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.

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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2,885 Responses to Fossil Fuel Production Is Reaching Limits in a Strange Way

  1. misanthropr#7 says:

    “The NBA, which was the first pro league to suspend play amid the COVID-19 pandemic, made $1.5 billion less than it projected last season due to the pandemic and other factors, according to an Associated Press report”.

    • There are a huge number of types of businesses that have been adversely affected by the response to the pandemic. Clearly, fewer people drove to the games, reducing fuel demand. Vendors seeking to sell food at the games lost income. Fewer people were hired to guide traffic, reducing a different type of income.

      All of these reductions rippled through the economy, as the people who received less income spent less.

  2. avocado says:

    “Anger in Egypt continues to rise as state authorities move ahead with the demolition of houses constructed illegally inside cities or on farmland.

    “The campaign has the blessings of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who threatened on 29 August to order the army to raze villages constructed illegally, which is eating away at the country’s agricultural land and turning it into concrete jungles”

  3. Yoshua says:

    Covid body bags in Russia.

    • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      filled with persons who, when alive, were most likely older and unhealthier with various comorbidities.

  4. Yoshua says:

    Clashes between protesters and police in Minsk Belarus.

    A general strike starts tomorrow after today night ultimatum expires, demanding Lukashenko to resign.

  5. adonis says:

    the key to survive whats coming over the next decade is stock up in physical silver coins ,lots of long life food such as white rice canned goods and avoid the vaccine when it finally gets released.

    • You still need a supply of drinkable water. In many places, this may be a challenge. You also need a way of cooking the food. With fuel and a pot, perhaps sterilization will help whatever water supply you have.

      In cold parts of the world, you need a way to keep warm, as well.

    • Dennis L. says:


      Maybe, but one needs a group and it must have a very common set of rules, there are examples, Amish, Hells Angles.

      Dennis L.

      • Kowalainen says:

        British Common Law perhaps?

        • Dennis L. says:

          My understanding was adonis was thinking more on a tribal scale, Common Law is more of a civilizational level as I would think of it.

          Dennis L.

          • Kowalainen says:

            Why wouldn’t BCL be applicable on a small scale?

            Clean out the cruft and worst legalese from the text and fill it up with examples making it comprehensible.

            • Dennis L. says:

              A guess: There is far less energy throughput in a tribe hence much less variety of situations and thus less need for a considerable book of law.

              E.g. Did my wife have sex with my friend and is this child mine? Lengthy custody hearings and child support would most likely be satisfied more simply and probably somewhat on the relative power status of the two males.

              Really don’t have answers, question is beyond my expertise.

              Dennis L.

        • Lidia17 says:

          Until it was high-jacked by minoritarianism. In a high school in my state, the principal was fired because of a BLM brou-hah-hah that began with a student painting an American flag as part of senior display. A minority individual objected to having to look at the American flag, and then all hell broke loose.

    • Bei Dawei says:

      When the crunch comes, I’ll still have my comic book collection with all those polybagged, mint-condition first issues. Talk about resource scarcity!

  6. Oh dear says:

    Re: Brexit deal, USA elections

    Boris may be waiting to see the outcome of the USA presidential election on Nov. 3 before he decides whether to go for a no deal Brexit.

    There is a feeling that a DP government would tell UK to ‘go do one’ about a trade deal.

    There are various reasons for that. DP is committed to GFA and will strike no deal with UK if UK endangers that. Also they liken Boris to Trump, ‘populism’ (or one strand of it) and destabilising trends in West. DP sees EU as the more important partner and UK as diminished in influence by Brexit. And Boris r acially slurred Obama. (UK establishment has largely covered up Boris’ overt ‘r acism’ but DP does not see it that way.)

    In reality, the USA lower chamber would block any USA-UK trade deal anyway, if UK endangers GFA, as has been made clear, so it is not clear that Boris is really thinking it through. It would make no difference on that count who wins in Nov.

    Besides, Brexit is a long-term project and it seems perhaps short-sighted to base it on a single four year presidential term. Maybe Boris fancies that he knows something that we do not about future USA voting trends, maybe about a future DP dominance due to demographic shifts. He may see Trump as his ‘one chance’ to not deal with DP in the foreseeable.

    > Johnson will wait for US election result before no-deal Brexit decision

    Senior figures in European governments believe Boris Johnson is waiting for the result of the US presidential election before finally deciding whether to risk plunging the UK into a no-deal Brexit, according to a former British ambassador to the EU.

    Ivan Rogers, who was the UK’s permanent representative in Brussels from 2013 to 2017, told the Observer that a view shared by ministers and officials he has talked to in recent weeks in several European capitals, is that Johnson is biding his time – and is much more likely to opt for no deal if his friend and Brexit supporter Donald Trump prevails over the Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.

    Rogers said: “Several very senior sources in capitals have told me they believe Johnson will await clarity on the presidential election result before finally deciding whether to jump to ‘no deal’ with the EU, or to conclude that this is just too risky with Biden heading for the White House, and hence live with some highly suboptimal (for Johnson) skinny free-trade agreement.”

    …. The prime minister would therefore be more likely to conclude he could strike a quick and substantial post-Brexit US-UK trade deal than if Biden emerged as president after the 3 November poll. By contrast, a Biden administration would prioritise rebuilding relations with the EU that have been damaged by Trump.

    …. “They believe him to have been an early and vigorous supporter of Trump, and that Brexiteer thinking – which they think has damaged the unity of the west – has many parallels with Trumpism. So I really doubt there will be much warmth in the personal relationship. And Biden’s would simply not be an administration which viewed European integration as a negative.

    …. Darroch said: “Whoever wins in November the bedrock of the relationship – defence, security and intelligence collaboration – will remain as strong as ever. But if it’s Biden, there are likely to be some issues. The Democrats don’t like or support Brexit. They may prioritise trade deals with the Pacific region or the EU over a UK/US deal. They will block a trade deal with us if they think we are putting the Good Friday agreement at risk. And they remember and resent Johnson’s comments in 2016 about ‘the part-Kenyan president’ having ‘an ancestral dislike of the British empire’ – not to mention Johnson telling US diplomats that Trump was ‘making America great again’.”

    … He said: “Biden is very proud of his Irish antecedents. He has always been active on Northern Ireland since before I was in Washington. He takes a close interest in the Northern Irish peace process and sees it as an outrage that Johnson has in his cavalier manner threatened peace in Northern Ireland for so little reason. So that is going to be chalked up against him.”

    In Washington there are plenty of foreign policy advisers around Biden who worked in the Obama administration and have not forgiven Johnson for his “part-Kenyan” comments. The camp sees Johnson as part of the same populist phenomenon that brought Trump to power. And from the Democrats’ point of view, the UK outside the EU will make it less important as a partner on the world stage.

    • Oh dear says:

      More pressure on Boris.

      > UK-US trade deal cannot happen if Brexit talks fail, ex-official says

      US presidential candidate Joe Biden says the UK must honour the Good Friday agreement in EU negotiations

      Britain is highly unlikely to secure a US trade deal unless it first strikes an agreement with the European Union, a former top American official has warned.

      A prized tie-up between London and Washington will be off the table if talks with Brussels break down, according to former assistant US trade representative Barbara Weisel.

      She added that any agreement is also likely to be delayed if the Democrats win the White House next month, in a major blow to Boris Johnson’s Government.

      Ms Weisel’s warning comes ahead of a fifth round of US-UK talks ending this Friday, with senior sources at the Department for International Trade saying they have set July next year as a “benchmark” for when a US agreement should be concluded.

      That is when Congress-granted powers that allow the president to fast-track free trade agreements – the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) – are due to expire.

      But Ms Weisel, now managing director of economic policy consultant Rock Creek Global Advisors, an international economic policy advisory firm, told a webinar hosted by the transatlantic lobby group British American Business that this would be a difficult time frame to stick to if Democratic candidate Joe Biden, sweeps to power on Nov 3.

      Donald Trump’s trade representative Robert Lighthizer is almost certain to be ousted by Mr Biden, she said, adding: “Putting people in place who are going to do the negotiations [means] the whole thing’s going to get delayed.”

      Ms Weisel said: “Absent a Brexit deal, it becomes very difficult to conclude the US-UK negotiations.

      “The truth is, the relationship between the UK and the EU is going to be the dominant consideration.”

      Mr Biden said last month that if he were president, there would be no US trade deal unless Britain honoured the Good Friday Agreement in its negotiations with Brussels….

    • Oh dear says:

      UK NI secretary has gone into denial mode.

      This all increases the ‘pop corn’ element to Nov. 3.

      > Joe Biden presidency wouldn’t derail hopes of post-Brexit trade deal, Cabinet minister insists

      Frontrunner Joe Biden has warned he would not sign a free trade deal with the UK if the Good Friday Agreement is undermined

      Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has played down suggestions that relations with the US could be damaged if Joe Biden is elected president because of concerns over the impact of Brexit.

      Mr Biden, the frontrunner in the 3 November US election, has warned he will not sign a free trade deal with the UK if the Good Friday Agreement is in any way undermined by the decision to leave the EU.

      Senior Democrats have widely criticised legislation going through Parliament giving ministers the power to override elements of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement relating to Northern Ireland. The Government has admitted it could breach international law.

      Mr Biden was vice president when Barack Obama warned in 2016 that the UK would go to the “back of the queue” for a trade deal if it left the EU and – unlike the incumbent Donald Trump – is opposed to Brexit.

      But Mr Lewis insisted Britain would continue to work closely with the US, whoever won the election, and said the UK Internal Market Bill was designed to protect [!] the peace process in Northern Ireland.

      “We absolutely protect and abide by the Good Friday Agreement. It is absolutely key,” he told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show….

  7. adonis says:

    this is the plan it is all explained in this united nations presentation I do not think we have much time left before the powers that be allow the bubble to burst or crash the economy to bring in their plans problem reaction solution that is the name of the game

  8. Oh dear says:

    Re: IQ and ethnicity

    There has been some talk on here of ethnic differences in average IQ.

    UK has many ethnicities, 33% of kids are of a minority ethnic background, and so the school exam results are quite interesting. Presumably there is some correlation between academic attainment and IQ, although socio-economic factors are likely to still have some effect.

    Figures below are for the percentage of pupils, of each broad ethnicity, who attain at least 3 A grades at A level (high school exit exams).

    Clearly there are disparities in attainment, and Chinese, Indian and Irish kids do better than ethnic British kids, while other South Asians and those of African descent do worse. Gypsies and travellers still seem to ‘drop out’.

    Socio-economic factors are still likely in play. Non-Indian South Asians were concentrated from the outset in old ‘mill towns’, now run down old industrial areas and local conditions, culture and expectations likely have some effect. There may also be an element of, which caste the groups were drawn from, with Indians predominantly drawn from higher, and others from the lower. Africans also tend to be concentrated in lower class, urban areas with similar issues of local culture and expectations.

    UK economy is highly regionalised, with economic investment and development concentrated, over generations, mainly in London and the SE, so it is unclear how seriously the British state takes regional educational outcomes. The capitalist state still needs lots of workers to do less intellectually demanding work.

    UK schools provide an interesting snap shot of ethnic disparities in educational attainment, but obviously it is not a clinical, controlled environment with a parity of conditions.

    Anyway, these are the latest figures. (The trends broadly mirror those for average income of ethnic groups for the under-30s, but Irish earn 40% more than ethnic British, the highest of any group listed. Clearly they have not included all groups.)


    Percentage of students achieving at least 3 A grades at A level, by ethnicity, 2019 – ONS 2020

    Chinese 25.7

    Unknown 23.4

    All 13.0

    Mixed 11.2
    Mixed White/Asian 15.3
    Mixed other 11.8
    Mixed White/Black African 8.3
    Mixed White/Black Caribbean 6.2

    Asian 11.0
    Indian 15.5
    Asian other 11.8
    Bangladeshi 7.8
    Pakistani 7.3

    White 11.0
    White Irish 13.8
    White other 11.5
    White British 11.0

    Gypsy/Roma 0.0
    Irish Traveller 0.0

    Other 10.2

    Black 5.5
    Black African 6.1
    Black other 5.4
    Black Caribbean 3.4

    • Erdles says:

      Oh Dear.
      Thanks for sharing this. I would suggest that the primary school results would be a better guide than secondary since the year six SATs are basically IQ tests. Have you come across any ONS data on this?

    • I am a casualty actuary. In the US, becoming a casualty actuary requires passing a series of about 10 examinations, over a period of years.

      When a person looks at those who pass the exams, Chinese seem to be over-represented; Blacks are underrepresented. We do have a number of actuaries of Indian ancestries. I don’t know how they would come out relative to population.

      I expect the results wouldn’t be too different from what you are showing, relative to the number of people of these races in the population.

