — the politicians are NOT working for the people…

          Oh but of course the next guy in office will be different — kinda like the free beer – but it’s always tomorrow…

          I really – really – really — do NOT understand why anyone in the US bothers to vote.

          By doing so you validate what is a sham political system.

        • InAlaska says:

          No, its not about some deep state plot, its real events that take place in the real world that force the hand of any president or any congress into doing things that they don’t want to do. Obama will resist troops on the ground as long as he can until new events create a different set of circumstances.

          • Paul says:


            Just as George W Bush and his cohorts Rummy and Cheney were reacting to ‘real events that take place in the real world that force the hand of any president or any congress into doing things that they don’t want to do.” when they ordered the invasion of Iraq.

            Funny how this game works. If it’s a Republican president goes to war – he is an SOB in the minds of roughly half the country….

            If a Democratic goes to war he is reacting to events — he is engaging in a just war.

            Remind me of why Obama initiated the overthrow of Gaddafi — what was he reacting to?

            Remind me of why Obama is funding and arming terrorist groups in Syria (Al Qaeda + Al Nusra) in an attempt to overthrow Assad – what was he reacting to?

            Remind me of why Obama armed and supported the people who overthrew the democratically elected government of Ukraine – what might he have been reacting to?

            Currently Obama is in the lead 3 wars vs Bush with 2.

            Obama is of course back in Iraq and continues the war in Afghanistan (hmmm… wasn’t Afghanistan about getting Bin Laden??? Last I looked Bin Laden was dead … and he wasn’t even in Afghanistan — so why didn’t Obama end that war end years ago?).

            Red pill…

  17. Paul says:

    Rinse… repeat…

    An American sheriff from Midland County, Texas has warned the ISIL terrorist group against planning to carry out attacks inside the United States.

    “If they show their ugly head in our area, we’ll send them to hell,” Gary Painter told Fox News on Monday.

    “I think the United States needs to get busy and they need to bomb them. They need to take them out. I would like for them to hit them so hard and so often that every time they hear a propeller on a plane or a jet aircraft engine that they urinate down both legs,” Painter said.

    US law enforcement agencies had earlier warned ISIL is “expressing an increased interest” in crossing the US-Mexico border to carry out a terrorist attack on American soil.

    A Texas Department of Public Safety bulletin said last month social media postings show militants from ISIL, also known as ISIS, are attempting to exploit the porous US-Mexico border and seeking ways to covertly cross it.

    Homeland Security officials rejected the report, saying there is no credible intelligence to suggest that there is an active plot by ISIL to attempt to cross the southern border.

    “I received an intelligence report that said that there was ISIS cells that were active in the Juarez area, which is the northern part of the Chihuahua state, and that they were moving around over there, that there was some activity,” Sheriff Painter claimed.

  18. Paul says:

    More on why oil prices are dropping…

    China’s leaders have brushed aside warnings of an incipient credit crunch in the Chinese economy, determined to purge excesses from the financial system despite falling house prices and the deepest industrial slowdown since the Lehman crisis.

    Industrial production dropped 0.4pc in August from a month earlier, a rare event that highlights how quickly China is coming off the boil. The growth of fixed asset investment fell to record lows.

    “It is a shockingly sharp deceleration,” said Wei Yao, from Societe Generale. “What is surprising is the calm response from Beijing. The new leadership’s tolerance for short-term pain seems to have jumped by another big notch.”

    Electricity output has dropped 2.2pc over the past year as the authorities continue to force dinosaur industries into closure, chipping away at excess capacity.

    • The turn comes when the Chinese proclaim perhaps to themselves “we have it enough already”. Is it about now, getting close for sure, I don’t know? They became the manufacturing base of the world, now they have even own R&D on top of that (started in electronics and moving to other segments), they stolen knowhow licenses for bullet trains, european and american cars and heavy equipment, in recent years performed the same in biotech and medicine. At some point they won’t need us, at least not in proportion and form of current economic and geopolitical order.

      • Paul says:

        China is smoke and mirrors — they have a massive credit crisis brewing and they are in no better shape than any of the other countries that are in crisis.

        Note that surveys indicate the majority of wealthy Chinese intend to emigrate — jumping off a sinking ship?

        That said, i was at a dinner last night and there were a few well placed Chinese people at the table – one was a Chinese general’s son who helps western corporations with influence in Beijing… he says he’s going nowhere because as he put it ‘China is on the rise — it is the place to be’

        I suspect BAU will collapse before China realizes its dream of being number one globally (again)

        • ordinaryjoe says:

          “a few well placed Chinese people at the table – one was a Chinese general’s son ”
          Was the queen there?
          Please tweet us with updates Kim.

        • InAlaska says:

          I agree with you that BAU will stop before China fully ascends. I have friends living in Idaho who say that the Chinese are buying up all of the farmland in their neighborhood in an attempt to protect their wealth.

          • Paul says:

            I note that New Zealand has implemented a 5 hectare max purchase for non-residents. It seems no way around it — if you try to buy via a proxy that is illegal.

            Makes a whole lot of sense.

          • Jan Steinman says:

            “I have friends living in Idaho who say that the Chinese are buying up all of the farmland in their neighborhood in an attempt to protect their wealth.”

            As I predicted in 2006:

            Then came the Chinese invasion. Although it was not a “traditional” invasion, in the form of tanks and bombs, it was no less deadly, and did involve an army of sorts. China held countless trillions of dollars of US debt, and simply called in the notes in the form of real estate purchases after the land price collapse that came with the 2019 depression. The Chinese government filled empty cargo ships with their poor, underprivileged, and politically incorrect, and shipped them off to work the huge collective farms that they had purchased in the US, sending the food back to feed an increasingly unhappy and politically unstable middle class. Americans reacted with violence, killing hundreds of thousands of landed Chinese in random acts of violence, and by 2023, the Chinese immigrants had armed themselves, and began retribution.

            This is just the opening gambit.

            • ordinaryjoe says:

              Perhaps the Chinese 1% will buy land in the USA as a hedge but the middle class wont because its a poor way to store value. Taxes. Taxes take any appreciation. Take a engineers wage in Shenzhen $7 hr. that buys a support for a wife and family, house and a car in China. That barely pays the taxes on a house in the USA. Wages really dont support land ownership in the USA let alone China. If you call the right to eternal taxation called a deed ownership that is.

            • Paul says:

              I suspect you are right – before this is over the ‘thin veneer of civilization’ will be peeled off — and we’ll be ripping each other to pieces…

            • Jan Steinman says:

              But it may take decades. Commit too much to an imagined outcome and timeline, and you might miss an opportunity.

            • Paul says:

              I think that this article is a good indication that what is coming is imminent — and the situation is going to be extremely violent…

              It’s Not Just The Police – The Feds Are Also Militarizing Public Schools With Grenade Launchers, M16s & Tanks

              “A federal program that has drawn criticism in recent weeks for supplying surplus military gear to local police has also provided high-powered rifles, armored vehicles and other equipment to police at public schools, some of whom were unprepared for what they were getting… The Los Angeles Unified School District stocked up on grenade launchers, M16 rifles and even a multi-ton armored vehicle from the program… Mr. Zipperman said his department thought it could be useful for evacuations and to save lives in a “sustained incident.””


  19. Paul says:

    “Who knows the maximum number that the market will tolerate? The number is already scary, but for the time being Draghi’s poker game is proving successful, and there is now the smell of QE keep the game going for a bit longer.”

    • Paul says:

      If you read that entire article you will understand why the price of oil is dropping….

    • VPK says:

      Thanks Paul, that was a very telling article…..many countries not too far behind those Italians

    • All these warnings are nice on the paper, but as demonstrated in real world so far, countries can live happily ever after in above 100% gdp indebtness and even black hole environment of 300-500% when including long term liabilities like pensions and healthcare down the road. It’s simply the function of still high enough societal EROEI today and myth of progress, the hard physical treshold is getting closer, but the real crash could be 5-10-15yrs away. It’s a very slow process.

      The human perceptions, wants and needs can change, so they did change in a big way.
      Young average people don’t need cars or flats anymore, extra vacation houses, pleasure speed boats and what have you. They are perfectly occupied by cheap personal gadgetery, the net with quasi social life there, and some alcoholic/drug parties etc. They will have fewer if any children and so on.

      Yes in the mid-long term it’s a big train wreck but in the meantime it’s plenty time up there to make couple of billions in profits and living in luxury. Ever noticed brands like Porsche and Ferrari are pressed due to rocket demand abandon their exclusivity sales only strategies of the past? Simply, the class of global rich is enormous and must be served.

      • Paul says:

        yes most definitely the question is how long can QE – or threats of QE – hold off the grim reaper…

  20. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Gail and All
    I frequently refer to the importance of gene expression as opposed to the simple possession of a particular gene. I ran across this factoid which may give any skeptics something to ponder:

    ‘ As McCormack et al comment, ‘Plants perceive much more of their environment than is often apparent to the casual observer. Touch can induce profound rapid responses….in Arabidopsis, changes in gene expression can be seen within minutes of touch, and over 700 genes have altered transcript levels within 30 minutes’.

    Arabidopsis is the plant which was selected for intensive study a couple of decades ago when the disorganized system of studying random aspects of any of the tens of thousands of plants wasn’t generating much wisdom. The worldwide focus on arabidopsis has paid handsome rewards by illuminating the mechanisms that all plants use. Thus, while the response to touch was PROVED only for arabidopsis, the default assumption is that the same is true of other plants.

    I suggest that if you are a confirmed reductionist, you might wish to reconsider your attitude about some ‘new agey’ activities such as the laying on of hands, the ‘healing touch’, the notion that many small farmers have that touching their plants has health giving properties, etc. In addition, the notion that ‘genes are destiny’ should be put way on the back burner and the causes of changes in gene expression should be on the front burner. If it’s true for arabidopsis, its most likely true of humans. Humans use virtually identical neurotransmitters as plants use: glutamate and GABA, acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, melatonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, levodopa, indole-3 acetic acid, 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid, testosterone, estradiol, and nicotine.

    Don Stewart

  21. Paul says:

    B9K9 – it is not that the Deep State would resort to shooting down two civilian airliners in order to force Malaysia to allow the US to establish a naval base in Malaysia that irritates me — of course I think that is heinous — but I fully expect it…

    As I think I have made clear it is the incessant claims that the US stands for good in the world – in spite of the fact that Seymour Hersh demonstrated that the CIA was almost certainly behind the murder of women and children in Syria using CW — that the US chiefs of staff signed off authorizing acts of terror against American citizens (Operation Northwoods)… that the US invented WMD and tore a country to pieces over a lie — and not a single person was prosecuted.

