Why we have a wage inequality problem

Wage inequality is a topic in elections around the world. What can be done to provide more income for those without jobs, and those with low wages?

Wage inequality is really a sign of a deeper problem; basically it reflects an economic system that is not growing rapidly enough to satisfy everyone. In a finite world, it is easy for an economy to grow rapidly at first. In the early days, there are enough resources, such as land, fresh water, and metals, for each person to get a reasonable-sized amount. Each would-be farmer can obtain as much land as he thinks he can work with; fresh water is readily available virtually for free; and goods made with metals, such as cars, are not expensive. There are many jobs available, and wages for most people are fairly similar.

As population grows, and as resources degrade, the situation changes. It is still possible to grow enough food, but it takes large farms, with expensive equipment (but very few actual workers) to produce that food. It is possible to produce enough water, but it takes high-tech equipment and a handful of workers who know how to use the high-tech equipment. Metals suddenly need to be lighter and stronger and have other characteristics for the high tech industry, thus requiring more advanced products. International trade becomes more important to be able to get the correct mix of materials for the advanced products needed to operate the high-tech economy.

With these changes, the economic system that previously provided many jobs for those with limited training (often providing on-the-job training, if necessary) gradually became a system that provides a relatively small number of high-paying jobs, together with many low-paying jobs. In the United States, the change started happening in 1981, and has gotten worse recently.

Figure 1. Chart comparing income gains by the top 10% to income gains by the bottom 90% by economist Emmanuel Saez. Based on an analysis IRS data, published in Forbes.

Figure 1. Chart comparing income gains by the top 10% to those of the bottom 90%, by economist Emmanuel Saez. Based on an analysis of IRS data; published in Forbes.

What Happens When an Economy Doesn’t Grow Rapidly Enough?

If an economy is growing rapidly enough, it is easy for everyone to get close to an adequate amount. The way I think of the problem is that as economic growth slows, the “overhead” grows disproportionately, taking an ever-larger share of the goods and services the economy produces. The ordinary worker (non-supervisory worker, without advanced degrees) tends to get left out. Figure 2 is my representation of the problem, if the current pattern continues into the future.

Figure 2. Authors' depiction of changes to workers share of output of economy, as costs keep rising for other portions of the economy keep rising.

Figure 2. Author’s depiction of changes to workers’ share of output of economy, if costs keep rising for other portions of the economy. (Chart is only intended to illustrate the problem; it is not based on a study of the relative amounts involved.)

The reason for the workers’ declining share of the total is that we live in a finite world. We are using renewable resources faster than they replenish and continue to use non-renewable resources. The workarounds to fix these problems take an increasing share of the total output of the economy, leaving less for what I have called “ordinary workers.” The problems we encounter include the following:

  • Pollution control. Pollution sinks are already full. Continuing to use non-renewable resources (including burning fossil fuels) adds increased pollution. Workarounds have costs, and these take an increasing share of the output of the economy.
  • Energy used in energy production. When we started extracting energy products, the cheapest, easiest-to-extract energy products were chosen first. The energy products that are left are higher-cost to extract, and thus require a larger share of the goods the economy produces for extraction.
  • Water, metals, and soil workarounds. These suffer from deteriorating quantity and quality, leading to the need for workarounds such as desalination plants, deeper mines, and more irrigated land. All of these take an increasingly large share of the output of the economy.
  • Interest and dividends. Capital goods tend to be purchased through debt or sales of stock. Either way, interest payments and dividends must be made, leaving less for workers.
  • Increasing hierarchy. Companies need to be larger in size to purchase and manage all of the capital goods needed to work around shortages. High pay for supervisors reduces funds available to pay lower-ranking employees.
  • Government funding and pensions. Government programs grow in size in good times, but are hard to cut back in hard times. Pensions, both government and private, are a particular problem because the number of elderly people tends to grow.

It should be no surprise that this type of continuing pattern of eroding wages for ordinary workers leads to great instability. If nothing else, workers become increasingly disillusioned and want to change or overthrow the government.

It might be noted that globalization also plays a role in this shift toward lower wages for ordinary workers. Part of the reason for globalization is simply to work around the problems listed above. For example, if pollution becomes more of a problem, globalization allows pollution to be shifted to countries that do not try to mitigate the problem. Globalization also allows businesses to work around the rising cost of oil production; production can be shifted to countries that instead emphasized coal in their energy mix, with much lower energy used in energy production. With increased globalization, people who are primarily selling the value of their own labor find that wages do not keep up with the rising cost of living.

Studies of Previous Economies that Experienced Declining Wages of Ordinary Workers

Researchers Peter Turchin and Surgey Nefedov analyzed eight civilizations that collapsed in detail, and recorded their findings in the book Secular Cycles. According to them, the typical economic growth pattern of civilizations that collapsed was similar to Figure 3, below. Before the civilizations began to collapse (Crisis Stage), they hit a period of Stagflation. During that period of Stagflation, wages of ordinary workers tended to fall. Eventually these lower wages led to the downfall of the system.

Figure 3. Shape of typical Secular Cycle, based on work of Peter Turkin and Sergey Nefedov in Secular Cycles.

Figure 3. Shape of typical Secular Cycle, based on work of Peter Turchin and Sergey Nefedov in Secular Cycles. Chart by Gail Tverberg.

In many instances, a growth cycle started when a group of individuals discovered a way that they could grow more food for their group. Perhaps they cleared trees from a large plot of land so that they could grow more food, or they found a way to irrigate an area that was dry, again leading to sufficient food for more people. A modern analogy would be discovering how to use fossil fuels to grow more food, thus allowing population to rise.

At first, population grew rapidly, and incomes tended to grow as  well, as the size of the group expanded to the carrying capacity of the improved land. Once the economy got close to the carrying capacity of the land, a period of Stagflation took place. There no longer was room for more farmers, unless plots of land were subdivided. Would-be farmers were forced to take lower-paying service jobs, or to become farmers’ helpers. In this changing world, debt levels rose, and food prices spiked.

To try to solve the many issues that arose, there was a need for more elite workers–what we today would call managers and high-level government officials. In some cases, a decision would be made to expand the army, in order to try to invade other countries to obtain more land to solve the problem of inadequate resources for a growing population. All of these changes led to a higher needed tax level and more high-level managers.

What tended to bring the system down was the growing wage inequality and the resulting low wages for ordinary workers. Governments needed ever-higher taxes to pay for their expanding services, but they had difficulty collecting sufficient tax revenue. If they raised taxes to an adequate level, workers found themselves without sufficient money for food. In their weakened state, workers became subject to epidemics. Governments with inadequate tax revenue tended to collapse.

Sometimes, rather than collapse, wars were fought. If the wars were successful, the resource shortage that ultimately led to low wages of workers could be addressed. If not, the end of the group might come through military defeat.

Today’s Fundamental Problem: The World Economy Can No Longer Grow Quickly

Because of our depleted resources and because of the world’s growing population, the only way that the world economy can now grow is in a strange way that assigns more and more output to various parts of “overhead” (Figure 2), leaving less for workers and for unemployed individuals who want to be workers.

Automation looks like it would be a solution since it can produce a large amount of goods, cheaply. It doesn’t really work, however, because it doesn’t provide enough employees who can purchase the output of the manufacturing system, so that demand and supply can stay in balance. In theory, companies that automate their operations could be taxed at a very high rate, so that governments could pay would-be workers, but this doesn’t work either. Companies have a choice regarding which country they operate in. If a tax is added, companies can simply move to a lower-tax rate jurisdiction, where no tax is required for automation.

The world is, in effect, reaching the end of the Stagflation period on Figure 3, and approaching the Crisis period on Figure 3. The catch is that the Crisis period is likely to be shorter and steeper than illustrated on Figure 3, because we live in a much more interconnected world, with more dependence on debt and world trade than in the past. Once the interconnected world economic system starts to fail, we are likely to see a rapid drop in the total amount of goods and services produced, worldwide. This will produce an even worse distribution problem–how does everyone get enough?

The low oil, natural gas, and coal prices we are now seeing may very well be the catalyst that brings the economy to the “Crisis Period” or collapse. Unless there is a rapid increase in prices, companies will cut back on fossil fuel production, as soon as 2016. With less fossil fuel production, the total quantity of goods and services (in other words, GDP) will drop. Most economists do not understand that there is a physics reason for this problem. The quantity of energy consumed needs to keep rising, or world GDP will decline. Technology gains and energy efficiency improvements provide some uplift to GDP growth, but this generally averages less than 1% per year.

Figure 4. World GDP growth compared to world energy consumption growth for selected time periods since 1820. World real GDP trends for 1975 to present are based on USDA real GDP data in 2010$ for 1975 and subsequent. (Estimated by author for 2015.) GDP estimates for prior to 1975 are based on Maddison project updates as of 2013. Growth in the use of energy products is based on a combination of data from Appendix A data from Vaclav Smil's Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospects together with BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015 for 1965 and subsequent.

Figure 4. World GDP growth compared to world energy consumption growth for selected time periods since 1820. World real GDP trends for 1975 to present are based on USDA real GDP data in 2010$ for 1975 and subsequent. (Estimated by author for 2015.) GDP estimates for prior to 1975 are based on Maddison project updates as of 2013. Growth in the use of energy products is based on a combination of data from Appendix A data from Vaclav Smil’s Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospects together with BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015 for 1965 and subsequent.

Are There Political Strategies to Solve Today’s Wage Inequality Problem?

Unfortunately, the answer is probably, “No.” While some strategies look like they might have promise, they risk the possibility of pushing the economy further toward financial collapse, or toward war, or toward a major reduction in international trade. Any of these outcomes could eventually bring down the system. There also doesn’t seem to be much time left.

Our basic problem is that the world economy is growing so slowly that the ordinary workers at the bottom of Figure 2 find themselves with less than an adequate quantity of goods and services. This problem seems to be getting worse rather than better, over time, making the problem a political issue.

These are a few strategies that have been mentioned on political sites for fixing the problem:

  1. Provide a basic income to all citizens. The intent of this strategy is to try to capture a larger share of the world’s goods and services by printing money (or borrowing money). This money would hopefully allow citizens to purchase a larger share of the goods and services available on the world market. If the pool of goods and services is pretty much fixed in total, more goods and services purchased by one country would mean fewer goods and services purchased by other citizens of other countries. I would expect that this strategy would not really work, because of changing currency relativities: the level of the currency of the country issuing the checks would tend to fall relative to the currencies of other countries. The basic problem is that it is possible to print currency, but not goods and services. There is also a possibility that printing checks for everyone will encourage less work on the part of citizens. If citizens do less work, the country as a whole will produce less. Such a change would leave the country worse off than before.
  2. Lower interest rates, even negative interest rates. With lower interest rates, the interest portion of the Interest and Dividend sector shown on Figure 2 can theoretically mostly disappear, leaving more money for wages on Figure 2 and thus tending to “fix” the wage problem this way. Low interest rates also tend to reduce dividends, because companies will choose to buy back part of their stock and issue very low interest rate debt instead. If interest rates become negative, the sector can completely disappear. The ultra-low interest rates will have negative ramifications elsewhere. Banks are likely to have a hard time earning an adequate income. Pension funds will find it impossible to pay people the pensions they have been promised, creating a different problem.
  3. Get jobs back from foreign countries through the use of tariffs. Some jobs might be easier to get back from foreign countries than others. For example, programming, call center operations, and computer tech support are all “service type” jobs that can be done from anywhere, and thus could be transferred back easily. In situations where new factories need to be built, and materials sourced from around the world, the transfer would be more difficult. Businesses will tend to automate operations, rather than hire locally. The countries that we try to get the business from may retaliate by refusing to sell needed devices (for example, computers) and needed raw materials (such as rare earth minerals). Or a collapse may occur in a country we try to get jobs back from, so fewer goods and services are produced worldwide.
  4. Keep out immigrants. The theory is, “If there aren’t enough jobs to go around, why give them to immigrants?” In a world with sagging GDP, job growth will be slow or may not occur at all. There may be a particular point in keeping out well-educated immigrants, if there aren’t enough jobs for college-educated people who already live in a country. Of course, Europe has been doing the opposite–taking in more immigrants, in the hope that they will provide young workers for countries that are rapidly aging. (Another approach to finding more workers would be to raise the retirement age–but such an approach is not politically popular.)
  5. Medicare for all. Medicare is the US healthcare plan for those over 65 or having a disability. It pays a substantial share of healthcare costs. The concern I have with “Medicare for all” is that because of the way the economy now functions, the total amount of goods and services that we can choose to purchase, for all kinds of goods and services in total, is almost a fixed sum. (Some people might say we are dealing with a zero-sum game.) If we make a choice to spend more on medical treatment, we are simultaneously making a choice that citizens will be less able to afford other things that might be worthwhile, such as apartments and transportation. The US healthcare system is already the most expensive in the world, as a percentage of GDP. We need to fix the overall system, not simply add more people to a system that is incredibly expensive.
  6. Free college education for all. As the situation stands today, 45% of recent college graduates are in jobs that do not require a college degree. This suggests that we are already producing far more college graduates than there are jobs for college graduates. If we provide “free college education for all,” this offer needs to be made in the context of entrance exams for a limited number of spaces available (reduced from current enrollment). Otherwise, we sink a huge share of our resources into our education system, to no great benefit for either the students or the overall system. We are back to the zero-sum game problem. If we spend a large share of our resources on college educations that don’t really lead to jobs that pay well, more people of all ages will find themselves unable to afford apartments and cars because of the higher tax levels required to fund the program.
  7. Renewables to replace fossil fuels. Despite the popularity of the idea, I don’t think that adding renewables provides any significant benefit, given the scenario we are facing. Renewables are made using fossil fuels, and they tend to have pollution problems of their own. They don’t extend the life of the electric grid, if we are facing collapse. At most, they might be helpful for a few people living off grid, if the electrical grid is no longer operating. If the economic system is on the edge of collapse already, fossil fuel use will drop quickly, with or without the use of renewables.


It would be really nice to “roll back” the world economy to a date back before population rose to its current high level, resources became as depleted as they are, and pollution became as big a problem as it is. Unfortunately, we can’t really do this.

We are now faced with the question of whether we can do anything to mitigate what may be a near-term crisis. At this point, it may be too late to make any changes at all, before the downward slide into collapse begins. The current low prices of fossil fuels make the current situation particularly worrisome, because the low prices could lead to lower fossil fuel production, and hence reduce world GDP because of the connection between energy consumption and GDP growth. Low oil prices could also push the world economy downward, due to increasing defaults on energy sector loans and adverse impacts on economies of oil exporters.

In my view, a major reason why fossil fuel prices are now low is because of the low wages of “ordinary workers.” If these wages were higher, workers around the globe could be buying more houses and cars, and indirectly raising demand for fossil fuels. Thus, low fossil fuel prices may be a sign that collapse is near.

One policy that might be helpful at this late date is increased focus on contraception. In fact, an argument could be made for more permissive abortion policies. Our problem is too little resources per capita–keeping the population count in the denominator as low as possible would be helpful.

On a temporary basis, it is also possible that new programs that lead to rising debt–whether or not these programs buy anything worthwhile–may be helpful in keeping the world economy from collapsing. This occurs because the economy is funded by a combination of wages and by growing debt. A shortfall in wages can be hidden by more debt, at least for a short time. Of course, this is not a long-term solution. It simply leads to a larger amount of debt that cannot be repaid when collapse does occur.





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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1,299 Responses to Why we have a wage inequality problem

  1. Don Stewart says:

    To Those Able to Actually Think About Stoves, Grid Down, Firewood Scarce, Polluted Water, and Similar Topics

    A few excerpts from an outdoor oriented discussion group regarding the BioLite. You may remember that the BioLite was basically aimed at third world countries where the women spend an awful lot of time looking for firewood every day and more people die from smoke inhalation than from malaria plus AIDS. In the US, they describe it as useful for ‘base camps’…at least that was the way I heard it described a year or so ago. It doesn’t take much imagination, if you are a person who expects social and economic problems, to figure out that having a portable stove which burns twigs very efficiently and makes a hot fire very quickly might be a useful thing to have.

    I don’t have any first hand experience in Africa. The pictures I have seen and the stories I have heard lead me to believe that many African women would love to get their hands on one of these.

    The cell phone is a distraction, so far as I can tell. If the grid goes down, so will the cellular network. But the need to purify water and cook food will remain. And the more efficiently the stove burns the wood, the better. As one of the commenters says, the thermoelectric generator powers the fan, which is essential (I think) for making the biochar. It is possible to make fanless biochar units, but the ones I have seen are much larger than this little cookstove. However, if I remember correctly from more than a year ago, the Cornell earthenware stoves make biochar without a fan…they weigh more.

    Don Stewart

    PS And I am not impressed by ‘experts’ who don’t understand that burning wet wood makes smoke.

    This is really an apocalypse stove. Great item to keep in the Bug Out Bag, but a lighter version (i.e. drop the charger) is the way to go for back country/camping/hiking. I much prefer to not carry fuel. And no matter how picked over a campsite is, there are always twigs around. One can survive a lot longer with a wood gas stove than an alcohol stove.

    I agree, this is perfect for thinking ahead and being prepared for disasters. I have a bug-out bag and I plan to purchase the biolite campstove to add to the bag. I mean, if we have to leave our homes and there is no access to electricity or fuel, what the heck do people think they are going to use to cook with? I think it’s an awesome idea as something to have for emergencies….what if there were an EMP attack killing the power and vehicles?

    I plan to purchase the campstove for now and when the homestove is available I’ll be getting one of those also. Things to own imo…..a gun (or several), crossbow, good boots, hot-spark fire-starter (because matches and lighters will deplete) wood burning cookstove, wood burning heat source, lots of back-up batteries, battery operated radio, flashlight and walkie-talkies, canteen, medications, etc. etc., whatever small supplies that are specific to your own family’s survival in time of crisis.

    Let’s face it, things are not good and we are precariously teetering on the edge in America. Why not err on the side of caution and be prepared for anything? Unless you just don’t care about surviving and have been living under a rock. Let’s not forget the reality of 9/11.

    Your point about the value of this product in an emergency/bug-out situation is a great one — much stronger, IMO, than this product’s use as a backpacking stove. If you read through the comments, many of the supportive ones have this emergency preparedness, just-in-case theme.

    I wonder, then, why BioLite is marketing their stove as a s’more factory instead of a save-your-@$$ device.

    The Biolite *home* stove—now that might be more in line with what a true prepper would be looking for.

    Now, for minor disaster preparedness—what I term “provident living”… the kind of preparedness actually advocated by DHS and other branches of “The Man”—the Biolite would actually be a very good option. In a localized disaster, this would be an essential item for your bug-out bag and ride-it-out kit.

    The charger is just an added bonus, the real use of the thermoelectric generator in the orange unit is to power a fan that powers air into the cylinder of the stove through jets, giving a hot and efficient burn. Wether you are charging or not this stove is still far superior to any other like it and rivals many but not all fuel fed cook stoves.

    Finally. A voice of reason. A stove that gives an efficient burn is a big plus and the weight is not that much. Weighs as much as one shoe. My experience in the Army says that one of the big enemies out in the woods after a month or so is the grand cosmic boredom. If I can recharge my tablet then I can carry a complete library. Entertainment, research and technical information. I think this thing is great.

    The charger also contains a fan which helps get the fire going faster and also hotter to cook with. It also fits inside the campstove itself making it more portable. It is only 8.5 inches tall and 5 inches in width with the charger inside the stove for transport. Yes it does weigh 33 oz but does quite a bit for so little size. When backpacking size is almost as important as weight. If you are bringing and alcohol stove you have to bring in alcohol as well. I guess it is up to the individual but if you are going to review something it would be best to at least try it out first before shooting it down.

    Just because someone has a device capable of charging a phone doesn’t mean it needs to be used for such a purpose. If you really put things into perspective, using a liquid fuel stove (like the JetBoil) is a more complex idea than the BioLite stove. The BioLite stove converts thermal energy into electrical energy, and it’s fueled by wood. The electrical energy then powers a fan that circulates air through the device. What could be more environmentally friendly and simplistic than that? As far as the phone part goes, well, I’ll explain. I’ve summited Mt. Rainier and Denali, and both times I had a satellite phone. Combined with a backpacking stove, spare batteries for the satellite phone, and fuel for the stove, the bundle is very heavy. Cellular phones are now ubiquitous and are an essential part of many peoples’ lives. When I spent three months on the Appalacian Trail, I brought along with me a solar charger for my iPhone, a backpacking stove, and many weeks of fuel at a time. I would turn my iPhone on briefly every other night as to check the weather. Even if a phone is off and stowed away, the battery still dies. An iPhone can last about 5 days from a full charge if it’s turned off. Having the ability to charge a phone, even if it isn’t being used, is great. So, for my purposes, having the BioLite stove is a wonderful convenience and it frees up valuable space and reduces the weight of my pack when I go on extended trips. The BioLite stove in and of itself is not much larger than the JetBiol, nor is it much more expensive.

    • But Don, how is this biolite wood burning stove better than a solar cooker? I guess it only needs dry wood instead of sunlight, so better on cloudy days, but I don’t see the $300 USD value in it?

      It seems to me the solar cooker would be a better choice, and then just burn an open fire to cook / boil water on cloudy days, and use a purpose-built system for only making biochar, rather than trying to make a device that cooks food, generates electricity and makes biochar.

      Better an ax, a knife, a shovel, a saw and a hammer than one fancy multi-tool for the same price, I think.