    • Nehemiah says:

      @oh dear, “although socio-economic factors are likely to still have some effect.” — Once IQ is controlled for, SES influences are more or less undetectable. And that is not because SES is determining IQ. That has been controlled for too. For example, performance is pretty much the same (on average) for children of the same IQ but different SES. Going to a high quality school doesn’t make much difference either after heredity is controlled for. As long as all the schools meet a certain minimum level of quality, student achievement is thereafter determined by the students’ abilities and interests.

      @kowaleinan, Family Guy notwithstanding, in real life you cannot brow beat children into becoming smart. Working harder, yes (so long as they are under your roof), but no amount of psychological pressure will raise their ability.

      • Kowalainen says:

        Nehemiah, yes.

        I think it is a mild form of child abuse.

        Schooling, yes, 8h/day and weekends off. Play and entertainment is equally important for new discoveries and creative minds than a mindless churn reading books.

        How many astronomers, physicists, engineers hasn’t been spawned out of pop culture and just having fun with modern day myths (Star Wars, Jap anime, sci-fi books, fantasy books, video games, etc..) toys and friends. I would dare to say that most of the good ones carry the myths of pop culture and stories with them.

        And of course the greatest influence of them all NASA and all the other agencies pushing the narrative. Why? Because it is awesome.

  9. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Norway has been crowned as the most prepared country to handle the future, including the upcoming economic recession caused by COVID-19, while the UK comes in just eighth, expert analysis has found.”

    • Oh dear says:

      “The UK also scored eight out of 10 for factors such as human rights and liberties, economic policies and healthcare, among others, according to the index.”

      Presumably they mean that UK has shown the ability to trash civil liberties with curfews and to have practically the worst per capita f atility rate and economic damage in the world. Spain may have done slightly worse.


      • Erdles says:

        Oh Dear

        Worse per capita deaths. Which country is doing better in your opinion?

        Since June when the UK government limited the recording of Covid 19 deaths to those within 28 days of a positive test, excess deaths over the 5 year average is 23 in total. I would say that is a pretty stunning result really.

        • Oh dear says:

          Most deaths in all countries were in the initial wave, and England and Wales had the worst excess deaths in Europe.

          UK economy was down 20+% in Q3, year on year, far worse than other countries.

          There is no jingoistic capital to be gained from any of that, and none of it can be ignored.

          The Tories have lost 30 points in their poll lead, and it is only surprising that they have not fallen further.

          The performance has been absolutely appalling.

          The situation in care homes will not be forgotten, with c 19 positive patients dumped back into them. Also the refusal of spare ventilators to the over-60s.

          > England & Wales had most excess deaths in Europe’s covid-19 first wave

          England, Wales and Spain suffered the biggest increases in deaths by all causes during the first wave of the covid-19 pandemic, while countries including New Zealand, Norway and Poland appear to have escaped relatively unscathed.

          The three worst-hit countries each saw around 100 “excess deaths” per 100,000 people between February and May, which researchers say was probably due to governments being slow to implement lockdowns and scale up testing and tracing….

          • There were likely a lot of deaths from depression related to the lockdown. Also, from not getting treatment for other illnesses, such as heart attacks and strokes. People were afraid to go to the hospital.

            I am not convinced that lockdowns are very helpful. They were horribly expensive to the economy, and the illness came right back. The only way they work is before an illness has spread extensively. China did not tell us about the illness until a huge number of plane flights from China had distributed Chinese travelers with the illness widely around the world. By then, it was too late for lockdowns to make any measurable difference, over the long term.

      • Nehemiah says:

        @dear me, The UK has been trashing civil liberties since Tony Blair. The temporary curfews are a trivial infringement compared with the UK’s infringements on free speech, gun rights, and other matters. Look at how they railroaded Tommy Robinson and coercively shut down any publicity in the UK media. The government might was well be run by nazi’s. The Brits should be rebelling against those very real sorts of tyranny rather than fixating on curfews that will pass when the epidemic dies down, as all epidemics do, with or without vaccines.

        • VFatalis says:

          The situation doesn’t seem to be any better in the US, unless you consider the right to own a firearm some sort of progress

          Standing back gives different perception

        • Minority Of One says:

          >>rather than fixating on curfews that will pass when the epidemic dies down

          If society becomes broken enough, curfews may well become a permanent feature. A scared society won’t mind if they believe it is for their own good.

  10. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Debt from oil and gas bankruptcies reached a record high this year and will likely rise even higher as more companies file for Chapter 11 during the worst oil bust in decades.

    “North American energy companies have brought $89 billion of debt to bankruptcy court this year, up from about $70 billion during the last oil bust in 2014-16…”

  11. Harry McGibbs says:

    “As campaign season heads into its fraught, final days, police departments across the country are bracing for Election Day, mobilizing officers as they prepare for the possibility of voter intimidation, unrest or violence.

    “…officials say this year’s preparations are unusually extensive because of the sheer levels of anxiety and toxicity across the country.”

  12. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Indonesia’s workers will stage further mass protests across the country if President Joko Widodo signs new jobs measures into law next week, the head of the main labour group said on Saturday.”

  13. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Guinea’s president, Alpha Condé, has won a controversial third term with 59.49% of the vote, the National Independent Electoral Commission declared on Saturday.

    “His victory came amid widespread protests that were violently suppressed by security forces.”

  14. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Scotland’s senior police officers are warning about the prospect of mass protests, public disorder and major disruption on roads and ports…

    “”“EU Exit is only one of myriad, major challenges facing policing in Scotland now, and certainly continuing into and throughout 2021.”

  15. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Investors banking on a coronavirus vaccine to save the world economy in 2021 need to temper their ambitions as scientists increasingly warn of a long and difficult road ahead.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Countries around the world have expanded fiscal expenditure due to the coronavirus pandemic, causing public debt to balloon to unprecedented levels. The debt-to-gross domestic product ratio of advanced economies in 2021 will reach a record high of 125%…

      “The International Monetary Fund issued a report on Oct. 14 stating: “Policymakers need a toolkit of flexible fiscal measures to navigate lockdowns and tentative reopenings, and to facilitate structural transformation to the new post-pandemic economy.”

      “This came in stark contrast to guidance a decade ago during the global financial crisis, when the IMF recommended that countries should raise taxes and implement austerity measures.”

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “Stop nonsense talk of a magic money tree.

        “If money-printing was sustainable, and governments could borrow with abandon, the Roman Empire would still exist. If this kind of policymaking worked in the long-term, Zimbabwe and Argentina would be economic superpowers.”

        • Nehemiah says:

          @Harry, Exactly! Too many people are starting to imagine that printing money is printing wealth, but real wealth is the goods and services that money buys, and increasing the money supply does not mean that you will increase the supply of goods and services that the average person produces, at least not once any existing slack in the productive capacity has been taken out by the initial increase in demand. Increasing the output per capita requires productivity growth, and productivity growth is hard.

      • The IMF perhaps has figured out that austerity doesn’t work.

        • Nehemiah says:

          I don’t think that’s it. I think they are treating this like an emergency such as a major war. After it is under control, then the austerity needs to begin. Austerity is just reducing your consumption so you can afford to pay back some of your debts. It works very well, but it is not pleasant or fast. Everybody today wants a free lunch: use debt to enhance their living standards, but when it comes time to pay it back, they want “free money” or debt forgiveness.

          The problem from a macro-economic viewpoint is that when credit is easy, everyone piles in and borrows, which stimulates faster than average economic growth. But later, everyone will also find themselves servicing those debts at the same time too, and that will produce below average economic growth. If you want to keep unemployment low under these conditions, then wages need to fall across the board, but, besides there being a lot of resistance to wage reductions, it also makes it even harder to service debt. However, if we would let CPI go negative and then require that all creditors write down the payment owed them proportionately to CPI decreases, then we might get through the austerity phase of the credit cycle with minimal pain (not “no pain”).

          Unfortunately, I don’t hear anyone even discussing this solution. Everyone wants to put off the unpleasant consequences of aggregate debt reduction for as long as possible. It’s like doing everything you can to delay the next forest fire for as long as possible. Eventually, you get a huge conflagration. It’s a good thing we don’t know how to prevent earthquakes. If we could, we would probably let the pressure build up until one day California would just fall into the sea in an unnaturally large megaquake.

          Note that the only reason we are even having this discussion is because reduced growth (which is what austerity produces) is perceived as too painful to bear. Getting to a no growth, steady state economy is like coexisting with the consequences of austerity forever, austerity as the norm of human existence. If people were comfortable with a no-growth economy, austerity would not be perceived as a problem.

          • Kowalainen says:

            Yes, “austerity” does not even have to be a problem.

            Compared to the average Joe in the US, I’m probably living quite austere.

            The same with the middle class in India and China.

            My view is that austerity isn’t the same as ending the entitlements.

            Once the excuses are dropped and the legs and cranks start moving, genes will be switched on.

            IC 2.0, will be characterized by high-tech low-tech. It’s about time to end the fossil fueled obscenities.

            It is material consumption switching to immaterial. And it is already happening. Kids value their smartphones and computers more than cars and residential Potemkin facades.

            Following the joneses is such an unbearable bore.

  16. Harry McGibbs says:

    “[UK Banks have asked specialist debt collectors to help lead the recovery of tens of billions of pounds of government-backed small business loans, as they prepare for an expected wave of defaults and fraud cases…

    “The task is expected to be too onerous to be handled by a single company because of the large number of small businesses forecast to run into trouble, one of the people added.”

  17. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The foreign funds behind Heathrow have been warned the airport is threatened with nationalisation if they do not inject new money to help it cope with the pandemic.”

  18. D3G says:


    Your posting left no further reply prompts, so I am carrying over the thread regarding “single gender” restrooms. I never heard of them before so I looked them up.

    Dennis writes: “My city if I read the paper correctly is now pushing to have single gender restrooms in a new grade school. That is insanity. Which teacher, M/F goes into the restroom? I am uncomfortable when a man brings his daughter into the men’s room, imagine a male teacher going into a mixed restroom with little girls.”

    All inclusive is not at all the same as “single gender”. They are single occupancy, lockable stalls that look very clean and respectable to me. A new resturant in town uses this concept and it seems to work out well. Check out the article and see what you think.

    And if you are ever in a Japanese hotel restroom, don’t be surprised if a female attendant starts cleaning the fixture directly besides the one you are using. Just simply say “Ohayou Gozaimasu,”.


    • Dennis L. says:

      D3G. Japan is a homogenous society with deep societal traditions. These are children and in the US we are having enough trouble with pedophilia.

      What works for a few does not always work for the many. We can agree to disagree, but having been a kid in grade school, I can see two boys having a sword fight. It is pretty funny when you think about it, but it is a guy thing.

      Dennis L.

    • Dennis L. says:

      “Rochester Public Schools is seeking an exception to a state code that would allow it to designate the bathrooms in its new elementary school as gender-neutral.

      The document submitted by RPS includes the request from the district, as well as letters from students expressing why they think it’s an important step to take. The date on the request is Oct. 13, but school officials had been discussing the issue prior to submitting the request.

      The elementary school in question, located at 2300 Overland Drive Northwest, is in the early stages of construction. It’s one of the projects funded by the 2019 voter-approved referendum.

      Kevin Holm, an architect with the firm LHB, described the design of the bathrooms during a community meeting about the new middle school that is also under construction. He said the design for the bathroom at the new elementary school would be similar. The doors and walls of the bathroom stalls will be full-height. The stalls will share a common sink area, which will have open doorways to the hallway.”

      Some people have way too much time to dream this stuff up, it is tough enough being a kid and growing up, girls mature faster than boys, etc.

      Dennis L.

    • Nehemiah says:

      D3G wrote: And if you are ever in a Japanese hotel restroom, don’t be surprised if a female attendant starts cleaning the fixture directly besides the one you are using. Just simply say “Ohayou Gozaimasu,”.

      Is that Japanese for, “I’m a grower, not a shower?”

  19. Nehemiah says:

    Here are some quotes I found from physicist Geoffrey West’s book _Scale_:
    p31, summarizing the ramifications of scaling laws for cities, and the unfortunate likelihood of a finite time singularity (note that this phenomenon is different from a Malthusian collapse): “In a nutshell, the problem is that the theory also predicts that unbounded growth cannot be sustained without having either infinite resources or inducing major paradigm shifts that ‘reset’ the clock before potential collapse occurs.”

    p31, with another serious catch…we can put off the finite time singularity with innovations, but, “Theory dictates that such discoveries must occur at an increasingly accelerating pace; the time between successive innovations must systematically and inextricably get shorter and shorter.”

    p32, with the kicker: “This is clearly not sustainable, potentially leading to the collapse of the entire urbanized socioeconomic fabric.”

    p414 expands on the inconvenient problem of a finite time singularity, and distinguishes it from a Malthusian collapse: “Because of the presence of a finite time singularity resulting from superlinear scaling, this scenario is categorically different from that of Malthus. If growth were purely exponential as assumed by Malthusians, neo-Malthusians, their followers, and critics, then the production of energy, resources, and food could at least in principle keep up with exponential expansion because all of the relevant characteristics of the economy or city remain finite, even if they continue to increase in size and become very large. This cannot be achieved if you are growing superexponentially and approaching a finite time singularity. In this scenario demand gets progressively larger and larger, eventually becoming infinite within a finite period of time.”

