Fossil Fuel Production Is Reaching Limits in a Strange Way

Strangely enough, the limit we seem to be reaching with respect to fossil fuel extraction comes from low prices. At low prices, the extraction of oil, coal, and natural gas becomes unprofitable. Producers go bankrupt, or they voluntarily cut back production in an attempt to force prices higher. As the result of these forces, production tends to fall. This limit comes long before the limit that many people imagine: the amount of fossil fuels in the ground that seems to be available with current extraction techniques.

The last time there was a similar problem was back in 1913, when coal was the predominant fossil fuel used and the United Kingdom was the largest coal producer in the world. The cost of production was rising due to depletion, but coal prices would not rise sufficiently to cover the higher cost of production. As a result, the United Kingdom’s coal production reached its highest level in 1913, the year before World War I started, and began to fall in 1914.

Between 1913 and 1945, the world economy was very troubled. There were two world wars, the Spanish Flu pandemic and the Great Depression. My concern is that we are again headed into another very troubled period that could last for many years.

The way the energy problems of the period between 1913 and 1945 were resolved was through the rapid ramp-up of oil production. Oil was, as that time, inexpensive to produce and could be sold for a very large multiple of the cost of production. If population is to remain at the current level or possibly grow, we need a similar “energy savior.” Unfortunately, none of the alternatives we are looking at now yield a high enough return relative to the required investment.

I recently gave a talk to an engineering group interested in energy research talking about these issues. In this post, I will discuss the slides of this presentation. A PDF of the presentation can be found at this link.

The Low Oil Price Problem

Oil prices seem to bounce around wildly. One major issue is that there is a two-way tug of war between the prices that citizens can afford and the prices that oil companies require. We can look back now and say that the mid-2008 price of over $150 per barrel was too high for consumers. But strangely enough, oil producers began complaining about oil prices being too low to cover their rising cost levels, starting in 2012. Prices, at a 2019 cost level, were at about $120 per barrel at that time. I wrote about this issue in the post, Beginning of the End? Oil Companies Cut Back on Spending. Oil prices now are in the $40 range, so are way, way below both $120 per barrel and $150 per barrel.

Interest rates and the availability of debt also play a role in oil prices. If interest rates are low and debt is readily available, it is easy to buy a new home or new car, and oil prices tend to rise because of the higher demand. When prices are too low for producers, central banks have been able to lower interest rates through a program called “quantitative easing.” This program seems to have helped oil prices to rise again, over a three-year period, after they crashed in 2008.

OPEC producers are known for their low cost of production, but even they report needing high oil prices. The cost of extracting the oil is reported to be very low (perhaps $10 per barrel), but the price charged needs to be high enough to allow governments to collect very high taxes on the oil extracted. If prices are high enough, these countries can continue the food subsidies that their populations depend upon. They can also sponsor development programs to provide jobs for the ever-growing populations of these countries. OPEC producers also need to develop new oil fields because the old ones deplete.

Oil production outside of the United States and Canada entered a bumpy plateau in 2005. The US and Canada added oil production from shale and bitumen in recent years, helping to keep world oil production (including natural gas liquids) rising.

One reason why producers need higher prices is because their cost of extraction tends to rise over time. This happens because the oil that is cheapest to extract and process tends to be extracted first, leaving the oil with higher cost of extraction until later. 

Some OPEC countries, such as Saudi Arabia, can hide the low price problem for a while by borrowing money. But even this approach does not work well for long. The longer low oil prices last, the greater the danger is of governments being overthrown by unhappy citizens. Oil production can then be expected to become erratic because of internal conflicts.

In the US and Canada, oil companies have been funded by bank loans, bond sales and the sale of shares of stock. These sources of funding are drying up, as many oil companies report poor earnings, year after year, and some are seeking bankruptcy protection. 

Chart 6 shows that the number of drilling rigs in operation has dropped dramatically in both the United States and Canada, as oil companies cut back on drilling. There is a lag between the time the number of drilling rigs is cut back and the time production starts to fall of perhaps a year, in the case of shale. These low drilling rig counts suggest that US and Canadian oil production from shale will fall in 2021.

Of course, unused drilling rigs cannot be mothballed indefinitely. At some point, they are sold as scrap and the workers who operated them find other employment. It then becomes difficult to restart oil extraction.

How the Economy Works, and What Goes Wrong as Limits Are Reached

Slide 7 shows one way of visualizing how the world economy, as a self-organizing system, operates. It is somewhat like a child’s building toy. New layers are added as new consumers, new businesses and new laws are added. Old layers tend to disappear, as old consumers die, old products are replaced by new products, and new laws replace old laws. Thus, the structure is to some extent hollow.

Self-organizing objects that grow require energy under the laws of physics. Our human bodies are self-organizing systems that grow. We use food as our source of energy. The economy also requires energy products of many kinds, such as gasoline, jet fuel, coal and electricity to allow it to operate.

It is easy to see that energy consumption allows the economy to produce finished goods and services, such as homes, automobiles, and medical services. It is less obvious, but just as important, that energy consumption provides jobs that pay well. Without energy supplies in addition to food, typical jobs would be digging in the dirt with a stick or gathering food with our hands. These jobs don’t pay well.

Finally, Slide 7 shows an important equivalence between consumers and employees. If consumers are going to be able to afford to buy the output of the economy, they need to have adequate wages.

A typical situation that arises is that population rises more quickly than energy resources, such as land to grow food. For a while, it is possible to work around this shortfall with what is called added complexity: hierarchical organization, specialization, technology, and globalization. Unfortunately, as more complexity is added, the economic system increasingly produces winners and losers. The losers end up with very low wage jobs, or with no jobs at all. The winners get huge wages and often asset ownership, as well. The winners end up with far more revenue than they need to purchase basic goods and services. The losers often do not have enough revenue to feed their families and to buy basic necessities, such as a home and some form of basic transportation.

The strange way the economy works has to do with the physics of the situation. Physicist Francois Roddier explains this as being similar to what happens to water at different temperatures. When the world economy has somewhat inadequate energy supplies, the goods and services produced by the economy tend to bubble to the top members of the world economy, similar to the way steam rises. The bottom members of the economy tend to get “frozen out.” This way, the economy can downsize without losing all members of the economy, simultaneously. This is the way ecosystems of all kinds adapt to changing conditions: The plants and animals that are best adapted to the conditions of the time tend to be the survivors.

These issues are related to the fact that the economy is, in physics terms, a dissipative structure. The economy, like hurricanes and like humans, requires adequate energy if it is not to collapse. Dissipative structures attempt to work around temporary shortfalls in energy supplies. A human being will lose weight if his caloric intake is restricted for a while. A hurricane will lose speed, if the energy it gets from the warm water of the ocean is restricted. A world economy with inadequate energy is likely to shrink back in many ways: unprofitable businesses may fail, layers of government may disappear and population may fall, for example.