      • Don Stewart says:

        Matthew Krajcik
        It depends on one’s situation. If you have a farmstead in Vermont, where the centerpiece is a big wood burning stove which also heats the place, the little Biolite is likely of no interest at all. If you live, as I do, where it can be cloudy for a week, then the ability to burn biomass to boil water may be pretty important. If you have a 25 acre woodlot, you’re probably not interested, but if you live in a wooded suburb it might be very interesting. A wooded suburb pays to dispose of enough limbs and branches to fuel one of these little stoves for probably every house.

        Most of the people I know who cook with solar tend to use ‘slow cooker’ methods. The Biolite can cook much more rapidly.

        Another thing to consider is that the Biolite doesn’t heat up the inside of the house. Farmhouses around here used to have a ‘winter kitchen’ and a ‘summer kitchen’. The winter kitchen added welcome warmth, while the summer kitchen was separated to keep the heat out of the house.

        So I’m not arguing against a solar cooker or a big iron cook stove. I’m just saying that one size may not fit all.

        Don Stewart

        • Veggie says:

          Don Stewart,
          the Biolite is just one of many very useful tools that are available for someone who wants to prepare for a time when the current energy system is down.
          IMHO, a very good path to go down with very little downside.
          Does it guarantee survival…of course not, but the exact nature of a grid down situation cannot be accurately predicted.
          There are those who assume that when a collapse comes, all is lost in very short order with no exceptions… instant worldwide blackout…, so why prepare ?
          But Gail has stated may times that it’s impossible to predict the timing or speed of the collapse. Preparing for multiple scenarios seems to make sense.
          If things go much worse than was prepared for …. oh well. Nothing lost.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            If you’ve got to rely on a mickey mouse unit like this to cook food and keep warm….. you will die.

            Spend your money on something useful — a family sized box of shot gun shells…

            You can use those to kill a Koombaya Farmer and take his crop.

            Oh – I wouldn’t do that!

            Yes you would — when you are starving

      • interguru says:

        Solar stoves have a problem. If the woman ( it’s always a woman!!) goes inside to attend to her children or other household needs while the meal is cooking ( sometimes for hours ), someone will steal the meal and the stove.

        • Bumbles says:

          If there is raiders about and no means of defense the loss of the food would be the least of the cooks problems, especially if the pot is big.

          • interguru says:

            Locals in the neighborhood do the stealing. When your car is stolen here, we don’t blame Atilla the Hun.

            On Sun, Apr 10, 2016 at 9:55 PM, Our Finite World wrote:

            > Bumbles commented: “If there is raiders about and no means of defense the > loss of the food would be the least of the cooks problems, especially if > the pot is big.” >

            • Bumbles says:

              Raider is a raider local or not. My locals know I am not the softest target not the hardest but not the softest. Regardless if you think that you are just going to leave assets about post collapse without instituting physical security I would disagree. Sounds like you live in the city so instituting say a 1km security area would probably be problematic. Not that I am all that. Its too bad. Where I live I have left my chainsaw in the backyard in a open shed for many years. I like it like that. Too bad.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I know the solution!

          Purchase a Biolite Stove – and use it to operate a microwave oven.

      • Veggie says:

        You nailed the key advantage of the Biolite.
        It makes heat day or night from biomass found anywhere and it fits in your backpack.
        It heats water and food very quickly.
        In a SHTF situation there may not be any active cell nodes, so maybe no use for the charger…but so what !
        Many preppers use their phone to carry .PDF versions of manuals and information as well as maps. A charged phone in that case is useful.
        I’m sure many other useful devices requiring USB chargers can also benefit.
        Given, eventually these devices fail…sure..but until they do, you use the strategically.
        Ask yourself what a $300 source of heat and water sterilization is worth when you are on the move.
        No need for solar, camp fuel, naptha gas, propane etc..

        • “You nailed the key advantage of the Biolite.
          It makes heat day or night from biomass found anywhere and it fits in your backpack.”

          So, it is maybe for the urban/suburban dweller who plans on traveling out to their wilderness survival location, or people in places that have a lot of cloud cover or who cannot guard their food from thieves.

          What is the performance advantage over just burning twigs? Or a $70 backpacking stove like this: http://www.solostove.com/ ? Biolite weighs about four times as much, at 2 pounds versus 9 oz in exchange for generating a bit of electricity?

          • Don Stewart says:

            The Biolite is extremely efficient. If you are a woman in Africa walking 5 or 6 miles a day to get firewood which you carry back to your house to cook with, then being able to cook with the same load for 3 or 4 days instead of 1 is certainly going to be interesting to you.

            Now, assume you live in a suburb where there are a lot of street trees and shrubs around. But not woods that you can cut down and burn in a big stove. You can collect twigs, and anything that will burn, in fact, and burn it in the Biolite. You get a quick, hot fire with very little smoke. You also get biochar for the garden, which is perhaps very useful since you can no longer buy manufactured soil amendments. Now those characteristics either appeal to you or they don’t. Everyone makes their own decisions.

            Don Stewart

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Except that in Realitystan … it does none of those things….

              PR people lie Don…. they take green coloured paint… and slap it on pieces of dog shit…. and tell you it doesn’t smell…. and that it is good for the environment

              But then…. companies understand that most people just swallow the dog shit whole…

              Especially the green brigade — who seem to believe that solar panels grow on trees and that massive amounts of filthy coal are not used in their manufacture…

              The green brigade believe just about anything – particularly if green paint is applied…. they wash down the green dog shit with green kook-aid.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            As the review stated … the charging function is next to useless… he couldn’t even get to 5% after a lengthy attempt…

            Why would anyone waste money on this to heat their home post BAU? So how would that work – you huddle in a small room around the twig fire?

            Why wouldn’t you purchase a kick ass high efficiency wood stove — add a wet back water heater system — and you’ve got a large space kept warm along with plenty of hot water — and you can get a couple of large pots on one of these stoves.

            Oh right – when you run for the hills and you are living in a cave this bio stove will be your salvation — you’ll be charging your mobile phone to call for help — ah right there will be no network nor no help …. you’ll be cooking up a pot of stew from the animals you are so skilled at killing…

            The utter absurdity of some of the suggestions on this site are breathtaking.

            A fool and his money are soon parted… get your credit cards out suckers!


        • Fast Eddy says:

          Ha ha ha look at this heap of rubbish… ‘we’re not sure if this Biolite is defective’ – it stops charging… turns off… you have to constantly be adding twigs…. a bad joke….


          Can we please put an end to this nonsense.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      ‘I plan to purchase the campstove for now and when the homestove is available I’ll be getting one of those also. Things to own imo…..a gun (or several), crossbow, good boots, hot-spark fire-starter (because matches and lighters will deplete) wood burning cookstove, wood burning heat source, lots of back-up batteries, battery operated radio, flashlight and walkie-talkies, canteen, medications, etc. etc., whatever small supplies that are specific to your own family’s survival in time of crisis.’

      The thing is…

      It’s not a crisis that we are going to be facing when BAU goes up in flames…

      A crisis assumes a dire short-term situation.

      Effectively it will be an endless crisis.. a new normal.. one where shops do not existing… stuff is not available …

      You can store as much stuff as you want — I have an entire garage, storeroom and a 3 bay work shed that are starting to burst at the seams from my hoarding of stuff — but it will run out.

      And there will be no way to replenish it.

      So all this does is buy a little time … I might buy 6 months except for the fact that none of my neighbours have massive stockpiles of stuff….

      A bug out bag and a Bio Stove are laughable… outright ridiculous.

      Spend the 200 bucks on a box of whiskey…

      • Veggie says:


        This is a very common trap.
        People start discussing survival equipment or strategies without reference the time frame.
        Is it near term survival (EG: Natural disaster)? or Long term POWER DOWN situations? There is a massive difference.
        IMHO, for very short term SHTF or while traveling or getting to the next strategic site the Biolite is fine.
        For longer term survival, forget it.
        Once the world moves into terminal decline all bets are off. It’s a whole different form of prepping.

        • Don Stewart says:

          Terminal Decline is likely to be experienced with a much smaller population. The solutions which get a person through the first year are not like the solutions which get through years 2 to 5 and those aren’t like the solutions which will be needed a hundred years hence.

          Trying to adopt the ‘hundred year solutions’ today is probably suicidal if you live in an industrial society.

          Don Stewart

          • Veggie says:

            There are several phases of collapse, each having very different survival requirements.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          It’s not even good for that… did you see the video of the guy trying to cook bacon?

          Save a pile of money and get this for 40 bucks:



          Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)

          • Veggie says:

            Take it from someone who uses it… The Biolite works great (within the limits I discussed).
            On the move,— Excellent.
            Full time,— there are certainly better ways to do it.

  2. Fast Eddy says:

    2015 Was the Hottest Year on Record

    This is what global warming looks like. Record after record after record, broken. The animation below shows the Earth’s warming climate, recorded in monthly measurements from land and sea over 136 years. The bright red line on top shows how 2015 just beat out the previous record—2014—by the biggest margin since modern record keeping began. Fifteen of the 16 hottest years have been in the 21st century.


    Burn baby burn!

    • wratfink says:

      Interesting find…seems as if world war and globalization produce an abundance of waste “heat”.

      • “Interesting find…seems as if world war and globalization produce an abundance of waste “heat”.”

        Humble Oil 1962 ad, bragging they produce enough energy every day to melt 7 million tons of glacier:


        • wratfink says:

          Dang braggarts, anyhow. They were sucked up by Standard Oil NJ and eventually became part of the behemoth known as Exxon.

          Humble, according to Wikipedia, was also the largest US producer of crude oil during WWII thus contributing to that “record” heat bump that occurred in the forties shown in Fast Eddy’s bar chart and graph.

    • Veggie says:


      Weren’t you the one who blasted others for bringing up global warming again.???
      Or are the rules different for you ?
      Just wondering 🙂

      • Veggie says:

        …Although it was an interesting graph. Nice find !

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I blasted people for saying we have to stop global warming — but who have no way to stop it without collapsing the economy and extincting life on the planet

          2015 was the hottest year in modern history…. if we are causing that I really don’t care…. in fact I am hoping that 2016 is even hotter…

          We know the Beast’s favourite meal is coal — so if we are burning huge amounts of coal again this year… it means the Beast lives on.

          Long Live the Beast!

          • Ed says:

            “The Beast” is equally the seven billion people who can not be feed without destroying the planet. Everyone wants to solve demand side. I say we need to solve supply side.

            • Stefeun says:

              Don’t forget the evacuation side.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              HA! Now that is an IDEA!

              How difficult would it be to create a mini dry cask?

              Let me get out my drawing tools…. gimme a sec…. hang on…. just a couple of more things…

              And I give you … wait hold that thought … need to call the patent lawyer and get this off to him by email….

              Ok done….

              Voila! The Mini Dry Cask (patent pending!!!) – with a miniature women next to it to provide scale.


              It looks a lot like the Biolite except that it actually does create a lot of heat and electricity…. and the hunk of spent fuel sits inside titanium cylinder that is virtually indestructible.

              And borrowing a page from Tesla…. you can reserve your Mini Dry Cask with an initial deposit of USD10,000 – just click here http://www.minidrycask.com

              Thanks for the idea Ed. Too bad you forgot to patent it eh….

          • Veggie says:

            Yes, the beast lives on.
            And really there is no way to stop it without collapsing the economy.
            The very core of the economy (and this massive population) is based on the fuel system which is currently in place.
            Nothing else comes close to making this much food for the beast.
            After years of peak oil and energy study, I still don’t see a way out of this.
            Too many bricks cracking in the wall. And when enough of them weaken, the wall fall rapidly.

  3. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders
    I have frequently remarked that ‘what is flowing’ is oft-times neurotransmitters and hormones…a phrase I admit to stealing from Nate Hagens. Chris Martenson has remarked that, of late, when he talks ‘gloom and doom’ people in the audience take out their smart-phones and wave them at him. As if…how could it be that we are going to be challenged when our technology is so smart?

    To try to address the issue, I would like to give you, in just a few words, Daniel Levitin’s dissection of the recent history of communications, from physical letters to texting. The principal references are to pages 95 and following in the book The Organized Mind.

    *At home, while most of us crave calm and secure control over how we are spending our time, what we are actually doing is multitasking.
    *Our cell phones have become Swiss Army Knife-like appliances.
    *Although we think we are doing several things at once, multitasking, this has been shown to be a powerful and diabolical illusion.
    *We are not wired to multi-task well. When people think they are multitasking they are actually switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.
    *Multitasking has been found to increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol as well as the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline, which can overstimulate your brain and cause mental fog or scrambled thinking. Multitasking creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for external stimulation. To make matters worse, the prefrontal cortex has a novelty bias, meaning that its attention can be easily hijacked by something new—the proverbial shiny objects we use to entice infants, puppies, and kittens. The irony here for those of us who are trying to focus amid competing activities is clear. The very brain region we need to rely on for staying on task is easily distracted.
    *Just having the opportunity to multitask is detrimental to cognitive performance. Just having an unread email in your inbox can reduce your effective IQ by 10 points. Cognitive losses from multitasking are even greater than the cognitive losses from pot smoking.
    *Learning new information while multitasking causes the new information to go to the wrong part of the brain. If students study and watch TV at the same time, the information from their schoolwork goes into the striatum, a region specialized for storing new procedures and skills, not facts and ideas. Without the distraction of TV, the information goes into the hippocampus, where it is organized and categorized in a variety of ways, making it easier to retrieve.
    *Asking the brain to shift attention from one activity to another causes the prefrontal cortex and striatum to burn up oxygenated glucose, the same fuel they need to stay on task. And the kind of rapid, continual shifting we do with multitasking causes the brain to burn through fuel so quickly that we feel exhausted and disoriented after even a short time.
    *Repeated task switching leads to anxiety, which raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the brain, whig in turn can lead to aggressive and impulsive behaviors. By contrast, staying on task is controlled by the anterior cingulate and the striatum, and once we engage the central executive mode, staying in that state uses less energy than multitasking and actually reduces the brain’s need for glucose.
    *To make matters worse, lots of multitasking requires decision-making. It turns out that decision-making is also very hard on your neural resources and that little decisions appear to take up as much energy as big ones. One of the first things we lose is impulse control. This rapidly spirals into a depleted state in which, after making lots of insignificant decisions, we can end up making truly bad decisions about something important.
    *In the old days, the only mail we got was one a day, which effectively created a cordoned-off section of your day…you’d simply let the mail sit on your desk until you were ready to deal with it.
    *Each time we check a Twitter feed or Facebook update, we encounter something novel and feel more connected socially (in a kind of weird impersonal cyber way) and get another dollop of reward hormones. But remember, it is the dumb, novelty seeking portion of the brain driving the limbic system that induces this feeling of pleasure, not the planning, scheduling, higher-level thought centers in the prefrontal cortex. Make no mistake: E-mail, Facebook, and Twitter checking constitute a neural addiction.

    Levitin points out the degradation of the quality of the information from letters, to phone calls, to emails, to Facebook, and the ultimate degradation to Twitter.

    Back to me. When Chris Martenson talks to people about the dangers of modernity, he encounters the same problem that someone wanting to lecture a group of 1960s hippies would have had lecturing about the evils of marijuana….But it feels so good!

    Levitin is not a Ted Kacynski. He acknowledges that cells phones have helped find abducted children. I am sure he recognizes that people sitting forlornly on the side of road are glad that they have a cell phone to summon help. But, just as with Sherry Turkle and her identification of the dangers of degrading conversation with phones, he is alert to the problems.

    Humans evolved to do what feels good. In a world of hunters and gatherers doing what felt good was a pretty reliable guide to action. But the moderns world has given us technology which enables us to behave in dangerous ways, and global capitalism encourages corporations and governments to encourage the dangerous behavior.

    While I would never want to claim that broad, voluntary social change is IMPOSSIBLE, I do think it is UNLIKELY. People get feel good hormones when they use their phones. Trying to convince them otherwise is probably futile. Similarly, driving around in an SUV provides feel good hormones, and trying to persuade people that they should make other arrangements for survival is always going to be a tough sell.

    It is also true that creativity requires that we ‘need to be proactive about reducing stress by doing things that reset our working brains—experiencing nature and art, allowing the mind-wandering mode to kick in regularly, and spending time with friends.

    The trick is to be able to focus when we need to (and multitasking is the enemy of focus and depletes our energy) and to think broadly when that is rewarding.

    Don Stewart

  4. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders
    Here is what Albert Bates had to say about the Biolite stove (and other, similar, stoves) in Paris…Don Stewart


    We held up the Biolite Stove, which sequesters carbon while cooking your food, with no smoke, no ash, only biochar, and it produces electricity from the heat at the same time. We gave examples of how that technology was going to village scale in a variety of settings, using everything from Dorisel Torres’ clay stoves to 100 kW Power Pallets from All Power Systems. We showed how in Kenya, adding biochar to the garden made with clean stoves doubled the yield in the first season and made the crops much more drought and pest resistant.

    • tagio says:

      Thanks for the info, Don.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Sounds like a miracle cure! It also sounds like a pitch for one of those late night shopping channels… buy now and get 2 free + free shipping!

      Makes you wonder if Bates is a paid spokesman for this product

      Shall we pull up some reviews?

      Why not!

      Keeping the stove going a real hassle. It needed a new load of twigs every five to 10 minutes and every 20 minutes or so, it’d accumulate enough ash that we’d have to stop cooking, empty the stove’s contents into a hole, then bury the ash and coals before rebuilding the fire.

      You can’t leave the CampStove unattended while it’s burning wood, it simply consumes its fuel source so fast that it needs near constant feeding. With burgers taking 20 minutes or more to cook on the grille, I’m sure you can understand the level of hassle involved.

      Adding insult to injury, the stove produced huge billows of smoke. Fire and I are best friends and I know how to manipulate it, but this was even while using very dry, very old, bark-free twigs. On a regular campfire, that material would have burned smoke-free.

      This smoke made keeping the fire going a real pain. Anytime we lost the flame, we’d have to blow down into the bottom of the canister to re-ignite it, getting face fulls of smoke in the process. Also, camping in a fire-free area, the huge billows of smoke would have made us stick out like a sore thumb had there been any other campers or rangers around. Seriously, I can’t emphasize how smoky this stove was.

      The level of effort required to keep it going, along with the face fulls of smoke you’d get blowing on it every few minutes meant that we didn’t bother keeping it going when we were finished cooking. No smores or romantic “campfire” lit nights for us, just the stars and the reflection of the moon in the crystal clear lake.

      Oh, and phone charging?

      I was able to gain 4 percent charge on a Samsung Galaxy S5 Active (on which all these photos were shot) after 30 minutes of continuous charging. Disappointing, but at least I was able to play music via a Bluetooth speaker without running down the battery.

      Don’t expect quick and easy top ups either, once started, the fire needs about 10 minutes to build up enough heat to produce surplus power for charging, then that continuous re-fueling and tending while your battery indicator slowly ticks up.



      How long does it take to recharge a cell phone?

      The BioLite takes a long time to recharge a cell phone battery that has zero remaining power. It depends on the phone, but expect to sit around for HOURS to recharge a dead battery. This is much longer than the time needed to cook dinner.

      My advice would be to use the BioLite to top of batteries instead of relying on it for a complete recharge unless you have a lot of free time on your hands and a lot of dry wood. Even then, you’d need to burn a lot of wood for an incremental top-off.


      Suckers are born everyday in Delusistan….

      Exclusive Offer ONLY for Citizens of Delusistan — my solar sheep breeding programme has been perfected. For only $2000 I will send you a female sheep — you just breed her with a solar panel and you get more solar panels out the back end….

      Call now to get free delivery.

      Perhaps I need to pay Mr Bates to endorse my project then you will come on board?

      This Koombaya nonsense apparently knows no end…. and it gets more ridiculous by the day….

      • Don Stewart says:

        Fast Eddy
        Anyone seeking balanced information is encouraged to visit the reviews at Amazon. One reviewer notes:
        ‘ It can be used to boil water for water treatment if my water filter failed for any reason’

        How much is that worth to you?
        Don Stewart

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Don – are you really that naive?

          Did you know that there are people who for $5000 or so — will write and place positive reviews of an author’s book on a range of book review sites -including Amazon?

          Do you think the same is not true for other products?

          Ever used Tripadvisor — did you know that a huge proportion of the reviews are fake — they are posted by the owners and employees (and their friends) of hotels reviewed? I know one person in Bali who was giving all his friends free stays in his new property on the condition they wrote glowing reviews….

          The reviews I have posted are from Outdoor magazines…. they appear to be objective… I can’t see why they’d rip the guts out of this product — what would be the motive?

          There are plenty more from various outdoor mag sites — and they all reach similar conclusions — the product is useless.

          Like I said … suckers are born every day in Delusistan

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Here’s an idea!!!!

            Why don’t you buy one of these — and test it out — then come back and tell us how awesome it is.

            • whyamihere says:

              old satelite dishes are prolific. wrap with foil. im poor cant pay $200 for ten bucks of tin

            • whyamihere says:

              Every day I hang 10 black water bags in the south facing windows. They are german army potable water bags. Then at night someone gets a bath.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Makes sense! Simple solutions…

      • That’s the problem with our technology-obsessed society, lots of bad ideas get funding and pre-orders before someone does a real review or critique and puts an end to the nonsense. For examples, solar freakin’ roadways, and the artificial gills for breathing underwater.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I’m still watching that guy try to cook his bacon on the Miracle Grill…. I may have to open a second bottle of wine before he finishes…

          This is superb comedy! He could have put the pot on the big fire in front of the Bio Stove and been done half an hour ago….