    Here is a link to a lecture by West based on his book. If you don’t have time to listen to the entire one hour lecture (which is very interesting), just listen to the part that begins at 45:50

    • Thanks! I want to listen to the whole video, but haven’t gotten there yet. We are seeing right now that some cities of large size seem to already be having a problem with scale, with citizens starting to move out.

      I have questions in my mind regarding how this works worldwide. As energy gets constrained, will any cities have lasting power, for example? What insights on collapse does this book give?

      Edit: Listening to the video, one of the things Geoffrey West is saying, is that a new innovation, leading to a major paradigm shift, such as the internet, needs to come along more and more frequently, to avoid the need for soaring energy use, with the way the economy grows. But we really cannot do this. (Of course, this would be an alternative to finding another source of energy, with a very high EROEI.) Something has to happen, or the economy hits a limit.

    • Dennis L. says:

      Thank you, purchased the book.

      Dennis L.

  20. psile says:

    Honest Government Ad | Q

    The US Government has made an ad about QAnon and it’s surprisingly honest and informative.

  21. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Anxiety is building about job security in a world upended by the coronavirus pandemic.

    “More than half of workers around the world are worried about losing their jobs, according to a survey measuring labor-market insecurity wreaked by the coronavirus crisis.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      And many have already fallen through the cracks:

      “‘Pregnant, jobless and evicted: I missed out on furlough by two days and it ruined my life’:

      “This 31-year-old pregnant woman who lost her job and faces eviction is just one of the many left out of the Government’s support schemes.”

      • Dennis L. says:

        Where is her husband? Women can do it all, go for it girl, all your fellow women will be happy to kick in a bit to see you through.

        We live as a group, going alone is hopeless, we live with partners, complimentary skills and abilities work well, two people fighting to be top dog end with some pretty beaten up dogs.

        Dennis L.

        • D3G says:

          I am not a parent so I must proceed with caution here. But, if I raised a daughter I would hope that I encouraged her to follow here passion wherever it leads. I would rather that she worked toward becoming a doctor or a pilot rather than try to marry one.

          Things have certainly changed over the years. My German immigrant father, a tool & die maker, provided a very comfortable living in a modest home, a late used model car and my mother was a full time mom. We could afford a vacation and he paid for my flying lessons. Actually, almost all the moms stayed at home in those days. Some of what has changed since then is our idea of what we need to be happy. For example, my childhood home, a model home in 1956, according to a realtor friend is now a ‘starter’ home. I would argue that some of our problem is not the high cost of living, but rather the cost of living high. Today couples have homes and new cars requiring both incomes to support. That doesn’t work out well one one loses their job. Our American way of life encourages a constant upgrading and our system especially loves divorces in that a doubling of households increases overall consumption.

          I’ve come this far, now where was I going with this. Oh yeah, if I hear you correctly, you seem to place blame on the woman in the relationship because she might be too assertive…one of the dogs fighting. Well, if her income is required to make it all work, she should have equal say in the matter. JMHO.


          • in general terms, the pressure of population increase and the decline in available surplus energy has led to the average home being 10x average wages, instead of 4x average wages as it was 60 years ago

            • Nehemiah says:

              Is that still true when measured on a price per square foot basis?

            • price per sq ft i tnink only relates to the location of the building itself.

              if i could magically transport my house to an expensive part of central London, it would be worth 1000+ x times what it is worth here.

              that is just ‘demand’.

              the price/surplus energy equation is still driven by pressure of population

          • Dennis L. says:

            “Oh yeah, if I hear you correctly, you seem to place blame on the woman in the relationship because she might be too assertive…one of the dogs fighting.”

            Fighting is a losing game, I place no blame, it is what it is, some things work some do not.

            Can of worms, appreciate your thoughts,

            Dennis L.

      • I take it is a UK story. When countries are worse-off, they cannot afford the support systems of the past. Women with husbands will be in better shape than single mom’s. It sounds like a time for a push toward conservative values.

        • D3G says:

          How strong of a push toward conservatism did you have in mind, Gail?

          • kwite rite too

            if I can get my woman to shut up—I’m going to tell her that in no uncertain terms

            • I married, and I put my family first. I worked less than full time, so that I would not have to be away from my family a great deal of the time. I passed up promotions, so that I would not have to move from city to city and uproot the family (let my husband find a new job and the children find new friends). We bought homes that were far less expensive than someone looking at our incomes would think we could afford. So I some ways I am not the best example of a non-conservative person you could find.

            • Dennis L. says:


              The opposite way does not work, it may be fun, it may be great for the individual and truly exceptional individuals have to work hard for failure, but the left does not work.

              The left almost seems to mimic some of the Indian philosophies in that it has gone so far left it is coming back to a very intolerant right – and I don’t care for philosophy.

              My city if I read the paper correctly is now pushing to have single gender restrooms in a new grade school. That is insanity. Which teacher, M/F goes into the restroom? I am uncomfortable when a man brings his daughter into the men’s room, imagine a male teacher going into a mixed restroom with little girls.

              People have to have a set of beliefs that work most of the time, accommodation is wonderful, but there is neither time nor resources in life to accommodate that.

              Life is very hard, it is not fair, it is life.

              Dennis L.

            • Nehemiah says:

              @Kowaleinen, Our dear blogger does not really strike me an exemplar of anti-puritan backlash. Try Hillary, Kamala, or Angela Merkel. Or Alice Friedmann at (a well deserved plug for her extensive and detailed website). I love her deep dive into energy and resource issues, but now and then she can’t resist gong off on these wild denunciations of her favorite political “devils” who consist of highly stereotyped caricatures of their real life counterparts, shrill over-the-top hysteria that’s good for a chuckle or two but drags on too long to retain its entertainment value. She probably thinks “A Handmaiden’s Tale” is a documentary.

              Just to get her goat, I should, one of these days, point out to her that culturally “progressive” values are a byproduct of the the industrial revolution and its accompanying disruption of the social order, and that a return to a more historically normal and economically static way of life will be followed by a reversion to values appropriate to that sort of social order. Even today, the rural areas and very small towns retain quite conservative social values.

            • Kowalainen says:

              In scandinavia it is quite common with mixed sauna and topless baths. You anglo saxons are way too “catholic” in the sense of sexuality. Getting a boner in that sauna? The joke is on you. Getting a boner around children? That job isn’t yours.

              It must be the easiest thing in the world to test out. Just show the job candidates images of naked children, computer generated/hallucinated and non existing in the real world, and watch if there is some genital “reaction”.

              I believe in liberty for all and that society should be a meritocracy. Equal opportunity gives this by default. If a person decide to be a house wife/man, fair enough. If a person decide to be the CEO of a company, fair enough. And of course everything in between.

              The divorce racket is despicable in anglo saxon countries where men gets taken to the cleaners, stripped of their property just so that the consumerism hoopla can perpetrate and take another swing in the orbit of grand deluision.

              In summary, the relentless narratives being pumped out on the devices of brain washing is despicable. Its about time to end the social(ist) engineering practise and just leave people the fsck alone.

              Furthermore I seriously doubt this blog would exist without the fact that Gail is female. If you ponder upon this, I know you will agree with me.

              As always, you don’t have to agree with me, but then you’d be wrong.

          • Beliefs will change with the time. This is evidently what Timothy thought was appropriate at the time.

            When you have a rich government, which can pay for a safety net so a single mother can raise a child without too much difficulty, then maybe single mothers make sense. We need two arms, two legs, two ears, and two eyes. Perhaps two parents for children make sense as well.

            I have mentioned previously that my daughter is married to another woman. I also have a sister who is married to another woman. (No children in either case.) In some of these same-sex marriages, the couple may be able to give children the needed stability.

            • Dennis L. says:

              Not an expert, opinions subject to revision, children from two traditional parents seem to do better than from single parents across a broad spectrum. Raising children singly may be a rationalization by elites who have tried it and failed. Raise two children of identical abilities(yes, impossible, pretend we are economists and assume), one with two parents, one with one, one spot in life, the one with two parents will most likely get it. That is a high price for a belief system to put on a child.

              If there are no children, same sex marriages probably are not an issue, in part it is most likely dopaminergic and if it works, who cares? Biology has separated mammals into opposite sexes over many years, if it did not work, it would not be here.

              I don’t see single mothers, pointing out one exceptional example does not make it work for society.

              As for same sex marriages, sex is tough enough for an adolescent without all the variations, it is one thing to accommodate variations, it is another to proselytize that variation become the norm.

              Endless can of worms,

              Dennis L.

            • Nehemiah says:

              Here is another negative externality of our energy rich economy. Minor physical “anomalies” (defects), decreased bilateral symmetry (“Fluctuating Asymmetry”), non-right handedness (rising for over a century and not just for handwriting), criminal violence, assorted mental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, and sexual orientations that cannot lead to reproduction (homosexual, pedophilic, and zoophilic orientations) are all positively correlated. These are all the sorts of things that one would expect to see rise in prevalence after generations of rising mutational load as a result of collapsing childhood mortality because of modern sanitation and vaccinations, and some other medical interventions. And of course western civilization has been living with the mixed blessing of low childhood mortality longer than any other part of the world.

              A hundred years ago, even back before World War One, the eugenics movement, which was immensely popular among many of our most eminent citizens, many of whose names are still instantly recognizable, and seems to have had few opponents, was aware of this problem but was not able to find an adequate strategy to counter it. During the “anti-fascist” war hysteria of the 1940s, the baby was thrown out with the bathwater. Now it is probably the best thing that can happen to the human race that our energy-rich civilization collapse to a point that we return to a high mortality regime. Populations of short lived animals which are bred under controlled conditions without natural or artificial selection accumulate mutations until they eventually go extinct. Unfortunately, the transition from this age to that one (the “return to normality”) will be traumatic for most of those who must live through it, or who will not be able to live through it.

              I must sound like the ultimate bad news bear. My advice: don’t bring this subject up at Thanksgiving dinner. It really kills a party.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Calhouns ”Rat Utopia” experiment indicate that something goes awry when the selection pressure is removed.

              What you describe is one of the things I despise about pandering to the cult of children.

              A gazillion halfwits floating around in the system making life a bore as they perpetrate the defect and mundane.

              The herd is terribly boring, even as they riot in the streets. It’s all say to see it from their faces that something isn’t quite right.

              However, some traits that in historic times was problematic, seem today, as an advantage.

              Autism spectrum for example. The best coders need to be on the spectrum to endure debugging and developing in highly complex software stacks.

              I have met plenty of rather clever ladies and gentlemen with some childhood “defects”.

              So the pendulum swings both ways it seems.

              As the Buddhist would say:

              When shift happens, is it really shit?

              Gaia works in mysterious ways.

            • I agree that we have been meddling with the selection process for a long time. The system, before we started medicines with it, seems to be set up for women to have quite a few children (perhaps five or six), and all except two die before childbearing age. Using birth control to adjust the number of births doesn’t really fix the problem that “survival of the best adapted” is supposed to fix.

              The fact that people have moved to a different part of the world than their skin color is adapted for is a problem as well.

            • Nehemiah says:

              Gail wrote: “people have moved to a different part of the world than their skin color is adapted for”–Thus, world’s highest rate of skin cancer has been reported to be in Australia. Second highest: Israel. Ashkenazi Jews are biologically adapted to life in Northern Europe, not in the Middle East.

            • Kowalainen says:


              Blacks in Northern Europe is having problems with depression. It’s barely the indigenous, Sámi people, can fight off depression from the dictates of nature. Suicide rates are high for them. But that could of course be a cause from other aspects, such as the irrelevance of animal herding IC.

        • Dennis L. says:

          Gail, yes I agree, but it is also the other way around, the wife can help the man when need be and with children two can double team the child. It seems to me an illusion that one person can do it all. It is not easy over a period of years no matter what.

          Dennis L>

          • Nehemiah says:

            @kowalainen, The autism spectrum is measure by a questionnaire which, according to one the world’s top personality researchers (McCrae, who co-developed the popular NEO-PI-R “five factor” personality test) plots a normal distribution and, in his professional opinion, should probably be regarded as a sixth major personality trait. Of course, scores on the extreme right tail are strongly predictive of Asperger’s and autism, but extreme scores on some other major personality traits, especially neuroticism, are also very problematical. High spectrum scores are also associated with many genes that are also associated with increased intelligence and brain size, which may be one of the reasons (not the only factor, though) why Asperger’s and, even more extreme, autism, keep cropping up in the population. Some of these genes are beneficial, but if you happen to inherit too many, you become a less functional human being. (However, there must be an environmental component too, because the prevalence has increased too rapidly in recent decades.)

            • Kowalainen says:

              Yes, it is mysterious.

