The World’s Fragile Economic Condition – Part 1

Where is the world economy heading? In my opinion, a large portion of the story that we usually hear about how the world economy operates and the role energy plays is not really correct. In this post (to be continued in Part 2 in the near future), I explain how some of the major elements of the world economy seem to function. I also point out some relationships that tend to make the world’s economic condition more fragile.

Trying to explain the situation a bit further, the economy is a networked system. It doesn’t behave the way nearly everyone expects it to behave. Many people believe that any energy problem will be signaled by high prices. A look at history shows that this is not really the case: fighting and conflict are also likely outcomes. In fact, rising tariffs are a sign of energy problems.

The underlying energy problem represents a conflict between supply and demand, but not in the way most people expect. The world needs rising demand to support the rising cost of energy products, but this rising demand is, in fact, very difficult to produce. The way that this rising demand is normally produced is by adding increasing amounts of debt, at ever-lower interest rates. At some point, the debt bubble created to provide the necessary demand becomes overstretched. Now, we seem to be reaching a situation where the debt bubble may pop, at least in some parts of the world. This is a very concerning situation.

Context. The presentation discussed in this post was given to the Casualty Actuaries of the Southeast. (I am a casualty actuary myself, living in the Southeast.) The attendees tended to be quite young, and they tended not to be very aware of energy issues. I was trying to “bring them up to speed.” This is a link to the presentation: The World’s Fragile Economic Condition.

Slide 1

Slide 2

This post covers only Items 1, 2, and 3 from the Outline in Slide 2. I will save Items 3 through 6 for a post called “The World’s Fragile Economic Condition-Part 2.”

Slide 3

Slide 4

The audience was able to guess that the situation for humans and the economy are parallel. Energy in some sense powers the economy, in a way similar to how food powers humans.

Slide 5

On Slide 5, I am pointing out that changes in the red line, denoting energy consumption growth, tend to come before the corresponding changes in the blue line. This is one way of confirming that energy consumption causes GDP growth, rather than vice versa.

In recent years, countries have found ways of creating GDP growth, without adding true value. This may explain why GDP growth is higher than Energy growth since 2013 on Slide 5. As an example of GDP growth with overstated value, a large share of young people are now being encouraged to purchase advanced education, at considerable cost. This would make sense, if there were suitable high-paying jobs for all of those graduating. It is questionable whether this is the case.

Slide 6

Of course, the issue is not only energy consumption, just as our health is influenced by more than simply what food we eat.

Slide 7

At one time, the emphasis in physics was on systems that are “closed” from an energy point of view. Such systems never grow; they simply decline toward “heat death.”

The real world is made up of many structures that grow and change over time. This growth and ability to change is possible because the energy system we live in is thermodynamically “open,” thanks to flows of energy from the sun, and thanks to fossil fuel energy, which represents stored solar energy from long ago.

Slide 8

The answers to the questions on Slide 8 are easy to guess.

Slide 9

The economy adds new businesses, as citizens see new needs and set up companies to meet those needs. Customers make choices regarding which goods and services to buy, based on their income (primarily wages) and the prices of available goods and services. Governments gradually add new laws, including changes to the way taxes are assessed. The system gradually grows and changes, as the population grows, and as the quantity of goods and services created to meet the needs of that population increases.

One thing to note is that the goods and services produced by the system will eventually be divided among the various players in the system. If one group gets more (say, those receiving interest income), then other groups will necessarily receive less.

Another important point to note is that as new products are added, old ones disappear. For example, once cars came into use, we lost the ability to go back to horses and buggies. There are no longer enough horses; there are no longer facilities to “park” the horses in downtown areas, while at work or shopping; and there are no longer services to clean up after the mess that the horses make.

Without being able to go backward, the system is quite brittle. It would appear that under sufficiently adverse conditions, the entire system could collapse. In fact, we know that many ancient civilizations did collapse, when conditions weren’t right.

Slide 10

The strange interconnections of a networked system make the world economy behave in a different way than we might initially expect. Later in this presentation (in Part 2 of the write-up), I will show some examples of inadequate energy supplies leading to very different results than high prices.

Slide 11

The model of The Limits to Growth looked at how long resources might last, before the growth of the world economy came to a halt from a variety of problems, including a lack of easy-to-extract resources. In some ways, the model was quite simple. For example, the model did not include a financial system or debt. In the single most likely scenario, the base run, the world economy hit limits about now, in the 2015 to 2025 time period. The authors have said that, once limits are hit, the forecast on the right-hand side of the chart cannot be relied upon; the model is too simple to forecast how the down slope might actually occur.

Slide 12

Slide 13

The pattern of world energy consumption seems to be one of rapid growth, especially in the period since World War II.

Slide 14

Energy consumption growth is particularly high in the period covered by the red box. In other words, energy consumption growth is particularly high from the 1940s through the 1970s. If the economy relies on energy, we would expect this to be a particularly booming period for the economy.

Slide 15

We can break energy consumption growth down into two components: (1) the portion to cover higher population, and (2) the portion to cover improved standards of living. Looking at this chart, it is clear that “higher population” takes the majority of the increase, except when increases are very large.

Slide 16

I have labelled the three big bumps with my view of what seems to have led to them. The first is early electrification, when street cars were added and when the early mechanization of farming was implemented. The second is the postwar boom and the third is the recent period of globalization, led by China’s major ramp up in coal production.

Slide 17

China’s energy consumption grew rapidly after it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. The thing that most people don’t realize is that China is reaching limits on its coal extraction. Its coal production seems to have peaked about 2013. Its comparatively tiny amount of wind and solar (shown in orange on the chart) is not making up the shortfall. Instead, China is being forced to rely more on imported energy. Imported energy tends to be higher in cost, and may be limited in supply. For all these reasons, we cannot rely on China to continue to power future world economic growth.

Slide 18

It is not just China that gets only a small share of its energy production from wind and solar. This is also true of the world as a whole.

Slide 19

Slide 20

Boxes 1 through 4 show a different model of how the world economy works than that shown earlier (in Slide 9). In Slide 20, the Economy (in Box 3) acts like a giant factory. It uses Resources of various kinds (a few of which are listed in Box 2) to make Goods and Services (a few of which are listed in Box 4). If the Economy is getting to be more and more efficient, Box 4 will expand much more rapidly than Box 2, producing a great abundance of goods and services. If this happens, all of the Resource Providers in Box 1 (plus some I have failed to list) can be rewarded more than adequately for their services, with Goods and Services produced by the economy. The transfer of these Goods and Services occurs through the use of money.

Slide 21

Everyone can get rich at once!

Slide 22

The top line is GDP growth including inflation; the bottom line is GDP growth excluding inflation. Before the dotted line, both GDP growth rates and inflation rates are high; after the dotted line (when energy growth was lower), they tend to be lower.