    • Veggie says:

      I have a Biolite, as do some of my friends.
      It’s a key part of the Bug Out Kit and performs very well.
      As for the integral charger….excellent for cell phones and walkie talkies.
      Yes, some of us do prep and prepare in case of emergencies.
      A collapse, even a fast one, can come in fits and starts requiring emergency rations and equipment to get through to the next stage.
      Now, if anyone thinks it’s all a waste of time because we are all doomed anyway…then they is welcome to stick his head in the sand wait for it.
      Each to his/her own.
      Is something BIG on the way…most likely.
      Does anyone here know exactly how things will unfold for each country… very unlikely.

      • tagio says:

        There’s always the low-tech options, guys, Stove-Tec and Kelly Kettle rocket stoves. No lithium ion batteries, electronic gizmos, just a metal cooking stove. Better than an open campfire for sure.

      • Fast Eddy says:


        • That is amazing. Even the better firebox + cup charger only gets a phone 40 percent charged after nearly two hours of burning wood, compared to ten percent on the BioLite. These batteries are like 2600mAH, at 3.7 volts, so 10 watt-hours.

          If you really need to generate electricity at home during an outage, you can charge your phone or other device in like 30 minutes, instead of burning wood for 4 hours (or 20 hours with the BioLite):

          Hey I found the solution to the spent fuel pond problem; group bicycle generator system capable of outputting up to 10 kWh, just need 100 people pedaling constantly to keep the water cool:

  5. MM says:

    A question of debt.
    I am still wondering why there is no global race for an apollo renewables programme.
    I think it is related to debt creation. Something that Gail maybe likes.
    It gioes like this:
    You can create a lot of debt for a new market segment with a new product, lets say the internet. The growth makes it possible to pay down the debt easily.
    The debt that has been created for the electrification of our societies has already been made.
    All the people in the west (TM) are connected to the grid.
    So to change the grid to renewables is not an investment in a new market it is a mainenance cost. Maintenance costs do not increase your market share so they do not deliver growth in sales.
    When there is no growth in sales, there is no new debt available and it is not economically feasible to increase debt from cash flow.
    So to say a turn away from FF is not possible because the energy that customers will buy is not increasing, so there is no growth, only a shift in your resource base. The investment can not be paid down from cash flow of the existing customers that already satiisfy their energy needs from FF.
    You can not increase the debt as the energy market can not grow fast enough to repay all the billions of new debt required for renewables (when we asume that they are phyiscally viable). No new debt, no investment. We ware stuck with the infrastructure that was built when the energy system was built 100 years ago. The maintenance costs for a new grid can simply not be paid down, even if we wanted.
    Maybe it can be printed into existence, let’s see if the central banks still have ammunition left…

    • Fast Eddy says:

      The problem is we are running out of cheap to extract energy — and we have seen the result of using debt to extract more oil (shale) … there are limits to what can be done…

      There is no such thing as renewable energy for starters… you would need massive amounts of fossil fuels to build out such a system (and remember – we are already running out of cheap to extract fossil fuels)…. and the energy that would be generated by such a system would be far more expensive than what comes from shale oil.

      You also have to consider that the energy that you could get from such a system is about the same as that goes into building the system.

      So why do this at all? Why not just burn the energy directly?

      The Elders are not stupid.

    • I pretty much agree. A grid with intermittent renewables requires more/better transmission lines, rather than the same amount, so it is somewhat worse than you say. Keeping up the same quantity of electricity becomes a problem.

      This is a link to an article and video about some of China’s problems with wind power. http://english.cctv.com/2016/04/08/VIDEJ6Q5RSMNXKn1CO4sCQL7160408.shtml

      • MM says:

        It is a long known fact that the intermittecy problem can only be solved by a global super-grid. But a grid does not produce anything, you can maybe get 1 ct per 1000 km and KWh of transmission. That makes this a very very low yield investment. So low yield that it even does not make sense to accumulate debt for that at high costs. A trap that can be solved if all humanity would join together on that issue. Technically it can be done and the chinese I am sure will again lead the way in a few years time. If they want something built, they go and build it fast (does it last ? I read a claim that the chinese steel quality is very good today, that also is a reason why the other steel producers struggle…)

        • Fast Eddy says:

          ‘Technically it can be done’

          Of course it can be done … in Delusistan…

          But can you provide some evidence that demonstrates this can be done in Realitystan?

          Sounds like a terrorists dream….

          Of course this is a pointless discussion because it is not going to be done because the problem we face is not one of electricity supply — we are out of cheap oil.

        • A global grid would be a nightmare to maintain, if it could ever be put together. The cost would be absurd. There would be folks like the Germans trying to dump unwanted intermittent renewables onto the electric grid, and long horribly expensive wires across oceans. Someone would need to regulate the mess. I can’t imagine it happening.

  6. Yoshua says:

    Physics For Idiots


    Zeroth law of thermodynamics – If two thermodynamic systems are each in thermal equilibrium with a third, then they are in thermal equilibrium with each other. If A=B and C=B then A=C.

    The sun heats our planet… and space cools the planet? Is space a thermodynamic system?

    Gail’s son’s answer was that the sun heats our planet through radiation (photons) and the planet cools by emitting radiation (photons) into space. That sounds like a logic answer.

    I still wonder… is space an anti-thermodynamic system?

  7. Stilgar Wilcox says:

    While a house-sitter leisurely combs through our private stuff in wonderment and throws outlandish party’s, I’m going to be a bad boy and my wife a bad girl and be responsible for burning a whole bunch of FF, traveling by car, shuttle, huge jet, medium sized plane, cabs galore, high speed train, cabs again, multiple older trains, boat, tram, boat, shuttle, older trains again, high speed train, boats, gondola’s, vaparetto’s, high speed transport boat, med. sized plane, huge jet, shuttle, car (not to mention all the meals out) back home. Be back in May and hopefully something really interesting will happen to the global economy regarding the coming collapse in the interim during our huge carbon footprint.

    I’ll give you a run down in May on the trip, pros and cons as it relates to topics discussed here and those that aren’t. Then got to get back to work for goodness sakes and earn some more dough for outlandishly destructive to the environment trips abroad. Remember folks, when possible take advantage of the oil age while it continues to rage on…Until then, Ciao!

  8. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders
    Here is an interesting solution to many problems we face, including falling incomes and mal-distribution of what income we do have:

    I want to elaborate on Charles’ advice a little bit. There are four basic ways to prepare meals which are quick, utilize what you can grow in your garden, and are health promoting:
    stir fries
    steaming a bed of greens in (usually) 5 minutes

    Stir fries and steaming require one burner. Charles recommends a propane burner, but you might also consider Albert Bates’ advice:
    ‘ If we can produce electricity using clever stoves and things which sequester carbon as well as boost nutrient density that way — that’s the revolution. ‘

    Salads require only a sharp knife. You should have one, along with a sharpening stone.

    Smoothies are produced by industrial blenders. They are good so long as BAU lasts. But you can get along fine without them.

    My advice: forget about recipes. Don’t run around town looking for 3 ounces of something that is listed in a recipe. You may want to spend a little time learning how to season, and when particular herbs are useful. But the basic idea is to cook what you have and waste nothing. You’ll get used to it.

    Also learn the calorie dense foods you can grow of get reliably in bulk. Add those on top of stir fries and steamed dishes and salads.

    Don Stewart

    • Vince the Prince says:

      Interesting article regarding food selection and cooking, which requires a great deal of energy. Something that Gail herself has touched on in her comments

      . Producing and cooking food contributes around 30 percent of carbon emissions worldwide, researchers say. That’s more than the emissions from personal travel, lighting, and heating and air conditioning combined. What’s more, by 2050, emissions from food production alone, if unchecked, are on track to reach or exceed international targets for total greenhouse gas emissions.

      With that in mind, experts say humanity needs to radically alter the way it produces and consumes food –

    • Fast Eddy says:

      ‘If we can produce electricity using clever stoves and things which sequester carbon as well as boost nutrient density that way — that’s the revolution’

      That comment exudes profound insanity….

      Let me guess… this guy lives in Delusistan?

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Even a Paris Hilton Justin Bieber love child would be smart enough not to utter something so inane

      • Don Stewart says:

        No. He lives in Tennessee, and uses these stoves….Don Stewart

        • Vince the Prince says:

          Thank you Don for the article, all we need now is Home Shopping Network to sell them cheap from China and some celebrity like Paris to start the spin on the show to make them popular with the mainstream. I think that what Fast Eddy was trying to say, but you know our Fast Eddy…sometimes words get in his way.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              ‘When you purchase from the BioLite Shop, we reinvest a portion of that sale back into this process, helping us bring energy everywhere.’ http://gearpatrol.com/2012/09/11/beyond-the-hype-biolite-campstove/

              I can see how that resonates with the unquestioning citizens of Delusistan. Also that photo of the smiling family in the African hut is heart-warming.

              Unfortunately this product is pretty much useless.

              1. It is not smokeless
              2. It produces tiny amounts of electricity
              3. You need to continuously feed it with wood
              4. It supposedly cuts carbon emissions — but did they factor in the dirty coal used in the manufacture of this contraption? I’ve got $1000 that says no way Jose. How much carbon do you reckon would be produced if we made say 2 billion of these things.
              5. China and India are bringing online multiple coal burning plants every month …

              Not sure why this is even being discussed here — it is not only useless here and now — are you suggesting this stove can be manufactured post BAU — it can’t – and there is no point — it can’t even charge a bloody mobile phone battery! Useless – completely 100% USELESS.

              What’s your point?

            • Don Stewart says:

              Fast Eddy
              For clarity, I don’t care what YOU think about the product. I am merely pointing out that technological development of stoves has been an active process over the last few years. People who are interested can read all of the hundreds of reviews on Amazon and make up their own minds about the Biolite. Or they can check out the earthenware stoves, if that seems more interesting.

              I really don’t care whether you can boil water and cook food in an emergency.

              Don Stewart

            • Fast Eddy says:

              The thing is…. there will be nothing to cook post BAU…. so I am not thinking much about stoves…

          • Fast Eddy says:

            No. I was trying to say that these are useless. They are a rip-off. This is a scam. It’s bullshit. It’s snake oil.

            Just another dude preying upon the ‘Green Brigade’ hoping to strike it rich and use the cash to buy a private jet and yacht (oh – and Tesla of course!)….

            You know how I can tell?

            On the Bio site is says they’ll kick back a bit to the third world…. doesn’t say how much … but heck — if I am a Green Brigade type that pushes my buttons — I’m thinking this an ethical corporation — these are the good guys — I’ll take 3 of those things for myself — and another 20 for Christmas gifts for family members.

            Of course there are also the endless reviews from outdoor sites stating the product is useless as well….

            • Vince the Prince says:

              Fast Eddy, Chill out….Don has provided many insightful and great ideas here and just because you find in not agreeable to your outlook…just shrug it off…give Don some slack and encourage him to share more. He is one star attraction here among us, like you are, but in a different way. We all know the stove won’t be mass produced and sold on HSN by Paris Hilton. The thing is the principle itself is interesting. Perhaps a few of us will go out and use it. Now what great harm is that? Don’t be so serious you take the fun out of being here.

              Don, I’ve learned so much from you, thank you!
              Fast Eddy, don’t be so much like Scott Nearing!…LOL

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Actually … I generally ignore most of what Don posts… not sure why this caught my eye but it reminds me of why I ignore most of what Don posts…

            • doomphd says:

              Gotta get some of these trees planted pretty pronto, Moringa Oleifera. In the Phillipines, they eat the leaves, seed pods, stems, the whole damn tree is eatable. Only problem is it’s a subtropical range, but then with global warming, maybe they’ll do fine in Alaska and Northern Canada, South Island of NZ, Southern Chile, etc.

            • Christ2 says:

              Don is xtian so he sees this all as vindication of The Revelation. Never mind the utter historical absence of evidence – it is religion after all.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              That explains it…

              Best not to engage people who are captured by rapture…. facts do not matter.

  9. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders
    Reposting something from Peak Oil. Relevant to ‘End of the Oil Age’ discussions….Don Stewart

    “Is the total EROEI of shale oil in general greater than 1?”. If not, then it will never be profitable at any oil price.”

    Run your car, and feel what is coming out of the tail pipe; its hot! That is the waste heat that must be present for the process to go forward. For the combustion of any liquid hydrocarbon to take place, that waste heat is at least 29% of the total energy content of the fuel. That places the minimal theoretical EROI at 1.43 : 1. Taking into consideration the losses that occur during processing and distribution the ERoEI (at the well head) of a liquid hydrocarbon must be 6.9:1 to breakeven. Above that there is surplus energy to be delivered to the end user. Below that, it becomes an energy sink (energy must be input into the system).
    The average Bakken well reaches its “dead state” (goes from an energy source to an energy sink) at about 70,000 barrels of production, or about 10 months. Most condensate produced from wells in shale formations reach their “dead state” in a few weeks. Shale production is primarily a source of feedstock material; it has a limited market as opposed to fuel producing crude. It can only be economical to produce if there is an economy that is strong enough to use it.
    That depends on the ERoEI of conventional crude!

    • Vince the Prince says:

      Thank you for you lowdown of the value of fuel…looks as if Ricard Heinberg was on the mark in his book, “Snake Oil”, and our “way of life” is running on fumes. It looks as if the Titanic called United States will be sinkable and take a while to go down.

      • interguru says:

        More on the Titanic

        World’s Largest Metaphor Hits Iceberg

        “Let us take a step back from the horror of the tragedy,” said Lord Peter Hothcrofte, a British naval historian, “and view it in terms of its grander significance. Simply put, the Titanic was more than a gigantic crystallization of the accumulated triumphs of 200 years of Western industrialization wedded to the firm but icy hand of Science triumphant. It was a ship larger than any ship need be, which therefore also make it somewhat of a hyperbole.”


  10. dolph911 says:

    Don’t get misled by the minutia of what the stock market is doing, or what the economy is doing on a quarter to quarter basis. Besides it will drive you insane, as these markets are heavily manipulated and swing wildly based on the sentiments of billions of human monkeys who can’t even see their noses in front of them.

    Keep your eyes on the big picture:
    1) Transition away from American empire, and eventual implosion of America into civil war
    2) Relentless resource decline
    3) Inevitability of resource triage and war, and breakdown of globalization and reversion back to nation state/regional block power

    That is the narrative. As long as you keep those things in mind you will get most other smaller details correct.

  11. Stilgar Wilcox says:

    That’s an interesting video of Naomi Klein about neoliberalism. The political process that further increases the wealth divide. Thought it was apropos for the topic of this thread.

    • Ed says:

      Klein mentions a minimum standard of living that all must have. That might be doable in a growing economy but in a shrinking economy it gets harder and harder. She gets the system tends to concentrate wealth relentlessly part. She fails to even think the system may not be able to feed all, house all, care for all.

  12. Yoshua says:

    World faces wave of epic debt defaults, fears central bank veteran


    Everybody seems to agree that a huge crash is coming… even if the might have a different view of its cause.

    • Stilgar Wilcox says:

      “In retrospect, central banks should have let the benign deflation of this (temporary) phase of globalisation run its course. By stoking debt bubbles, they have instead incubated what may prove to be a more malign variant, a classic 1930s-style “Fisherite” debt-deflation.

      Mr White said the Fed is now in a horrible quandary as it tries to extract itself from QE and right the ship again. “It is a debt trap. Things are so bad that there is no right answer. If they raise rates it’ll be nasty. If they don’t raise rates, it just makes matters worse,” he said.”

      A debt trap
      Between a rock and hard place
      Raise rates – causes defaults
      Don’t raise rates – increase the damage

      I keep wondering when the other shoe will fall. When exactly do the festivities of watching the implosion begin? What’s holding this listing ship up?

      • Fast Eddy says:

        “In retrospect, central banks should have let the benign deflation of this (temporary) phase of globalisation run its course. By stoking debt bubbles, they have instead incubated what may prove to be a more malign variant, a classic 1930s-style “Fisherite” debt-deflation.”

        This statement demonstrates a failure to understand the disease…. it assumes that what we are facing is cyclical condition (albeit the down cycle is very pronounced) …. it assumes recovery… in fact the entire article assumes recovery … we just need to take some very serious pain because of past mistakes…

        Wrong. There will of course be no recovery.

        The central banks have done exactly what needed to be done. If they had not acted we’d have had a deflationary collapse years ago.

        They’ve kicked that can …. they’ve also masterfully acted to get shale oil out of the ground … all of this has bought us quite a few extra years.

        A job well done.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Am I missing something or has the DT gone the way of Bloomberg removing the comments option on their articles?

          Another reasons Zero Hedge is so useful – they republish MSM articles then tear them apart

        • MM says:

          Enough time for the families that accumulated wealth through inheritance for many generations to buy some remote property for their offspring. It’s ok to let the thing go now.

  13. Vince the Prince says:

    Fri Apr 8, 2016 | 12:25 PM EDT
    Shell under pressure to reduce spending
    At $33 billion, Shell’s capex is the highest among its rivals, exceeding that of U.S. giant Exxon Mobil by about $10 billion. After increasing its debt to nearly 25 percent of its market capitalization after the BG acquisition, investors and analysts say Shell must tighten its belt further.
    “Shell needs to cut capex to give the market confidence that the dividend can be sustained, and grown in future,” said Charles Whall, portfolio manager at Investec Asset Management, which owns Shell shares.
    Whall expects Shell’s 2016 capex to be cut below $30 billion, and to trend lower.
    Steady dividend payouts have been the main attraction for investors in large oil companies over the years and some have tapped the debt market to maintain payouts in the face of last year’s oil price rout.
    Shell, for example, has not cut its dividend since the Second World War and has vowed to keep it unchanged following the BG deal

  14. Yoshua says:

    What Donald Trump gets right about stocks and the economy

    The first-quarter earnings season starts next week, with analysts looking for S&P 500 earnings to decline 8.5 percent over last year — on track for the fourth consecutive quarter of falling profitability. Corporate profits peaked in the second quarter of 2015. Recessions typically start five to seven quarters later.

    Strategists from J.P. Morgan have warned clients to brace for the end of the seven-year bull market: “This is not the stage of the U.S. cycle when one should be buying stocks with a six- to 12-month horizon. We recommend using any strength as a selling opportunity.”

    Trump, it seems, could be onto something. Which makes one wonder why he wants the job — cleaning up what’s likely to be one hell of a socio-economic mess — in the first place.


  15. Fast Eddy says:

    The thing is, however, this extended period of sideways churning has not materialized under a constant economic backdrop; it does not reflect a mere steady-state of dare-doing at the gaming tables.

    Actually, earnings have been falling sharply and macroeconomic headwinds have been intensifying dramatically. So the level of risk in the financial system has been rocketing higher even as the stock averages have labored around the flat-line.

    Thus, GAAP earnings of the S&P 500 in November 2014 were $106 per share on an LTM basis compared to $86.44 today. So earnings are down by 18.5%, meaning that the broad market PE multiple has escalated from an already sporty 19.3X back then to an outlandish 23.7X today.

    And the latter is by no means reflective of an expected stick save turnaround in earnings. Analysts have been furiously marking down their estimates for Q1 for weeks now. At the latest reading profits are projected to fall by 10%, marking the fifth straight quarter of decline.

    lways and everywhere, such persistent profit collapses have signaled recession just around the corner. And there are plenty of macro-economic data points signaling just that.

    For instance, total US business sales have fallen by 5.1% since mid-2014—-even as inventories have soared. This means that while Wall Street speculators have been dancing on the edge of the volcano for 18 months, the US economy’s tepid rebound has been petering out.

    Indeed, there has never been an inventory ratio surge of the magnitude shown in the chart below—-from 1.29X to 1.40X in 18 months—- that did not signal a recession dead ahead.


    During the stock market’s most recent dead-cat bounce, the signals that the US economy is drifting into a downturn have only grown more frequent and intense. For instance, class 8 truck orders—-a classic leading indicator—–are now plunging. At the same time, inventories haven’t been this high since early 2007.


    Likewise, rail car loadings were down 13.7% year-to-date compared to 2015. As is evident in the chart below, the plunge in shipments is now approaching the depths of 2008-2009. Perhaps that is why some market technicians are fretting about the non-confirmation of the rally by the transports.


    More http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/simple-janet-jabbering-on-the-edge-of-a-live-volcano/

    • Thanks! The article has gathered together a lot of good graphs, and makes good points about Price Earnings Ratios. But Stockman doesn’t understand our basic problems, so his diagnosis is not really right.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Agreed – he is excellent at identifying the symptoms but does not want to or does not understand the cause.

        I am wondering if the likes of Stockman, Paul Craig Roberts and even Zero Hedge are not just more ‘Donald Trumps’

        The current zeitgeist is one of blaming the establishment … do all of these serve the purpose of allowing the sheeple to blow off steam without identifying the real problem — or identifying and attacking those who are really running the show?

        Instead of taking any action the sheeple rant and rave on the comments sections and hoot and holler at Trump rallies…. all rather harmless…

        I have often thought that programmes like the Jon Steward show performed a similar function for liberals…. it made fun of right wingers … turned the whole thing into a big joke… it made the liberals feel good …. feel superior…. it changed nothing — it never even attempted to change anything….

  16. Fast Eddy says:

    Definitely — if this is correct then Putin is the greatest chess player the world has ever seen…


  17. Pintada says:

    This is an interesting video about an even more interesting paper by Dr. James Hanson. Obviously, I can’t post it anywhere else, because the news is really for the hard core doomer. Wimpy soft core doomers would simply melt down.

    First, this guy Hanson is as mainstream as it gets. Second, he is a mainstream scientist with a lot to loose, so, he does as they all do. He pulls his punches at every opportunity.

    By pulling his punches, I mean that:

    When he should say that there will be storms in our lifetime that have waves big enough to dredge 200 ton boulders off the ocean shelf and throw them 100 feet above sea level. He actually says “superstorms” which means nothing without interpretation.