              My take is that it is the concious and subconcious of the female that dictates some aspects of the pregnancy process. It’s not simply mechanistic, rather a combination of gentetics, psychosocial and psychological effects that causes these variations.

              It’s like the age old question between nurture and nature. However, with nurture equally important before birth.

            • well

              my missis was given thalidomide for pregnancy problems (she was a qualified nurse/midwife incidentally)

              One tablet on her tongue and an instant spit out.

              ” Im not taking THAT” was the violent reaction. “whatever it is”

              You can imagime the years of gratitude whenever I think of that moment, all those years ago.

              IAfter that never dismiss female instinct, no matter what the context.

    • This is the map shown with respect to the share of workers concerned about the possible loss of their jobs. White seem to be no data. The darkest colors are worst. Saudi Arabia and Russia clearly have problems. Also, India, Brazil, Peru, Chile, So. Africa, and others.

      • Macron (FR) said something to the effect of this plandemic-shut downs to continue till at least Q2 / 2021. I’d be very surprised if there is not going to be at least some attempted “global reset” via MMT rule book, debt jubilees, bond cancellation, UBI etc.. in that time window.

        Obviously, the situation could anytime lapse into sheer chaos, but firstly the opportunity will be likely taken to transform the system.

        • Kowalainen says:

          The Kali Yuga will come to its end.

          It is inevitable.

          • I looked up Kali Yuga. It is the last of four ages, in Hindu religious documents, described as “the age of darkness and deception.” Some quotes:

            “Then, O King, religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance, mercy, duration of life, physical strength and memory will all diminish day by day because of the powerful influence of the age of Kali.” — SB 12:2:1

            “In Kali-yuga, wealth alone will be considered the sign of a person’s good birth, proper behavior and fine qualities. And law and justice will be applied only on the basis of one’s power.” — SB 12:2:2

            “ Men and women will live together merely because of superficial attraction, and success in business will depend on deceit. Womanliness and manliness will be judged according to one’s expertise in sex, and a man will be known as a brahmana just by his wearing a thread.” — SB 12:2:3

            “A person’s spiritual position will be ascertained merely according to external symbols, and on that same basis people will change from one spiritual order to the next. A person’s propriety will be seriously questioned if he does not earn a good living. And one who is very clever at juggling words will be considered a learned scholar.” — SB 12:2:4

            “ A person will be judged unholy if he does not have money, and hypocrisy will be accepted as virtue. Marriage will be arranged simply by verbal agreement, and a person will think he is fit to appear in public if he has merely taken a bath.” — SB 12:2:5

            The article continues with more quotes and more explanations. It does sound a lot like today, unfortunately. Its forecasts are not pleasant:

            “ The citizens will suffer greatly from cold, wind, heat, rain and snow. They will be further tormented by quarrels, hunger, thirst, disease and severe anxiety.” — SB 12:2:10

            • Bei Dawei says:

              All this probably sounds a lot like what was going on back then, too. It’s a bit like Jesus predicting earthquakes and war.

            • Oh dear says:

              The cycle of yugas (ages) proceeds according to the break down of castes and of the stages of life (what is appropriate to a person at their age).

              Kali Yuga is the final of the cyclic ages and it leads back to Satya Yuga and to the re-establishment of the castes and stages of life, and so to virtue and well-being.

              Kali is the lord of ‘confusion’ of the castes and stages of life, of disorder and he is defeated by Kalki who re-establishes Dharma, which is order and law. Whence our Kalki?

              > Narration of the four Yugas: castes and stages of life


            • JMS says:

              If you want riotous fun in an apocaliptic novel starring Kalki Himself, you just need to read “Kalki” from Gore Vidal. Hilarious and sobering at the same time.

          • I should add, the last part of the Kali Yuga section sounds surprisingly like the Bible:

            “At that time [the end of the bad period following all of this movement away from religion], the Supreme Personality of Godhead will appear on the earth. Acting with the power of pure spiritual goodness, He will rescue eternal religion.” — SB 12:2:16

            • Bei Dawei says:

              Oh, you’re reading the Hare Krishna version. (“Supreme Personality of Godhead”)

            • Dennis L. says:

              One can hope.

              Dennis L.

            • Nehemiah says:

              Jesus said there would be earthquakes, wars, etc., and then added a conclusion that is often overlooked for some reason: “but the end is NOT YET.” People have been confused by the “apocalyptic” language (“apocalyptic” is a technical term referring to a spiritual literary genre) such that they overlook that the Olivet discourses are primarily about the destruction of the temple in AD 70, and likewise they have been much too swayed by the even more apocalyptic language of the book of revelation. (Thus, “this generation shall not pass until all these things have come to pass” refers to a Biblical generation of 40 years from the time that Christ spoke these words until the destruction of the temple in AD 70, which must have been viewed by early Christians as an event of enormous theological significance.

              But in places where Jesus was clearly speaking about eschatology, he was clear that life will continue in its essential features as it always has until the son of man comes “as a thief in the night,” that is, when no one is expecting it. I once told someone who was raised in one of these many chiliastic (millenarian) denominations that have become so popular since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution that I had discovered the very hour of the Lord’s return. He was skeptical until I gave him the chapter and verse. He looked it up and read, “The son of man cometh in an hour that ye think not.” I sometimes tell people that, according to the Bible, the end of the age cannot be near because there are too many people who expect it now.

            • I have thought about the conflict between thinking the end comes with overshoot and collapse, and the son of man comes “as a thief in the night,” myself. Perhaps a person can’t really believe what the Bible says. That was the understanding at the time, but it is not really right. The end of our current civilization could come (just as the end of many other civilizations have come), without “the son of man” coming.

            • Nehemiah says:

              Children growing up a century or so from now will consider their simpler way of life to be unremarkable, just like pre-industrial generations. It is only the generations that must live through a fairly rapid transition as energy and minerals deplete rapidly in the context of an enormous population that will endure trauma. Even the thought of surviving the transition but having to return to the lifestyles of our pre-industrial ancestors strikes many people as traumatic, but future generations who have known nothing else will perceive it differently. Our own historical interlude–Hubbert’s Pimple–is so strange that it will be hard for future generations to understand, or even believe. Just as there are moon landing skeptics today, there will probably be people in the future who will refuse to believe stories about big iron birds that whisk hundreds of people across the ocean in a matter of hours, horseless carriages that routinely travel at speeds of 60 mph or more, and the internet.

            • Kowalainen says:


              Perhaps the “Man” have already arrived.

              Different eras – different representations of the divine one.

              Only in hindsight will it be revealed.

              Buddha and Jesus were merely two esoteric characters with their cult following, if they existed at all. It does not really matter.

              Our images of the divine and spiritual might be a reflection of who we are once looking past the rapacious monkey business.

              Okay folks, it’s about time to pack our stuff and leave the cruft behind. Any takers?

        • You are probably right. It doesn’t even take a very big level of reduced demand to push the world economy into a cycle of collapse. Intentional shutdowns, to hold down COVID, add to this. Debt is a part of they system that is severely tested early on. Somehow, income needs to continue for the world’s many unemployed, and businesses need to be kept from failing. The only way this can sort of the done is by some approach to money printing/debt cancellation/etc.

  22. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Losses are mounting for the U.S. airline industry as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the economy and hope dims for an immediate government aid package.  

    “Karl Moore, associate professor at Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, says, “We’re looking at flights being down in the area of 90% less in March and April than they were the year before. So, it’s a time of enormous crisis. And there are hundreds of thousands of people who work in the airline industry.”” 

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Finland is to provide a €350 million ($414 million) recapitalisation of state-owned airports operator Finavia amid the continued slump in air traffic demand.

      “Passenger traffic remained 90% down in September across Finavia’s airports and 92% down at its biggest gateway, Helsinki.”

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “Airlines are struggling to find enough planes to take holidaymakers to the Canary Islands during the half-term break, after the industry was caught short by the government’s decision to remove the islands from England’s quarantine list.

        “Prices for flights to the Canaries surged after the islands… joined the list of “travel corridors”, meaning visitors do not have to self-isolate on their return.”

        • Nehemiah says:

          By the end of the century, I expect many of these island tourist destinations to be incredibly isolated from the rest of the world. The Canaries will be too far away for most tourists from Europe or America. Africa is closer, but not close enough that the Africans will care to visit. Africa has it’s own warm beaches. Hawaii’s economy will be mostly local and visitors will be very rare except for the occasional sailing vessel stopping to resupply on its long voyage across the Pacific. Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, and Tristan da Cunha? They might as well have fallen off the planet by then! New Zealand is a larger island that accommodates enough people that it may be able to maintain a somewhat advanced civilization, but even they may start feeling rather isolated. Looked at a map lately? It’s a pretty remote place. I imagine they must import a lot of their raw materials, but in a post-industrial world, what will they have to offer in exchange? They will become a total backwater.

          • Bei Dawei says:

            NZ will probably be ruled by American tech billionaires from their underground bunkers, like Tolkien’s “dwarf-lords in their halls of stone.”

            It was still around in the future of Aldous Huxley’s “Ape and Essence” (in which a NZ ship explores post-apocalyptic, Satan-worshipping California).

            • Duncan Idaho says:

              Aside from help needed on the culinary end, NZ is one of my favorite spots.
              Police are almost nonexistent on the South Island.
              Great fly fishing, and the country, about the size of the UK (with 66 million) has 5 million people.
              Its good its out of the way——

            • Dennis L. says:


              Maybe, but a talent in one area does not necessarily translate into a talent in another. My guess is the wealthy will be welcome as long as they bring in things useful to others, when that stops it is the invariable question, “Yeah, that was yesterday, what have you done for me today.”

              Dennis L.

    • People on the flights are down, but the number of flights is not yet down anywhere near proportional to the loss of customers. If this happens, there will be many more layoffs and loss of value of airports and airplanes.

      • D3G says:

        Airlines will try to avoid grounding aircraft for as long as possible due in part to training costs. Because of employee seniorty, airlines face huge training costs, both in time and money, when senior equipment (international 787’s for example) get parked. You see, these senior pilots are not the ones who would get furloughed. They instead, get to displace other junior pilots flying more junior equipment and routes. A junior captain becomes a senior copilot until eventually the last one hired becomes the next one fired. Seat changes generate training costs in contracting as well as expanding conditions. There are other situations which result in additional required traing, but I think you get the idea.


      • Minority Of One says:

        I believe, same with trains in the UK which are being subsidised by the UK govt with billions of tax payers money. I was hoping that this might kill off the HS2 project (High Speed 2 rail link from London to middle England at a cost of £100B+), and it probably will get killed off eventually. Unfortunately they are clear felling the native / semi-ancient woods first, now, about 100 of them. The UK has little native woodland left.

        • Kowalainen says:

          What? Killing off infrastructure jobs programs?

          What exactly do you want the useless eaters in the buearocracy to do, some more SJW agenda or maintain tracks?

          UBI is out of the question in your world, right?

  23. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Studio Movie Grill Holdings, the theater chain where film-goers can order Sriracha chicken sliders and a Cruzan mango mojito right in the middle of the latest blockbuster, filed for bankruptcy on Friday after the Covid-19 pandemic kept audiences away.

    “It’s another sign that the movie industry is caught in a downward spiral, with people staying home to avoid catching the disease, and studios holding back new films that might attract them. The biggest chain, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., has said it may run out of cash by the end of this year or early in 2021.”

  24. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Local governments are scuttling borrowing plans that would normally be put before voters on Election Day as financial uncertainty strains municipal budgets and stresses taxpayers that need to sign off on such debt…

    “And it’s not just towns and cities that are nixing bond-ballot measures this election. New York state pulled a $3 billion environmental bond from the November ballot, citing a dire financial situation stemming from the pandemic.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “The US arts sector did receive government assistance through the stimulus bill known as the CARES Act. The legislation allocated a combined $115 million to the grant-making National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for Humanities. The sector also received $1.8 billion in loans through the Paycheck Protection Plan.

      “However, the assistance came to just a fraction of the $9.1 billion in estimated losses to arts organizations between March and July of this year.”

      • Robert Firth says:

        O the horror! No more statues of Jesus soaked in urine, cows pickled in formaldehyde, or maggots zapped by electricity. How will our civilisation survive? Will we be reduced to peeling $50,000 bananas of the walls of our art galleries?

        • Dennis L. says:

          Here, here.

          Do hope the local symphony can make it, they are trying zoom, seems like a good CD is stiff competition.

          Dennis L.

          • Robert Firth says:

            Dennis, I have no quarrel with art paid for by the people who enjoy it. Art paid for by pubic bodies is almost always garbage.

            • Dennis L. says:

              Yes, something paid for by others on behalf of someone who has a good idea to them and sells it to others, mostly the seller is looking for a job. That is the case with many public/private interfaces now. Traditionally the wealthy supported the arts, seems Michelangelo had a patron, patron sold indulgences perhaps, many went to heaven helping create wonderful art. Sort of sarcastic, but not really.

