Why political correctness fails – Why what we know ‘for sure’ is wrong

Most of us are familiar with the Politically Correct (PC) World View. William Deresiewicz describes the view, which he calls the “religion of success,” as follows:

There is a right way to think and a right way to talk, and also a right set of things to think and talk about. Secularism is taken for granted. Environmentalism is a sacred cause. Issues of identity—principally the holy trinity of race, gender, and sexuality—occupy the center of concern.

There are other beliefs that go with this religion of success:

  • Wind and solar will save us.
  • Electric cars will make transportation possible indefinitely.
  • Our world leaders are all powerful.
  • Science has all of the answers.

To me, this story is pretty much equivalent to the article, “Earth Is Flat and Infinite, According to Paid Experts,” by Chris Hume in Funny Times. While the story is popular, it is just plain silly.

In this post, I explain why many popular understandings are just plain wrong. I cover many controversial topics, including environmentalism, peer-reviewed literature, climate change models, and religion. I expect that the analysis will surprise almost everyone.

Myth 1: If there is a problem with the lack of any resource, including oil, it will manifest itself with high prices.

As we reach limits of oil or any finite resource, the problem we encounter is an allocation problem. 

What happens if economy stops growing

Figure 1. Two views of future economic growth. Created by author.

As long as the quantity of resources we can extract from the ground keeps rising faster than population, there is no problem with limits. The tiny wedge that each person might get from these growing resources represents more of that resource, on average. Citizens can reasonably expect that future pension promises will be paid from the growing resources. They can also expect that, in the future, the shares of stock and the bonds that they own can be redeemed for actual goods and services.

If the quantity of resources starts to shrink, the problem we have is almost a “musical chairs” type of problem.

Figure 2. Circle of chairs arranged for game of musical chairs. Source

In each round of a musical chairs game, one chair is removed from the circle. The players in the game must walk around the outside of the circle. When the music stops, all of the players scramble for the remaining chairs. Someone gets left out.

The players in today’s economic system include

  • High paid (or elite) workers
  • Low paid (or non-elite) workers
  • Businesses
  • Governments
  • Owners of assets (such as stocks, bonds, land, buildings) who want to sell them and exchange them for today’s goods and services

If there is a shortage of a resource, the standard belief is that prices will rise and either more of the resource will be found, or substitution will take place. Substitution only works in some cases: it is hard to think of a substitute for fresh water. It is often possible to substitute one energy product for another. Overall, however, there is no substitute for energy. If we want to heat a substance to produce a chemical reaction, we need energy. If we want to move an object from place to place, we need energy. If we want to desalinate water to produce more fresh water, this also takes energy.

The world economy is a self-organized networked system. The networked system includes businesses, governments, and workers, plus many types of energy, including human energy. Workers play a double role because they are also consumers. The way goods and services are allocated is determined by “market forces.” In fact, the way these market forces act is determined by the laws of physics. These market forces determine which of the players will get squeezed out if there is not enough to go around.

Non-elite workers play a pivotal role in this system because their number is so large. These people are the chief customers for goods, such as homes, food, clothing, and transportation services. They also play a major role in paying taxes, and in receiving government services.

History says that if there are not enough resources to go around, we can expect increasing wage and wealth disparity. This happens because increased use of technology and more specialization are workarounds for many kinds of problems. As an economy increasingly relies on technology, the owners and managers of the technology start receiving higher wages, leaving less for the workers without special skills. The owners and managers also tend to receive income from other sources, such as interest, dividends, capital gains, and rents.

When there are not enough resources to go around, the temptation is to use technology to replace workers, because this reduces costs. Of course, a robot does not need to buy food or a car. Such an approach tends to push commodity prices down, rather than up. This happens because fewer workers are employed; in total they can afford fewer goods. A similar downward push on commodity prices occurs if wages of non-elite workers stagnate or fall.

If wages of non-elite workers are lower, governments find themselves in increasing difficulty because they cannot collect enough taxes for all of the services that they are asked to provide. History shows that governments often collapse in such situations. Major defaults on debt are another likely outcome (Figure 3). Pension holders are another category of recipients who are likely to be “left out” when the game of musical chairs stops.

Figure 3 – Created by Author.

The laws of physics strongly suggest that if we are reaching limits of this type, the economy will collapse. We know that this happened to many early economies. More recently, we have witnessed partial collapses, such as the Depression of the 1930s. The Depression occurred when the price of food dropped because mechanization eliminated a significant share of human hand-labor. While this change reduced the price of food, it also had an adverse impact on the buying-power of those whose jobs were eliminated.

The collapse of the Soviet Union is another example of a partial collapse. This collapse occurred as a follow-on to the low oil prices of the 1980s. The Soviet Union was an oil exporter that was affected by low oil prices. It could continue to produce for a while, but eventually (1991) financial problems caught up with it, and the central government collapsed.

Figure 4. Oil consumption, production, and inflation-adjusted price, all from BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2015.

Low prices are often a sign of lack of affordability. Today’s oil, coal, and natural gas prices tend to be too low for today’s producers. Low energy prices are deceptive because their initial impact on the economy seems to be favorable. The catch is that after a time, the shortfall in funds for reinvestment catches up, and production collapses. The resulting collapse of the economy may look like a financial collapse or a governmental collapse.

Oil prices have been low since late 2014. We do not know how long low prices can continue before collapse. The length of time since oil prices have collapsed is now three years; we should be concerned.

Myth 2. (Related to Myth 1) If we wait long enough, renewables will become affordable.

The fact that wage disparity grows as we approach limits means that prices can’t be expected to rise as we approach limits. Instead, prices tend to fall as an increasing number of would-be buyers are frozen out of the market. If in fact energy prices could rise much higher, there would be huge amounts of oil, coal and gas that could be extracted.

Figure 5. IEA Figure 1.4 from its World Energy Outlook 2015, showing how much oil can be produced at various price levels, according to IEA models.

There seems to be a maximum affordable price for any commodity. This maximum affordable price depends to a significant extent on the wages of non-elite workers. If the wages of non-elite workers fall (for example, because of mechanization or globalization), the maximum affordable price may even fall.

Myth 3. (Related to Myths 1 and 2) A glut of oil indicates that oil limits are far away. 

A glut of oil means that too many people around the world are being “frozen out” of buying goods and services that depend on oil, because of low wages or a lack of job. It is a physics problem, related to ice being formed when the temperature is too cold. We know that this kind of thing regularly happens in collapses and partial collapses. During the Depression of the 1930s, food was being destroyed for lack of buyers. It is not an indication that limits are far away; it is an indication that limits are close at hand. The system can no longer balance itself correctly.

Myth 4: Wind and solar can save us.

The amount of energy (other than direct food intake) that humans require is vastly higher than most people suppose. Other animals and plants can live on the food that they eat or the energy that they produce using sunlight and water. Humans deviated from this simple pattern long ago–over 1 million years ago.

Unfortunately, our bodies are now adapted to the use of supplemental energy in addition to food. The use of fire allowed humans to develop differently than other primates. Using fire to cook some of our food helped in many ways. It freed up time that would otherwise be spent chewing, providing time that could be used for tool making and other crafts. It allowed teeth, jaws and digestive systems to be smaller. The reduced energy needed for maintaining the digestive system allowed the brain to become bigger. It allowed humans to live in parts of the world where they are not physically adapted to living.

In fact, back at the time of hunter-gatherers, humans already seemed to need three times as much energy total as a correspondingly sized primate, if we count burned biomass in addition to direct food energy.

Figure 6 – Created by author.

“Watts per Capita” is a measure of the rate at which energy is consumed. Even back in hunter-gatherer days, humans behaved differently than similar-sized primates would be expected to behave. Without considering supplemental energy, an animal-like human is like an always-on 100-watt bulb. With the use of supplemental energy from burned biomass and other sources, even in hunter-gatherer times, the energy used was equivalent to that of an always-on 300-watt bulb.

How does the amount of energy produced by today’s wind turbines and solar panels compare to the energy used by hunter-gatherers? Let’s compare today’s wind and solar output to the 200 watts of supplemental energy needed to maintain our human existence back in hunter-gatherer times (difference between 300 watts per capita and 100 watts per capita). This assumes that if we were to go back to hunting and gathering, we could somehow collect food for everyone, to cover the first 100 watts per capita. All we would need to do is provide enough supplemental energy for cooking, heating, and other very basic needs, so we would not have to deforest the land.

Conveniently, BP gives the production of wind and solar in “terawatt hours.” If we take today’s world population of 7.5 billion, and multiply it by 24 hours a day, 365.25 days per year, and 200 watts, we come to needed energy of 13,149 terawatt hours per year. In 2016, the output of wind was 959.5 terawatt hours; the output of solar was 333.1 terawatt hours, or a total of 1,293 terawatt hours. Comparing the actual provided energy (1,293 tWh) to the required energy of 13,149 tWh, today’s wind and solar would provide only 9.8% of the supplemental energy needed to maintain a hunter-gatherer level of existence for today’s population. 

Of course, this is without considering how we would continue to create wind and solar electricity as hunter-gatherers, and how we would distribute such electricity. Needless to say, we would be nowhere near reproducing an agricultural level of existence for any large number of people, using only wind and solar. Even adding water power, the amount comes to only 40.4% of the added energy required for existence as hunter gatherers for today’s population.

Many people believe that wind and solar are ramping up rapidly. Starting from a base of zero, the annual percentage increases do appear to be large. But relative to the end point required to maintain any reasonable level of population, we are very far away. A recent lecture by Energy Professor Vaclav Smil is titled, “The Energy Revolution? More Like a Crawl.”

Myth 5. Evaluation methods such as “Energy Returned on Energy Invested” (EROI) and “Life Cycle Analyses (LCA)” indicate that wind and solar should be acceptable solutions. 

These approaches are concerned about how the energy used in creating a given device compares to the output of the device. The problem with these analyses is that, while we can measure “energy out” fairly well, we have a hard time determining total “energy in.” A large share of energy use comes from indirect sources, such as roads that are shared by many different users.

A particular problem occurs with intermittent resources, such as wind and solar. The EROI analyses available for wind and solar are based on analyses of these devices as stand-alone units (perhaps powering a desalination plant, on an intermittent basis). On this basis, they appear to be reasonably good choices as transition devices away from fossil fuels.

EROI analyses don’t handle the situation well when there is a need to add expensive infrastructure to compensate for the intermittency of wind and solar. This situation tends to happen when electricity is added to the grid in more than small quantities. One workaround for intermittency is adding batteries; another is overbuilding the intermittent devices, and using only the portion of intermittent electricity that comes at the time of day and time of year when it is needed. Another approach involves paying fossil fuel providers for maintaining extra capacity (needed both for rapid ramping and for the times of year when intermittent resources are inadequate).

Any of these workarounds is expensive and becomes more expensive, the larger the percentage of intermittent electricity that is added. Euan Mearns recently estimated that for a particular offshore wind farm, the cost would be six times as high, if battery backup sufficient to even out wind fluctuations in a single month were added. If the goal were to even out longer term fluctuations, the cost would no doubt be higher. It is difficult to model what workarounds would be needed for a truly 100% renewable system. The cost would no doubt be astronomical.

When an analysis such as EROI is prepared, there is a tendency to leave out any cost that varies with the application, because such a cost is difficult to estimate. My background is in actuarial work. In such a setting, the emphasis is always on completeness because after the fact, it will become very clear if the analyst left out any important insurance-related cost. In EROI and similar analyses, there is much less of a tieback to the real world, so an omission may never be noticed. In theory, EROIs are for multiple purposes, including ones where intermittency is not a problem. The EROI modeler is not expected to consider all cases.

Another way of viewing the issue is as a “quality” issue. EROI theory generally treats all types of energy as equivalent (including coal, oil, natural gas, intermittent electricity, and grid-quality electricity). From this perspective, there is no need to correct for differences in types of energy output. Thus, it makes perfect sense to publish EROI and LCA analyses that seem to indicate that wind and solar are great solutions, without any explanation regarding the likely high real-world cost associated with using them on the electric grid.

Myth 6. Peer reviewed articles give correct findings.

The real story is that peer reviewed articles need to be reviewed carefully by those who use them. There is a very significant chance that errors may have crept in. This can happen because of misinterpretation of prior peer reviewed articles, or because prior peer reviewed articles were based on “thinking of the day,” which was not quite correct, given what has been learned since the article was written. Or, as indicated by the example in Myth 5, the results of peer reviewed articles may be confusing to those who read them, in part because they are not written for any particular audience.

The way university research is divided up, researchers usually have a high level of specialized knowledge about one particular subject area. The real world situation with the world economy, as I mentioned in my discussion of Myth 1, is that the economy is a self-organized networked system. Everything affects everything else. The researcher, with his narrow background, doesn’t understand these interconnections. For example, energy researchers don’t generally understand economic feedback loops, so they tend to leave them out. Peer reviewers, who are looking for errors within the paper itself, are likely to miss important feedback loops as well.

To make matters worse, the publication process tends to favor results that suggest that there is no energy problem ahead. This bias can come through the peer review process. One author explained to me that he left out a certain point from a paper because he expected that some of his peer reviewers would come from the Green Community; he didn’t want to say anything that might offend such a reviewer.

This bias can also come directly from the publisher of academic books and articles. The publisher is in the business of selling books and journal articles; it does not want to upset potential buyers of its products. One publisher made it clear to me that its organization did not want any mention of problems that seem to be without a solution. The reader should be left with the impression that while there may be issues ahead, solutions are likely to be found.

In my opinion, any published research needs to be looked at very carefully. It is very difficult for an author to move much beyond the general level of understanding of his audience and of likely reviewers. There are financial incentives for authors to produce PC reports, and for publishers to publish them. In many cases, articles from blogs may be better resources than academic articles because blog authors are under less pressure to write PC reports.

Myth 7. Climate models give a good estimate of what we can expect in the future.

There is no doubt that climate is changing. But is all of the hysteria about climate change really the correct story?

Our economy, and in fact the Earth and all of its ecosystems, are self-organized networked systems. We are reaching limits in many areas at once, including energy, fresh water, the number of fish that can be extracted each year from oceans, and metal ore extraction. Physical limits are likely to lead to financial problems, as indicated in Figure 3. The climate change modelers have chosen to leave all of these issues out of their models, instead assuming that the economy can continue to grow as usual until 2100. Leaving out these other issues clearly can be expected to overstate the impact of climate change.

The International Energy Agency is very influential with respect to which energy issues are considered. Between 1998 and 2000, it did a major flip-flop in the importance of energy limits. The IEA’s 1998 World Energy Outlook devotes many pages to discussing the possibility of inadequate oil supplies in the future. In fact, near the beginning, the report says,

Our analysis of the current evidence suggests that world oil production from conventional sources could peak during the period 2010 to 2020.

The same report also mentions Climate Change considerations, but devotes many fewer pages to these concerns. The Kyoto Conference had taken place in 1997, and the topic was becoming more widely discussed.

In 1999, the IEA did not publish World Energy Outlook. When the IEA published the World Energy Outlook for 2000, the report suddenly focused only on Climate Change, with no mention of Peak Oil. The USGS World Petroleum Assessment 2000 had recently been published. It could be used to justify at least somewhat higher future oil production.

I will be the first to admit that the “Peak Oil” story is not really right. It is a halfway story, based on a partial understanding of the role physics plays in energy limits. Oil supply does not “run out.” Peak Oilers also did not understand that physics governs how markets work–whether prices rise or fall, or oscillate. If there is not enough to go around, some of the would-be buyers will be frozen out. But Climate Change, as our sole problem, or even as our major problem, is not the right story, either. It is another halfway story.

One point that both Peak Oilers and the IEA missed is that the world economy doesn’t really have the ability to cut back on the use of fossil fuels significantly, without the world economy collapsing. Thus, the IEA’s recommendations regarding moving away from fossil fuels cannot work. (Shifting energy use among countries is fairly easy, however, making individual country CO2 reductions appear more beneficial than they really are.) The IEA would be better off talking about non-fuel changes that might reduce CO2, such as eating vegetarian food, eliminating flooded rice paddies, and having smaller families. Of course, these are not really issues that the International Energy Association is concerned about.

The unfortunate truth is that on any difficult, interdisciplinary subject, we really don’t have a way of making a leap from lack of knowledge of a subject, to full knowledge of a subject, without a number of separate, partially wrong, steps. The IPCC climate studies and EROI analyses both fall in this category, as do Peak Oil reports.

The progress I have made on figuring out the energy limits story would not have been possible without the work of many other people, including those doing work on studying Peak Oil and those studying EROI. I have also received a lot of “tips” from readers of OurFiniteWorld.com regarding additional topics I should investigate. Even with all of this help, I am sure that my version of the truth is not quite right. We all keep learning as we go along.