    When he should say that the climate as a consequence will become so chaotic that growing food will become impossible. He actually says, “… this perameratized mixing yields a surface temperature response about a quarter larger …”

    Yup, the economy is like Wile E. Coyote just before he looks down, but its too late already. The climate is going to take us out regardless of how bad the other real existential threats get. He says – in his own super conservative, and stilted manner – that these problems are likely already baked in which means that even if Gail is correct about the economy … it’s just too late.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JP-cRqCQRc8&w=560&h=315%5D

    • Rodster says:

      The big problem is these guys preach gloom and doom when they draw their line in the sand. Once those numbers are exceeded they draw another line, then another. We were told don’t go over 350PPM of Co2, we are north of 425 and pushing 450PPM.

      • Vince the Prince says:

        Dr. Hansen has never changes the line of 350 ppm., we continue increasing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. Now I’ve been reading we must not exceed 3 degree C!, because almost all agree we will blow past 2 degree C 😨! As Fast Eddy has pointed out these “panic minded” scientists have been largely been paid lip service because the economy MUST grow….and in order to do that moar burning of fossil fuels. They go hand in hand or collapse.
        Frankly, at this point with the population levels at where they are 7 billion plus we needs fossil fuels to maintain the agricultural system. Without which over half of pur population would not be alive here today.

        Fritz Haber (German: [ˈhaːbɐ]; 9 December 1868 – 29 January 1934) was a German chemist who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918 for his invention of the Haber-Bosch process, the method used in industry to synthesize ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen gases. This invention is of importance for the large-scale synthesis of fertilizers and explosives. The food production for half the world’s current population depends on this method for producing nitrogen fertilizers.[1] Haber, along with Max Born, proposed the Born–Haber cycle as a method for evaluating the lattice energy of an ionic solid.

        Haber is also considered the “father of chemical warfare” for his years of pioneering work developing and weaponizing chlorine and other poisonous gases during World War I,

        I’ve responded to Roadster before, and he depends on fossil fuels for his livelihood.
        There is plenty of denial fodder out there in cyberspace and at this point I agree with Fast Eddy,why even bother hashing out the so called “debate” on climate change…
        Gail even requested we refrain at one point, so let’s stop on this topic for now😇.

        • Rodster says:

          First off i’m not in the fossil fuel industry and second you should not have posted your initial comment on Hansen becuase most GW/ACD/CC discussions in the past tend to be flame bait.

          • Vince the Prince says:

            Whatever you say Rodster, just saying we ALL depend on fossil fuels for our livelihood!
            Whether we admit it or not…..would of, could of should of….the epitaph we place on the tombstone of human species….you be well😇

            • Rodster says:

              There are certain hot button topics on this Blog. CC/ACD/GW is one hot button topic and Geoengineering is another one so I no longer bring it up.

    • First, he was talking about continuously rising fossil fuel consumption, which seems unlikely.

      Then he was mentioning about getting off fossil fuels, which indicates maybe he doesn’t understand how renewables and the economy work.

      Then he was talking about using a carbon tax or cap and trade to subsidize renewables.

      No need for any of that; you don’t need to convince the public or the politicians or get scientific consensus. You just need to convince the Joint Chiefs of Staff and get some of that ~$50 Billion / year black ops budget. Use the money for geoengineering, give up on the green wash dream.

    • Stilgar Wilcox says:

      Pintada, interesting video. As you probably discerned, there’s two major different scenarios Hansen is referring to, and he himself doesn’t seem to know which one is more likely. On the one hand he talks about the shutting down of AMOC (the conveyor that keeps ocean currents flowing in the north Atlantic, with some reference to the southern hemisphere conveyor as well), and on the other hand he talks about global warming. In the first scenario, with the shut down of the ocean conveyor warm water from the tropics never makes it to Great Britain, but instead heads over to Africa. Instead of that energy dissipating over a wide area it gets caught up in the mid latitudes and that increase in energy generates super storms. He says these super storms are not the big worry – oh really? Yeah, that would be bad, absolutely. Those hurricanes would be so strong they would permanently destroy coastal cities they hit. But it also means the Arctic gets cut off of that energy and it’s ice increases, which leads to a new ice age. Long term, sea level decreases in this case.

      In the 2nd scenario, the one we are actually experiencing now is global warming. If it keeps increasing with positive feedbacks and sea level increases then coastal cities flood and people migrate inland. Global warming can lead to fresh water melt from Greenland reducing the conveyor, initiating an ice age but we don’t how long or how much fresh water it takes to do that. There is great confusion amongst scientists on what that actually takes to make the shift. One reason for the confusion is at the end of the last ice age there was enormous fresh water melt and yet it didn’t start another ice age. So there may be more to it than we yet understand.

      But he never says which scenario is more likely, but simply that we are pushing the climate to change to one scenario or the other, which in either case will be bad for people and all the poor suckers born too late to enjoy the meaty curve of the oil age. Look, for those born after 1990, they’ve signed up for a life that’s going to be very challenging. Both the economy and the climate will be changing and not for the better. Be tough, be strong and try to make it through the bottlenecks on the rough road ahead. Hopefully some will be winners, procreate a post bottleneck brood and work their asses off to feed, cloth and get them medical help (such as it will be post collapse). Good luck to all of them on their mission.

    • Danielle Todos says:

      His real “pull of the punch” . Blaming fossil fuel producers and “we must move to renewables”.
      Maybe hes trying to punch the tooth fairy?

  18. Vince the Prince says:

    This is for In Alaska
    Food Prices Are Out of Control in Northern Canada
    Food has never been cheap in northern Canadian communities like Clyde River, where perishables like fruits and vegetables need to be flown in, but lately things are getting worse.
    “It has gotten more expensive, no question about that,” Iqalukjuak tells VICE News
    The latest price hike appears to be partly due to the drooping loonie and poor quality of produce from the frost and drought-struck southern US, where some Canadian produce comes from in the winter.
    “We’ve fought to be more equal to the rest of Canada in terms of purchasing food or other items, but there seems to be an invisible border somewhere that once you cross that line, the cost of food or merchandise doubles or triples in cost,” Iqalukjuak says.
    n Nunavut in 2013 and 2014, the study found, 60 percent of children lived in “food insecure households” — a definition that ranges from homes where people are worried about running out of food to those where they go days without food.
    For people who can’t afford food in Clyde River, there used to be a small food bank. But a lack of funds means they don’t always have food to give out, Iqalukjuak said. When people in his community become desperate, some will go on the radio to ask if people have leftovers to spare, and most of the time people will give them food.
    It’s part of life up here and it’s not uncommon,” he told VICE News. “Having a roof to sleep under is sometimes more important than having to feed yourself.

    Gas is food….flown in

  19. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Gail and Finite Worlders
    It’s Friday afternoon, and if you are in need of a little serious comedy, check out Marjory Wildcraft’s blog today:

    The story she relates will be relevant to anyone who reads this blog and who has trouble explaining themselves to civilians.

    My favorite quote:

    ‘But in the end, he doesn’t ask a lot, and he is glad that I wear shoes into town. ‘

    Don Stewart

  20. Stilgar Wilcox says:


    There’s a great chart at that link showing sharply declining corporate earnings. If we’re not headed for a recession, someone’s got to talk me down.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        GDPNow Forecast for First Quarter Falls to 0.1% Stagnation

        Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow Forecast Chills any leftover Q1 Optimism

        In a very unpleasant and totally unnecessary move, the Census Bureau reported this morning that February sales by wholesalers, adjusted for seasonal variations and trading day differences, but not price changes, dropped 3.1% year over year to $427.6 billion.

        This sales decline is largely in line with the overall sales decline among US businesses since late 2014. And businesses are finally taking the sales slump seriously and have begun whittling down their inventories. This has hit the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow forecasts for the first quarter.

        Inventories have formed a massive overhang that has been growing as sales have declined. For quarters on end, businesses have not adequately adjusted their orders to reflect the new sales reality. Thus inventories – unsold merchandise – have ballooned, sending the crucial inventory-to-sales ratio soaring skyward to levels not seen since near the peak of the Financial Crisis.

        But now businesses are attacking the problem.

        Inventories at the wholesale levels dropped to $583.3 billion at the end of February, down 0.5% from January (though they’re still up 0.6% from their levels a year ago). The crucial inventory-to-sales ratio, which measures how slowly inventory is moving, reached 1.36 seasonally adjusted, the same as in April 2009 and higher than in November 2008, after Lehman’s bankruptcy.

        On a not-seasonally adjusted basis, the inventory-to-sales ratio hit 1.51, up from 1.47 in February 2015. In February 2009, at the peak of the Financial Crisis, the ratio maxed out at 1.53. At that point, the ordering pipeline dried up as businesses slashed their purchases. This will play out over the coming months again, but gradually.

        Rising inventories boost GDP. They represent additional sales by suppliers. “Inventory investment,” it’s called. Thus, rising inventories are often considered “a sign of optimism” — until they reach the danger zone, when they become overhang. At that point, businesses cut their orders to bring their inventories down, and this eats into sales by their suppliers, and it drags down GDP. It can also trigger layoffs and a whole chain reaction of unpleasant events.

        The data-dependent Atlanta Fed GDPNow model reacted to it:

        After this morning’s wholesale trade report from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the forecast for the contribution of inventory investment to first-quarter real GDP growth fell from –0.4 percentage points to –0.7 percentage points.

        And its forecast for first quarter GDP dropped to 0.1% annualized — in serious stagnation mode, and a hair from falling into the negative

        More http://wolfstreet.com/2016/04/08/gdpnow-forecast-first-quarter-falls-to-0-1-stagnation/

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        Thanks for posting the bar graph, FE. What’s interesting as much as anything else is the consistent drop starting in the 3rd qtr. of 2014 thru the 1st qtr. of this year, 2016. Going to be hard to buck the trend.

        • Think about what else dropped in the 3rd quarter of 2014 through the 1st quarter of 2016 — oil prices especially, but a lot of other commodity prices. The drop in commodity prices is very much related to what we are seeing in the profit drops.

          Growth in debt started slowing down at that point as well.8

          • Fast Eddy says:

            And low oil prices are supposed to jump start growth….

            Another way in which this time is different

            • ejhr2015 says:

              Even “Nature” magazine is saying we are an invasive species etc.


            • Exactly what I would expect!

            • Don Stewart says:

              And did you notice that the article found long centuries of steady state in South America?
              Don Stewart

            • The published summary does a poor job of reproducing what the article itself says. This is what the abstract says:

              As the last habitable continent colonized by humans, the site of multiple domestication hotspots, and the location of the largest Pleistocene megafaunal extinction, South America is central to human prehistory1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Yet remarkably little is known about human population dynamics during colonization, subsequent expansions, and domestication2, 3, 4, 5. Here we reconstruct the spatiotemporal patterns of human population growth in South America using a newly aggregated database of 1,147 archaeological sites and 5,464 calibrated radiocarbon dates spanning fourteen thousand to two thousand years ago (ka). We demonstrate that, rather than a steady exponential expansion, the demographic history of South Americans is characterized by two distinct phases. First, humans spread rapidly throughout the continent, but remained at low population sizes for 8,000 years, including a 4,000-year period of ‘boom-and-bust’ oscillations with no net growth. Supplementation of hunting with domesticated crops and animals4, 8 had a minimal impact on population carrying capacity. Only with widespread sedentism, beginning ~5 ka4, 8, did a second demographic phase begin, with evidence for exponential population growth in cultural hotspots, characteristic of the Neolithic transition worldwide9. The unique extent of humanity’s ability to modify its environment to markedly increase carrying capacity in South America is therefore an unexpectedly recent phenomenon.

              The article itself talks about boom and bust oscillations, and exponential growth in cultural hotspots.

            • Don Stewart says:

              If one wants to distinguish ‘steady state’ from ‘exponential growth’ from ‘boom and bust’, then time frame is everything. For example, an invasive plant in a forest will boom after a forest is disturbed by a killing fire, a tornado, or a hurricane. Then, as the forest matures again, the invasive species will collapse to a low level, waiting for the next disturbance.

              For an invasive species over a very long time period, we can see oscillations if we look closely, or steady state if we average over a century. What we don’s see is exponential growth except at one or two year intervals. The invasive makes tens of thousands of seeds, which supplies the raw materials for the exponential growth. But the tall shade trees then limit the sunlight available, and the invasive dies back.

              For humans, we can apply the same methods. Humans have created a disturbance which has allowed their numbers to grow very rapidly, but the humans have simultaneously planted the seeds for their own collapse. If looked at over a period of 20,000 years, the humans will probably look like boom and bust. If looked at over a period of a century, we may see exponential growth. If looked at over geological time, we are likely to see either steady state or extinction.

              At the present time, I think the preponderance of the evidence points to overshoot. We will see a collapse to very low levels followed by a slow rebuilding and probably a steady state…like Ugo Bardi’s current post and its depiction of Edo, Japan. The reason we won’t see another boom and bust cycle is that the resources which allowed humans to boom exponentially will not be available. Including, most likely, a climate favorable to humans will be missing.

              Don Stewart

      • This Bloomberg article from March http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2016-03-09/falling-corporate-profits-and-recession-warnings says “A recent research report by JPMorgan found that when markets see consecutive quarters of earnings declines, the economy slips into a recession 81 percent of the time.”

  21. Vince the Prince says:

    Related: Why We Could See An Oil Price Shock In 2016

    Longer-term projects from virtually all other conventional and non-conventional sources that have not been funded for the past two years will see their results, in that there won’t be the oil from them that was planned upon. Chevron estimated in 2013 that oil companies would have to spend a minimum of $7-10 trillion dollars to 2030 to merely keep up with demand growth and the natural decline of current wells. And this was without factoring in the drop in exploration spending that is occurring now and throughout the next two years. Severe capex cuts from virtually every oil company and state-run producer over the last two years has put this necessary spending budget way behind schedule.

    You can see why I tend to have a much more radical view of the decline line in production beginning in late 2016 and lasting, in my view, at least until the middle of 2018, when production again only begins to get the funding (and time) it needs to try and “catch up”.

    Meanwhile, there will be, as I see it, a violent crossing of the demand and supply lines in my graph – and an equally violent move in the price of oil because of it.

    Finally, when this trajectory becomes obvious, the financial markets will waste no time taking full advantage of it – with a massive influx of speculative money, driving up prices even more quickly and steeply.

    • Stilgar Wilcox says:

      “Longer-term projects from virtually all other conventional and non-conventional sources that have not been funded for the past two years will see their results, in that there won’t be the oil from them that was planned upon.”

      That’s definitely the case, i.e. without a high enough oil price, capex declines and with it future supply. This particular short time period in which oil price is low is a signal price will go higher later, however if the consumer cannot plunk their cash down to substantiate the higher price, it will drop regardless of what is needed to secure future supply. A $120 a barrel is just a wishful number posited to describe what is needed to jack up exploration to catch up and secure future supply, but in no way determines what the consumer can afford. In other words, unless we’ve missed something about the consumer’s shaky financial situation, we then become a civilization living off of what was discovered before limits were hit. How long that lasts is anyone’s guess, but we are whipping through that stuff at an alarming rate. This period now may be the last hurrah, the last great time period to buy a giant truck and tow a boat, both full of fuel, no cares mate, this Bud’s for you, chewing on jerky, pedal t the metal, all jacked up, yelling with bravado out the window, yee haw!!!

      • Vince the Prince says:

        Hot Dog…dang…gonna miss doing it….
        What is a Redneck expected do without a pickup?

        • Stilgar Wilcox says:

          Cool vid Vince. Microcosmically analogous to the oil age. Lots of fun until the hard landing. It may be that truck is totaled. Front end steering probably bent/broken and who knows what else is damaged. Once that happens it’s pretty hard to ever get a vehicle to ever steer correctly.

          A friend of mine in the 80’s bought a Mercedes real cheap and I just couldn’t figure out how he got it so cheap until I drove it. To get it to go straight you had to pull left all the time. To steer right all I had to do was release some of the left pressure. To turn hard left took a lot of force. Wore out tires fast. Very strange but he was in real estate and needed the status to make sales.

          • “It may be that truck is totaled. Front end steering probably bent/broken and who knows what else is damaged.”

            Forget the truck. The passenger is probably going to have back problems for life, and it looks like the driver might be paraplegic, probably hauled off with a spine board.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            That is an outstanding video…. world class idiocy on display!

  22. Stilgar Wilcox says:


    That is an article about oil tankers jamming up waiting to be filled with oil at an Iraqi port. Just thought it was interesting because of the already low price of oil. It’s like every producer is driving pretty hard to the hoop to produce as much as possible, when that’s only going to keep oil price down. The market share war continues…

  23. Don Stewart says:

    A little more (perhaps too much?) on the brain, the chemicals, the real world, memory, etc.). Mostly drawn from Daniel J. Levitin’s book The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload. Levitin is a professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience at McGill, who has written a couple of best sellers about the brain and music. Just to impress you, he wrote part of the book while sitting in Joni Mitchell’s garden. He says ‘I need to get back to the garden’.

    In Chapter 2, he begins a discussion of First Things to Get Straight. I can’t possibly cover all this in detail, so just a few hints.
    *One of the biggest neuroscience discoveries of the last 2 decades is the special brain network that supports a more fluid and nonlinear mode of thinking.
    *The mind-wandering mode and the focused mode compete with each other.
    *Modes are not a thing…they are a network of distributed capabilities.
    *The brain operates as a set of intricate, overlapping networks.
    *We have an attentional filter which can redirect our attention to critical matters
    *We have a switch, located in a specific brain structure, which can redirect our neural resources.
    *If we have to switch too rapidly, we become tired and dizzy
    *Your brain is a collection of semi-distinct, special-purpose processing units….Distinct networks in your brain can thus harbor completely different thoughts and hold completely different agendas.
    *One part of your brain is concerned with satisfying immediate hunger, another with planning and sticking to a diet; one part is paying attention to the road while you drive, another is bebopping along with the radio. The attentional network has to monitor all these activities and allocate resources to some and not to others.
    *Most of these exchanges occur below the level of consciousness, which is to say, we are not aware of the dialogue or signal-response mechanism. But neuroscientists are increasingly appreciating that consciousness is not an all-or-nothing state; rather it is a continuum of different states.
    *When the activation of a neural network is sufficiently high, relative to other neural activity that is going on, it breaks into our attentional process; that is, it becomes captured by our conscious mind, our central executive, and we become aware of it.
    *Numerous special-purpose modules in your brain are at work, trying to sort out and make sense of experience. Most of them are running in the background. When that neural activity reaches a certain threshold, you become aware of it, and we call that consciousness. Consciousness itself is not a thing, and it is not localizable in the brain. Rather, it’s simply the name we put to ideas and perceptions that enter the awareness of our central executive, a system of very limited capacity that can generally attend to a maximum of four or five things at a time.

    On page 45, he has a section titled The Neurochemistry of Attention
    VERY complicated action by neurotransmitters and hormones. I won’t try to do this justice. Just one tidbit: nicotine creates a state of vigilance which allows one to become more detail oriented and less dependent on top-down expectations.

    Then, on page 48, he begins a discussion of memory:
    *Memory is unreliable because the untrained brain has a crappy filing system. It takes everything that happens to you and throws it all willy-nilly into a big dark closet…You can’t find what you need.

    That’s enough stuff for your insula to decide whether to switch your attention from all that thermodynamics stuff to the real action between your ears….:-)

    But there are some implications I would like to draw.
    First, the explosion of data (I hesitate to label it ‘information’) coming at us makes it very much more difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff.
    Second, the unaided individual is at a disadvantage. Corporations and politicians who are selling you something can afford to hire the talent that will give them the means to manipulate your neurotransmitters and hormones and your memory recall…as well as fuzz up supposedly ‘factual’ information so that you continue to do things which might feel good in the short term but do you damage in the long term.
    Third. Charles Hugh Smith has a short answer each week to the question “What is the best thing I did this week?’. I suggest that a question you might ask someone is ‘What did you notice this week that causes you to re-examine your previous beliefs and actions?’ If the person can’t come up with anything, they are probably not someone you want to spend a lot of time with.
    Fourth, corporations and politicians work very hard on ‘priming’. It is well-established that just a few words and a little time to think can change subsequent behavior. One recent example that caught my attention is this:

    People are primed with the word ‘God’ and give a couple of minutes. Their subsequent actions will be more ‘kind and gentle’
    People are primed with the word ‘religion’ and given a couple of minutes. Their subsequent actions will be meaner and nastier.

    In the everyday world, corporations and politicians are continuously bombarding us with priming words. I turned off the television in 1960 because I didn’t want to be ‘primed’. I didn’t understand the mechanisms as well as I do now…but I could feel it.

    Don Stewart

    • Stefeun says:

      Excellent Don,

    • Stilgar Wilcox says:

      Whatever it is that’s going on with my brain I had the hardest time working on our taxes this year. Of course we have two sch. C’s, two Home bus. cost sheets, itemized, and the new healthcare section, self-employment tax, then there’s the state taxes.

      For some reason I found it more exhausting than usual. I suppose my mind wandering mode had to be replaced by my focused mode for longer than is comfortable. It feels like I have a hangover but didn’t drink anything.

      • Don Stewart says:

        The neuroscientists point out that is is stressful to have to juggle things. It’s even stressful to throw away junk mail.

        I think it is also stressful to have to work on somebody else’s priority when you really want to work on your own priority. And taxes are definitely not on the priority list of most of us. I have learned that I really, really need to get the taxes done before I get started with serious gardening in the spring. If I procrastinate too long, there is always something good to eat that I feel I am sacrificing to support a bureaucracy.

        Don Stewart

    • Ed says:

      Yes! Whoever frames the terms of the debate has won. Turn off the enemy, turn off MSM.