              Dennis L.

            • Nehemiah says:

              @Dennis@Norman@BeiDawei, Those nudes in the Sistine Chapel scandalized the parishioners. Americans are not uniquely prudish. Some Italians were demanding that clothes be painted over the images.

              Nude female models were also discouraged. Normally, painters had to use nude male models and then feminize their features using their imaginations.

              And Michelangelo? He was a closet Protestant sympathizer.

            • neil says:

              Pubic bodies? I suspect you mean that.

          • Nehemiah says:

            Michelangelo’s patron was the Medici banking family. Art seems to have remained beautiful when it was financed by wealthy private patrons. When the government doles out taxpayers’ cash, the artists produce what they want, which may be original, but not necessarily beautiful. Patrons who use their discretion would not be subsidizing artists with poor taste. Unfortunately, government bureaucrats do not apply a “good taste” standard.

            • Dennis L. says:

              Always learn something here,

              “Michelangelo (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564) had a complicated relationship with the Medici family, who were for most of his lifetime the effective rulers of his home city of Florence. The Medici rose to prominence as Florence’s preeminent bankers. They amassed a sizable fortune some of which was used for patronage of the arts. Michelangelo’s first contact with the Medici family began early as a talented teenage apprentice of the Florentine painter Domenico Ghirlandaio. Following his initial work for Lorenzo de’ Medici, Michelangelo’s interactions with the family continued for decades including the Medici papacies of Pope Leo X and Pope Clement VII.

              Despite pauses and turbulence in the relationship between Michelangelo and his Medici patrons, it was commissions from the Medici Popes that produced some of Michelangelo’s finest work, including the completion of the tomb of Pope Julius II with its monumental sculpture of Moses, and The Last Judgement, a complex fresco covering the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel (the earlier Sistine Chapel ceiling was not a Medici commission).”


              Medici’s purchased a couple of papacies, sounds sort of like today’s politicians.


              Dennis L.

            • always seemed to be a lot of bible scenes of girls with no clothes on

            • Bei Dawei says:

              Girls? Uh, notice the loving attention given to the men’s buttocks.

    • Lack of bonds to fund new projects like new schools, parks, and roads means fewer jobs in the future. If tax revenue is lower, budgets for all kinds of services (including schools and libraries) may need to be cut.

  25. Yoshua says:

    The WTI is forming a second crash pattern.

    But again, it is waiting for the crash signal…a spike in interest rates.×900

    • Dennis L. says:

      I have no idea, read a paper sometime back by some physicists, matrix theory, predicting anything economic more than 30 days in advance is impossible. I have moved some things around, need to find that paper.

      What goes down, can go up, oil has gone down for a long time, printing money has gone into high gear, really tough to know what to do. Owning land is great as long as those working it don’t become ill.

      The wealthiest men in the world have not done it watching patterns, just saying.

      Dennis L.

    • A spike in interest rates does seem likely to push the oil price down.

      We have a bunch of investors around here trying to fix up old houses and sell them for more money, given the interest in buying suburban homes. I expect that the number of people seeking mortgages for these homes will go down, if interest rates rise from their current low level.

      There also seem to be some people selling because their current income is too low to afford their homes (wife can no longer work, for example). These folks aren’t fixing their homes up, keeping some prices lower. This will add to the supply, eventually, pushing prices back down.

  26. Yoshua says:

    The signal for a market crash is now here.

    First the yield curve inverts…which causes a recession as banks stop lending…then the yield curve uninverts…and the 10 year treasury yield spikes…and as rates spikes too the markets crash.

    I’m not sure if this will happen this time since the Fed isn’t going raise rates as there’s no inflation.

    • Yoshua says:

      And besides…the Fed is doing QE and buying treasuries to control the yields.

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “The coronavirus crisis and the November election have driven fears of a major market crash to the highest levels in many years.

      “At the same time, stocks are trading at very high levels. That volatile combination doesn’t mean that a crash will occur, but it suggests that the risk of one is relatively high. This is a time to be careful.”


      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “Deluge of central bank funding upends typical market reaction to economic downturns:

        ““Everything has been turned on its head,” observed Matt King, global head of credit strategy at Citigroup. Rather than focus on fundamentals, investors “spend their time looking at central bank liquidity” and the level of inflation-adjusted Treasury yields for guidance…

        “The bill for this year’s debt binge beckons once the pandemic abates. It can only hold back an economic revival when companies focus on cost-cutting at the expense of investing and hiring staff.

        “That leaves credit markets sitting on far more expensive values than what is warranted by the economic realities of high debt and modest growth prospects.”

        • Yoshua says:

          When the economy goes into a recession…the government starts spending to get the economy out of the recession…as it starts borrowing massive amounts of money the 10 year treasury yield spikes…and then the markets crash.

          But not this time?

          Now it’s all about if the Fed and the government can get the economy out of the recession?

          • It seems like TPTB are very aware of the risk and will try to do everything that they can do to keep the market from crashing. So perhaps it won’t happen this time, but we just don’t know.

            There is also the possibility of derivatives having a big problem, with rapid changes in currency relativities (or some other change). It seems like any one upset will feed into other upsets.

          • Nehemiah says:

            Yoshua wrote: “But not this time?” Not how it normally works. Usually, the Fed tightens (targets higher rates) while the economy is still growing. (As William McChesney Martin, Fed head under President Ike, put it, his job was to “take away the punch bowl just as the party gets started.”) Then the market crashes *before* the recession. Then the recession starts. Then the Fed says the economy is fine and there is no recession on the horizon according to their computer model that assesses a gillion variables. Then the Fed realizes it is wrong and begins targeting lower rates. This time the sequence of events has been somewhat unusual.

      • Nehemiah says:

        The current market is driven higher by ma and pa investors/speculators, while billionaires like Buffet and Soros have been reducing their holdings and accumulating cash while they wait for the next bottom. Typical ending to a market cycle.

    • Nehemiah says:

      Yield curve inverted in 2018. It always uninverts before the recession, and there is a considerable lag before the recession. (This is in the post-war era. Before the Fed was created in 1913, yield curve inversions were not recession signals, although I don’t know for sure that there is a connection.) However, the lag was much shorter than normal on two occasions, prior to the recessions of 74/75 and 81/82, when OPEC doubled the price of oil. This time, the Wuhan virus accelerated the recession, although not by as much. Without the virus, the most probable date of onset for the next recession was between June 2020 and Dec 2021.

      Stock markets have been terrible around the world for some time, even before 2020. The US market has been an anomaly, but the tech stocks are the real anomaly. Five or six stocks account for more than 100% of the SPX gains. Russell2000 is down. The broad NYSE (symbol NYA) is still off its highs. Bank stocks, which lead in a recovery, are not rising. This is a very narrow market. We are just waiting for the tech correction.

      Even before 2020, corporate earnings were flat, with per share earnings rising only because of corporate stock buybacks (because executive compensation is tied to stock prices), which used to be illegal in days when financial regulation was saner.

  27. Harry McGibbs says:

    “It’s been more than seven months since the coronavirus pandemic hit, leading to sweeping shelter in place orders in March that put millions of Americans out of work. While some of those laid off due to shutdowns have been able to return to their jobs, permanent unemployment has increased.”

  28. davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    “SpaceX aims to build a Starlink mega constellation around MARS to provide internet to the one million people the firm will send to colonize the Red Planet.

    SpaceX revealed plans to bring its Starlink satellites to Mars
    The firm wants to provide internet to those who colonize the Red Planet
    The satellites would act as a communication bridge between Mars and Earth
    CEO Elon Musk has plans to send one million people to Mars by 2025”

    • Dennis L. says:

      Okay, I will settle for the moon and a low gravity well, G-5 and a few towers will probably be sufficient until 2030.

      If a previous post is correct, there are 233,333 people on earth with IQ>=160, that would sure make learning things much easier. Tough to find someone to talk with though.

      Dennis L.

      • Nehemiah says:

        First, the average IQ of the human race, based on the most recent research, is only 82, so the calculations should be redone on that basis. (OTOH, the far right tail is “fat,” perhaps because of assortative mating for intelligence.)

        Second, and more seriously, it is likely that the vast majority of people with an IQ of 160 are far too smart to volunteer for a one way trip to Mars that will almost certainly be suicidal, as I am sure they will deduce.

        • hkeithhenson says:

          “average IQ of the human race, based on the most recent research, is only 82, ”

          I would really like a source for that.

          • hkeithhenson says:

            GM Sells Out First Year of Electric Hummer Production
            General Motors said it has sold out the first year’s worth of its hulking GMC Hummer EV electric pickup truck after a splashy video reveal on Tuesday. Reuters reports: The GMC website showed a “reservations full” banner over the Hummer EV “Edition 1,” ..

          • Nehemiah says:

            Fair enough. BTW, I never trust Wikipedia for info on any subject of a controversial nature. The only possible exception is if I find an article on Wikipedia that contradicts the “woke” narrative complex, which is rare. That’s like a witness giving testimony contrary to his own interest–it boosts credibility. Okay, here’s a cite for global IQ=82:

            A new version of the NIQ dataset was completed yesterday and uploaded today. It now includes 669 samples with a total of 617,581 individuals from 130 different countries. The global IQ is now 81.98 (N=130; SD=13.43) for measured IQs only or 81.90 (N=201; SD=13.47) if missing countries have been supplemented by geographical averages of their neighboring countries -end quote-

            And below is an article that discusses some of the implications of this finding. Keep in mind that IQ tests (especially “culture fair” tests like the Raven’s that do not test subjects learned in school) that are commonly used are subject to the Flynn Effect (Cattell’s Paradox) which may well distort scores farther upward in some countries than in others. School achievement tests are less “Flynned,” but not entirely free of the effect. Some countries also have very scant data. Still, the overall pattern of scores follows regional lines fairly well. You don’t see countries that are geographically and racially similar with wildly different scores. Countries with lots of revenue from oil or tourism do not have radically different scores from nearby countries that are much poorer. And while Cattell’s Paradox may raise scores in poor countries in the future (ASSUMING THERE IS ENOUGH ENERGY TO “FUEL” CONTINUING HUMAN PROGRESS), this will be somewhat offset by the fact that IQ scores in developing countries appear to be falling about a point per decade since the middle 1990’s.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “BTW, I never trust Wikipedia for info on any subject of a controversial nature”

              Normally they get definitions right. By definition, the average IQ is 100. The article compares the IQ of geographic areas “in comparison with an idealized distribution of a British norm-sample.” The article could have set the world IQ at 100 and got the same relative results.

              I don’t find the subject controversial. IQ selection was “carried along” with the various traits such as numerosity and literacy in the selection for wealth that Gregory Clark writes about. The difference between the smart populations and the not so smart is the harsh selection of the ancestors of the present-day smart

    • Robert Firth says:

      Somebody has been taking “The Martian Chronicles” too seriously. And what is the point of sending artificial satellites to a planet that already has two excellently placed natural ones?

      And one million people living deep underground to keep away from the radiation? That one is from the Doctor Who show “Underworld”.

    • Ed says:

      A million by 2025 is just incorrect reporting. First flight to Mars unpersoned 2024.

  29. Artleads says:


    I haven’t read this, but the cover image makes me think it might be of interest to you.,


  30. davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    I’d tell you a pandemic joke. But there’s a 99.9996% chance you won’t get it.

    • Dennis L. says:

      Asked my physician about C-19 and got a diatribe about Mike Pence not wearing a mask. Really tough to understand what is really going on.

      Dennis L.

      • Kowalainen says:

        Not much.

        A media blitz based on the usual geopolitical narratives together with a money laundry racket coming to an end together with its fossil fueled underpinnings.


        Play along with the herd. Returning to Scenario 2 is inevitable.

        Post savage black pilled comments online and share the entertainment from the absurdities with your trusted close friends.

      • Tim Groves says:

        Covid-19 is contagious.
        Pass it on.

      • Ed says:

        Just got a new doctor and he new about vitamin D and zinc!

    • Perhaps this round of the virus will go away quickly, then.

    • Nehemiah says:

      “every third person tested” — right, but those who get tested are not a random sample of the population. You can be sure the share of the TOTAL population which has actually been infected is much lower.

      Read a bit farther (thank God for machine translation!): “However, we cannot rely on the fact that what we are diagnosing is the actual number of infected in the population” says the “director of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics.”

  31. Oh dear says:

    A Nobel prize in chemistry has been awarded to two ladies for a gene editing tool that has potential applications in the human genome, like health and intelligence, and in crops and stuff.

    The technology is new and the consensus is to proceed with caution where humans are concerned, to demonstrate benefits and safety to the individuals before use.

    Eventually persons could safely enhance themselves in various ways at home like boosting memory, just like we use vaccines or paracetamol today.

    Embryos can also be modified before implantation, so the entire species could be upgraded.

    > CRISPR genome editing pioneers win Nobel prize in chemistry

    Professors Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their development of CRISPR genome editing.

