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What’s important

Mon, Aug 6, 2012

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by Michael Thomas

Those of us who pay attention to the news are assaulted daily by a barrage of information: international conflicts, sport tournaments, religion, gun rights, marriage rights, terrorism, and a plethora of other topics. What topics are truly important? Are not the most relevant topics those which most directly relate to humanity’s continued survival on this planet? If so, what could possibly endanger our survival: are we not the dominant species? Yes, but we, like all other organisms, depend on our environment for our survival: we must eat, drink, breathe, and reproduce. Increased environmental instability leads to an increased rate of permanent mutations, which in turn leads to a genetic instability in the species and either death/extinction or successful mutation.

The most commonly mentioned environmental theme is global warming, which is overly polarized and, due to the complex interactions within the environment, is hard to speak of in concrete terms: it will thus not be further included in this text.

An important, but rarely mentioned, theme is ocean acidification. Our oceans have seen an increase in acidity of over 30% since industrialization and, unless current trends are altered, an increase of 150% acidity by the end of the century is expected, which according to NOAA (National Oceananic and Atmospheric Administration) will result “in a pH that the oceans haven’t experienced for more than 20 million years.” The acidification is due to many factors, but the leading factor is anthropogenic (human produced) atmospheric CO2, which forms carbonic acid with the ocean water. The lower pH prevents shellfish from forming shells and hinders the growth of coral, as well as having negative effects on other marine species. Numerous other problems also affect the oceans, such as pollution from plastics, which poison marine animals that confuse the pieces of plastic for food. The problem is so severe that “in some parts of the North Pacific gyre, plastic bits outweigh plankton by more than six to one in the surface waters.” This, or pH changes, may be related to the 40% decline in phytoplankton in the ocean since 1950 — phytoplankton representing yet another key ecological species, such as bees, that play an important role in ecological balance. The aforementioned endocrine disruptors are often leeched from plastics such as BPA, and play a role in destabilizing marine ecosystems.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned endocrine inhibitors do not have a historical precedent in the same way as abiotic factors do. Endocrine derives from latin: “endo” meaning within and “crine” relating to hormonal regulation. Endocrine disruptors alter the hormonal balance of an organism by binding to certain receptors and either preventing or encouraging the activity of glands (e.g., thyroid) and other internal processes as well as the expression of genes, and often have effects beyond the generation exposed. This can cause reduced fertility as well as structural tissue changes, an increased risk of cancer, motor dysfunction, and immune problems in future generations. The effects of endocrine disruptors are different than the effects of toxic chemicals in that negative effects are not proportional to the dose, meaning that serious damage can be the result of limited contact with an endocrine disruptor. To put this in perspective, Saido and Hideto Sato showed in their American Chemical Society 2009 study that “significant” amounts of BPA, a well known endocrine disruptor used as a hard plastic and epoxy glue, were found at EVERY one of the more than 200 sites in 20 countries surveyed in doses ranging from 0.1 ppm to 50 ppm.

The most commonly mentioned change in the atmosphere is, in line with the global warming theme (the only environmental theme really handled by mass media), atmospheric CO2 levels. Between 100,000 BC and 0 BC, CO2 levels fluctuated between 180 to 300 ppm, with current atmospheric data giving us approx 400 ppm, rising from 280 ppm in 1700. The atmospheric concentration of CO2 is significantly higher than it was prior to industrialization, but its relative concentration in the atmosphere has not increase as drastically as methane (20x stronger than CO2 as a greenhouse gas), which has increased from a global average of 400-800 ppb between 600,000 BC to 1900, and risen to approximately 1800 ppb (more than 100% increase) between 1900 and 2000. In the Arctic Sea, we are seeing even greater changes in methane concentration in a very short period of time. Methane levels diverged from their seemingly constant increase in 2010 and spiked from 1850 ppb to over 2000 (approximately 2100) ppb. Because methane is such a potent greenhouse gas, this could imply that increased methane levels from methane hydrates are having a local warming effect which in turn leads to a further increase in atmospheric methane. If we were to apply this as a linear tendency, it would argue for a concentration of atmospheric methane equivalent to that of the Permian extinction in 2050. Consider as well that over 150,000 “methane seeps” have been found in Alaska and Greenland alone, and that the number of methane sources currently covered by ice almost certainly exceeds this number. This may be connected to the extreme melting we are seeing this year in Greenland. This is particularly alarming because a methane burp may be caused by methane output increasing temperature thereby increasing methane output, and may have been the cause of prior extinction events.

Environmental factors are thus changing at an unprecedented rate. Oftentimes, many of these factors combine. A research article published in Nature and titled “Catastrophic Shifts in Ecosystems” is summed up by author Derrick Jensen in his book Endgame (2006) with the following words: “Conventional scientific thought, it seems, has generally held that ecosystems — natural communities like lakes, oceans, coral reefs, forests, deserts, and so on — respond slowly and steadily to climate change, nutrient pollution, habitat degradation, and the many other environmental impacts of industrial civilization. A new study suggests that instead, stressors like these can cause natural communities to shift almost overnight from apparently stable conditions to very different, diminished conditions. The lead author of the study, Marten Scheffer, an ecologist at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands, said, “Models have predicted this, but only in recent years has enough evidence accumulated to tell us that resilience of many important ecosystems has become undermined to the point that even the slightest disturbance can make them collapse” and quotes a co-author of the study as saying: “We work on the premise that an ounce of pollution equals an ounce of damage. It turns out that assumption is entirely incorrect. Ecosystems may go on for years exposed to pollution or climate changes without showing any change at all and then suddenly they may flip into an entirely different condition, with little warning or none at all.” This information should be worrying, seeing as in many instances we have quite a lot of warning, for instance the loss of one-third of bees in the last several years and the bee per hectare ratio having fallen by 90%. This is serious because bees are necessary for the pollination of most plants –- and therefore their sexual reproduction — and the production of fruit and nuts.

When we ask ourselves what is important, I would hope we list human survival near the top of the list. If we allow global ecological collapse to continue, then we, as high level consumers, will most likely not survive. If this happens then EVERYTHING your parents and your ancestors worked for, everything you have worked for, will mean NOTHING. If there are aliens, then they will laugh at us: we have the knowledge to prevent our own extinction, but still move forward like lemmings towards the cliff. We read information like this, and many still choose to do nothing, or to remain willfully in denial or ignorant. Time is running out and the only question is, are you willing to get your priorities in order?

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If you care about humanity, please share this document and this knowledge. Fact-checking is encouraged, and is the reason the sources are provided next to the statements. The majority of people do not know, many of those who do know do not care. Help expand the numbers of both groups: help humanity survive.

The author of this text is Michael Thomas (e-mail: MikeT1935@gmail.com), an American from Boston, Massachusetts currently living in Germany. He can be reached on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Spike47.

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138 Responses to “What’s important”

  1. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    The most commonly mentioned environmental theme is global warming, which is overly polarized and, due to the complex interactions within the environment, is hard to speak of in concrete terms: it will thus not be further included in this text.

    I’m still reading, but I want to thank you for that. Global Warming all too often becomes the focal point of any discussion of the environment and its degradation/destruction, to the point it supersedes all other critically constructive analysis. It’s becoming a genuflection, if you will.

    .

  2. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    If this happens then EVERYTHING your parents and your ancestors worked for, everything you have worked for, will mean NOTHING.

    They didn’t work for nothing. They worked to further Civilization, which as we all here know, is destroying the environment that gives us and many other species life. They did their part to help bring this about. Sure, we can argue it was unwitting on their part, but I’ll be damned if I’m/we’re going to bear the brunt of guilt for the entirety of this malignancy. They had a hand, and so too, they should posthumously share the guilt.

    .

  3. Capella Says:

    Here’s the bad news: Your tv does not tell you what is important. Your newspaper doesn’t tell it to you either. Even the internet, although it is a rich source for all kinds of information and misinformation, does not tell you what is important.

    But there is good news, too. They don’t have to tell you. Because you already know. You are (I assume) living on this planet. You might feel emotionally disconnected and confused, but you are a living breathing part of what scientists call the “ecosystem” and some of us just call “Mother Earth”. And she is hurting because of what we do and every single one of us knows it, deep inside. That’s why so many of us get either depressed or downright psychotic … because we are acting in a way that destroys every living thing on this planet and therefore destroys ourselves, as individuals as well as as a species.

    Computer models aren’t important. Satellite measurements aren’t important. “Science” is not important. What is important is what you can see and hear and smell feel and taste with your own senses. Step out of your door and take a look around. Breathe the air. What does it tell you? Look at the plants that grow around your house. Do they look healthy? Are they the plants that belong there? Or something we humans have forced upon the place. If there are no plants at all around your house, because you live in a city … can that be healthy? When was the last time you saw a wild animal roaming the area where you live? Are you happy? Are you satisfied with your life?

    We are not meant to live this way. I don’t need scientists or journalists to tell me that. I just need to go outside and look around. It makes me sick, physically sick to the bone. And I know that this sickness is a mirror of the sickness that has befallen our planet, and I feel it, because I am part of it. That’s what’s important. That’s why we need to act, why we have to change our way of life. For our own sakes as well as the planet’s. Because that’s the same thing.

  4. Elaine Says:

    Thank you for the sharing this information as without it some of us would not be living as we are today. Without science it would of taken me longer to notice everything outside my door…sad as that is for me to say.

    And yes,
    “What is important is what you can see and hear and smell feel and taste with your own senses. Step out of your door and take a look around. Breathe the air. What does it tell you? Look at the plants that grow around your house. Do they look healthy?” and…

    “We are not meant to live this way.”