  24. Since China has been just in past weeks installing the first reactors vessels for their HTGR nuclear reactor, I think it’s timely to provide brief overview of the key points. Due to high temperature operation and small scale it could be directly matched with existing large industrial parks (coal, gas/oil refineries, chemicals,..) so the important point it’s not exclusively as per today only electricity producing facility, HTGR is thermal energy output, also synthetic liquid fuels could be derived from coal, district heating for cities etc, therefore enables natgas usage for transportation, agriculture, ..

    So, should there occur visible-undeniable crude supply problem around ~2025, there would be strong incentive for gov sponsored crash programs to go ahead with mass adoption of this stuff. I’m not saying it is certain, just possible and probable. Staring into abyss, who cares if debts go above 1100% and certain industries vanish (personal carz etc.)..

  25. Vince the Prince says:

    China’s huge debt levels will weigh on growth over the next five years and could threaten the country’s financial stability unless policymakers rein in credit, Fitch has warned.

    The rating agency said a “remarkable build-up in leverage across China’s economy” since the 2008 financial crisis meant Beijing’s ability to meet ambitious annual growth targets of 6.5pc to 7pc between 2016 and 2020 looked “extremely challenging”.

    While China’s public debt ratio stood at 55pc of gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of last year, total credit in the world’s second largest economy, excluding equity raising, climbed to almost 200pc of GDP in 2015, from 115pc in 2008, according to official estimates.

    Fitch said the “true figure” was likely to be closer to 250pc. It expects this to climb to 260pc of GDP by the end of this year as total debt continues to grow faster than the economy.

    “High and rising leverage in the economy is a mounting source of systemic vulnerability,” Fitch analysts wrote in a note.

    “The longer the economy’s indebtedness goes on rising, the greater the difficulty of unwinding it, and the higher the risk of a shock to economic and financial stability.”

    • Rodster says:

      And yet so called experts say that China knows what it’s doing and has it all under control. Which is to say everything thing is going to plan and make its currency the worlds reserve currency by replacing the $USD and back it with their gold stash.

      • Lucille says:

        China is a big place. There are people playing different games. No one has it “under control”. When the balloon goes up what will be worth anything besides a machete and a can of dogfood? There is a lot of gold and silver in China. A lot. Whether there will be trade to use it is a dubious proposition. There will omost certainly be a WW along the way. In China certain societies are placing bets. Those bets assume there is a morning after. Delusional? Probably but at least someones trying. I dont see it as “replacing” anything just straight up prepping.

    • Thanks! That is a good article.

      I think China’s debt problems are an important part of the puzzle. Debt is what allows our economy to grow, but beyond a certain point (energy too expensive to extract), it brings the economy down.

  26. Fast Eddy says:

    And yet, helicopter money has been around for years. It’s been tried across the world without being called that way, even in the US.

    When President Bush signed the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, he called it a “booster shot” for the US economy. It’s “large enough to have an impact, amounting to more than $152 billion this year, or about 1% of the GDP,” he said. That was in February 2008. A few months later, the Treasury started issuing rebate checks of $600 to individuals and $1,200 to married couples. Most adults got one whether they needed it or not.

  27. Fast Eddy says:

    Helicopter Money “Not on the Table,” ECB Swears Furiously

    But it’s already here!

    It has finally sunk in: what everyone really wants is helicopter money. Central banks, instead of transferring trillions of newly created dollars or euros or whatever to the banks should just hand them directly to the people, like dropping bank notes from a helicopter, so that these people can grab them and spend them all in one fell swoop, thereby creating sudden artificial demand, driving up inflation, and solving all economic problems of our times.

    Instead of creating asset price inflation, as QE had done, it would create consumer price inflation. Wages would still remain stuck, and workers would soon not be able to buy the normal things at these inflated prices, but that wouldn’t matter because now they’re getting helicopter money, and companies could increase their sales, margins, and profits simply by raising prices without having to sell a single extra item.

    Among economists, it’s the hottest idea of the century. But the ECB will have none of it. Or so it said today, on two different occasions, by two different officials, curiously using the same words.


  28. Fast Eddy says:

    KKR’s Chilling Message about the “End of the Credit Cycle”

    “Opportunities in Distressed Assets” as current investors get crushed

    After seven years of “emergency” monetary policies that allowed companies to borrow cheaply even if they didn’t have the cash flow to service their debts, other than by borrowing even more, has created the beginnings of a tsunami of defaults.

    The number of corporate defaults in the fourth quarter 2015 was the fifth highest on record. Three of the other four quarters were in 2009, during the Financial Crisis.

    At stake? $8.2 trillion in corporate bonds outstanding, up 77% from ten years ago! On top of nearly $2 trillion in commercial and industrial loans outstanding, up over 100% from ten years ago. Debt everywhere!

    Of these bonds, about $1.8 trillion are junk-rated, according to JP Morgan data. Standard & Poor’s warned that the average credit rating of US corporate borrowers, at “BB,” and thus in junk territory, hit a record low, even “below the average we recorded in the aftermath of the 2008-2009 credit crisis.”

    The risks? A company with a credit rating of B- has a 1-in-10 chance of defaulting within 12 months!

    In total, $4.1 trillion in bonds will mature over the next five years. If companies cannot get new funds at affordable rates, they might not be able to redeem their bonds. Even before then, some will run out of cash to make interest payments.

    A bunch of these companies are outside the energy sector. They have viable businesses that throw off plenty of cash, but not enough cash to service their mountains of debts! Among them are brick-and-mortar retailers that have been bought out by private equity firms and have since been loaded up with debt. And they include over-indebted companies like iHeart Communications, Sprint, or Univsion.

    The “end of the credit cycle” has dawned upon the markets. As credit tightens, companies that can’t service their debts from operating cash flows may be denied new credit with which to service existing debts. The recipe of new creditors’ bailing out existing creditors worked like a charm for the past seven years. But it isn’t working so well anymore.

    More http://wolfstreet.com/2016/04/06/opportunities-distressed-assets-for-private-equity-kkr-existing-investors-crushed/

    Unless there is a way to stop this …. surely people can understand how — at some point — the roulette wheel stops… rather abruptly….

    • Vince the Prince says:

      When the next corporate default wave comes, it could hurt investors more than they expect.
      Losses on bonds from defaulted companies are likely to be higher than in previous cycles, because U.S. issuers have more debt relative to their assets, according to Bank of America Corp. strategists. Those high levels of borrowings mean that if a company liquidates, the proceeds have to cover more liabilities.
      “We’ve had more corporate debt than ever, and more leverage than ever, which increases the potential for greater pain,” said Edwin Tai, a senior portfolio manager for distressed investments at Newfleet Asset Management.
      Loss rates have already been rising. The potential for them to climb further may mean that in general junk bonds are not compensating investors enough for the risk they are taking, said Michael Contopoulos, high yield credit strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The average yield on a U.S. junk bond is now around 8.45 percent, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes, about the mean of the last 10 years.
      In bad times, corporate bond investors on average lose about 70 cents on the dollar when a borrower goes bust. In this cycle, that figure could be closer to the mid-80s, Bank of America strategists said. Those losses would be the worst in decades, according to UBS Group AG’s analysis of data from Moody’s Investors Service.

    • tagio says:

      “Unless there is a way to stop this …. surely people can understand how — at some point — the roulette wheel stops… rather abruptly….”
      They are running out of options for kicking the can down the road. Unless the Fed finds a way to buy these defaulting loans and deep six them in its balance sheet, like it did with subprime mortgages, thus bailing out the investors & speculators who bought them, and then agrees with the oilcos and other corporate debtors to a moratorium / reduced rate/ extended payoff (e.g., pay us over 200 years at 0.25% interest), there isn’t an obvious solution to the havoc that these defaults will wreak. Even there, the risk would be at what point does the Fed lose all crediblity by buying absolute crap “assets”, crashing the dollar?

      • Fredirick G.. Logavo says:

        The Fed has already lost all credibility in terms of assets. Its not just the MBS securities on the books. What about the treasury bonds? What paper asset is not crap? What has not lost credibility is the huge military of the USA. In spite of total pork barrel spending a incredible arsenal has been accumulated. Thats what holds the dollar together. There is no faster route to terrorist status than threatening dollar hegemony. The Fed can and will take more junk on their books IF they dont want collapse. The IF is a unknown.

        • Fredirick G.. Logavo says:

          Their is also one more thing. Tradition. All around the world what do people want. US$. Why? Tradition. I can never think of a single instance where a suitable application of US $ has failed me. They are a miracle they always work. The unfailing reliability of federal reserve notes provides much support for its continued use. Philosophical arguments and solvency aside if you are living somewhere where Federal Reserve notes have always worked and other pieces of paper have not their is strong faith and tradition in the those notes. Some may lament their use but they still use them. Why? They work.

        • Fast Eddy says:


          Mr Putin is the ultimate ‘terrorist’ — unfortunately he has an arsenal of nuclear weapons so much more difficult for the Elders to get rid of him…. China is also on the terror list…

          I have Google news alerts set up for Hong Kong (where I do business) and I am seeing an irritating and endless flood of alerts related to Hong Kong independence, negative China articles related to disappearing booksellers…. articles about the ‘heroes’ of the umbrella movement from last year etc….

          This has the whiff of an inchoate campaign against ‘evil China’

          I would also note that Alibaba recently purchased the South China Morning Post — zero synergies with their main business — no doubt the reason for this purchase was to get the main English language MSM into friendly hands…

          How do I know this? As soon as they purchased the SCMP they removed the pay wall. What point is there in trying to control the narrative when you limit your audience with pay per view…

          • Lucille says:

            Taking on a Russia or a China is a lot different than a third world despot. Both have some serious tricks up their sleeve. The background chatter is a warning like a tough guy puffing up his chest and saying you do know I am loco right. Even a tough guy wants to keep whats left of his teeth though. Thats why they stop short of the t word. The chatter is not a idle threat but its not going to happen without a direct challenge eithor.

          • xabier says:

            As soon as one sees key words like ‘heroes’ and ‘freedom’ being used, then we know that a mental conditioning system is being invoked as a prelude to all kinds of dark deeds.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I like the analogy of metastasizing cancer….

        The surgeon can chop bits out here and there and poison some of it with chemo… the radiologist can blast away …

        But eventually you get to the ‘no mas’ point…. the organism is so riddled with disease there is nothing that can be done to keep it alive…

        The central banks are approaching their ‘no mas’ point with respect to the organism we refer to as BAU….


  29. Rodster says:

    Another real confirmation of a declining economy. First it was Caterpillar and now Commercial Trucks

    “It’s Probably Nothing”: Truck Orders Plunge 37% As Unsold Inventories Soar Most Since 2007


  30. Fast Eddy says:

    Venezuela Declares Every Friday A Holiday To Conserve Electricity (prelude to a complete collapse)

    Maduro has expanded his mid-March decree, and designated every Friday in the months of April and May as a non-working holiday in his ongoing bid to save electricity as a prolonged drought pushes water levels to a critical threshold at hydro-generation plants. In a televised appearance, Maduro said “I call on families, on the youth, to join this plan with discipline, with conscience and extreme collaboration to confront this extreme situation” of the drought blamed on the El Nino weather system.


    Awesome! I think the entire world needs to adopt this idea!!!

    • doomphd says:

      Why can’t they switch temporarily to oil-fired backup power plants for their electrical grid? I mean, there are still a few power plants around that burn “bunker oil”–we have one out here that produces 1.5 GW. Surely their heavy crude could be refined into burnable bunker grade? ( I know, and don’t call you Shirley.)

      • The share of heavy oil that is refined to other products varies with the price of oil. When the price of oil is high, it is hard to get refineries to produce asphalt–they want to sell products that they can sell for more. As the price drops, the value in this refining falls.

        Most of the power plants that burn bunker oil are for backup. I don’t know how recent rule changes affect them. Most diesel oil sold is ultra low sulfur, because of pollution issues. They may be affected as well.

        • Artleads says:

          ” When the price of oil is high, it is hard to get refineries to produce asphalt–they want to sell products that they can sell for more. ”

          This is enlightening.

          I’m also interested in what oil is most feasible to use if an emergency required it to be produced other than through the economic system. “Bunker” oil? I understand that producing oil without money is not the way things are done now. And if it could be done at all, it would require volunteers who see it as in their survival interest to do so. I expect that any such production would be extremely limited, and used for the most pressing emergencies–like servicing a nuclear plant or two. I also understand that if that means of production weren’t set up before there was the need for it, chaos of various sorts would work against it happening.

          • It depends on the kind of oil being extracted. Simple refineries just separate oil into their natural components in distillation towers (also called fractionating columns). Very light oils give a lot of gasoline. Heavier oils give more diesel.

            Parts of heavy oils require “cracking” (which is expensive) to make diesel or gasoline. Very heavy oils very often sell at a discount to lighter oils because of the need for cracking of the longer molecules. Otherwise, they can produce a lot of asphalt.

            • Artleads says:

              I hear people talking of diesel as being more suited to hard times. Jan Steinman used to talk about making his own diesel out of organic matter that he grew. So, presumably, there might be a way to do some home-based diesel production as well as mining of the heavy oil that can make diesel the harder way through “cracking.” Somewhat like backyard gardening, diesel might be produced on small scales for personal use, while a more industrial-scale but still largely voluntary production of diesel from oil might be possible. Still based on the local level–county scale perhaps. Very targeted, limited asphalt production could come from the heavy oil, and could fix the most strategic routes at county scale… Counties have a huge amount of machinery for very near-term use…

              Just thinking out loud.

            • Don Stewart says:

              If you are worried about roads and asphalt and such matters. It may be useful to look at some history. The first link is a drawing of an Edo, Japan road in 1850. The second link is a discussion of how the government of Edo kept the system from deteriorating rapidly, as the roads in Europe deteriorated. Also a discussion of the use of bridges vs. ferries. The third link is to a contract in Kansas City as late as 1910 which specified a ‘hand sledged’ crushed rock road. I assume ‘hand sledged’ meant that they used sledgehammers to break up the rock. (Kansas City is built on layers of limestone.) Obviously, making a road with plenty of rocks available immediately by the roadside would have been a plus. Building a road through swampy New Jersey probably called for a solution like the Patterson Plank Road.




              In short, in a world with no fossil fuels and perhaps home-brew diesel, the road system might look like Edo. While it was pretty common in Edo to undertake long trips on the main roads, the trips were likely to be walking trips. There were many inns along the way providing food and lodging. Rich people might have ridden horses. But you can look at some of Akira Kurosawa’s movies and see the gentry walking, and he was pretty true to history. I suspect that home brew diesel will be used on the farm. When all the precision and high efficiency devices are gone, the diesel will be burned at low efficiency. It will likely be an unusual application for which home brew will be appropriate.

              Given some pretty well-maintained roads for walking, the ‘last mile’ through the mud may have been the hard part. As well as floods which knocked out bridges or made ferry crossings hazardous. The regeneration of forest cover in the mountains during the Edo period would have gradually reduced the flash flood problem.

              As for the path of evolution from where we are to where we are headed, that depends on a thousand contingencies.

              Don Stewart

            • Fast Eddy says:

              When I read comments of that nature…. it triggers a song by Joan Baez to play over and over again in my head…. I can’t get it to stop …. ever happen to you? — it’s very irritating …. koombaya my lord… koombay…. oh lord koombaya… someones .,…. ack … ack ack ack….

            • How would you transport the asphalt? I have a hard time seeing any possibility that a part of the system can continue, while losing the majority of the system.

            • Van Kent says:

              Petrol engines can be refurbished for ethanol. And diesel engines to work on biogas. Canola oil and such can be made in to a sort of biodiesel. We´ve been doing some R&D with our canola. And it certainly has many applications. We are not yet sure how to use all products of every process. Chicken feed can luckily take large parts of the residue for most oil processess, but questions still remain.

              People live within their culture. Today we use diesel tractors, tomorrow, well, we use what ever is still available,.

              Tractors are so useful (comared to manual labour) that I think some villages will combine resources to have at least one functioning tractor remaining. Building biogas plants need a lot of labour and/or having an entire field producing canola, for a tractor, is away from somebody elses food. But having agriculture with or without tractors, the difference is so huge, everybody will do their utmost to have at least access to one.

              My father was 12 or something when they got their first tractor. It was the first one in the village and he made a handsome extra paycheck the first few years when their family was the only one with the tractor in the village. I suspect something like that will be happening again a few years Post-BAU when all the new fancy tractors are broken, and only ones remaining are the really old ones that makeshift spare parts can be made to.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              What are you planning to use for transmission, hydraulic, radiator anti-freeze and brake fluids?

              Where will you get spare parts when something breaks?

            • Van Kent says:

              In the village, the first real road was organized by my great grandfather. It was a huge undertaking with a separate road co-op set in to handle all the expenses. But it could have not been done without our farm producing most of the food for the men who were working on it.

              Even today some co-op model still remains with the maintenance and snow plowing and salting involved.

              I don´t have much hope for such infrastructure in immediate Post-BAU. People are so used to water just running, warmth, security and comfort just being there, roads to manifest out of the blue, electricity to come out of the sockets. That it is inconceivable to most people to think how to actually build or maintain real infrastructure.

              We had a friend from Portugal visiting last week and she watched me make some trays, tables and chairs from black alder and cherrie trees, trees felled from the farm grounds a few years earlier, in our woodshed, from scratch in to working furniture, in to our coffee shop. And she was just amazed.

              People are just not used to building or maintaining infrastructure. All such things are just automatic to them.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I’ll assume you used power tools to make the furniture?

            • Van Kent says:



              Motor saws to fell the trees, power tools for the furniture. We do have the traditional tools stored somewhere. But it would be so time consuming to make something with them, electricity and power tools are just so much faster…

            • Fast Eddy says:

              A whole new ball game trying to maintain a small farm when the electricity and petrol are no longer available…

              Homesteading is romanticized … primarily we never saw the harsh part on shows like Little House… and also because the relaxed farmer we see at the Sunday market has avoided most of the back breaking physical labour involved in producing food without BAU…

              I don’t think anyone has the slightest idea of how brutal life on a post BAU hobby farm will be.

              Well… perhaps deep down everyone does — because no one is taking up the challenge of turning off the electricity for a week.

              I can imagine that doing so would result in extreme despondency

            • Van Kent says:


              I know what you mean. It´s as good as impossible. With a lot of effort and time to spare somewhat possible, but really, no.

              However it´s done we are still plugged in to BAU somehow.

              Last week an intern came in. She said she would want to experience how to survive Post-BAU. Young gardener girl with lots of youthfull bravado. I just said to her “-no you would not”. People just don´t realize all the things involved. None of us have what it takes to really make it, when you go through all the things that are required.

              I would need at least two dozen people with “the right stuff”. And even with those it would be nearly imossible.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Doing something feels better than doing nothing — at least that’s how I justify it…..

              Although as I have journeyed along the path towards understanding the futility of the situation …. my enthusiasm has waned dramatically…

              Even the best case scenario looks incredibly grim … so much so that I am seriously hoping that governments make available the end it all pill as we approach the end.

              My best case scenario is one where it can all end with as little suffering as possible.

            • Stefeun says:

              FE, you say “My best case scenario is one where it can all end with as little suffering as possible.”

              It always has been so, whatever the conditions, hasn’t it?
              Unfortunately, suffering is almost never considered as a key parameter (I guess because subjective and not really measurable, and physically non-contagious), so an individual can reach very high levels of suffering, without notice nor any control or attempt to alleviate. Without any consequences for others.
              Especially in hard times, I’m afraid. So I wouldn’t rely on external support, if I had choice.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I know with a great deal of certainty that if I were to come down with a terminal illness …. and I was at the suffering stage… I would off myself….

              I am not just saying that lightly — I am absolutely 100% certain.

              I have never understood people who cling to life when life consists of round the clock pain dulled by drugs – with no hope for recovery.

              I am also all for Death Panels.

            • Stefeun says:

              To easy, FE, you take the black/white case.
              What if the painkillers do work, and you’ve got enough of them for several months?

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I’d never die lying in a hospital bed hooked up to an IV dripping pain killers into me while I waited for the end


            • Stefeun says:

              Yes, but you’ve got several steps before getting to that stage.
              The real difficulty is to define where exactly you adjust the cursor, ie the set of conditions at which you decide to launch the process, press the ‘cancel’ button.
              And then, when time comes, won’t Mr DNA ask for a little bit more, again and again..? Not simple.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Don’t forget … I have already overridden Mr DNA once — I have no children.

              That also makes it easier to say no to him again — I reckon most people fight to live on even though life is no longer worth living because their children and grandchildren urge them to.

              Once the suffering begins — and I have determined that the situation is likely to be terminal.

              I will end this.

            • Van Kent says:


              I`m not really sure. I don´t have long term plans any more. Just doing what my grandpa did in the war, one day at the time, one hour at the time, one quarter hour at the time. At least that is what he told me in the sauna he had to do, to get through the things that just had to get done.

              But some Joie de vivre? Nope, as long as I don´t have the two dozen people that I know have the mental capacity to do the things that needs to be done, nope.

              It´s a bloody mess with the climate. Even if the first years of Post-BAU can be managed, somehow, then the climate will make a mess of every growing season afterwards. If the temperatures are +/-6 C. How the hell can you make any sort of seasonal plans with that?

            • Artleads says:


              The Edo pictures are lovely. I forwarded them to my civil engineering draftsman buddy, fairly certain that his reaction will be somewhere along the lines of FE’s. But what the heck!

              I grew up in a very rural third world environment and the stone-piles-by-the-roadside way of maintaining roads is what was common in my area. My people were far from rich, but educated and privileged by comparison to the poor uneducated barefoot people sitting around the piles breaking stones. By the time I returned after art school abroad,the roads had been paved with asphalt. Simultaneously, there was a creeping increase in motor vehicle traffic replacing the walking that had been the norm in my youth. (My people always drove, but people like us were greatly in the minority.)