There may indeed be details of this particular climate model that are not correct, although this is out of my area of expertise. For example, the historical temperatures used by researchers seem to need a lot of adjustment to be usable. Some people argue that the historical record has been adjusted to make the historical record fit the particular model used.

There is also the issue of truing up the indications to where we are now. I mentioned the problem earlier of EROI indications not having any real world tie; climate model indications are not quite as bad, but they also seem not to be well tied to what is actually happening.

Myth 8. We don’t need religion; our leaders are all knowing and all powerful.

We are fighting a battle against the laws of physics. Expecting our leaders to win in the battle against the laws of physics is expecting a huge amount. Some of the actions of our leaders seem extraordinarily stupid. For example, if falling interest rates have postponed peak oil, then proposing to raise interest rates, when we have not fixed the underlying oil depletion problem, seems very ill-advised.

Everything I have seen indicates that there is a literal Higher Power governing our world economy. It is the Laws of Physics that govern the world economy. The Laws of Physics affect the world economy in many ways. The economy is a dissipative structure. Energy inputs allow the economy to remain in an “out of equilibrium state” (that is, in a growing state), for a very long period.

Eventually the ability of any economy to grow must come to an end. The problem is that it requires increasing amounts of energy to fight the growing “entropy” (higher energy cost of extraction, need for growing debt, and rising pollution levels) of the system. The economy must come to an end, just as the lives of individual plants and animals (which are also dissipative structures) must come to an end.

People throughout the ages have been in awe of how this system that provides growth works. We get energy from the sun. This solar energy helps grow our food. It allows the physical growth of humans. It allows the growth of ecosystems and of economies. Humans, ecosystems, and economies seem permanent, but eventually they all must collapse. In physics terms, they are all dissipative structures.

Humans have been in awe of the self-organizing property permitted by flows of energy for as long as humans have had the ability to think abstract thoughts. These flows allow a newly created whole to be greater than the sum of their parts. For example, babies start from a small beginning and mature into adults. Musical notes go together to form recognizable melodies. Physical movements go together to form dances. Awe for this phenomenon seems to be one of the origins of religion.

Another reason for religions is a need for hierarchical structure within an economy. We know that animal groups very often have “pecking orders.” Adding a god provides a convenient way of adding a “top level” to the pecking order. Of course, if leaders can convince members of the group that they are all knowing and that science can provide all of the answers, then the top level provided by religion is not needed.

A third reason for religions is to help align the thoughts of members in a particular way. Most of us are aware of the power of magnetized materials.

Figure 7. Source.

To some extent, the same power exists when the belief systems of groups of people can be aligned in the same direction. For example, teachers find it much easier to teach large groups of students, if parents have emphasized the importance of school and the need for respect for teachers. A military leader can attack another country, if soldiers follow orders. A group of generally uncivilized people can learn the benefit of working with others, if proper instruction is given.

What has been astounding to me, as I have looked into the situation, is that the scientific evidence seems to point in the direction of a literal Higher Power governing our Universe. It is not clear whether this higher power is the Laws of Physics, or whether it is some outside “God” that created the Laws of Physics.

In the past, many researchers assumed that the Universe was a closed energy system, irreversibly headed toward a cold, dark end. Recent research indicates that the Universe is ever-expanding, and in fact, seems to be expanding at an accelerating rate. While individual dissipative structures are constantly encountering more and more entropy, the universe as a whole is perhaps expanding rapidly enough to “outrun” growing entropy. Thus, it can behave as an always-open system. This always-open energy system allows many types of objects to self-organize and grow, at least for a time. These objects behave as dissipative structures, each having a beginning and an end.

We really don’t know whether the Universe had a beginning. Some research suggests that it did not. Others believe it began with a Big Bang.

Within the Universe, the earth seems extremely unusual. In fact, it is not clear that there is any other planet that has exactly the right conditions for complex life. A recent American Scientist article discusses this issue. The book Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe points out the huge number of coincidences that were necessary for complex life to form and flourish.

Within the Earth, and perhaps within the Universe as a whole, human economies are the most energy-dense form of structure found.

Figure 8. Image similar to ones shown in Eric Chaisson’s 2001 book, Cosmic Evolution: The Rise of Complexity in Nature.

Thus, in some sense, we humans and our economies may, in some sense, represent the current upper bound on development in the Universe.

We humans live on Earth. It is easy for us to think that our primary purpose in life is to care for and protect the Earth. Unfortunately, with our need for supplemental energy, this is not possible. Even at an early date, our need for resources exceeded what was sustainable. Joshua (in Joshua 17:14-18 relating to the period around 1400 BCE) instructs the tribes of Joseph to clear the trees from the hill country to have enough land for his tribe. This practice was clearly unsustainable; it would lead to erosion of the soil on hilltops. Even at that early date, high population and the need for resources to provide for this high population was conflicting with earth’s sustainability.

If our God is either the Laws of Physics, or some force giving rise to the Laws of Physics, then our God is really the God of the Universe. The limitations of the current Earth are no problem. God (or the Laws of Physics) could create a new Earth, or 1 million new Earths, if He chose to. Thus, from God’s point of view, it is not clear that there is any point to today’s environmentalism. There is a need not to poison ourselves, but “saving the earth” for other species after humans, or for a new set of humans who somehow will use much less energy, doesn’t make much sense. Humans can’t use much less energy; even if we could, our energy use would always be on an upward slope, headed to precisely where we are now.

There are many things that we can’t know for certain. Does this God want/expect us to worship him? Does this God plan an afterlife for some or all of the humans on Earth today? Obviously, if God (or the Laws of Physics) could create the Earth, God could also create other structures as well–possibly a “Heaven.” It is not clear to me that any one of today’s religions has a monopoly on insights regarding what is expected. A person might argue that we need not worry about religion at all, except for the fellowship it provides and the insights it offers regarding how early people coped with their difficulties.

Myth 9. The texts of religious groups around the world are literally true.

The texts of religious groups are true in the same sense that peer reviewed scientific literature is true. They represent, more or less, the best thinking of the day on a particular subject. This certainly does not mean that they are literally true.

We need to read religious texts in the context that they were written. In the earliest days, religious texts represented stories that people passed down from one generation to the next. These stories represented insights that these early people had gained. No one at that time was too concerned about authorship. If a story says, “God said,” it could also mean, “We think that this is something that God might have said.”

Literary styles were very different, back in an era before people pretended to have scientific knowledge. People created stories illustrating some aspect of a particular phenomenon. These stories were not supposed to fully describe what happened. This is why Genesis features two different creation stories.

The Bible makes liberal use of hyperbole and exaggeration. It is hard for people who are not familiar with the original language to understand how stories were intended to be interpreted. Is the concept of Hell added, primarily to provide a contrast to Heaven? In the Old Testament, the number of words in the ancient Hebrew language is much smaller than in today’s languages. This, by itself, makes direct translation difficult.

The earliest religious stories explained how God was perceived at that time. As people became more settled, their views changed. People were getting more “civilized.” Population densities were rising. The best beliefs in an early period may not have had relevance for a later period. This is why most religions have had reformers. Sometimes new writings are added. At other times, the way the writings are interpreted changes. This is why there seems to be a bizarre progression of stories from the Old Testament to the New Testament; new stories needed to be added to supplement and replace old ways of thinking.

Some of the things that early people discovered have not been understood by environmentalists. Genesis 1:28 says,

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

The early people had figured out that humans were indeed different from other animals and plants. Their use of supplemental energy gave them power over other creatures. Their numbers could (and indeed, did) increase. Early authors were documenting how the world really worked. We later humans have been too blind to see the real situation. It is more pleasant for us to think that somehow we are just like other animals, except perhaps smarter and more in control. With our greater knowledge, we could somehow have avoided an increase in our numbers, if we had only planned better. The laws of physics say this cannot happen; our higher energy use dictates who will win the battle for resources.

The early religious stories were not too different from Peak Oil and Climate Change. They were sort of right. They gave partial insight. They were the best the authors could do at the time.

The ancient religious documents could not tell the whole story at once. New groups would gradually add more insights to the developing story, providing a better understanding of what was truly important for people living in a later period.

Conclusion

In practice, people need a religion or a religion-substitute. People need a basic set of beliefs with which to order their lives.

Our leaders today have proposed the Religion of Success, with its belief in Science, and the power of today’s leaders, as the new religion. This religion has appeal, because it denies the limits we are up against. Life will continue, as if we lived on a flat earth with unlimited resources. This story is pleasant, but unfortunately not true.

Donald Trump, with his version of conservatism, presents another religion. This religion seems to be focused on justifying the allocation of wealth away from the poor, toward the rich, through tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. This is part of the process of “freezing out” the poor people of the world, when there are not enough resources to go around.

It is hard for me to support Trumpism, even though I recognize that in the animal world, the expected outcome when there are not enough resources to go around is “survival of the best-adapted.” If our concern is leaving energy resources in the ground for future generations, transferring buying power from the poor to the rich is a way of collapsing the economy quickly, while considerable resources remain in the ground. The fact that wealthy people are favored ensures that at least some people will survive.

China and Japan both have what are close to state religions, created by their leaders. School children learn stories regarding what is important, based on what state leaders tell them. In Japan, school children visit religious sites, and learn the proper religious observances. They also learn rules about what is expected of them–always be polite; respect those in charge; don’t eat food on the street; never leave any food wrappers on the ground. In many ways, these religions are probably not too different from today’s Religion of Success.

I personally am not in favor of religions that originate from political groups. I would prefer the “old fashioned” religions based on ancient documents from one or another of the world’s religions. We are clearly facing a difficult time ahead. Perhaps early people had insights regarding how to deal with troubled times. Admittedly, we don’t know for certain that heaven can be in our future. But when things look bleak, it is helpful to see the possibility of a reasonable outcome.

Furthermore, religious groups offer the possibility of finding a group of like-minded individuals to make friends with. We need all of the support we can get as we go through troubled times.

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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939 Responses to Why political correctness fails – Why what we know ‘for sure’ is wrong

  1. MG says:

    Why women are more religious?

    The economists say this:

    https://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2016/04/economist-explains-7

    I say:

    Women are more dependent on external energy, the man as an energy source for woman.

    “25Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother and her sister, as well as Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27Then He said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” So from that hour, this disciple took her into his home.”

  2. A Real Black Person says:

    Power growth or Exponential Growth?

    I just came across a claim that says the rate of population growth has not been exponential, and that exponential population growth was in fact “a power growth” that occurred for a brief time in the first half of the twentieth century. Can anyone confirm if there is any truth to these statements?
    I know that the rate of human population growth has gone down, overall, in the last 50 years, but the doubling time for human population keeps getting shorter.

    What am I or the person who made the claim missing?

    • A Real Black Person says:

      With all the science and math literate people who visit here, I thought someone would be eager to reply.

      • Kenny Starfighter says:

        What does power growth mean? As long as the population on average has more children than people dying, which would be 2.1 children per woman, I would say the population is always exponentially growing. The rate can be lower, but it will still be exponential.

        • A Real Black Person says:

          As far as I know power growth and exponential growth are the same thing.

          The guy who put forward the claim is known for being a psudeoscentist who is better known for his theory that Steve Hawking has died and has been replaced because Hawkings has lived way too long for someone who has been diagnosed with ALS.

  3. Fast Eddy says:

    Another Update from the Fast Eddy is a Global Hero and Saviour Endless Rave Party….

    Apparently another Koombaya Groopie has abandoned Elon’s camp and declared her allegiance to Fast Eddy… lets take a look at the newest member of the Fast Eddys entourage:

    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/kO6Cahyewv8/maxresdefault.jpg

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Fast Eddy Fast Eddy Fast Eddy!!!!

      The crowd goes Wild…. the world is saved…. FE FE FE

  4. Fast Eddy says:

    “We are unable to post your comment because you have been banned by Post Carbon Institute. Find out more’

    I guess Richard could take only so much….

  5. Fast Eddy says:

    Elon … is this you?

    Years ago in hospital i was sat on the toilet in the ward, & i had a deep & clear realisation that i was Jesus. i challenged it all & decided that i wasn’t.

    During my first episode for a short while i also had the same experience for an afternoon. i have at various times believed that i am the reincarnation of St Paul, the Creator of the Universe, the Devil & the anti-Christ. There has been a lot of religious themed delusions.

    Read more: http://healingsanctuary.proboards.com/thread/381/thoughts-jesus#ixzz4uszAxnQG
    http://healingsanctuary.proboards.com/thread/381/thoughts-jesus

    • A Real Black Person says:

      http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2016/03/13/01/3214A15900000578-3486527-The_original_The_trend_comes_off_the_back_of_Austrian_drag_queen-a-4_1457831478717.jpg
      “In 2008 during one of my earlier psychosis episodes i was ‘getting’ that i was mother Mary & my son was Jesus. Luckily for me at that time, i was not too ‘lost’ & was able to see how all females could be viewed as mother Mary & all males could be viewed as Jesus.”

      • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

        why did God tell his parents to name him Jesus?

        it’s a Greek name.

      • jazIntico says:

        That’s why Arab and Moslem women wear the hijab – to hide their beard. They sprout thick pubic hair between their toes too – it looks disgusting.

        • xabier says:

          An Arab family friend always used to maintain that all Arab women were lesbians, which is why he just had to chase after English blondes.

          At art school, he was amazed that most of the other students – Brits – seemed to more interested in their motor bikes than girls in mini-skirts.

          • jazIntico says:

            “An Arab family friend always used to maintain that all Arab women were lesbians”

            Possibly out of necessity. Izlam has such a low view of women, that few of the men desire them and look elsewhere instead.

            Well, art school attracts higher proportions of minorities, of course.

  6. PR says:

    So, people believe science will save them even as they deny scientists view on climate change. Sounds like Trump logic!

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      but science surely will not save us.

      IC grew on abundant cheap fossil fuels, and IC will shrink as they decline.

      science has done amazing things, but can’t change the laws of physics.

      the world will be almost totally in poverty within a couple of decades.

      will you still be here?

      sounds like fun times.

      enjoy!

      ps: BAU tonight, baby!

    • I think you are mixing up two different groups. The people who believe science will save them (from energy problems) seem to be the same people who believe that the climate models are to fully believed. Climate is the new problem of the day, fully replacing the issue of energy limits, in their view.

    • doomphd says:

      the pretzel was invented by monks in the middle ages as a treat around Christmas time. it’s made by looping a long piece of dough onto a baking dish. loopy is another way of expressing some folk’s thought patterns or “logic”.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Let me clarify what I believe:

      – we will burn record amounts of fossil fuels till the very last day of BAU – because we either burn or we collapse and die

      – man-caused GGG WWWW is invented to keep us from panicking over the fact that we are soon going to be burning no fossil fuels because what’s left is increasingly too expensive — most people understand the horrific implications of that so they MUST be distracted from those thoughts…. kinda like holding a string in front of the nose of a kitten with a large dog in the room …

      – Trump is also part of the distraction game — he was anointed as the final president of the USA because he is controversial, bombastic and divisive — this makes him extremely entertaining … and this keeps the Libtards and the Trumptards in a state of constant foaming at the mouth — and not thinking about the horrific situation that we are facing.

      I also believe that you are a first class id iot for posting that comment

      • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

        “– Trump is also part of the distraction game — he was anointed as the final president of the USA…”

        funny!

        first, Pence might be POTUS by 2018/2019.

        second, I’m sure almost no one else is predicting Trump as the last POTUS ever!

        CONGRATULATIONS!

        though you might be right in a 5 or so % chance kind of low probability.

        I doubt it, but we shall see in January 2021.

        and that is VERY SOON.

        • predicting el Trumpo to be the last POTUS is not as far fetched as you might think

          consider the current situation:

          The nation is held together by (cheap) energy availability–ie fuelpumps and supermarket shelves are full. (as long as that holds, people will remain quiescent to most political shenanigans.)

          but that situation can only exist if the energy flow remains as it is now, and improves. But it cannot improve, because it is a matter of record that world oil discoveries remain at 10% of use.

          Or—you spend ten times your annual income. Oil being the only income we have (in case anyone doesn’t quite get that)

          I’ve made that clear here:
          https://extranewsfeed.com/from-oilslick-to-tyranny-e35d04b31fc3

          There’s no room for discussion on it, that is what we face in (at most) the next decade.

          The crunch may come earlier than that, because we won’t just reach a calm ”end point” of consumption. We will see the oil termination coming, (fuel and food shortages) and begin to panic. Panic will lead to civil disorder, and civil disorder, once it hits a tipping point, will necessitate military intervention.