Slide 23

Interest rates were raised to try to damp down oil and other energy prices. We will see in a later section that reducing interest rates helped hide the fact that energy growth was slower after 1980.

Slide 24

The wages shown on Slide 24 have already been inflation adjusted. Thus, in the period before 1968, wages for both the lower 90% of workers and for the top 10% of workers were rising rapidly, even considering the impact of inflation. Many families were able to afford a car for the first time. After 1980, the wages of the top 10% rose much more quickly than the wages of the bottom 90%.

Slide 25

In 1930, wage disparity seems to have been at about today’s level. Early mechanization had replaced many jobs, both on the farm and elsewhere. Farmers who could not afford the new technology found that they could not produce food cheaply enough to compete with the low prices made possible by the new technology. The growing wage disparity meant that a large share of the population could not afford more than the basic necessities of life. The many people with low wages kept demand for most goods and services low. Oil prices were low, and there was a glut of oil, not unlike what recent markets have experienced. New tariffs were added, and immigration was restricted.

Slide 26

The period before the mid-1970s is when a great deal of the United States’ infrastructure was built. The Eisenhower Interstate Highway System dates from this time period. Many of the oil and gas pipelines and electricity transmission systems in use today were also built in this period.

Once the price of oil and other energy products started rising, it became much more expensive to add or replace this type of infrastructure. Once oil prices rose, more debt at lower interest rates seemed to be needed to keep the economy growing, as I will explain in Part 2 of this write-up.

Slide 27

The least expensive to extract oil supply–US oil supply in the contiguous 48 states that could be extracted by conventional means–was developed first. Alaska production was added when it was clear that the early supply was starting to deplete. It was more expensive, as was North Sea oil, which was also added after early US oil began to deplete.

Once oil prices rose in the 2005-2008 period, companies became interested in developing oil from shale formations (sometimes called tight oil). This oil seems to be much more expensive. It is doubtful that this oil is profitable at today’s prices.

Slide 28

Many people believe that oil prices will rise, indefinitely, with the cost of production. The thing that they don’t realize is that high oil prices tend to lead to recession. When this happens, employment drops, and the average buying power of the population no longer rises–it tends to remain flat or falls. As a result, high oil prices do not “stick.”

Slide 29

We are today in a situation where oil prices have been too low for years. For a while, this situation can be hidden, but eventually low investment can be expected to lead to lower production of energy products. It is even possible that some governments of oil exporters may collapse from lack of adequate tax revenue. Governments of oil exporters often obtain over half of their total tax revenue from taxes on oil production. Adequate tax revenue for these governments requires a high selling price for oil.

The situation with food prices tends to parallel oil prices. This occurs partly because oil is used in growing and transporting food, and partly because of substitution issues. For example, corn can be used to make either ethanol for vehicles or food for people.

Slide 30

M. King Hubbert was one of the early scientists who talked about what appeared to be a problem of running out of oil and other fossil fuels. While I call him a geologist, he really was a geophysicist. The catch was that the physics thinking of the day was mostly about “thermodynamically closed systems.” If closed systems were the problem, then running out of fossil fuels that could be extracted using current techniques was the major issue.

Hubbert and others did not realize that energy supply is part of a larger economic system, which also functions under the laws of physics. The economic system is part of a thermodynamically open system, not a closed system. It gets energy both directly from the sun and from fossil fuels, which provide solar energy stored as fossil fuels.

The issue is how this larger economic system behaves: does it allow the oil prices to rise to a high enough level to extract all of the oil and other fossil fuels that seem to be available? I don’t think it does. But under the “right” conditions (lots of debt growth), the economic system does allow energy prices to rise somewhat. This is what we have seen since the 1970s.

It is extremely difficult to figure out what true costs and true benefits are in a networked system. The standard approach for evaluating the benefit of wind and solar considers only a small part of the system. If the proposed devices do not directly burn fossil fuels and if not too much fossil fuel is used in their production, the usual practice is to assume that the devices must be helpful to the overall system, because they seem to be “low carbon.” This approach leaves out many important costs.

The problem is that wind and solar are not now, and never can be, standalone devices. When all costs are considered, they are simply very inefficient add-ons to the fossil fuel system. These costs include buffering services (using batteries or other storage), the cost of capital, the cost of leases, and wages and taxes. A very high-cost electricity generating system is not likely to be helpful to the economy because such a system is very inefficient. It can be expected to affect the economy as adversely as high-priced oil does.

Slide 31

An economy operates best when energy costs are very low because goods and services made with this low-cost energy tend to be low-cost as well. Oil is used in producing and transporting food. Thus, low-cost oil tends to produce inexpensive food.

If energy costs begin to rise in a country, it tends to make that country less competitive in the world marketplace. It also tends to push the country toward recession, because the higher costs are difficult to recover from customers whose wages don’t rise to cover the higher costs.

Slide 32

Many people believe that the amount of fossil fuel that will ultimately be extracted depends on a combination of (a) the amount of resources in the ground, and (b) the technology developed for extraction. While these are indeed eventual limits, I think that a maximum affordable price limit comes much sooner. This depends on how high a debt bubble the economy can sustain. The role of debt will be discussed in Part 2.

Slide 33

One thing that is confusing is the familiar supply and demand curve for energy. Many people believe that “of course” prices must rise if energy is scarce. The catch is that energy consumption affects all parts of the economy. It takes energy to create jobs, just as it takes energy to produce goods and services. Because both supply and demand are affected by a shortage of energy, our intuition regarding how prices should move can be totally wrong.

The word “Demand” is confusing, also, because most energy use is difficult to see. Most energy use is not found in the gasoline we buy at the pump or the electricity we purchase. Instead, energy is used in creating the streets that we drive on, and in building the schools that our children attend. Building new homes and manufacturing cars also takes huge amounts of energy. If energy costs rise very much, the problem is that many people can no longer afford homes or cars. Instead, young people live in their parents’ basements indefinitely. Governments may decide to stop paving some roads, because repaving is too expensive to afford. Reduced demand for oil might be better described as reduced purchases of goods and services of all kinds, because certain groups of would-be buyers find prices too high to afford.

[To be continued in “The World’s Fragile Economic Condition – Part 2”]

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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1,500 Responses to The World’s Fragile Economic Condition – Part 1

  1. Van Kent says:

    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45653099

    Tomorrow IPCC will release a new report, 4 years in the making. In short.. we are f678cked.

    But more interestingly, tomorrows report will recommend to world governments to cut coal and NG use, starting immediately.

    • Sounds like a good way to collapse the world economy.

      • Kowalainen says:

        Nope, it’s all an orchestrated hoax to make the plebs consume less of the dwindling resources – without feeling that they are being robbed of prosperity. Guilt is such a strong incentive to accept ever shittier conditions.