              Long story short, everybody now has shoes, and no one would want to sit by the roadside breaking rocks. Car ownership has escalated, and the old stone roads that were quiet and slow are now like a racecourse of twists and turns.

              The class divide makes the matter worse. It would be unthinkable there for people like me to do manual work out in the public, the traditional underclass aren’t enthusiastic to do that either. So class, hierarchy, false gods of technology all mitigate against something as practical (and feasible) as repairing roads with rock. A more egalitarian and practical process almost seems more feasible in the US.

              Anyway, I’ve experimented with paper pulp to fill potholes. If the holes are sufficiently deep, the pulp snugly fits there and hardens in the sun. It gets damp in the rain, but I haven’t seen that as a problem thus far.

              Van Kent,

              My childhood homes were rural and consisting of roughly 200 acres. When hierarchy and inequality was more entrenched, there were more workers to rely on than now to work on the land. But much of the land was just left to cattle or forest. As labor grew more costly and workers moved to the city, the large acreage was more of a liability than an asset. Now, vandals and squatters can hardly be contained. My family have pretty much sold or deserted their land. How best to manage land like this is a big question.

              Before globalism ends, there might have to be more globalism. An international buy out of rural land, managing it (while transitioning it away from FF dependency) in the best interest of global system?

    • ejhr2015 says:

      I agree. The more we “work” the faster we collapse. The Roman Empire crashed over centuries. This time it’s just years.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Actually… the less we work will result in a faster collapse.

        Because less work generally implies a recessionary environment… and if a recession is left unchecked it will quickly become a death spiral as people consume less …

        • The naked Apes economic death spiral will mean a breath of fresh air, a relief, a breathing space for the millions of other species on this amazing planet we continue to destroy & tear to bits with alienated claws of indifference……………….
          I see & feel in my heart no problem from my perspective with this scenario……………………..

          • Fast Eddy says:

            The sooner we are gone the better — my only concern is that being the stupid freaks that we are — we have left behind 4000 spent fuel ponds that are likely to poison the planet….

            • I agree,

              There’s no way out of this now………………………………….

              This industrial freak show will continue on until he last blade of grass is nuked or burnt in a holocaust of tragic proportions.

              We’ve unleashed a monster…………………the alienated mindset of the freaks can’t think outside the bounds of their own introversion.

              The green idealism continues to espouse the ideals of green technology with their heads up their collective backsides & yet each day that this culture continues means yet another creature has to endure the thumbscrews of this arrogant psychologically dysfunctional culture………………………..

              I can feel the air in this culture & all l feel is death.
              I feel the death of all the creatures who’ve had to endure the misery of contact with industrialism, the last Empire of human arrogance.

              I feel the tragedy in my heart for all the creatures who have had the misfortune to live in our times along side such a screwed up species……………………

            • Yorchichan says:

              I once read a quote that went something like this:

              “It’s time for humans to go away so that the other animals can get on with murdering each other in peace.”

              I thought it was funny in a tragic kind of way.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              The originator of that quote is a complete idiot.

              Name a species that holds millions of animals in brutal conditions – injects them with substances to make them grow faster — then slaughters and eats them.

              See http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/special_eds/20110530/cattle/

              Name a species that destroys and poisons it’s home the way humans do.

              Name a species that creates weapons capable of exterminating all life.

              Name a species that does this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19-hmgaM1ZQ

              Do not confuse humans with animals. It would be an insult to any animal to be mistaken for a human.

              Sign the petition on my new website http://www.endhumansnow.com

              Actually no need to bother — we are unique in one other way — we are the only species that has ever existed that is going to extinct itself.

              We are so stupid that we even celebrate as geniuses the leading figures in our dash to the cliff edge.

            • LOL! The world is a place where one species eats another. Humans have gotten somewhat carried away in our predatory behavior.

          • The world has transitioned many times from situations where one group of species is dominant to states where other groups are dominant. It will happen again. We are not really in a position to “fix” the natural order of the evolving world system, as much as we would like. What happens is determined based on physics. One system which was intended to be temporary will collapse (namely, the world’s economic system), and other systems will grow to fill the niche. They too will be constantly evolving, and may change as well, as the climate changes and as other changes take place.

            • Artleads says:

              But how can there be any further evolution of species after 500 nuclear plants go belly up and radiate the entire web of life? I hear talk about tardigrades being treated to withstand radiation, but I can’t get excited about that. 🙂

        • ejhr2015 says:

          That says we are doomed both ways, but which will be faster?

  31. lazarus says:

    Just got to find the control codes:

    • Jeremy says:

      “Just got to find the control codes”

      Wasn’t it Kierkegaard who indignantly complained that he’d never asked to be born, and he’d like to see “the manager”, if you please? Nowadays a group of people are onto this – I particularly liked “DMT: The Spirit Molecule” by Rick Strassman.

      Here in England, Anthony Peake is on a quest – he thinks that not only do we live in a simulation, but we have a being, the Daemon, who lives in the right side of our brain (I’m simplifying this somewhat) and helps us out in times of extreme stress – he mentions deja vu in this regard. He deals with “the life review” (mentioned in near death experiences) and suggests that after that, we relive our lives (more accurately during that) in slowed-down time but tweaked by intuition, so that we end up in a kind of virtual-reality “Groundhog Day”. He deals with that in his book “Is there life after death?” He complains that he wanted to call the book “Cheating the Ferryman”, but his publisher overruled him. Apart from that, I enjoyed his “The Infinite Mindfield”, where among other things he talks about the pineal gland, and what happens if it is damaged. Like Strassman, he believes the gland acts as a tuner for the different dimensions that our consciousness seems to be able to enter. Peake describes trying the Lucia machine, and found himself vibrating out of his body and floating thousands of feet above a checker board planet disappearing into infinity. “Turn it off, turn it OFF!” he bravely screamed :-). A friend told him that he had probably experienced “the astral plane” !

      And now back to Earth with a bump. So much we don’t know about our “real estate” – never mind the real estate outside our real estate. I think our philosophers call that subject “ontology”. 😉

    • Stefeun says:

      Thanks for the video ; as they say, it’s not a debate, it’s better than that.
      I didn’t watch the 2 Hours (ahem), but I don’t think they took the approach of the answer I’d like to make here.

      So , the question is: Is the Universe a Simulation?
      And I’d say: Yes, at least within everybody’s mind (which is what matters, or..?)

      Actually, each one of us has to re-build internally a map of percieved reality, constantly updated and refined with info coming from our various sensors, then computed with our experiences/memories.
      In that sense, we’re living in a self-made model, a simulation of the reality, which we need to undertake proper actions and anticipate what we can.

      It also means that each of us is living in her/his own “reality”. I don’t consider “reality” as a kind of ‘block’ (it is what it is, take it or not ; well, not always..), but as being as deep as you need.
      One’s “reality” can be very simple, if one lives close to ‘steady-state’ and threats are low-level, up to very complex when things keep moving all the time and your basic assumptions are constantly questioned. (Isn’t that the main engine of Evolution?)
      Another way to check that reality is bottomless, is to look for the bottom by yourself, and realise there isn’t any. Very often, while answering some question, you raise new ones that open new fields of investigation ; you generally open more doors than you close.

      In order to survive, each of us must find an optimal level of knowledge that holds together well and allows to deal efficiently with -at least- everydays reality ; to find an equilibrium between clueless existence and worthless quest for the elusive Big Truth.
      Of course, such an equilibrium has to be a dynamic one that can continually make small changes and try to match one’s evolving internal model (simulation?) with moving environmental conditions.
      Once again, this Yin-Yang pattern with an optimal point in-between, and a (working or not) regulation-system that tries to stick to this optimal.

  32. Fast Eddy says:

    The World Is Getting Fatter and No One Knows How to Stop It

    Not to worry …. we’ll all be very thin …. shortly ….

  33. Robert Callaghan says:

    Life Is Simple
    no energy = no freedom
    without energy, there is only slavery.


  34. durangodan01 says:

    Just want everyone to know that Climate of Sophistry has been kind enough to post my paper: http://climateofsophistry.com/2016/04/06/the-hydro-flask-challenge-to-anthropogenic-climate-change/ . I suspect many of you will find it quite fascinating and revealing. Sorry to but in. Comments appreciated.

    • bandits101 says:

      Head over to realclimate.org and submit that nonsense there.

      • “There you have it. The sun heats the Earth’s surface, the surface radiates to the atmosphere and the “bricks” which compose 0.04% of our atmosphere radiate back to the surface adding more heat than the sun did initially. ”

        Insulation does not multiply heat. I don’t understand why this guy is having such a hard time understanding why it is warmer inside a greenhouse than outside. Light passes through the glass, while some infrared bounces off. Visible light travels around carbon dioxide, infrared bounces and scatters off it.

        Come on Durango Dan, explain to me why when the sun shines into my windows, it gets warmer inside my house than outside, with no other heat source.

        Explain why the glass jar that is enriched in CO2 heats faster, to a higher temperature, than the one with normal air in it:

        “More CO2 means more plant food and that is a wonderful thing.”

        More CO2 also kills most insects and vertebrates, but the cockroaches love it:
        “Biosphere 2 suffered from CO2 levels that “fluctuated wildly” and most of the vertebrate species and all of the pollinating insects died.[14] Insect pests, like cockroaches, boomed.”

    • Unfortunately, what you are saying isn’t quite right. (I consulted with one of my sons on the answer to this question.)

      What you are saying is that there are three main ways that heat can be transferred between objects. Conduction is heat transfer by direct contact, like by touching a hot stove. Convection is when a fluid moves due to heat, like hot air rising. Radiation is when a hot object releases photons (light) cooling it down, and the photons hit another object and heat it up. So far, you are right.

      On earth, you are right that radiation is less effective than the other two. In space, however, radiation is the only form of heat transfer in the vacuum of space. The only way to heat up the Earth as a whole is radiation, and the only way to cool down the Earth as a whole is radiation.

      Global warming is happening because the sun is heating up the Earth the same as it always has, but the Earth isn’t radiating away as much heat as it used to. Conduction and convection may be far more effective, but they just move the heat elsewhere on Earth.

      The reason the Earth isn’t radiating away as much heat is the greenhouse effect. Unfortunately greenhouses don’t actually use the greenhouse effect, they just stop convection from letting the hot air escape. You seem to saying that because more CO2 can’t stop convection like a greenhouse does, it can’t possibly cause the greenhouse effect. Understanding what the greenhouse effect really is requires a bit of physics.

      Objects radiate photons of different wavelengths (colors) depending on their temperature through a process called black-body radiation. Most things at typical Earth temperatures give off infrared radiation. Red hot objects still produce a lot of infrared but also red. The hotter it gets, the more shorter wavelength light is emitted. The sun is so hot that it gives off even ultraviolet light.

      Objects absorb different wavelengths of light and reflect others based on what they’re made out of. For the wavelengths we can see, this is what makes things look different colors. It still works for the wavelengths we can’t see, so while air looks transparent, it actually blocks colors of light we can’t see. For instance, the ozone layer stops UV light. The greenhouse gases stop infrared light.

      So the sun emits radiation that passes through the atmosphere and heats the planet up because it’s mostly the wrong wavelength for the greenhouse gases. The radiation heats the planet up slightly, and it emits infrared radiation to cool down. The problem is that CO2 and other greenhouse gases block the infrared radiation and prevent the Earth from cooling down so it’s slowly getting warmer over time.

      • Stefeun says:

        Good point about different wavelengths* of radiations that are received and re-emitted.
        *: depend on surface temperature of the emitter.

        Striking example of Entropy we just can’t get rid of.

      • As a PhD physicist I give you an A in making such a clear explanation!

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        Gail, you could tie climate denialist’s to chairs and lecture them on scientific facts all day, every day, but they would never get it.

        • Unfortunately, climate models also make a huge number of errors. The biggest of these is assuming that the amount of fossil fuels burned will continue rising indefinitely in the future.

      • Ed says:

        Gail, well put. I have to add the increase in temperature then leads to an increase in radiation by the Earth which when the temperature is high enough is able to add enough radiative cooling to match the incoming radiation and a new equilibrium is reached. The hard question is what is that temperature?

  35. richard says:

    They’ve been doing planned obsolesence for a while, just not so noticeably –
    FE is going to luvvvvvvv this:
    “Unlike the scarce parts needed by the poor folk trying to maintain the Bart service, Mr Gilbert isn’t dealing with old, niche hardware. Revolv was being sold up until September 2014. Is that acceptable? Should Google be allowed to make a decision like that, rendering a $300 (£213) product useless because it doesn’t see any lucrative potential for it? Writing in Wired magazine, Klint Finley described the move as proof that the so-called “Internet of Things” cannot be trusted.”

  36. Fast Eddy says:

    Good to hear that Scott and I have something in common other than the fact that we both during our live times used all the wonders of BAU including jets, cement, pick up trucks, electricity, doctors, roads, shops, petrol, factory made tools, etc….

    We are pretty much one and the same.

    Perhaps I should write a follow up to The Good Life – working title is Living Large on a Small Farm in New Zealand

    • psile says:

      Indeed. Who is the more virtuous? The lady who runs errands for the elderly and delivers meals for the poor with her pickup truck, or the cranky old codger who gets about on foot cursing, stealing and picking people’s pockets?

  37. Stilgar Wilcox says:

    A 4.6 million reduction in oil inventories gave rise to the stock market and oil price today. Usually all three trend together, however in contrast to oil, gasoline and distillate inventories went up.

    “Following yesterday’s API data, which showed the biggest draw of 2016 with a 4.6 million reduction in oil inventories, everyone was keenly looking forward to today’s DOE data. Moments ago the DOE indeed confirmed the API data, reporting that in the past week oil inventories declined by 4.949MM, more than the API print, down from last week’s 2.3MM and well below the expected 2.850MM increase.

    This was the largest draw since the first week of January.

    However, while in the recent past the crude builds were offset be declines in gasoline and distillate reductions, this time it was a mirror image, as first Gasoline rose by 1.438MM, above the -1.1MM draw, while Distillate increased by 1.799MM, above the -850K draw expected.”

    • I expect that part of what is happening relates to the amount of debt in the world, and resulting small changes in demand. If China is able to bring its demand up a little, it will help keep supply and demand in balance. Reductions in supply would help as well. It takes an awfully long time to get good data about what is actually happening.

  38. William dunn says:

    RE Mosul dam- Tagio
    perhaps a better version of your story – much more to the point. By William Engdahl

    • Fast Eddy says:

      What’s the big deal here?

      Have you looked at what we do to other animals on industrial farms? Torturing tens of millions of them year after year after year.

      And you are shocked by the fact that the US would kill 1 million people for their oil? You should expect nothing less from our species. This is what we do.

      Keep in mind …. you gotta do ‘whatever it takes’ to keep the hamster running. If you don’t then everyone drowns… so you sacrifice a million …. to allow the rest to go on….

      There are far too many of us so why not cull a billion or two while we are at it? Start with countries that don’t matter — those that BAU would not miss if they were wiped off the face of the earth…. then just take the resources… so much less messy….

      Like I said… big deal. Par for the course for ‘humanity’….

      Quelle surprise.

      • tagio says:

        No, FE I am not shocked. I have read enough history, nothing that people do shocks me. What I wonder is how much has to happen before “serious people” have a wake-up call and stop compartmentalizing all these disasters as unrelated, “isolated” flukes.
        My working hypothesis, however, is that our so-called “adaptability” only works on about a 100-year or more timeframe. Look at how long it took to transition from the fall of Rome to a stable feudal age. Centuries. Look how long it took to transition from the end of feudalism to capitalism. Centuries. The inerita of old institutional and cultural arrangements, power and authority just drags on and on. Look at how much power and wealth the Catholic Church still wields today, 1500 years after it got going! Agriculture a/k/a mining the soil until it all washes away and leaves a desert, like in the “Cradle of Civilization,” has been showing us where it leads to for what, maybe 5,000 years? And what have we learned from this? Oh, you just add petroleum products to the soil and it all works out. Unfortunately for us, the cumulative effects of agriculture, overpopulation and our industrial processes are starting to manifest in a coming onrush of problems that will not permit us a 100 or 200 year timeframe to adapt to.

        A likely result albeit one not often discussed is that the developed nations will look for ways to bring about early mass destruction, mass famine, and other forms of eco-induced genocide in the undeveloped world.

        • Artleads says:

          “A likely result albeit one not often discussed is that the developed nations will look for ways to bring about early mass destruction, mass famine, and other forms of eco-induced genocide in the undeveloped world.”

          I’ve heard about plans to make this happen. There seem to be a number of prospective scenarios. Is “Blue Beam” one of them? (I can’t spend my precious time taking stock.) I hear a draconian one is due to be fully in place by 2020. Only, I’m not sure some don’t apply to the developed world as well. The developed world causes most of the destruction and consumption per capita.

        • Stefeun says:

          One remark and one question about your comment.

          “Compartmentalization” is what “they” are trying to shove into our minds, as deep as possible,
          Together with excessive specialization, it makes people see only narrow parts of reality, thus keeping them away from the big picture.
          Sheeple are glad with that, because then they don’t need to deal with uncomfortable things, and gives them the impression they have power over something, be it tiny.
          Even quite high in the hierarchy, people tend to believe that they can “fix problems” by acting on small part(s) of the system only.
          I’m afraid that “connecting the dots” was never part of the plans, when it’s about building up a society,

          Secondly, is about plans for voluntary reduction of population.
          Your hypothesis of starting from the poorest seems valid (as much as we can see it operating right now, see what happens in Africa, wether phony or silent),
          but do you really think that ANY voluntary method, except big nuke, would allow to reach the required levels?
          That’s a kind of Entropy the survivors must know how to get rid of, unless they take high risk to drown into it (just like we’re doing right now with our outputs).

          • tagio says:

            Stefeun, I am not sure I really understand your question. I would not describe genocide of the sort I suggested might occur – or nukes – as “voluntary” population reduction. “Voluntary” would mean people choosing to have fewer children. Whether some of us could kill enough others in other places fast enough to save ourselves is not something I spend time thinking about, so you are not asking someone who can give you an informed answer. Perhaps there are devious minds considering it, not me. However, I would say two things. One, if the powers that be wanted to buy time, they wouldn’t have to kill people directly. If they cut off/destroy access to industrial processes, they save the unused minerals, energy for themselves and without them, the society that is cut off from the industrial infrastructure and processes necessary to sustain it will implode on its own from its own overshoot. See Syria.
            More importantly, TPTB do not need something to “make sense” in order to do it. I see very little evidence that they think anything through, it all looks limbic-system driven to me. Age of Enlightment rational or technocratic planning is not the way these guys roll. Their “causal” or “systemic” thinking is extremely simplistic, i.e., pretty much non-existent. Iraq is better off because we killed Saddam Hussein. This is what they say 2 or 3 years into the quagmire. Two years later it’s some other after-the-fact rationalization that just proves the original impetus was just that – some bare impulse to grab something.

            • Stefeun says:

              Yes, sorry, my words were badly chosen, especially for talking about this sort of ultimate taboo.

              I think I understand your point of view: no brain required here either,
              and I tend to subscribe to it myself.

              Just wondered about credible alternatives. In this scope, a bare extension of the present doesn’t sound stupid, ie here: warfare ar the edges of the Empire, gaining strength while progressing toward the center, along with resources depletion.
              Of course, we already know that “the centre” won’t hold for much longer, but I’m curious about the “how”.

            • xabier says:

              One should perhaps never under-estimate just how short-term decisions taken at the highest levels often are, and how subject to unconscious motives and impulses.

              And that’s not even touching on the rivalry between entrenched power-groups in the elite circles of our globalist extractive economy.

              Very little of the reality will filter through to us living in the centre of this system: anyone seen very much about Libya recently, Yemen? Both extremely important in the trend of events, but more or less subject to a reporting black-out.

              Very well worth paying attention to the current effort to subdue and dominate the Russian Federation, and the intense propaganda with which our perceptions of the justice of this are being manipulated across all media.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              It amazes me that even when things are spelled out for people — they continue to remain enthralled by the MSM…. they continue believe the MSM is credible … when in reality it is the primary means of creating ‘the matrix’ — or what people take for their reality…

              You mention Yemen and Libya…

              A few years ago I was heading for Jordan and had the option to stop in Bahrain — so I opted for a couple of nights there.

              I knew there had been some Arab spring unrest but I was completely unprepared for the scene that greeted me as I headed to the hotel from the airport…. convoys of black SUVs … multiple military helicopters buzzing through the air …. the city was a police state….

              And it still is.

              Yet you’d be hard pressed to find any mention of this in the MSM…..

            • Ed says:

              xabier and fe, I appreciate your comments. Thanks.

        • Artleads says:


          What you say makes a lot of sense to me. Except that we don’t have centuries to change this time. We don’t have to do a single thing except catch the wave of all the forces of implosion out there–refugees, economic transformation (collapse), nuke plants, ice melt, weird weather… It’s a whole system-wide collapse, I think. This time.

          • tagio says:

            Yes, Artleads, that is what I was implying, our goose is cooked. “Civilization” is a sociopathic, limibic-system scheme run by and for the benefit of sociopaths whose time horizon is the ultra-short-term and who think that whatever problems they cause in the latest smash and grab can be dealt with in the next moment by some other smash and grab. In other words, they trust their sociopathology, and feel no need to understand reality. Well, now we’ve expanded that scheme to everywhere on this planet.