          The end of oil will mean that there can be no calm reversion to ”what was”, therefore violent insurrection will continue at varying levels in different regions. Blame will be inflamed by ignorance of the real situation, but martial law will be inevitable, and with it the suspension of the constitution (temporarily of course) .

          The POTUS in office will grab the powers of dictator.

          Without oil to restore and maintain a balanced lifestyle for the majority, the conventional business of government cannot continue, because the wheels of government are oiled by commerce.—without oil, we have no commerce, and thus no future security of the government services we take for granted…pensions, schools, hospitals and so on. (even the office of POTUS itself.)

          so yes, soon there will be a ”last” potus. whether it is this one, or the next one is hard to say, but there cannot be many more because there will be no energy to support one.
          My thinking leads to a dictatorship, of the theo-fascist variety. I want to be shown to be wrong.

          • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

            thanks, Norman.

            actually, we both might be right.

            I see low +-5% chance of Trump being the last one.

            you’re saying this one, next one, hard to say, can’t be many more.

            our views are not mutually exclusive.

            “I want to be shown to be wrong.”

            only time can do that.

            the 2020’s will be an “interesting” decade.

      • DJ says:

        If the world would collapse one day past peak fossile fuel, why fabricate RE/EV/AI/Mars? Better to invent abiotic oil.

        RE/EV/AI/Mars is more logic if BAU can (or PTB believe it) limp along for a while with declining oil. Sacrifices we make to save the planet.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          The problem with abiotic oil is that only the very very profoundly stuuuupid could believe in that….

          Because there is plenty of evidence of oil wells abandoned … because there was no oil remaining.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            That said… we do get stories about abiotic oil … we also get stories about energy self-sufficiency from capturing frozen methane from beneath the sea…. thorium pops up from time to time ….

            This is all based on the ‘irons in the fire’ theory — or the ‘throw enough shit at the wall and some will stick’ theory of success….

  7. J. H. Wyoming says:

    https://www.usnews.com/news/top-news/articles/2017-10-06/las-vegas-shooter-used-real-estate-investments-to-fund-gambling-guns

    Ok, some of the conspiracy theories will now get laid to rest: the Las Vegas shooter used real estate investments to fund gambling & guns. Now that makes a whole lot more sense.

  8. rgdjr says:

    Gail – Some friendly feedback here… I have a lot of respect for your past analyses and Web articles, but this one (26 Sep 17) is quite disjointed; it echoes, but in a vague and meandering way, your previous work with nothing new to show. [Realistically, they cannot all be gems though 🙂 . I say pull it.] I still look forward to reading your future posts.
    Also let’s not conflate extreme “political correctness” with common courtesy and respect for our fellow human beings. That’s one way to be contemptuous in a way that you profess to avoid. The planet is too small for that. Dissing the *original* PC motivation is one way to mask one’s own closet racism while pretending to be sophisticated. Obviously any movement can be, and is, carried to extremes by fools.

    • Closeted racism? Give me a break! Where are you getting that idea?

      Nothing new? That leads me to believe that you have not been reading my prior posts very closely. Some of these issue I have discussed in the comments, but not in posts.

      Political correctness conflated with common courtesy and respect for fellow human beings? What?

      What is the original PC motivation that you talk about? Isn’t it a “new religion” of sorts? What benefit do you see from it?

      I see you have connections to Stanford University. Do you have a different “religion” there?

      I seem to get comment on this post ranging from “Best ever” to this “friendly feedback.”

      • Artleads says:

        I’m not yet sure what rgdjr is trying to say. I definitely disagree with the tone of what s/he seems to be saying, but political correctness could also mean different things to different people.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Yes shall we rant on about what to do about a person who has a c ock and a beard but wants to piss in the women’s bathroom —- meanwhile we blow the living shit out of entire countries…. murdering and ruining millions of people.

      Don’t get me wrong — I am all for the wrecking of countries to ensure the supply of cheap resources… and I would advise the person who is unsure where to take a piss… to use the disabled toilet.

      You think the world is too small for this now — you just hang around a bit longer…. it’s going to get a whole lot smaller when there is nothing to eat… and I dare say … you will not be concerned about being PC when someone sticks a knife in your gut — to get that last can of beans from your cupboard.

      F789 this PC bullshit. We’ve got bigger fish to fry

    • Artleads says:

      There are a lot of assumptions here that would take a long time to weed through, but I also wish the term “political correctness” was better explained.

  9. Fast Eddy says:

    Look at this utter rubbish….

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tesla-truck/tesla-in-production-hell-to-meet-model-3-deadline-elon-musk-idUSKBN1CB2NQ

    And tell me that — but when it comes to ggg wwww …Bloomberg is not full of sh it

    • This is the WSJ version of the story:
      https://www.wsj.com/articles/behind-teslas-production-delays-parts-of-model-3-were-being-made-by-hand-1507321057

      Unknown to analysts, investors and the hundreds of thousands of customers who signed up to buy it, as recently as early September major portions of the Model 3 were still being banged out by hand, away from the automated production line, according to people familiar with the matter.

      While the car’s production began in early July, the advanced assembly line Tesla has boasted of building still wasn’t fully ready as of a few weeks ago, the people said. Tesla’s factory workers had been piecing together parts of the cars in a special area while the company feverishly worked to finish the machinery designed to produce Model 3’s at a rate of thousands a week, the people said.

      Automotive experts say it is unusual to be building large parts of a car by hand during production. “That’s not how mass production vehicles are made,” said Dennis Virag, a manufacturing consultant who has worked in the automotive industry for 40 years. “That’s horse-and-carriage type manufacturing. That’s not today’s automotive world.”

      • J. H. Wyoming says:

        That’s bad news for Tesla, as they cannot get their numbers up unless it’s a smooth, streamlined assembly. These cars are not Aston Martin’s selling for $450,000. so they cannot afford to be putting them together by hand. This is the trouble with companies that try to do too much in too many different directions at one time. Better to concentrate on 1 part and get it down, then move on to colonizing Mars.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Tesla is not a company …. if it were it would have collapsed into bankruptcy long ago…

          It is a fake company —- made to represent a dream of a renewable energy world with clear blue skies …. and people in pressed new designer clothes drinking organic fair trade beer dancing about a campfire signing Imagine …..and facebooking their friends telling them how awesome everything is…

          Organic stinky hippy meets techno hippy….

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

          “Better to concentrate on 1 part and get it down, then move on to colonizing Mars.”

          oh, no!

          if Tesla is not performing as promised…

          does that make it doubtful that Musk can colonize Mars?

          noooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          say it ain’t so!

          humans MUST colonize Mars!

          we are destined to “go to the stars”!

  10. I see we have another partly true Nature journal article. The article is aimed at making renewables seem better relative to fossil fuels. One problem I have with the article is whether the subsidies are really subsidies. Another is whether a subsidy to help natural gas compete with coal is really such a bad thing.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/oil-industry-subsidies_us_59d2a20fe4b065578154cbd9
    “The Oil Industry Needs Taxpayers to Prop Up Nearly Half of Its New U. S. Drilling”

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-017-0009-8#Abs1
    “Effect of subsidies to fossil fuel companies on United States crude oil production”

    According to the Huffington Post article,
    “Forty-seven percent of discovered oil reserves that remained untapped by the middle of last year required subsidies to turn a profit with prices at about $50 per barrel, according to the research published Monday in the journal Nature.”

    I expect it is quite a bit more than 47% of oil companies that remain unprofitable at $50 per barrel.

    The article talks about several forms of subsidies. One of these, “write-offs for flared gas and elimination of royalties on this gas” would seem to make sense. A company would produce the gas, if it were profitable to do so. If the gas requires considerable processing and needs to be transported long distances, the cost would exceed the benefit.

    Another write-off is for locally produced gas used in extracting oil. This would be a good thing to encourage, IMO. If the company had to buy diesel to power its drilling rigs, it would be much more expensive than using locally produced gas. This purchased diesel would certainly be deductible. The write-off would also apply to locally produced oil used in extraction, but I don’t think that this happens in practice. There are two reasons (1) Oil is a much more valuable product, and (2) I don’t think that oil can be used for this purpose, without going through a refinery.

    The article talks about allowing “master limited partnerships.” These are used to encourage the building of natural gas pipelines, so that natural gas can better compete with coal. The availability of these subsidies makes it cheaper to build the natural gas pipelines. If this were not done, coal would be much more attractive. Also, the flaring of natural gas would happen more frequently.

    Regardless of the situation, I don’t think intermittent renewables are a solution. This is something taken for granted by the article.

    • ejhr2015 says:

      Subsidies will boom in the near future. In order to keep industry going with its jobs etc. the costs to build “stuff” like machines and equipment will need to be protected at home, not just outsourced to cheap wage countries. Energy will be subsidised. Wages will be subsidised. Id won’t help anyone if wages are below the poverty line. It’ll turn into a dependence industry if wages are not adequate.
      Subsidies do not come at taxpayer expense, any more than QE did. So someone in the government knows what is what!! Disaster relief is done the same way as well.

      • This is nonsense!

        Subsidies for wind and solar are driving out fossil fuels, by pushing prices of fossil fuels lower. This tends to lead to the whole system crashing.

        Subsidies for medical care means that the medical system grows uncontrollably, with far less than proportional improvement in health.

        QE is an attempt to do shift funds away from savers (pensions, insurance plans) toward asset holders and toward higher prices for commodities. It tends to make Pension Plans fail. It cannot continue forever. When its benefit stops, it tends to make the whole system crash.

  11. Fast Eddy says:

    This IS Finite WORLD!

    • Kenny Starfighter says:

      Remember when the ozone layer was the late 80’s answer to Globull Wurming?

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Interesting how the incidences of skin cancer in Australia and NZ remain off the charts… in spite of the ozone layer having healed itself….

  12. doomphd says:

    just kidding there, Hestal.

    • Hestal says:

      No, you weren’t. This thread has been amazing. Just look at the number of people who are not willing to work for the common good. Just look at the number of people who say that our lack of resources will require exterminating the poor so that the rich can live. If they truly think that, then I am in the wrong place because I am poor and I would be among the first to be killed by those who will decide who lives and who dies. What I see here is a bunch of people who simply are unable to think of ways to make things better, and because they are bereft of ideas they think no one else can see a way forward. But human history has been full of naysayers and it will always be so. Their fatalism is similar to the attitude of Donald Trump who believes in the triumph of the rich over the poor.

      • doomphd says:

        Hestal, psile above gave you some very good advice. As Gail has illustrated in this latest post, our economic operating system (the hand that mocks us, the heart that feeds–Percy) is like a game of musical chairs. everything is fine while the music continues to play (for most, many of us) but as time goes by and depletion takes hold, the music will eventually stop. there are not nearly enough chairs. if you continue with BAU, it will be a short and brutish end. best to get out of the cities, with enough provisions to last a few weeks to months. this is the “wait it out” strategy. after that, it will be trying to survive in a new, less populated and very low-tech world. meanwhile, my advice is stop wasting you time and energy trying to save most everyone. we are in severe overshoot, it’s too late to save most everyone. the human species is at risk.

        • psile says:

          +++++
          Indeed, save who you can. Most will not make it through the bottleneck, rich or poor. Money and status will count for zero as the population crashes in quick time. Only foresight and good luck will see you through, and even that is a moot point.

          http://dieoff.org/Crash2.GIF
          Seneca cliff, or shark fin of extreme population overshoot, followed by abrupt and rapid dieoff

        • Hestal says:

          Gail has demonstrated that she is an excellent actuary, an excellent analyst in the areas that actuaries operate in. However she has also demonstrated, as have many people here, that she is no designer of systems. She does not understand why ours works the way it does and she has no idea about how to change it for the better.

          • Systems self-organize. I don’t design them.

            You have some economic views that you consider correct. Anything else is no doubt “wrong.”

            • Hestal says:

              That is utter nonsense. Our system of government was designed. Medical systems are designed. Our education system is designed. Our highway system is designed. Our banking system which you believe is a self-organizing system was designed, and it served a purpose that has been outmoded by new systems. Look back up and you will find a lengthy comment I made to you which shows that your idea that debt is created when money is created is an artifact of a system that was designed to distribute money to the citizens of the United States. That system was limited by the poor technology of the times, but our modern technologies make it obsolete. There is no natural connection between the creation of money and the creation of debt. There never has been. The connection you are so wedded to was part of a system that was designed by government officials and bankers after our nation was formed. Not self-organized, but designed. Contracts were signed.
              I know you don’t design systems. I never for one moment thought you did.

            • Hestal says:

              What should I do? You have your ideas that you think are correct and you call my ideas “wrong.” How do we reconcile this?

            • You go elsewhere and proclaim your ideas.

            • Hestal says:

              Did you read what I wrote about the connection between creation of money and the creation of debt as being an artifact of a system of distribution. In other words it was a way for the government to pay the banks to distribute money to the people and make the people bear the burden of the cost.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        You left out the group chanting of Koombaya

  13. psile says:

    Another warning, this time from the IMFm about Australia’s overheated household credit (aka housing) bubble. Already the major players, the Reserve Bank, the lenders, and the prudential organisations are distancing themselves from potential blame, when the whole thing eventually goes tits up.

    Of course, there won’t be enough oxygen to light a sparrow’s fart after the explosion.

    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/e6/4e/f6/e64ef6e7d9bfe8f21641ec6fe7967154.jpg

    IMF warns Australia on household debt vulnerability

    Australia’s high levels of household debt leave it potentially exposed to a global economic shock or a banking crisis, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

    Key points:

    Australia’s household debt is amongst the world’s highest, around 100pc of GDP
    Average developed nation household debt is 63pc of GDP
    IMF concludes that higher household debt raises the risks of financial crises
    An IMF study into highly leveraged households and financial stability singles out Australia, where household debt has risen to 100 per cent of GDP, well ahead of other advanced economies where the ratio is much lower at 63 per cent.

    “Higher growth in household debt is associated with a greater probability of banking crises,” according to the IMF’s latest Global Financial Stability Report.

    “New empirical studies — as well as recent experience from the global financial crisis — have shown that increases in private sector credit, including household debt, may raise the likelihood of a financial crisis and could lead to lower growth.”

    The IMF warns the global level of household debt “remains high by historical standards” and “has kept growing in other advanced economies such as Australia and Canada”.

    While the report noted that debt can be positive in the long term, it cited research showing that high household indebtedness can cause “a significant debt overhang when a country faces extreme negative shocks”.

  14. Hestal says:

    All of your contrary positions are provable by evidence. So, why not roll out the evidence and settle the argument in your favor? Good luck.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      As we have seen on FW…. when evidence is presented that should at the very least raise doubts…. it has the effect spraying water onto the back of a duck….

      Evidence does not matter — to those who’s mind has been made up for them by the MSM

      They actually think that they made it up all on their own so that statement too… is like water on the duck’s back

      • Hestal says:

        I agree with what you say, but I just want to add that when I propose changes to our systems of government and economics they are rejected by the very people who are dissatisfied with those systems. I am a systems designer by profession and I have found over decades that the entities that do well are those who face the facts and change their systems as the need arises. But we Americans have two ideas, two conflicting ideas, in mind at all times: our systems don’t work, but they are the best systems in the world–our systems need to be changed, but they can’t be changed because they are the best systems in the world. It is insanity and we see evidence of this insanity everywhere we look.

        • psile says:

          Unfortunately, this doesn’t describe us. Post-modern society is in denial about everything. In fact the reaction to the predicaments facing the world are to double down on everything that got us into this mess in the first place. So we will collapse, just like every other civilisation before it that faced existential issues.

          • Hestal says:

            So, what should you and I do to put things on the right path?

            • psile says:

              There is no “right path” for a species that’s gone into overshoot.

              Dieoff is the only remedy. The level of overshoot determines the extent of the resultant population crash. The more severe the overshoot, the greater the dieoff. And we have overshot so very very much…

            • psile says:

              My immediate escape plan, once it’s evident that some great existential crisis has hit, sort of like a Lehman’s event x10, is to hire a couple of 4WD’s, stocked with family and supplies and drive away from urban areas. And wait it out…I suggest you do the same, you’ll have a few days to organise things, before the JIT system starts breaking down, along with law and order.

          • Hestal says:

            Please do not include me when you say “us.”

  15. Hestal says:

    You are on to something. I can think of several examples where we are sure we are right about something when we are in fact wrong:

    We are sure that we have a limited supply of money, but of course, we are wrong, our supply of money is unlimited.

    We are sure that the creation of money is connected to the creation of debt, but of course, we can create money without creating debt. Abraham Lincoln did it.