In the discussion of Slide 7, I mentioned the fact that if we try to “stretch” energy supply with added complexity, many workers would end up with very low wages. Some of these low wage workers would be in the US and Europe, but many of them would be in China, India and Africa. Even though these workers are producing goods for the world economy, they often cannot afford to buy those same goods themselves. Henry Ford is remembered to have said something to the effect that he needed to pay his workers enough so that they, themselves, could buy the cars they were making. To a significant extent, this is no longer happening when a person takes into account international workers.

The high interest rates that low-wage workers pay mean that loans don’t really help low-wage workers as much as they help high-wage workers. The high interest on credit card debt and personal loans tend to transfer part of the income of low-wage workers to the financial sector, leaving poor people worse off than they would have been without the loans. 

COVID shutdowns are extremely damaging to the world economy. They are like taking support sticks out of the dome on Slide 7. They produce many more unemployed people around the world. People in low wage countries that produce clothing for a living have been particularly hard hit, for example. Migrant workers and miners of various kinds have also been hard hit.

We Seem to Be Reaching a Major Turning Point

Oil production and consumption have both fallen in 2020; oil prices are far too low for producers; wage disparity is a major problem; countries seem to be increasingly having problems getting along. Many analysts are forecasting a prolonged recession.

The last time that we had a similar situation was in 1913, when the largest coal producer in the world was the United Kingdom. The UK’s cost of coal production kept rising because of depletion (deeper mines, thinner seams), but prices would not rise to compensate for the higher cost of production. Miners were paid very inadequate wages; poor workers regularly held strikes for higher wages. World War I started in 1914, the same year coal production of the UK started to fall. The UK’s coal production has fallen nearly every year since then.

The last time that wage disparity started to spike as badly as it has in recent years occurred back in the late 1920s, or perhaps as early as 1913 to 1915.  The chart shown above is for the US; problems were greater in Europe at that time.

With continued low oil prices, production is likely to start falling and may continue to fall for years. It is hard to bring scrapped drilling rigs back into service, for example. The experience in the UK with coal shows that energy prices don’t necessarily rise to compensate for higher costs due to depletion. There need to be buyers for higher-priced goods made with higher-priced coal. If there is too much wage disparity, the many poor people in the system will tend to keep demand, and prices, too low. They may eat poorly, making it easier for pandemics to spread, as with the Spanish Flu in 1918-1919. These people will be unhappy, leading to the rise of leaders promising to change the system to make things better.

My concern is that we may be heading into a long period of unrest, as occurred in the 1913 to 1945 era. Instead of getting high energy prices, we will get disruption of the world economy.  The self-organizing economy is attempting to fix itself, either by getting more energy supply or by eliminating parts of the economy that aren’t contributing enough to the overall system. Conflict between countries, pandemics, bankruptcies and economic contraction are likely to be part of the mix.

Coal Seems to Be Reaching Extraction Limits as Well 

Coal has essentially the same problem as oil: Prices tend to be too low for producers to extract coal profitably. Many coal producers have gone bankrupt. Prices were higher back in 2008, when demand was high for everything, and again in 2011, when quantitative easing had been helpful. 

There have been stories in the press in the past week about China limiting coal imports from Australia, so as to make more jobs for coal miners in China. The big conflict among countries relates to “not enough jobs that pay well” and “not enough profitable companies.” These indirectly are energy issues. If there was more “affordability” of goods made with high-priced coal, there would be no problem.

Coal production worldwide has been on a bumpy plateau since 2012. In fact, China, the largest producer of coal, found its production stagnating, starting about 2012. The problem was a familiar one: The cost of extraction rose because many mines that had been used for quite a number of years were depleted. The selling price would not rise to match the higher cost of extraction because of affordability issues.

The underlying problem is that the economy is a dissipative structure. Commodity prices are set by the laws of physics. Prices don’t rise high enough for producers, if there are not enough customers willing and able to buy the goods made with high-priced coal.

We Have a Major Problem if Both Coal and Oil Production Are in Danger of Falling Because of Low Prices

Oil and coal are the two largest sources of energy in the world. We can’t get along without them. While natural gas production is fairly high, there is not nearly enough natural gas to replace both oil and coal.

Looking down the list, we see that nuclear production hit a maximum back in 2006 and has fallen since then.

Hydroelectric continues to grow, but from a small base. Most of the good sites have already been taken. In many cases, there are conflicts between countries regarding who should get the benefit of water from a given river.

The only grouping that is growing rapidly is Renewables. (This is really Renewables Other than Hydroelectric.) It includes wind and solar plus a few other energy types, including geothermal. This grouping, too, is very small compared to oil and coal.

Natural Gas Has a Low Price Problem as Well

Natural gas, at first glance, looks like it might be a partial solution to the world’s energy problems: It is lower in carbon than coal and oil, and it is fairly abundant. The problem with natural gas is that it is terribly expensive to ship. At one time, people used to talk about there being a lot of “stranded” natural gas. This natural gas seemed to be available, but when shipping costs were included, the price of goods made with it (such as electricity or winter heat for homes) was often unaffordable.

After the run-up in oil prices in the early 2000s, many people became optimistic that, with energy scarcity, natural gas prices would rise sufficiently to make extraction and shipping long distances profitable. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly clear that, while prices can temporarily spike due to scarcity and perhaps a debt bubble, keeping the prices up for the long run is extremely difficult. Customers need to be able to afford the goods and services made with these energy products, or the laws of physics bring market prices back down to an affordable level.

The prices in the chart reflect three different natural gas products. The lowest priced one is US Henry Hub, which is priced near the place of extraction, so long distance shipping is not an issue. The other two, German Import and Japan Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), include different quantities of long distance shipping. Prices in 2020 are even lower than in 2019. For example, some LNG imported by Japan has ben purchased for $4 per million Btu in 2020.

The Economy Needs a Bail-Out Similar to the Growth of Oil After WWII

The oil that was produced shortly after World War II had very important characteristics:

  1. It was very inexpensive to produce, and
  2. It could be sold to customers at a far higher price than its cost of production.

It was as if, today, we had a very useful energy product that could be produced and delivered for $4, but it was so valuable to consumers that they were willing to pay $120 for it. In other words, the consumer was willing to pay 30 times as much as the cost that went into extracting and refining the oil.

With an energy product this valuable, a company producing it would need virtually no debt. It could drill a well or two, and with the profits from the first wells, finance the investment of many more wells. The company could pay very high taxes, allowing governments to build roads, schools, electricity transmission lines and much other infrastructure, without having to raise taxes on citizens.

Besides using the profits for reinvestment and for taxes, oil companies could pay high dividends. This made oil company stocks favorites of pension plans. Thus, in a way, oil company profits could help subsidize pension plans, as well.

Now, because of depletion, we have reached a situation where oil companies, and in fact most companies, are unprofitable. Companies and governments keep adding debt at ever lower interest rates. In fact, the tradition of ever-increasing debt at ever-lower interest rates goes back to 1981. Thus, we have been using debt manipulation to hide energy problems for almost 40 years now.