            I was interested to learn recently, thanks to a citation in one of the comments here {https://lokisrevengeblog.wordpress.com/}, that our agriculture is a much larger driver of extinction than climate change, and will likely do us in before climate change does. The only hope for humans is that civilization implodes fast enough, before we have set off irreversible feedback loops leading inexorably to loss of all life, the small number of survivors in certain parts of the world may be able to make it. But that is pretty slim hope.

          • Artleads says:

            I’d like to apply some of what Don Stewart has been researching about “noise” drowning out the gorilla in the crowd.

            Among the means for noise the MSM is paramount. IMO, it is far and away the most dangerous weapon of TPTB. (There are moments when I want to get down on my knees and thank God for blogs like this, that shine some light in the darkness!)

            But as Tagio says, there is conflict within TPTB’s ranks. Like presidential elections, etc. I’m for using these conflicts to advantage. If our reality is like a sailboat, the sails can be set to let TPTB contradictions and conflicts be the wind behind our sails. We shouldn’t mistake the wind for the boat.

            It’s the INCREDIBLE speed and intensity of the “matrix” that I’m looking at. People talk about population explosion, but it’s not the numbers of people which freaks me out; it’s the SPEED with which they have doubled–40 years!!!!! After that time, humans and their livestock represent 97% of “biomass!” (OK, I don’t know the details or terminology, and maybe no one does with accuracy, but anything remotely along these lines should freak us out entirely!)

            IT’S CRAZY!!!!! But the MSM is there to tell you that it’s all fine. All that weird noise is what life is about.

            My MO is to weed out nearly everything, back off, reduce, narrow down. Please forgive me for preaching, a disgusting thing for anyone to do, but I will repeat what I see as MY decisive, pared-down and determinative domino issues of the moment: 1) Abortion rights recovery; 2) Worldwide effort to prevent extinction of large African animals; and 3) Planning to safeguard nuclear plants for near to long term.

            Do any of these things and you have to do a great many others that are key. Don’t do these things and nothing whatsoever can make a difference. I can gain a little more freedom of mind if I forget everything else and just focus on these three. And I can’t say it enough, this is just what seems a reasonable hypothesis FOR ME.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              ‘My MO is to weed out nearly everything, back off, reduce, narrow down.’

              I’m doing the opposite — I am investing in nothing — I am operating off the premise that cash will soon be fire starter — I am pissing it away without second thought — I don’t care about the animals in Africa because they’ll all die of radiation poisoning if they are not killed and eaten – there is no way to safe guard spent fuel ponds so I don’t care about that either — I certainly don’t give a rats ass about abortion rights…

              I am doing my part to keep BAU going. Because when it stops – there is only darkness.

              Meanwhile the power is off this morning — I am tethered to 3G – it always comes back on though …. right?

              Imagine there’s no power….
              It’s easy if you try….
              Only hell around us…
              Above us only sky…
              Imagine all the people…
              Starving and murdering today…

              You may say I’m a doomer
              But I’m not the only one
              I know someday you’ll join us
              And the world will starve and die as one

            • ejhr2015 says:

              Here’s a blog from just now that gives support to your v[believable]contention about a smell around the Panama papers;

            • Fast Eddy says:


              Was The Panama Papers “Leak” A Russian Intelligence Operation?

              The Panama Papers contain secret corporate financial information, some of which—by far not all—reveals criminal activity. In the hands of law enforcement, such information can be used to prosecute companies and individuals; in the hands of a third party, it is a weapon for blackmail. For information to be effective as a blackmail weapon, it must be kept secret. Once revealed, as in the Panama Papers case, it is useless for blackmail. Its value is destroyed.

              Therefore, I suggest that the purpose of the Panama Papers operation may be this: It is a message directed at the Americans and other Western political leaders who could be mentioned but are not. The message is: “We have information on your financial misdeeds, too. You know we do. We can keep them secret if you work with us.” In other words, the individuals mentioned in the documents are not the targets. The ones who are not mentioned are the targets.

              Kontrol, the special Russian variety of control

              In sum, my thinking is that this could have been a Russian intelligence operation, which orchestrated a high-profile leak and established total credibility by “implicating” (not really implicating) Russia and keeping the source hidden. Some documents would be used for anti-corruption campaigns in a few countries—topple some minor regimes, destroy a few careers and fortunes. By then blackmailing the real targets in the United States and elsewhere (individuals not in the current leak), the Russian puppet masters get “kontrol” and influence.

              If the Russians are behind the Panama Papers, we know two things and both come back to Putin personally: First, it is an operation run by RFM, which means it’s run by Putin; second, it’s ultimately about blackmail. That means the real story lies in the information being concealed, not revealed. You reveal secrets in order to destroy; conceal in order to control. Putin is not a destroyer. He’s a controller.

              At this point, I want to make something perfectly clear. I do not profess to know the “real story” behind the Panama Papers. The truth is, nobody knows, except for John Doe and the people he was working for (or with). The only thing I feel fairly confident about is that the story we are being fed is not the real story. The more I read and reflect upon the very minor consequences of the leak thus far, the more I become convinced this was a geopolitical play by a powerful intelligence agency. At first, I assumed it was U.S. intelligence, but Mr. Gaddy puts forth a compelling theory. If this was the work of the CIA, it was an extremely sloppy and obvious hit job. On the other hand, if this was the work of Putin for the purposes of blackmail, it’s one of the most ingenious chess moves I’ve ever seen played on the global stage.

              I want to conclude with a very important observation. If Clifford Gaddy’s theory is correct, it’s the worse case scenario for American citizens. It means that Putin essentially has the goods on the U.S. elite and he can now blackmail them for his purposes. Indeed, perhaps Iceland was put forward as an example of what can happen if truly damaging information makes it to the public.

              So if Putin is behind this, and does have the goods on the U.S. elite, not only do we not get rid of the these corrupt oligarchs, we now have to live with them in an even more compromised state than they were before. For all of our sakes, I hope Mr. Gaddy is wrong.


      • Vince the Prince says:

        Fast Eddy, Scott Nearing could not have expressed it better!

    • tagio says:

      Yes, that is more to the point, thank you. In line with similar moves by other “great statesmen.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/7991820/Winston-Churchill-blamed-for-1m-deaths-in-India-famine.html

      • xabier says:


        I’m never overly- impressed by Indians lamenting British imperial misdeeds, as they are quite happy themselves to tolerate atrocious conditions -over millenia – for their ‘fellow Indians’ if of the wrong caste, but the evidence of racist prejudice against poor Hindus is very suggestive in this case.

        Important wider lessons from this:

        1/ If your existence is of no importance to the Centre, you are entirely expendable. No morality will apply other than the survival of the Centre.

        2/ Most expendable and vulnerable are peasant farmers, if the Centre has sufficient coercive power to take over their land and produce.

        3/ The deaths of millions out of sight is something most people can quite comfortably live with, but – above all – the self-selected ‘leaders’ are not likely to be troubled by it.

        We are seeing this play out in every continent right now, whether formally at war or not.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Those living in the Delusistan province of Permaculture….. take note of xabier’s comments….

          You will NOT be left alone to grow your organic oats and dance about the campfire…. get ready for a whole heap of violence and rape….

          Quickly …. grab a handful of Abilify … toss in a few Valium and Xanax…. and wash it all done with a mouthful of water…

          Ahhhhh….. feel better now? Bogeyman gone?

          • Vince the Prince says:

            Coming to a city near you…anti-austerity riot…..
            No where to run..Fast Eddy

            • xabier says:

              In Spain it is now illegal to film police (or private security guards under police orders) in action, as well as to disseminate such images: the notorious ‘Law of…….wait for it……Public…..Safety’!

              This was introduced in response to all that embarrassing footage, which included clear evidence of fake rioters, etc.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              You got that right.

            • Vince the Prince says:

              Dairy Farmers protest low price by hosing milk on Police in Brussels


          • tagio says:

            To Xabier’s and FE’s point, for those who like to see what’s brewing in popular cutlure, as I do to a certain extent, the TV series, The Walking Dead (nota bene, filmed in Gail’s home state, GA. Coincidence? I think not.) has now arrived at the point where our intrepid protagonists, having survived the zombie apocalypse and ensconced themseleves in a walled town with green energy perks but needing to start growing their own food, are subject to the extortion demands of a large band of men (who call themselves the “Saviors”), the leader of which dismissively tells our protagaonists that he isn’t a stinking gardener. The band wants 50% of whatever our protagonists’ produce, as protection for not kiling them and protection from OTHER war bands who want to fight for that 50%. In other words, the show is now recreating the institution of serfdom and fedualism. One of the protagonists (Carol), having realized that as long as some of us want to pile up a surplus and have a cushy life (i.e., civilization), everyone who is excluded will want some of that and that those seeking the cushy-life will have to endlessly kill others in order to keep it, and who can’t stand the kiling anymore, has left the walled village to go live in the outside world so she doesn’t have to kill to protect people she cares about anymore. So all of this is being presented in one of the most popular TV-series ever, right now. I think you need to be careful about too easy allegations that “people don’t get it,” b/c at some level, a large number of people do feel this in their bones, even if they don’t have the graphs and analysis to back it up.

            • xabier says:

              ‘Not stinking farmers!’

              The French aristocracy, the ones whose ancestors over-ran what was left of Romanised Gaul, made the same point right up to the Revolution: they quite deliberately refused to learn how to write a neat hand, in order to emphasise that they willingly held no other tool except the noble one -the sword. Certainly no agricultural istrument.

              In the (fairly) entertaining series ‘Vikings’, the rather complex hero, Ragnar, sets out on his campaign of raiding and conquest principally because he is in fact ‘looking for somewhere to farm.’

              ‘Why beat the crap out of one another when we could do that to others and take some land?!’ is one of his earlier questions to the assembled crowd of impoverished archaic Scandinavians.

              Warriors looking to farm, farmers having to be warriors….

            • Thanks for telling us about this TV series. Without a TV, I am not following it. People do seem to have an idea regarding what is going on. And a shakedown by those offering “protection” is likely ahead.

              The state of Georgia (abbreviated GA) is not exactly progressive. The State Legislature recently passed the Georgia Religious Liberty bill, which has been described as discriminatory against same sex couples. The governor fortunately vetoed it. It also passed a campus carry gun law that allows students to carry concealed weapons to class with them. In 2014, it passed legislation making it legal to carry guns to church, if the church permits such guns to be carried to church.

            • Stefeun says:

              Carrying guns in churches sounds logic, since one can find high concentrations of misbelievers in there, from what I’ve been told.

            • The churches that allow guns have some strange beliefs. These are the anti-gay churches as well.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I would agree with that.

              I think a great many people are suppressing a great fear of the future — and are resigned to a grim outcome …. perhaps even another great depression…

              What virtually nobody understands is that a great depression would be an outstanding outcome…. it would be heaven on earth…

              The thing is…. if you live in fear of a great depression …. if people could be made to understand what I have stated above …. the fear would turn to terror — and the asylums would be overwhelmed with cases of clinical depression…

              I had dinner with an old friend who is an exec in a pharma company — he agrees the future is bleak — he blamed government policies

              But when I suggested and explained how expensive to produce oil was the problem — he said he’d been hearing the peak oil story for decades…. I restated that we’d never run out of oil — we’d just stop pumping it because it was too expensive…. I pointed out that we are already seeing that as big oil is slashing capex and losing billions every quarter… and that expensively priced oil destroys growth…

              He went blank. That was a bridge too far.

              I could actually feel the presence of Mr Cognitive Dissonance at the table — he was whispering politely in my ear ‘Mr Fast Eddy — I think it’s time for a change of subject’…..

            • I pointed out that we are already seeing that as big oil is slashing capex and losing billions every quarter… and that expensively priced oil destroys growth…
              He went blank. That was a bridge too far.
              I could actually feel the presence of Mr Cognitive Dissonance at the table — he was whispering politely in my ear ‘Mr Fast Eddy — I think it’s time for a change of subject’…..

              I’ve had that moment with my own family in NZ.
              I used to send them & continue to send them (just to give them the shits & a few told you so moments) all the articles, all the evidence & all the posts from a myriad of sources warning of total social breakdown but I hear nothing but a deafening finger pointing, “how dear you!!!” silence……………………
              My sister told me once that my brother in law asked if I was “still into all that oil stuff”.
              My sister said she thought so & he said it’s great that I don’t push it down other peoples throats………………………..
              When my sister & I were growing up in NZ in the 1980’s she was the one who had the anti vivisection stickers on her car. She was very anti globalization also & now she & hubby are growing hydrangea’s for export from the North Island of New Zealand.

              Makes one really think & wonder how one sibling so idealistic as a kid lost the plot…………..I was always conservative as a kid.
              That didn’t last long when I realized the naked ape had run amok & now at 47 years old despise this warped culture & can see the Emperor has no clothes & now I can’t even tell my sister this as she lives in the bowels of the beast………………………………….

              The apologists for this sick culture are anthropocentric fundamentalists if there’s such a term……………………their arrogance, ignorance & their conceitedness used to annoy me & get me down but as I see the industrial experience is turning into the oblivion it so richly deserves I’m quite content with that………………..

              Just hope it comes quick enough for the Shingle Back Lizards to be able to walk in peace across the deserted Hume Highway & lay in the sun when ever they want…………………………………….

            • Fast Eddy says:

              +++++++++++++ many times over….

            • Lack of growth in debt is a problem for the economy. Austerity sounds good, but it doesn’t work in practice. (Continued debt growth leads to a crash as well, so at some point, a person is left without any choices.

            • Stefeun says:

              “careful about too easy allegations that “people don’t get it,” b/c at some level, a large number of people do feel this in their bones, even if they don’t have the graphs and analysis to back it up.”
              Agreed, Tagio, that’s also my conclusion, from personal experience I may have with physical congeners (yes it happens!).

              Little thought about “Stinky farmers”:
              Good/bad smell is a moral judgement that depends on quite a lot of factors.
              More broadly, “disgust plays a prominent role in moral reasoning”.
              Disgust is one of the 6 basic emotions that has shaped our social behaviour, and, before that, our biological evolution.

              Interesting insights about that in this review:

  39. Yoshua says:

    A demographic peak today turning into peak pensioners… just in time for peak oil.

    • That is a good chart. There was a big increase in life span taking place during the time of the chart, so that the post-war baby boom has a bigger impact now than the big increase in births in the early 1900s.

  40. tagio says:

    And if this happened, what would our reaction be here in the West, I wonder.

  41. tagio says:

    From the Mosul Dam article: “The approximately 500,000 to 1.47 million Iraqis residing along the Tigris River in areas at highest risk from the projected floodwave probably would not survive its impact unless they evacuated the floodzone. A majority of Baghdad’s 6 million residents also probably would be adversely affected— experiencing dislocation, increased health hazards, limited to no mobility, and losses of homes, buildings, and services.”

  42. tagio says:

    US Embassy in Iraq Issues Mosul Dam Failure Warning http://climateandsecurity.org/2016/03/10/us/

    • This represents the kind of cascading disasters that makes it hard to forecast what is ahead. I expect quite a bit of oil production would also be taken offline as well.

  43. Don Stewart says:

    Take the basketball test:

    Follow instructions for several minutes.

    This is an example of cognitive overload, or selective attention. Very easy to see why a few thousand scientists warning about climate change or a few dozen geologists warning about Peak Oil get lost in the noise. On the other hand, also easy to see how a doomer or a savior who succeeds in attracting some attention can persuade quite a few people that they are part of a select few who can really see what is going on.

    Don Stewart

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Did you ever think that the thousands of scientists are ignored because they offer no solution to climate change?

      They simply rant and rave about how we are all going to die…. then silence (or they might suggest solar panels – which is utter utter utter bullshit).

      Like it or not — the way forward is more of this


      If not — then it’s this:


      I really tire of these climate change discussions….

      • Vince the Prince says:

        Yes, I see seemingly happy parents of small children in bliss over their new bundles of joy!
        When asked how many do I have, I simply say none….don’t go on explaining further or they retort, No, the world is not overpopulated…there is plenty of room, you just are venting because of being a bitter person. OY
        I stopped long ago about seeking so called “solutions”!

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I was told recently by someone who has two kids that I should cut back on meat consumption because it is destroying the world.

          And I am thinking…. let’s kill two birds with one stone and legalize the consumption of babies and young children….

          • “I was told recently by someone who has two kids that I should cut back on meat consumption because it is destroying the world.”

            It is funny when Vegans try to preach about the carbon emissions, while flying all over the world or having a bunch of kids. I suppose it should not really be any more surprising than any other group of people telling anyone else what to do, everyone has their blind spots I guess.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Everyone does — but even when they are pointed out — some people refuse to see….

        • xabier says:

          There’s a ridiculous Spanish proverb:

          ‘With the baby comes the bread.’ ie reproduce and don’t worry.

          An excellent example of folk UN-wisdom!

          • Yorchichan says:

            Similar to the equally ridiculous “Where there’s a will there’s a way”.

            I’ve willed myself to win the lottery lots of times, but it’s never happened!

            • Don Pepe says:

              Another very laughable proverb :
              ” The early bird God helps him ”
              (A quien maduga, Dios le ayuda)
              We must create new proverbs for the collapse , I’m afraid.
              “Which the ass with a stone is cleaned , he has embarked on the right track.”
              (El que se limpia el culo con una piedra, ha emprendido el buen camino)

    • Artleads says:

      Nice one, Don. Somehow, I feel that I’m able to get beyond the noise of the current media noise. I’ve already posted my three “gorilla” issues. 🙂

  44. Yoshua says:

    ‘Rich Dad’ author says the 2016 market collapse he foresaw in 2002 is coming

    Fourteen years ago, the author of a series of popular personal-finance books predicted that 2016 would bring about the worst market crash in history, damaging the financial dreams of millions of baby boomers just as they started to depend on that money to fund retirement.

    • Stilgar Wilcox says:

      Should be interesting to see if that comes to fruition.

    • Continues growth in a finite world doesn’t work. Adding China to the global economy helped prop the world economy up for a while, but it can’t continue indefinitely.

  45. Jan says:

    I highly appreciate the approach to think about the relation of resources and economy. Missed the idea of reduction of working hours as a counter strategy of inequality. When productivity raises and resources decline it should be logical that the work which is left over is distributed fairly over society. Currently though, we grant higly paid jobs to a small social panel and blame the rest for being poor. That seems to me political failure – not an unavoidable consequence of declining resources. A scientific approach should be able to isolate involved factors clearly. In this discussion we should be aware that currently highly unrational, quasi-religious ideas of monetarism, social darwinism and the benefits of trickling-up are in the mainstream. There is no serious economic research to back those ideas. In the end it means that it is hard to figure out, if inequality and economic slowdown (which is connected as impoverishing customers can’t buy) is caused by declining resources or by idiotic politics. If we look to the European Union for sure the later is the case, the IMF is deeply involved. From a historical point of view stagnation and economic slowdown is possible without destruction of the societies but inequalities are not so easily covered as in growing economies. We should not mistake the robberies of eventually criminal societies (too-big-to-jail) as an effect of natural law. And of course, restrictions of enery will not enable a society based on resource consuming Tesla cars! But it might be possible to maintain a communication network, where ideas, knowhow and expertise is transported and not the humans or products themselves. That might lead to a techniqual and economical culture with developing standards even in times of a decline in energy spendings.

  46. Stilgar Wilcox says:


    Regulations aimed at ensuring tens of thousands of inactive oil and gas wells dotting the Alberta landscape are properly reclaimed could be a death knell for some producers already crippled by weak energy prices.

    The Alberta Energy Regulator’s (AER) updated Licensee Liability Rating (LLR) program came fully into force last August just as oil prices tumbled below $40 a barrel for the first time since 2009.

    It is already being blamed for helping sink one producer and more could follow, according to industry insiders.

    • It seems like this is going to make certain that no one wants to buy companies that are near bankruptcy, because of the liability for capping the wells.

      I remember reading an article recently saying that coal companies had not been forced to set aside money for clean-up, and many are going bankrupt. http://www.thenation.com/article/big-coal-mess/ It may be too late already for the oil industry as well. This is really a cost that companies need to be planning for all along.

      • ejhr2015 says:

        They don’t care. The Government will use its access to “free” money to take on any cleanups, and it will boost GDP.

  47. Stilgar Wilcox says:


    That’s link to the Automatic Earth and their latest post regarding the leaked Panama Papers. Essentially all the super wealthy and powerful people of the world’s behind closed doors dirty financial dealings to avoid taxes and other illegal activities have been stolen and released for review. Repercussions are already being felt, with much more to come. I’m not pasting it here because it’s a long, very interesting article.

    • dolph911 says:

      The Elders, as Eddy likes to call them, will be untroubled by this. There will be no repercussions. They own the system.

      And it’s not our problem to deal with. Nature will deal with these people in time…old age, death, breakdowns in the global electronic payments system, etc.

      What our problem is…what is our local/national resource situation and what means do we have to get an income.

      I’m assuming nobody reading this post is a multi-billionaire oligarch.

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:


        Here’s an article suggesting very strongly that this is a huge deal. 11.5 million pages of information, making this so huge it makes the Wikileaks information pale in comparison. Already the PM of Iceland has stepped down. Much more to come – stay tuned.

        • Stilgar Wilcox says:


          dolph, here’s the article about Iceland’s PM stepping aside to let the VP take over.

          • Christopher says:

            The PM of Iceland is not much more powerful than a county politician in the states. Iceland = 300 000 inhabitants.

            • Jeremy says:

              It’s ridiculous that a republic, such as the US, still has counties. They pertain to counts, and in England, to dukes, e.g. the Duke of Cornwall: Prince Charles.

              German: Freund = friend; Freundschaft = friendship.

              German: Graf = count (e.g. Graf Spee); Grafschaft = county (“countship”).