    People come into awareness in different ways and we need all the ways possible to show how disrespectful we’ve been as a species.

  5. Kathy C Says:

    Michael, thank you for your comments. One note however. In the US honeybees are imported from Europe. Things got pollinated just fine before they arrived. Honeybees are important for pollination of monoculture as they can be transported and feed inbetween pollination duties. Native pollinators are quite sufficient. However they have taken hits too from pesticides and from the lack of diverse food sources. A lawn does not support pollinators.

    Pollinators other than honeybees are native bees, native wasps, butterflies and moths and flies. By having a diverse garden with many things blooming at various times you can help support a host of native pollinators. Every year when my garlic chives bloom I see some pollinators I never see at other times but no doubt they are there all along. Some are quite small, some quite exquisite. My maypops serve bumblebees all season. I let several varieties of flowers self seed in the garden each year for the host of pollinators they attract. I seldom see honeybees but have no problem with pollination in my garden.

    So we don’t have to rue the loss of the European Honeybee if we provide an environment for our natural pollinators. http://www.xerces.org/announcing-the-publication-of-attracting-native-pollinators/

  6. Tom Says:

    We’re such a conflicted species. On the one hand we are clever – as in our sciences, which have told us that we’re dealing with our interconnectedness in every way – but we aren’t very wise. Science has been hi-jacked by the military to build a better club. i read somewhere that Einstein supposedly said that if he had known what they were going to do with his discovery, he would have become a shoemaker.

    We’ve never been able to overcome our natural greed, hubris and self-serving procreative nature and grown truly wise. The wages of sin are death, and it seems to be coming true. We’re killing ourselves spiritually, mentally, and physically “living” the way we do.

  7. Yorchichan Says:

    Michael

    A good article right up until the last paragraph. I don’t understand why, given the things humans have done and continue to do to the planet, you think it’s important we survive. Sure, I don’t want to die and I don’t want my family to die, but as a species why do we deserve to live?

    If this happens then EVERYTHING your parents and your ancestors worked for, everything you have worked for, will mean NOTHING.

    To take your logic to its ultimate conclusion, everything we do and our ancestors have done IS for nothing because one day, whether it be 30 years from now due to runaway greenhouse or a billion years from now due to the sun frying the earth, we will go extinct.

    I’m becoming more attached to the idea that the purpose of humanity is to replenish the atmosphere’s depleted stock of CO2 so that life might flourish better in the long run. It certainly beats the creation of plastics as a reason for existence. As a non car owner who hasn’t travelled more than ten miles from my front door in over 6 months and whose monthly combined electricity and gas use is about $16 per month for a family of four I must try harder ;) .

    I don’t think aliens would laugh at humanity’s lemming like behavior. If they were wiser than us then they would understand the inevitability of what is happening but, more likely, they would make exactly the same mistakes as us.

  8. Judy Says:

    KathyC,

    I fully agree about the native bees. I am sharing my garden space with friends this year, and they wanted to take out my sargent crabapples. When those were in bloom, I just stood in awe watching the many varieties of bees that were attracted. Although I’m not completely bee literate, I am interested in attracting native bees, and it seems as if I’ve been successful.

  9. Robin Datta Says:

    Einstein supposedly said that if he had known what they were going to do with his discovery, he would have become a shoemaker.

    Actually, one of his contemporaries was a schumacher, Ernst Friedrich Schumacher of Small is Beautiful fame.

  10. Robin Datta Says:

    A bit more about bees: Bee Basics

  11. Kathy C Says:

    Re Einstein, being the bright man that he is, I am quite sure he actually could see the potential in his work, but couldn’t resist moving forward

    “In 1905, as part of his Special Theory of Relativity, he made the intriguing point that a large amount of energy could be released from a small amount of matter. This was expressed by the equation E=mc2 (energy = mass times the speed of light squared). The atomic bomb would clearly illustrate this principle…Einstein’s greatest role in the invention of the atomic bomb was signing a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt urging that the bomb be built” http://www.doug-long.com/einstein.htm

  12. Kathy C Says:

    Here is the actual letter to Roosevelt http://hypertextbook.com/eworld/einstein.shtml
    Perhaps Einstein forgot he wrote this or perhaps he was covering his guilt at being part of the horror, or perhaps he meant he should have stopped earlier in the very first stages of his work. But by the time he wrote he knew what an atomic bomb would do and was encouraging going ahead with building one before Germany got one.

  13. Kathy C Says:

    By Karl Grossman

    The first Mars rover fueled with plutonium landed on the red planet Monday—and there was much cheerleading by mainstream media but no mention of the huge danger the device, which NASA calls Curiosity, has posed to people and other life on Earth before getting to Mars.

    Indeed, NASA in its Environmental Impact Statement for Curiosity, said that the chances had been but one-in-220 of deadly plutonium being released “overall” on the mission. If the rocket that had lofted it from Florida last year blew up on launch—and one in 100 rockets destruct on launch—that could have sent plutonium 62 miles away, as far as Orlando, said the EIS. If the rocket failed to break out of Earth’s gravity and take Curiosity on to Mars but, instead, fell back into the Earth’s atmosphere and, with Curiosity, disintegrated as it fell, a broad area of the Earth could have been impacted by plutonium.

    Meanwhile, nuclear promoters have been heralding the Curiosity mission saying it points to more use of nuclear power in space. World Nuclear News, the information arm of the World Nuclear Association which seeks to boost the use of atomic energy, last month said:“A new era of space exploration is dawning through the application of nuclear energy for rovers on Mars and the Moon, power generation at future bases on the surfaces of both and soon for rockets that enable interplanetary travel.” The article was headed: “Nuclear ‘a stepping stone’ to space exploration.”

    http://enformable.com/2012/08/plutonium-fueled-curiosity-completes-martian-landing-as-proponents-push-nuclear-technology-in-space/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Enformable+%28Enformable%29

    Meanwhile the article goes on to note various accidents on space launches and with sattelites that have nuclear fuel. It also notes that the first Mars probe used solar and a probe headed to Jupiter is using solar. Thus no need for Plutonium in space. Idiots, criminal idiots.

    Enformable has a daily newsletter of issues of nuclear power.

  14. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Here’s the man behind the men who made the first atomic bomb. His name is Vannevar Bush, and as far as I can tell, is not related to the infamous Bushes, but who knows. Anyhow, an interesting fellow and one of FDR’s most trusted advisers. FDR delegated a great deal of power and authority to his advisors, and Bush was no exception. He accomplished quite a bit during his tenure, and can be described as the Father of the Military Industrial Complex.

    http://www.doug-long.com/bush.htm

    As the war in Europe grew, Bush felt the U.S. needed a much closer collaboration between its military, science, and industry to prepare for war. Using his new Washington connections, he arranged a meeting with President Roosevelt in June 1940. Bush proposed the creation of an organization that would promote and organize military technology research. FDR immediately approved the creation and funding of the National Defense Resource Committee (NDRC), with Vannevar Bush as its chairman (G. Pascal Zachary, Endless Frontier: Vannevar Bush, Engineer of the American Century, pg. 110-112). Soon Bush was FDR’s primary military research advisor.

    Also, of interesting note, he envisioned the World Wide Web many years before it was developed, so one could say it was his brainchild that eventually led to us having this discussion. Here are his comments related to that:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1945/07/as-we-may-think/3881/

    Consider a future device for individual use, which is a sort of mechanized private file and library. It needs a name, and, to coin one at random, “memex” will do. A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory…..

    The owner of the memex, let us say, is interested in the origin and properties of the bow and arrow. Specifically he is studying why the short Turkish bow was apparently superior to the English long bow in the skirmishes of the Crusades. He has dozens of possibly pertinent books and articles in his memex. First he runs through an encyclopedia, finds an interesting but sketchy article, leaves it projected. Next, in a history, he finds another pertinent item, and ties the two together. Thus he goes, building a trail of many items. Occasionally he inserts a comment of his own, either linking it into the main trail or joining it by a side trail to a particular item. When it becomes evident that the elastic properties of available materials had a great deal to do with the bow, he branches off on a side trail which takes him through textbooks on elasticity and tables of physical constants. He inserts a page of longhand analysis of his own. Thus he builds a trail of his interest through the maze of materials available to him.

    And his trails do not fade. Several years later, his talk with a friend turns to the queer ways in which a people resist innovations, even of vital interest. He has an example, in the fact that the outraged Europeans still failed to adopt the Turkish bow. In fact he has a trail on it. A touch brings up the code book. Tapping a few keys projects the head of the trail. A lever runs through it at will, stopping at interesting items, going off on side excursions. It is an interesting trail, pertinent to the discussion. So he sets a reproducer in action, photographs the whole trail out, and passes it to his friend for insertion in his own memex, there to be linked into the more general trail.

    Build it, and they will come. Think it, and it will be built. Just factor in the lag.

    .

