Why political correctness fails – Why what we know ‘for sure’ is wrong (Ex Religion)

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 several controversial topics, including environmentalism, peer-reviewed literature, and climate change models. This post pretty much excludes religion. It was added for people who find it hard to believe that a scientific article could also touch upon religion. If you want the complete discussion, as the post was originally written, please see this post

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. 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.

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.

Conclusion

We are facing a battle against the laws of physics which we are unlikely to win. Our leaders would like us to think that it can be won quite easily, but it cannot be.  Climate change is presented as our only and most important problem, but this is not really the case. Our problem is that the financial system and energy systems are tightly connected. We are likely to have serious financial problems as we hit limits of many kinds, at more or less the same time.

Our leaders are not really as powerful as we would like. Even our scientific findings practically never come in perfect form. Our knowledge generally comes in a series of steps, which includes revisions to early ideas. At this time, it doesn’t look as though we have figured out a way to work around our rising need for energy and the problem with rising entropy.

 

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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1,605 Responses to Why political correctness fails – Why what we know ‘for sure’ is wrong (Ex Religion)

  1. Fast Eddy says:

    In one of the most shocking developments to emerge in the week-and-a-half since Stephen Paddock killed 59 people and wounded more than 500 others during the worst mass shooting in US history, NBC is reporting that a maintenance worker said Wednesday he told hotel dispatchers to call police and report a gunman had opened fire with a rifle inside Mandalay Bay before Paddock began firing on the Harvest country music festival below.

    Worker Stephen Schuck told NBC News that he was checking out a report of a jammed fire door on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay when he heard Paddock shoot security guard Jesus Campos in the leg. After the shooting, Campos peeked out from an alcove and told Schuck to take cover.

    “As soon as I started to go to a door to my left the rounds started coming down the hallway,” Schuck said. “I could feel them pass right behind my head. “It was kind of relentless so I called over the radio what was going on,” he said.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-11/vegas-hotel-worker-warned-police-shooter-massacre-began

    • Mark says:

      They’re not going to tell us anything besides spin, we wont know the truth for a while at least. They (msm) are already changing the timeline to make the cops not look as bad with ridiculous excuses. BAU will be over by the time this gets dragged through the courts. I don’t see conspiracy yet.

    • Jesse James says:

      Turns out Jesus Campos is not even registered as a security guard in the state of Nevada. This story gets smellier by the day.

    • theblondbeast says:

      I’d be more prone to believe in conspiracies if it weren’t so obvious that TPTB are simply ordinary run-of-the-mill incompetent.

  2. Fast Eddy says:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-11/how-nbc-killed-ronan-farrows-weinstein-expos%C3%A9

    Any budding starlet with half a brain (which means very few) would look at all of this and turn the tables…. you get invited to the casting couch … and decline…. and don’t get the part…..

    BUT …. you set your phone to record the incident …. then you play it back to the director …. and you inform the director that you expect to be given options on the leads in a minimum 4 major pictures per year….

    • jazIntico says:

      Latest stars to allege harassment by Weinstein.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I wonder what Roman Polanski makes of all this?

        I wonder what all the other Hollywood scumbags who do the same things … are thinking about this?

        I wonder what Harvey did to get singled out like this …. when the entire town is based on this?

        • xabier says:

          It’s another distraction exercise – grabbing the headlines. No less true for all that, no doubt.

          Berlusconi (remember how he was pushed out by the ECB?) in Italy had a big file with all the dirty stuff on everyone, much of it committed at his parties, and if you offended him, it all came out in his newspapers.

          The material to destroy people is always on hand.

          • Artleads says:

            “It’s another distraction exercise – grabbing the headlines. ”

            But given all the social systems collapsing around us now, this ‘distraction’ seems like something more decisive. I feel considerable misgivings at what’s coming after us men. Something like a tsunami where you need to run for higher ground.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            And the NSA (el ders) would have their file on Sylvio… how ironic…..