    It boggles my mind that people who are able to see beyond the lies propagated by the MSM regarding energy — are completely unable grasp the true nature of the beast — and not only that — take great offense when someone points out what is glaringly obvious to most of the world.

    I am interested in seeking truths.

    And when I see regurgitated talking points that have been borrowed from the MSM posted here — to be quite frank — this degrades the intellectual standing of this site.

    If I wanted to read stuff like that I could go to,, etc… they all provide interfaces that are populated by kool-aid drinkers…

    • B9K9 says:

      “It boggles my mind that people who are able to see beyond the lies propagated by the MSM regarding energy — are completely unable grasp the true nature of the beast — and not only that — take great offense when someone points out what is glaringly obvious to most of the world.”

      Who is that? InAlaska? How do you know he/they are not a troll purposely f*cking with you to elicit the exact response to which you’re confessing? OTOH, it’s takes a certain cognitive threshold to both perceive, and then understand, what is occurring. Why fault those who simply do not have the mental capacity? I mean, they are completely out-manned in ability and resources – how can they possibly detect, and then fight, the lies?

      “I am interested in seeking truths.”

      You already understand the truths; how much more do you need to know? Or, are you primarily interested in helping educate others? If so, then you’ll be confronted time and time again with the same genetic, cultural and self-imposed limits, resulting in … aggravation & frustration.

      Why bother? Why not embrace the nihilistic exhilaration and jump right into the fray? Rather than hang out in the jungles of Borneo (alliterative), you’d probably be happier in the very belly of the beast. To quote the movie Patton: “The last great opportunity of a lifetime – an entire world at war, and I’m left out of it? God will not permit this to happen! I will be allowed to fulfill my destiny!

      The sh!t that is going down, and is presently being queued up for the ‘tards, is only going to accelerate. Don’t you have any interest in being part of the show?

      • Paul says:

        I don’t think I am being trolled here — although I wish it were so….

        Why do I bother responding? I am fascinated by the matrix — and I am experimenting with how I can break it?

        When you suggest living in the belly of the beat can you be more specific…

        If you are referring physical presence, I don’t think I need to move back to Hong Kong — or say Washington — to get front row seats…

        I can observe the end of BAU from my perch on the cliff here in the jungle…. as easily as if I were in the midst of BAU….

        And I much prefer the village life to the smog and crowds of big cities… and I really would not want to be in a large urban centre when the unraveling starts…

        Hopefully the internet is the last thing to go — it will be morbidly fascinating to watch the MSM as the presenters lose their composure as things go to pieces… I might even get a tee veee for that…

        I wonder if CNBs will trot out cheerleaders like that jack ass Jack Welch to give pep talks (as he did in 2008 post Lehman) — or will they instead invite Roberto Duran in front of the cameras to discuss the relevance of ‘no mas’ and how it is important to know when to admit defeat…

        When this goes this trumps every major event in history – combined.

        That said — I’d prefer to be as far away from the beast’s belly (and its fangs) as possible.

        • InAlaska says:

          Paul and B9K9,
          I’m not a troll. And you’re not being trolled. Sorry to disappoint you. I just don’t lap up every “truth” that drips from your posts like treasure. Anyone who professes with your type of absolute certitude to know and seek the truth, and be “awake” and “aware of the matrix” must be taken with a shaker of salt. It must be so hard to be so superior. How do you get through the day? I’m quite capable of understanding the matrix (you watch too many movies) without buying into the extremist viewpoint you are purveying. I’m quite certain I have the intellectual staying power to go toe to toe with anyone on this site, but remain skeptical of all the nonsense that you spout and that constantly derails this great blog. I’m not highly offended by your anti-American posts. Just annoyed that it comes up like a broken record in everyone of your posts, to no effect. Its slightly amusing that anyone who disagrees with your extreme viewpoint “doesn’t get it,” or isn’t “awake”. How comforting to dismiss anyone who doesn’t agree with your boring assessment of how the world works, as somehow “a troll” or not intellectually capable. Your view of the world, while hiding behind a facade of complexity, is just simplistic stereotyping of common anti American memes that you can find scrawled on any bathroom wall in the bloody third world. The world is far more complex, the people in various nations (including the US) are far more complex than you understand. Nations and people have far more nuanced motivations than the cardboard cut-outs that you bring up over and over and over again. Now, I have to go order my 3 for 1 pizza and catch the latest episode of Dancing with the Stars while silently chanting “USA!”

          • Paul says:

            If you were truly aware of the matrix you would not be making these comments.

            You know how I know that?

            Because I used to share many of your sentiments. I was not aware of the matrix.

            I believe the matrix buster for me started when I read John Perkins book (I will save you reading it

            After that I started peeling back the layers on the onion questioning everything … I started reading Chomsky and others… and eventually began to understand how the world actually worked.

            I think Kissinger said there is no good or bad — only interests.

            I would take that further — if there is such a thing as ‘good and bad’ — there are only bad guys (making the decisions) — and they will do anything that they possible can to enrich themselves and increase their power.


            Kill innocents. Gas babies. Lie. Initiate false flag operations including committing terrorist acts and blaming their enemies. Shoot down airliners. Start wars.

            They will do absolutely anything. Nothing is too vile. Here is a rare peak behind the curtain of the way these people think –

            They do not care about you. They would be more than happy to send you (or your kids) off to be cannon fodder in any of their wars of enrichment. And you’d go to your grave believing you were fighting for good.

            And they’d be laughing over glasses of 50 year old scotch up in their castles.

            • Paul says:

              I wonder if this helps…

              I think we all are aware of the matrix and the web of lies spun by the MSM regarding peak oil, renewables etc… We can pick up any article on this topic and instantly tear it to shreds — most are just so bad and so ill informed that they are laughable… it would seem a child could be quickly made to understand that these articles are nonsense…

              So if the MSM is lying about the oil situation — why would they not be lying about just about everything else… ISIL,… Ukraine … Syria …..Iraq…. Libya…. etc…

              Why would anyone have any faith whatsoever in the MSM? After all have they not destroyed all credibility with their incessant lies on the oil situation?

    • edpell says:

      Satan is the prince of lies.

  22. Paul says:

    Denmark – the last of a dying breed

    Denmark is the European Union’s (EU) only net exporter of oil. The Nordic state’s oil exports totalled approximately 13.7 million barrels of oil equivalent in 2013. This is in stark contrast to the EU’s only other significant oil producer, the UK, which became a net importer in 2004 and has experienced a steep decline in output since, as its historically productive North Sea fields reach extreme maturity. Denmark has maintained its status as a net exporter despite peak oil production in 2004. A strong shift towards wind power has seen a decrease in oil used for electricity generation while district heating systems traditionally fuelled by oil are now switching to natural gas and renewable sources.

    Denmark’s ability to hold on to its status as the EU’s last net exporter is likely to diminish in the long-term. Its North Sea fields continue to stutter and decline in output, seeing production half from a peak of 389,000 bpd in 2004 to just 192,000 bpd in 2014. In 2013, a range of technical issues meant that only 12 of 19 operational fields were producing from August to December. A lack of large discoveries has also inhibited Denmark’s upstream sector, seeing oil reserves fall from 1.3 billion boe in 2006 to 0.8 billion boe in 2013. A lack of fresh developments has also led to a decline in drilling, just eight development wells have been drilled over the last three years. Well completions increase slightly in the medium-term with the development of the high-pressure-high-temperature Hejre field – however DW do not expect this to arrest the production decline.

    Based on current trends, DW predict Denmark’s ongoing issues with North Sea developments will see it become a net importer of oil by 2021. By this time, oil production will likely have waned to around 130,000 bpd – the country’s lowest daily output in 30 years.

    Written by Matt Cook, Douglas-Westwood London

  23. Paul says:

    “Control the oil, and you control nations. Control the food, and you control the people.”* -Henry Kissenger

    “Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation” by F. William Engdahl is a skillfully researched book that focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread.

    This is no ordinary book about the perils of GMO. Engdahl takes the reader inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms. The author cogently reveals a diabolical world of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise. For that is what it is.

    Engdahl’s carefully argued critique goes far beyond the familiar controversies surrounding the practice of genetic modification as a scientific technique. The book is an eye-opener, a must-read for all those committed to the causes of social justice and world peace.


    • Paul says:

      Just re-reading this very interesting article:

      The strategic goal to control global food security had its roots decades earlier, well before the outbreak of war in the late 1930’s. It was funded, often with little notice, by select private foundations, which had been created to preserve the wealth and power of a handful of American families.

      Originally the families centered their wealth and power in New York and along the East Coast of the United States, from Boston to New York to Philadelphia and Washington D.C. For that reason, popular media accounts often referred to them, sometimes with derision but more often with praise, as the East Coast Establishment.

      The center of gravity of American power shifted in the decades following the War. The East Coast Establishment was overshadowed by new centers of power which evolved from Seattle to Southern California on the Pacific Coast, as well as in Houston, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Miami, just as the tentacles of American power spread to Asia and Japan, and south, to the nations of Latin America.

      In the several decades before and immediately following World War II, one family came to symbolize the hubris and arrogance of this emerging American Century more than any other. And the vast fortune of that family had been built on the blood of many wars, and on their control of a new “black gold,” oil.

      What was unusual about this family was that early on in the building of their fortune, the patriarchs and advisors they cultivated to safeguard their wealth decided to expand their influence over many very different fields. They sought control not merely over oil, the emerging new energy source for world economic advance. They also expanded their influence over the education of youth, medicine and psychology, foreign policy of the United States, and, significant for our story, over the very science of life itself, biology, and its applications in the world of plants and agriculture.

      For the most part, their work passed unnoticed by the larger population, especially in the United States. Few Americans were aware how their lives were being subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, influenced by one or another project financed by the immense wealth of this family.

      In the course of researching for this book, a work nominally on the subject of genetically modified organisms or GMO, it soon became clear that the history of GMO was inseparable from the political history of this one very powerful family, the Rockefeller family, and the four brothers—David,Nelson, Laurance and John D. III—who, in the three decades following American victory in World War II, the dawn of the much-heralded American Century, shaped the evolution of power George Kennan referred to in 1948.

      In actual fact, the story of GMO is that of the evolution of power in the hands of an elite, determined at all costs to bring the entire world under their sway.