    We are sure that we live in a democracy, but James Madison, the man who designed our system of government, clearly said that our government is a republic. In Federalist 10 he goes to great lengths to explain the difference between the two, and he is very proud that he created a republic.

    We are sure that hyperinflation is caused by the government printing too much paper money, but of course we are wrong, printing too much money is the effect, not the cause, of hyperinflation.

    We are sure that our elected representatives are supposed to do what we want, but of course we are wrong, we follow the “trustee” form of representation which means that the representative is free to do whatever he pleases–and he does.

    When we learn to face the facts we will be able to change our systems of government and economics to operate rationally in the interests of the people. But until that time, we will continue to poison our atmosphere and destroy our children’s future.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Almost all people are sure that ggggglobbbal wwwwarmmming is real — and that is caused by humans burning fosssil fueeels….

      It is VERY non-PC to state that this is not true. This is one topic that I absolutely do NOT bring up outside of FW with anyone because I know that I will be labelled a lunatic. I have only ever discussed my change of position on this with my brother and on FW.

      Almost all people believe that recycling is a positive development.

      It is VERY non-PC to state that recycling is generally subsidized by the taxpayer which means that it is actually more energy intensive and less green — than obtaining the materials directly from the source.

      This is something I have brought up outside of FW …. I find that most people will listen to this without wanting to rip my head off and feed it to street dogs… not at all like calling gggg wwwww a hoax…. that is an unforgivable sin……. but nevertheless it does get one branded as being a negative person….

      It is VERY non-PC to state that renewable energy is not renewable — that it results in the burning of even more fossil fuels — and that EVs are complete idiocy that also result in the burning of more fossil fuels than IC vehicles….

      I have tried to raise these points — again it did not result in attempts on my life (only ggggwwww elicits thoughts of murder from the Grooopies) — for the most part bringing up these flaws…. results only in a glossing over of the eyes….

      • Hestal says:

        All of your contrary positions are provable by evidence. So, why not roll out the evidence and settle the argument in your favor? Good luck.

      • Tim Groves says:

        Westerners tend to be emotionally committed in their viewpoints on political issues, and Glowbully Warbully has been sold to the masses as a Manichean struggle between the forces of light and darkness over the fate of planet Earth, and it partially fills up the enormous cavity in the Western psyche that was formerly occupied by Christianity before that was ridiculed out of existence by the militant atheist tendency. So progressive types looking for some sort of moral Star Wars rebellion to take part in because they can’t get beyond notions of good and evil, have tended to lap it up.

        http://i.livescience.com/images/i/000/007/204/i02/kittens-drinking-101111-02.jpg?1296088310

        Here in the East, by contrast, people may pay lip-service to Green concerns, but in most cases they don’t make an emotional investment to them. I’ve yet to come across anyone in this part of the world who is bothered very much one way or the other, but if he authorities say we have to reduce CO2, we’ll do our best to oblige.

        https://i.pinimg.com/736x/b2/ed/a8/b2eda881dcdb8bda7ffe421789ed1608–small-cat-tattoos-yin-yang-tattoos.jpg

        • I am afraid you have hit the nail on the head. Climate change is the new religion. It fills in the need for a new kind of Good and Evil.

          • Joel says:

            I have had my fill of trying to make sense of religion, will take a pass on CC. Too much anger.

            • Anger is a major problem. Everyone believes their beliefs are the only one right, true beliefs.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Anger is the reaction of those true believers … when confronted by facts and logic and challenge their beliefs.

              Rejectionists feel no anger…. incredulity is what I feel when true believers when confronted by facts and logic that challenge their beliefs… do not respond with —- hmmmm…. that is interesting … I never thought about it that way …. perhaps I am wrong…

              For those who cannot comprehend this ….. what you need to do is approach someone you know … a colleague at work.. a family member…. pretty much anyone …. and try to explain to them that renewable energy is bull sh it …..

              Throw facts and logic at them ….. then observe their reaction. Keep pressing them… eventually they will lash out in anger at you for being ‘so f789ing negative’

              Now think about your reaction — are you angry with them? I doubt it….

              I would imagine you feel a bit sorry for them….. the facts and logic are obvious … yet they remain true believers…. they are rock solid…. not even the slightest shred of doubt.

        • Joel says:

          Good post Tim, I like cats and did checkout the photo of the kittens which look just like my dear old cat who is now gone.
          As you are in a way discussing religious type stuff, thought I might mention Zoroaster, sort of a friend in a way if one could say that.
          Have a good day…
          ===
          Zoroastrians believe that Zoroaster is the prophet of God. Zoroaster himself is not worshipped, but through his teachings man can become close to God by following the path of truth and righteousness

          Zoroastrians believe in one God, called Ahura Mazda (meaning ‘Wise Lord’). He is compassionate, just, and is the creator of the universe.

          Ahura Mazda is:

          Omniscient (knows everything)
          Omnipotent (all powerful)
          Omnipresent (is everywhere)
          Impossible for humans to conceive
          Unchanging
          The Creator of life
          The Source of all goodness and happiness

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/zoroastrian/beliefs/god.shtml

          ====

          The prophet Zoroaster himself, though traditionally dated to the 6th century BC, is thought by many modern historians to have been a reformer of the polytheistic Iranian religion who lived in the 10th century BC

          Zoroaster rejected the religion of the Bronze Age Iranians, with their many gods and oppressive class structure, in which the Karvis and Karapans (princes and priests) controlled the ordinary people

          Zoroastrianism is often compared with the Manichaeism. Nominally an Iranian religion, it has its origins in the Middle-Eastern Gnosticism.

          Zoroastrian theology includes a duty to protect nature. This has led some to proclaim it as the “world’s first ecological religion.”

          Zoroaster’s ideas were not taken up quickly; he originally only had one convert: his cousin Maidhyoimanha. The local religious authorities opposed his ideas, considering that their faith, power, and particularly their rituals, were threatened by Zoroaster’s teaching against over-ritualising religious ceremonies. Many did not like Zoroaster’s downgrading of the Daevas to evil spirits. After 12 years of little success, Zoroaster left his home.

          Soure: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroastrianism

          =====
          Also a recomended link for whoever cares : https://heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/overview/

          • Tim Groves says:

            Thanks Joel for some interesting information. I haven’t studied Zoroastrianism but I’ve picked up a few tidbits over the years. For instance, Gore Vidal, who didn’t like monotheism at all, named Zoroastrianism as the earliest example. From memory, he said the Christianity was a Jewish heresy and Judaism was a Zoroastrian heresy.

            I have an old friend in Kobe who is the scion of a Zoroastrian Parsi family from Bombay. They used to be very strict about only marrying within the religion, but with their numbers declining, maintaining that rule has become problematic. He took a Japanese wife, so I’m wondering if that makes his children outsiders.

            I remember the oldsters were also very strict about not smoking tobacco as flames are sacred, but this didn’t stop some of the youngsters from lighting up outside the home.

            Another Indian friend once told me a story that has been handed down that when the Parsis arrived from Persia, either forced out or else fleeing from the Muslims, the local ruler welcomed them and told them, “if you live among us you can keep your religion, as long as you adopt our social customs.” So apparently there was none of his newfangled multiculturalism in ancient Gujurat.

    • ejhr2015 says:

      You, Hestal, are pretty much on the money. The whole world works better counterintuitively it seems. Fast Eddy shows that up with the false stories on renewables. Renewables are more like lipstick on a corpse than they are going to see us through to a sustainable future. The scale of our industry is so remarkable, it is impossible for a single person to grasp the scale.
      About the remark you have made that money can be created without debt. That doesn’t happen. Money cannot be given value, being fiat, without it representing something of value. It is unlimited in theory but it has to buy stuff – until there is no more stuff left to buy.
      I had never seen our politicians described as trustees, but it sounds right.
      The way economics is constructed today is positively EVIL. There is no need to rob the poor to feed the rich, which is what neo-liberal policies have done. They say they can’t afford the current pensions or wages etc, but in fact they can, easily. It just doesn’t suit the rentier class and so they buy the politicians and stop them from being our “trustees”. It has to change. Brexit shows the future, messy though it will be. Of course we also know the end game is not far away, but in the meantime let us see if we can make improvements, right a few wrongs, just for its own sake.

      • It is the laws of physics that says that the poor must be “frozen out” if there are not enough resources to go around. The economic system indirectly follows the laws of physics. If there were a more rapidly rising supply of cheap to extract energy, then wages of workers would be rising faster (rather than falling in inflation-adjusted terms). They would not be frozen out.

        Governments issuing more debt is equivalent to governments issuing more promises for goods and services made with energy products made in the future. Some of these may be in the form of immediately payable promises for goods and services from the world market. The world market cannot sell more goods and services than are really available. The currency of the country issuing the debt is likely to fall relative to other countries, creating a need to spend more of these promises to buy goods and services in the world market. Thus, the benefit of this approach seems likely to be limited, if only one or two countries follow it. Look at Venezuela.

        To really work, this approach would need to be used very widely. Many, many countries would need to use this approach simultaneously. They would also need to get much of the debt back to the poor as currency. If this approach is used widely, it theoretically could pump up world commodity prices, helping prevent the system from failing from low prices. In theory, it can make the system last a little longer. Of course, the higher commodity prices will eventually bring down the system, if the low prices do not.

        Raising interest rates works in the opposite direction. It makes the system fail more quickly.

        • ejhr2015 says:

          Considering what we on this blog know, the changes we should be making are a stop gap measure.
          Physics limits the wealth we can create for sure, but it should not apply unequally to the poor. That is a political decision. Issuing debt is a double edged weapon. It is taking from the future but it can aid in redistribution also. Right now most nations are in or close to deflation. This means we can take from the future a greater quantity of goods and services because “the output gap” is in the $trillions, and the threat of excess inflation is negligible.

          • What we are trying to do is take more goods and services out of the system now. This, of course, leaves less for the future. If the future is already zero, then I suppose in some sense it doesn’t matter; we are just increasing the quantity of goods that can truly be extracted by raising prices so that this can take place.

            The output gap is the difference between what has been promised and zero.

          • wealth is the physical manifestation of energy

            thus if you are a cattle rancher—your wealth is effectively the energy embodied in the individual animals, and that represents ‘infinite wealth’ in that cattle can theoretically keep reproducing themselves.

            if you own oilwells, your ”wealth” is in the oil-energy, but that is finite because the oilwell will eventually run dry.

            unfortunately the wealth of all of us is underpinned by oilwells, not cattle, so our collective wealth can only last as long as the oil lasts.
            not only that but we are draining the wealth of our future generations, as well as our own.

        • Hestal says:

          PS: When we start creating money without creating debt, we will no longer have any need for interest, we will therefore have no need for banks to do lending. Isn’t that wonderful? I am not being sarcastic. Isn’t that wonderful?

        • Hestal says:

          Are you saying that the poor are doomed to be denied the rights, resources, opportunities, and protections that they need to build long lives worth living for themselves and their loved ones?

          Is there no way forward?

          • the acquisition of resources, in any era, has been dependent on two things

            1 brute force

            2 intelligence

            or a combination of the above in varying proportion

            So whether you were an aspiring Roman emperor, a Chinese warlord, a medieval king, a wall street banker–the above holds true.

            it is part of nature, that some are born stronger/brighter than others. It follows then that those better endowed with the above factors will accrue wealth and power, while those who are not, will end up working for them, and much poorer.

            This may be difficult to accept in social context, but that is the way our commercial world is, and always has been. There are no ”rights” involved.
            No one has a ”right” to energy resources.

            Only in the last 250 years have we seen it as a ”right” to be given resources without labour. (social benefits etc).
            before the industrial revolution, there were no such rights.
            the rich man lived in his castle, while the poor man grovelled at his gate.

            They were not entitled to long lives etc etc…they died at 50, having worked most of those years just to stay alive

            That is our temporary illusion brought on be current (oil driven) prosperity—we cannot change human nature

            • Hestal says:

              So, the answer to my question is that you do not see a way forward. Those who do not work, or inherit resources, are doomed to be mistreated by those who do, which, obviously, leads to the ultimate mistreatment: annihilation. Right?

            • in broad general terms, yes.

              but remember i do not say that in individual specific terms, we are all capable of altruism.

              i say it in the sense of common movement, driven by forces over which we have no control.

              if you are clever or strong enough to establish a means of wealth production—a factory, or an invading army, say, you cannot do it alone.
              Henry Ford or Ad olf Hit ler, , the same rules apply–they cannot carry out their intentions alone. they illustrate my point about brute force and/or intelligence.

              their intentions were the same, to grab resources. they just used different methods to do it

              They were cleverer than those who follow them, and if you read the history of both those men, you will find mistreatment of those who were subordinate to them

              different levels i grant you—but it was there for both.

              therefore if one leads, by definition others follow, knowing the risks

              they follow because it is in the interests of followers to follow because following you/working for you promises reward. It is in their interests to keep you working/producing as long as possible.

              If they have no use for you, you become surplus to requirements (check Stalingrad or the collapse of Detroit car factories—same thing)

              if someone inherits wealth/resources, you can be certain that one of their forebears fitted 1 or 2 above—check out the english monarchy on that score—or Donald Trump for that matter.

              We live in relatively prosperous times. When that prosperity is no longer there, the brutal reality of leaders and followers will become clear to everybody.

              Cheery thought huh?

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Right and Might are very closely correlated….

            • timl2k11 says:

              “leads to the ultimate mistreatment: annihilation.” I’m not sure that’s so bad. Might be the ultimate relief.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Deny?

            Let’s take a poll — how many people would be willing to take a 75% drop in their standard of living… allocating that 75% to the poor … to make the world a more fair place

            Hands up those who are on for this….

            Hmmmm…..

            http://www.atzmut.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Hands-Down-e1420781315237.jpg

      • Hestal says:

        Sorry, ejhr2015, but Abraham Lincoln’s administration issued millions in paper dollars to help finance the Civil War, and those dollars did not create any debt. One fact obliterates all of the myths we have about the creation of money, yet we continue to believe the myths. I have nothing more to add. The fact is so clear, so undeniable, that there is nothing left to say.
        The money created by Lincoln was used to pay for men and materiel during the war, and continued to be issued, in the millions, until sometime in the sixties when the bankers, who had been driven mad by the fact they were not getting a cut, finally bribed Congress to stop issuing the “Greenbacks,” as they were called.

        But, don’t be sad. This fact, and it is a fact, is a good thing. Now we are free to create as much money as we wish without creating any debt at all. We can give our young people the resources and opportunities to build long lives worth living without ever going into debt. Isn’t that wonderful? I’m not being sarcastic. Isn’t that wonderful?
        But, chances are that we won’t because people who claim to be rational are not. They cling to myths.

        • doomphd says:

          do you also believe in the tooth fairy? just checking…

          • Hestal says:

            Now you’re being sarcastic, aren’t you? What is your proof that Abraham Lincoln did not create money without creating debt? I await your response.

            • bandits101 says:

              You are the one with the claims.
              Show: The exact “millions”, “created” above normal circulation.
              Debt figures before, during and after.
              Inflation figures before and after said printing. Economic activity before during and after.
              “Sometime” in the sixties….When
              Link to to prove “alleged” Congress “bribery”
              Link to show “bankers” driven “mad”.

            • Tim Groves says:

              Doomphd was being sarcastic, but not in response to your idea that governments can created debt-free money. I suspect he was responding in kind to your statement, “We can give our young people the resources and opportunities to build long lives worth living without ever going into debt. Isn’t that wonderful?”, which he and I both judged to be sarcastic despite you going to the trouble to point out that it was not.

              From my point of view, creating money does not equate to providing access to resources and opportunities if the resources are not already accessible. For example, no amount of money is going to allow people to travel to Alpha Centauri in the absence of the technical means to make such a trip, or allow people to live to 200 years of age if the medical means to do this does not exist, or allow 7.5 billion people and rising to live long lives worth living if the resources underpinning these long lives worth living do not exist.

              Do you believe there would be plenty for everyone if the super-rich were not hoarding the “wealth”? And what do you think of the argument that having a super-rich layer in society is a pre-requisite for “wealth” creation?

            • doomphd says:

              he was creating inflation, by adding to the pool of money that had debt tied to it. since the debt now being created will never be paid back, with interest, they (the CBs) are doing the same thing as Lincoln did. also, recall he was assassinated under mysterious circumstances, with no one left alive to confess to a motive.