We need a way to counteract this trend toward ever-lower returns. Some people talk about “Energy Return on Energy Investment” or EROEI. I gave an example in dollars, but a major thing those dollars are buying is energy, so the result is very similar.

I think researchers have set the “bar” far too low, in looking at what is an adequate EROEI. Today’s wind and solar don’t really have an adequate EROEI, when the full cost of delivery is included. If they did, they would not need the subsidy of “going first” on the electric grid. They would also be able to pay high taxes instead of requiring subsidies, year after year. We need much better solutions than the ones we have today.

Some researchers talk about “Net Energy per Capita,” calculated as ((Energy Delivered to the End User) minus (Energy Used in Making and Transporting Energy to the End User)) divided by (Population). It seems to me that Net Energy per Capita needs to stay at least constant, and perhaps rise. If net energy per capita could actually rise, it would allow the economy to increasingly fight depletion and pollution.

Conclusion: We Need a New Very Inexpensive Energy Source Now

We need a new, very inexpensive energy source that buyers will willingly pay a disproportionately high price for right now, not 20 or 50 years from now.

The alternative may be an economy that does poorly for a long time or collapses completely.

The one ray of hope, from a researcher’s perspective, is the fact that people are always looking for solutions. They may be able to provide funds for research at this time, even if funds for full implementation are unlikely.

This entry was posted in Financial Implications by Gail Tverberg. Bookmark the permalink.

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.

2,885 thoughts on “Fossil Fuel Production Is Reaching Limits in a Strange Way

  1. Re: another Scottish independence poll

    Details of another poll on opinion regarding Scottish independence, conducted in September, have just been made public. This one is by JL Partners. That makes twelve consecutive polls this year to show majority support for independence.

    In particular Scots are none too keen on Boris Johnson and he is putting many of them right off the UK. Scotland has not voted for the TP for generations (1959 GE), and they seem to have had enough of being ruled by the party that they do not vote for.

    Scots are also motivated by Brexit, which they voted against, and the TP handling of c 19.

    The poll found a 12 point lead with 56% support for independence to 44% against. Ipsos-Mori two weeks ago found a 16 point lead with support at 58% to 42%, the highest ever level of support for independence.

    JL Partners also found SNP with 58% support for the 2021 Holyrood elections, which would be an undeniable mandate for a referendum.

    > ‘Loathing’ of Boris Johnson fueling surge in support for Scottish independence: poll

    Exclusive JL Partners polling found a 12-point lead for a Yes vote in any future Scottish independence referendum.

    LONDON — Boris Johnson’s leadership is the biggest factor driving swing voters in Scotland towards backing independence, according to an extensive new analysis of public opinion on a fresh referendum.

    Brexit, the U.K. government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and a desire to settle the question once and for all were among the most persuasive arguments for independence among undecided and swing voters surveyed as part of polling by JL Partners, the firm led by Theresa May’s former pollster James Johnson. But none proved as persuasive as the argument: “Boris Johnson is not the leader I want to have for my country” — a sentiment 79 percent of swing voters agreed with.

    The poll of 1,016 Scottish voters, conducted in September and shared exclusively with POLITICO, gave independence a 56 to 44 percent lead, excluding those who said they did not know. The 12-point lead is in line with other recent polls showing a growing lead for a Yes vote in any future referendum. POLITICO’s latest Poll of Polls puts the lead for Yes at 50 to 42, with 8 percent undecided. Fifty-five percent of voters backed “no” in Scotland’s first independence referendum in 2014.

    Worryingly for Downing Street, the study also found that the U.K. government’s current opposition to holding another independence referendum would prove unpopular should First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party (SNP) win a majority in next May’s Scottish parliament elections, with 53 percent of swing voters surveyed last month saying the U.K. government would be wrong to deny a new referendum in that scenario.

    An SNP majority in Scotland is considered increasingly likely, with the poll putting the party well ahead on 58 percent of the constituency vote….

    “It is hard not to look at these figures and assume the Union is doomed. It is certainly the gravest situation the Unionist cause has found itself in in recent history,” James Johnson said….

    • Scotland is way left of their reactionary southern neighbors—
      It is time to leave.

      • Will they need violence to leave? Remember that Fauci and Bill Gates say that more epidemics are possible…

        • If the current intermezzo won’t cut it, expect slightly more zing in the next bout of viral hoopla.

          Get in line, this is the return to LTG Scenario 3. Learn to like it. Stop being an entitled IC princess.

          “Hope is for suckers”
          — Alan Watts

          • Watts was correct.
            I had him once a week as a guest professor.
            Lose hope——

            • Did a bit of research on him, at age 14 he went with a Francis Croshaw to Europe and had his first drink. Vera, Croshaw’s wife, thought it great to lounge in the bedroom and read – Watt’s autobiography, “On My Own Way.” Hmm, an older woman lounging in a bedroom with a 14 year old, okay it was intellectual, I get it.

              At 21 I once dated a 33 year old teacher, seem to recall bedroom talk, some “lounging,” don’t recall much reading. Much less intellectual I would guess. Man, that gal is now 85-86, how time does fly.

              Watts died at 58 from alcoholism. Guess he didn’t get into the 12 steps.

              Duncan, sorry, I prefer Hope, she was a blond as I recall.

              Had to have something lighter after all that moon talk, really prefer moon walking myself, Michael J.

              Dennis L.

            • Our neural circuitry prefers the blonde Hope to the ugly and toothless Truth. That’s why we are here, at the edge of this excellent precipice.

          • I don’t understand very much what you say. I just don’t like people that can hurt my situation without even getting an improvement for themselves

            • Unenlightened self interest does not impress me.

              I eat my bowls of potatoes, rice and beans a day and crank out the wattage on my bicycle.

              What you would call ‘austerity’.

              Have faith, it will come your way as well. Learn to like it. I know I do.

              Obscenities of IC isn’t really a thing for rapacious primates.


          • The day comes when gold has no value. When the issue is food. Then the Scots will breathe free. We in the colonies will be happy to come and join you in your effort to be free to thrown of the parasitic English.

            • For the life of me, I don’t see why Boris Johnson doesn’t just un-devolve the Scottish parliament and declare new assimilationist policies. After all, there are way more English than Scots. He won’t get their votes anyway, but he will get more English votes if he shows them who’s boss.

        • ” Fauci and Bill Gates say that more epidemics are possible…” — IOW, they are saying what anyone with two brain cells to rub together has known since primary or middle school. Anyone who has ever cracked a decent history book knows that pestilence and plague are recurring features of human existence. They are not merely “possible” but inevitable.

          • Except the Gates and Fauci seem to be referring to the manufactured, gain-of-function type of virus, that can be released on demand.