      Three decades ago, that power was based around the Rockefeller family. Today, three of the four brothers are long-since deceased, several under peculiar circumstances.However, as was their will, their project of global domination—“full spectrum dominance” as the Pentagon later called it—had spread, often through a rhetoric of “democracy,” and was aided from time to time by the raw military power of that empire when deemed necessary. Their project evolved to the point where one small power group, nominally headquartered in Washington in the early years of the new century, stood determined to control future and present life on this planet to a degree never before dreamed of.


      This has immense relevance to the current situation — because when the SHTF the food supply will be decimated — to think that these elites will share what is left with ‘the little people’ is surely an unrealistic expectation…

  24. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Gail and All
    Food, gardening, and obesity are all related About 30 years late, I have learned something about Bokashi Composting, which relates to all those subjects as well as food security for the home gardener and for institutional food such as colleges and those office parks with gardens.

    A simple google search will turn up a wealth of information, including the site of the non-profit, which includes a short video with the Japanese scientist who modernized an ancient practice.

    I’ll give you a brief description of the home version. You get two five gallon buckets with a spigot. You put your kitchen scraps into the bucket and sprinkle them with a powder and put a weight on top of the scraps (as if you were making kim chee). Put a tight lid on the bucket. The powder contains the right active ingredients to aerobically compost the kitchen scraps. Repeat daily until the first bucket is full. Set that bucket aside for 2 weeks, and start on the second bucket. Drain the liquid and dilute and use as fertilizer every two or three days.

    There is no noxious odor, and there is no production of methane or carbon dioxide. You can keep your bucket in your kitchen or garage, where the temperature will be high enough to keep it active all winter (except garages in very cold climates).

    After two weeks, you can dig a hole in your garden and bury the compost. Burying helps prevent any carbon or nitrogen from escaping. Wait two more weeks and your soil is ready to plant.

    In a Bokashi system, practically all the nutrients in the kitchen scraps are preserved into the compost. No carbon or nitrogen is escaping into the air. All the minerals that you started with are still there. If you also are adding your urine back to your garden, you have very nearly a complete recycling. Your recycling uses no fossil fuels to speak of on a continuing basis, except for getting the powder. You will also find recipes for making your own powder, which involves things such as bran.

    In a conventional commercial composting system, the kitchen wastes must be taken to a recycling center, where the wastes are picked up by a truck, which hauls them to the composting facility, which forms the waste into windrows with machinery, turns the windrows with machinery, packages the finished compost, and distributes it to your friendly local garden center, where you drive to pick it up. In a conventional system, you also lose most of the nitrogen and much of the carbon, so that the compost is not really a fertilizer. So you must make provision for adding nitrogen either with nitrogen fixing crops or with purchased nitrogen.

    Please be advised that I am not an expert in the chemistry of fermentation or aerobic composting. I have tried to research the subject as best I can, but you should be wary and form your own opinions.

    One of the things which is attractive about Bokashi is that, once established, and assuming you are using your pee to good advantage, you have practically a closed system. You do have the powder coming in, but that is pretty small potatoes.

    In addition, the gardening is good exercise and works against depression and stress. And your food will be more nutritious because it is straight from garden to table.

    Don Stewart

    • I hadn’t heard of it before. This is a website.

      • Don Stewart says:

        Dear Gail
        I failed to mention something indicative. I was working on my garden and my neighbor came over to see what I was doing. One thing led to another and he mentioned that he and his wife had been in New Zealand recently in a rented house. The owners explained the Bokashi system, and emphasized that they expected the renters to recycle all their food wastes.

        If its easy enough for renters to do, surely a homeowner or apartment dweller can manage it. Would have huge impact on landfills and greenhouse gases.

        Don Stewart

    • Daddio7 says:

      I use two 15 gal plastic storage bins and put red wiggler composting worms and shredded cardboard in the bottom. All vegetable peelings and non greasy scraps go into the bins I keep by my back steps. This years production is ready. I will sort out the compost soil and return the worms to a fresh bin. I use it in my potting soil mix.

    • tmsr says:

      Don, way to fancy. We have a bucket. Put scraps in bucket, bucket full take outside and dump on compost pile, night time native animals eat scraps, all are happy.

      • Don Stewart says:

        Dear tmsr
        You may be losing a lot of nitrogen. The bokashi system uses an air tight bucket, so it is not producing any gas. Then, you will notice, they bury the partially finished compost to avoid losing nitrogen.
        Don Stewart

  25. Anselmo says:

    Some observations concerning obesity in Spain:

    This has increased in the last twenty years from 10 to 17% of the population. This may be due in part to the aging population and partly disfrutasda prosperity in this period and especially the changing dietary habits. Traditionally only ate at certain times, and now thanks industrial food products, there are people who eat many times a day and out of a set schedule.

    The problem is worsening and are already starting to see the street cases of morbid obesity, and particularly there is an alarming increase of obesity among children.

    In short: In my opinion ,spaniard obesity has increased as a result of prosperity.

    Regarding the fact that obesity is more widespread among higher social classes than among lower classes. I think that is mainly due to socio-cultural factors, which are the same that determine which among upper class women more frequently aesthetic surgery than among lower class.

    Finally my point of view on the unfortunate outcomes provided by the US health care system, it’s because this system do not respond to a philosophy of public service for all citizens alike.

    And this can not be changed in this generation because it would go against the spirit of individualism which is so important for the United States.

    • xabier says:

      In the recent past in Spain, the only obese people were the rich…….. and the priests. In fact, a medieval arrangement.

      • When I visited China, I was told that the plumb soldiers in statues had a condition which they referred to as “General belly.” I expect that the rich always have been able to get fat.

      • jms says:

        Yes, in the past the poor were lean and moved on foot, and the rich were fat and moved on wheels. Today, in the west, the poor are fat and move on wheels, and only the rich can afford to be lean and move on foot/or bicycle (since slowness is a luxury, of course).

        • Jan Steinman says:

          … and in the past, the poor were tanned, and the rich were pasty white. Now the poor are pale inside their factories and cube farm call centres, and the rich are tanned from lying on the beach.

        • xabier says:


          The village where I live in England has superb, and very safe, cycle paths to town: I would say that highly-educated middle class cyclists are 95% of those who cycle. The grossly over-weight working -and welfare -class just don’t want to do it. They love cars: 3 or 4 car households are not unusual, as each child comes of age, the car arrives.

          • jms says:

            In 93, I remember being really shocked by the chubbyness of spanish teenagers, compared to the portuguese ones. In those days, Portugal was just entering in the fast-food paradise of advanced capitalism. 6 or 7 years later, alas, the diference was nil.

  26. Stilgar Wilcox says:

    Oil is already trading today the 14th, with WTI -1.11 to 91.16
    & Brent -.54 to 96.57

    Is there a connection between lower oil prices and world economies including the US tapering QE stimulus? Do oil traders worry that without ongoing injections the patient will slowly get worse?

  27. Paul says:


    The American Public: A Tough Soldier Or A Chicken Hawk Cowering In A Cubicle?

    You gotta love the American public sometimes. For a mass of people so easily terrified by guys in caves funded and armed by our intelligence services and “allies” in the Persian Gulf, the same public talks with such armchair bravado when it comes to launching bombs from drones and sending other people’s children to die.

    Makes you wonder though, which one is it? Is the American public actually the tough guy soldier it pretends to be when cheering overseas military interventions, or is it really a scared, propagandized, coward hiding in one of our nation’s endless cubicle rows? Unfortunately, based on recent opinion polls demonstrating approval for military action against ISIS, it appears to be the latter. The former is merely a front put on by that terrified, economically insecure, silently suffering automaton. I really wish this weren’t the case.

    “ISIS as the new enemy” is a meme that has made me very uncomfortable from the start for several reasons, not the least being the fact that this group seemingly emerged out of nowhere just when it seemed corrupt politicians from both parties in Washington D.C. were becoming increasingly frustrated by their inability to launch missiles into Syria back in 2012, following well documented disastrous campaigns in Iraq and Libya. Not only that, it is quite clear that many of our so called “allies” such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait have been the major funders behind ISIS. Moreover, for a public so squeamish and outraged by beheadings, we hear barely a peep about the fact that beheadings hit a record level in Saudi Arabia during August, with nearly one unfortunate soul decapitated per day during the month. Nope, haven’t heard much about that at all.

    But of all the inconsistency and irrationality that comes with increased support by the American public for military action against “ISIS,” nothing is more concerning than the fact that this recent approval appears to be based entirely on propagandized falsehoods. As usual, you can thank politicians and mainstream media for the latest assault on the public’s logic.

    Trevor Timm encapsulates this perfectly in today’s Guardian op-ed. He writes:

    • Daddio7 says:

      The American public really wants most of this to stop. Barack Obama was elected (twice) for this reason. The House votes on spending bills and the Senate then deliberates on them. The president can initiate limited military action. Foreign policy is low on most legislators agenda. Gay marriage and nationalized healthcare are the only things on their minds.

      • Paul says:

        They want it to stop — until the next bogey man is trotted out and they are told that the monster is going to swim across the ocean land on their shores — and hack their heads off.

        The minute the MSM cranks up that meme — they are very much believing the hype (again) —and they demand that the war machine defend them.

        Rinse – repeat – rinse – repeat…. rinse – repeat… rinse – repeat….

    • B9K9 says:

      Paul, you seem to still be a little surprised by the accuracy of your observations. However, at some point the novelty will wear off, and you will be able to calmly and consistently front-run the deep state without any emotional baggage.

      How many times has it been said (at least in the States), that [American] football is the perfect metaphor for actual war. Beside the obvious physical component, the real point is that any open-field sport – such as soccer & basketball – exemplifies the principle that control of the ball not only provides an opportunity to score on offense, but also plays a defensive role in denying the same to the opposition.

      That is the reason for the historical analogue in behavior of all western empires – control the resources, while also denying the same to (potential) adversaries. Your imaginative dialogue between the US & MY is probably not far off the mark, but of course the real point of any action is to have leverage over China/Japan. There is nothing new in this, seeing that it dates back a number of centuries when the Portuguese & Dutch were engaged in the same game(s) with regard to the Malacca straights.

      Once one has control of critical inputs, then they can keep their domestic population busy – essential for political control. And, last but certainly not least, the constant engagements keep the spirit of nationalism alive and well to help foster a since of community and collective will. None of this is new or interesting to students of political science.

      Where it does get interesting is that this model, which has been in play for thousands of years, has run out both resources and room to fuel expansion into unexplored regions, and/or areas currently (temporarily) free of exploitation.