        Let me get one thing straight. It will not affect the life style of the elites – the least. The mouthpieces, too, will continue to live like kings while spreading the FUD – and getting richly compensated for the “efforts”.

        Be ready for another serious bout of climat3 alarmism, taxation, over-regulation, doom and gloom. However, this time western govts have to act. In China, however; yes baby, let’s continue:

        BURN MORE COAL!!!
        (and natgas)

        • jupiviv says:

          “Nope, it’s all an orchestrated hoax to make the plebs consume less of the dwindling resources – without feeling that they are being robbed of prosperity.”

          Wait…”they” are trying to hoax us into thinking that dwindling resources leads to less consumption? Those bastards!

          • Kowalainen says:

            Not really, it depends who you mean by that. For TPTB; fat chance, old money still rules. 😎

            As for the consumerist plebs, yes. The lord and savior Al Gore will show you some graphs and charts while you bend over and enjoy the carrots. 🥕

            • jupiviv says:

              “For TPTB; fat chance, old money still rules.”

              Let me guess – bunkers, robot armies and bathing in the blood of innocent plebs to replenish youth. When the system that creates, sustains and protects one’s wealth or influence collapses, they do likewise. Ditto for bunkers and robots – without globalised industrial economy they will cease to function after a while.

              Consider the lone cow, great with calf, ruminating the remnants of the last bale of hay on a barren heath.

            • Kowalainen says:

              The system is already collapsing. But my dear humanoid brethren, yes, first collapse cometh to you, and then much, much, much later to TPTB.

      • Nope, it’s a cunning plan how to force austerity actionable on personal level among the unwashed..

        It’s actually work in progress, you can’t buy bigger engines or park inside major metro areas already. Sooner or later this would move into food (approved) variety and other segments.

        The preoccupation with GFC_vXY kind of event is foolish game, instead the near mid term future will resemble slow boiling authoritarian nightmare. Granted in the meanwhile some peripheral regions falling out of the map completely, interesting to debate, but little to now effect on core JITs..

        • Kowalainen says:

          Yep, kiss good bye to that juicy steak in the inevitable near-term future, just around the corner on the road to dystopia. Indeed, farewell and say hello to austerity and forced veganism.

          But hey, it will be good health for you, well, as long as the natgas and oil powered agriculture can sustain the output. When that inevitably is over too, then it’s a combination of veganism and starvation. How about that ye’ all carnivores? Get used to it, suxx0rz’! 🥕🌽🥦🥔

          Yes folks, TPTB are winding down the great experiment in the petroleum filled Petri dish.

          It was fun while it lasted, but now the elites have run this little party past midnight and the unwashed are still clinging to the leftovers in their houses and fiefdoms. Time to call in the mercenaries – Politicians and MSM. Climat3 angst to the rescue. 👍

        • DJ says:

          Authoritarian nightmare… i m thinking more like a dolf or Josef s than diesel banned in cities and subsidies to solar.

    • Uncle Bill says:

      Don’t worry Kant CC will and IS collapsing the precious world economy as we type….
      Too bad it’s right in front of our face and we don’t see it.

    • Uncle Bill says:

      How IPCC language gets watered down.

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washin … -bad-news/

      An early leaked draft of the report said there was a “very high risk” that the world would warm more than 1.5 degrees. But a later draft, also leaked to Climate Home News, appeared to back off, instead saying that “there is no simple answer to the question of whether it is feasible to limit warming to 1.5 C . . . feasibility has multiple dimensions that need to be considered simultaneously and systematically.”

      Compare that weasel wording with this straight forward statement.

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washin … story.html

      The document projects that global temperature will rise by nearly 3.5 degrees Celsius above the average temperature between 1986 and 2005 regardless of whether Obama-era tailpipe standards take effect or are frozen for six years, as the Trump administration has proposed. The global average temperature rose more than 0.5 degrees Celsius between 1880, the start of industrialization, and 1986, so the analysis assumes a roughly four degree Celsius or seven degree Fahrenheit increase from preindustrial levels.

      I suppose you can read the second statement a lot of ways. I read it to say: we are in for 4°C raise and such small scale ideas are ineffectual. I don’t know the solution, but this ain’t it, something MUCH bigger is needed.

      • This is not a problem we can fix. We do not have any alternatives that really work, at least in the direction that they have been looking.

        • Uncle Bill says:

          That’s unfortunate. One must be mindful the IPCC is a consensus building group that settles for the “,lowest common denominator” of agreement. Even organizations with scientific expertise, such as, the likes of Exxon Mobile, have input (no matter what vested interest they may have).
          BTW, we are fooling ourselves to think the climatic system is a linear system. Evidence is showing otherwise with current trends and research results.

          Your Insurance industry is already taking notice

          Flood insurance premiums may sink South Florida before the rising sea does | I
          Indicating that change is in the air, a FEMA spokesperson said Friday that the agency plans to announce a risk-rating “redesign” next year that “will allow us to better reflect the resilience and vulnerability of homes and other structures covered under the NFIP.” It would begin in 2020.

          “This is a big game-changer,” Wayne Pathman says. “South Florida is ground zero, in many studies, for the economic impact of sea-level rise. So I’ve said many times that the tip of the spear of this economic issue is insurance.”

          Rather than focusing on how high the sea level will be in 2060 or 2100, more concern should be on the economics, Pathman told The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board. “Because those things are already changing.”

          The move to so-called “risk-based assessments” will likely jack up the cost of flood insurance to as much as wind-storm insurance “or more” in the next five to 10 years, said Pathman, a Miami attorney who is also chair of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. He sees rates rising 25 percent to 60 percent in the near term, and more after that.

          In high-risk areas — and much of Florida is a high-risk area — real estate will get more expensive. The higher costs will ripple through banking, bonding and taxation. It might not be long, Pathman warns, before “30-year mortgages will be a thing of the past.”

          Put it together, and investors could start bailing on South Florida long before the waters arrive. “Once risk-based assessment takes hold, it sends a message to the world that this place is too risky,” Pathman said at a community meeting reported by WLRN

          http://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/fl-op-editorial-sea-level-rise-insurance-premiums-20180629-story.html

          • The National Flood Insurance Program has been a giveaway program for years. It has been tweaked somewhat to help, but government programs tend to have a definite, “Let’s help the economy along,” bias.

            Additionally, my recollection is that Florida is one state that has endorsed rules that encourage more averaging in rates for homeowners coverage than really makes sense.

            • Uncle Bill says:

              Gail, we can also say that aabout other numerous giveaway programs.
              Likely because private corporate firms are unwilling to bear the high risk.
              Such as
              Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens) was created in 2002 from the merger of two other entities to provide both windstorm coverage and general property insurance for home-owners who could not obtain insurance elsewhere. It was established by the Florida Legislature in Section 627.351(6) of Florida Statutes as a not-for-profit insurer of last resort, headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida, and quickly became the largest insurer in the state.[1] The company has no connection to Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the equivalent entity in Louisiana, or several similarly named “for-profit” subsidiaries in the Hanover Insurance Group.