            • Hestal says:

              To the following commenters: You are just saying things that occur to you as you react without analysis. You are the ones making “claims” about the fact of Lilncoln’s Greenback dollars. Just search the Internet for “Lincoln’s Greenback dollars,” or something similar and you will find plenty of authoritative sites that answer all of your objections. It did happen and it worked.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Search: Hestal

              Delete All

        • ejhr2015 says:

          Hestal, you are just looking at the issue from the other side. Debt caused Lincoln to create greenbacks. Using greenbacks saved his admin from debt. Like any sovereign nation there was infinite capacity to create money and like money today the money is fiat, and not backed by gold but by the full faith and credit of his government. The bankers spoiled the party as they always have the politicians on a leash.
          It was the British bankers who also triggered the conflict that caused the US to become its own nation. But I guess you know about that too.

          • All of this money created is debt. If the country creating it is bankrupt, it has no value.

            • Hestal says:

              Click on my name and then click on “An Unlimited Supply of Money,” on the upper right.

            • Hestal says:

              You are simply incorrect. Lincoln’s dollars did not create debt. And therefore, no interest payments were required on a debt. I must confess that I cannot understand what you meant when you said, “If the country creating it is bankrupt, it has no value.” When has the United States fallen into bankruptcy or even approached it? As a sovereign nation which creates its own money we can never be bankrupt.

              Maybe this will help everybody. When our nation was created it had no money, and money was gold. We had no gold as a nation. So, we had to tax or sell bonds or… in order to raise money. We did not actually get the gold, we were just paying for the right to use someone else’s gold to back our currency. For a long time we did not produce our own paper money because we had no gold to back it up. When we did get some gold we would use it to mint coins–no interest payments there.

              As our gold supply grew we had to borrow less money from banks, which committed their gold to back our currency. Because we had gold we were then able to issue a certain amount of dollars backed by our own gold. This severely limited the money that we had to make the economy flourish. We still had to borrow from banks, and pay interest, to make ends meet. Hard times for most of us. Then the Civil War came and Lincoln’s greenbacks, which did not need gold to bank them up, scared the banks to death. Suddenly they saw the interest cow of the national government would go away and their gold would be less valuable. So, they had to find a way to plug the hole.

              Meanwhile the government had no way to distribute its dollars to the public, so the banks distributed Lincoln’s greenbacks. They earned interest for doing it. So, over the years, the government was faced with a dilemma. Should it pay the banks to continue to distribute government currency or should it come up with a new system? They let the banks do it, no doubt because the bankers bribed Congress to give them the right to distribute money.

              Now, think for a moment about what this meant. It meant that ordinary citizens who needed money to finance their lives had to go to the bank to get it and they were charged interest for it. So, as it happens, the banks are actually the ones who create money, and they do it by making loans. So, they have a license to print money, and they get paid interest for doing it. Wow, what a deal!!!!! But they are not printing actual money. They started by making ink marks upon ledger pages, but now they store bits and bytes in computers to issue money.

              But now, distribution of money is not a physical problem, it is an electronic one. Bits and bytes, not paper. So, we don’t need the banks to lend money. We do need banks to do the administrative work of dealing with car loans, home loans, etc. etc. But this is purely a service which largely can be performed by high school students. Well, maybe there is a little more to it, but not very much more. The main focus of the new kind of bank will be to help the people build long lives worth living for themselves and their loved ones. The main focus of our current banking system is to make a profit, at the direct expense of the people, from the service fees and the interest it can charge. This is no longer needed. It can all be done electronically.

              But, today, for most people who bother to think about these things, it is a given that money is created by creating debt, and that is true for the current system. But that is not a natural law of the universe. It is actually a system for paying people at banks to distribute money to the citizens of the United States. But computers enable us to have a new system for distributing money to our citizens and it will be better, fairer, and cheaper. So money that is introduced into our new system will be interest-free.

              To repeat. Today when money is created, debt, interest-bearing debt, is also created. This was a way to finance the system of distribution. But now we have a better, lower-cost system of distribution. So, say “bye” to the current banking system.

              The current relationship between the creation of money and the creation of debt is not a law of the universe but it is an artifact of a system that was perhaps necessary for a while, but is no longer needed.

          • Hestal says:

            No, the position taken by GT is that the creation of money creates debt.My debate is with GT. But I have to give you credit. You are the only one who has a glimmering of how money really works. But you have a little way to go. Click on my name and it will take you to a website called “Faction-Free Democracy.” At the upper right you will see a link titled “An Unlimited Supply of Money.” Click it and you will find a description of how Lincoln’s Greenbacks idea worked. You can then search the Internet to your heart’s content and you will find proof after proof that it happened and it worked. In fact, as a little boy I was actually paid for farm work that I did and some of the currency was Lincoln’s greenbacks. In that same linked article you will find many other things that we think are true but which are in fact untrue. Which is the theme of GT’s article.

      • Hestal says:

        The “trustee” model of representation was first explained by Edmund Burke in 1774 in a speech he gave to the Electors of Bristol. In 1787, just 13 years later, James Madison designed his “scheme of representation,” which he called it, and he used language that tracks Burke’s points. Our “scheme or representation” is sometimes called, “Burkean.”

  16. timl2k11 says:

    Tesla Falters With Model 3 as Initial Output Trails Forecast

    Tesla Managed to make only 260 Model 3s in September after Musk promised 1500.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-02/tesla-sales-climb-as-model-3-stokes-demand-in-pricier-offerings

    “Elon’s never made a number, ever,” said Ross Gerber, chief executive officer of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management, which holds Tesla shares. “Coming up short is what we expect of him.”

    Wow. All Elon ever does is come up short, let someone throw more money at him!

    • This is someone else’s view. https://seekingalpha.com/article/4111333-tesla-winter-coming

      The author points out:

      “In the face of these daunting problems, Tesla’s CEO has decided to make the entire enterprise even more risky.

      “With an all new model, incorporating many new parts, a completely different motor type, and using a totally new battery cell and pack design, and with a radically different driver cockpit and interface, Elon Musk has decided to substitute, in place of the traditional beta testing, an ad hoc, hurry-up driving derby conducted by Tesla insiders and employees.”

      Another quote:

      “No surprise, then, that all Model 3s delivered in July and August have already been called back.”

      • timl2k11 says:

        And Teslas are what kids think is the future these days. They are being sold a bill of goods. EVs, wind turbines and solar power. I really do wish it could work. I wish the numbers made sense.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I guess the theory of making up for the losses for vehicle by selling more vehicles…. is not working out so well……

          The Models S & X Were, Are, and Always Will be Losers

          For years, many investment banking types and Tesla advocates here have expressed the belief that once Tesla increased the number of Model S and X cars it delivered, the per-car SG&A would fall, resulting in positive net revenues.

          The deliveries have indeed increased, but those economies of scale have failed to materialize. While Tesla fans hate it when anyone says that Tesla loses money on every car, the inescapable truth is that as Tesla has produced a greater numbers of cars, its loss per car has increased.

          Why is that? Because what the plumper delivery numbers give, the skinnier margins required to achieve those numbers take away.

          There’s just no getting around these numbers and this history. This is not going to change. Both the Model S and the Model X have in the past been, are now, and will continue to be money-losing vehicles.

          So, it all depends on the Model 3. (And, yes, I’m assuming Tesla Energy will continue to be approximately breakeven, that the advertised synergies from the SolarCity merger are phony, and that the solar roof tiles, if and when they appear, will be a niche product at best.)

          • Fast Eddy says:

            The Model 3 Will Roll Out into Some Fierce Headwinds

            The Model 3 already faces some daunting obstacles:

            The macro auto market is softening, forcing all automakers to cut prices;
            In the U.S., Tesla will hit the subsidy “wall” in the first half of 2018, at which point phase-down of the $7,500 federal income tax credit begins;

            Tesla is introducing a small sedan at a time when car buyers are increasingly moving away from sedans and toward crossovers, SUVs, and trucks;

            The Model 3’s margins will be, at the very best, exceedingly skinny, especially for any version priced below $45,000;

            As Donn Bailey recently explained, those hoping to lease a Model 3 are in for some serious sticker shock;

            That sticker shock will be compounded by the actuarial data that is now teaching auto insurers about how expensive it is to repair a Tesla, and how easy it is to total one;
            To date, Tesla has no third-party “leasing partner” for a Model 3 leasing program, and to attract one, it may have to guarantee stout residuals;

            Telsa has used the Model 3 deposits to market lower-cost Model S cars to would-be Model 3 buyers, thus depleting the ranks of those who would otherwise buy highly-optioned Model 3’s;
            Tesla’s Fremont factory is likely incapable of manufacturing 250,000 Model 3s next year, never mind the 400,000 promised by Musk;

            Tesla’s need to maximize on Federal Income Tax credits in the U.S. all but assures that Tesla’s European and Asian markets will see few if Model 3 cars until late 2018 at the earliest;

            And, in a related vein, inexorably, and from many directions, EV competition is coming. This competition will squeeze margins on all three of Tesla’s models.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Musk Has Exposed Tesla to a Staggering Risk

              In the face of these daunting problems, Tesla’s CEO has decided to make the entire enterprise even more risky.

              With an all new model, incorporating many new parts, a completely different motor type, and using a totally new battery cell and pack design, and with a radically different driver cockpit and interface, Elon Musk has decided to substitute, in place of the traditional beta testing, an ad hoc, hurry-up driving derby conducted by Tesla insiders and employees.

              In my article last week, Seeking Alpha member Wilibear expressed his astonishment that Tesla was substituting employee guinea pigs for trained beta testers, prompting this response from CoverDrive:

              Wilibear is absolutely correct. Handing out cars to random people in random driving situations will uncover only the largest problems. Most of the defects will go unnoticed or unreported.

              And, in no case will you be testing under worst case conditions. It’s the poorest possible way to do a product validation.

              That’s why “othermakers” (as Tesla fans dismissively call the other automakers) perform four-season beta testing using drivers who are trained to find subtle issues that may result in customer dissatisfaction.

              And, those test drivers are trained to record the issues in a test incident report. Every one of these test incident reports goes back through engineering to discover root cause and identify corrective action.

              Sure, beta testing is a very expensive and time-consuming process. But it saves money in the long run in manufacturing, warranty, and customer satisfaction.

              Unfortunately, Tesla does not have the time or money to do it. And their engineering managers don’t have the fortitude to stand up to Elon when he says, “Launch in June.”
              The ramp-up is slow. The rollout is troubled. The beta testing – the part that has not been skipped altogether – is incomplete and inept.

              No surprise, then, that all Model 3s delivered in July and August have already been called back. (And, no surprise either that Tesla first fed the news to its reliable propaganda outlet, elecktrek, as it could be counted on to minimize the problems.)

              The operating losses will be staggering in Q3, and may be equally bad, if not worse, in Q4.

              Tesla will need more capital again before Q1 2018 is over. Unless, of course, it again skimps on desperately needed capital expenditures.

              The risks are growing.

              Winter is coming.

              https://static.seekingalpha.com/uploads/2017/10/2/37229846-15069902691242676.png

        • Fast Eddy says:

          And why are they being sold these things?

          Because they are ‘solutions’ to the GGGGGlllllobal WWWWWarming problem

          Think about that.

          • timl2k11 says:

            The real story is definitely not being told (finite fossil fuels). The story that is being told is a story that we can “fix” by changing light bulbs. That is, of course, utter nonsense. If only we Americans retrofit our lights so that they shut off automagically, problem solved!

            • Fast Eddy says:

              GGGGWWWW is the front man for peak oil…. We cannot be directly told the obvious because that would be to acknowledge the elephant …. so this is the story we are fed….

              Renewable energy and EV’s solve the GGWWWW problem… which also solves peak oil….

              Or so we are led to think … by the MSM.

              Consider WMD — why not just tell the cattle — hey guys — we know your way of life is non-negotiable …. so we are going to attack Iraq to make sure we continue to have a supply of cheap oil….

              Again – the cattle cannot be told this — because again that would acknowledge the finite nature of oil … and it would cause the cattle to panic as they realized that we are reaching the end of our rope….

              So WMD was invented. To get the cattle on board without disclosing the real reasons as to why…

              GGGGWWWWWW is also invented…. as part of the master plan.

              Meanwhile the front man Al Gore prances about in his private jet and hold dinner parties in his mega mansion…..

            • Kenny Starfighter says:

              I have motion sensors on most of my lights in the house. The problem is, it uses 5 W to watch for motion constantly. So if you have LED bulbs, you might as well just leave the lights on all the time, and use the same amount of energy.

            • Greg Machala says:

              I agree. Our problem/predicament has no “fix”. Even if consumers of electricity reduced their usage 50%, utilities would be up in arms and have to raise rates to cover costs. You just cannot win. There MUST be growth for our economic system to work. Efficiency improvements just opens the door to growth somewhere else.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Tesla: Don’t Faint At The Model 3 Payment

        I hope every reservation holder gets to try it out. With no lease program, the Model 3 is going to run the average buyer about $700 to $1,000 per month or more. For most people in the “mass market” that is about the payment on their mortgage. I spent about a half hour building a little comparative table and the results are pretty shocking.

        https://seekingalpha.com/article/4105496-tesla-faint-model-3-payment

        • Greg Machala says:

          WOW, that is nuts. Amazing how something that is “supposed” to be so cost competitive with fossil fuels – is so darn expensive. Amazing how simple name plate capacities of solar PV output leave out so many costs and appear to make solar PV viable. Just wait til you have to include the costs of maintaining the transportation infrastructure by somehow taxing EV’s!!!!!

          • Jesse James says:

            Yes, the devilish details are that if everyone converted to EVs, taxes would have to be levied on electricity to compensate for lost tax revenue on gasoline sales. The TBD taxes on electricity for EVs is one of the costs of using EVs that is currently not accounted for when making comparisons to FF based transportation.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Yet week after week the likes of Bloomberg extol the virtues of Tesla …. over and over and over….

            And the public thinks exactly what the MSM wants them to think….

            They just don’t know — and most of them do not want to know —- because they enjoy the hopium

  17. Fast Eddy says:

    US Treasury Yield v. Euro “Junk Bond” Yield. A new record in central-bank engineered absurdity.

    US Treasury Securities with longer maturities fell this morning, with the 10-year Treasury yield rising above 2.37% early on and currently trading at 2.34%. This is still low by historical standards, and it’s still in denial of the Fed’s monetary tightening: Four rate hikes since it started this cycle, and the QE unwind has commenced as of today. But it cannot hold a candle to the Draghi-engineered negative-yield absurdity still unfolding in the Eurozone.

    The average yield of junk bonds denominated in euros hit a new all-time record low at the close on Friday of 2.30%.

    Let that sink in a moment. These euro corporate bonds are rated below investment grade. Companies, unlike the US, cannot print their own money to prevent default. There is little liquidity in the junk bond market, and selling these bonds when push comes to shove can be hard or impossible. The reason they’re called “junk” is because of their high risk of default.

    And yet, prices of these junk bonds have been inflated by the ECB’s policies to such a degree that their yield, which falls as prices rise, is now lower than that of 10-year US Treasury securities that are considered the most liquid securities with the least credit risk out there.

    More https://wolfstreet.com/2017/10/02/chart-u-s-treasury-yield-v-euro-junk-bond-yield/

    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/_9PMwWZSYHU/hqdefault.jpg

  18. Fast Eddy says:

    What does Islamic State and Gooobel Woobel Grooopies have in common?

    They take credit for every bad thing that happens

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-02/islamic-state-claims-responsibility-vegas-attack-says-paddock-converted-islam-months

    Badoom Bing….tss…..

  19. Fast Eddy says:

    Auto OEMs Plan To Flood Market With New Electric Car Models Despite Massive Losses

    Last month we noted that Tesla really outdid itself in 2Q 2017 by posting a record cash burn of $1.2 billion, or roughly $13 million every single day. Per the chart below, Tesla’s Q2 cash burn was just a continuation of the company’s money-losing trend that goes back at least 6 years and seems to be getting worse with each passing quarter.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/tesla%20cash%20burn%20q2.jpg

    But Tesla isn’t alone in burning cash on “EV’s” as pretty much every electric vehicle offered to customers loses money on a per unit basis.

    At this point, expensive battery technology still makes them money drains. General Motors Co. loses about $9,000 on every Chevrolet Bolt electric car it sells. Tesla had record sales of its EVs last year — and still lost $675 million on $7 billion in sales.

    Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV loses $20,000 on every electric version of its 500-model subcompact sold in the U.S., Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said in a speech in Italy on Monday. Battery-powered models should be marketed based on consumer demand and not depend on incentives, he said.

    Of course, with statistics like that, it should come as no surprise that auto OEM’s all around the world are tripping over themselves to introduce dozens of new electric models in the coming years. Even Bloomberg was somewhat perplexed to report that OEMs will introduce 50 new electric vehicle models over the next 5 years despite the industry’s staggering cash burn.