  15. Robin Datta Says:

    Just another weather event – nothing to see here, folks: move on!
    Extreme heat wave dooms millions of fish across American Midwest

  16. Kathy C Says:

    Sorry I don’t have a link for this, just the story
    USDA reported 59 percent of the nation’s pastures were in poor or very poor condition in the week ended Aug 5, compared to 57 percent a week ago and 38 percent at this time last year.
    It rated just 16 percent of U.S. pastures in good or very good condition, down from 17 percent a week ago and compared to 39 percent at this time last year.
    Corn
    In its weekly Crop Progress report, USDA increased its estimate of corn fields in poor or very poor condition to 50 percent from 48 percent a week before and just 16 percent this time last year. The agency reduced its estimate of cornfields in good or excellent condition to 23 percent from 24 percent a week ago and 610 percent at this time last year.
    Soybeans
    U.S. soybean fields also continued to show signs of stress. USDA rated 39 percent of the soybean crop in major producing states in poor or very poor condition, up from 37 percent a week ago and compared to just 13 percent at this time last year.
    The agency maintained its estimate of soybean fields in good or excellent condition at 29 percent, compared to 61 percent at this time last year.
    Already 71 percent of the soybean crop has advanced to the critical pod-setting stage, up from 55 percent a week ago. The five-year average for this time of year is 53 percent.

  17. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    It seems to me that at any given time, globally, there is roughly the same amount of water precipitating out of the atmosphere as at any other time. Obviously the temperature of the air and other factors provide variance. But, just curious, since most of the U.S. as well as many other places on the globe are experiencing drought, where is the rain falling? Over the ocean? Anyone know?

  18. Kathy C Says:

    Dr House – storms over the weekend in Austria, Northern Italy (2 killed), floods in Philippines (half of Manila underwater – 9 dead in landslides), NZ (South Canterbury and North Otago), North Korea (88 dead), India (Flash floods in mountainous northern Indian state of Uttarakhand have killed at least 34 people and left hundreds of Hindu pilgrims stranded) -google floods and click on News. Britain had floods too recently. Russia just had flash floods in Krymsk, a mountain town on the edge of the Caucasus mountains of southern Russia that killed 171.

    Also for all manner of disaster see The Extinction Protocol – http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/ he’s got some theory about end times that I don’t even bother with, but he does catch stories about disasters around the world that are linked to the original story.

    As I understand it with more warming, more water gets in the air to create larger floods, but of course drought elsewhere, and not as much normal type precipitation. Someone more knowledgeable than me will perhaps comment on that.

    All that said this drought has been severe for those of us in the South, but we did get 1 inch rain here today in AL!

  19. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    The REAL Dr. House, here’s a link that indicates, not surprisingly, that Climate Change triggered by Anthropogenic Global Warming will SIGNIFICANTLY intensify the velocity and variability of the Water Cycle. It sounds like the changes are be coming so quickly that there will be no discernible patterns and attempting to decipher patterns and forecast weather will be a abject lesson in futility. The Brave New World. Elsewhere I’ve read that one can expect regions that previously were dry and prone to drought to be much drier with more long-lasting and substantial droughts, and regions that were previously wet and prone to flooding to be much wetter with more flooding and more substantial floods, but really how accurate is this educated guess? Much of it is based off of models, and as we’ve seen, the models thus far have grossly underestimated the feedback effects of Global Warming.

    http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2012/04/28/warming-and-the-water-cycle-more-than-just-a-faster-wetter-wet-and-drier-dry/

    An important lesson from these studies is that the global intensification of the water cycle will be modified by a patchwork of regional fluctuations, and perhaps even extreme regional fluctuations. Richard Seager and colleagues, also at LDEO, have found that higher surface ocean temperatures will lead to greater year-to-year variability in the water cycle for much of the world because ocean temperates affect the atmospheric circulation patterns that carry moisture. Although circulation is often driven by known forcing, such as ENSO, future rainfall distributions will be difficult to anticipate. Increasing variability of precipitation may become the most serious consequence of warming over the remainder of this century.

    We know London, at least in recent history, is associated with a cold, wet climate, and this summer has seen just that. They’ve received a great deal of rain, and of course, there was massive flooding in China several months prior.

    In the least, it’s interesting to know how they measure evaporation and precipitation rates. It’s not as obvious as one would think.

    .

  20. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Here’s a lecture by a “distinguished” Hydrologist discussing changes to the Water Cycle precipitated (pun intended) by Anthropogenic Climate Change.

    .

  21. BC Nurse Prof Says:

    On 7 June 2012, the journal Nature published an article titled, “Approaching a State Shift in Earth’s Biosphere”

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7401/full/nature11018.html

    The full text is behind a pay wall. One of the researchers is from Simon Fraser University (SFU) here in B.C.

    An SFU publication ran a story on this article and interviewed the SFU professor of biodiversity, Arne Mooers.

    http://www.sfu.ca/pamr/media-releases/2012/study-predicts-imminent-irreversible-planetary-collapse.html

    I’m not going to pay $34 to read the original article, but here is what SFU says about it:

    ________________________

    Using scientific theories, toy ecosystem modeling and paleontological evidence as a crystal ball, 21 scientists, including one from Simon Fraser University, predict we’re on a much worse collision course with Mother Nature than currently thought.

    In Approaching a State-Shift in Earth’s Biosphere, a paper just published in Nature, the authors, whose expertise spans a multitude of disciplines, suggest our planet’s ecosystems are careering towards an imminent, irreversible collapse.

    Earth’s accelerating loss of biodiversity, its climate’s increasingly extreme fluctuations, its ecosystems’ growing connectedness and its radically changing total energy budget are precursors to reaching a planetary state threshold or tipping point.

    Once that happens, which the authors predict could be reached this century, the planet’s ecosystems, as we know them, could irreversibly collapse in the proverbial blink of an eye.

    “The last tipping point in Earth’s history occurred about 12,000 years ago when the planet went from being in the age of glaciers, which previously lasted 100,000 years, to being in its current interglacial state. Once that tipping point was reached, the most extreme biological changes leading to our current state occurred within only 1,000 years. That’s like going from a baby to an adult state in less than a year,” explains Arne Mooers. “Importantly, the planet is changing even faster now.”

    The SFU professor of biodiversity is one of this paper’s authors. He stresses, “The odds are very high that the next global state change will be extremely disruptive to our civilizations. Remember, we went from being hunter-gatherers to being moon-walkers during one of the most stable and benign periods in all of Earth’s history.

    “Once a threshold-induced planetary state shift occurs, there’s no going back. So, if a system switches to a new state because you’ve added lots of energy, even if you take out the new energy, it won’t revert back to the old system. The planet doesn’t have any memory of the old state.”

    These projections contradict the popularly held belief that the extent to which human-induced pressures, such as climate change, are destroying our planet is still debatable, and any collapse would be both gradual and centuries away.

    This study concludes we better not exceed the 50 per cent mark of wholesale transformation of Earth’s surface or we won’t be able to delay, never mind avert, a planetary collapse.

    We’ve already reached the 43 per cent mark through our conversion of landscapes into agricultural and urban areas, making Earth increasingly susceptible to an environmental epidemic.

    “In a nutshell, humans have not done anything really important to stave off the worst because the social structures for doing something just aren’t there,” says Mooers. “My colleagues who study climate-induced changes through the earth’s history are more than pretty worried. In fact, some are terrified.”

    – Study predicts imminent irreversible planetary collapse –

    Coming from Chile, Canada, Finland, the United Kingdom, Spain and the United States, the authors of this paper initially met at the University of California Berkeley in 2010 to hold a trans-disciplinary brainstorming session.

    They reviewed scores of theoretical and conceptual bodies of work in various biological disciplines in search of new ways to cope with the historically unprecedented changes now occurring on Earth.

    In the process they discovered that:

    Human-generated pressures, known as global-scale forcing mechanisms, are modifying Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and climate so rapidly that they are likely forcing ecosystems and biodiversity to reach a critical threshold of existence in our lifetime.

    “Global-scale forcing mechanisms today “include unprecedented rates and magnitudes of human population growth with attendant resource consumption, habitat transformation and fragmentation, energy production and consumption, and climate change,” says the study.

    Human activity drives today’s global-scale forcing mechanisms more than ever before. As a result, the rate of climate change we are seeing now exceeds the rate that occurred during the extreme planetary state change that tipped Earth from being in a glacial to an interglacial state 12,000 years ago. You have to go back to the end of the cataclysmic falling star, which ended the age of dinosaurs, to find a previous precedent.

    The exponentially increasing extinction of Earth’s current species, dominance of previously rare life forms and occurrence of extreme climate fluctuations parallel critical transitions that coincided with the last major planetary transition.

    When these sorts of perturbations are mirrored in toy ecosystem models, they tip these systems quickly and irreversibly.

    The authors recommend governments undertake five actions immediately if we are to have any hope of delaying or minimizing a planetary-state-shift. Arne Mooers, an SFU biodiversity professor and a co-author of this study, summarizes them as follows.

    “Society globally has to collectively decide that we need to drastically lower our population very quickly. More of us need to move to optimal areas at higher density and let parts of the planet recover. Folks like us have to be forced to be materially poorer, at least in the short term. We also need to invest a lot more in creating technologies to produce and distribute food without eating up more land and wild species. It’s a very tall order.”

    __________________

    These conclusions are consistent with the links Guy has posted here to articles by Malcolm Light. Commenters complained (and rightly so) that Light’s articles were not peer-reviewed. The same cannot be said about this article. This afternoon, I think I’ll walk over to our Library and make a copy of this article and copy it for my students to read. On paper. Paper from trees. Then I’ll go online and start the process for retiring from this university. I’ll be 65 in a couple of months.

    That’s it, kids. It’s over. Some creatures that use DNA (or RNA) may survive to start evolution over again, and I wish them the best, but I’m glad humans will be gone. Too bad we had to take so many other species with us.

  22. Martin Knight Says:

    I take it that many here have already read The Coming Collapse of the Age of Technology (opens as a PDF). In it, David Ehrenfeld discusses the reckless use of plutonium in the Cassini space probe.