              That’s besides the point of the article..
              I would like to see the article you mention.
              I live in South Florida and would like to read it myself.

            • I think that indirectly I am thinking about the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. This is the Wikipedia article about the company.

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

              The article says,

              Since the 2005 pull back by insurance giants Allstate, State Farm, etc., small, in-state companies have been taking a larger share of policies. These start-ups have not followed the traditional insurance model by accumulating cash reserves to cover expenses in high claim years. Instead, they pay as much as half of the policy premium for reinsurance to offshore companies to cover claims. In the seven years since the last major Florida hurricane, profits have risen, but many small companies shifted that money into affiliated businesses and ignored the need for a reserve. Insurance rates were based on the company making a reasonable profit after expenses, which included funding a reserve. The OIR suggests that insurance companies have reserves and reinsurance to cover a once in 100-year storm. Many firms in past years purchased less, and if claims exceeded reinsurance and reserves, they were taken over by the state, who paid off remaining claims.[28]

              As the 2013 season started, pressure on insurers to lower rates was high because reinsurance costs fell by 15% since 2012, which also had lower costs. Claim expenses were down thanks to seven years without a major hurricane, and rate hikes during those years increased revenue from premiums.[28]

              If there had been a major hurricane, these small companies likely couldn’t have paid the claims in full, at least in the early years. Perhaps now they can. The major companies do not want to put their other policyholders are risk.

              It becomes difficult to price hurricane insurance, although it is pretty clear that insured properties right on the ocean are at higher risk than those on higher ground, away from the shore. Florida had four hurricanes one season, and has been spared for quite a while since.

  2. Third World person says:

    Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and Arthur C. Clarke
    – God, The Universe and Everything Else

    Stephen Hawking, Arthur C. Clarke and Carl Sagan (via satellite)
    discuss the Big Bang theory, God, our existence as well as the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

    funny thing in this video these guys thought
    think our civilization could be collapse by nuclear weapons

    • Third World person says:

      another scientist know what overpopuation
      will do to this planet

      • I think that the existence of polygamy is one of the major causes of rising world population. With polygamy, rich men can have several wives; poor men (who could not afford them in the first place) have no wives. Rich men tend to take in young girls and get them pregnant at an early age. This is a major contributor to the high birth rates in Africa and the Middle East. This is a map of countries that allow polygamy.

        Of course, without adequate resources to feed all of the additional mouths, and some minimal level of health care, the many resulting babies would not survive. Women in these situations obtain their “value” by the number of children they have. I found an article a few weeks ago about IVF being used by some of the wealthier women to help increase their family size.

        • DJ says:

          Why is Sweden black on that map?

        • Sven Røgeberg says:

          Hi Gail! With respect to the map, where did you find it? I looked up this one, where countries in the former Sovietnionen is dark blue https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygyny#/media/File%3ALegality_of_polygamy.svg

        • Neil says:

          Polygamy can only influence birth rate if it involves pregnancy in women who would otherwise not reproduce. It will not change the number of babies per woman.

          • I hadn’t realized the extent to which polygamy was an issue, until I read Secular Cycles by Turchin and Nefedof.

            Polygamy tends to move up the age gap between generations, because older, more wealthy men take several wives, most of whom are much younger than themselves–young teen agers. Women (really girls) start having babies earlier. The women have little “power” relative to the older men. They can’t say no to sex. or suggest the use of contraceptives. Over the longer span, the women tend to have more children.

            Also, reading about recent situations with polygamy, women in these situations get their status by how many children they bear. As in Biblical days, women without children can be divorced, for lack of offspring.

            When men are limited to one wife apiece, less wealthy men cannot afford to have wives. This tends to leave a lot of unmatched women as well. (Some of these, of course, do have children through temporary relationships.) Men who do get married, tend to wait until they are more financially responsible. Thus, they and the women are both older. Starting having babies later tends to reduce the number of children.

            If we add the modern situation of wives working outside the home (other than in tending a garden and children), wives find that they do not have time for a large number of children. They cannot afford a house big enough for a bedroom for each child – a consideration no one ever thought of, years ago.

            • Artleads says:

              JMG makes a point I’m finding helpful: despite there being radically varied cultural styles, we do better (he implies) by not insisting they all get homogenized into one. So if polygamy works well enough in one place, we can probably depend on time to alter it where it stops working, and leave it alone otherwise. Even so, I can’t accept female genital circumcision. Just one of those “non negotiables.” Regarding that particular issue, I’d be cool, and bide my time to jump on any bandwagon that will promote change. There are sure to be many of various sorts.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              How about male genital mutilation? Not as extreme — however it surely should be considered child abuse…. how about we let the child decide when they are 18?

            • my thoughts exactly

          • DJ says:

            Women deciding when and if and how many and with whom they have children influences birth rate, not if they share husband.

    • Kowalainen says:

      Division by zero “physics”. Nope!
      Nature does not divide by zero.

      The real scientists Nikola Tesla, Alfvén, Faraday and Maxwell would call that garbage “pseudoscience by crackpots”.

    • I think that collapse by nuclear weapons is still a real possibility. When there is not enough cheap-to-extract resources to go around, countries tend to fight over them. This could be the cause of a final war. Or we could have a financial collapse, and the indirect result (some time later) could be massive explosions of spent nuclear fuel.

  3. jupiviv says:

    This youtube video unintentionally summarises the techno-disney-topian perspective on industrial civ collapse:

    “THEY have the ultimate power in the universe,
    And before it gets better
    It’s getting worse.”

    • Kowalainen says:

      Brilliant! 👍

    • aaaa says:

      I cringed and skipped to the end

      • Artleads says:

        He seems not to have read FW? I’m thinking that this is craziness. (But then JMG is talking about thousands of years of further, albeit altered, civilization!) What would support all these people being so well served by AI?

      • Harari interview:

        https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2017/mar/19/yuval-harari-sapiens-readers-questions-lucy-prebble-arianna-huffington-future-of-humanity

        What is the biggest misconception humanity has about itself?
        Lucy Prebble, playwright

        Maybe it is that by gaining more power over the world, over the environment, we will be able to make ourselves happier and more satisfied with life. Looking again from a perspective of thousands of years, we have gained enormous power over the world and it doesn’t seem to make people significantly more satisfied than in the stone age.

        Is there a real possibility that environmental degradation will halt technological progress?
        TheWatchingPlace, posted online
        I think it will be just the opposite – that, as the ecological crisis intensifies, the pressure for technological development will increase, not decrease. I think that the ecological crisis in the 21st century will be analogous to the two world wars in the 20th century in serving to accelerate technological progress.