      That’s what I’m interested in. The PTB, while possessing above avg intelligence, are simply not that smart nor creative. If they were, they’d be off in the Silicon valley, working 20 hour days and totally consumed with the prospect of something new & unique. But no, their interest is in control, so they don’t seem to mind the numbing boredom of repeating the same tricks over and over again until they are probably sick and tired to death.

      And that at its nature is why it is so easy to front-run the PTB: they ***ALWAYS***, without any variation, resort to the same methods, the same tried & true techniques that have served so well for at least 10,000 years. My only worry, is that the next false flag and/or (directly/indirectly) financed/supported & instigated attack might take me out (since I live in a major urban area).

      However, other than that, I know with 100% certainty that US policy will continue to be directed towards keeping the supply lines open. Complaining, whining, demonstrating, etc against these initiatives are not only foolish and wasteful, but could be potentially self-defeating, because, while you’re being rounded up in a FEMA camp, your much smarter neighbor is living the high life.

    • Paul says:

      And it would appear that the joke is on us…. the origins of the acronym ISIS:

  28. Paul says:

    Logic 101

    – a Malaysian airliner disappears without a trace

    – a second Malaysian airliner is blown out of the sky in Ukraine

    – Ukraine authorities have the black box but are not releasing the info contained in it

    – I picked up an interesting comment some months ago on Zero Hedge that suggested the US was putting pressure on Malaysia to allow them to open a naval base which would allow them to control the straits of Malacca — which is the route for oil to China

    – today we see this

    Reading behind the lines:

    US – we want you to allow us to establish a naval base in your country

    Malaysia – first we have to ask China

    China – NO!

    Malaysia – sorry we cannot do that

    US – but you must – or else…

    Malaysia – sorry but no

    US – we have just shot down one of your airliners – do not &^%$ with us

    Malaysia – you rotten dirty scumbags — NO – no naval base

    US – we have just shot down another of your airliners — we are destroying Malaysian airlines — we will stop at nothing — we will completely ruin your economy – you are with with us — or you are against us…. what will it be?

    Malaysia – ok Tony Soprano — we have come to our senses — we are with you

  29. Paul says:

    Former BP CEO Warns “Sanctions Will Bite West” As US Gives Majors 14 Days To Wind Down Russian Activities

    while sanctions until this moment had been largely intended to specifically allow energy companies to continue their status quo in Russia, as of this Friday, it is precisely the E&Ps that are being targeted, as we noted on Friday, and as Reuters follows up today, reporting that some of the world’s largest companies, namely Exxon, Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, Norway’s Statoil and Italian ENI, will have to be put their Russian projects on hold: to wit, the companies will have 14 days to wind-down activities. And yet Russia may once again have the last laugh: enter Tony Hayward, the infamous former CEO of BP (and current Chairman of Glencore) who may have been disgraced by his handling of the Macondo spill but his comments on how the Russian sanctions will play out, are spot on. As the FT reported moments ago, “US and EU sanctions against Moscow are in danger of turning round and biting the west by constraining global oil supply and pushing up prices in coming years, the former chief executive of BP has warned.”

    • Exactly. With a world economy, it is not possible to put sanctions against someone else, and not hurt yourself.

      • Timing, sequencing..

        It has been mentioned before. Those “stupid” sanctions have some special meaning, it’s only question of how to decode it.. Lets review some basic options:

        1/ Traditional US oil sector is politically weak now, so damaging own industry in those arctic projects for some silly political games in feasible.

        2/ Similar to above but the major driving factor is to deny technology-advantage to opponent. Few years time to wait it out means nothing when you still can print (and buy back – sterilize) global reserves.

        3/ Provocation, poking opponent into the eye to push him into forcefull reaction, which could be later used as cover shield for own problems, i.e. push Russia to make steps of chain reaction eventually reseting global system.

        4/ It’s just set of more or less random actions of stupid short term focused humans.

      • InAlaska says:

        Gail, remember how the promise of globalism in the 1980s seemed so promising. Remember how NAFTA was supposed to revolutionize trade and wages and efficiency? Who could have guessed that we were actually sewing the seeds of our own destruction. That going from many independent economies to one globalized economy was a planetary death knell.

        • Paul says:

          For sure – because it meant fragile global supply chains… right up there with the green revolution in terms of hamming nails into our coffin.

        • VPK says:

          I remember Bill Clinton promoting NAFTA, claiming it would create a whole new “Middle Class” in Mexico to buy our products (i.e. Pringles, really that was one example in the papers!). Now, get this…by creating a new “Middle Class”, in turn curing the mass illegals coming into the USA.
          What really happened? We flooded the market with cheap corn and thus kicking the small farmer off his land and forcing them to migrate to the US. Corporation set up poverty factories along the border to move factories from the US (I.e. auto and cloths) to increase profits. 60 Minutes ran a segment in which the workers could not even afford the bus ride to town and water had to be hauled to their company shacks.
          The hamster runs FASTER

  30. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Gail and All

    This will complete my comments on non-copulatory sex.

    Vanessa Woods wrote Bonobo Handshake a couple of years ago. Vanessa is an Australian who was messing around in the Media business and found sex at first sight and quickly love and then marriage with an American scientist. Her husband was studying chimps, and this led them to the Congo and a refuge for bonobos. The contrast between chimps and bonobos, despite their almost identical genes, is startling. From the dust jacket: ‘Imagine a relative who thinks sex is like a handshake. Who organizes orgies with the neighbors, doesn’t mind if their partner sleeps around, and firmly believes females should be in charge of everything.’ And so…Vanessa meets a male bonobo who presents his penis for stimulation…the bonobo handshake.

    In terms of gating, I have commented that either environmental factors or conscious decision making can change gating. In her book, Vanessa explains how the abundance of bonobo food, as compared to the scarcity of chimp food, means that the females are quite independent of the males. The result is a female ruled society which ‘makes love, not war’. Sex in all kinds of permutations and combinations, only some of which might produce little bonobos.

    Now skip over to an MDs recommendation of sex: ‘Oxytocin is released at climax and it is the best chemical a brain can have prior to sleep. It jump-starts the conversion of serotonin to melatonin without the four hours of complete darkness it usually takes. This is why orgasm can make you sleepy, and why moms and babies fall asleep in a rocking chair after breastfeeding.’

    Vanessa times the orgasms of two female bonobos who are engaged in rubbing vulvas and measures them at 4 seconds…the same length as her own orgasms. So is it 4 seconds of mindless bliss that is the best reason to have sex? Or is it the potential for children? And the answer, I think, is that the best reasons to have non-procreative sex is the social peace and cooperation it enables, and the positive effects it has on our circadian rhythm and thus our sleep quality and the quality of antioxidants in our brain.

    Ponder these things as you read Vanessa’s very engaging book.

    Don Stewart

  31. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Gail and All

    I remarked previously that I would consult my conscience about how much to steal from Charles Hugh Smith’s writings this weekend. This is going to be sketchy. The man has to make a living, and those of us who received his weekend email are contributing a little bit to that worthy enterprise.

    So I will include this link which prompted his own thoughts about health, the economy, etc.:

    Charles concludes that doing less is the answer to many problems, including the problem of restoring our health as individuals and as a nation and addressing economic and social issues (see my previous link to the Unschooling report.)

    Now a little sermon from me. When we have excess energy, we are tempted to think that ‘More is Better’. If we grew up in the US after WWII, we see ‘More is Better’ as a religion (see John Michael Greer, especially). But the more carefully we look at the results of ‘More is Better’, and as we open the gating mechanisms we have in place, we see that More is Better is frequently not only NOT the best way to solve problems, but is also frequently actually destructive.

    Can humans attain sapience and evolve in the direction of Less is Better? I don’t think ‘humans’ can do much of anything. Action happens at the personal and family level. Later on, some pundits will figure out that some movement started and later attained a significant influence in a certain segment of the population, which helped that segment make it through the Bottleneck, and which segment subsequently was the dominant force in the Post-Collapse world.

    Send Charles a contribution and you get to read his words of wisdom.

    Don Stewart

  32. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Gail and All
    Expanding a little on my comment that modern people tend to gate their perceptions in ways that are harmful in a changing environment, such as energy descent or peak debt or even rampant mechanization. Here is a scholarly study of Unschooling which you should find interesting. Local taxes are overwhelmingly about education. Yet vanishingly few people are willing to consider that school is mostly a waste of time. I was involved in this issue a few years ago, and the most deeply felt response I got from the general public was ‘But what about the high school football team?’.

    So I suppose people are willing to bankrupt themselves and their local government in support of a bloated system which only produces football. What happened to touch football on the White House lawn?

    Don Stewart
    PS This is a link from Charles Hugh Smith’s weekend letter to his subscribers. I steal links with only a small sense of theft, but I am reluctant to steal his original compositions. This weekend, he writes about health, and its similarity to the health of the economy. I am wrestling with how to indicate how rich his thoughts are, without actually stealing his words. Maybe more later.

    PPS I was trading information with a gardener friend in Texas. I was remarking on some soil science issues. She said ‘I used to teach the science, but people have lost their curiosity’. Make the connection to the excerpt below. Also, George Mobus recently wrote a diatribe about the negative comments he gets from freshmen students about how he doesn’t tell them what questions will be on the test, so they can memorize them. The freshmen’s attitude is No Child Left Behind with a vengeance, and an example of how the environment molds our gating. Unschooling is the opposite of No Child Left Behind.

    “The most frequent complaints,” Gray notes on his blog, “were about the lack of motivation and intellectual curiosity among their college classmates,

    I discovered that people wanted the teacher to tell them what to think. … It had never, ever occurred to me to ask someone else to tell me what to think when I read something.”

    • Paul says:

      I professor from UCLA some months ago joined a few of us for breakfast here in Bali — he was complaining that the majority of his students spend class time fiddling around on smart phones and ignoring the lectures….

      It seems that the ethos is – I want to live large — but I don’t want to work hard at trying to accomplish anything…

      I suspect this comes from observing people such as paris hilton or the kadashian whores … this is manifested in the popularity of things such as facebook and twitter — the more friends and followers you have the more famous you feel you are….

      Of course friends and followers generally do not generate an income for you — so you are unable to live large — that’s where Xanax comes into play

    • xabier says:


      That’s the attraction for the young of totalitarianism, the party-line, and all nationalist movements: people get told what to think.

    • tmsredpell says:

      Also, Sudbury Valley Schools, like the Hudson Valley Sudbury School. The rich send their kids to schools that encourage them to think independently. The not rich get told what to think. The state law regulating schools here in New York basically says if it is private (read rich) leave it alone it can do whatever it wants.