  23. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    From Martin’s link:

    Lovelock, originator of the Gaia Hypothesis — about the central role of life in the earth’s self-regulating system that includes atmosphere, climate, land, and oceans — went on to recommend that we “encapsulate the essential information that is the basis of our civilization to preserve it through a dark age.”

    Please no. Horrible idea. This is what the monks in the Dark/Middle Ages did, and Rome rose again. These are the seeds of which I spoke a number of threads back. The seeds that will sprout another Holocaust of death and destruction when they are released from their vaults once again. Let something else, whether it’s human, or not, start anew with a clean slate, not sullied and marred by the planet destroying, soul-sucking poison that is Civilization.

    .

  24. Robin Datta Says:

    Review of already-mentioned article, with copious links to relevant issues:
    Is Humanity Pushing Earth Past a Tipping Point?

  25. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    This Thursday will be the one year anniversary of my father’s death. As I think of him while also reading here, I am reminded of one of his favorite illustrations he used to share from the pulpit (he was a Southern Baptist preacher):

    Prospective member to a pastor: Is this the perfect New Testament church?
    Preacher to the prospective member: If it was, as soon as you joined, it wouldn’t be perfect any longer.

    I understand everyone’s anger over the atrocities that human beings have wrought on this planet and I will be glad when our ability to commit these “sins” is no longer ours. However, I won’t be glad to see the demise of our species.

    When I was a child I was stung by wasps on a couple of different occasions; consequently, I was terrified of them (they still can make me scream like a little girl). I verbalized once to my father that I wished something would wipe them out. He replied that wasps were an integral part of nature and that they were just doing what they needed to do to survive.

    Human beings are as much a part of nature as anything else. It seems likely that we will prove to be an evolutionary dead end. But, that doesn’t make me happy. My father was a good man. There have been countless many other good human beings as well – most forgotten to time. Perhaps I’m being maudlin, but to rejoice in the destruction of our species is to dishonor the memory of my father and all those others who were truly good humans and integral parts of nature. I refuse to say that our species should be wiped out.

    No species is perfect – right or wrong, they just do what they need to do to survive.

    All of the problems the earth faces stem from the fact that humans have entered into population overshoot. That doesn’t make us evil – it just makes us too many.

  26. Robin Datta Says:

    There have been countless many other good human beings as well – most forgotten to time.
    The first of the three features if existence is impermanence. “All composite things are transient”. This applies to groups also. If an alien with no knowledge of humans studied separately an infant and an adult, the connection between infants and adults might not be recognised. We make the connection through a projected sense of continuity, as is presumed in the case of the new member joining the congregation.

    All species, like all members within each species, must go extinct, whether by dying out or by genetic drift from say, Homo erectus through Homo heidelbergensis to Homo sapiens. Indeed the rate of genetic mutation and drift in Homo sapiens has accelerated some 200-fold over the comparable rate for similar primates since about 10,000 years ago, approximately since the beginning of agriculture (and the “domestication” of humans). So even without anthropogeneous climate change and resource depletion plus environmental pollution/degradation, Homo sapiens would seem headed for extinction through genetic drift. (Anthropogenic actually means “producing humans” rather than “produced by humans”).

  27. Yorchichan Says:

    TRDH

    Us humans can never lose our (greater) ability to commit “sins”. Even before we discovered fossil fuels we had deforested large parts of the globe and driven many large animals to extinction (including probably Neanderthals, we brook no rivals).

    I’ve never met any truly good or truly evil people (not to say that they don’t exist), only selfish ones. But I don’t think wishing the extinction of our species dishonours the memory of your father any more than wishing the continuation of our species dishonours the memory of all those species that we have driven to extinction. An act of goodness remains an act of goodness and has value whatever may come after.

  28. Kathy C Says:

    TRDH, I also have known very many good people. OTOH I know that throughout history many innocent children have suffered great harm from our weapons of war and from enslavement for work or sexuality. When I think of how it must be for a child to be sold by its parents to become a sexual slave or worker, castrated to retain a childish soprano, born horribly deformed from DU in Fallujah or radiation in Chernobyl, sold by others to slave for masters all their life and be raped by the master, etc etc etc I wonder if we don’t dishonor their suffering by NOT wishing for the human species to become extinct.

    I was raised Lutheran, and old Martin Luther wrote explanations for the 10 Commandments that included their violation not only by commission but also by omission. While I have tossed off religion, the sins of omission meme still sits in my brain. Many good people in the US still accept the rewards of empire without ever thinking or caring about those harmed in giving them the non-negotiable way of life. I think and care and live simply but my comfortable way of life is obtained on the backs of the poor of the world. My cheap bananas for example.

    All of life, including wasps that sting, are just running their programs. But then isn’t their program to reproduce at the loss of other life. Sure foxes are tearing apart baby rabbits but it is not evil, just doing what they do to feed their young. But how does it feel to the rabbit when those teeth sink in. Perhaps some shock mechanism comes to play, but still pain and fear are programs to stay alive and therefore necessary and necessarily very uncomfortable. So all this being of life beyond plants is based on one creature stilling the chemicals embedded in the bodies of others and based on pushes and pulls, the pushes being joys (good tasting hunger abating food) and pains (the pain of hunger, thirst). Are the goods of life (in humans so inequitably given out) worth the evils? So I have begun to believe that it is best if at the least all species that have central nervous systems become extinct. There is no pain in not being.

    At any rate, before we decide that the good in life outweighs the bad perhaps we should ask a child silver miner in Boliva, a child worker at a Nike plant, a child sex slave worker at the moment of her of his deflowering, a child soldier in Uganda, etc. What right do we who live well in the US have to declaim that goodness of life we have known outweighs their suffering? The human will to live is so strong that they might vote for human life to continue, but we don’t know their views, on the views of a few who managed to escape those horrible conditions. We never hear the views of those who die young never knowing any other condition of life.

  29. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    All of the problems the earth faces stem from the fact that humans have entered into population overshoot.

    I disagree. Population Overshoot, whilst very real, is not the root problem if you are thoroughly radical in your analysis. It’s yet another symptom, or implication of the root. The root is Civilization. Sure, some further define this and say not Civilization, but Industrial Civilization, but that’s splitting hairs, imo. For all practical purposes, they’re one and the same, and even though I try to avoid conflation, in this case I think it’s justified and appropriate. Civilization prior to Industrialization was on a trajectory….a trajectory that gave birth to Industrialization, and hence, it was always in the cards, in one form or another.

    .

  30. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Some excellent and thought-provoking commentary. Kathy C, along the lines of the concept of whether nature is good or evil, or neither, within the past year, my wife an I had the opportunity to watch a truly provocative, and I would say deeply disturbing, movie, but also stunningly and artistically beautiful in its cinematographic method and aesthetic. The movie is Lars von Trier’s Antichrist. Don’t be fooled by the title, it’s not what you think, believe me. For those who aren’t faint of heart, and who are not easily offended, I highly suggest it. I’ve watched it twice, because there is so much, it is so deep, rich and multi-layered, that one viewing is not adequate.

    Here’s a clip:

    An absolute requirement is to drop all ideology and clear your mind and psyche before viewing this movie. Save it for the absorption and ensuing analysis afterwards. Lock your sensibilities away, if that’s possible, for a few hours. Allow it to permeate you. Be a sponge, soak it up, taking care to not be too easily offended. Give it a chance, and understand, always, it’s not one thing or one message, but many things and a myriad of messages, with perhaps no intent at all except to make you deeply think and feel.

    .

  31. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    Yorchichan, good and evil, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder (we had a fairly lengthy discussion about this topic several threads back, I believe).

    As to deforestation and causing the extinction of other species, like it or not, that was just humans being part of nature – and we aren’t alone in those traits, at all. Right now there are grasshoppers swarming through Texas, completely stripping fields and forests. Those grasshoppers are causing the death of many other creatures because of the “devastation” they are wreaking. There are, I’m sure, billions of other examples that could be found through history where the advancement of one species led to the end of another species. As Kathy mentioned, for one creature to exist, it must steal the chemicals in some other creatures body.

  32. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    Kathy C, I understand where you’re coming from and I sympathize with what you say, but I can’t go that far. I know that humans have committed and are committing countless atrocities toward other creatures and toward one another, but I can’t rejoice at our extinction.

    Vaguely, I remember when, as a child, I first put it together that in order for one to live, others must die. I think it occurred to me while I was hunting with my dad. At first I felt bad that we were killing those little animals just so we wouldn’t go hungry, but then when I started learning more about them and I realized that they were eating other lifeforms in order to survive, I began to see the cycle of life. I’ve never enjoyed hunting, but at least I see how it fits into the big picture. (BTW, those who are opposed to hunting for food, but will go to the grocery store and buy a package of chicken or beef are living in a dreamworld.)

  33. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    Morocco Bama, you may be right with respect to civilization. Be that as it may, if our population was 100,000,000 instead of 7,000,000,000 I feel confident we wouldn’t have global warming, peak resources, widespread environmental destruction caused by humans, etc.

    Enough comments for me this morning – now off to milk the goats! Have a great day everyone :-)

  34. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Yorchichan, good and evil, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder (we had a fairly lengthy discussion about this topic several threads back, I believe).

    But then it only exists there, and not beyond. In otherwords, it’s not an absolute that exists outside of subjective human perception and perspective. You claim your father was a good man, but according to your own definition of good and evil, others may believe he was an evil man. Is this system in which we live, evil? If in the eyes of some beholders it is, then by definition, all those who live in it and support it, regardless of degree, are evil, at least to some extent.