        • Like Mr Madoff, a prominent gang member has to be sacrificed occasionally to keep “the ones that can see” at bay. Especially when they can feel their collective ankles getting nibbled by the more curious types among “the ones that can see”. At this point, they appear to be in full damage control mode – major pedo rings busted, Hollyweird under attack, banking industry not gettin no love, FBI false flag shenanigans decloaking before our sleepy eyes. What else? Goobel Woobing facade crumbling?

          Lets just call this whole thing a sham and be done with it. If there’s any single authentic thing about human civilisation that is capable of remaining intact beyond the collapse of this pathetic tower of babel then lets give it a chance already.

          Humanity has become a parasite infested dead man walking. The host has been anesthatised and its immune system rendered incapable of solving the problem. Like a old rabid, blind dog infested with worms wandering aimlessly in the woods, humanity has become the eyesore that would be better off put to rest. Not because we couldn’t become something better, that we didn’t have potential as a species, but because it appears all the “wrong” mutations that could happen did and all the mindviruses that took hold have run rampant for millenia with no apparent course correction taking place.

          If the options ahead are near extinction or as a result of some miracle, a dystopian, sociopathic Zuckerberg ruled, elite serving, technocratic, souless AI future… then it could be argued that we should be reaching for the big red stop button before people really get hurt.

        • Artleads says:

          The liabilities of male behavior are spread far beyond Hollywood, unfortunately. We of the male “species” are in big trouble.

  3. Fast Eddy says:

    So why did Puigdemont change the script at the very last minute? According to the Catalan government’s chief spokesperson, Jordi Turull, he did so in response to pressure from key international mediators that are insisting on dialogue between Barcelona and Madrid. “[They] said that if we did this they would be willing to act,” said Turull, who refused to reveal the identity of said mediators.

    https://wolfstreet.com/2017/10/11/despite-market-surge-the-catalonia-crisis-is-far-from-over/

    Same ‘mediators’ who informed Madame May that Brexit was actualy bREMAIN – or else.

    Same ‘mediators’ who inform Berlusconi and Papandreao that there would be no referendums – or else.

    • xabier says:

      One wonders whether Puigdemont was suckered: ‘We’ll mediate, don’t worry’.

      So the process stalls, he loses popular support for hesitating, and the ‘mediation’ never actually materialises.

      Or am I getting too cynical? It might be going on behind the scenes, hence Rajoy giving him another week to clarify whether he declared independence or not.

      • xabier says:

        It was Dia de Hispanidad today in Spain.

        For the very first time, the para-military police who beat up voters in Catalonia were included in the parade in front of the King, and loudly cheered.

        A very clear message to Catalan separatists……

      • Fast Eddy says:

        No cynical enough…

        Perhaps he was given a private screening of this … and told that he might want to reconsider….

  4. I wonder what topic FE will troll to death in order to find someone to argue with.

    Delusistan is quickly becoming a straw man nation for the Petulant Generallisimo to fire his rockets at.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Always vigilance.

      Delusion/Illusion …. is infinite

    • grayfox says:

      If I had to guess, I would say, “gerbil cooling”.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyearswhoisnowGod says:

      I have just been awarded with a position that tops all of Eddy’s.

      that’s right…

      I have been appointed God…

      by the former God, who just decided that it was now time for me to take over.

      since God really has nothing urgent to do (that eternity thing, you know?)…

      I will continue posting here on OFW for a while longer at least.

      one heads up:

      The Collapse is really coming, but not before 2030.

      you’re welcome.

  5. grayfox says:

    Useful information on maximizing your transportation of the future:
    http://running.competitor.com/2016/02/training/four-running-secrets-of-the-tarahumara_145377

    • The thing that struck me most is that the runners work as a team. That way, none of them runs too fast, and wears himself out. And they can socialize and have fun. It is not about the right shoes, and beating the next runner.

  6. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    back to my OCD with moon colonies…

    the real reason to build a moon colony:

    to show the world how easy it is to do…

    (so then “we” can move on to easily populate Mars and on and on to exoplanets)

    so where’s Elon?

    you know, to invent the Moon House kit here…

    and with SpaceX, send many kits to the moon and assemble them there…

    and with SpaceX, continually supply them with air and water and food…

    it’s going to be so EASY…

    let’s do this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Breaking News: Tesla Scraps Electric Drive in Favour of IC Engines

      Elon Musk stated ‘It doesn’t matter’

  7. Volvo740 says:

    CO2 is rapidly becoming a major issue for humanity. (The biggest?) Temperature is going UP!