    The approach devised by the pair allows researchers to alter the DNA within cells with record accuracy, using molecules that evolved in bacteria as a defence against viruses.

    Claes Gustafsson, chair of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry explained the significance of CRISPR genome editing: ‘It has not only revolutionised basic science but also resulted in innovative crops and will lead to ground-breaking new medical treatments.’

    Professor Charpentier first published her finding of the tracrRNA molecule (part of the DNA-cleaving CRISPR/Cas system) in the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes, in 2011. Shortly afterwards she started a collaboration with biochemist Professor Doudna, and the pair succeeded in manipulating the naturally occurring CRISPR/Cas complex to make precise targeted DNA edits.

    CRISPR/Cas9 is faster and less expensive than previous approaches to precise genome editing, meaning it quickly became invaluable to researchers across a plethora of disciplines and has contributed to major discoveries in many research areas.

    Some resulting work has raised ethical concerns, notably after Chinese scientist, Dr He Jiankui, created the world’s first genome-edited babies (see BioNews 997). The experiment caused an outcry within the scientific community, raising concerns ranging from the level of consent gained to the unknown long-term effects of genome editing.

    Sarah Norcross, director of the Progress Educational Trust (the charity which publishes BioNews) said that the Professors Doudna and Charpentier had ‘devised an unprecedentedly powerful and precise means of changing DNA sequences in living cells.’ She added: ‘there is still vast potential for CRISPR to bring further benefit to humanity, provided that it is used in a diligent and well-regulated way….

    • Nehemiah says:

      Yes, and this would help in the case of genes of major effect, which usually are genes that cause disease or other serious dysfunction. However, complex traits such as intelligence, personality, etc., even height and weight, are extremely polygenic, involving no known genes of large effect but thousands of genes of very small effect. The human genome has a bit over 20,000 protein coding genes, with most probably having multiple small effects, and according to one study the average human gene had 14 alleles (variants). So we need to figure out the multiple effects of each of 280,000 or thereabouts alleles. For a complex trait such as intelligence you will then have to edit thousands of alleles. Recently, my curiosity was sufficiently piqued that I googled this and I found a site that said the cost per edited gene has come down to “only” about $75 per gene and a “few hours” of editing time. Multiply that by several thousand genes if you want to have more than a very minor effect on a complex trait, and I doubt that we are going to be genetically engineering a race of supermen any time soon.

      • Dennis L. says:


        A thousand genes is $75K, doable for a millionaire and one offspring, easy for a billionaire and 10 offspring. What is giving your child the edge worth? Give him/her an IQ of say 160 and entrance to MIT is say 100% and tuition say 0. Probably a pretty good investment. For a talented person who is willing to work it is hard to lose.

        Chinese IQ is about 13 points greater than whites which is about 14 or so points greater than others(fill in the blank). It follows income closely, and if one throws in Ashkenazy Jews, well, look at history of Nobel prizes, or more prosaic, the atomic bomb work, boom!

        Found an interesting site on Ashkenazi Jews, they can trace their ancestors to about 300 people if the internet is correct, and is it ever wrong?

        Interesting source of funding, NIH, hmmm.

        Dennis L.

        • hkeithhenson says:

          “Chinese IQ is about 13 points greater than whites”

          I wonder if you have a source? 13 IQ points is almost a SD (15 points). I have read fairly recently that the difference is half a SD which would be 7-8 points. The difference is still significant when considering the size of the Chinese population.

        • Oh dear says:

          ‘White’ countries have varied average IQs.

          The ‘Flynn effect’, whereby IQs increase along with economic development and education, seems to be spent in UK but that does not mean that it is spent everywhere. Many countries are just now experiencing the development that some of Europe enjoyed in 20c. and it seems likely that their IQs will increase, as they did in some European countries.

          Notably, the English always used to talk down the Irish as less intelligent, as imperialist and colonialist propaganda. But Irish in UK now earn a full 40% more on average than the ethnic English. Ethnic minorities as a whole earn more than the English in the under-30s and nearly all ethnic groups do better than the English in UK schools. So the old studies about national and ethnic IQs are unlikely to stand up.

          Much of China is still less developed than some of Europe, so they seem to have a higher IQ starting point than Europe and their IQ is likely to increase further through the Flynn effect.

        • Kowalainen says:

          Haha, yeah, engineer “your” kid to have none of your DNA. Why not just do that on an industrial scale skipping the sleaze?

          Or perhaps just pick the genes of your “looks”, so that, you know, it “feels” like your offspring.

          • Oh dear says:

            K, the ‘sneer’ seems to be your ‘herd call’, not sure that you really interest me though. Maybe there is a chav bar somewhere?

          • it is an unfortunate aspect of human nature, that there is a tendency for a bimbo to be found as arm candy with a billionaire

            even if said billionaire is 80 and needs an arm candy bimbo on both sides to hold him up

        • Nehemiah says:

          13 points? In Shanghai, probably, but more generally urban Chinese appear to have an IQ about 3 to 6 points higher than the “Greenwich Mean” IQ. Japan’s IQ has been reported as 107, but there is a small, rural province in far northwestern Japan that has an IQ 7 points above the Japanese national average. Japanese IQ declines along a north-south gradient, more evidence for the “cold winters” theory. Although for different reasons, American Ashkenazi and Episcopalians both seem to have an IQ of 109. Israeli Ashkenazim also have a high IQ, but it drops to 97 for their Sephardi (Ladino/Spanish Jews) population, and to Arab levels among the Mizrahi Jews who are native to the Middle East. European IQ of about 100, the highest in Europe, is found in or bordering the regions that long lived under manorial feudalism in the Middle Ages, and these peoples and their diasporas have produced by far most of the innovations of the Modern Age.

          The Flynn Effect has topped out in a number of advanced countries (hard to say just how many because not all seem interested in keeping track of the changes), and I am sure the Flynn Effect still has a ways to run in many parts of the world. However, the Flynn Effect does not load on the general factor, which rises very little in response to environmental interventions unless one lives in an unusually deprived environment. Or one might say the general factor responds so well to even modest environmental stimulation that additional stimulation does not have much effect. More narrow, specialized abilities appear to respond more to training, or require more training to fully bring out.

          I doubt that tweaking a mere thousand genes would give many people an IQ of 160. About 80% of genes are believed to be expressed in the brain. Nearly all that affect intelligence have a very weak effect. None seem to have a strong effect. Some genes that raise intelligence appear to have adverse health effects. Once these genes are finally and fully deciphered (and God knows how long that will be), MAYBE a few millionaires (and I think we will have far fewer of them when the FF age begins to fall apart) will engineer some very smart children if the State does not effectively forbid it, and more power to those millionaires if they can swing it, but these drops in the bucket of humanity are not likely to have a measurable effect on the genetic trajectory of the human race. They would, however, be an asset to humanity. I worry far more about having a too dumb ruling class than a too smart one.

          But keep in mind the time factor too. A “few hours” per gene! Let’s say few equals three. To edit a mere thousand genes would require 3000 man hours, maybe more. If one skilled lab technician (and is the cost of the technician’s time even included in that $75 per gene cost?) worked on the project 40 hours a week, it would require a year and a half to edit 1000 genes of one child. If you edited 5000 genes, it would require 7 years per child. This is basically surgery, so I don’t see it being replaced by mass production. And I wonder whether the technology will long survive the pricking of Hubbert’s Pimple.

          • Oh dear says:

            Likely it would be much simpler to simply clone high IQ persons. The entire genome would thus be replicated, bypassing any real urgency of understanding its complex interactions. We have cloned loads of animals, humans are just another one.

            • Oh dear says:

              …. CCP all look the same anyway.


            • Nehemiah says:

              Cloning animals: you can just cull the ones that don’t work out. Also, not all animals are equally easy to clone. For some reason, primates are especially difficult.

      • Oh dear says:

        Prices in all technologies are dropping all the time, and our knowledge of the human genome is expanding exponentially. CRISPR/Cas allows for cheap simultaneous editing of multiple genes, hence its importance. Hundreds of genes involved in intelligence have long been identified. CCP has gathered 10s of thousands of complete genome sequences from the highest IQ persons from all over the world. CCP has many thousands of scientists working on gene editing every day. Sorry to disappoint you but it is only a short matter of time now. Even if the West is held back, CCP will certainly press ahead. The benefits for social and economic development are irresistible.

        • Ed says:

          Oh dear, I had forgotten about that project after the lead person bailed for making money in the private sector. I applied to be one of their sample but they do not seem to consider me “highest IQ”, oh well.

          • Oh dear says:

            lol I would not worry, I expect many people got the ‘yea no, it is alright’ letter. They wanted IQs over 160, which only 1 in 30,000 have. Nobels have an average of 150.

            • Christopher says:

              “Nobels have an average of 150.”

              Interesting, do you have a soure for this statement?

              I would have guessed a much lower value. Iq matters, of course. But much (even very much) less so than luck, being the right person in the right time, at the right place, meeting the right people and so on. Conscientiousness (=Industriousness/orderliness) is also of great importance, but a bit less than IQ.

              Even Einstein, the very symbol of high IQ, seems to have had a great deal of luck. Other great(er) intellects had already paved his way. The great mind of Gauss had already 100 years before Einstein thought about non-Euclidean geometry. He tried to prove the curvature of space when developing land surveying techniques. Of course, he could not prove this with the measuring devices available at his time. Following Gauss, Riemann formulated the mathematical language necessary to general relativity.

              Moreover, Einstein had the great luck of befriending David Hilbert, one of the greatest mathematicians of that day. Many people were hunting the equations of general realtivity, Einstein was far from alone. Einstein had been stuck for quite a while, some other like Gunnar Nordström seemed to be closer to the solution. Hilbert would change this.

              In fact, Hilbert was the first person to express the field equtions of general relativity, likely the most impressive equations of physics. Hilbert never seemed to be interested in exploring the physical consequences of these equations. He left this to Einstein.

              It’s easy to ascibe a to high IQ number to succesful people. We always want an explanation for their success. Luck is not a very satisfying explanation but in the end probably the most important one.

        • Nehemiah says:

          I am aware of the CCP’s neo-eugenics program. I do not know how well it is currently supported under Xi Jinping. Politicians are fickle. Regimes and ideologies come and go. A few years ago, a Chinese scientist helped an HIV positive woman to have a healthy child by editing the embryo for a well publicized anti-smallpox gene that also has the advantage of not allowing HIV to infiltrate the body. (It’s not a perfect advantage, there are tradeoffs, including higher susceptibility to West Nile virus.) Xi was not pleased. I think the scientist ended up in prison.

      • Ed says:

        Nehemiah, editing 20,000 gene at $75 each is only 1.5 million. Bill Gates and the CCP and several other oligarchs and governments can easily afford this.

        • Oh dear says:

          Likely China does not a mass of workers with 160 IQ, just enough intellectuals. Average workers may in fact be more content with their lot if they have a lower IQ. It could even be ‘cruel’ to boost theirs.

          • Ed says:

            In the World State, society is structure by a caste system first with Alphas at the top followed by Beta, Gamma, Delta, and the lowest Epsilon.


            To each DNA according to their use.

            • Ed says:

              serf farm hand, serf soldier, serf worker
              skilled mason, skilled smith, skilled scout
              loyal guard, loyal sheriff, loyal jailer
              smart and loyal manager, smart and loyal tax collector
              very smart and free ruler

              We have been worrying about how hard farm labor is but we can grow labor that is happy working themselves to death at age 35.

            • Oh dear says:

              Stratification is just like normal in any society, also in capitalism. It is just like the division of labour that allows societies to function, probably since hunter-gathering.

              Ideologically there is some resentment about that reality, I try to not take resentment too seriously. Capitalism has an element of fluidity to the work roles, which likely encourages an ideological ambivalence about inequalities. Fake bourgeois ‘democracy’ has the same effect.

              It is easy for Westerners to ‘moral posture’ about it, as if they are somehow ‘better’ than reality. Religions tend to do a similar thing. Any excellence is resented, ridiculed, somehow ‘wrong’.

              It is probably just the ‘herd’ asserting itself as usual in a contemporary manner – the ‘sneer’ as the ‘herd’ ‘call’.

          • Nehemiah says:

            Whether or not it would be “cruel” to raise the intelligence of average workers, if there were a contest or rivalry between two nations, one with a mediocre population led by geniuses, and the other with a general population of well above average intellect and leaders only somewhat smarter than those they ruled, I would bet my money on the latter society to come out on top, other things being equal. If some or even many people find themselves stuck with jobs that are well beneath their talents, they can always get hobbies. That is not the sort of “tragedy” that is going to break my heart.

            Oh dear also wrote: “hundreds of genes involved in intelligence have already been identified.” — More accurately, “associated with.” How many of these associated genes actually affect intelligence, versus tending to be inherited with genes for intelligence simply because they are located nearby, is still an open question. I fully expect additional progress to be made in this area, but I don’t expect it to change the world–or to save the CCP from the vagaries of history.