        As long as things are OK, people would be very careful in developing or experimenting in genetic engineering on humans or giving artificial intelligence control of weapon systems. But if you have a serious crisis, caused for example by ecological degradation, then people will be tempted to try all kinds of high-risk, high-gain technologies in the hope of solving the problem, and you’ll have something like the Manhattan Project in the second world war.

        • Artleads says:

          +++++++

        • TY says:

          Exactly. Sometimes you read something and know instantly that there is truth to it.
          Though i do wonder if harari himself might have some glimpses of insider knowledge.

        • Kowalainen says:

          Preposterous statements.

          What was the average lifespan in the Stone Age? That information alone should give an indication of how relentlessly hard life was back then.

          We are so spoiled by IC now that we even complain about it without ever realizing the copious amount of prosperity that is shoved down our myopic minds through our flappy mouths and sensitive and brittle egos.

          To people complaining about IC – get a goddamn clue.

          Yes, that and:
          BURN MORE COAL!!!

          • Fast Eddy says:

            They complain … and if you suggest they take the bus instead of their car .. they look at you as if you have lost your mind….

            I am still waiting for a Green employee to come to me and ask me to reduce his salary …. so that he can consume less.. waiting … and waiting….

  4. milan says:

    An oldy but a goody folks with this paragraph er sentence the most important in the entire piece:

    “Change is going to have to come from a collapse in energy demand. People will have to change their lifestyles.”

    What Really Killed Soviet Union? Oil Shock?

    Larry Hagman, the late U.S. actor that played the bombastic oilman JR Ewing, often quipped that the TV soap opera Dallas brought down the mighty Soviet Union.
    “The opulence, the consumerism, the food, the cars — these things made them want more than their governments provided them,” claimed Hagman.
    Academics, who had not foreseen or predicted the Soviet Union’s rapid meltdown, now argue that the Reagan Doctrine probably forced the empire’s demise. According to this theory, Moscow’s inefficient centrally planned state just couldn’t keep pace with U.S. military spending and went bankrupt.
    But that’s not how Doug Reynolds and an increasing number of analysts now view the Soviet collapse. The 52-year-old U.S. economist, who taught energy economics in the Republic of Kazakhstan during the fall, says the Red Empire just ran out of fuel.
    CUBA AND NORTH KOREA: ENERGY ORPHANS
    With the official collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, both North Korea and Cuba became energy orphans.
    The Soviet Union once shipped vast amounts of oil and fertilizer to both oil starved nations. In turn they exported their political allegiance and waves of anti-imperialist rhetoric.
    When this energy system fell apart, North Korea and Cuba suddenly became global laboratories for how nations might respond to peak oil or massive disruptions in oil deliveries, writes Oxford history professor Jorg Friedrichs.
    Their response is also a study in dramatic contrasts. North Korea’s one per cent resorted to vicious repression coupled with nuclear threats while Cuba tapped into 19th century agricultural traditions and demonstrated much resilience.
    For decades North Korea used its Soviet oil subsidies to build a highly industrial agricultural system. In order to grow enough grain in an unseasonable climate, it heavily invested in machines and irrigation systems as well as cheap fertilizer to restore depleted soil resources.
    North Korea poured so many fossil fuels into its industrial farming system that the nation’s per capita energy use in 1990 was twice that of China’s, says Friedrichs.
    When oil imports stopped in 1991 along with cheap fertilizers, Korea’s elites directed scarce fuel supplies towards the military and heavy industry, effectively starving agriculture. Korea’s one per cent, in other words, saved fuel for tanks to defend the regime but not for tractors to feed its hungry peasants.
    While the Hermit Kingdom’s well-fed rulers proclaimed a “Let’s Eat Two Meals A Day” campaign, rice and corn production dropped by 50 per cent between 1991 and 1998.
    A calculated political famine then swept away nearly a million peasants or three to five per cent of the population. For ordinary people, the trains stopped and homes went cold in the dead of winter. Children grew thin and sick.
    North Korea’s poor still live with recurring food shortages and a menu of endless political repression.
    North Korea survived economic collapse and the disappearance of cheap oil by investing its remaining energies in protecting the status quo and dabbling in nuclear experiments.
    As one observer noted, North Korea remains a land of two solitudes: “depressing poverty, pervasive food and medicine shortages, and crushing manual labour. Defending this grim reality is frightful military might in the form of ballistic missiles, hordes of armoured vehicles, long range artillery and one million soldiers.”
    Or as Freidrichs concluded, “Korean-style totalitarian retrenchment is without doubt one possible response to a severe energy supply disruption.”
    Cuba, however, replied much differently to a 70 per cent drop in oil imports, which precipitated massive wage losses and unemployment. Cuban economists compared the oil shock to an airplane falling from the sky and called it “the special period.”
    Without Soviet oil, fertilizers and food imports, the caloric intake of most Cubans dropped from 2,600 to a lean 1,000 a day.
    In response, Cuba abandoned state-owned farming (the Soviet equivalent of agribusiness in North America) along with its attendant tobacco and sugar monocultures.
    Faced with a grave emergency, the government turned to small farmers and “organicos” (small urban plots) to re-energize its agriculture with human muscle, clever thinking and small open markets. (Farmers are well paid in Cuba.)
    Dire necessity and not “ecological consciousness” drove Cuba to develop the world’s largest organic farming movement largely supported by the island’s barrios or tightly knit neighbourhoods.
    People raised rabbits on rooftops and planted organic gardens on empty lots. Compost centres provided soil while traditional knowledge provided ways to combat pests with natural products instead of oil-based chemicals.
    So energy transitions driven by shortages can come with different political faces. North Korea’s elites choose to starve its people and protect the powerful. In contrast, Cuba’s rulers abandoned Soviet rhetoric and sought solutions among their own people and in a restoration of small farms and a relocalization of food markets.
    Concluded Friedrichs: “Countries with a strong authoritarian tradition may follow a North Korean path of totalitarian retrenchment. Countries with a strong community ethos may embark on Cuban-style socioeconomic adaptation, relying on their people to mitigate the effects of peak oil. It is of course possible to imagine other reactive patterns, such as the mobilization of national sentiment by populist regimes.” — Andrew Nikiforuk
    When oil production, and its all-important revenues peaked, the Soviet Union lost the energy mojo that glued its empire together. The empire’s collapse was, in other words, another curious tale about energy transitions.
    The numbers alone are convincing. Soviet oil production dropped an astounding 50 per cent between 1988 and 1995 from 12 million barrels to seven million barrels. (Under Putin it has returned to 10-million barrels.) As oil drained from the Soviet machine, the nation’s stability morphed into Russian chaos and a temporary political renewal.