    • Volvo740 says:

      /bait

      • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

        oh no!

        all those persons who “believe” in Glowworm Wobbling better STOP using fossil fuels RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        or else!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        and… BREAKING NEWS:

        BAU tonight, baby!

        • But but… Mr Kurzweil is still promising (blathering stuff) about a solar powered world within sixteen years. Because… nanotechnology.

          I’m pretty sure he said the very same thing sixteen years ago…

          Maybe his exponentials are off slightly. Or too much lead in his organic supplements…

          Or his prediction machine has been infected with the kkklimate modellling machine virus. In other words… can’t predict shite.

          But then… neither can anyone else.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Wake me up when we burn that second 500 billion tonnnes of fossil fuels will ya…

      Oh right … there is nowhere near that amount remaining that can be extracted economically…

      So never mind… I will just set my alarm

      • Ramez Naam gave another wonderful talk recently in India showing how practically everyone is shutting down coal plants and replacing nasty non-profitable coal with shiny renewables. He’s a great speaker, so very convincing and all that. His pretty graphs show exponential growth of solar from zero to… about one percent…

        And that’s when the audience should collectively have little alarm bells going off inside their brains.

        The exponential growth that has taken place from zero to one (over the past fifty years i might add) has only happened because rich people who bought into the Geebie Weeebie scaremongering (thanks to the Club of Rome way back when they needed to come up with a way to tax humanity into forced depopulation) graciously accepted the tax money of the poor to install solar panels on their mcmansions including the double garage housing a couple of EVs which they routinely parade in front of other “cool” people as a viture signalling display common among their breed.

        Mr Naam and others are stating emphatically that solar will continue its meteoric climb up the exponential ladder without subsidies (but then what are the incentives they talk of?) until places like India become a solar superpower!

        On the other hand, if Gail is right about the masses generally not being able to afford the output of a dieing (dead?) global economy, this could also be the reason, along with greater efficiency, that energy companies begin their slide to bankruptcy.

        The end result of this experiment appears to be billions of meatbags young and old sitting in front of glowing screens believing in their mindspace that they are productive human beings and worth every penny. On the flipside, these meatbags are plugged into giant server farms – the new energy hog on the block. I am more than a bit suspicious that something else is going here waaay above the understanding of the average meatbag…

        No amount of switching one energy source for another etc etc trumps the ability of the general public to keep consuming material goods at the rate they have been for the past fifty years. The only rational conclusion is economic implosion followed shortly after by the sound of every human activity (including the slaughter of millions of animals every day) screeching to a halt.

        Bonus? The screenwatchers will look at their surroundings in a daze, maybe even wonder outside and uncomfortably bump into other dazed meatbags before they start ripping each other to shreds…

        • I know at least three Club of Rome members. They want to somehow fix the problems of the world economy, whether or not they are really fixable. I don’t think that they have a negative “agenda.” They just have not put two and two together very well. I know that one of the Club of Rome co-presidents has been a reader of OurFiniteWorld.com. He may still be. He has sometimes written to me, explaining why he thinks what I am saying couldn’t be correct.

          The thing that struck me as strange when people talked about the benefit of solar panels was that the reason given seemed to be, “Solar panels will help us meet the additional electrical demand we get from air conditioning in the summer on hot days.” In fact, I remember reading an IEA report recently, talking about the need for people in India and Africa to be able to have air conditioning, the way people in more developed countries. This whole method of reasoning is bizarre. We won’t possibly have enough energy of any sort, including electricity. Adding air conditioning, or even continuing air conditioning, should be pretty low on our agenda.

          In theory, we should be using batteries to store electricity from summer to winter, because heating is one of our big energy needs. This is not really feasible.

          The intermittency of wind and solar is a big problem, adding greatly to costs and making pricing almost impossible. These are things most people have not figured out.