              Of course, the Republic of Ireland also still has counties. Ridiculous!

            • “It’s ridiculous that a republic, such as the US, still has counties.”

              In Canada, we still have the Queen as Head of State, but we have regional districts instead of counties. Besides the name difference, I think another difference is that counties tend to have rigid borders, while our regional districts grow outward from a metropolitan center to absorb all of the surrounding countryside, until they bump up against another regional district.

            • Jeremy says:

              Matthew Krajcik wrote: “In Canada, we still have the Queen as Head of State, but we have regional districts instead of counties. Besides the name difference, I think another difference is that counties tend to have rigid borders, while our regional districts grow outward from a metropolitan center to absorb all of the surrounding countryside, until they bump up against another regional district.”

              In the UK, or at least in England and Wales (Scotland may be different, and you muck about with Northern Ireland at your peril), the counties have been amended something rotten over the years, in terms of name, area, amalgamation. I lived in three different English counties between 1969 and 1974, without even moving house!

            • Cooter says:

              “It’s ridiculous that a republic, such as the US, still has counties”
              Where I live the sheriff gets respect and not just from his power. Outside LE not so much..
              The county government is good as far as government goes. They are our people.
              The state and the feds are like aliens strange lots of power dont want to cross their path.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Who benefits from the Panama Papers Leak?

          What I find even more curious is the lack of U.S., British, European and Israeli exposure in these recent Panama Paper “leaks.” Right?

          More https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/giant-leak-offshore-financial-records-exposes-global-array-john-m-?trk=pulse_spock-articles

          Something stinks…..

          • Kanghi says:

            FE, B.S. Why you think the prime minister of Iceland was just need to step down, if there is no european names? From my country there is reported to have been hundreds of names. Seems like big Scandinavian Bank Nordea had been using their services to set up paper companies. I think it is simple fact that banks have been using different companies to hide money and this one is just one of many entities exposed. However it could be that the those who did the leak, did it cos they knew that interest group they are after was using it also. Btw. Kremlin was first dog to bark after it got hit by the stick 😉

          • Artleads says:

            I thought about this too when the first thing I saw about this news linked to Putin. PUTIN?, I wondered. So where are the bad guy in all this?

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Except those in the US, Israel and the UK…. hmmmmm…..

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        I understand the cynicism, however this leak goes right to Gail’s post regarding the wage inequality problem. In this case big money has bought help to hide money, tax evasion, money laundering, etc. This leak has really just happened so give it a chance to see what happens.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Not much of a revelation …. private bankers and their ilk exist primarily to facilitate tax evasion for the wealthy….

          So the only value in this leak is naming names… I see Putin is there….

          • psile says:

            Only because he isn’t on his hands and knees before the pigmen. Lol!

          • Stilgar Wilcox says:

            The furore over the Mossack documents suggests that leaks will do more than any politician to sink tax havens. As the public mood towards offshore shenanigans hardens, more employees of financial and law firms seem to feel morally compelled to pilfer data and hand it to reporters or governments. Some believe the spate of whistle-blowing since the global financial crisis has helped cool interest in using shell companies; Mossack has closed more than it has opened in recent years.

            The affair is also a qualified triumph for a new model of investigative reporting. The ICIJ enlisted some 400 journalists to help it sift the data dump, which they did using a bespoke search engine. It picked some odd collaborators: in America it chose to work with the Charlotte Observer and Fusion, a news site for millennials, rather than, say, the New York Times. Still, many eyes meant less was missed. And distributed journalism of this kind is almost impossible to censor or stop.

            There is much in the 2.6 terabytes of data that is yet to be noticed or revealed. The ICIJ has been drip-feeding stories daily after publishing the initial batch. More revelations were expected after this story went online. And there is plenty more beyond Mossack that might be leaked: the firm has only 5-10% of the global market for shell companies. No wonder that, as one adviser to the wealthy puts it, “We’re now telling clients they have to assume anything they do offshore will become public, and they’ll have to be able to justify it when it does.”

        • It seems like when there is power, money somehow goes along with the power, very often as bribes.

    • Jeremy says:

      Time was that governments could and did find and tax wealth. There would always be some who could get away with it, but much less than now. Reaganomics, which spread worldwide, took away such power from national governments. Could they reclaim it now, even if they wanted to? Think of all those billions redistributed – so they would be spent, by people who needed to spend them. That would push up consumption and the ability to pay for higher-priced oil. Bad for the environment, of course – but the imbalance in wealth is massive and has grown far worse worldwide since Reaganomics, or whatever you want to call it. So this is and always was far more of an issue than the commenters are giving it credit for being. The ability to address this would extend BAU by several years – don’t dismiss its importance. Of course, that isn’t going to happen – once power and wealth have been accumulated, that same power and wealth are used to keep it that way and even increase the imbalance. And that issue is directly relevant to this current blog post of Gail’s.

  48. Fast Eddy says:

    Attention Koombayaists…. it is time to rejoice:

    Welcome to PrairieFans.com! Celebrating 15+ years on the Web by bringing fans like “you” all things related to Little House on the Prairie!

    Website Special Features

    Childhood Memories on the “Little House” TV Set

    Ruth Mackie and her family lived at the bottom of the hill in Simi Valley where the TV “Little House” was being filmed. Ruth shared with us how the set seemed like home because she and her brothers were able to have lunch a couple of times with the cast and catch blue belly lizards with Melissa Gilbert. Ruth also enjoyed riding her horse through the set and saying hello to everyone who was coming and going to work. When the set was blown up she cried because it was an important place to those who worked on the set but for her it was part of her childhood.

    Below are a few photos Ruth shared with Prairie Fans.


  49. Fast Eddy says:

    Goldman Profit Estimates Cut Again as Analysts Project 45% Drop

    Three months after predicting Goldman Sachs Group Inc. would put the tumultuous end of 2015 behind it and stabilize profits, analysts are reversing course and cutting projections. Again.

    Twenty-two analysts have lopped 94 cents off the average estimate for Goldman Sachs’s adjusted earnings per share over the past four weeks — the fourth straight quarter they’ve cut figures in the final days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. This time, the 11th-hour reduction is among the largest for the firm since the financial crisis, with analysts now predicting its per-share profit will tumble 45 percent from a year earlier to $3.31 — the steepest decline among major U.S. banks.


    Expect this to continue…. then accelerate …. then explode

    See my post the other day – massive drops in corporate earnings across the board — eventually there will be bankruptcies — the financial system will see ten thousand ‘Lehman’ moments — the central banks will be powerless to do anything

    And then you’ll get your collapse. Don’t blink … or you’ll miss it (but you definitely won’t miss what comes next — death, disease, starvation, violence, radiation poisoning).

    Remember this – at some point stimulus will no longer have any impact — every single second we are burning through the last remaining cheap to extract oil — if we are to keep BAU chugging along we need more cheap to extract oil – central banks cannot print more cheap to extract oil….

    Every second of every day we edge closer to the abyss…. tick tock….


  50. Don Stewart says:


    Some more thoughts about walk/ don’t walk signs and whether studying their evolution tells us something we should be paying attention to.

    Adrian Bejan is a visual artist, as well as being a basketball player, college professor, author of thermodynamics textbooks, and formulator of The Constructal Law. I will argue that he missed one of the more significant issues relative to walk/ don’t walk signs, and that what he missed tells us something important.

    Humans have generated 300 exabites (3 X 10 to the 20th power) of data. If reduced to 3X5 cards, your data share alone would cover the land area of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined. But our brains are capable of processing consciously 120 bits of information per second. That means that you can barely pay attention to two people who are talking to you, but three is hopeless. Furthermore, consciously processing the data coming at us exhausts our attention. If subjects are flooded with data, and then tested, they perform more poorly.

    But we also have background processes running below the level of consciousness. These processes are particularly attuned to change.

    So consider a person standing on a corner in mid-town Manahattan waiting to cross the street. The more simplified the visual indicator, the less conscious processing they have to devote to the sign. If you have ever had the experience of standing on a street corner in Manhattan, you know that there is an awful lot of data coming at you, and you cannot possibly process all of it consciously. So the less cognitive load required by the sign, the better.

    But our little town has put in ‘bird sound’ walk signals. When the sign CHANGES to walk, you hear a bird tweeting. The change speaks to your subconscious monitoring circuits and alerts you to something important. So, if you are talking with someone, and devoting lets say 90 bits per second to them, you don’t have to divert valuable bits to monitoring the signal. If Bejan were a cognitive scientist, he might very well consider the ‘bird sound’ as more significant than the streamlining of the visual signal.

    One of the things Bejan gets right is the need for theory. His original problem with Prigogene that set Bejan off on his quest for a Constructal Law was that Prigogene regarded many details of design as simply accidents or perhaps fractals. Bejan thought that Prigogene was wrong, and wrote down his draft Law on a cocktail napkin. The Law evolved a little, but remains close to what he wrote down on the napkin. If we compare the cognitive load of Prigogenes ‘every detail just is the way it is’ with Bejan’s ability to deduce structure from Law, we find an enormous reduction in the processing load.

    Consider my exchange with Matthew Krajcik about the heroin trade. Matthew sets up certain requirements that he thinks are necessary for the heroin trade to evolve in the direction of easier flow. I believe that he is victimized by the Prigogene Fallacy…failure to understand the underlying law. Those who dismiss the discussion that Charles Hugh Smith was engaged in also fail to understand the underlying law.

    Of course, humans COULD become extinct, but so long as humans exist, they will continue to invent better infrastructure to facilitate flow. That Law does NOT imply that flows in 100 years will exceed the flows in place today…particularly for some specific substance. For example, coal consumption in the UK is now at the lowest point in more than 150 years. So the Constructal Law is not necessarily about the flow of coal. And it may very well be that the square footage of heated space in homes will decline over the next 100 years. But we can be pretty confident that, whatever it is that humans need to do in 2116, it will be facilitated by more effective infrastructure over time. We may experience a reset, but then things will begin to evolve again.

    Perhaps a sports example will make the examples clearer. Automobile racing has certain rules. The rules usually imply a certain technological limit, such as displacement of the engine. But within those rules, the cars and drivers tend to get better over time. When the number of horrendous accidents at high speed get intolerable, the rules are usually changed to lower the permissible displacement, and everything resets to a lower limit, but then begins the same process of improving over time. We can say the same thing about basketball or pole vaulting or any other sport. Given a set of reasonably stable rules, the Constructal Law insures improved performance over time.

    My suggestion is that those who understand the Laws will not get so bogged down in the details, like Prigogene was unable to see the structure of the forest for all those trees (at least, according to Bejan’s account of the meeting). And the more we can understand the Laws, the less of our precious attentional resources we have to spend on the details.

    Don Stewart

    • Stefeun says:

      Thanks for your detailed comment.
      In my view, this misunderstanding between Bejan & Prigogine is kinda stupid, because in the end of the day, it doesn’t change the outcome.
      As for the presuppositions, however, it’s another story (probably as stupid, by the way).

      Let’s simply add to Prigogine’s statement that ‘every detail is just the way it is’, a preamble saying that and structure (or ‘detail’, if you will) IS actually created and maintained by the flow of energy through it, and then you DO have this design stuff (at least as I see it!).
      Nothing else is required.

      Now according to Bejan, things would try to stick to some pre-determined plan, the Design, established by the Law. Who made the Design? Who wrote the Law? Are there some tables? Of which some were broken? (Monty Python, sorry)

      Humans can be raised/pushed/forced to walk the line, that’s for sure ; I doubt the same goes for all structures. We have a brain, and we know it’s not necessary to acheive complicated things.
      I feel like we’re still looking for “the brain of the brains”, as if it were the Graal (sorry again).

      • Don Stewart says:

        As I look at the multiple examples that Bejan uses, I keep coming back to the foundational issue of ‘what is flowing?’. In the crossing walk sign example, ‘what is flowing’? To the designers who have steadily improved the designs over the years, its about the competition for attention. Pundits have said that the item in shortest supply in the modern world is attention. Most politicians would certainly agree with that statement. Hollywood thinks it’s true.

        While attention is not totally disconnected from energy (it does require brain cycles), attention may well flow more easily with a lower expenditure of energy. So it’s not like there is a direct correlation between the two.

        For example, one can substitute the sound of a tweeting bird for a large metal sign and compete for attention more effectively.

        Bejan, being from Communist Romania, is also adamant that the designers have ‘freedom to move’. That is, if the legislature has passed a law saying that heavy metal signs MUST be erected high above the ground, then the tweeting birds will never happen.

        In 1976 the average supermarket stocked 9,000 unique items. That number has exploded to 40,000 today. IF the explosion is simply the result of energy, how can you deduce the explosion from the history of per capita energy use in the US?

        As I read the blurbs for Bejan’s new book, he will address issues like the explosion of choice in ‘free societies’. It’s also worth keeping in mind the surprise the Bec farmers experienced when they discovered that the Amazon and the coral reefs are ‘resource poor’ environments. I don’t see how resources alone, energy or otherwise, can be a complete explanation.

        Don Stewart

      • xabier says:


        I’d rather have a shrubbery 🙂 And so we are back to salvation through gardening…….

        • Stilgar Wilcox says:

          “I’d rather have a shrubbery.”

          It’s like the old saying goes, “A dr. says don’t have this and don’t have that, but a dr. doesn’t know what’s good for a man’s soul.”

    • Artleads says:

      The limitations of “better.” What is better today? It depends what you believe about the place of humans in the grand scheme. My own view is that, having continually evolved in response to limits, we can evolve to meet the challenges of today. Whether we actually will is, of course, unknown.

      I harbor no optimism about human survival. I see not the slightest indication that our civilization can last for 100 years. All I can say is that it took evolution to get us here, and I’m not convinced that we can’t evolve to be quite different from today. Conceivably, that could help us to survive. Unquestionably, reprogramming of those neurotransmitters you discuss, would drive evolution.

      Any discussion that doesn’t acknowledge the existential urgency to evolve, and to do so overtly and directly, tends to go over my head. I don’t have the chops for primarily theoretical and intellectual discussions. It has to be about survival in the most urgent of urgent ways, or I get lost.

      One possibility for discussion is why we shouldn’t talk of flow in general terms, the kind of terms that apply unspecifically to the entire planet. So you can talk about something pointless (in terms of global crisis) like traffic signals, while doing it in a pointless context of an undifferentiated global whole. This undifferentiated global whole in one’s thinking IS problematic for flow. It’s like talking about flow in an atomic bomb explosion. Yes, there’s flow, but so what? You can talk about meaningless trivia in terms of flow without ever seeing that meaningful incidents of flow need to come in relation to small, ethically-driven pods. And as Charles Eames (?) was saying, resilience comes through having a great many little “fires” going on rather than a single massive one. We need a very large diversity of small group experiments in order to be resilient. And theories of flow COULD contribute something to that arrangement.

      Bejan is involved with sports too. But if you’re actually fighting for your life, what do sports have to do with anything? It seems to me that the world (and its distractions) is too much with us.

      Some related topics:

      A finite world must be a consideration of flow.

      Convergence and synchronicity likewise.

      The urgency of the situation must be faced.

      The limitations to human understanding and the need to limit scope must be clear.

      • Don Stewart says:

        Not trying to distract you from your important work.

        Are sports irrelevant? Or does the science of basketball (which Bejan studied in Romania) have something to teach us about the science of life? Can we learn anything by studying the ecology of a wild meadow? Do traffic signals tell us anything important about addressing climate change? Does the recasting of biology as a science of connection have anything to do with Bejan’s forthcoming book recasting physics as a science of connection? Does a science of connection have anything to do with 150 Strong…or can money economies take care of everything?

        My own opinion is that examining closely things which seem to be tangential can take us away from entrenched ways of thought and open new vistas.

        To each his own.
        Don Stewart

        • Artleads says:

          Don, When you state this (connections) in these more simple terms, I’m a lot less estranged from the information. All the connections you mention seem important to me, but then they all (IMO) need to flow into revolutionary (connective) work. Otherwise (again IMO), they confuse people and take up valuable head space. In other words, there are infinite forms of connection, understood or not, ignored or not. I would like to see them selected among and used for practical ends. Thanks for the kind words and *your* important work!

    • Stefeun says:

      just googled “background processes running below the level of consciousness” (part of your sentence), and got plenty of interesting results.

      One of them is:
      “Think Your Conscious Brain Directs Your Actions? Think Again”
      BY SHELLY FANON AUG 02, 2015

      “…consciousness is no more than a passive machine running one simple algorithm — to serve up what’s already been decided, and take credit for the decision.”

      • Don Stewart says:

        Ever since the demonstration that our finger starts to more before our brain ‘thinks’ it has given the command, there has been intense debate about what the phenomenon means. I won’t try to sort all the evidence into some convincing argument.

        Instead, I will give you what I SUSPECT may be a good way to look at it. We think we know that the background processes are constantly monitoring for things which are important for survival (sex, snakes, etc) and for anything which is changing. Our neurons work on the principle of prediction and comparing actual with prediction and reacting to the error. So, if a noise changes from soft to loud, we will notice…while we may have been unconscious of the low hum.

        We can LEARN that something is important to us, in which case our subconscious monitors for that. For example, suppose a person has just shorted the stock of the XYZ company with borrowed money. The person now has a lot riding on the stock market reaction to the XYZ company. Suppose they are at a cocktail party, subconsciously letting the babble pass by them. Then, someone a dozen feet away begins to earnestly talk to someone about developments at the XYZ company. The background processes will pick up on that and alert the conscious brain and the person will begin to ‘hear’ the conversation…tuning out the competing babble.

        Andreas Weber’s book is titled The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling and the Metamorphosis of Science. Weber’s thesis is that life from the very beginning has featured aliveness and feeling, mediated by neurotransmitters and hormones. Single celled critters certainly seem to have emotions including fear and disgust and pleasure. A single celled critter will normally approach a food source, but may learn that the food is poisonous and learn to avoid it. My speculation is that the normal response is approach with no ‘consciousness’, but probably the background processes are comparing the prediction (tastes good) with the actual (tasted bad/ OK but not wonderful/ terrific). If the error message is of large amplitude, the consciousness of this brainless creature is alerted and whatever it uses for a brain will be reconfigured. The brainless creature will become ‘aware’ of what it did only AFTER it has made the comparison between expected and actual.

        Let’s take a current example. We humans have been taught that CO2 emissions are very important, and are directly connected to the CO2 monitoring at Mauna Loa. But right now we have the message that CO2 emissions last year fell, while the measurement at Mauna Loa is rising at an accelerating pace….There are a few thousand people in the world who care about that discrepancy…are the emissions measurements wrong? is the ocean losing CO2 to the atmosphere? is soil carbon escaping into the atmosphere sure to rising temperatures? etc., etc. But the vast majority of people are like the people playing the basketball game…they can’t see the gorilla. They are very focused on the problems of daily life, but mostly they are just overwhelmed by the vast amount of data being generated by humans. (I didn’t label the data as ‘information’, much less ‘wisdom’.)

        In my opinion, the problem exemplified by the CO2 is why we really need scientific theories. The theories help our consciousness and background processes figure out what deviations from expectations are really important. Without theories, we are buried in meaningless data.

        Don Stewart

    • Stefeun says:

      Not directly connected to your comment, your sentence
      “Humans have generated 300 exabites (3 X 10 to the 20th power) of data. If reduced to 3X5 cards, your data share alone would cover the land area of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined.”
      reminded me of slightly different figures about Big Data and the IOT (Internet of Things):


      This is from:
      In which there are lots of other Interesting info about this topic.

      I haven’t done the math, but I wouldn’t be surprised that a simple calculation of the energy required to run those 44 ZB (!!!) reveals it’s impossible to reach that ‘goal’.
      NB: only “run”, that is with infrastructure and other fees not included. Calculation would be based on min.J/B (Joule per Byte) to process the info.
      This value (min.J/B), which depends on the technology, doesn’t seem easy to find out…

      • Don Stewart says:

        Charles Hugh Smith had some words yesterday which are relevant to the issue of inundation by data:

        Metcalfe’s Law states that the value of a network goes up exponentially with the number of people connected to the network. Now I would say that, back in the very old days, networks were dominated by fear and by the need for physical movement. We know that objects from South America were traded by the native peoples of the Pacific Northwest. So, obviously, they had some sort of networks which physically brought the objects that great distance, without the wheel, and at some risk that the bearer of the objects would be murdered. I don’t think very many people connected to this blog give a second thought to the difficulty of sending some bytes around the globe…and most people feel free to insult others without fear that the others will kill them.

        If we think about the change, we see a move from a ‘fear and physics’ based network to one where ‘potential for exchange of information’ dominates. On the surface, the change seems like a good thing. We might be looking at the disconnection of economic activity from transportation fuels. Except that, like one of those pesky graphs in Limits to Growth, pollution by data seems to grow at an exponential rate also. A couple of years ago someone drew a cartoon. The man is laboring at his computer. His wife, in her pajamas and robe, is trying to get him to come to bed. He says ‘I can’t just yet…I’ve found some mistakes people are making on the internet and I have to set them straight’. Nobody needs this joke explained to them.

        The same recognition of opportunities and risks was recognized when people started making books in quantity. You can find historical writings which complained that ‘much of what is in the books will be wrong’. You can find historical writings that complain that when someone writes something in a book, it is hard to test the veracity because we can’t see the body language, and we can’t ask them clarifying or follow up or challenging questions. Sherry Turkle, the MIT psychologist, complains about the same things as smart phones replace real conversation.

        Whether the ‘network’ glass is half full or half empty is not clear to me. I have developed certain methods of filtering, which is about all I think anyone can do.

        Don Stewart
        PS You make it through my filter easily.

      • ejhr2015 says:

        Imagine how much information will be lost when the grid goes down!!!

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