      • Indeed. Let them have their choice. The scots who know the word Darien will know what happens next. Particularly when little Shetland remains with the U.K. like the caymans when Jamaica got independence.

        • Neil, yes indeed indeed. The Scots were once an important part of Westminster politics as they returned some 50 Labour MPs, many who formed the government. Now they are irrelevant but noisy racist grifters.

          • That is exactly what the establishment said about Brexit voters.

            Westminster ‘politics’ are getting very silly.

            Just as silly as the USA ‘presidential’ campaign at its worst.

            No wonder Scots want out of that circus.

    • I’m tired of hearing about the Scots, just nuke Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh and be done with it.

      Call it a day on their rebellious rear ends.

  2. StrAnGE InDEed!
    Exxon Warns of $30 Billion Shale Writedown Amid Record Loss
    (Bloomberg) — Exxon Mobil Corp. warned it may take up to $30 billion in writedowns on natural gas fields as crashing energy demand and prices spurred a historic losing streak.
    Exxon is confronting one of its biggest crises since Saudi Arabia began nationalizing its oilfields in the 1970s. If the company takes the full $30 billion impairment, it will be the industry’s worst in more than a decade, according to Bloomberg data.
    The company lost $680 million, or 15 cents a share, during the third quarter, compared with the 25-cent per-share loss forecast in a Bloomberg survey of analysts. The shares fell 1.3% to $32.53 at 9:34 a.m. in New York and are down more than 50% for the year.

    The 60s never died just faded away…

    • There is a precedent for this.

      The Kashagan oil field offshore Kazakhstan in the Caspian Sea was THE oil field that peak oil deniers used to quote as evidence that we still had plenty of oil to find. Indeed it is a huge oil field, maybe up to 13 B barrels of recoverable reserves (although you have to ask, at what oil price).

      There are two issues that make it very expensive to develop. Firstly because the Caspian freezes over in winter, they had to build an island to hold the drilling equipment etc. Secondly the oil contains high levels of hydrogen sulphide, a highly toxic gas which requires expensive special equipment to process.

      There was a consortium of oil companies that developed the field, which was just as well. I seem to remember a couple of years ago the consortium wrote off $65 billion in costs to date that they had no chance of recovering.

      This article from the WSJ suggests $50 B. Nice graphics.

      The Kashagan Debacle – How four energy giants, 10 man-made islands and nearly $50 billion add up to zero barrels of current oil production

      • Exxon Pays Off Shareholders, Lays Off Workers
        Brian Kahn

        The tragedy of Exxon continues. On Thursday, the company said it expects to lay off roughly 14,000 workers over the next year. The huge reduction comes even as it pays out shareholders, albeit at a flat level for the first time in nearly four decades.

        The tumult hitting what was once the biggest, baddest oil company in the U.S. shows how the pandemic has accelerated the nascent decline of oil into a somersaulting downhill plunge. It also illustrates how the companies still standing will likely prioritize shareholders over workers until the bitter end.

        The layoffs come amid a record slump in oil demand, which has sped up trends already underway before the pandemic. Exxon said in a press release there will be roughly 1,900 layoffs in the U.S., mostly at its headquarters in Houston. More layoffs are expected globally through next year, resulting in a 15% decrease in its workforce of contractors and full-time employees.
        ….“Exxon has hung onto the dividend but cut first employee pensions and now jobs,” Paul Spedding, a research advisor at Carbon Tracker who authored the analysis, said in an emailed statement. “The volatile nature of employment in a cyclical industry highlights the need to plan ahead as the world moves off fossil fuels. Exxon’s plan to keep increasing production may lead to more hard times for shareholders and workers.”

        BAU is like crack cocaine….a habit that is impossible to quit without killing oneself and on the end it will kill you too

      • There is actually a little oil now produced from the Kashagan Field.

        Annual output from the Kashagan field [in 2019] rose 6.9% to 296,000 b/d, according to the KMG statement. However, with production ramping up, output averaged 422,000 b/d in the third quarter, the operating consortium has said. In the fourth quarter, Kashagan output dropped back to 344,000 b/d on average, KMG said Wednesday, likely reflecting a gas compressor issue disclosed in November. KMG holds an 8.44% stake in the consortium that operates Kashagan.

  3. Social media will censor any claims of victory election night if they are misinformation. Who decides if they are misinformation? The same social media. They have created boxes. The biggest box is labeled misinformation. Anything they wish to suppress they place in a box.

  4. “‘Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.’” Orwell 1984

    • Around here it seems to have the opposite effect. That could be the intention behind it. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

      The MSM narratives are so bonkers one starts to wonder WTF is actually going on. Like that lack of coverage in the Biden family shady business shenanigans.

      • Imagine this….Americans actually pay for FOX,CNN,MSNBC, etc.

        Americans literally pay to get brainwashed and propagandized.

        IS it any wonder the country is so screwed up?

        • In socialist Sweden, we get taxed to get our daily dose of delusions and comforting lies.

          At least you guys got a goddamn choice.

        • yes, this place is nutts.

          NBC just “discovered” some sort of 64 page fayke news about the Bidens, which no one has been talking about, and which NBC then debunked as being fayke, which of course it is.

          this is how deep the disinfo is being piled on, using this fayke 64 page thing to try to make the public doubt all the other solid info about the Biden Crime Family: texts, emails, audio/video recordings, actual hard drive in Hunter Biden’s actual laptop (in FBI hands since 2019), testimony under oath by business associates of the Bidens.

          to get a President Harris?

          time will tell.

          • Seems to me the Dems are trying to lose. They shoehorned old Joe into place when there were far more popular and attractive candidates available. And adding Harris to the ticket has alienated a good deal more of the support base.

            The plan appears to be to get Trump re-elected and have four more years of bickering, agitating and tearing the nation apart at the seems.

            At the bottom of this scheme I see all the hallmarks of that merciless criminal genius Dr. Fu Manchu.


            • Only one person can thwart this insidious deep state plot to re-elect Trump, and that person is Trump himself! He seems to be succeeding.

              There is no “the Democrats,” there are only a variety of competing individuals and interest groups. Harris is VP candidate because there was pressure to pick a black-ish woman, and she was the most presentable. And party elders rallied behind Biden, because otherwise it would have been Sanders. Maybe Sanders could have won against Trump, but then what? Certainly the Dem margin of victory would be smaller, and they’d have to negotiate with Republicans to get anything done. (No evidence that Sanders is capable of this sort of politics–he’s always been a backbencher.) And Mayor Pete may be better looking than Biden, or Sanders, but he’s only a mayor.

              As an aside, Fu Manchu was only a villain in the eyes of the British, whose agent Neyland Smith expressed support for the KMT. Fu was apparently a Qing loyalist.

    • Very nice interview with Art. I didn’t get through all of it yet. He makes some good points. The idea that we can live without oil isn’t a stupid idea; it’s an ignorant idea. He suggests that without fossil fuels, we might have to go back to a 1960 lifestyle. Children sharing bedrooms, for example. I am afraid he is being way too generous, with this example. He does make the point that the economy was doing very badly, before Covid came along. It speeded up trends that were already happening.