    Satellites of the Soviet Union also went into energy descent. Deprived of cheap oil and subsidized fertilizers made from cheap natural gas, North Korea experienced a famine and Cuba fell into an economic and agricultural crisis known as “the Special Period.”
    Now, Reynolds is no crank or gadfly. The energy economist, who also worked as a mechanical engineer in the U.S. military, teaches at the University of Alaska. In his view energy, not money, makes the world go around. He also believes that the Soviet collapse holds valuable lessons for every modern economy dependent on imported oil.
    The Soviet collapse, for example, demonstrates that “alternative energy technology has too little potential and takes too long to institute through an economy to be of any use during an oil crisis,” says Reynolds.
    Nor is Reynolds the only thinker looking at the empire’s failure from an energy looking glass. Yegor Gaidar, director of the Moscow-based Institute for Economies in Transition, argues that both oil and grain played key roles in the fall of the Communist empire.
    When flows of gold and silver to 16th century Spain dried up, it lost an entire empire. And when flows of oil and gas revenue dropped dramatically for the Soviet Union, it lost control over eastern Europe without “losing on the battlefield for 50 years.”
    Soviet downfall
    The fall of the Soviet Union, wrote Gaidar in a 2007 paper, “should serve as a lesson to those who construct policy based on the assumption that oil prices will remain perpetually high.”
    Engineer, blogger and author Dmitry Orlov would mostly second that conclusion. He experienced the collapse first hand and attributes much of the chaos to peak oil.
    “The Communist regime was so corrupt and stealing as much as they could that they didn’t pay attention to the system. It was on autopilot,” said Orlov in a recent talk.
    Yet the story of how peak oil in a closed society precipitated the financial and geographical undoing of a major superpower remains a largely untold energy tale.
    Like the United States, Russia was a global oil pioneer in the 19th century. While U.S. entrepreneurs such as John D. Rockefeller turned Pennsylvania’s black gold into a refining monopoly in the 1870s, Sweden’s Nobel brothers (yes of that Nobel fame) put their straws into the fields of Baku in Azerbaijan.
    (The great French essayist Alex de Tocqueville noted as early as 1835 that Russia and the United States would some day (“by some secret design of Providence”) hold in their hands “the destinies of half the world.” He had no idea that the “secret design” would be their singular petroleum luck.)
    But the Soviet Union didn’t really begin to spend its oil in a concentrated way until after the Second World War. That’s when communists began to burn petroleum, well, like Americans by building cars, tractors, MIG jets and concrete cities.
    Just like U.S. petroleum joyriders, the Soviets also invested their oil surplus in Big Education (math and science), Big Medicine, Big Science (space programs) and a sprawling military-industrial complex.
    “The same things that worked for us in the United States worked for them,” says Reynolds. “They had incentives and big bonuses. It wasn’t a dead economy. It was a unified state economy.”
    (Orlov sarcastically compares the two superpowers to two quarrelling oil rich brothers that wanted more or less the same stuff — “things like technological progress, economic growth, full employment, and world domination — but they disagreed about the methods. And they obtained similar results, each had a good run, intimidated the whole planet, and kept the other scared. Each eventually went bankrupt.”)
    Empire glue
    Oil, however, shackled the whole damn empire together. Cheap petroleum kept eastern Europe under communist control while oil export revenue paid for essential grain imports along with bottles of vodka for state elites.
    The union’s oil abundance also saved it from two global oil price shocks in 1973 and 1981. Those volatile events sent most of the western world (including the United States) into recession, debt and as well as an ever increasing dependence on foreign oil.
    As oil prices rose in the 1980s, the Soviet Empire behaved like any incompetent petro-state: it pumped more oil to generate more revenue in order to build more infrastructure to consume more oil. It also wasted an enormous amount of petroleum, men and rubles in a vain attempt to conquer Afghanistan.
    At the same time it subsidized the energy needs of North Korea, eastern Europe and Cuba. Europeans of all stripes flocked to East Berlin to catch the cheapest flights to India in the 1980s and all thanks to Soviet fuel subsidies.
    But in the mid-1980s, Soviet oil production topped off at 12 million barrels a day due to poor management, old technology and lack of investment. And then oil production started to drop. As oil fields ran dry, the authorities spent more cash to coax more petroleum from aging reservoirs with massive water flooding programs.
    But these technological fixes didn’t put much of a dent in the nation’s oil depletion rates.
    After Soviet oil peaked
    Just before Soviet oil production peaked in 1988 (the event walked hand in hand with a major drop in oil prices), the empire realized that it no longer had enough black gold to pay its bills.
    In full panic mode, “the dynamically developing world superpower” (as experts then called it) started to borrow heavily to prevent a bread famine due to oil-spending industrialization schemes that pushed 80 million farmers into Soviet slums. “But peak oil pushed the Soviet Union into an abyss,” says Reynolds.
    To save oil for its own needs, Moscow even started to charge eastern Europe hard currency for its oil and at global prices. “Without the free oil, the eastern European economies went into a tailspin,” says Reynolds. Shortly afterwards the whole Soviet machine disintegrated as well.
    So oil scarcity lead to debt, which feed an economic down turn (and lower GDP) that eventually resulted in currency devaluation along with a dramatic drop in oil consumption of 50 per cent from 1988 to 1995.
    “Oil production managed to go up as long as oil reserves were relatively abundant,” wrote Reynolds in one paper.
    “However, once scarcity increased substantially, the communist system saw declining oil production which in turn could have caused their inefficient economic system to finally decline… They experienced peak oil in the system they had and they collapsed.”
    To Reynolds the collapse of the Soviet Union offers a variety of disquieting lessons for the United States, Europe and Japan.
    All now face economic stagnation and rising debts associated with rising oil prices due to the depletion of light oil reserves around the world.
    The first lesson, says Reynolds, is that an oil price shock will stop an economy the same way an empty fuel tank will stall a car. “There are not a lot of substitutes for oil,” says Reynolds.
    At the same time, big complex structures tend to fall apart when energy flows contract, adds Reynolds.

    The Soviet Union broke up; eastern Europe crumbled; and the Warsaw Pact dissolved as energy drained from the system like blood from a wound. Reynolds wonders if the European Economic Union and the United States can survive peak global oil without dissolving into smaller entities.
    Slow to adapt
    Another hard lesson has to do with alternative energy sources. None could replace the power density and versatility of oil. The Soviets researched solar and wind but couldn’t scale them up fast enough to make any difference during an oil shock.
    “Change is going to have to come from a collapse in energy demand. People will have to change their lifestyles.”
    Fourth, free markets can play a role in revitalizing the energy sector. In response to the collapse Russia privatized its energy assets and added new technologies that temporarily revived oil production.
    But then Vladimir Putin nationalized the nation’s oil wealth to consolidate his hold on power. Russia remains a petro-state dependent on its oil and gas revenues.
    But free markets did not change the nation’s energy system by inviting more renewables or by encouraging sound energy conservation.