          • Ugo Bardi is maybe recognising the idiocy of some of the so called brightest minds looking at this problem in his current lecture series in Paris:

            http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/my-first-presentation-on-energy.html#comment-form

            In that, there’s a comment about one of the delegates suggesting that everyone switches to LED lighting.

            • Ugo is one of the members of the Club of Rome whom I know. He is one who has been very much concerned about climate change and what we might do about it. He has been a big fan of some proposed technologies. One I can think of is a tethered “kite” that works like a wind turbine, as I recall.

              You are right. Ugo seems to be recognizing some of the issues. I notice Our Finite World is in his blog roll.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              He hasn’t heard about my revelation from the other day? I was sure I spotted him at the big party…

              If you want to pass me his email I will email him that bit about the half a trillion tonne budget of carbon we have remaining … surely he of all people will understand that it is a physical impossibility to hit that target …. given he knows that we are almost out of the cheap stuff…

              We should reach out to him to give him some peace of mind… hate to spend your final months or years pulling your hair out over something that is not a threat.

          • xabier says:

            Is that really how they think?!

            The storing of energy from one season to another was worked out long ago: firewood gathered over the summer, dried out and used in the winter.

            Architecture suitable to hot climates was also devised thousands of years ago, with sophisticated air-circulation systems. Clue: not built of concrete and glass.

            And in cold climates, the solution was multiple human-animal occupancy of beds and rooms – body heat can do a lot. Tip: a spaniel is nicer to wake up next to than a cow. On the whole.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            By chance … is the Club of Rome a swingers club?

            Or maybe it’s like the anti-Mensa Club…. only people with IQ’s under 80 admitted?

            Sounds like a dodgy place to me

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Bonus? The screenwatchers will look at their surroundings in a daze, maybe even wonder outside and uncomfortably bump into other dazed meatbags before they start ripping each other to shreds…

          We can read about atrocities in history books…. the most horrific acts of torture and violence ….. the most violent wars involving hand to hand comat…. the cruelest criminal acts….

          But although we have continued to blow each other to pieces mostly from a distance…. there has been a lull in the overall action during the age of more….

          When BAU ends —- we go back to the old ways …. on steroids…. gloves will be off ….

          No human rights commissions… no war crimes tribunals…. no police…. back to a time when the word genocide was not yet invented….

          Just full on bare knuckle uncontrolled violence ….

          Remember — man is the most vicious animal on the planet …. not the lion … not the shark … man.

          For the past 200 years man has been turned into a lap dog sitting by the fire … fed out of a can …

          But now he is going to be tossed out of his bubble existence — and we are going to see the real man — the real wild beast — with his cunning — and his cruel nature — in all its glory.

          We need to give thanks to the fuel ponds…. for it is they that will quickly put an end to this wicked beast…. it is they that will put him out of his misery.

          Let us pray:

          Oh thank you heavenly fuel pond
          For delivering us from this hell on earth
          We are not worthy of your bounty
          But we accept thy gift to us
          And thank you for putting us out of our misery
          And exterminate us the wicked beasts
          From the face of the planet
          Forever and always.
          Ahmem
          Allah Akbar

          • You’re not wrong.

            And remember loads of boys and men that should know better have been keeping the extreme violence flame alive through their video game addiction. So many ways to kill, maim, torture have been implanted in brains everywhere waiting for the activation code to be sent.

            That fuel pond is a thing of beauty all else considered. Worthy of a prayer… oh, thanks.

  8. msalkeldblog says:

    And the moral of this story?

    Many problems are insoluble. They are just natural trajectories or phenomena.

    There are no guarantees in this universe.

    Everything comes to an end, economies, societies and each of our lives.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      yes!

      but, though I enjoy a good story about the coming deaths of all living humans and the nothingness of eternal death…

      and, though I enjoy a good story about the imminent extinction of humanity…

      those stories are definite and thus are mostly uninteresting.

      but…

      The Collapse!

      now we’re talking!

      what?

      where?

      when?

      how?

      this is the resonant stuff of OFW.

      my best guesstimate is that The Collapse will happen in the 2030’s.

      and that is very SOON.

      the 2020’s will be the Duct Tape Decade.