    Here are two facts that defy logic: By the end of the year, electric-car maker Tesla Inc. will have burned through more than $10 billion without ever having made 10 cents. Yet companies around the world are lining up to compete with it.

    Almost 50 new pure electric-car models will come to market globally between now and 2022, including vehicles from Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG. Even British inventor James Dyson is getting into the game, announcing last week that he’s investing two billion pounds ($2.7 billion) to develop an electric car and the batteries to power it.

    “Nobody doubts that the future will be electric,” said Erich Joachimsthaler, founder and CEO of brand-strategy firm Vivaldi, which works with German luxury carmakers. “The car companies dragged their feet with electric. Now they are being dragged into it by Tesla and by regulations.”

    More http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-02/auto-oems-plan-flood-market-new-electric-car-models-despite-massive-losses

    https://media.makeameme.org/created/this-is-madness.jpg

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Electric vehicles in Hong Kong could be adding “20 per cent more” carbon to the atmosphere than regular petrol ones over the same distance after factoring in the city’s coal-dominated energy mix and battery manufacture, a new research report found.

      Investment research firm Bernstein also claimed that by subsidising electric vehicle purchases, the government was effectively “harming rather than helping the environment” at the expense of the taxpayer.

      “The policy is to encourage drivers to be green, but they are actually subsidising vehicles that create more emissions of CO2 and particulates from power plants,” said Bernstein senior analyst Neil Beveridge.

      http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/1935817/electric-shock-tesla-cars-hong-kong-more-polluting

      “Whilst the electric vehicles and lithium batteries manufactured by these two companies do indeed help to reduce direct CO2 emissions from vehicles, electricity is needed to power them,” Morgan Stanley wrote. “And with their primary markets still largely weighted towards fossil-fuel power (72% in the U.S. and 75% in China) the CO2 emissions from this electricity generation are still material.”

      In other words, “the carbon emissions generated by the electricity required for electric vehicles are greater than those saved by cutting out direct vehicle emissions.”

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-18/inconvenient-fact-morgan-stanley-says-electric-cars-create-more-co2-they-save

      http://www.scmp.com/sites/default/files/styles/486w/public/images/methode/2016/04/13/5c2c043e-0188-11e6-a9b2-800cbf78bba6_486x.jpg

      • Fast Eddy says:

        One has to wonder…. are we teetering on the edge right this minute?

        The above makes no sense whatsoever… it’s like knowing you are about to succumb to a deadly disease… and you just start drinking a bottle of whiskey a day… because you just do not give a f789…. and it drowns out the anguish of knowing death is imminent….

        • Slow Paul says:

          It is insane. I guess these CEOs think that “technology” will solve the minor issues of profitability down the line. Either that or they just subscribe to the religion of success, getting paid in the process.

  20. Fast Eddy says:

    And in other news this morning… it was announced the the CIA has signed Stephen Paddock to a 5 year, 30 million dollar deal … Mr Paddock will initially deployed to Syria where he will shooting down innocent civilians so that Assad can be blamed.

    CIA Direct John Brennan issued a brief statement on the hiring of America’s new superstar psychopath early this morning ‘we see Stephen as an outstanding addition to the team – he has demonstrated determination and a complete lack of remorse in taking down dozens of innocent people – he has what it takes to be one of the greatest CIA operatives in history’

    http://i1.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article11274169.ece/ALTERNATES/s615/Stephen-C-Paddock.jpg

    Donald Trump — HRC – Obama – Bush — Stephen Paddock – Paris Hilton — WMD — ‘Active Shooters’ — Reality TV…. Oxycontin

    USA! USA! USA!

    Greatest country in the werld!

  21. psile says:

    A news story that could’ve come straight off the pages of The Onion;

    Wind power trade fair closed, due to … high winds
    http://renews.biz/EventLiveStory/storm-blow-for-husum-wind

  22. Downunder says:

    Here is exponential growth as described by Al Bartlett applied to a something that I read a while ago. I have, the article stated that the rate of Polar ice melt (arctic and Antarctic) had doubled in the last 6 years. So I thought why should the ice melt continue on in a linear fashion what would happen if it doubled every 6 years? and below is what results, sorry about the lack of borders I am not used to this program? In case the figures don,t come out the end result is all ice melted in just over 80 years.

    year loss Accumulated loss Target Ice to Melt
    0 172
    6 344 516 2850000 -2849484
    12 688 1032 2850000 -2848968
    18 1376 2064 2850000 -2847936
    24 2752 4128 2850000 -2845872
    30 5504 8256 2850000 -2841744
    36 11008 16512 2850000 -2833488
    42 22016 33024 2850000 -2816976
    48 44032 66048 2850000 -2783952
    54 88064 132096 2850000 -2717904
    60 176128 264192 2850000 -2585808
    66 352256 528384 2850000 -2321616
    72 704512 1056768 2850000 -1793232
    78 1409024 2113536 2850000 -736464
    84 2818048 4227072 2850000 1377072
    90 5636096 8454144 2850000 5604144
    96 11272192 16908288 2850000 14058288
    102 22544384 33816576 2850000 30966576

  23. psile says:

    Puerto Rico death count much higher than currently reported – “People have dug mass graves and buried their relatives, because they are in places that have not yet been reached”.

    The official death toll is “19”. Lol…

    Hurricane-related fatalities continue to accrue per day without being counted in patients not receiving dialysis, oxygen, and other essential services.

    The dead are in hospital morgues that are full of capacity and in remote places where the government has not arrived, and in many cases relatives are unaware of the deaths. The Demographic Register certifies the deaths so that the corpses can be removed by the funeral homes, many of which are also not operating due to lack of resources and fuel. It just began to certify some of those dead on Monday, as acknowledged in an interview by Health Secretary Rafael Rodríguez Mercado.

    Sources of the CPI in half a dozen hospitals reported that these bodies are accumulated in the morgues of 69 hospitals in Puerto Rico, 70% of which is inoperative. Most of the hospital morgues from which information was obtained, which include Hospital centers Doctor’s Center in Bayamón and Santurce, Hospital Pavia de Santurce, Manatí Medical Center, Dr. Pila in Ponce, Medical Center of Rio Piedras, the Mayagüez Medical Center and the HIMA hospitals of Caguas and Bayamón, are full of capacity. These hospitals are among the 18 that are partially operational.

    Meanwhile the Puerto Rico “PR” relief effort, in name and deed, is descending into a political hate fest. With “Rethugs” and “Damns” lining up to take potshots at each other.

    • Joel says:

      This is bound to be a long struggle for the people there. Thanks for the update.

      • psile says:

        It’s hard to know the truth coming out of there, or any other place that shows America’s weakness. Even Texas and Florida are being reported as being back to normal after just a few weeks, which simply defies logic, given the scale of devastation

        • Jesse James says:

          My sister in Houston reports that her post office is not yet operating. Things are not back to normal yet.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            We live in a bubble … sometimes we get thrown out of the bubble by natural disasters …

            And it reminds us of how wonderful life is in the bubble otherwise known as BAU…

    • I can believe the death toll is much higher than claimed.

      Insurance companies have known for a long time that Puerto Rico was very vulnerable. They set up companies like “CNA of Puerto Rico” to handle business there. Then if things turned out badly and the company didn’t have enough reinsurance, they could just let the subsidiary go bankrupt, rather than paying out more than they choose to on the island. I know a lot of property on Puerto Rico is not insured. It is possible that there will even be problems collecting on some that is insured.

    • ultimately of course, whatever nature knocks down is going to stay down.

      It gets argued about as a political problem, when it is an energy problem.

      Structures represent energy inputs, it follows then that to rebuild them also requires even more energy. As energy availabilty declines, structures will remain flattened because there will no way of putting them back up in any meaningful long term sense,

    • xabier says:

      In the event of mass mortality, shouldn’t we perhaps attempt to turn the corpses into bio-char to improve the land devastated by chemical farming?

      Mere burial is such a waste of good organic material.

  24. Fast Eddy says:

    From the previous article comments…

    ‘Next, let’s take “intelligence”? Is it a discrete ability or something else? Is any broad general definition of “intelligence” available that all the experts agree on? Do we use the word “intelligence” to describe only one kind ability? Are each of us as individuals always equally intelligent and are we intelligent in the same way in all the different possible situations?

    I could go on, but some of you get the point. And those of you who don’t get the point by now won’t get the point no matter how long I go on because you are not intelligent enough to grok it.’

    +++++++++++++++++++++

    • Kurt says:

      In your case, it’s clearly something else.

      • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

        ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

        huh, my plus sign key got stuck.

        BAU tonight, baby!

  25. Fast Eddy says:

    In the grand storytelling style that is his signature, James Michener sweeps us back through time to the very beginnings of the Jewish faith, thousands of years ago. Through the predecessors of four modern men and women, we experience the entire colorful history of the Jews, including the life of the early Hebrews and their persecutions, the impact of Christianity, the Crusades, and the Spanish Inquisition, all the way to the founding of present-day Israel and the Middle-East conflict.
    “A sweeping chronology filled with excitement.”

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12657.The_Source

    A very long read and I am only part way in …. the author ties in a archaeological dig with historical fiction about how man started farming … and how and why religion came about….

  26. jazIntico says:

    Gail has just cut the cake a different way:

    https://ourfiniteworld.com/2017/10/01/why-political-correctness-fails-why-what-we-know-for-sure-is-wrong-ex-religion

    I guess Richard Dawkins was complaining to her.

  27. Fast Eddy says:

    As we can see here …. nobody will be allowed to take down BAU with protests… they will be beaten…. and if that is not enough …. I guarantee … they will be shot dead….

    Everything is at stake….

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-01/fascism-shocking-footage-spanish-police-shooting-rubber-bullets-brutally-beating-pea

    • jazIntico says:

      I think the Catalans just wanted more BAU for themselves.

    • Lastcall says:

      This is why I think nation states will become ungovernable before the ‘fiat financial facade’ will cave. You can balance the books, or not, to the moon and back, but down on main street they can spot a lemon.

      And so, as in Rome, the people will welcome the barbarians in while the chattering classes argue the vintage of their wines, the cut of their cloth and the value of their portfolios. The centre continues to distance itself from the source of its wealth and will pay the same price, in the same way, as it always has. Schadenfraude will be brief however.

      • xabier says:

        Look at the home page of The Guardian, anyday: news items which clearly arise from our energy crisis and collapse, followed by articles about luxury holidays, restaurants and fashion……

        • nope.avi says:

          Well the news is made by and for the elite: What the elite can relate to are luxury holidays, fine dining and fashion.

          There is also an audience of people who aspire to be like the elite and they are eager to mimic the lifestyles of the rich and famous so that they don’t stand out too much when they get a professional class job, or a non-profit. The audience of people who aspire to be like the elite are aided and abetted by finance industry that gives many people who aspire to be like the elite in the developed world a chance to “fake it until they make it.”
          It’s in this atmosphere that the cost of something like electric cars are downplayed because the assumption is that most people can afford it. Most people live in McMansions and have college degrees. Most people are upper middle class.
          http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/2011/08/04/normalizing-the-upper-middle-class-in-movies-and-television/

          And somewhere a delusional trust fund Progressive is probably making the case that the poor are persecuted minorities in a country of “endless wealth.”

  28. Pingback: Why political correctness fails – Why what we know ‘for sure’ is wrong (Ex Religion) | Our Finite World

  29. Rob Bell says:

    “A man with no options suddenly realizes he has all the options in the world. “

  30. leveveg says:

    I just hope that Tverberg someday will see that Fast Eddy is a member of the Dark Triad of Personalities, that she will block him from the forum and send an apology to Reverse Engeneer: https://permaliv.blogspot.no/2017/10/reverse-engeneer-ofw-fast-eddy.html

    • MG says:

      Him? Whom? Who is who?

      • MG says:

        Using nicks allows for anonymization. In general, it is not important WHO is writing, but WHAT he or she is writing. If it contains the truth, then there is no need to worry. If somebody decides to discontinue, it is his or her decision.

    • grayfox says:

      I agree, it would be nice to see RE post here again.

    • Kurt says:

      Uh, not likely. It’s also important to step away from ofw occasionally to get some perspective. When you come back you will see the humor part of it much better. The doomsday rants are just part of the ticket price. You don’t have to take them seriously. Now, FE takes up too much bandwidth, that’s for sure. But he is always wrong with his predictions so you just need to appreciate the velocity of his verbiage.

      • Obnoxious, yet it’s good to have him as a reminder of an outlier probability of insta-collapse, e.g. spent fuel ponds, similar high impact threats theories and the whole affair. Such collapse has indeed non zero probability, but there are stronger contenders in the midterm. Namely, cascading plateaus, attempts at triage and autarky, peoplez pushed into neofeudal slavery etc.

        As we are now most likely positioned in a situation where the game is about the innards of the ~1.5-2B pop grpup as the living support for the industrial civilization, the rest is already lost. We can watch how layer after layer is going to be jettisoned out of this core system till some next collapse threshold dynamics is reached. Repeat and again. At some point it will likely make the situation unworkable for everybody, but we are not there yet, and perhaps for few more decades, from the vantage point of the utmost top. Obviously, the situation at the bottom (and middle) will be changing to the worse much faster, my guesstimate by mid-late 2020s we are going to have openly admitted caste system again, i.e. almost no frivolous consumption allowed/allocated for the lower strata, only “veterinary sanitation” kind of adhoc support to prevent the worst outbreaks and so on.

        • xabier says:

          Worldof

          An interesting example of ‘triage’ in Britain: extreme shortages of medical specialists in some fields, and above all in the poorer parts of these islands.

          The truth is also that not only are there not enough qualified surgeons to go around, (high university fees are leading to fewer students in training at even the best medical schools attached to universities) but they simply don’t want to live in these marginal zones once qualified : crime, generally depressing, decaying infrastructure, no good schools for their children, no decent restaurants -‘palpable poverty’ as a friend said after driving through one such place.

          Moreover, hospitals lacking these specialists cannot send their patients to other hospitals, because declining funding ( relative to demand) means that they don’t have the beds, even when offered cash to take them.

          Bottom line: if you live in a marginal are, it’s clearly just going to get worse, and in the near-term. One reason why I stay here, in a bio-tech teaching hospital ‘regional hub’, just tn minutes from the hospital……

          • MG says:

            Yes, the decay of the system can be slow, but sure. The abrupt war-like population decline can spread across generations, the areas can depopulate stepwise, changing into poverty ghettoes first, while the rest still somewhat functions on not obviously sinking wages.

            25 years ago, we had a hospital with various wards in our district town. Today, this is no longer the truth and the patients are hospitalized in more distant bigger regional hospital centers for ever shorter periods of time.

          • DJ says:

            It is silly believing we will get the best theoretically possible healthcare anyway.

            Maybe being employed, but that may be mandatory for living in the biotech hub, improves odds.

            • xabier says:

              I agree: we must learn to face mortality square in the face. All our expectations are false.

              Nonetheless, it’s tough luck for the people on the margins,and it does illustrate the contraction within an advanced ‘core’ economy which the more fortunate a few miles away won’t be aware of.

            • nope.avi says:

              Most people are confident. Confidence comes with a healthy helping of entitlement.

          • nope.avi says:

            “Bottom line: if you live in a marginal are, it’s clearly just going to get worse, and in the near-term. One reason why I stay here, in a bio-tech teaching hospital ‘regional hub’, just tn minutes from the hospital……”

            If you reside in a ‘regional hub’, when an antibiotic resistant strain of a microbe something causes an epidemic, you are likely to be one of the first few infected..Being in a ‘regional hub’ myself, I’m open to the possibility that the center may the first to collapse because the center cannot really work with any reductions in resources. The center is fragile.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      OH MY…. you have Made My Day!!!

      When I read your comment at first I laughed… I laughed so hard I think I had a minor stroke…. but it was just a bout of light-headedness because all the blood was rushing to my laughing muscle….

      Realizing I was not going to be resigned to a hospital bed sh it ting myself and slobbering like a half witted MORE on…. trying to convince Madame Fast using sign language to smother me with a pillow…

      I then proceeded to laugh even harder… so hard that I turned purple… then I heard this tearing sound .. it didn’t really hurt… but then I looked down and my entrails were all over the floor — I had split my gut!!!! — Madame Fast quickly gathered them and stuffed them back in — then she used duct tape to seal the split…. I applied some miracle Essential Oils and it healed in minutes…

      Now where was I …. oh yes

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVFd46qABi0

      Apparently Ladbrokes has odds on this happening…. 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1. (I may have missed a few zeros)

      Koombaya NEVER wins.