  33. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Gail and All
    A couple of days ago I remarked about the difference between Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and a drum circle under some trees. Here is a hybrid view: junkyard percussion inserted into a big symphony orchestra. Do you think the junkyard percussion can survive if the big symphony orchestra goes away? If not, why not? Where do you think the big symphony originated? Was it a result of continual sophistication enabled by surplus energy, which will devolve back to whence it came if the surplus energy goes away?

    Don Stewart

  34. Paul says:

    Further thoughts on the efficacy of protesting….

    I think the most effective protest is not one that uses violence — that can of course work — but ideally one would not want to have to resort to those methods – for obvious reasons…

    Rather protest in the form of diligence — in the form sending the message to the Deep State that certain behaviours are not going to be tolerated …

    I would argue that the US is a failed state in this respect — the masses dropped the ball long ago — with a great deal of help from the Deep State…

    Look at the state of education in the country…. keeping em dumb is a good way to breed apathy…

    Then take a look at the media — it is now consolidated under a few big corporations — effectively the MSM is one big fat propaganda machine… it does not attempt to get at truths rather its purpose is to deflect … to ensure that nobody asks any hard questions…

    So failure to be vigilant and informed has resulted in a state of apathy … and those that are not apathetic feel powerless….

    And as we see the Deep State keeps ripping chunks off — they get away with torture — they can spy on everyone’s most private communications — they can drone innocent people with impunity — commit war crimes — the prosecution of whistle blowers ….

    There are no longer any checks whatsoever on the Deep State.

    Which leaves violence as the only form of protest… and as we have seen the Deep State is ready for that — 1.6 billion rounds of ammo — and look at Ferguson… the fangs are slowly unsheathing …

    • Yes, I noticed this article. And I expect that the recent global economy GDP numbers are really overstated, too.

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        That’s because they are adding stuff they didn’t use to, effectively moving the goalposts to suit the need to have the GDP numbers in the range of acceptability. Not much different than changing the rules on what constitutes inflation by eliminating energy and food so it appears low, or altering the definition of an unemployed person to skew those numbers. They just offer up numbers that make them look better than the truth, so we the people have no stats to become outraged by.

  35. xabier says:

    Back to diet issues:

    ‘The horse and sow live thirty years, and nothing know of wines and beers;
    The goat and sheep at twenty die, and never taste of scotch and rye;
    (etc ……. )
    All animals are strictly dry and sinless live and swiftly die;
    But sinful, ginful, rum-soaked men,survive for three score years and ten;
    And some of us, the mighty few,stay pickled till we’re ninety-two!’

    Time to pick the elder berries, the hawthorn, and soon the sloes, for some strong winter potations: now that’s the Neolithic Diet to follow!

  36. Paul says:

    Of course the Deep State and their PR machine invents these words like neocon … it is a useful tool … just as Democrat and Republican … are useful tools…

    Such terms are useful in playing the ignorant stupid masses — it makes them believe they have choice, good guys, bad guys… that their vote makes a difference.

    The fact that Obama’s foreign policy has been no different than Bush’s — i.e. more endless wars — the fact that he did attempt to prosecute anyone over the WMD lie… torture camps etc… the fact that Obama does nothing about the NSA spying …

    Surely one would think the ignorant stupid masses might get the message by now — that they might wake up and realize — it does not matter who they vote for —- it makes absolutely no difference

    And one would think that the ignorant stupid masses might also conclude that the politicians are not making the decisions — there is a higher unelected power pulling the strings….

    The ignorant stupid masses might even make the connection between the fact that billions are given to politicians by corporations and special interests — that this is the real nexus of power in the country — effectively the politicians are bought and paid for …

    But nope.

    The ignorant stupid masses are truly ignorant and stupid — they continue to label themselves Democrat or Republican — they continue to participate in sham elections — they continue to believe that their guy is the good guy…

    And the Deep State is laughing all the way to the bank while the ignorant stupid masses remain oblivious to what is happening — and they sink slowly into desperate proverty…

    I have not one drop of empathy for the ignorant stupid masses — because at the end of the day they have embraced idiocracy over responsibility — they have been happy to tune into jerry springer — idolized and celebrated the lifestyles of paris hilton, justin bieber and other fools…

    The ignorant stupid masses are a rather pathetic lot in general… and they get what they deserve.

    • T. G. Neason says:

      You may be intellectually brilliant!

      You may be very successful!

      You and yours may survive the collapse!

      But your arrogance reveals a very pitiful person!

      • Paul says:

        Rather ironic that you suggest that I am intellectually brilliant (I would disagree — I am simply well read and curious — and if anything I think I am aware of the matrix and being aware allows someone of moderate ability and intellect to seem brilliant — conversely someone of great intellect can appear thick as a stump if the person is captured by the matrix —- as for success, I am moderately successful — mostly due to luck) ….

        Yet you clearly disagree with the conclusions that I have posted.

        So how can I be so brilliant — yet be so wrong?

        Or am I right but you are offended by the confronting nature of my argument which you see as arrogant?

        If you look at it from my perspective I see the US as party that is arrogant — murdering, pillaging, plundering — and yet — claiming to be wonderful. I see the American people as arrogant — telling us how you are the greatest country on the planet and how we should all strive to be like you…. and how it is your god given right to invade as you please telling us you will force your will on whomever you choose…

        I am sure you will disagree with that. And you will remain offended by my comments.

        As I have mentioned on one my posts… when someone fails to respond to an argument with logic based rebuttals — and instead resorts to anger and insults …. that means the fat lady has sung…

        See how powerful the matrix is — even when I confront with hard facts — I cannot even dent it — in fact when I attack the matrix it actually becomes more powerful… because those who are in it rally against anyone who would attempt to expose it…

        Such a magnificent system!!!

        • jms says:

          Completely agree, Paul. Unfortunately, mankind is addicted to comforting lies. T. S. Elot said it short and well: “Mankind cannot bear very much reality”.

        • ordinaryjoe says:

          “in fact when I attack the matrix it actually becomes more powerful… ”
          Knowing this why do you continue your behavior?
          “because those who are in it rally against anyone who would attempt to expose it… :
          Uhh no. The reason that you raise hackles Paul is for all extents and purposes you as a Canadian citizen are exactly the same as a USA citizen. You live the same lifestyle actualyl much much better than the folks where i live and its derived from the exact same place. All these writings of yours are simply attempts for you to distance yourself. Thats the part you cant look at. Thats the place you can not bear to see. I asked a question once before Paul and you never answered me. Are these writing bringing peace to your heart? You dont have to answer Paul the answer is clear to all who read your writings. Thats the only real issue that I have with your writings, your expression of unresolved pain day in and day out. Personally if you were to stop writing I would feel a sense of loss even though Im a evil citizen of the USA who wil “get what I deserve” in your eyes.

          Do you wish peace in your heart Paul? If you do do you think that choosing to use your time in a activity other than blogging hour upon hour everday might be appropriate? Humans do have the capability to change their heart and minds. Perhaps some exercise? Spending more time with the wife and daughter? Just some friendly advise. No? Keep fighting those windmills DON Quixote Im sure youll bag one, one of these days! 🙂 I say that not as a indication of the content of your writings but as a indication of where you, a fellow human, are coming from.. I will ask you one last question Paul. What action could you take that would enable you to love yourself?

          • Paul says:

            For me to have peace would require me to become stupid, ignorant – and apathetic.

            Essentially I would have to have to believe that the west — after plundering and destroying countries via wicked tools such as the IMF and World Bank – can balance things out by dropping some bags of rice out of the back of a C130… that tossing my spare change into the Oxfam box at the grocery store is somehow absolving me of responsibility.

            I’d have to sit at the teevee watching CNN — and believing it was a font of truth. I’d join the masses hating the Muslims and chanting USA USA. I’d have to believe Israel was the victim.

            Do you think Julian Assange has peace? Or Edward Snowden? How about Manning who is stuck in a dungeon – forever — to rot.

            Men who have tried to stand up for what is right. And what do those who ‘have peace’ do about this?

            Do they take to the streets and demand these injustices be dealt with?

            Nope – they sink back into their ignorance and turn on the football game — and they cower in fear from the latest manufactured bad guy and cheer as the war machine rages forever onwards.

            How wonderful that most people can feel a calm inner peace in the face of such atrocities.

            You are asking of me something that is not possible.

            And not to worry about my preoccupation with these issues — I am quite good at compartmentalizing them — I get my peace from gardening and mountain biking… I actually am quite enjoying the last years of BAU thank you very much.

            • ordinaryjoe says:

              “that tossing my spare change into the Oxfam box at the grocery store is somehow absolving me of responsibility. ”
              So knowing the source of your wealth and lifestyle are you seeking peaceful actions within your community that will fulfill your “responsibility” other than blogging on the internet? Im not asking you for specifics thats up to your creativity and level of commitment.. Without seeking peaceful actions to fulfill your responsibility your action of posts on this blog is exactly the same as ” tossing my spare change into the Oxfam box”. What are appropriate peaceful actions? Thats up to you. You are aware, compassionate, wealthy and smart.if all you are doing is pointing fingers thats a worse sin than being ignorant.

            • kesar says:

              I coudn’t refrain. I want to add one more thing.

              Paul, did you consider how much energy you’re using? And maybe more detailed question: how much oil you personally consume? For your travels (you mention a lot of different places you spend time all over the world), commuting and all your other consumption products (food, appliances, electronics, electricity, etc. almost all your consumption is related to oil somehow), where, as we all know it, is a lot of oil hidden behind the purchase price. So how much of this sun energy stored for 90-250 million years you consume?
              In our (I mean, I assume all readers of this blog) interpreation, oil is the ‘limiting factor’ for human population according to Liebieg’s Law of the Minimum. Therefore, I assume each human’s responsibility for current situation (approaching Seneca Cliff) is proportional to the consumption of oil (other types of energy as well). In this image you have a lot of responsibility here… your groaning seems self-destructive to me.
              So IMHO, everyone’s proper action – also proportional to the level of awareness, IMO – should be to lower the oil consumption. Are you ready to do it?
              And when you do it, please start groaning again. Then you have the right to do it properly.

            • Paul says:

              I used to try to be as green as possible.

              But then I had an epiphany – if everyone did what I did then the world would collapse — immediately.

              And not into a world of Little House on the Prairie rather a dystopian world with no food — disease – suffering beyond your worst nightmare.