    .

  35. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Be that as it may, if our population was 100,000,000 instead of 7,000,000,000 I feel confident we wouldn’t have global warming, peak resources, widespread environmental destruction caused by humans, etc.

    The operative and conditional word in this statement is “if”. But there is no “if”, so in my opinion, the “if” is a canard. Instead of “if” we have “is”, and we have to deal with “it”, and part of dealing with it is accepting “it” and all its implications.

    .

  36. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    Morocco Bama: You claim your father was a good man, but according to your own definition of good and evil, others may believe he was an evil man.

    I’m sure you might find someone who would think that, but I doubt it would be anyone who actually knew him. But, who knows?

    Is this system in which we live, evil? If in the eyes of some beholders it is, then by definition, all those who live in it and support it, regardless of degree, are evil, at least to some extent.

    That may be, though while many of our actions have been “evil”, I don’t necessarily think all of humanity can be painted with the same brush. However, I was expressing my opinion about the idea that others have expressed that our species deserves to become extinct. I am not convinced, but I have no more right to make that pronouncement than anyone else, hence why it was my opinion. I will opine further that regardless whether it is “good” or “evil”, I think our species is likely to become extinct sooner rather than later.

  37. Kathy C Says:

    Dr. House you wrote “I know that humans have committed and are committing countless atrocities toward other creatures and toward one another, but I can’t rejoice at our extinction.”

    Thinking extinction is best is not the same as rejoicing in human extinction – it certainly isn’t for me, for the road to extinction will be littered with horrors. I have been happy when my hospice patients died and were out of pain, but I did not rejoice at their removal from the world. But one of my points is that we who have had the good life are the ones who have the time and equipment to have this debate. I would like to hear from the humans who are living on $1 a day what they think on the matter. Once born we have a strong instinct for survival, yet farmers in India in increasing numbers, along with pensioners in Greece, are choosing non-existence rather than the deteriorating existence they now have. Perhaps they are telling us what many others feel but don’t have the courage to act on.

    At any rate the ones who have the most at stake regarding species extinction are the unborn. Of course they don’t currently exist and never get a say in their being dragged into existence, yet to have the species not go extinct they MUST be dragged into existence. Necessarily this is without their agreement. And regardless of how good or bad their life is they will have one common desire, once born they will wish not to die for that is the program that those who pass on genes to a next generation must have (for varying lengths of time depending on species). This common desire of mortal living beings can never be met and very few deaths are painless. So to keep the species going, we who exist must bring the non-existent into to existence. They will have at least one bad event in their life before they go back into non-existence, not to remember any of the life that was supposedly so worthwhile. Have we the right to force an increasingly horrific life on those who don’t exist because we have an idea about something called a species that is dear to us?

    During the Iraq war some protesters were told that if we abandoned the war we would be dishonoring those who had fought and died and that they then would have died in vain. Should we continue a war with more killing and being killed so that those who went before did not die in vain? Likewise should we continue a rapacious species because some in the species were good? Should more people be brought into existence to suffer and in the end to die so that we can feel like all those who lived before did not die in vain?

  38. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    Morocco Bama: The operative and conditional word in this statement is “if”. But there is no “if”, so in my opinion, the “if” is a canard. Instead of “if” we have “is”, and we have to deal with “it”, and part of dealing with it is accepting “it” and all its implications.

    The same could be said about civilization and “if” we hadn’t developed it in the first place. But we did, so we have to deal with it as well.

  39. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    The same could be said about civilization and “if” we hadn’t developed it in the first place. But we did, so we have to deal with it as well.

    Yes, that’s my point. I never said “if” in this discussion, but I have many times over in my life, so I’m just as guilty. The problem I see with “if” is that it connotes bargaining with this System. For example, you often hear or see, “if only we do this, or if only we do that.” Also, you get, as you and I both have done, and many others, “if only it was this or that.”

    I would even go so far as to say my use of the word “deal” is inappropriate, because that also connotes bargaining. I’ll go with “accept “this” for what it is in all its dubious glory and act in a way that defies it and doesn’t feed it the greatest extent that’s possible at your current stage of life and ability/capacity.”

    Myself, I’m envisioning another world as I withdraw from this one, to the extent and degree that’s possible, and taking steps to bring that other world about. I realize I will not enjoy that other world or ever live in it, should it ever manifest, but perchance it does, I am intrinsically rewarded in knowing at least I gave it that Old College Try.

    I don’t rejoice the extinction of our species, but I see it as a highly probable result of Civilization. I do not think the survival of our species is paramount, especially as it exists in its current state. Should it survive in another state, devoid of the poison and malignancy of Civilization, then I welcome that, but for this to continue, which we know it can’t, even in a damaged and stunted form, to me at least, is a nightmare, and it’s why I find the concept of Transhumanism truly revolting because it seeks to make this sack of shit of a System eternal.

    .

  40. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Curtis, yes indeed, idiotic. Cap n Trade. What a crock. As if! Plus, all the rest, and his sentiment, is delusional. Good grief. The Poseidon Adventure is such metaphor for all of this. Three people on that entire ship survived, and it wasn’t even the three that you would have thought likely to survive.

    .

  41. BC Nurse Prof Says:

    I have found no philosophical proof that life is important, or that it is good. Good and evil are human linguistic concepts. It is not evil when wasps sting. It is not evil when humans destroy the planet and all other species. We’re just like the yeast in the vat, eating our way through our supplies and drowning in the resulting toxic waste. We do what all species do, and the end of doing it is near. Former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, was quoted as saying that after a nuclear exchange, “the living would envy the dead.” I think of a couple of friends who died recently, and realize they lived in the golden age of “civilization” and won’t see the end of it. Then I realize that there is no justice, either.

  42. Kathy C Says:

    Curtis, yes idiot. from the article “So don’t be discouraged if electric car sales are tiny right now, or solar power is a very small fraction of total energy use. This is a long game.”
    OMdog he thinks we have time.
    Besides electric cars run on roads and I haven’t seen any electric road repair equipment yet.
    Beside if we add electric cars to all the things we already run with electricity we need to further upgrade a grid that is already in need of upgrading.
    Besides the US is broke.
    Besides as the weather takes a larger toll on our infrastructure we will be unable to fix it as we are broke.

    All sorts of denialists eh?

  43. Kathy C Says:

    BC Nurse – exactly. Perhaps quite soon the living will envy the dead and the children will curse the day that they were born – Jeremiah 20:14 “Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed!” While I don’t think much of the Bible there is a bit of truth here and there (in or out of context)

    In fact Proverbs has some advice for when times are hard – booze.

    “31 The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.

    2 Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
    Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!
    3 Do not spend your strength[a] on women,
    your vigor on those who ruin kings.
    4 It is not for kings, Lemuel—
    it is not for kings to drink wine,
    not for rulers to crave beer,
    5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
    and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
    6 Let beer be for those who are perishing,
    wine for those who are in anguish!
    7 Let them drink and forget their poverty
    and remember their misery no more.

  44. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Let them drink and forget their poverty
    and remember their misery no more.

    Hell Yeah! I’ll drink to that, and just about anything else!

    .

  45. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Yey!! Some good news finally.

    http://earthsky.org/earth/small-gulf-of-mexico-dead-zone-likely-due-to-drought

    The oxygen-starved dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico has grown to only 2,889 square miles in 2012. This year’s dead zone is the fourth smallest recorded since mapping began in 1985 according to scientists supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    Oh, wait, it’s followed by some offsetting bad news.

    http://www.wwl.com/Salt-water-moves-up-Miss–River–Army-Corps-reacts/13917894

    The Army Corps of Engineers said Monday it would construct an underwater sill in the Mississippi River as it seeks to stop salt water from threatening drinking water supplies in the New Orleans area.

    It’s needed because water levels in the drought-stricken Mississippi have gotten so low that the river is nearly at sea level, allowing salt water from the Gulf of Mexico to move far inland.

    The federal U.S. Drought Monitor shows nearly two-thirds of the lower 48 states are experiencing some form of drought, and the Department of Agriculture has declared more than half of the nation’s counties – nearly 1,600 in 32 states – as natural disaster areas. More than 3,000 heat records were broken over the last month.

    At the latest check on Monday, salt water was on the outskirts of New Orleans, 85 miles upriver from where the Mississippi empties into the Gulf. The river’s fresh water is used by New Orleans and surrounding towns and industry.

    Oh well, the good news while it lasted all of a split second.

    .