      • Okay, so Art is a petroleum geologist whose business is finding oil or something similar; there is no more oil to be found that can be extracted economically. Conclusion: he is a man with an interesting history and no future employment which is useful. He also has nothing to offer on what possible future solutions are as in his area of expertise there are no solutions. I did not listen to the interview, the interviewer states the intention to pis. people off, why suffer learning something we already know?

        “Along our present path his example of sharing bedrooms is most likely too generous”, yes the economy is doing badly, the increasing debt/increase in GDP is known, that too is history.

        Hubbert knew this in the fifties, he had a workable solution, nuclear fission; the problem with fission is it works until it doesn’t and then it is a mess. That is a location problem. Those who think it can be made to work, put it in their backyard.

        So, back to the moon, spaceship earth. If everything is not going to work the way one is going, what does one have to lose? Why beat on the moon idea? Again, you guys are smart, find holes in it, then find a way around the holes. I have suggested one, build the stuff to build stuff on the moon out of stuff on the moon or from asteroids, we have the technology, we need to refine the engineering. Barring some unfortunate mishap, asteroid samples(larger than anticipated) are now on their way back to earth. Build moon bases now, adapt them to purpose as more is known, small nuclear on the moon, minimal safety, no shielding, crazy idea for waste disposal, let the old reactors go critical and melt their way into the moon. Recovering any usable waste materials for bombs would be a challenge, let any terrorist who is crazy enough to try do it. They could be allowed to practice in the basements of Chernobyl, most likely a self limiting problem.

        Frustration: here on OFW, I have learned a great deal and probably contributed little, you guys are too smart for me. But, when something does not work and seems impossible due to immutable laws of physics, I give up and try something else.

        If in any way this sounds sarcastic or is personally offending, it was not meant that way, I am really working on that.

        Dennis L.

        • Never trust people that is vested in something.

          Businesses need a prosperous future.

          People want their children to have a better tomorrow.

          People want to stay relevant and earn some dole.

          Middle age yahoos want their pension funds to stay solvent.

          Thus, the amount of debt, hopium and delusion in circulation is staggering.

          Nope, ain’t gonna happen folks. Austerity is coming your way.

          “Hope is for suckers”
          — Alan Watts

        • Dennis, I think you should instead up your sarcasm and offense capacity. That might help with your frustration issues!

          If you want serious and non-sarcastic answers to your questions, though,
          1.) we are not going to the moon because we can’t go to the moon
          2.) if we could, it would anyway cost more in energy than any energy acquired

          I don’t really think you are less smart than anyone on here. I think you may just need to adjust your framing and not allow yourself to get distracted by shiny objects. There is something very Star-Trek / “make it so” about these sorts of space “solutions”. “What we have to lose” by wasting money, time, and energy in extraterrestrial projects is all the money, time, and energy we could be putting into .. oh, I don’t know.. insulating houses.. or distributing birth control.. I’m sure Artleads could do something with several trillions. We have a giant nuclear reactor in space right now, and could be spending money on better-capturing that energy in natural or low-tech ways.

          Lastly, ok..
          3.) Let’s pretend there is a nuclear reactor on the moon (I can’t believe I am writing this, but I am trying to exercise my anti-sarcasm muscle).

          Then what? We build a nuclear reactor on the moon, and somehow beam the power down to earth. That allows us to.. do what? Stream more videos? Illuminate more highways and parking lots? A moon reactor would only be another consumption expense.

          Humans have only employed electricity at scale for 100 years or so, and there are still many hundreds of millions of people who live without access to electricity today. None of humans’ non-electric needs will be served by a moon reactor, and all the pollution and expense of building the moon reactor would still be borne on earth (mining fuel and metals, concrete?, electronics, etc.) plus all the pollution and expense of building and fuelling the thousands of rockets that would be needed to theoretically boost all that stuff many miles into the sky). If you still think this is viable, please send your credit card details to Thank you!

          Then, have you thought exactly how this moon reactor would *generate* the electricity? Right now, heat from fission boils water. There is no water on the moon. There is also no way to moderate temperature on the moon (right now, water is used for that). Again, there’s no water on the moon. Will we ship water up there? What are the conductive properties of copper and insulators at +275°F / -275°F? How will electronics needed to run any sort of reactor work under these daily extreme temperature swings?

          Oh, and it all has to work in what is essentially a vacuum.

          I don’t at all believe that “we have the technology” to build a nuclear reactor on the moon. Why do you believe that we do? It’s certainly possible that I am ignorant of technologies which will resolve the above issues.

          I rather think that monies currently allocated to “space” anything mask to whatever degree black-budget defense and intelligence slush funds rather than being anything actually in support of a living-human space presence. With a kinder, gentler, flavor of cynicism, these programs could be viewed as make-work for smart people, just as -say- the Departments of Education or of Health and Human Services create a lot of make-work for the mediocre, all in support of the MPP.

          • Going to the moon will happen nonetheless, because there is rocketry that can reach orbit.

            Yes, energy beams is a silly concept.

            Transmute elements on the moon and catapult fissile materials back to the front lawn of the processing facilities on earth.

            You’ll see the tune about having a nuke in your backyard change in a hurry once the rolling blackouts become more prevalent.

            It will take some time to get people waned off the obscenities of consumerist bonanza IC.

            The useless eaters will suffer most. The artisanry will simply shrug their shoulders for the most part and go on with life as long as there is food on the table and shit to do.

            One thing is for certain, if you don’t get the artisanry under your umbrella, nothing is what you got.

            No artisanry – no bread and circuses.

            • Wait.. so “once we have rolling blackouts” we will be able to “catapault” radioactive materials down to earth and build nukes in our back yards? How would that not simply continue to contribute to the “consumerist bonanza” of IC?

              What/who is it that you mean by “artisanry”? Bespoke shoes? Illuminated manuscripts? Scrimshaw? Most artisanry I can think of uses materials not found on the moon. (You pointed to the main ingredient, which is food. Nothing about space or nuclear energy has anything positive to do with food production.)

              “Artisanry” is kind of a new-fangled word, coined to indicate things made by hand, and only has particular meaning in a world where things have come to *not* be made by hand. When everything was made by hand, most people were “artisans” of one sort or another.

            • Who, exactly, do you think builds these machines that supports the consumerist bonanza?

              It is not something that materialize out of thin air.

              The 21’st century artisanry builds machines, programs welding robots, operate CNC machinery, uses nail guns for building houses, etc.

              Do you get my point?

              Instigating some drama with the useless eaters will lead nowhere – fast.

              The real power behind TPTB is the manufacturers and providers of bread and circuses, and is their fundament of existence and power.

              The #1 priorities of the artisanry is having bread on the table and shit to do. You know, going on with this thing called life.