              As we are seeing right now – the price of oil is dropping because people are not flying enough – they are not driving enough – they are not buying enough stuff….

              God dammit people!!!! Don’t you get it!!! You need to keep the hamster running…. you say you have no munny? Well get another credit card — every heard of subprime car loans? — refi your house? — get with the programme…buy buy buy — consume…. faster faster faster… you need MORE!

              Because if you don’t you will be buying nothing. You will be eating grass.

              I am attempting to do my part to keep this rotten pile of dung going as long as possible — I am picking up where others are failing — another flight next week – all the way to auckland — then a car rental — maybe I will get an SUV – and roam far and wide — because we all know what happens if oil keeps going down in price… I need to burn as much as possible.

              I don’t buy much — because I don’t need much — I run about in ragged cheap tshirts and grubby shorts most days — but maybe I should just buy stuff and put in in storage (like most people) — or I could give it out to the villagers nearby…

              At the end of the day it all helps raise the price of oil — which is the number one goal at the moment. If I can only get away from this computer for a moment I could DRIVE the car to the MALL and buy some stuff…. I will ponder that…

              We are way past the point of no return — the rubicon is a thousand miles behind us

              The last chance we had to stop this with a reasonable result was many decades ago…. we needed to kill the consumer model — we needed to kill the green revolution… and get off this exponential growth curve to hell….

              Buy a Prius, buy a private jet, live in a shack in Walden, eat granola, shop at Wholefoods, walk to work, take the bus…. do whatever you like — but you are wasting your time.

              It is TOO BLOODY LATE.

              The only option is MORE. Please take it.

              Of course the epicentre of consumerism and the green revolution was America…. the coat of arms for America should have this embossed in Latin “We Stand Together in Avarice’

              With contemporary relevance to much of what I have discussed above re food…. it never ends….

              We discussed the efficacy of protest on here the other day — as we see from that article when the people of Europe rise against Monsanto — they have power — so far they have won the battle… unfortunately too little too late…

            • kesar says:


              Just to be clear: I am not attacking you, I just find some incoherence in your posts. On one hand you say:
              “God dammit people!!!! Don’t you get it!!! You need to keep the hamster running…. you say you have no munny? Well get another credit card — every heard of subprime car loans? — refi your house? — get with the programme…buy buy buy — consume…. faster faster faster… you need MORE!”
              but on the other hand you say you hate the sheeps for mindless consumption. One or the other, you can’t have both.

              And you also say:
              “I used to try to be as green as possible.
              But then I had an epiphany – if everyone did what I did then the world would collapse — immediately.”
              Isn’t that the same thing as US Deep State is doing? They know and I fully agree, that we are 40 years past the Rubicon. So in this way they are keeping the hamster running, the same as you are. They just do it all over the world with iron and blood and sometimes they are brutal pursuing their goals, nevertheless the same goals we all have – to postpone the inevitable.

              Apart from this I can say, I like what you post and read it with pleasure. I consider you here on the blog as a ‘conscience guard’.


            • Paul says:

              I have qualified that with my comments indicating that I take issue with those who birthed the hamster and put him on the wheel… that would be the Deep State.. they of course will keep that little bastard running as long as possible!!!

              Clearly the Deep Staters are aware of what we are facing — I wonder if some of the more elderly members ever sit back (with a glass of 50 year old scotch) and think ‘what the hell have we done here’ — do they ever have regrets about any of the decisions that were taken? Do they ever think –‘if only we could do things over’…

              Probably not.

              Also the reason why I don’t care about how much energy I use any longer is completely different from that of the consumers who rampage through the malls — I continue to consume because I realize we have to (believe me – I used to be a pain in the ass about this trying to make my one sibling feel guilty about driving a big fat SUV!) – they are doing it because they want to.

              If I could stop participating and it meant the world could continue on the scale of Little House on the Prairie — I would cancel my flight next week.

              If you offered this to the masses — they’d riot — and they’d vote for the person who would promise them they could live large (see Ronny Raygun)…

              We’ll get what we deserve I suppose.

              Nevertheless — one can’t helping wondering if it could have been different…

            • Paul says:

              Some specifics — without being too specific….

              I have sponsored a medical team to assist the poor. I sponsor a charity that assists street kids. I have been involved with raising money for a variety of charities.

              But as to how I have attempted to right the many atrocities that the west commits around the world, that would be primarily by exposing the atrocities… and the hypocrisies … through various means… in the hopes that we might rein in the beast….

              It is a thankless undertaking — and for the most part probably ineffectual … the beast is starved of resources and it is very angry about that… if anything, the atrocities are worsening…

    • Calista says:

      You sound a great deal like some of my “ignorant stupid masses” relatives. They have a lot of talk and very few suggestions except anger at the people in power or people who are doing this to them. I come back around to the question of agency. How much personal agency do you feel you have to impact change in your community? I think that people who talk a great deal about how bad, wrong, whatever descriptor of choice without looking in the mirror and offering a better example are very angry and very scared. That is a difficult place to be. I try to ask them softly if they’ve considered putting in water tanks or a cistern. I’ve asked them if they’ve asked for work at the branch or office closer to their home instead of 1.5 hours across town. It is a slow process but not throwing anger in people’s faces and setting an example of what can be done, however small, usually brings more peace and happiness.

      • Paul says:

        I have no anger with the people in power (they do what I expect them to do) rather my ‘anger’ is with the stupid ignorant masses… (anger may not be such a good word — I think disgust is more appropriate — but let’s stick with anger)

        Disgust primarily at their apathy… which is a product of their ignorance and stupidity…

        My anger is with every single moron (often not so stupid) who says ‘that the NSA is spying on my every communication is of no concern to me – because I have done nothing wrong’

        And when I attempt explain to the ignorant — no make that stupid — because it is utter stupidity to make such a comment …..

        That the NSA has compromising information on every single person because I guarantee you ever single person has said or done many things and communicated them by email or phone — that they do not want made public and the NSA has that in a database — and if they ever need to use it against you to shut you up or shut you down because you protested against GMO or Fracking … all they need to do is run their google-made custom search on your file… then stop by and pay you a visit and ask you if you really want to continue with your activities.

        And I get a blank stare as if I had just tried to explained this to a donkey — or a goat…. (which I might as well have)

        My anger is with the morons who voted twice for George Bush — who supported the war crime that is the war on Iraq — who believed Saddam was behind 911 — who did not take to the streets to demand heads over Abu Ghraib, rendition, torture — my anger is with the apathy — which could be interpreted as complicity — in approval for these acts…

        My anger is with those who spend their days face booking, twittering, watching Dancing with Stars … shoving 3 for1 pizza and family size cokes into their gullets and expecting to live large… whose only desire is a larger house — another SUV in the driveway… as I said – I am disgusted by this

        When the curtain of the totalitarian nightmare descends upon these people they will deserve everything coming their way — I do feel badly for the few people in America who understand what has happened and tried to oppose the beast and failed…

        And I share the utter dismay they must feel when they see the fools take to the streets embracing the beast and shouting USA USA USA….

        People like Chris Hedges, Snowden, Assange, Manning, Jeremy Scahill, George Galloway, Robert Fisk….. brave men – wise men – heroes.

        Might I suggest building a cistern missing the point completely here?

        • Calista says:

          Nope, likely not missing the point at all. The time for dealing with the spying and the culture of data collection was 15 to 20 years ago when it was common knowledge of the backdoors in everything Cisco was making and supplying. It was when Nexus-Lexis off-shored a portion of their business to get around US laws on data collection on private individuals and the sale of such.

          Now is just a bit too late and your anger or flailing about here on Gail’s blog is just a little too little a little too late. First you’re a yellin’ and a hollerin’ about something that the population who reads here is more than likely to have already figured out is a problem and so you’re not likely to convince many here, much less convince them in the manner you’re approaching them. Second, your expectation of the masses comprehending what is happening and what that actually means sadly mis-understands the issues within our society. For few generations our school systems have beaten curiosity and independent thinking out of the vast majority of students. You are then blaming those adults for what they were subjected to in school and the resultant thought processes and decision-making ability. Again, these are not people with personal agency or any understanding of what that might actually be. You are also blaming them, effectively, for being poor. Those who are highly educated are the ones most likely to have some exposure to or likelihood of coming across a discourse such as Gail’s blog and it shows in the writing style of most of the commenters here. I would argue that the same holds for much of the public discourse on net neutrality, NSA spying etc.

          So my point was that a) the time for dealing with the NSA stuff was 15 years ago and you’re quite late to the game b) you are talking to a group of people here who likely either “get it” or “are not having that discussion with you” and so are wasting your electrons and c) would be much more useful by either doing something highly practical or working to make up the lack of education on such subjects to an audience that has not already self-selected for more personal agency and more personal knowledge than the average US citizen.

          I would propose that in your emotional frustration and response you missed my point.

          • Paul says:

            The problem is — as B9 has pointed it — that most people here do not ‘get it’

            Turn this around — something Americans tend to have a very difficult time doing

            When comments are posted with the implication that America is a beacon of light —- do you not think that anyone who has been on the receiving end of America’s resource and power driven wrath might be profoundly insulted?

            Of course such people are too busy scrounging in the dump for rotting food to respond — so I am responding for them.

            When an entire country is destroyed over a lie (not the first time) — and the majority of the people in that country were behind that 100% — the people of that country are in no position to be lecturing me on etiquette.

            I will continue to lay these issues out as I see them.

            Funny how when I discuss issues not related to American policy I am welcomed joyously … but the moment I touch the wrong nerve the knives come out – primarily of course with American participants holding the handles…

            Par for the course — for a country whose children are raised on guns and ammo…

        • InAlaska says:

          You can get a 3 for 1 pizza? Where?

  37. Paul says:

    One reason oil prices are dropping…

    China Industrial Growth Slows, Power Generation Negative 1st Time in 4 Years; Stimulate Now, Crash Later

    Cries for more stimulus ring loudly in China because Chinese industrial output slowed to 6.9%. That is a number that any country in the world would be more than pleased with, but China’s target is 7.5%.

    Why 7.5%? In fact, why should there be any targets at all? The economy is not a car that can be steered by bureaucrats to perfection.

  38. wadosy says:

    there’s still almost fifteen years’ worth of boomers in the medicare pipeline… and they’re expected to live til they’re 90, which would put the boomer expiration date at like 2030…

    will the shale boom last hat long? …does the hale boom make any real difference?