            • Oh dear says:

              Time will tell, and then we will find out.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Just because a person is intelligent does not imply indistriousness and intuition.

              I can read 1000’s of books with regard to driving F1 racing cars, now will that make me a great driver. Of course not.

              Gaia would not care less which of the genes are important for leading a paradigm shift in society. In fact, IC kicked off in the UK, even though East Asians have a higher IQ.

              As I have stated, the methamorphosis is now underway, we have to come to the realization that mankind is about to be a loosely connected hive-mind. Perhaps the superhuman AI will not even be a Machine at all.

              Isn’t that Internet connected ‘collective subconcious’ tickling your soul and spirit as well? 😊

          • Kowalainen says:

            Thinking that a person with 160 in IQ will be your errand boy is simply ridicilous. You’d only find yourself being hated and obstructed along the way. The only one who can rule a 160 IQ person is the one with 170 in IQ.

            The only thing that matters is not to contain intelligence, neither human nor machine. Mundane human affairs is boring enough. Smart asses need their daily dose of black pills and new ideas.

            In order to have a 160 IQ person function reasonably within specs requires bread and circuses. Yes, mr Xi, tear down that firewall.

    • Oh dear says:

      Massive funding all over the world is now going into gene editing.

      > Gene Editing Market 2020 By Regional Trend & Growth Forecast To 2026

      According to GMI, the gene editing market might touch USD 10 billion by the year 2026. Numerous biotech companies have expanded their R&D budgets to improve the availability of new-age gene editing techniques at affordable prices. Proliferating growth of the biotechnology sector across developed nations could offer multiple opportunities for enterprises conducting gene editing practices.

      Tools like CRISPR-Cas9 are widely used by researchers given to its efficiency and simplicity in gene slicing. Increasing emergence of technologies like Crispr gene editing could enhance the adoption of gene editing in newer markets.

      The gene editing market is poised to witness lucrative revenue growth on account of increasing federal as well as private investment targeted towards developing genetic therapies. Gene editing helps in eliminating inherited disease, protecting endangered species, and even aids in resurrecting extinct species. Increasing R&D expenditure by biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical companies along with research institutes could massively benefit the industry outlook….

    • Oh dear says:

      This is very good news, millions of patients may soon get the organ transplants that they have been waiting for.

      > Gene-edited pigs expected to provide organs for human transplants

      An international team led by Chinese researchers has used gene-editing technology to produce “Pig 3.0” prototypes, a leap forward for life-saving organ transplants from animals to humans.

      In a recent paper published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, researchers from China and the United States reported the successful production of pigs whose organs are more compatible with the human immune system and are free of active porcine endogenous retrovirus.

      Globally, there is a huge gap between the number of people who need organ transplants and the number of organs available, said Yang Luhan, a corresponding author of the research as well as co-founder and chief executive officer of Qihan Biotech.

      It has long been hoped that the challenge could be alleviated through animal organ transplants — a concept known as xenotransplantation.

      The Pig 3.0 immunological and blood-coagulation compatibility with the human immune system was enhanced and PERV was eradicated. Engineered pigs also exhibit normal physiology and fertility.

      James F. Markmann, chief of the Division of Transplant Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and a co-author of the study, said that Pig 3.0 demonstrates critical progress toward a truly transformational option for millions of patients….

      • Dennis L. says:

        Engineer out the problem from the beginning, too damn expensive.

        Dennis L.

      • Ed says:

        Pig 3.0 is a joint effort with George Church and his team in the US.

      • Nehemiah says:

        Growing human organs in animals for transplant, or for any reason, makes me nervous. Too much risk of an animal pathogen jumping the species barrier. Like we need more of that problem!

  32. Dennis L. says:

    Real estate in midwestern city approximate population 110,000.

    House down the street sold in 6 days, up 100% since last sale in 1990 per Zillow. Simple interest of 3.3% and that is after tax interest in effect, so 6% pre tax everything in for median income earners.

    Pretty hard to save fast enough in after tax money to purchase a home, better off planning on living somewhere, bite the bullet and buy, sure it will go down, but for how long? As long as one does not sell, the real cost to the owner are the payments which will go up due to RE taxes, local governments love that part.

    The biggest issue I have personally heard of is people using their home as a piggy bank, second mortgages for the 50K+ pickup in the drive. Use the second for the down payment, don’t be stupid, don’t assume a raise tomorrow, increased value to cover payments, etc. Banks love stupid.

    Dennis L.

    • Part of the run-up in home prices is related to the drop in interest rates. At lower interest rates, people can afford more expensive homes, because the monthly payment is lower. The average 30 year mortgage interest rate in 1990 according to one reference was 10.13%.

      Today, the average interest rate according to one site is 2.961%.

      I have a hard time believing that mortgage interest rates can keep going lower, but if the government is giving away money, I suppose they can.

      The question, is, “Can you ever sell the house, buy cheaper property elsewhere, and use the difference to buy other things? Of course, you would have to pay capital gains tax, which would discourage many people from doing this. But as a practical matter, all the other houses will have gone up in price as well.

      The problem we are running into now is that young people cannot afford all of these absurdly high-priced homes, especially if they also have student loans and car loans. If families start moving in together (parents and adult children), we will have more homes than are needed. A person would think home prices would drop.

      • Nehemiah says:

        Rates are highly manipulated (by the Fed in the US), so they can absolutely go lower. Competition with “risk free” government bonds causes prices for all bonds across the risk spectrum to be bid down. Several national governments are selling bonds with negative yields–the holders actually pay the government for the “privilege” of lending it money.

        However, low rate targeting by central banks is not a guarantee against housing price declines. A lot should depend on whether we are headed for an economic recovery next year (the fabled V shaped recovery) or a deeper, synchronized global recession. I think the latter is more likely, and I think that will become more clear when we get the econ data for either the fourth quarter, or perhaps for the first quarter next year.

        • Dennis L. says:


          In the end one still needs a roof, mortgage rates are fixed for 30 years, bad bet they will be low over that 30 years, good bed house will be worth more.

          There are no sure things.

          Dennis L.

          • Nehemiah says:

            @Dennis, my argument was not that rates are moving higher any time soon, but that house prices can decline even if rates remain low, as in the Great Depression for example. Housing is in an asset bubble, just like tech stocks. All bubbles burst eventually.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Not sure if understand correctly, but there is no federal capital gains taxes on sale of a house, not sure about 1031 and a exchange for a new house of very high value, house needs to be owned for two years. Purchase a duplex and it was possible to rent one side, live in one side, depreciate, not rent it for the last I think two years, pay no recapture of depreciation. It’s the law as a certain US individual has pointed out.

        “A person would think home prices would drop.” I would agree, but the longer one rents, the less equity gained. Take rent, factor out expenses for ownership and the equity over a few years would cover any reasonable losses, do a probability on gain and expected value is most likely positive. Gail, that idea has been around for a long time, over ten years even purchasing a the top it tends to be a losing game, and in the mean time one has rental costs.

        Dennis L.

      • Erdles says:

        UK houses don’t attract capital gains tax which is one reason why average prices have risen 400% since 1990.

  33. Dennis L. says:

    Covid and blood type A.

    My annual physical was yesterday, inquired what percent of Mayo Covid cases are blood type A, blood type is not collected, which appears to mean unknown. I do not speak for Mayo so this is best idea.

    We really don’t know the factors which influence this disease, much of it seems to be a guess. Medicare/Medicaid would probably have some of the best overall data, the government could search Red Cross blood doers and come up with a good guess fairly easily.

    When I ran the large public health dental clinic from the get go we were databased, we could do this type of analysis rather easily regarding oral health. With regards to oral health, at one point I thought the dental community/dental schools, etc. would welcome this data and conclusions. That was naïve, underlying capital investments in dental care might be affected, it would not work politically. Lesson: there is a great deal of money in data – reality proven.

    Dennis L.

    • Countries with a government operated healthcare system generally have much better information than we in the US have. Everyone in the country has to report the same information, coded in the same way. (Of course, the countries are a lot smaller than the US.)

      I would think that Kaiser Permanente has pretty good data on its members, but I am not sure that they record blood type either. I know that I have never had a blood transfusion, so there is not necessarily a reason that they would have gathered this information. I have given blood quite a few times, but through the Red Cross.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Your understanding at Kaiser is the same as at Mayo, I was advised doing the test at Mayo would be expensive, non covered, no price quote, no transparency. Here if Trump can do it, get medical facilities to post their prices and then live by them.

        I was advised to give blood which I have not done in a while, get blood type that way. Literally getting a blood type paid in blood.

        Coding is not an issue, there are dx codes and treatment codes. Some years back results of heart surgeons in Milwaukee were reported holding initial dx constant, the big names did not have the best results, that practice sort of disappeared. Basically, rating doctors is not that hard, sort them by outcome based on initial dx. Politically, that one would be a challenge.

        In dentistry at the end I knew my results of treatment, costs for the state/encounter went down, oral health up on metrics measured, not a very desirable financial outcome for dentistry. We tend to point fingers, everyone has to make a living, do this consistently and the best dentists will make the most money, have the most money, Amazon effect. The difference in productivity among dentists is considerable, a guess with be Prateo again, winner take all. Ultimately, it all comes back to money and not in a idealistic way, we are seeing this in many areas of society, solutions are not obvious, anxiety amongst the bottom 80% is considerable.

        Dennis L.

        • Lidia17 says:

          Well, right. Is “productivity” measured in the number of patients with improved oral health, or the amount billed per patient?

          I knew a dental hygienist in Boston who had worked around quite a bit and told me that there were only three dentists in the whole city that she would trust. She told me the others would do quick and sloppy work and then, if the patient had to return for further resolution, the understanding was to be that “that was always a problem tooth”… and what patient is the wiser? They have no way of seeing or evaluating what the dentist is actually doing.

          • Dennis L. says:


            I answered that question, we did both. I was at the top of my class, etc., average doesn’t hack it, have to do it other ways.

            Many here are very brilliant, I listen and take notes, maybe how they say “Good Morning” will be instructive.

            Dennis L.

        • Nehemiah says:

          Forcing transparent pricing will literally require an act of Congress, just like when they forced transparent pricing on the auto repair industry many years ago, and the industry fought that tooth and nail, said it was unworkable, etc., now it is routine. There is a surgery center in Oklahoma that advertises all it prices up front, but the industry as a whole refuses. If the voters want change, then many voters will have to fire their congressmen and senators.

    • Nehemiah says:

      I am type A too (A neg). There was some early data indicating that type A’s were at higher risk, and it is not at all uncommon for varying blood types to have varying susceptibilities to various ailments, but from what I have read more recently, any link between type A and covid is too weak to be certain of. Being male is still an enhanced risk, although the added risk can be eliminated surgically. However, I would prefer to take my chances!

      • Dennis L. says:

        Very funny, but if you believe, you can be what you wish!

        Dennis L.

      • Robert Firth says:

        Nehemiah, sadly, you have the highest possible risk factor for covid: you are alive. I wish you the best of luck with your chances; your contributions here would be missed.

      • Kowalainen says:

        There is exactly zero surgical procedure that can remove the Y.

        The b@ll5, though, can be removed. But that won’t change the fact you are a man.

        • Robert Firth says:

          Exactly. XX you are a girl; XY you are a boy. That is a brute fact of biology; it is encoded in every cell of your body, and it is immutable. Natura locuta, causa finita.

        • Nehemiah says:

          @kowaleinen, The increased covid risk from being a man is believed to be due to the additional ACE2 receptors in the testes, not from having a Y chromosome per se.

  34. Nehemiah says:

    In India, whose medical system I presume is not up to US standards, although I wouldn’t really know:
    “Case-fatality ratios spanned 0.05% at ages 5-17 years to 16.6% at ages ≥85 years.”

  35. Nehemiah says:


    Emmanuel Macron [of France] reacted furiously to Boris Johnson’s claims that trade talks are “over” between the UK and EU. Mr Macron has played hardball in the talks on fisheries, insisting on Thursday that French fishermen would “not be sacrificed” for the sake of a deal. However, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal then French fishermen could faced being banned from British waters.

    In response, the French President has signalled the EU would launch a devastating energy embargo against the UK unless Boris Johnson gives in on fisheries.

    Following the EU summit in Brussels on Friday, Mr Macron told French radio that if the UK does not allow French fishermen in its waters, the EU would have to block the UK’s energy supplies to the European market.

    As Rafe Champion points out – energy sales are worth more than fish:
    The UK wants to get back its fishing rights as part of a Brexit deal. The French aren’t too happy about that, but since the UK is heavily dependent on French interconnectors Macron can and is holding the UK electricity grid hostage.

    Green Energy puts the UK in a much weaker negotiation position.