  46. the virgin terry Says:

    what’s important? michael, u’re preaching to the choir here but your sermon is basic and myopic/delusional. u don’t even begin to address the problem of flawed and limited intelligence of humanity. there’s nothing new under the sun here. u’re not the first voice to cry into the wilderness, nor the loudest or most eloquent (but u’re not bad). crying in the wilderness is a perfect metaphor. who is getting the message besides those who already had it? who is inclined to take a ‘doomer’ seriously? apparently only a tiny minority of iconoclastic rational (more or less) freethinkers who thirst for facts, not dogmas. i repeat: dogmatism is an overwhelming problem, imo. a very large majority of sheople are unable to think rationally enough to respond appropriately to your information and message, michael. ignorance/delusion predominate across all ‘classes’ of sheople, from ‘joe the plumber’ to u.s. president barry obummer. they’re all inclined to dogmatism/irrationality, and too high of a regard for ‘authority’. both secular and religious ‘education’ are important tools, in creating a culture of credulity for nonsense and of epidemic ignorance, which has served the interests of the exploiters/dominators who are directing this horror show.

    u talk about the need to save humanity. nature bats last, michael. u’re still suffering from the grandiose delusion this culture instills in us regarding our supposed ability to control nature. u face a tsunami of ignorance and delusion, if u’re willing to perceive and acknowledge it. there’s a reason why so very few sheople appear to be relatively well informed and rational regarding our predicament, a reason that has the full power of nature behind it. u can lead a dogma addict to knowledge, but u can’t make ‘hir’ (genderless replacement for his/her) drink.

    i believe if one takes logic/passion to a natural conclusion regarding our predicament, one is left with basically 2 choices. the first involves humble resignation to things out of your control, like inherent irrationality amongst humans, and runaway climate change which only by the grace of gaia won’t result in human extinction, amongst many other deadly concerns over the the legacy of industrial ecocide. the fact that we’ve gone so far down this road of mad destruction, this highway to hell, is evidence of our predicament. it’s not something a sane intelligent species would do.

    so this first choice involves a grim fatalism about the big picture, and resignation to the fact that nature bats and laughs last. and as kathy has so often pointed out, immortality was never a possibility. be resigned to this. then, if u can, carpe diem.

    the second choice involves selfless martyrdom in trying to attain a miraculous transcendence of the cruel surreality we face. trying to save our species from it’s outlandish ignorance and delusions and ecocidal mania. it involves agonizing over the fate of something u can’t control, deluding yourself that u can, and blaming yourself when u fail. one way or another, it’s martyrdom. for if u begin to succeed, surely tptb will see to it that your success is short lived. tptb may not be sane or intelligent, but they sure know a thing or 2 about maintaining power, the main thing being ruthlessly and violently intolerant to challenges to their ‘authority’.

  47. Curtis A. Heretic Says:

    tvt:

    Always good to hear from you. No happy horseshit from you.

  48. Yorchichan Says:

    Thanks for all the great posts in the last day. I’ve rarely enjoyed reading the best site on the web so much. When humans talk about “good”, what we usually mean is what is good for humans. At best, we mean what is good for the “higher“ animal life forms we can empathise with. Rarely would we care about what is good for invertebrates (save for the bees that we need to pollinate our crops or butterflies because they look pretty), let alone plants that feel no pain. If you’re a mosquito, despite all you are doing to survive is extracting an insignificant amount of blood from your donor rather than killing to live as humans do (making a mosquito “morally” superior in my opinion despite the derogatory label of “parasite”), forget about any human compassion.

    We try to expand our population as much as we can just like every other living creature. However, we are different from other living creatures in that we can understand to a much greater extent the implications of our destructive ways. Given we have pretty much established that good and evil are purely human constructs, does our understanding of the harm we are doing to the living planet oblige us to act to try to curtail industrial civilisation? Some would answer “yes” because they believe abundance and diversity of life has value or that by terminating industrial civilisation they increase the chances of humans surviving. Some would answer “no” because they believe nothing they do can make a difference anyway. Personally, I would answer “no”, because I don’t believe there is anything I can do, I don’t think humans are worth saving, and whatever the ravages of climate change and pollution I believe the diversity of life will bounce back.

    As someone wrote recently, we all try to justify our actions (or inactions).

  49. Kathy C Says:

    Bad news elsewhere

    http://www.terradaily.com/reports/S_Korea_heatwave_kills_more_than_830000_poultry_999.html

    “S. Korea heatwave kills more than 830,000 poultry
    by Staff Writers
    Seoul (AFP) Aug 8, 2012

    South Korea’s extended heatwave has taken its toll on both humans and animals, with more than 830,000 chickens or other poultry reported dead as of Wednesday.

    The agriculture ministry said 786,512 chickens, 40,780 ducks, 3,000 quail, 336 pigs and five cows have died since July 20, when the peak temperature began hovering above 33 Celsius (91.4 Fahrenheit) in most areas.

    The stifling heat also killed seven people in June and July, the health ministry said, mostly elderly people working in fields or greenhouses.

    Temperatures have stayed above 35 C for 12 days in much of the country, causing massive blooms of algae in rivers.”

  50. Kathy C Says:

    And on the human meddling with their own fate front

    http://www.energydigital.com/renewable_energy/are-volcanos-the-new-source-of-geothermal-energy

    “Here’s a scary thought: scientists are testing the idea of pumping water into the sides of a dormant volcano in Oregon at pressures great enough to evoke small earthquakes. Why? Apparently, the boiling bowels beneath our feet hold tremendous promise for geothermal energy.”

    Lets see in 2006 and 2007 geothermal projects caused “Induced seismicity in Basel” (see wiki entry on that topic) prompting the ending of those projects – Since Basel Switzerland was mostly destroyed by an earthquake in 1356 you can understand the folks there saying stop. While the events were small there was a lot of them “In all, between December 2006 and March 2007, the six borehole seismometers installed near the Basel injection well recorded more than 13,500 potential events connected with the geothermal project.”

    Too Smart for our Own Good.

  51. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Speaking of seismic activity, it’s now been established that Fracking exacerbates seismic activity and can, and does, induce earthquakes. That should be no surprise to anyone here.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/15/fracking-earthquakes-low-risk_n_1600515.html

    The controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas does not pose a high risk for triggering earthquakes large enough to feel, but other types of energy-related drilling can make the ground noticeably shake, a major government science report concludes.

    Even those man-made tremors large enough to be an issue are very rare, says a special report by the National Research Council. In more than 90 years of monitoring, human activity has been shown to trigger only 154 quakes, most of them moderate or small, and only 60 of them in the United States. That’s compared to a global average of about 14,450 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater every year, said the report, released Friday…..

    If the country starts capturing the global warming gas carbon dioxide from coal power plants and injecting it underground, there is a potential for a larger quakes given the amount of the heat-trapping gas that would have to be buried, the council’s report said. That’s an issue that needs more study, it said.

    So, after initially denying it, they concede it can induce small earthquakes and tremors, but nothing major that can harm Humans. We’ll have to wait for a few major earthquakes in some anomalous locations before they concede that it can cause major earthquakes and tremors that are harmful to Humans and Human activity.

    Technology allows us to dig that hole deeper and deeper…..but how deep can this hole go…..before we reach China?

    .

  52. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    I think this just may be the answer we’ve all been looking, and waiting, for, what do you think? Screw Maitreya, this is the Real Deal right here. I was beginning to sour on Civilization, but if this is any example of up-and-coming talent applied to imminent catastrophe, I’m confident we’ve got nothing to fear.

    Sweet Mother of Jesus!!

    http://www.cnet.com/8301-14013_1-20042504-284.html

    AUSTIN, Texas–Hailing the 2010s as “the decade of games,” Seth Priebatsch, founder of the Google-backed start-up SCVNGR, brought a bright dose of dreamy enthusiasm to the first official keynote of the South by Southwest Interactive Festival on Saturday afternoon.

    Plowing through problems from education reform to global warming, and how they could be addressed by applying the principles of games, the skinny Priebatsch showed up for his talk, “The Game Layer on Top of the World,” in a bright orange polo shirt with matching sunglasses perched atop his head and spoke with the jerky staccato of a “Speed Racer” character. He is 22, and his obviously astute entrepreneurial mind seems like it could be at odds with the naivety of youth.

    “The game layer is brand new. It has not been built,” Priebatsch said. “The framework for the social layer (last decade’s accomplishment) is now built. It’s called Facebook and it now owns the digital representation, the social layer, for 500 million people.”

    SXSW organizer Hugh Forrest introduced Priebatsch as exactly the sort of person whom the conference hopes to attract: a young, creative college dropout developing a well-funded and promising mobile gaming application (and one who, unfortunately, refers to himself as “chief ninja” instead of CEO, a business title that actually gets taken seriously at SXSW). Priebatsch talks about the big ideas that the laptop-gazing digital thinkers of the SXSWi fishbowl love to toss about: “engagement” and social connectedness and fueling the physical world with the philosophies and algorithms that have built the digital-media world.

    His talk focused on a hot topic among developers–“gamification” or “game mechanics,” or how the factors typically associated with games from Monopoly to Super Mario can improve digital media. That’s what SCVNGR does: encourages users of the mobile app to perform “challenges” in order to earn rewards at partner locations. Priebatsch’s keynote brought the same kind of strategy to some much bigger areas of concern, such as education and global warming.

    Priebatsch referred to the education system as “one of the most perfect game ecosystems that’s out there,” full of challenges, rewards, rules, allies, enemies, countdowns, and incentives, “all sorts of things that basically make school the best real-world implementation of a game that’s out there.” But Priebatsch said that “it’s a poorly designed game; it’s kind of broken.”

    One of the points he brought up: how arbitrary and ultimately dull most letter grades and achievements are. “If (a class valedictorian) were called ‘White Knight Paladin Level 20,’ people might study a little harder. I certainly would.”

    .

  53. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    The river’s fresh water is used by New Orleans and surrounding towns and industry.

    “Fresh” water? Have these people actually seen the lower Mississippi? You couldn’t pay me to drink that water.

  54. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    TRHD, Ha, good one!! I was thinking the same thing when I read that, and was going to post something snarky about it, but opted instead on the Fracking Earthquakes and the Let’s Make It A Game approach. This is the Fresh Water of our ignominious future.

    This song says it all, just replace Boston with New Orleans, or any other tumor…errr, I mean city.

    Love That Dirty Water!!

    .