      TPTB will try anything to hold IC together.

      so…

      though 2030 is coming soon…

      BAU tonight, baby!

      • Why is your guesstimate so precise?

        I wasn’t aware that guesstimation was a science. What makes the guesstimating of “something will happen but it’s decades away” – i.e. a safe distance from me in the present – better or more plausible than “something will happen but it’s only a couple years away so hold onto your hats!”

        We have psychology 101 happening right here. Some relish the excitement of an imminent event. Others understand the plausibility of impending doom but can’t shake the fear so they position it – in their minds at least – a bit further away so that they can also join in the fun but not have to endure the immediacy of the impending situation.

        If a miracle does happen – small probability does not equal impossibility – wouldn’t it be priceless to observe our finite worlders make all kinds of excuses why the big firework didn’t go off the way they expected. Kicking it just to make sure then skulking off to find something else to worry about.

        Human extinction in a box. Shroedinger says it could happen… might not. And only when some external superconsciousness actually bothers to peek inside and collpase the wave function.

        Important? To a human level awareness perhaps. The pain of such a realisation would be brief and then…peace. Eternal peace.

        Awareness on the level of a galaxy or universe? Probably wouldn’t even percieve the change. Humanity is like a warm fart dissipating leaving only a very localised stink… for a short time… and then it’s gone.

        Then again… and here’s the real kicker. What if us farty meatbags really were the only advanced species in the whole wide multiverse. Ever.

        We put out a few radio signals and there was no one listening… and that was it.

        And to those who believe in godlike beings I ask… what was the point of that? And why take so long to achieve so little?

        • Slow Paul says:

          …and some just view the future as unpredictable and guesstimates some probabilities to each given scenario. Insta collapse, slow collapse, feudal age, take your pick. Anything can happen. Gods are figments of human imagination. We don’t understand how our gooby claymate works, let alone the universe. Who knows what is out there. Is anybody behind all of this?

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Who writes your stuff? This is goddamn brilliant.

          You are not by chance the reincarnation of George Carlin?

          • Fast Eddy says:

            ‘And why take so long to achieve so little?’

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

          • Well… if you can’t beat the nihilists… there’s only one option left.

            Love me a bit of georgie boy. That guy could see. He was so far ahead of the crowd that the crowd thought he was just doing standup. We need more truthmongers to pull back the veil. I would relish every minute of that, popcorn in hand, regardless of any sword of damocles that may be hovering over our collective heads. I’ll take whatever pleasure remains wherever I can get it.

        • doomphd says:

          you know, there’s a certain amount of risk to sending out radio signals to announce your position. what if, surprise!, there really are some klingon peoples out there, and they make their living inslaving lesser beings on other habitable planets? why give them a Google map to Earth?

          personally, i like being left alone in the vast mirky cosmos.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            +++++

          • psile says:

            Oops! Too late. Radio signals have been going out for over 100 years.

            • doomphd says:

              so we got lucky out to 100 light years of our position, so far. a related thought is any civilization at our level of development doesn’t make it past the nuclear stage. they may have been out there, but they’re long gone by now.

          • Yes… there is that.

            Might as well shoot up flares from your camp and turn the music system up to eleven. Maurauders Lives Matter too you know.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              And along those lines….

              Establishing an organic garden … and installing solar power on your home…. prior to collapse of BAU…

              Here I am … Here I am…. Here I am….

              I have food… I have food… I have food…

              I have comfort… I have comfort… I have comfort….

              Come and get me … come and get me … come and get me…..

            • Fast Eddy says:

              http://www.FastEddyEnterprises.com is rolling out a new line of containers from our China factory…. these come fully equipped with solar disco ball and stereo systems…. we also stock them with everything you will need to last 3 months post BAU … guns ammo food…. for guys like Smite we also have the latest and greatest robotic blow up dolls to choose from (extra charge….)

              Act NOW! Sell your permie doomie waste of time and go to http://www.FastEddyEnterprises.com The 40ft version is coming soon.

            • Now that’s a nice container.