    The French interconnectors under the Channel are needed both to import reliable nuclear power and to sell off the excess fluffy green kind of unreliable electricity that UK wind power makes at random times. The “value” of energy sales is more than the value of the fisheries (at least in hard currency). But UK imports are larger than the exports, and the UK electricity grid is so fragile it fell over last year leaving people stuck in underground trains for hours, and cutting off a million customers in an instant. The biggest weakness of all is probably the reliance on a foreign power to just keep the lights on. The cost of unplanned blackouts would trump everything else. And could the French “Break” the UK grid with plausible deniability and some inconvenient outage? Sorry but the interconnector had a fault?

    • Ed says:

      When someone threatens US energy supply the US invades. How much of France would the UK have to hold to protect its energy supply?

      • All of Belgium, Picardy and Normandy.

      • Robert Firth says:

        None: the UK already has a reliable supplier in Norway, which would ignore any EU interference. But a blockade of the channel ports would cripple France, if only Boris had the guts to do it. As for the French fishing boats, cut their nets and wave them goodbye. If they resort to force, sink them.

        • Minority Of One says:

          >>the UK already has a reliable supplier in Norway

          I am not familiar with this. Can you provide some details?

          • Slow Paul says:


            Here is a very good description of Norwegian petroleum exports. If you scroll down a bit you can find details on the amount the UK receives. I’m not sure what gas consumption is in the UK but I bet it is not too far from the Norwegian export number. Norway basically don’t use gas herself. I can imagine Norway can supply UK with a good amount of oil and gas for atleast another decade, maybe longer if demand keeps falling.

            • Nehemiah says:

              I don’t think the UK has any oil burning power plants. Natural gas, since there is no pipeline through the North Sea, has to be compressed, shipped, then decompressed. Even if the Norway and the UK have the plants to do this, it is probably not on a big enough scale, and also I don’t know whether the UK has enough spare capacity in their gas fired plants to increase their electrical production this way even if they can get enough gas.

            • If demand is low, then Norway may quit producing oil and gas.

              But the issue with France is electricity, I believe. That is a separate issue from the oil and gas.

            • Slow Paul says:

              Nehemiah, check the following link for a map of the oil and gas pipelines through the North Sea.

              There is one gas pipeline going to St.Fergus in Scotland and one going to Easington in England.

            • Minority Of One says:

              From the International Petroleum Encyclopaedia 2006 (only year I bought this annual publication), ‘Norway’, p129:
              “Ormen Lange development
              This giant deepwater gas and condensate field, discovered in 1997, will have no installations visible above the water. First production is scheduled for 2007. Much of Ormen Lange’s gas will be exported to the UK via the 1200 km Langeled pipeline system. The planned gas export volume is about 20% of Norway’s gas exports and 20-25% of UK gas demand [in 2006].
              … After condensate removal [at Nyhamna on mainland Norway], the gas will be shipped on the Langeled system’s northern leg, a 660 km, 42 inch pipeline to the Sleipner riser platform [in the middle of the North Sea], and then exported via the southern leg, a 450 km, 44 inch pipeline to Easington [close to Hull], UK”

              There is a map showing the location of the gas field and the pipelines, indicating clearly a direct gas pipeline from Norway to the UK, via the North Sea.

            • I found this Shell sheet that says something similar:

              The Ormen Lange deep-water project off the coast of Norway produces natural gas from deep beneath the Norwegian Sea and pipes it onshore to the processing plant at Nyhamna. The plant supplies approximately 20% of the UK’s gas. In recent years produced gas from Ormen Lange has equaled up to 20% of the UK’s total gas consumption.

              There is probably somewhere a listing of amounts pumped each year. These wells don’t last indefinitely.

              There is also an expansion planned for 2018 to 2020.

              Start-up of Nyhamna expansion to increase Ormen Lange production

              The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) has granted consent for start-up of the expansion of the gas plant at Nyhamna in Møre og Romsdal County. This will allow the Ormen Lange field in the Norwegian Sea to increase production by 25-30 Bscm (Sm3) of gas.

              The upgrade – also called Nyhamna expansion – consists of two main parts. The first, expansion of the gas plant, includes land-based compression of gas from Ormen Lange. A new compressor will maintain gas pressure at Nyhamna as pressure in the reservoir drops.

              The other part includes export and process facilities for Polarled. This pipeline will transport gas from the future Aasta Hansteen field to Nyhamna.

              Polarled compression and export are scheduled to start in the autumn of 2018. Gas from the Dvalin field – with planned start-up in the autumn of 2020 – will also be transported through Polarled.

              The expansion will increase Nyhamna’s export capacity from 70 to 84 MMscmd. The gas will be exported via the Sleipner A platform in the North Sea to the Easington gas terminal in northeast England.

    • I found this chart of electricity imports by Great Britain in 2019. It imports quite a bit from France.

      • Nehemiah says:

        @Slow Paul, Okay, they have gas pipelines, that’s good, but how much spare capacity do their gas fired power plants have? Can they replace what they normally buy from France?

        • Slow Paul says:

          Sorry, I was thinking of energy supply in general terms and not electricity. From looking at some norwegian news articles, it seems like a cable between Norway and England (Blyth) is under construction, and there are plans to make another one to Peterhead in Scotland. I doubt this will be as impactful since Norway has a lot less surplus hydro energy compared to petroleum.

  36. Malcopian says:

    I wonder if anybody here subscribes to New Scientist and can give a brief summary of their findings in this article:

    “Ball lightning is so strange it might just come from another dimension. Mysterious floating orbs of light have puzzled scientists for centuries, inspiring no end of creative explanations. A new idea suggests they aren’t entirely of this world”

    I’m unable to see the full article myself.

    I can recommend the following books: “Earth Lights Revelation: UFOs and Mystery Lightform Phenomena – The Earth’s Secret Energy” by Paul Devereux, and “Lightquest: Your Guide to Seeing and Interacting With UFOs, Mystery Lights and Plasma Intelligences” by Andrew Collins.

    • Nehemiah says:

      Not a subscriber, but I did find this staid scientific paper:

      These characteristics are suggestive of a modification of our familiar overt space,
      which we can think of as a different but parallel covert space. The transition from
      the overt space to the covert space may be an on off proposition or a matter of

      These thoughts suggest the following hypothesis:
      A ball/lightning is a port connecting our overt space to a covert space with similar but not identical properties.

      Keep in mind when you read sensational conjectures that the simplest explanation is usually the best.

      • JesseJames says:

        Nikola Tesla is said to have greeted visitors on numerous occasions by holding a ball of lightning in his palm.

      • Robert Firth says:

        Ball lightning has two features: a strong electromagnetic field, and light. Michael Faraday proved many decades ago that an electromagnetic field could refract light; could a strong enough field enclose light? Obviously not, because the ball would then be invisible. But could it confine the light long enough to make it bleed out more slowly? The math says yes, and that’s enough for me.

      • Malcopian says:

        Thank you, Nehemiah. ‘A parallel covert space’. Really that just adds mystery to the mystery.

    • Nehemiah says:

      All I did was paste the link after a teaser quote, I had no idea the whole PDF was going to attach itself to my reply!

      • That is the way it seems to work now, for some strange reason, for everyone, at least in WordPress comments.

      • I think I know the secret. If you put the link to the PDF on a separate line, it shows the whole thing. If you just begin the name of the PDF on a line with other writing (without a carriage return), then you just get a link.

        This same thing works with photos and other images.

    • Nehemiah says:

      I don’t know, but the previous “world’s biggest battery” in South Australia was reported to be 100MW and cost $90 million dollars (since the article mentioned at the prevailing “exchange rate,” I guess this was US dollars and not Aussie dollars). It was built by Elon Musk/Tesla. So this one will be bigger.

      • Tom Murphy’s posts are great! I met him once in person, too. He seems to still be at the University of California, San Diego, now as a Full Professor in the physics department.

        The post you link to puts forth the idea that one way of looking at the storage needs is to figure out what three days of storage for US energy, using lead acid batteries, would take in terms of (a) cost and lead and (b) quantity of lead. Lead was chosen because it is cheap and abundant, compared to other battery storage approaches.

        He calculates that the quantity of lead required (to use lead acid batteries for US energy storage alone) would be more than the amount of lead that seems to exist in the whole world, by a factor of at least three. The cost would be more than one year’s GDP for the US. And the battery wouldn’t last very long, so that recycling would have to be done every 5 years.

        I would argue that this estimate is very much on the low side. Three days storage is not nearly enough. Energy is needed to a significant extent in winter for heating, which is precisely when solar electricity is less available. Tom Murphy has already reduced the energy needs to take into account the efficiencies that electrification would bring, so that doesn’t help. We likely need months of storage, not three days’ worth.

        • hkeithhenson says:

          I tangled with Tom Murphy 8 years ago.

          Mark Gubrud on 2012-03-22 at 10:22 commented on the back and forth between Tom and me.


          The discussion here follows a familiar template. To begin with, visionaries like Keith Henson have proposed audacious megascale engineering projects incorporating many ingenious and non-obvious ideas.

          Then intelligent scientists like Tom Murphy, who specialize in other areas, apply first-order analysis to some of the more obviously outrageous aspects of these scenarios and easily show that they are wildly unreasonable.

          A chorus chimes in to scoff at the visionaries.

          But the visionaries have done their homework. They are ready, and they hit back with references to papers that have already addressed the obvious criticisms.

          The work of visionary scientists and engineers deserves careful critical scrutiny. Such scrutiny will often reveal elided points, errors, and unwarranted assumptions. But finding those takes time, first to actually read the visionaries’ work, and then to analyze and document the weaknesses. Often, one gets lost in the details or finds that one cannot announce a definite conclusion.

          I tend to agree with Tom’s view — for the immediate future. I do not see how we could undertake such massive and high-risk projects as Keith Henson proposes, even if the costs may be estimated as comparable to those of invading Iraq or having another war with Iran. But I would not be so reflexively dismissive of these proposals on the basis of “math” that is done with insufficient attention to what has actually been proposed.

        • hkeithhenson says:

          “Three days storage is not nearly enough”

          Depends on how long an interruption you need to bridge. Power satellites need as much as an hour, but the outage takes place at times when the rest of the grid has lots of extra power.

          StratoSolar sits at 20 km which is far above the clouds. This makes energy production as consistent as the sun coming up. It happens that the design makes storage easy, you get a 20 km mountain for free gravity storage.

          Then there is the PV to synthetic oil (fuel) that I have been lightly analyzing. That’s been difficult because the technology changes from week to week. News last week was PV that might run up to 66% But if it can be done, this is a way to use existing oil infrastructure to make and transport oil.

  37. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Across the world, and above all in Britain, the Americas and southern Europe, recent research shows that millennials are more dissatisfied with the performance of democracy than previous generations.

    “Moreover, the gap has only worsened with time.”

    • Nehemiah says:

      During the Great Depression, unemployment in the Weimar Republic zoomed up to 25% and, as it did, voters became disillusioned with centrist parties and began to favor authoritarian parties, especially the Communists and the National Socialists, so the current disillusionment with democracy is not comforting.

      We are probably lucky the Nazi’s won the German political contest in the 1930s, because if Germany had gone Communist, Spain would have been next, Communist-lite Mussolini would have fallen in line, France with its strong political and cultural left would have easily succumbed, FDR whose administration included many Communist sympathizers and a few closet Communist Party members (such as White and Wallace) would have been reluctant the oppose the spread, and Britain would have stood truly alone. Thank God for Hitler.

      • houtskool says:

        Thanks N. Good comment.

        A few ants is not a problem. As soon as you discover hundreds of them in your sugar can, panic sets in.

        We used to pour some fuel into their places of birth and set it on fire. With diminishing returns within the ff spectrum, i wonder what will be the choice of destruction this time of year.

      • hkeithhenson says:

        ” the current disillusionment with democracy is not comforting.;”

        It’s even worse. Humans are stuck with evolved psychological mechanisms. One of those is that stressed populations go to war with neighbors. As part of this process, a population (originally bands or tribes) becomes attracted to irrational leaders. While going to war may be good for genes, it’s not for people.

        There is plenty of evidence and theory supports this model. Unfortunately, very few people can grok the model. I somewhat wonder if evolution has left us with psychological mechanisms that inhibit too much insight? You can certainly see that in Patty Hearst’s kidnapping.

    • I wonder whether the presidential polls in the US are contacting young people. Nearly all of them use cell phones and the surveys are only over land lines. Neither party really represents young people.

      • Nehemiah says:

        A Rasmussen poll that gave Biden a 14 point lead recently did not even adjust for something as basic as party affiliation, so over-polling Democrats was not controlled for. Somebody surveyed known small donors to the Trump re-election campaign, and 40% of the Trump *donors* were unwilling to confirm that they planned to vote for Trump. 70% of respondents in one survey said they were afraid to reveal their political preferences in the workplace for fear of being victimized by the “cancel culture.” LBJ’s favorite “poll” was counting the campaign bumper stickers. These days, I would count the campaign yard signs, or look at the numbers who show up at Trump versus Biden campaign rallies.