  55. Kathy C Says:

    Going from the serious to the humorous, a friend sent me some writings by Will Cuppy on extinction. A few quotes below

    And I Ought to Know

    Right here I might offer a word of advice to the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, now the rarest bird on the North American continent and one that is going to come in for more and more attention. Keep away from bird lovers, fellows, or you’ll be standing on a little wooden pedestal with a label containing your full name in Latin: Campephilus principalis. People will be filing past admiring your glossy blue-black feathers, your white stripes and patches, your nasal plumes in front of lores, your bright red crest and your beady yellow eyes. You’ll be in the limelight, but you won’t know it. I don’t want to alarm you fellows, but there are only about twenty of you alive as I write these lines, but there are more than two hundred of you in American museums and in collections owned by Ivory-billed Woodpecker enthusiasts. Get it?

    The Dinosaur
    The Age of Reptiles ended because it had gone on long enough and it was all a mistake in the first place. A better day was dawning at the close of the Mesozoic Era. There were some little warm-blooded animals around which had been stealing and eating the eggs of the Dinosaurs, and they were gradually learning to steal other things, too. Civilization was just around the corner.

    The book is http://books.google.com/books/about/How_to_Become_Extinct.html?id=zrsCQBBALUIC

  56. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    Kathy C,

    I know this isn’t really the topic of your post, but with respect to the Ivory Billed Woodpecker, if I remember correctly, it was last seen in the woods surrounding the Cache river near Brinkley Arkansas about 8-10 years ago. It was thought to be extinct at that time and so there was much excitement over the sighting. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been seen since, so those who know about such things, now think the sighting was likely not an IBW and the bird really was extinct, or that the one sighted is now dead, and the bird really is extinct.

    The area of the sighting is known as the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge. Here’s an excerpt from the government website:

    ——–
    Cache River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in 1986 to protect significant wetland habitats and provide feeding and resting areas for migrating waterfowl.

    As one of the few remaining areas in the Lower Mississippi River Valley not drastically altered by channelization and drainage, the Cache River basin contains a variety of wetland communities including some of the most intact and least disturbed bottomland hardwood forests in the Mississippi Valley region. These unique and valuable wetlands have been protected by the RAMSAR Convention as “Wetlands of International Importance”.

    At present the refuge currently encompasses over 56,000 acres located in numerous non-contiguous tracts in Jackson, Woodruff, Monroe and Prairie counties in east central Arkansas. The boundary of this refuge changes frequently as land acquisition continues along the Cache River, White River and Bayou Deview.
    —–

    Accounts from early settlers describe this entire region of the continent as being uninterrupted forests for hundreds of miles. I sure wish I could have seen that.

  57. Kathy C Says:

    Dr House, yes I remember hearing about that supposed sighting. Will Cuppy died in 1949 so his writing those words about the Ivory Billed Woodpecker was somewhere in the first 1/2 of the century.

    The better quote from the piece my friend sent was about the Great Auk and their extinction. I couldn’t find it on line and didn’t feel up to typing it all but it described with much irony what happened to the last two great auks which is described more succinctly by wiki “Museums, desiring the skins of the auk for preservation and display, quickly began collecting birds from the colony.[66] The last pair, found incubating an egg, was killed there on 3 July 1844, on request from a merchant who wanted specimens, with Jón Brandsson and Sigurður Ísleifsson strangling the adults and Ketill Ketilsson smashing the egg with his boot.”

    My husband’s grandmother used to tell of great flocks of robins that used to fly over on migration and darken the sky apparently much like the Passenger Pigeons. It is said that the top soil in this area when white men came was 5 feet. I work to make a few inches of top soil on top of the clay left from years of cotton farming. We are used to what we have and hate to loose what is left. It is hard to even imagine what carnage we have already done, and yet the carnage is not over yet. It would have been nice to see that.

  58. Kathy C Says:

    Eight million chickens have so far been slaughtered in Mexico and 66 million more were vaccinated in a bid to contain a bird flu outbreak in the west of the country, authorities said.

    http://news.yahoo.com/mexico-destroys-8-mn-chickens-amid-bird-flu-061416833.html

    It takes about 4 lbs of feed to make 1 lb of chicken. Just guess that these birds are adults and weigh say 4 lbs apiece that would mean 16 lbs of feed lost for each bird slaughtered or perhaps 128 million lbs of feed lost. Not good in a year where the crop is expected to be quite a bit less than planned.

  59. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Kathy C, I love that scene..it’s one of my favorites from that movie. It chokes me up every time. I don’t think we can imagine what a paradise this great land once was before it raped and devoured by the settlers. I imagine Tolkien with many of his settings was much closer to non-fiction than fiction depending on the time frame. Now, and in future, pure fantasy, even the settings. A thousand years ago in North America, a non-fictional chronicle.

    Another great one that comes to mind is:

    .

  60. Susan Says:

    It is the truth, thank you for continuing to spread the word, I will do the same. It doesn’t seem to be enough, but I will continue to do what I can. This is a well written article, industrial civilization is destroying our dear earth and our lives with it if we don’t stop living this way.

  61. Kathy C Says:

    As collapse approaches any who have not had a vasectomy or tubal ligation please read this story. The non-permanent means of birth control will disappear. Even abstinence will not work for women as when civil order breaks down rape becomes more frequent. Just watched a Japanese movie The Ballad of Narayama about a village in 19the century Japan that has persistant food shortages. The ways the people cope with low amounts of food are many (and not pleasant), including banishing the elderly to die on the mountain. But the words that most struck me were that of a man to his expectant wife “I hope it is a girl because then we can sell her for salt”.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/austeritys-cost-abandoned-children-europe-150243995.html

    As the euro zone debt crisis deepens and austerity measures take their toll across Europe, the number of young children and babies abandoned across the region has increased, according to local charities.

    A “baby hatch” in Hamburg, Germany.
    The rise in the abandonment of infants across Europe is most visible in the spread of “baby hatches” or “boxes” across Europe, where unwanted infants are left anonymously.
    The phenomenon was previously more prevalent among immigrants, but it is becoming more widespread among financially desperate members of the local population.
    The hatches are sensor-activated so when a baby is placed, an alarm is activated and a carer comes to collect the child. Despite the practice being widely viewed as contravening the 1953 European Convention on Human Rights, of the 27 EU member countries, 11 countries still have “baby hatches” in operation, including Germany, Italy and Portugal.
    In those countries where hatches are illegal, the number of infants abandoned in hospitals, clinics and churches has also risen, raising concerns among European charities, the UN and the European Commission that austerity measures and increasing social deprivation are the catalyst for the rise in child abandonment.
    According to SOS Villages, a European charity that attempts to help families in financial hardship before abandonment occurs, in the last year alone 1,200 children in Greece and 750 in Italy have been abandoned. That is almost double the 400 children abandoned in Italy a year ago, and up from 114 children abandoned in Greece in 2003.
    With the cost of raising children estimated to be 20-30 percent of an average household budget (per child) in Europe, more families are now struggling to cope with the costs.
    The charity SOS Villages has reported that adoption rates in Greece and Italy have risen by 20 percent in the last two years, a sharp rise in line with the deterioration of the economy. (More: Greeks Flock to Germany, Even as They Criticize It.)
    George Protopapas, National Director of the charity’s Greek division said that parents already struggling with keeping a roof over their heads are now barely managing to keep their children clothed and fed, if at all.
    Protopapas cited the example of a four-year old child left at a nursery by her mother with a note that read: “I will not be coming to pick up Anna today because I cannot afford to look after her. Please take good care of her. Sorry.”

  62. OzMan Says:

    Guy
    or anyone

    If there was a population of say 77000, presently growing at 0.03 % per annum, and if they all decided to adopt a 1 child policy in 2014, what population do you think would be there in 2035? if a collapse scenario occurs during 2013 I cant tell it that population would have a net increase or decrease in the first 2 years, so I cant specify. I have a practical reason for asking, but treat it as a thought experiment and humour me.
    Also, we had heavy snow last light fro the first time in 12 years. We are at 1000 meters and over the last 25 years snow has dwindled from 2 weeks of heavy snow in winter, to one or two days of sleet. August 10th is also a bit late for snow. Is it possible that higher global temps will mean some lacations get colder?
    Treat me like a dummy with the basics of any answer.
    Still trawling through Michaels essay. Doing a lot of free community work, Portable no dig gardens and chicken hutches.

    My wife and I have decided to have community readings and storytelling nights, once a month in our big house(rental). Local community spirit needs some facilitation. First meeting the Blue Moon on August 31st.
    Im asking people to bring one of three things; 1 litre of water, in a clean soda bottle with their own tank or town water; a piece of firewood, or a small bundle of kinsling, or somthing to eat, like home made anything. I have moddelled this on the four things Guy speaks about that we need to survive. The principla is that the gift community has always existed but has be pushed aside in most urban environs, and now it threatens to hit this community soon.
    If everyone who comes brings one of these three things then we burn the wood to keep warm, or stockpile it for the winter coming if it is summer, and we eat the food. The water can be drunk or put into storage in the rain barrels for the garden, or stored in a cool cellar for emergency drinking water.
    If over time we use different peoples homes then they may have these brought to their homes too. This will in time teach people to value these elements and perhaps lead to a gift comodity process.
    Some of you will no doubt say I’m still in denial. I’m not. I’m fully prepared to die. Just keeping the eye on the possibility of pockets of micro regions that conditions may be livable for a lot of wildlife and us too.
    Thoughts would be appreciated.

  63. OzMan Says:

    ‘a small bundle of kindling’ sorry…

  64. OzMan Says:

    I maybe walking round Australia sooner tan expected.