    “The former Soviet Union did not solve its energy crisis by using alternative energy, but by simply reducing its use of energy. This bodes badly for our own ability to depend on alternative energy,” adds Reynolds.
    Last but not least, oil shocks promote social inequality. “The Russians had hyperinflation and massive unemployment. You also had the enrichment of the rich.”
    To Reynolds, volatile and higher oil prices have thrust the world into an uncertain energy transition.
    “A likely road map for the future can be discerned by studying events before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

    https://thetyee.ca/News/2013/03/13/Soviet-Union-Oil/

    • That’s a mess piece of article full of time sequencing inaccuracies and failed logic, for starters the Perestroika turn around started well before above stated time lines. Soviets supposedly aimed developing renewables is a joke statement given the demonstrably achieved world premier successes then (Russian continued up to this date) in the nuclear energy arena, ..

      I’m not saying their peak in Soviet conventional oil extraction and large foreign aid outflows (often with dubious reciprocity value) were not an important issue to wobble of their system, but the underlying problem laid elsewhere, namely the West simply could resort into much higher debt debauchery and thus weasel out of 1970s turmoil..

      I contributed on the topic more relevant summary just on previous comment page:
      https://ourfiniteworld.com/2018/09/23/the-worlds-fragile-economic-condition-part-1/comment-page-18/#comment-188849

    • interguru says:

      “Without Soviet oil, fertilizers and food imports, the caloric intake of most Cubans dropped from 2,600 to a lean 1,000 a day”

      The results!!

      The combination of fewer calories and more exercise produced the outcome that health experts are constantly propounding. The obesity rate fell from 12 percent to 7 percent in 1995, and diabetes mortality dropped 13.95 percent per year from 1996 to 2002, a period when obesity rates remained low. During the same time frame, coronary heart disease mortality decreased by 6.48 percent per year.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/castros-cuba-a-public-health-phenomenon-in-the-90s-showed-the-benefits-of-national-weight-loss/2016/12/01/c179c6fe-b68d-11e6-b8df-600bd9d38a02_story.html?utm_term=.30fd2479c162

    • Regarding “Change is going to have to come from a collapse in energy demand. People will have to change their lifestyles.”

      The issue is that the collapse in energy demand comes from a loss of jobs that pay well. It comes from globalization, so that those making the goods and services we use earn only $20 per month, so that they cannot afford to be purchasers of those goods and services. Or, worse yet, jobs are replaced by automation, leaving no demand. Or government services are cut way back, collapsing demand.

      You got the “collapsing demand” part right. What you didn’t realize is that it is involuntary collapsing demand that is already happening.

    • A collapse in energy demand comes very easily, when prices rise disproportionately to the wages of a large share of the population.

      The Soviet Union reduced energy consumption by shutting down much of its manufacturing. This was inefficient, relative to that of the West. Probably this inefficiency, besides the low oil prices (preventing reinvestment), was what did the system in.

      This is one chart I put together years ago:

  5. jupiviv says:

    Ugo Bardi’s latest post:

    https://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2018/10/could-donald-trump-be-last-emperor-in.html

    “The rise and fall of empires looks like a chemical reaction, flaring and then subsidizing, as a reaction running out of reactants — then restarting when new reactants have accumulated. For empires, the reactants might have been mineral resources — it may well be that Sargon’s empire was the result of silver having become a standard medium of exchange in Mesopotamia. With silver, Sargon could pay his soldiers. With his soldiers, he could steal more silver. And, with more silver, he could pay even more soldiers — and there you go: the road for glory and murder is open.”

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      Ugo often gets it right.
      But comrades—-
      Daily CO2

      October 6, 2018: 405.42 ppm

      October 6, 2017: 403.03 ppm
      Has a “universal” effect-and we are at a yearly low point.

      • Slow Paul says:

        If we only could place bets on CO2-stocks… I would place an insignificant bet on CO2 reaching 407.81 ppm on October 6, 2019.

        On second thought, make that 407.84 ppm.

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

          October 6, 2018: 4.05 parts per 10,000

          October 6, 2017: 4.03 parts per 10,000

          sweat is pouring down my face…

          my hands are sh-shaking…

          I can hardly control my typing…ei09fum

          I think I might pass out…

          I’m in a state of total fear…

          how will I sleep tonight?

          and what will I do if and when it gets to 5.00 parts per 10,000?

      • JesseJames says:

        What is the tolerance in your measurements? What is the 95% confidence level that your answer is within 1 standard deviation of the true value?

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Oh gawd… this reminds me of 10+ years ago when every summer I expected a tipping point where the permafrost in the Arctic was all going to melt releasing billions and trillions of tonnes of methane and we’d all be extinguished…. and then there would be a year of record ice freeze… and I’d feel somehow … disappointed … when I should have felt relief

          Funny how when G Dweepers are given evidence of the ho ax ….. they get angry … they dig in harder and deeper on the delusion …

          It’s almost as if they WANT it to happen — and they are disappointed that it is not and will not

    • Aubrey Enoch says:

      There is absolutely, positively, with out a doubt going to a collapse in energy demand.
      Subtract seven billion from the per capita side of the equation.

    • This is the chart that Ugo Bardi shows

      from this paper https://irows.ucr.edu/papers/irows34/irows34.htm

      I would argue that we now have an international world economy. The scale of the graph is Megameters (meters x 10^6). This would seem to be equivalent to adding a recent point equal to 149 on the chart based on total land mass (or perhaps a little less, if Antarctica and perhaps a few other small parts are not yet included).

  6. Third World person says:

    Nuclear pasta in neutron stars may be the strongest material in the universe

    A strand of spaghetti snaps easily, but an exotic substance known as nuclear pasta is an entirely different story.

    Predicted to exist in ultradense dead stars called neutron stars, nuclear pasta may be the strongest material in the universe. Breaking the stuff requires 10 billion times the force needed to crack steel, for example, researchers report in a study accepted in Physical Review Letters.

    “This is a crazy-big figure, but the material is also very, very dense, so that helps make it stronger,” says study coauthor and physicist Charles Horowitz of Indiana University Bloomington.

    Neutron stars form when a dying star explodes, leaving behind a neutron-rich remnant that is squished to extreme pressures by powerful gravitational forces, resulting in materials with bizarre properties

    https://www.sciencenews.org/article/nuclear-pasta-neutron-stars-may-be-strongest-material-universe

    we need this kind of energy to save our bau

  7. Third World person says:

    Donald Trump urged Spain to ‘build the wall’ – across the Sahara

    Donald Trump suggested the Spanish government tackled the Mediterranean migration crisis by emulating one of his most famous policies and building a wall across the Sahara desert, the country’s foreign minister has revealed.

    According to Josep Borrell, the US president brushed off the scepticism of Spanish diplomats – who pointed out that the Sahara stretched for 3,000 miles – saying: “The Sahara border can’t be bigger than our border with Mexico.”