          • Very good. Space anything won’t solve any problems. Anything anything won’t solve any problems either. I think what Dennis is saying is that we might as well go further down the path of “progress” (i.e. space) since there is nothing else to pursue. The opposite mindset would be to just enjoy life and live each day like it’s your last. The luxury of the latter is ensured by all the people working for individual or collective “progress”, which keeps the wheels of BAU turning. There will always be people of both sorts, balancing each other, defining each other. Cheers!

          • One at a time:

            “I don’t at all believe that “we have the technology” to build a nuclear reactor on the moon. Why do you believe that we do? It’s certainly possible that I am ignorant of technologies which will resolve the above issues.”

            It is a one way trip for the first reactor, the power stays on the moon. There is water on the moon. Build a small reactor or reactors on earth, send them, unlike the moon missions, we are not returning them. Energy is the master resource, first thing to do is find materials to build more master resources, think breeder reactors in space. I am not a nuclear engineer, I expect it is hard, but it is easier than making anything of value with solar cells.

            For the first fifty years the only use of energy on the moon is to build an industrial plant, that plant builds reactors as well. Also build say 1000 asteroid explorers, find asteroids rich in metals. The moon is not the gravitational well the earth is, use up the moon as we have done the earth, mine asteroids and when we run out of them, something will turn up. Move industrial processes off earth, there aren’t many resources here anyhow, e. g. zinc soon runs out, yes zinc. The moon is closer to the resources.

            Writing carefully and thoughtfully is quite a project, I shall leave the others to later other than basic shelter. We have codes in part due to fire, buildings don’t burn like they used to when I was young, Art’s shelters would burn like crazy, firefighting was a dangerous job in the fifties, fires in cities could get out of hand, Chicago. We forget history as there is so much of it.

            Dennis L.

            • We either go off planet or we reduce the population greatly. No body will volunteer to die, look at how crazy people are going now to keep the old and weak from dying of a strong case of the flu. So it will be starvation, roaming gangs, and disease, or war. I prefer to go out fighting if that is the choice. The noble warrior, or the starving beggar, which would you choose?

            • “We either go off planet or we reduce the population greatly.”

              true, and going “off planet” is impossible, so that leaves only one possible future.

              if food supply lines fail, there will be a very brief period of “fighting” for food.

              that does not sound “noble” to me.

              noble death and ignoble death: all paths lead to the nothingness of eternal death.

              I’m not worried.

              bAU tonight, baby!

            • Dennis, I get that you are suggesting that if we had a self sustaining industrial “economy” on the moon that it could potentially exploit the resources there and perhaps in space. But there are no lubricants on the moon. There can be no machines without them. But the real problem is that the remote, automated, robotic system you are proposing on the moon is of such immense complexity that we are unable to design it, build it or operate it.

              We can’t even get a version of Windows Software to not give the blue screen of death occasionally. We have never come up with a system to automatically deal with reliability failures of equipment. This is why we have repair technicians, service centers, warranty, mean time to failure, etc. the only system we have is with people building, repairing and maintaining things. Gail hit it on the head…it is all very complex, and it constantly fails.

              Your dream of a self sustaining, robotic industrial “civilization” is, well, science fiction. We are not there yet. AI is very much a dream at this point. We are imperfect. Any machine we will design will be imperfect and fail.

              Keep on dreaming bro.

        • I agree with these other folks that building electricity generation on the moon wouldn’t work.

          There is really a group of engineers working on the idea of putting solar panels in space (with would produce electricity 24/7/almost 365), and beaming the electricity back to earth. This would be a whole lot closer than the moon. This project is viewed is many years away, certainly more than 20. People write papers each year and make small steps, but the goal is still far away.

          Electricity is hard to transport; even if you could make it on the moon, getting it down to earth, and then to the many places in the earth where it is needed would be a huge problem.

          And then there is the problem that electricity doesn’t really substitute for the many uses for oil, natural gas, and coal. I know that Keith Henson talks about making a liquid fuel using excess electricity (perhaps ammonia) and building devices that use it, to work around the liquid fuel issue. Even doing this adds many years and steps to the process.

          A major problem is the “complexity” issue. If a hunter-gatherer can gather his own food, the situation is not very complex. There is no need for a complex organizational structure. Perhaps one person can be in charge, and say, “you folks go east today, and you folks go west.” Whatever is gained can be shared quite evenly. There isn’t a big organizational structure taking a big “cut of the take.”

          Your moon idea would leave essentially no jobs for the worker with little technical training. It would need a highly complex organization. The highly complex organization would demand the use of the virtually the entire output of the system, simply because there is diminishing returns to complexity, and we are already reaching diminishing returns to complexity.

          We need a system that is less complex than we have now, not a system that is more complex than we have now. The self-organizing economy may be “working” to give us a less complex economy by “taking out” a significant number of people who are too old or sick to contribute to the economy. This would help reduce some of the overhead of the system. We cannot afford a healthcare system that costs as much as it does today. We need citizens who are healthier to begin with.

          We cannot afford a system that requires as much education as ours does today. People who work in computer science are especially plagued by this problem. Whatever you learned last week is likely already out of date because someone has already come up with a new way of doing things. People at age 35 or 40 find themselves without a job, because they cannot find employers who want them for more than 6 months with precisely the job skills that they have. It becomes impossible for people to plan their lives around such a bizarre system. They find it hard to buy a home and have a family, like dentists and other people from the “old economy” could. They need to spend a huge share of their time on education and looking for new jobs, but even this doesn’t necessarily work. They may need to find a new career because they get so burned out from this one.

          • 1. Electricity: I am not thinking of moving it to earth, I am thinking more like making aluminum which is done electrically, the electricity is shipped as a soda can for example. Nuclear is denser energy than oil, see 3 for getting things off the moon. Most industrial processes are electrical, steel can be done electrically, aluminum, fissionable materials, plastics(thinking of injection molding). Feed stocks are a small part of the oil use, build those on earth or wait until Saturn, from NASA “Saturn’s orange moon Titan has hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth, according to new data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The hydrocarbons rain from the sky, collecting in vast deposits that form lakes and dunes.”

            2. We cannot beam more energy to earth, radiation of additional energy back to space becomes an issue, seems fairly well documented. Waste heat is pollution no matter how pure the source.

            3. Build it on the moon, much less need for trucking, drop it to earth. Moon, first approximation use a space elevator with existing materials.

            4. “We need citizens who are healthier to begin with.” Ellis Island was to keep out the unfit. Eugenics was prevalent to some degree up to the early seventies in the US, more than one woman with a child on welfare was convinced to have her tubes tied. Try that one today. Sweden practiced eugenics until about 1975. “As an early leading force in the field of eugenics, California became the third state in the United States to enact a sterilization law. By 1921, California had accounted for 80% of the sterilizations nationwide. This continued until World War II, after which the number of sterilizations began to decrease, largely due to the fallout of Hitler’s eugenics movement.[1] There were about 20,000 forced sterilizations in California between 1909 and 1963” Wikipedia.