    …will the doofus “war on terror” last that long? …the war has already lasted thriteen years aand shows no sign of ending

    we can install a female president… i mean, obama’s presidency has kinda worked okay for pacifying blacks, although that seems to be fraying… will a female president pacify the matriarchs?

    given the trends, do the people running the government give a fig about anyone else’s well being, or are they intent on retaining power for as long as possible, no matter what it takes?

    the military doesnt use much oi, maybe half a million barrels a day… the military could consume twice as muc if that much was needed to hld the country –aka hte tax base– together

    once the fascists take off their gloves, will there be even a pretense of concern for doddering old boomers?

    will young people defend the boomers?… there;s already an an undercurrent of resentment against boomers……so many advantages, so many opportunities, and they blew it… “abd biw boomers are hanging onto their jobs longer, depriving us o jobs”

    • wadosy says:

      i said, “there’s still almost fifteen years’ worth of boomers in the medicare pipeline… and they’re expected to live til they’re 90, which would put the boomer expiration date at like 2030…”

      2030 would be the year boomers would normally all be retired if they retire at 65… if they live until they’re 90, that’s another 25 years… til 2055

      so young people got to support millions of useless eaters as the economy shrivels, and “what’s gonna happen to us?”

      • VPK says:

        If I were nearing my 60’s or over, I would not plan living long after the SHTF. We are the first to be tossed “overboard” and I don’t blame the youngsters for doing so, perhaps the one satisfaction they will have left to act out.

        • Jan Steinman says:

          “If I were nearing my 60’s or over, I would not plan living long after the SHTF.”

          One needs to be useful in the New Normal™. That means one has practical skills, and/or money.

          So I’d amend your statement to mention something about working in a cube farm or being a middle-manager or similar. People with practical skills (grow food, fix things, etc.) will always find others who find it in their best interest to keep them alive.

          • Paul says:

            Agree — many in the younger generation have no skills that would make them useful going forward (face-booking will not be of much value) …. many people over 60 do have skills that will be useful so I can imagine those people will be valued (of course many over 60 have nothing to offer and are in terrible health…. so they will be shoved off the life boat very quickly)

            • VPK says:

              Useful would be able to provide means of growing food without “magic pellets” and hand woodworking and metal working. I doubt many “over 60” possess these. But good luck to those that do and of course, “Lady Luck” was a hand in the outcome. Some older folks provide intangible benefits. We shall see, we shall see

    • wadosy says:

      “why are you obessed with neocons?”

      because i think they’re worse than the nazis in terms of consequences, given the fact htat they seem to have been motivated by peak oil and are some of the most vociferous deniers of peak oil and global warming

      can you sell their project as a remedy to peak oil? …not likely, not to most people whose kids are hungry despite the neocons’ “solution” to the problem

      can you hide the fact that all this seems to have been a neocon idea?

      • ordinaryjoe says:

        My only problem with the word “neocon” is that many associate it only with Bush Cheney. Its is clear to me that Obama Hillary Kerry Nuland and their associates are neocons too buf the word is often used by those who believe they are not. A word that varies in meaning is a poor tool. Blair Longley does good work in descriptive terms.
        A word that encompasses ownership of the vileness of our leaders inappropriate use of force does not exist most probably because widespread awareness of the inappropriateness of this use of force seems not to exist in the USA.

    • Simple Simon says:

      Right sentiment, wrong target.
      Tax data and governmental spend from most developed countries shows a reasonably consistent trend.
      1. The cohort born between 1920 and 1940 have taken out far more from the the Government than they have paid by way of taxes.
      2. The cohort born between 1940 – 1950, tax/spend neutral
      3. Those born after 1950 have paid more than their share – primarily to support the borrowing done by group 1. to support their unsustainable lifestyle.

      Caveat: this data is NOT 100% across all developed countries – but is fairly consistent across most.

  39. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Stefeun

    One of the mechanisms which might permit humans to adjust to a reduced level of energy is changes in our perceptual gating strategies.

    What our mind experiences is nothing like what enters our various sensory apparatus. At many steps, our biology ‘gates’, or narrows down, what we see and touch and taste and how we feel to simplified representations which we have learned are important to our functioning in the world and in our culture. A child tends to have very open gates, while an adult tends to have very narrow gates. Artists tend to have open gates, along with schizophrenics. Soldiers with PTSD tend to have open gates, particularly in certain sensory pathways. When we read a book, we typically gate out the actual words on the page, and instead focus on the images or the feelings being elicited. A current book of interest (in English) is What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund. Mendelsund approaches the subject from the standpoint of a failed professional musician and successful Art Director for a book publisher who designs ‘the most instantly recognizable and iconic book covers in contemporary fiction’.

    Take a Wall Street trader. For them, representations on a ticker tape are all that is really important in life. And so their sensory apparatus will narrow the sensory experience down to what can be put on a Bloomberg terminal.

    Many people who comment on this blog have very narrow gates, focused on what can be done with fossil fuel energy and debt, and the threat to those functions should fossil fuels and debt stop functioning as they do today in our globalized, financialized world.

    If these same people were to survive a plane crash in remote Alaska, and have to live off the land until they could reach a settlement, the gates of their perception would change radically (or they would die). Alternatively, a Wall Street trader may take up music in an effort to preserve sanity. The trader will now have very narrow gates in one part of their life (making a living) and very wide gates in another part of their life (making meaning through music).

    Thus, the gating mechanism, while a gift from evolution which permits us to function in a world of overwhelming informational density, is also capable of being shaped by either changes in the environment or by conscious decisions.

    In a financial/ industrial collapse, those who survive will likely be those who rearranged their gating functions. ‘Fun’ will be redefined from ‘being waited on hand and foot’ to ‘making something useful’.

    In short, there is nothing inherently impossible about it. But many people are quite rigid and will resist change. If a collapse happens very quickly, then more people will likely die because the environmental changes had little time to wear away their previous gating strategies. If collapse happens over generations, then more people will survive because time will have worked its magic.

    I am not trying to denigrate physical factors such as knowing how to grow food or use water power. But behind knowing things is the gating strategy we use to decide that knowing how to do these things is important.

    Don Stewart

    • Great post, I do agree. But there are unfanthomably tremendous path dependecies locked around our neck. The system of debt vs. resources we as society are accustomed to is more or less on continuous one way trajectory since at least of the times of mid-late stage Venetian Republic and their international business model incl. “virtual” money markets, that’s almost 1000yrs of genes and memes.

      Lets say if as of now every two children out of 10 were growing up directly or have some albeit limited hands on experience (weekends/summer brake) with different “non exponential growth” distributed living arrangement like restorative agriculture, then I’d argue there is slight chance of turning the tide in relatively fast “no gate – fresh outlook” process lets say in 2-3 generations.

      Unfortunately, look around we are nowhere near such favorable setting as of now, ergo there must be Seneca’s Cliff cleansing event first, horrible I know, and only then perhaps some regeneration process taking root from way smaller base.

    • xabier says:


      I’ve just been reading a simple little book of memoirs by a man who died in the 1980’s, was born the son of a poor farm labourer (but it seems they were very well fed if short of cash) and made good during the very worst years in agriculture, those after WW1.

      1922 to 1932 was the worst decade anyone could remember, and farmers were lucky to get two years of profit, and endured many years of loss. Even after that it was hard,

      What he says about who survived and who failed is instructive: those who went under refused to recognise the gravity of the situation, the new factors in play – ie prolonged severe Depression – and wouldn’t change the way they lived, their ‘lifestyle’ as we say today, and the assumptions behind it.

      He, starting from nothing, made many mistakes, was defrauded and tricked many times, but was ever observant and ready to change tack within the agricultural world he knew. He also got some small, basic, income outside that world, as an insurance collector for instance. He had the luck of good health.

      One of the other survivors whom he notes responded to the Depression by immediately giving up a very beautiful house and gardens and moving into a very modest one: ten years later, he bought back his old farm. Others hung on to appearances, often to please their wives, and went bust. Our hero had no social position to keep up: he was the son of a labourer, that left him free of pretensions.

    • Stefeun says:

      you’re right to say that humans have huge potential of adaptability, and it’s true that slight changes in rules lead to very different organisation.
      For example, imagine (semi-legend of the old Chinese medicine) that you pay the doctor when you’re healthy, and don’t pay him when you’re sick; such principle would push for maximum prevention of illness, and percolate the society until food-production, and -why not?- education and birth-control. Instead of this holistic approach, we have a symptomatic one that fits much better with capitalistic business and is probably much more efficient in terms of dissipating as much energy as possible (which gives more power to wipe out the other systems).
      I agree with Worldof that maybe mankind will have opportunity to take care of the quality of life, but only after solving the quantity issues (too much of everything) we’re facing today.
      But it’s good that alternative experiments are implemented today, at individual level or small scale, so that these models can spread once BAU is over (when and where possible, if any, post-collapse).

      • Daddio7 says:

        Our modern healthcare industry provides many extra years of life, unfortunately many of these life saving procedures would be considered torturer if performed on a captured terrorist. Billions of people live a miserable life because they don’t starve or die in infancy like they did in the past. Are more person years of life on the planet worth the misery and deprivation of those of living them? (sarc)

        • ordinaryjoe says:

          “Our modern healthcare industry provides many extra years of life, unfortunately many of these life saving procedures would be considered torturer if performed on a captured terrorist. Billions of people live a miserable life because they don’t starve or die in infancy like they did in the past. Are more person years of life on the planet worth the misery and deprivation of those of living them? (sarc)”

          If you choose to use your assets and resources to receive modern medical treatment thats your choice. I support your choice to do so 100%. Do you support my choice if I choose otherwise?

          Im not a wealthy man. If I was perhaps I would choose to spend what amounts to a lifetime of earnings for me to prolong my life a few years. As it is Id rather others use the resources who are young in life. I cherish every moment in my life. Part of that is knowing that Im doing my best to caretake what resources I have for the planet and the beautiful children. I have no judgment of others actions in this respect but seeing as its my body and my life I will live the way that allows me to live my life to the fullest.

  40. B9K9 says:

    Paul, why are you bothering everyone (well, primarily ‘Mericans) with links to specific US led atrocities? Do you think anyone gives a sh!t about the events surrounding the overthrow of the popularly elected leader of Iran, whose capital sin was to engage in nationalizing the oil fields, and installing the Shah?

    If you’re going to go down that path, then you might as well discuss the broad based massacres conducted during the Philippine insurrection after the Spanish-American war, the decades long series of interventions in Central America and support of repressive regimes, not to mention the 1m dead Vietnamese civilians, etc, etc, etc. But all you will illicit is (a) what? (b) no way, you’re lying; and (c) well, I still support my country.