              Just take my money already.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      The extinction of the human species…. is a pretty big deal.

      • The Second Coming says:

        Just for humans…..

      • Tell me about it!

        We’ve been sitting here in our undergound bunkers on the dark side of the moon for millenia waiting for our agents to complete the rigging of the spent fuel ponds and then get the hell outa there so we can light the fuse.

        We also managed to spread the fear of Gleebly Weebly so you lot would do yourselves in wasting what resources you had left on windmills. Gotta admit… that was a good one. We laughed our alien arses off at how gullible you farty meatbags are. Hilarious.

        But the clock is ticking and we are getting seriously bored. Time to move on and the radiation suits are nearly past their use by date. Nothing personal but we’ve got to get down there and harvest those glowing jellyfish things you’ve got swimming around. We haven’t got those where we come from and they’d make a wonderful addition to our collection of trophy species.

        Cheers

  9. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    here:

    http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/national-international/California-Fire-Experts-Probe-Cause-of-Fast-Moving-Fires-450303083.html?_osource=SocialFlowTwt_DCBrand

    California Fire Experts to Probe Why 17 Fires Erupted in Just 24 Hours

    “Scott L. Stephens, a professor in the College of Natural Resources, said that falling power lines and arson are both being considered. All of the fires seemed to ignite between midnight and 2 a.m. Monday, when winds were the strongest, he said. Branches or trees could have fallen on the lines or the lines themselves failed, he said.”

    ” “And the other one is arson of course, and I know that’s being looked at too,” he said.”

    gee, all those branches fell between midnight and 2 a.m.

    okay. 17 fires erupted in just 2 hours, NOT 24.

    and an arsonist would never have thought of setting the fires “when winds were the strongest”.

    in the middle of the night.

    okay.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Hmmmm….

    • Tim Groves says:

      Globery Wabary makes arson more common and the models predict even more arson at night. According to 97% of government sceantists, it really is true.

      • The Second Coming says:

        Burning trillions of tons of fossil fuel is actually good to living things…it is nourishment for plants.

        • As I understand the situation, increased CO2 oil the atmosphere has more than one effect on living things. Plants utilize CO2 and produce oxygen, so from that point they may be good. But in terms of maintaining the way the plant works (for example, the amount of protein relative to the total), it tends to reduce the protein. This is not good, for animals and humans that depend on the plants for nutrients. There may be other effects as well.

          • Tim Groves says:

            But Gail, the warmies and greenies would say that, wouldn’t they? They always love to accentuate the downside of anything humans have a hand in.

            What we do know is that for most of the long history of life on earth, CO2 levels have been much much higher than they are now.

            Look at this WIkipedia paragraph on CO2:

            Various proxy measurements have been used to attempt to determine atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations millions of years in the past. These include boron and carbon isotope ratios in certain types of marine sediments, and the number of stomata observed on fossil plant leaves. While these measurements give much less precise estimates of carbon dioxide concentration than ice cores, there is evidence for very high CO2 volume concentrations between 200 and 150 million years ago of over 3,000 ppm, and between 600 and 400 million years ago of over 6,000 ppm. In more recent times, atmospheric CO2 concentration continued to fall after about 60 million years ago. About 34 million years ago, the time of the Eocene–Oligocene extinction event and when the Antarctic ice sheet started to take its current form, CO2 is found to have been about 760 ppm, and there is geochemical evidence that concentrations were less than 300 ppm by about 20 million years ago. Carbon dioxide decrease, with a tipping point of 600 ppm, was the primary agent forcing Antarctic glaciation. Low CO2 concentrations may have been the stimulus that favored the evolution of C4 plants, which increased greatly in abundance between 7 and 5 million years ago.

            So the records show that huge Dinosaurs apparently flourished at over 3,000 ppm and coal deposits were laid down from forests of giant ferns at over 6,000 ppm. Ergo, the biosphere, including animals and plants, will probably be OK if CO2 rises from 280 ppm to 400, 500, 600, 700 or even 800 ppm, even if humans are no longer part of the biosphere. Natural selection will make all the necessary adjustments in response to whatever environmental changes occur, just as Mr. Darwin promised.