            5 Now tell a mother of a deformed child who will need medical attention all his/her life to abort it. That like the population issue I shall defer on.

            6. Not sure about the cake, I think the big cheese always gets the cake and if he plays his cards right gets first choice of the women. That is always an interesting combination, there is always one Cleopatra who knows how to play her cards right to her Anthony.

            7. In an earlier post I passed on the jobs thing, Gail, I am selling hope, a chicken in every pot – didn’t that work before? Well, not so well, Hoover and the Depression as I recall. I don’t have a clue on the jobs, it is moot if we are in a depleted world with no resources from what I see.

            8. Education is becoming virtually free, on line education has it all, tutors in languages, mathematics, woodworking, fixing cars, machining, various other recreations which we shall not delve into further. Expensive universities are done, if one can’t attend class, no networking, no value. Grade school, how much time does a teacher spend with each child? 20 students, 720 minute day, 36 minutes per student – does it have to be personal, can it be remote? How much of the day is spent teaching the latest social theory of the day?

            9. Healthcare: that is an interesting one, too many obese people, too many oddball diseases – that may be secondary to the “pill.” It is said the pill makes women less selective, some say the sense of smell helps rule out bad gene pairings. Modern society sometimes is overpowering biology for the right looks, the right job, etc.

            10. Can’t argue about keeping up. Get to be 50 as a dentist and hiring young help is impossible, your patients become older, young don’t want you, your older patients die, move to Florida, or stop caring. “17th-century English life expectancy was only about 35 years, largely because infant and child mortality remained high. Life expectancy was under 25 years in the early Colony of Virginia, and in seventeenth-century New England, about 40 percent died before reaching adulthood.” That is genetic selection at work, didn’t have to worry much about burnout.

            Complexity is not without benefits. You give the example of a computer programmer, think of a hunter gather who can no longer out run his fellow hunter when being chased by a bear. Old joke.

            It is not going to be as easy as it was, but maybe not as tough as it has been. I would rather shoot for the moon and have some stuff to divide up than fight over nothing.

            Gail, I am accepting your conclusions about what is, looking for what can be, can’t out run the bear anymore.

            Dennis L.

          • The complexity will be encoded in software.

            There is no need for complicated and obscure organizations these days.

            Once stuff starts to move automatically on the moon, the primates will rocket themselves back home, Gaia.

            Her synthetic offspring will move on .

            It is why it is so silly worrying about mankind. Our ‘zest’ will be encoded into the synthetics “DNA”, for good and for worse.

            Look, we have been here on earth for some 200.000 years and most likely experienced a few ice ages.

            Now we worry about what? A collapse of the finance racket when the earth still is relatively stocked up on energetic materials.

            The only thing worth worrying about is going full bore over the Seneca cliff and find ourselves with more suck than what has to be.

          • Paragraph one electrical generation has been done in the sixties, technology more or less proven, transportation proven, reactor had some issues.

            Total weight of command module and lunar lander about 99K pounds or 50 tons.

            Weight of ML-1 Nuclear power system about 38 tons.


            The Army built and used a number of plants in this program, ANPP.

            The cost of the whole Apollo program was $156B in today’s dollars, trivial it would seem. The Apollo program sent 7missions to the moon, seven reactors on the surface, a good start. Cost per launch in 2019 dollars about $1.23B

            Next start drilling holes, find out what is there, mine what is needed, mining equipment works fine on electricity, that is how coal was mined for years – a long, high voltage extension cord.

            Drilling rigs can be much lighter on the moon, the drill string will be much lighter, only need a heavy turntable anchored to the moon.

            If it fails, so what? Oil is leaving us, we are not leaving oil.

            In 1962 JFK had this in his speech:

            “We choose to go to the Moon. We choose to go to the Moon…We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.

            What the hell happened to us that we quote an alcoholic loser like Watts who states, “Hope is for suckers?”

            Dennis L.

            • Going to the moon has nothing to do with hope. It is inevitable. It will happen. No amount of whinging from the usless eaters vested in the consumerist bonanza, finance and FF racket will change that.

              Rockets will lift up gear and humans into orbit and continue the journey to the moon. Wether it is tractable to do mining on the moon remains to be seen. Do it we will. This has nothing to do with hope.

              Back to you, what you want is a better tomorrow for yourself, your children and grandchildren. I.e. you are vested. Your hope is compulsory, it is an instinct.

              Isn’t it time to let it go instead of being silly?

              Even a manic depressive alcoholic such as Ernest Hemingway can occasionaly have a clarity and insight. The same holds true for Alan Watts.

              Repeat after me:
              “Hope is for Suckers”
              — Alan Watts




    “The cognitive skills of older adults appear to rise and fall with the seasons, according to a study published recently in the journal PLOS Medicine.

    Specifically, the study found that older people who took cognitive tests during winter and early spring tended to have lower scores — particularly for tasks involving working memory and perceptual speed — than those who took the tests at other times of the year.

    The study also found that when older adults undergo cognitive testing in winter and spring, they are significantly more likely to meet the diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment than if they took the tests in summer or early fall. Mild cognitive impairment is a controversial condition that has been suggested as a possible precursor to the development of dementia.”

    “Indeed, the researchers found that scores tended to peak around the fall equinox in late September.”

    As far as I also can see, this shows some demonstrable results:

    • “The two cognitive skills most affected by the seasons were working memory (the ability to hold information in the mind for a short time, such as while memorizing a pin number) and perceptual speed (the time it takes to recognize or compare symbols or figures or to do other simple tasks).”

    • When I read this,

      When the researchers compared the testing dates with the results, they found that people tested in July through October scored better, on average, than those tested in the other months.

      the first thing I would ask is, “Is this a vitamin D effect, or a sunshine effect?” Vitamin D levels will be highest in this period. People will be least depressed. These thing, by themselves, would seem to play a big role in how they do on the test.

      The other article is about using BioPQQ (with or without CoQ10) to try to improve some measure of memory in older people whose memories seem to be below average. Perhaps it helps; I don’t know. I would like more than one study to show benefits and not show harm. I know that CoQ10 has been around for quite a while. I haven’t encountered BioPQQ before.

      • Nutritional Importance of Pyrroloquinoline Quinone

        “Mice fed a chemically defined diet devoid of pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) grew poorly, failed to reproduce, and became osteolathyritic. Moreover, severely affected mice had friable skin, skin collagen that was readily extractable into neutral salt solutions, and decreased lysyl oxidase. The identification of functional defects in connective tissue and the growth retardation associated with PQQ deprivation suggest that PQQ plays a fundamental role as a growth factor or vitamin.”