    Trump wooed voters in the 2016 election with his promise to build a “big, beautiful wall” across the US/Mexico border, which is roughly 2,000 miles long.

    A similar plan in the Sahara, however, would be complicated by the fact that Spain holds only two small enclaves in north Africa – Ceuta and Melilla – and such a wall would have to be built on foreign territory.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/19/donald-trump-urged-spain-to-build-the-wall-across-the-sahara

    • Third World person says:

      lol

      btw Trump hasn’t even built the wall on the Mexican border.

    • Artleads says:

      Michael Moore makes some good points. One of his insights that I had also shared was that there is generally a grain of truth and real intention to the craziest sounding Trump pronouncement. So there will be no 3,000 mile wall across the Sahara, but there will be a move to separate the north geopolitically from the south. North of the Sahara is Muslim and brown, while and south is Christian and black. I don’t know what the advantage of this division is to whom. Would the African continent be stronger split in two or not? There is oil in the north as well as the south. Some ideas and projects for greening some of the desert (using purely natural means) have been floated. The interest seemed to be coming from the “south” more than from the north. I’m sure there are many considerations that I don’t know about.

  8. Fast Eddy says:

    Yet more MSM lies… demonizing the Chinese…. Putin now has company….

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-10-07/homeland-security-backs-apple-amazon-denial-chinese-spy-chip-infiltration

    5 hours ago

    It was a stupid claim to begin with.

    1) You can’t simply “glue” a tiny chip to a motherboard and have it interface/monitor address and data buses. The physical bus connections must be made.

    2) The size of a grain of rice will take an incredibly small battery to power it or it will have to be physically connected to system power somehow.. Good luck with that. If a microscopic battery, good luck having it last any period of time.

    3) It might be monitoring WiFi but, again, power is required. Then the chip, tied to nothing (buses), only using WiFi, will have to get the data out onto the Internet through many software layers, back to the nefarious actor’s place. Nope.

    4) The motherboards would have to be designed to interface with the “spy” chip. Sure, they can do it but very doubtful that they did.

    5) Pumping massive quantities of data out of a system without it being detected relatively quickly won’t happen.

    6) And from the article: “the testers found a tiny microchip, not much bigger than a grain of rice, that wasn’t part of the boards’ original design.” Yes, no interface method. Stupid claim.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Then we see a govt troll step in with mockery …

      5 hours ago
      remove
      Unfortunately, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

      5 hours ago
      (Edited)
      remove
      Yeah, exactly. I have a Masters in EE. One of my current jobs is to design ASICs and FPGAs much like this “device.” Although I’m doing mixed signal FPGAs, not purely digital.

      What are your qualifications?

  9. Fast Eddy says:

    Just checking on what’s allowed and what’s not re the internet while in Yangshuo…

    Google – not allowed

    FB – not allowed

    Twitter – not allowed

    Duck Go Go – not allowed

    Youtube – not allowed

    Bing – allowed

    Skype – allowed

    VPN – unable to connect to get around the bans

    P.orn sites – not allowed

    Recall the summary of the book El d e rs of z ion….

    Take control of the media and use it in propaganda for our plans
    Create entertaining distractions
    Corrupt minds with filth and perversion

    Did I mention that a friend’s 5 year old daughter asked M Fast the other day while in Hong Kong if M Fast ‘has s.ex’

    Imagine what children are looking at on their phones…. or friend’s phones…. they must be viewing the most degrading content….. and talking about it

    The Chinese may be onto something.

    • I found using the Internet in China to be a headache. All of the major US news sources were also blocked, besides the sites you list.

      If a site is created through WordPress, but does not use WordPress in its URL, it seems to go through. Thus, a WordPress blog that just uses the default title is blocked. If a person pays to have his or her own title, such as “OurFiniteWorld.com,” it can be read in China. But it becomes impossible to add new blog posts, because these require using URLs that include WordPress.

    • Third World person says:

      yet kfc is biggest fast food company in china
      iphone biggest buyers come from china

      so please stop this shit fast eddy the Chinese are morally corrupted
      as everyone on this planet

      • Fast Eddy says:

        That wasn’t my point.

        They are not blocking these sites to protect their citizens.. they have their own sites that perform all the same functions from controlling thoughts to monitoring all communication.

  10. aaaa says:

    Report is aparently out – am I reading this right? 2.7C degree increase above pre-industrial levels by 2040? What does that entail.. 1.4 degrees above current levels?

    • aaaa says:

      let me try again – the report states potential 1.5C or 2.7F increase by 2040

    • The report says, “The IPCC accepted the invitation in April 2016, deciding to prepare this Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels,” so that is what we are talking about.

      The report then goes on to say, “Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming, above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C.”

      So we seem to already be at 1.0°C of global warming. This report has to do with limiting the total to no more than an additional 0.5°C. Perhaps the answer is, “Don’t bother trying.”

    • I am wondering what kind of response this report will get. The report contrasts the difference between 1.5 degree and 2.0 degrees of global warming. Will the ridiculousness of what is being asked for to reach a 1.5 degree expected increase in expected climate change really start to sink in?

      According to What did the latest IPCC report on climate change actually say?

      The Paris Agreement asked the IPCC to report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5℃, and this new publication is the result. Its tone is not “we must avoid 1.5℃ warming”, as you might think from many commentators, but more “if we want to avoid 1.5℃ warming, this is what must be done”. The report contrasts the impact of 1.5℃ and 2℃ warmings, giving information on what would be gained by the extra effort needed to limit warming to 1.5℃.

      Will countries look at the report and say, “No way!” I see that Australia with its coal use and exports is already saying that. Australian government backs coal in defiance of IPCC climate warning

      There are also questions about the report’s focus on getting rid of nuclear and backing so-called renewables instead. Attacking Nuclear As Dangerous, New IPCC Climate Change Report Promotes Land-Intensive Renewables According to this article:

      IPCC repeatedly characterizes nuclear as inherently flawed in contrast to renewables whose problems can be solved through “policy interventions.” In reality, there is no policy intervention that can change the physics of making electricity. Solar farms (like California’s Ivanpah) require up to 5,000 times more land per unit of energy than nuclear plants (like California’s Diablo Canyon) because sunlight is energy-dilute and uranium is energy-dense.

      . . .

      IPCC authors even promote “bio-energy” — the use of wood, dung, and ethanol — fuels with large, well-documented negative human health and environmental impacts.

      In 2012, a Science Advisory Board to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded bioenergy was not “carbon neutral” — a view supported by more than 90 leading scientists in an open letter, and the European Union’s Environment Agency.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Why would the MSM rant on and on … about something … that is impossible to stop … if indeed it were not a hoax?

        If a giant asteroid were headed for earth hitting in 20 years — and there was nothing that could be done about it … does anyone think this would make the headlines?

        I f789ing despise stu pidity

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