            As for the recent rise in CO2, as NASA puts it: From a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change

            https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth

            That means we now have significantly more biomass in the terrestrial biosphere than we had 35 years ago, which means a greener earth with more plants and very probably more animals. Since the greens are always lamenting the shrinking of the biosphere, one would think they would rejoice at the news that it is not shrinking but growing. But surprise, surprise, they always look on the dark side of life.

    • J. H. Wyoming says:

      Thanks David for linking that article. I’ve been saying to friends and family here in CA in the area of these fires that it must have been arson, because of the sheer number of them in such a short period of time. No way, trees falling because of wind on power lines cause all those fires. The area the fire started via high winds is not far from the coast and often gets high winds.

      There was a fire that got started a couple of weekends back at 1:15 AM up in our area at the side of a highway and only because of quick action was it stopped. I wonder if it’s a seasonal fire fighter who hadn’t made much money so far this fire season and needed the work. Either that or it’s someone with a different agenda.

      But what’s worrisome is the last rash of fires, including the famous Valley Fire that destroyed 1950 structures was caused by an arsonist they finally caught after he had started multiple fires over a two year stretch. Now we’ve got another one in the same region? What the heck is going on?!

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Maybe people are pissed at the 1% and want to take them down… notice the hit on the nappa valley region …

        Or maybe it is ISIL or ISIS US affiliate…

        And then there is always the chance Putin is behind this

      • xabier says:

        People still set fires in Spain in order to ‘develop’ land once it has been devastated.

        Spain is like a tinder box at the moment due to very prolonged drought, which may cause the collapse of farming in the Pyrenees at least – the pasture is drying up.

        I’ll not be moving to my dream cabin in the Basque woods.

        • Same in Galicia. Relatively small reservoirs have run dry. Farmers panicking etc etc. Thing is, this happens almost every year now until the rains come for a week or two and the reservoirs are back to full. It does seem like the seasons are shifting slightly – as in arriving later than expected. But then, this is the age of Gleebal Weeming so Galicia could soon be a desert like the rest of spain in the not too distant future. No problemo… Elon is drawing up the schema for portable solar powered desalination plants and water pipelines as we speak…

          • xabier says:

            Interesting about Galicia.

            A significant change, perhaps, is the shifting of birds from North Africa to N. Spain, far north of their usual territory.

            One problem is that when the rain does come, it’s too much at once.

            Terrible floods in the Basque country in recent years – not helped by all that concrete development pre-2008!

            • Ah yes, the mud slides are something to behold. The nearest town had to rebuild years ago precisely because of this. But then it’s also built on reclaimed land so there’s that problem to look forward to as well whenever the sea misbehaves.

              The longer dry periods loosen the topsoil which slides down the roads with the rains when they finally come. Andalucia suffers a lot from this. Gets to the point where you cant keep fixing things all the time especially when the frequency is almost every year.

              I have no idea how farmers manage to stay in business at this rate. And as I understand it a lot of them don’t carry insurance.

              I used to track the bird movements back and forth. Now the starlings, swifts, house martins, and water birds seem to do whateverthehell they want several times a year. Maybe they’re confused.

    • We had forest fires almost every year in my region of north west spain when certain political parties were dominant. The fires would “mysteriously” appear uniformly all along the costal mountains on the windiest nights at the end of summer. When the “other” alternative party became the prevailing local power, the “mysterious” forest fires suddenly stopped being a thing. Havent had one since. Curious.

      • J. H. Wyoming says:

        Not so curious as people have all sorts of motives for their actions even if it causes widespread destruction and loss of life.

        • To clarify… we have had more fires. Quite terrifying to be in the middle of it all when it’s going down, bucket in hand. The highly organised politically motivated ones stopped but a single pyromaniac caused a devastating one a few years back and of course the odd silly trecker that doesn’t understand that they can serve time in prison even if their runaway campfire was… an accident.

  10. Third World person says:

    after watching this video where italy mafia handling the garbage

    isn’t Italy mafia also handling the nuclear waste so this mean
    Italy government has collapsed because it can not do basic
    government services

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