  6. And what about the cataract?

    Preventive effects of pyrroloquinoline quinone on formation of cataract and decline of lenticular and hepatic glutathione of developing chick embryo after glucocorticoid treatment

    “Mohali institute uses Aspirin nano-particles for non-surgical, economical prevention of cataract
    This alternative non-surgical treatment will benefit patients in developing countries, who cannot access expensive cataract treatments and surgeries”

    • An inexpensive substitute for cataract surgery would be helpful in rich nations as well as poor nations. Health care costs are way too high. We need to be finding inexpensive approaches to treating patients. Maybe Aspirin non-particles will work.

      • Cataract surgery was about $1K/eye a few years back, my vision now 20/15 one eye, 20/20 the other per recent exam. Pair of variable focal length glasses about $800, easy to lose when one doesn’t wear them all the time, dime store glasses are cheap.Implanted lenses correct near sighted issues.

        To each his own, grateful to be able to afford the surgery, one of the true blessings of modern medicine.

        Note on technology for vision testing. Machines now do most of the work, dilating pupils for routine work not needed, intra occular pressure test done with hand held device, no anesthetic needed. Fast, accurate,most likely cheaper than manual method.

        Man, some days I feel as though I have become a grumpy old man, where is Ann Margret when I need her.

        Dennis L.

    • “Researchers in Poland also found that these types of people were also more likely to engage in hoarding behaviour because of their competitive and entitled The new study adds to previous research done by experts in Poland who made similar findings that people with psychopathic and narcissistic personality traits are more likely to ignore coronavirus restrictions such as face masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene and staying at home

      Researchers in Poland also found that these types of people were also more likely to engage in hoarding behaviour because of their competitive and entitled manner.”

      • Yes, far better to rely on the State to supply your daily ration just-in-time rather than developing any kind of self-sufficiency or self-protection.

        Another element of religiosity being projected upon the secular state. I remember my Italian mother-in-law thought it unseemly to stock up on food because it was showing a lack of faith in God’s daily providence.

        • I read a 19th c author describing early life in Texas, who maintained that it was ‘impious’ to contend that over-population could ever be a problem. God would not create a world which could be over-populated, etc.

          An early version of the argument that we just have to be ‘smarter’ and work out solutions to deal with the consequences of not changing our ways.

    • People with sociopathic traits more likely to fund newspaper articles supporting totalitarian dictates.

    • Regarding “People with sociopathic traits less likely to follow coronavirus guidelines, when I look at the academic article itself,

      I find that one of the three highlights of the article that the authors give is

      “The increase in COVID-19 cases in the country are not associated with people’s adherence to containment measures.”

      Thus, they seem to be saying that containment measures don’t really work. They then go on to show that the problem of non-compliance is as least partially sociopathic individuals, who do not do as they are told when it comes to containment measures.

      If containment measures don’t really work, then perhaps it is the sociopathic people who are the sensible ones.

    • Don’t say sociopaths. The polite word is misanthropes or (if you are on a very kind mood) the wise 🙂

      • misanthropes (
        “Misanthropy is the general hatred, dislike, distrust or contempt of the human species, human behavior and/or human nature. A misanthrope or misanthropist is someone who holds such views or feelings.”

        I hold the human species in contempt, therefore I am definitely a misanthrope. Was not aware I was a sociopath, but then again like control freaks, sociopaths probably deny they are sociopaths, so maybe I am one of those too.

        “What is a sociopath? (

        A sociopath is a term used to describe someone who has antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). People with ASPD can’t understand others’ feelings. They’ll often break rules or make impulsive decisions without feeling guilty for the harm they cause.

        People with ASPD may also use “mind games” to control friends, family members, co-workers, and even strangers. They may also be perceived as charismatic or charming.”

        I am definitely not a sociopath. I don’t remember ever being perceived as charismatic or charming. Just ask my teenage kids.

    • Where I live – rural- in some shops no one is wearing masks including employees in defiance of the governors orders. They look at you real funny if you have a mask on. It varies shop to shop of course. Some are fully masked and enforce. The norm is masked employees with a large amount of unmasked customers. More than 50%. Thats in small towns below 5000. As the town size grows so do the masks. If they are sociopaths there is a lot of them.

      • Mask wearing really shot up in this part of Eastern England a month or two ago, even in the street, then went down again, but still at a high level.

        We still have about the lowest infection rate in the country, about 10% of the worst-hit and poorer regions in the North, Wales, etc.

        Population is skewed towards the highly educated – university town – and middle-class, and they are prominent in the old centre of town where the more expensive shops are.

        I’m going to the lower-class shopping mall on Monday, and it will be interesting to see how things are there.

        The students are wearing masks a lot, as they don’t want their courses to be interrupted again as in March this year.

        I have noticed that very few black people wear masks, for some reason – it really stands out. And more women than men.

        • A lot of people here seem to wear their masks below their noses. Part of this is because employers buy “one size fits most” masks, and they don’t really fit. If they are too big (and don’t have elastic over the ears), they tend to slide down. No one stops these people, because they do have a mask on, just not “correctly.” In some cases, the loops can be “twisted” before putting them over the ears, to make them shorter. But there is an inherent problem is making masks with unadjustable cloth bands that go over the ears.

      • Studies have been done that indicate that compliance with wearing masks is much higher among older people than younger people as well.

        In a sense, I think that people “compute” what their chance of falling ill will be, based on their numbers of daily contacts with others, their ages, and other factors. People who live in inherently crowded areas [Europe, US northeast, China, Japan. Taiwan] tend to be much more willing to wear masks. These people tend to live in apartments with shared hallways (and ventilation systems?) and ride on public transportation. In crowded areas, pollution may also be a reason for wearing masks, pushing compliance up.

        Masks thus seem to provide much more “benefit” in crowded areas than in uncrowded areas. Older people get much more benefit, as well.

        Another major difference between small towns and cities is that a person is likely to know a much larger share of the total population. They want to reach out and talk to them. They cannot imagine that these people could possibly harm them by carrying a hidden illness that only manifests itself in a small percentage of the population. Putting on a mask makes reaching out and sharing less possible. It is only when a person feels personally threatened (very old or compromised immune system) that he/she will wear a mask.

        All of this mask wearing in cities will tend to reduce social interactions in cities, making them less desirable places to live. People will increasingly move to suburban and rural areas. Restaurants and bars will close, especially in the centers of cities. City churches and fitness centers will close as well.

  7. Ah, it is as the world lags behind me about a year. I need to put my crystal ball aside for a moment and pretend surprised.
    “Studies have found that rinses containing cetylpyridinium chloride or povidone-iodine can reduce the oral coronavirus load”

    Yup, and the same goes for using PVP-I topical solution for your hands and nostrils. Shall we guess another year or so before it pops up in MSM?


    • There are actually all kinds of things in this article. It starts off with,

      Large wildfires may be linked to increases in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the San Francisco area, according to a paper in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. Researchers found that between March and September, increases in smoke particles, other wildfire pollutants and carbon monoxide levels corresponded to increases in daily COVID-19 diagnoses and total COVID-19 deaths.

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