      • jazIntico says:

        Be careful, FE, his face is quite scary. “leveveg” – I think that means he can levitate vegetables. I also heard he breeds triffids. He might set one on you, if you are not respectful.

    • Jesse James says:

      And what is Reverse Engineers problem? Did he get “triggered”. Offended? Did FE not sing Kumbaya with him? I seem to remember the moniker, but not any details of what he said. I take it he had opposing views from FE?

    • Tim Groves says:

      It’s thanks to Fast Eddy that OFW remains a BAU-Lite-free zone.
      Because Fast Eddy goes under the rim, round the bowl and even down the U-bend
      to kill 99% of all known DelusiSTANis, dead!

      https://youtu.be/gFxD9PN1ZRE

      • Joel says:

        Good video but what about the 1% remaining, they could multiple?

        • Tim Groves says:

          World of Doom. Good name for a theme park!

          Leveveg, your Grand Poohbar, RE, is a nice chap. I sincerely hope fate continues to be kind to him.

          However, RE is a DelusiSTANi by any reasonable standard as well as a man who can be demonstrated to employ double standards himself.

          For instance, RE claims OFW is a cult blog and the Doomstead Diner isn’t. Laughably, he even lumps OFW in with Nature Bats Last, which is a bloody insult. He claims this is because cult blogs have leaders and enforcers that ensure everybody thinks the same, and that OFW and NBL fit that criteria while DD doesn’t because on DD nobody agrees with anybody else.

          This is, as the French say, Boule Sheet, as there are massive disagreements on OFW between the commenters on all kinds of subjects on any day of the week.

          Also, although he is extremely tolerant of dissent, RE has been known to ban people who cross his red lines. I can’t recall whether Gail has ever done that, but she hasn’t banned RE and she hasn’t banned you and she didn’t ban Dolph either. But if she had banned anyone, that would only mean she was enforcing the self same policy that RE does at the Diner.

          Also, RE uses cuss words. Gail never ever does that. And RE uses pejorative nicknames for people he dislikes – bless him – like “Guy McStinkson”. Gail never ever does that either. She’s a lady. He’s a tramp.

          How dare you come round here insulting Our Lady of Acturialism by misbehaving on Her Blog!? How dare you!?

          You go back, back to your Doomslum, give our best regards to RE, then crawl back under your rock and wash your mouth out with soap.

          RE on cult blogs:
          Enforcement of Group Think on a given blog commentariat comes in two ways mainly. First is if the Blogger only approves comments which are in agreement with his POV. That’s a very EZ way to maintain uniformity within the blog-cult. The second way is to have ENFORCERS of the group think who drop in and ATTACK anyone who is not sticking to the party line. Ulfulgi on Nature Bats Last and Fast Eddy on Our Finite World are typical examples of Enforcers in a blog commentariat.

          Far as the Doomstead Diner goes, it doesn’t fit Cult Definitions from Merriam-Webster at all. Nobody agrees on EVERYTHING we discuss daily Inside the Diner, in fact it’s one very long, non-stop ARGUMENT on numerous topics. There is no Central Ideology to the Diner, other than we all agree to argue the issues, hopefully politely with respect for other Diners. As the main Blogger on the site, my ideas are attacked all the time, and I get personally attacked Ad Hom all the time too! I have a very thick skin from years of moderating forums, going back to the Wild West days on AOL. It’s all Water Off a Duck’s Back for me most of the time. For the most part I let all the posting go up, although you can go too far in attacking me personally, as one of our more insulting members found out recently. While I like Free Speech, if somebody refuses to be respectful and polite to myself and other Diners, I WILL drop down the Ban Hammer.[can you spell “hippo critter?]. It just gets too disruptive after a while when Trolls do this. When you cannot get a troll to grasp this simple fact of life, it becomes a FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE.

          http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2016/12/21/blog-cults/

  31. It is time to revisit the merits of eugenics, which became very uncool after a certain guy with mustache abused it, despite of the fact that every advanced nation practiced it before about 1950.

    • With today’s medicine, we have been doing precisely the opposite of eugenics. We use medicine to save the least well adapted–very premature babies for example, and those with cancer. To the extent that the tendency is inherited, they push the overall mix of people in the direction of needing more healthcare, not less.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        And that’s why we live in a world filled with MORE ons… and semi – MORe ONs….

  32. Ed says:

    http://noetic.org/blog/communications-team/loving-artificial
    Unconditionally loving AI. Following in the footsteps of Machines of Loving Grace (1967 poem).
    We need to get out of the box and see the future is wondrous.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “Can we create an Artificial Intelligence that loves, unconditionally?”

      no, we can’t.

      AI is as far-fetched an idea as fusion reactors or world peace etc.

      humans are not “going to the stars”!

      AI is just a kind of advanced computing that will surely disappoint all of its “believers”.

      feel free to disagree.

      many persons thing AI is going to be wonderful for humanity.

      not me.

    • J. H. Wyoming says:

      Getting something artificial to ‘act’ like it loves is a manipulation.

      • muchly2long says:

        • Tim Groves says:

          The woman is played by Jean Marsh, who went on to become famous as Rose in Upstairs Downstairs.

          • muchly2long says:

            Yes, I recognised her straightaway when I first saw that Twilight episode (of 1959) in the 1980s. I did doubt myself at first cos they’re 2 muchly different roles.

        • J. H. Wyoming says:

          Great Twilight Zone episode, ‘The Lonely’ about a guy falsely convicted of murder and placed on an asteroid as a prison (which is actually Death Valley, CA). Of course the cost involved in supplying some guy on his own desolate asteroid would be astronomical, but anyway it is a good example of fake love. “Hi, my name’s Alesha. What’s yours?”

          “Every time I look at her I’m mocked by the memory of women.”

          At the end a ship comes with good news to take Corey back to Earth, but there is a weight limit and they can’t take Alesha, and Corey goes nuts cause he’s formed an attachment, so the Captain shoots her and then Corey sees the illusion he’s been living as the wires short and are visible where her face once was.

          Fact is there are already guys with robot women that have formed relationships with them. There is a company in CA that makes them. These are guys unable to form normal relationships with a woman so they opt for a robot. They claim great success. So I guess a human can be fooled with an illusion, which is a grand manipulation, but if it works then who are we to judge I guess. But what might happen in the future when they are more sophisticated and a guy never has to compromise like he does with a real wife. Is that good for the development of human consciousness or not. It might end up not being a good thing if it acts to distance people from one another.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            When hacker group Impact Team released the Ashley Madison data, they asserted that “thousands” of the women’s profiles were fake. Later, this number got blown up in news stories that asserted “90-95%” of them were fake, although nobody put forth any evidence for such an enormous number. So I downloaded the data and analysed it to find out how many actual women were using Ashley Madison, and who they were.

            What I discovered was that the world of Ashley Madison was a far more dystopian place than anyone had realised. This isn’t a debauched wonderland of men cheating on their wives. It isn’t even a sadscape of 31 million men competing to attract those 5.5 million women in the database. Instead, it’s like a science fictional future where every woman on Earth is dead, and some Dilbert-like engineer has replaced them with badly-designed robots.

            Those millions of Ashley Madison men were paying to hook up with women who appeared to have created profiles and then simply disappeared. Were they cobbled together by bots and bored admins, or just user debris? Whatever the answer, the more I examined those 5.5 million female profiles, the more obvious it became that none of them had ever talked to men on the site, or even used the site at all after creating a profile. Actually, scratch that. As I’ll explain below, there’s a good chance that about 12,000 of the profiles out of millions belonged to actual, real women who were active users of Ashley Madison.

            When you look at the evidence, it’s hard to deny that the overwhelming majority of men using Ashley Madison weren’t having affairs. They were paying for a fantasy.

            https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2015/08/almost-none-of-the-women-in-the-ashley-madison-database-ever-used-the-site/

            And the punchline…. the site still exists!

            https://www.ashleymadison.com/app/public/index.p

          • jazIntico says:

            My beautiful robot bride would get upset if she were to read your cruel words, J. H. Wyoming. After all, if I shot you, you’d just be a skeleton underneath. Same difference.

    • Good Grief!

  33. Fast Eddy says:

    K limate khange to be concerned about

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_theory

    • The Second Coming says:

      You best be concerned….looks like down under is being slammed real hard with it this winter season…
      https://m.phys.org/news/2017-09-australia-record-breaking-winter-warmth-linked.html

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Funny… when the temperature is hot you get a headline like this

        Australia’s record-breaking winter warmth linked to cli…mat e cha nge

        Then when you get record cold weather surely the headline should be Australia’s record breaking winter cold snap raises doubts about Klima te Ch ange….

        But NOPE… no mention of that…..

        ‘Coldest temperature in years’ as Australia shivers through a wintry morning
        TEMPERATURES plummeted to a record breaking -12C this morning as winter made its presence felt across Australia’s south east.

        http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/coldest-temperature-in-years-as-australia-shivers-through-a-wintry-morning/news-story/6ecd09214397695519a113490b0e3bdb

        Record breaking cold weather hits Australia’s south east
        http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/record-breaking-cold-weather-hits-australias-south-east/news-story/50906eac539b4fa9303ae95302b7f36b

        • Fast Eddy says:

          One would think that even the st wepidest More on would look at the above and think to himself….. hmmmm… there is something wrong with this picture….

          I think I am being played…

          But nope.

          I am confident that if Al Gore came out and said — I was asked to make that movie — because oil had peaked and we didn’t want people getting to panicky…. so the decision was made to invent a different problem — one with solutions… Elon Musk was also also asked to help — to be the front man for the the solutions….

          That the geeeble bbbeeeblers would refuse to change their minds — they would get angry — they would call for Al Gore’s head.

          There is generally no changing the mind of a Mo re on… the MSM controls their minds… the only way to change their minds would be to take over the MSM…. and pound them relentless with the truth about this hyped up hoax…

          And even then … it would take months…. because unindoctrinating someone is a process…

          • doomphd says:

            please do not confuse weather with climate.

          • The Second Coming says:

            From your neck of the woods

            Clate cnge is a classic “wicked problem”, which is difficult or impossible to solve absolutely, and can’t be solved by science alone.

            In addition to carrying out research into critical physical science questions about how the Earth system works and interlinks, there is also a related social science research area that focuses on impacts and implications of our chaing clate.

            As a result, there is no one expert authority on “clite chae”, and instead it may appear that the field includes many diverse voices and perspective vs (some of them self-nominated experts), who don’t always present a coherent message that’s easy to present in a simple media story.

            There is also inherent uncertainty in the field – not only related to the lack of precision of models but also because we don’t yet know what future choices humans will make (most importantly about our emissions but also related to adaptation choices).

            It is very difficult to communicate this uncertainty accurately while also making clear that the overall trajectory of clite cge is uncontested in the scientific community at large

            Good interview regarding the media and the message.
            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11924662

            • Fast Eddy says:

              KKLi,mate is very much like the topic of intelligence among races…

              It is impossible to measure either effectively … because some places are getting w armer and some are getting cooler… so many moving parts…. and with race … there are some very intelligent people in all races … mixed in with mostly very stooooopid MOre … ons…..

              Where does one begin?

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      when I see this kind of report of an ancient massive volcanic eruption, I suspect that it was caused by a meteor.

      not that it matters one way or the other.

      I suppose that these unusually large eruptions could happen without meteor strikes.

      can’t they?

      but it’s “fun” to speculate.

      • doomphd says:

        i wonder what the odds are for a random meteor strike on an active volcano in an island arc setting. the active volcano is in an arc position determined by tectonic subduction beneath the arc, where two plates collide in the crust and upper mantle. the odds that a change in the stress buildup of an underlying magmatic system is responsible for the eruption of the volcano must be quite high, in comparison.

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

          okay…

          so a huge meteor striking exactly into the belt of the “ring of fire” is highly unlikely.

    • I agree that the presence or absence of big volcanoes makes a big difference. The global dimming caused by coal use may also make a difference.

  34. J. H. Wyoming says:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/09/29/gop-tax-plan-would-provide-major-gains-for-richest-1-percent-and-uneven-benefits-for-the-middle-class-report-says/?utm_term=.f1fe392df1cf

    Scroll down and look at the bar graph showing which income bracket benefits by far the most. You guessed it, the top 1% & the top .01%, but every category gets some supposed tax cuts even though it makes no sense, because the country is already having to continually raise the debt level to increase borrowing (wherever that comes from). So it’s yet another trickle down that will never trickle down and never raise the GDP one iota, but instead widen the wealth gap and dramatically raise deficits/debt.

    This is Trump trying to give himself a tax cut and solidify the GOP super wealthy donor base.

    • This is a plan to make the rich more wealthy, with the poor paying the cost. Also transfer taxes from businesses to individuals. I can see why John Weaver says, “Rewarding the 1 percent, at a time when the gap between the haves and have-nots is at a record high, isn’t wise economically and certainly not wise politically.”

    • Nope.avi says:

      “This is Trump trying to give himself a tax cut and solidify the GOP super wealthy donor base.” Republicans have pursued supply side economics since the end of the Oil Embargo crisis in the 1970s. Since the 1970s, there has been declining profitability in all sectors of the economy and tax cuts, along with low interest rates, along with supply side economics are a way to hide the fact the the rate of return on investment has been going down.

      That said, the super wealthy make up the base of all political parties in the U,S,
      Politicians are not funded by 99% they are funded by wealthy people. Most of the elite are on the side of liberals these days, which is why the identity politics groups are more powerful than the Christian Right groups. Despite their liberal social positions these days, the 1% are vehemently apposed to any kind of wealth redistribution–and have cleverly framed growing inequality has an issue of prejudice, not their unwillingness to pay greater share of taxes or to raise taxes across the board to support social programs that may alleviate economic and therefore social inequality.

      The reality of the situation may be that the wealthy are trying to protect themselves from declining profitability with tax cuts. They will support transgender bathrooms and give all kinds of support to the Black Lives Matters causes but don’t want anyone to $%^ with their wealth.

    • As I said, he is trying to transfer money from the poor to the already rich. Great way to collapse the system, and leave some resources for succeeding generations, if there are some.

  35. Joel says:

    No need to fear the robots taking over the jobs, we can just interface the extra bipeds.
    Musk gets a mention as well, though called a dreamer which seems like a low blow.

    “Scientists have succeeded in remotely controlling the movements of mice. If human beings are next, how can we deal with the moral and ethical implications of this discovery?”
    “Despite only being tested on mice, the research could have far-reaching implications in the realm of brain research. The holy grail for dreamers like “Elon Musk is that we’ll one day be able to tweak our brains to eliminate mood disorders and make us more perfect creatures.”
    https://www.rt.com/op-edge/405138-mice-human-brain-science/

    • Tim Groves says:

      That has always been one of my favorite of many fine Pink Floyd songs..

      Cyborg potentiality or not, the Machine of adult life as a productive “non elite” worker was something most teenagers of my acquaintance resented signing up for, although they had little in the way of attractive alternative options.

      • Joel says:

        Great song indeed…

        The Cyber Worker program is the right thing for green funding in my opinion. Will need to turn green myself to support this effort. Musk can tweak my brain into a perfect state so that’s cool. Good posting…

        Long live BAU

  36. let's see if this gets through says:

    I want to say goodbye to everyone here. Best of luck as you navigate this collapse. Try as I might, I just can’t get my comments through, even as you guys post and post trivialities every single day.
    I’m simply not going to fight just to get heard here, on topics which have been exhausted to death.
    -dolph

    • Joel says:

      Take care dolph, best luck to you as well.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Another DelusiSTANI bites the dust

      And another one gone and another gone

      Another DelusiSTANI bites the dust….

    • Kurt says:

      If you contradict FE, down you go. That’s how the site is run.

      • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

        Eddy bashed me for weeks when I began posting a few months ago (after reading Gail’s articles for years, literally years).

        remember that, Eddy?

        in a way, that was kinda fun.

        I don’t have a handle on Dolph or what his leanings are.

        I guess he really couldn’t get through moderation too much.

        took me a while to not write Gl-ennnnn or stew-pyd or klymitt and others.

        one of the main attractions to this blog is the gigantic and outrageous and often over-the-top postings about near term collapse.

        The Collapse, you know?

        many here live in Collapsestan and are thus Collapsestanis.

        eh, Eddy?

        long live IC!

        BAU tonight, baby!

        • Tim Groves says:

          I remember when Eddy and some others were ganging up on you, David.

          And you took their slings and arrows bravely, as bravely as young Tom Brown when he had to serve as Flashman’s toast track. You didn’t even flinch. And you didn’t give tit for tat.