    What I cannot fathom is why you get your panties tied into such a wad. Yes, ‘Mericans are stupid & ignorant – after all, they were both bred and trained to be that way. But rather than criticize, why not capitalize? That’s why there are such large income/wealth disparities in this country; the smart n’ savvy are like wolves in a feeding frenzy. It’s really so easy to manipulate & control, it almost becomes boring.

    One last point regarding Hitler: what if he had utilized the traditional Western way of genocide, mainly by concentrating opposition, encouraging resistance, providing limited arms and instigating insurrection with chosen agent provocateurs and/or false flag events? How many American/Asian Indians did the US/UK kill in this manner? Where is the historical condemnation? You see how much more subtle it is when civilian deaths can be dismissed as unfortunate collateral damage? But no, the stupid Germans are so mechanistic, all they could think about was order & efficiency; absolutely no consideration towards the art of subterfuge.

    Anyway, you’re wasting your time criticizing the US. To paraphrase an old adage, those who know not only don’t care, but are busy leveraging their knowledge, while those who don’t know are so deeply imbued with cultural programming that they will never be able to break free.

    Bonus information:
    – who knows that the national anthem was only adopted in 1931?
    – who knows that the pledge of allegiance was only instituted in 1942?
    – who knows that in Dog we Trust was only implemented in 1956?

    Can you dig the beauty of the propaganda? Examine your own purposeful programming by those who seek/sought to take advantage of you.

    • Paul says:

      I would have thought the reason I post these things is very obvious… I am not trying to change anything — what I am doing is exposing hypocrisy…

      It is quite irritating to listen 24/7 to the lies of the MSM about US policy — and even more irritating when I see people spouting the sound bites they pick up from CNN etc…

      Kinda the same reason we come to this site — because we tire of reading headlines like ‘Shale = 100 Years of Oil” …. this site offers an island of rationale thought … in a sea of lies…

      I suppose I am also firing warning shots warning pointing out the danger of not standing up against tyranny — the warning shots are aimed at the fools who believe the Deep State loves them and will take care of them — that the Deep State is benevolent… kind… a beacon of light…

      I think it was Chomsky who said the only way to prevent the excesses of the PTB is to be educated and diligent — to oppose these excesses. Because if a population does not — it will soon enough find itself under the boot…. and by the time that happens it is too late.

      You seem not to think there is any point in opposing the excesses of the Deep State. You appear to be completely mercenary — whatever the Deep State does no matter how vile — so long as you are able to continue to ride the coat tails and live comfortably.

      I see that as a rather short sighted view of things… might I even say this is a selfish position?

      If people are tortured … countries thrown into chaos … if the NSA gets to track your every communication — you don’t seem to mind — as long as you get yours…

      The thing is…. if you don’t draw lines in terms of what is acceptable and what is not — then the Deep State will keep hacking off chunks…

      And eventually — they will arrive at your door step …. or your children’s … or your grand children’s… and the comfortable life ends then and there…

  41. I would like to contribute many maladies on the wastefullness with which we are burning fossile fuels. There are valid arguments here but clearly beside the real point.

    As there is not much difference in the madness of industrial food production and energy wastefulness between the US and Europe or Canada, the bad outcome of health care in the USA has one reason that stands out first and foremost, and that is the privatized health insurance system. (obviously still alive and kicking in spite of obama care).

    Americans are in bad heatlth because their health care system is driven by greed and profit. If the USA had a free health care system that would be indeed be concerned with health instead of profit, health of US citicens would be comparable to other industrial countries.

    To go deeper down into the mess the US made of its own people’s health, obesity in the US is in large parts a result of poverty. In fact, the national geographic just printed an article that hunger, poverty and obesity are linked problems in the USA, as counterintuitive as that may seem.

    There are connections between processed food and energy consumption though. The connecting issue is radical capitalism. The Gap between rich and poor or between the healthy and sick has been dug by the class war the top one percent has wrought on the rest of the population. Capitalism kills in many ways, health care, foodstuffs and fossil fuels are but the most prominent.

  42. Christian says:

    Gail, I wonder what you’re going to write on commodity deflation. It doesn’t look good. I don’t expect you to see it as a geopolitical move. Is it possible Brent never again exceeding the hundred?

    Thanks for the comments on Argentina. It’s a good exemple of intl politics, it’s based in a complete lie. The lie of the possibility of full demand payment, whose mathematics would result laugh provoking to a kid.

    The Justice system can really do nothing: Griesa can’t seize aything because Argentina owns nothing within the US and nowhere else. I would not be surprised this is the case for many countries. We use a couple of US banks as front men and Griesa finally did not interferred with this. So I’m affraid we beated the Justice.

    And the pressure goes the financial track. No loans, bad loans, no private credit, pay two months in advance of delivery… Of course it is possible despite existing UN resolution the US doesn’t reform it’s regulations in order to kill existing and unborn claims of this species. We are just willing to be treated as general private trade, not worst, so I would ask for a suspension in pro US psalms until this situation will be cleared.

    InAlaska, Hitler’s defeat was not a solitary achievement and Western Europe’s reconstruction was not an altruistic measure. Remember also in this case the original loans were offered to a military junta in the late 1970s (trained to kidnap, torture and kill citizens by the Pentagon). So you (sorry, they alias PTB) invented petrodollar, installed some military regimes in Latina America and Africa, lend them money and from that point got a couple of extra salaries a year for free for a generation (more than 30 years elapsed). It’s not like saving Europe from Hitler, doesn’t it ? More like robbing a kid. A lot of kids.

    • kesar says:

      Next round of sanctions against Russia:

      “Oil is not the only raw material whose price is declining. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. issued a report titled “The End of the Iron Age,” citing a “dramatic” drop in iron ore prices — mainly because of a decrease in Chinese demand — and predicting that prices would be even lower through 2017 because of “structural oversupply.” The price of steel has been falling, too. Metals accounted for 7.7 percent of Russia’s exports last year.”

      Are they really want to strangle Russia with isolation? This is very dangerous double-edged sword. I see only 2 possible motives/goals for these sanctions:
      – introduce IOCs to russian oil/gas deposits and increase efficiency/output;
      – increase price of oil and hence profitability of IOCs.

      Apart from the above, it’s like self-tightening the noose.
      I am interested in your opinions.

    • You bet the 2nd and 3rd world was watching very closely those escapades of Griesa et al.
      Another nail into the coffin of undisputed oneway globalization order and projection of unilateral power. The chinese alliance will be stronger for that and it’s also preping way faster, they used to call it for early 2020s now they want to kick out the west from their cushy seat for good in this decade.

      I’m wondering about the “shadow banking” sector in China, understandably large chunk of it is global capital who parked funds and leveraged there for the boom years/decades. In case of severe downturn (now?) or crash proper inside China we will see the playing field suddenly in more better clarity. It will either implode their system or will be rather utilized as the junction point to reset the global system more to their liking. Let’s wait and see, the latter seems more plausible due to systemic preparations they have already put in place.

      • InAlaska says:

        Hey Christian,
        Defeating Hitler was pretty much a solitary effort on the Western Front, as France had surrendered, Europe was completely occupied and England was barely hanging on by their nails. But we do owe a bit of gratitude for the 20 million Russians who died taking the stuffing out of Hitler on the Eastern Front. I would thank them, but 1) they’re dead, and 2) we aren’t getting along with Russian anymore, again. As for altruism: No state acts completely out of altruism, but it sure was a good thing we got in their when we did or all Europe would be speaking German or Russian at this point.

        • Christian says:

          Alaska, while I rather prefer liberalism (which is not a US invention) I’d no’t be bored in case this blog would go on mainstream german or russian. And I would say Hitler was overwhelmed by a three legged army: millions of conquered people (called partisanos, résistance, etc) whose particpation in intelligence and sabotage actions were crucial (no satellites and no rockets at that time); both red and US armies (none of them was able to beat Wehrmacht by itself, not even adding partisanos). The Brits did added some intelligence (remember that german codage story) and troops.

          But only the US and USSR built a cinema industry upon their role in the war, just as Goebbels had taught

    • InAlaska says:

      Gail, I agree with Christian. It would be interesting to see you write a piece about commodity deflation. It is counter-intuitive that prices for commodities are going down as they become depleted. I know my gold stocks are not doing very well and haven’t been doing well since 2011.

  43. SlowRider says:

    I’m commenting back on the topic of this post.
    Over here in Europe, we are a little amused about the American victim culture when it comes to food. I don’t deny it is also an education issue, and that things like teaching kids about healthy food is extremely important, before they spoil themselves completely.
    But in the end, you have to make a conscious choice to stay healthy and lean. It is something you have to really work for. You can’t just sit there and be a victim of the food industry. You have to (re-)learn the taste of pure fresh vegetables and fruits. You have to (re-)learn the joy of living in a body that you have some control over. The beautiful thing is – everybody who did, will tell you it is worth every step of the way. Especially if you started out on a low level of health and fitness. And another beautiful thing is, there is a ton of money to be made from fitness, so this culture is competing with the bad stuff out there.

    • Paul says:

      Excellent point. You seldom see fast food joints when traveling in Europe… and you can guarantee that it is not for want of effort by the purveyors of toxic food…

      For some reason some people are not receptive to the idea of eating this sort of ‘food’

      • Jarle B says:

        Paul wrote:
        “You seldom see fast food joints when traveling in Europe…”

        Well, McDonalds et al are doing their best to change this. But there is resistance: An Italian told me that some places in the south McDonalds had to give up because people choose the good old Italian pizza instead.

        • SlowRider says:

          In the US, soft drinks represent a much more dominant feature of fast food culture than they do in Europe. The typical coke in a European McDonald’s menu has only a 0,5 L cup, including a lot of ice. Sometimes I “must” go to fast food places with friends etc. I take two burgers, no coke, no french fries – feels almost healthy. Of course, still industrial meat, bad for the planet etc.

        • InAlaska says:

          OK, then make room for Pizza Hut!

  44. VPK says:

    Interesting as it seems all mammals seem to have a set amount of heartbeats….the difference is the rate of pace that determines the lifespan.

  45. Pingback: An Energy-Related Reason Why US Healthcare Outcomes are Awful » Plan B Economics

  46. Paul says:

    Speaking of the over medicated average American see

  47. Paul says:

    The great Robert Fisk’s latest:

    Robert Fisk on Isis campaign: Bingo! Here’s another force of evil to be ‘vanquished’

    One can see how difficult these lessons in Middle East history must be for the average American

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