          And that, more than anything else, is what earned you their respect.

          That and the fact that as far as we know you aren’t and have never been a card-carrying member of any DelusiSTANi sect.

          You’ve never waxed poetic about the wonders of autonomous EVs, wind turbines and solar panels, or even about space-based solar and unlimited fusion power in a box under everyone’s staircase. You’ve never sang the praises of permaculture as a panacea for our collective predicament. You’re a true CollapsiSTANi at heart.

          And, as you keep reminding us—and some of us need to be constantly reminded!—we haven’t quite collapsed yet.

          BAU tonight baby!

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Let me refine that for you …. if you refuse to accept logic and facts….

        Your life on FW will be short brutish and nasty

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

          yes, sir!

          that’s a fact.

          • Kurt says:

            You betcha!!!

            • Joel says:

              Kurt,
              I responded to you’re Sep,30 8:05 pm post quickly but was denied! Only to say that others have noticed as well.
              Now seeing David’s comment: “I guess he really couldn’t get through moderation too much. took me a while to not write Gl-ennnnn or stew-pyd or klymitt and others.”

              Things make sense now, how ever it really spoils the flow of the conversation IMO.
              I guess he who holds the decoder ring rules, no big deal, BAU ……..

      • I think what happens is that quite a few commenters give up, if they cannot contradict what FE is saying.

    • Nope.avi says:

      Sure thing, Cliff. We believe you this time.

    • Nope.avi says:

      There’s a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hall
      And the bells in the steeple too
      And up in the nursery an absurd little bird
      Is popping out to say, “Cuckoo”
      Cuckoo, cuckoo
      Regretfully they inform me cuckoo, cuckoo
      But firmly they compel me
      To say, “Goodbyyyyyyyyyye”, to youuuuuuuuuuu

  37. Imants Vilks says:

    Gail Twerberg!

    You have trespassed the Occam’s principle. If we assume that some deity has created the laws of Physics, then we must answer the question: Where did this Higher Power come from?

    The Myth 8: we don’t need religion. You write: “In practice, people need a religion or a religion-substitute. People need a basic set of beliefs with which to order their lives.”

    We are genetically pre-programmed for something bigger than our daily existence, for something sacred and holy, for some sense, some goal and objective, and, at the end, for some hope for eternal life. Contemporary science gives to us all of this: Our task, possibility and responsibility is a long-term survival of humanity, or, as Carl Sagan said, to preserve our Universe’s matter to get conscious of itself. No greater task is possible. If we will solve the task of transferring our consciousness to other physical environment, we will obtain even some sort of ‘eternal life’. 

    • doomphd says:

      Percy Shelley’s “Ozymandias”

      I met a traveller from an antique land
      Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
      Stand in the desert… near them, on the sand,
      Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
      And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
      Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
      Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
      The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:

      And on the pedestal these words appear:
      ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
      Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
      Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
      Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
      The lone and level sands stretch far away.

      • According to Wikipedia:

        In antiquity, Ozymandias (Ὀσυμανδύας in the Greek alphabet) was a Greek name for pharaoh Ramesses II, who ruled Egypt from 1279 BCE to 1213 BCE, in the 19th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. Shelley began writing his poem in 1817, soon after the announcement of the British Museum’s acquisition of a large fragment of a statue of Ramesses II from the thirteenth century BCE, leading some scholars to believe that Shelley was inspired by this. The 7.25-ton fragment of the statue’s head and torso had been removed in 1816 from the mortuary temple of Ramesses at Thebes by Italian adventurer Giovanni Battista Belzoni. It was expected to arrive in London in 1818, but did not arrive until 1821.[5][6] Shelley wrote the poem in friendly competition with his friend and fellow poet Horace Smith (1779–1849), who also wrote a sonnet on the same topic with the same title. Smith’s poem was published in The Examiner a few weeks after Shelley’s sonnet. Both poems explore the fate of history and the ravages of time: even the greatest men and the empires they forge are impermanent, their legacies fated to decay into oblivion.

    • At some point, there are things we cannot answer. That point might be, “Where did all of the laws of physics come from?” Or it might be, “Where did the maker of the laws of physics (who may have made other things as well) come from?”

      I don’t think that we have an answer to either question.

      • J. H. Wyoming says:

        Gail, here’s another question we can’t answer; if the laws of thermodynamics state energy cannot be created, then where did all the energy in the Universe come from? Or how about this one; How can an accidental universe be governed by specific mathematical equations?

        • david higham says:

          The first law of thermodynamics states that energy/matter can be neither created nor destroyed. Matter can be transformed into energy. All nuclear reactions are transforming matter into energy.

          • Tim Groves says:

            Matter is a form of concentrated energy, David.
            And energy is eternal delight.

            J.H. I can’t answer your big questions. But I know someone who might be able to shed some light on the: Andrei Lind, the father of inflation in the cosmic sense.

            By the way, this article ties in with the pedantic point I was trying to make elsewhere about the laws of physics possibly not being truly universal.

            Why Is Our World Comprehensible?

            “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.” This is one of the most famous quotes from Albert Einstein. “The fact that it is comprehensible is a miracle.” Similarly, Eugene Wigner said that the unreasonable efficiency of mathematics is “a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve.” Thus we have a problem that may seem too metaphysical to be addressed in a meaningful way: Why do we live in a comprehensible universe with certain rules, which can be efficiently used for predicting our future?

            https://www.edge.org/response-detail/11981

        • ejhr2015 says:

          https://medium.com/starts-with-a-bang/the-big-bang-wasnt-the-beginning-after-all-81844b973333

          This is the latest idea, that the Big Bang occurred AFTER inflation, not as we have thought till now. The pre inflation state was pure energy. No quarks or anything else material.

          • Interesting! This article appears to have been published just recently–September 28, 2017

            The author is Ethan Siegal – Cosmology Science writer, astrophysicist, science communicator, and NASA columnist

            According to the article,

            The conclusion was inescapable: the hot Big Bang definitely happened, but doesn’t extend to go all the way back to an arbitrarily hot and dense state. Instead, the very early Universe underwent a period of time where all of the energy that would go into the matter and radiation present today was instead bound up in the fabric of space itself. That period, known as cosmic inflation, came to an end and gave rise to the hot Big Bang, but never created an arbitrarily hot, dense state, nor did it create a singularity. What happened prior to inflation — or whether inflation was eternal to the past — is still an open question, but one thing is for certain: the Big Bang is not the beginning of the Universe!

            It seems like that in some sense, God could be this energy that was bound up in the fabric of space itself. This energy could reform itself to form the Universe. I would presume this energy could reform itself in other ways as well, but this is just speculation on my part. It would seem like this energy bound up in the fabric of space itself could have existed for all time.

  38. Nope.avi says:

    Not all genes deserved to be passed on. Some people who are doing well, have traits that would make them unfit in rougher periods. I can’t see not-brawny men doing very well outside civilization for example. The whole phenomenon of high-IQ men doing better than those with a normal IQ is fairly recent phenomenon (and goes against instincts of what most women find initially attractive in men. Women are not naturally drawn to guys like Bill Gates). I talk about men because there is almost no natural selection when it comes to women. With a modest amount of effort, even an unattractive woman can get pregnant.
    Perhaps why the birthrate is so low, among the educated upwardly mobile, is because they are less physically attractive to each other, overall, which is why pornography is probably a huge outlet for them.

    • I agree that the what the economy selects for tends to change over time. Without fossil fuel,. strength was definitely more important. If strength is not important, and other people can “look after” children, then other women can enter the work force in large numbers, taking away jobs that might go to men. Women and men of high IQ probably (at least temporarily) have an advantage.

      A large share of women with demanding jobs don’t want very many children–often only one, or none at all–because it interferes with their career. I expect that is part of the reason for the lower birthrate among the upwardly mobile group.

      • Joel says:

        It maybe due to the employed young women having slim pickings to marrying up, or a limited selection of alpha males?
        The current youth have a strong head wind in front of them for sure, not as much an issue generations ago.

        “Hypergamy (colloquially referred to as “marrying up”) is a term used in social science for the act or practice of a person marrying another of higher caste or social status than themselves.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypergamy

        Not to worry the 2018 collapse could be just around the corner according to some.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Cliff… you’ve reincarnated yourself….

        • Nope.avi says:

          ” [is it] due to the employed young women having slim pickings to marrying up, or a limited selection of alpha males?”

          My opinion is that it’s both. Many women are not interested in having demand and high-paying jobs and only work for the following reasons: The income of most men is not high enough to keep them at home, If the income of a husband is high enough to keep a woman at home, they are isolated at home as a homemaker during the day because most women in their neighborhood are working , retain a certain amount of independence. . The prevailing strategy for many women is to get knocked up by the most attractive guy they can attract, the alpha male or Bad Boy or whatever and then have the dependable man with has a middle-class income to help raise the kids. Outside of the role of raising children, the dependable man is often not really desirable and I think that contributes to the declining birth rates, lack of family formation, and the like.

          There is simply a shortage of desirable men.

          • Joel says:

            Must be a limited resource issue, just import better men then I guess. Not looking myself…

            • Rob Bell says:

              This world is going to shit so fast. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to have kids anymore.

            • Nope.avi says:

              More of an evolution sort of issue. Men have always competed for women. Importing “hot men” can work as a solution depending on where those men are coming from. Despite what you hear about how diverse and multicultural the U.S. is, most people prefer to socialize and ****** people who are similar to themselves, ethnically and culturally. Some races and cultures can mix, and others do not. What women are initially attracted to and what they want in a long-term relationship are two different things. In the West, women are allowed to pursue those two different things. In other cultures, exotic sexual partners are frowned upon and women have to think about who will fit in with their friends and family. There is a lot less mixing than one is led to believe by the “Culture of Success”.

              In the best case scenario, if developed countries tried to solve their low birth rates by importing more attractive men, there would slightly be more desirable men. Only a fraction of those men would be men women would find physically attractive, and only a fraction of those men would be “dependable men” with good jobs that could help with raising children.

      • DJ says:

        Don’t you contradict yourself? If high-IQ people have better careers and have less children because of their careers, then low-IQ-people should have a reproductive advantage.

        I think I remember a U-curve chart from LtG, where the poor have most children, the normal one/two and the rich about four.

  39. Rob Bell says:

    Great Article! Interesting points!

    • The peak and decline seem to depend at least partly on prices. If prices would suddenly rise to $300 per barrel (extremely unlikely in my view), then suddenly there would be a lot more oil available from shale resources. If oil prices in the US remain barely over $50, then indeed production will drop quite soon, as this article suggests.

  40. Mike Anderson says:

    Gail, how interesting to see you consider the wisdom contained in the Bible. However, for independent, critical thinkers such as us, it can also be a lonely road, just as reformers throughout the ages have been lonely, squelched, or worse. For the year or so that I have read your thoughts here, I thought you would enjoy considering some of the Biblically-informed expectations for the future that have given me confidence lately, but I can’t easily share them unless other foundations are in place. These foundations require research, but people of honesty and good will often find them. I’ve been watching people on forums find them for years.

    • doomphd says:

      Dear Mike,

      Please be moron explicit so we can have a clue as to what points you are trying to make.

      Thanks,
      Doom

    • One of the issues is that there seem to be two types of people:

      (1) Ones who are interested in looking into religious issues in depth.
      (2) Ones who would like to stay as far away from the subject as possible. Quite a few of these people have had a bad experience with one or another teaching of some religion.

      I understand that John Michael Greer now divides his posts into two types: religious and other.

      Within the subject of religious issues, there is the subject of Biblically-informed expectations for the future. I will have to admit that I am fairly skeptical of quite a few forecasts that are supposedly based on say, the book of Revelation or Old Testament prophesies. I find the expectations of the “Left Behind” series of books particularly absurd, for example. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left_Behind

      • Mike Anderson says:

        I’m purposefully vague about religious issues. There’s so much bathwater that I often can’t fault people for suspecting there is no baby there (“Left Behind” is all bathwater IMO) and I don’t think there’s much salvific value in having the correct understanding, but instead understanding is made available to those who live by the principle of love. Wisdom is purposefully hidden throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. As Jesus said, “don’t throw your pearls before swine,” and the angel to Daniel said, “none of the wicked will understand, but the wise will understand.”

        • J. H. Wyoming says:

          Liked your post, MA and agree. I grew up with agnostic parents so had the same viewpoint as theirs until I almost drowned at 14. That near death experience taught me two things: There is more to the universe than just a physical plane and the other place we go after this life is full of love. But I understand that it is a personal experience and cannot be fully conveyed to others so they need to find out for themselves through faith or lack thereof, but that other place is there for everybody regardless.

  41. Fast Eddy says:

    Maybe MORE on was too harsh – he did attend Harvard and was learning to be a programmer…. but his minders do not allow him in front of the camera — because he is will embarrass himself… because he clearly has not a clue about running a business of any scale let alone a monster like FB (Jeff Bezos or Steve Jobs he’s not…)

    Keep in mind his claim to fame prior to stealing FB was a ‘hot or not hot’ website for Harvard students… photos were loaded and you could vote…..

    If not for the theft of FB… I suspect Mark would have ended up a cog locked in a closet running lines of code…

    As for billions of dollars — that’s not really that difficult…. all you need to do is come up with something that will amuse the monkeys and you are a billionaire these days…

    Case in point snap chat… or twitter — not exactly the light bulb…. yet the founders are worth many many billions….

    • They are worth billions, if the price of their stock stays up, and there is actually something to buy with the dollars from the shares of their stock. They have gotten a lot of fame as well.

      • Jesse James says:

        I am curious about a theory I have….completely without any supporting data…that much the Money flowing into Facebook and Twitter and Google, is doing the opposite of what we are told it is doing. We are told that all of that money helps to generate revenue for the hostage companies that pay it. But what if it effectively has the opposite effect. What if it misallocates capital into unproductive things, namely social media. Capital that could have been used better elsewhere. Could this contribute to economic malaise?
        Like I said….just a sniff of something going on that I have.

        • In a way, social media is a great waste of time. In some ways, it would be better if people took off their headphones as they walked (or used the treadmill) and put away their cell phones. They would be better off if they lived close to where they worked, and in the evening could go outside and visit with neighbors. Instead, everyone is inside, in their air conditioned/heated homes. Children are taken to play groups occasionally, but they generally play inside with their computer related devices. Mostly, adults talk online, if they talk at all. They share recipes, and brag about their successes. This is not really a “normal” way of doing things, but it does eliminate envy of the neighbor’s new car. No one even knows their neighbor anymore.

          In this sense, it does tend to misallocate resources.

          The one thing that the social media do is make it possible for alternative views to be heard. In fact, by selling advertising and by selling subscriptions, quite a few people can earn a living offering one view or another. The catch is that what they say tends to be distorted by their need to earn money, selling whatever they have to sell. This can be gold. Their approach can also be based on getting donations from green thinkers.

        • doomphd says:

          Nothing too entertaining about a freeway ramp pillar, solid and productive as it might be.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          All are nothing more than digital bread and circuses .. at the end of the day.

  42. Fast Eddy says:

    Interest rates … are going nowhere…

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-29/fed-afraid

    • Thanks! The article argues that Yellen is realizing that the economy really isn’t as strong as claimed.

      I am wondering if the fact that Trump is interviewing other people to possibly replace Yellen is a sign that he is not entirely happy with her leadership of the Fed. A different leader might have given a better assessment of the economy, during the past year.

  43. Ed says:

    Gail, you speak n a world of liars. Thank you. they world has gone mad.

    • I am afraid you are right. I was reading an article today in the WSJ about the radical drop of marriage among those aged 25 – 34 in the last several years. There seem to be many reasons including financial reasons, availability of birth control allowing sex outside of marriage without adverse consequences, and availability of online pornography.

      I know I have one niece (age 38) who keeps pursuing more and more different types of academic programs, in the hope that one of them will lead to a job that pays a reasonable wage. She fills up her days and nights with work and classes, leaving virtually no time for dating. Most of the dates she gets are from people from online dating sites, since she has no time for any activity other than checking websites.

  44. Ed says:

    You folks who live outside the US are so lucky. The US has gone mad. All lies all
    the time.

  45. alfredmelbourne says:

    “Shifting energy use among countries is fairly easy”

    That of course is what the West has been doing in the Middle East – by destroying countries in series. The Germans on the other hand are welcoming economic migrants on a grand scale and the energy consumption of these immigrants will catch up with that of native Germans.

  46. timl2k11 says:

    Musk is going to ship a few batteries to Puerto Rico. Problem solved.
    https://www.ecowatch.com/tesla-batteries-puerto-rico-2490950539.html