  65. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Kathy C, we have some Bosnian friends and their descriptions of what happened in their Socialist Utopia in the far reaches of the former Yugoslavia parallel what you are asserting. According to them, everything was calm and fine around them for the first seventeen years of their life, then one day, people arrive at the male’s door indicating they are with the army and they have orders to conscript him. He knew they were coming for him, eventually, and he knew if he refused, they would ultimately make his life a living hell, through torture and eventually death. So, he went, literally got down in the trenches they were required to dig at gunpoint and forced to shoot and kill their former friends and townspeople. He’s not sure if he ever killed anyone. He did shoot, but to miss always. However, he saw much death and carnage from those falling around him. He had to endure this for several years, and he described how the former “thugs” took over. When the economy collapsed due to shortages of everything, the “thugs” who now controlled the armed forces, also controlled the food sources and food distribution. Prices of everything skyrocketed. His mother gave her gold wedding ring for a pound of flour, and she was no exception. The “thugs” confiscated pretty much all the assets, both privately owned like wedding rings and such, and state-owned since it was a socialist state prior to the purposeful break-up. When the dust settled, the “thugs” were in the catbird seat, and still are. They owned and controlled everything, and still do. He describes them as the scummiest of scum. They were lowly, degenerate and sadistic creeps prior to the break-up and Tito and his administration managed to keep them in check until Tito passed, then they began to gain power, and the CIA exploited that and used it to their advantage. It’s now pretty much a petty mafia state, a vassal of Western Intelligence services allowing them to use it as a source of, and destination for, their Black Economy of Drug-Running and Child Prostitution. Western Intelligence services love this murky underworld that is now quickly becoming a transparent overworld across the entire planet. It’s a wet dream for them, and if they have their druthers, the entire planet would be thus. It’s a vision of what might possibly be coming our way. Also, Bosnia’s life expectancy dropped from an average of 78 to an average of 55, or thereabouts, in the span of a decade, not to mention, nobody there has children anymore, and I can’t say as I blame them. It’s a nightmare of an existence. This guy’s (haha) brother still lives there and is in rough shape. He was psychologically wounded, who wasn’t, during the war and he can’t find work that will adequately pay the bills. He constantly tells his brother that there is no use in continuing his life, and he has a wife and child. He’s not the exception. It can happen that fast, or quicker.

    .

  66. Tom Says:

    First India, now Egypt. Keeping the lights on is becoming a problem whether it’s due to overload, grid failure, natural causes, malfunctioning software, drought, or whatever (bureaucratic bungling, eg.).

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/egypt-plagued-by-massive-blackouts-1.457235

    Egypt plagued by massive blackouts
    Blackouts, together with water cuts, have enraged Egyptians, sending many to the streets to protest.

  67. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    sending many to the streets to protest.

    This part always kills me. Knowing what we now know, protesting in the street isn’t going to solve anything, or alleviate the inevitable suffering. And yet, it seems to be all people know. When things start to get tight and desperate, get out in the street and yell “I’m Mad As Hell, And I’m Not Going To Take It Anymore!!” Really? And who’s listening? Did they ever stop to think that no one’s listening, that no one really cares? You’re not going to take it anymore? Really? And just how are you not going to take it anymore, aside from yelling that you’re not going to take it anymore? It’s time to GET REAL. But most everybody won’t. They’ll cling to irrelevant, antiquated notions of what to do in a crisis. They’ll continue to believe that protesting and activating will bring about a change in the System, failing to realize that you can’t and don’t bargain with this System.

    .

  68. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    I mentioned a post threads back about the Black river being so low that Pocahontas, a town of about 7,000 not far from here who draws their water from the river, was struggling to find ways to provide water for the town. Well, they came up with a solution, but it doesn’t seem to be very popular . . .

    Here’s an except, the full story follows the link:

    “But…by us pumping it, we’re sucking up some leaves and some trash…well, dirt…which in turn makes for a taste and odor in the water,” Daniel told Region 8 News.

    After finding out what caused the problem, we wanted to know if it was safe for people and animals to drink.

    “It’s not gonna make you sick…it’s just gonna make you not want to drink it,” he said.

    Daniel said when the water goes through the treatment plant, they have been adding extra chemicals to it to help get rid of the taste and smell.

    http://www.kait8.com/story/19232812/pocahontas-residents-complain-of-nasty-and-smelly-water

    POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) – Complaints have been piling into our newsroom from Pocahontas residents who tell us their tap water smells and even tastes like the Black River. We went to Pocahontas Wednesday to “clear the water” so to speak.

    “You go to brush your teeth and it’s nasty,” Pocahontas resident, Peggy Treanor told us. “You smell it, you taste it.” Peggy said the water is so bad, even her pets turn their nose up at the water.

    “I have a dog and cat and they won’t even drink the city water. They smell of it and they turn around and walk off.”

    Treanor said she’s been dealing with less than desirable water for about a month now. She lives on a fixed income but said the quality of the water is forcing her to buying gallon jugs of water.

    “And for everything you use it for, it goes quickly,” she told us. She questioned the safety of drinking the water. So we met up with Bill Daniel at Pocahontas Water Works to find out why residents are tasting and smelling such a difference and to see if it’s safe.

    Daniel told us the reason the water smells and tastes so different is all thanks to the low level of the Black River.

    “We seen it coming, and so we had to do something,” Daniel said. What they did is create a pump, similar to the one Pocahontas Water Works used during the flooding of 2011, to get the water to the treatment plant.

    “But…by us pumping it, we’re sucking up some leaves and some trash…well, dirt…which in turn makes for a taste and odor in the water,” Daniel told Region 8 News.

    After finding out what caused the problem, we wanted to know if it was safe for people and animals to drink.

    “It’s not gonna make you sick…it’s just gonna make you not want to drink it,” he said.

    Daniel said when the water goes through the treatment plant, they have been adding extra chemicals to it to help get rid of the taste and smell.
    He also said they test it daily to make sure it’s safe for residents. Daniel said they’ve been in contact with the Health Department as well regarding the water.

    “It just tastes nasty,” Daniel said. “I’ll be the first to tell you it tastes like dirt. But… It is getting better but it’s just a matter of getting it out. Keep diluting it down and getting it out.”

    As far as when it’ll get out, Daniel said the houses that sit in the lower plains of Pocahontas should see the smell and taste of their water returning to normal very soon. He said the higher areas of Pocahontas may have to deal with the taste and smell for a couple more weeks but hopes the problem will be cleared up by then.

  69. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    With the cost of raising children estimated to be 20-30 percent of an average household budget (per child) in Europe

    That is complete and utter bullocks! Where the hell do they come up with these ridiculous statistics? Seriously? Do they take us for a bunch of morons? Yes, of course they do. The fact of the matter is, when the going gets tough in this System, and it is, most people don’t have the capacity to cope with it. They become even greedier and more selfish and more irresponsible, as if that was even possible, but it is, and they do, because it’s all they know, so they double down on those previously rewarded traits, and you get this, as just one example.

    .

  70. Kathy C Says:

    US Corn Crop Estimate Cut 17% With Yields Forecast To Drop To 17 Year Lows
    Submitted by Tyler Durden

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/us-corn-crop-estimate-cut-17-yields-forecast-drop-17-year-lows

    Corn was already surging to new record highs before the USDA released the WASDE report this morning. With a consensus view of 10.929 billion bushels (compared to USDA’s prior 2012 estimates of 12.97 billion), the USDA’s 10.779 billion bushel forecast means a 17% slashing in harvest expectations. Crop conditions were the worst since 1988 with 69% of the Midwest in drought. Soybeans likewise were expected to show a 2.796 billion bushel production forecast (based on Bloomberg’s survey) which compares with the 3.05 billion prior forecast from USDA and just came 4% below expectations. Bloomberg notes: “The U.S. drought means that global corn supplies will be critically tight for the next year; Livestock and milk-product prices will have to rise to cover the increased feed costs. Eventually, global consumers will have to pay the bill.” It appears the algos were at play immediately after the report as prices surged (in corn) to $8.49 before falling rapidly back to $8.19, and are now up fractionally at $8.31. The biggest consequence is a heavier drag on any possibility of a sizable Chinese stimulus as food price inflation, as we noted last night, is set to stymie any flood of money.

  71. the virgin terry Says:

    audio no longer works on youtube links for me, but it does for other things, like vimeo and hulu, so obviously there’s no fault with speakers or connections. anyone have any ideas or advice on how to fix this problem?

  72. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    And another thing….because there’s always another thing. This idea, a no brainer if you ask me, should please the conservatives who harp/bleat on incessantly how the Gubmint is the root of all evil today. Let’s do away with the coroner’s offices, and that function in general. It really is a big waste of time and money, and since local, state and federal budgets are cracking under the strain of economic decline, let’s just get rid of the coroner’s office, and create a big ol rubber stamp that says Civilization on it. When the form asks, Cause of Death, we just pull out that big ol stamp and stamp that ridiculous form with the truth. Cause of Death? Civilization. Nuff said!

    .

  73. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    tvt, maybe you’ve already done this, or already know it, so I hope I’m not insulting your intelligence, but in the lower left of the youtube box below the play/stop button you should see what looks like a microphone. That’s your audio control. Place your cursor on it and see if it is muted. If it is, point on the audio control and drag it to the right to turn up the volume. I hope that’s what it is. You must see Koyaanisqatsi.

    .

  74. Kathy C Says:

    TVT for the last week or so youtube has had poor sound on my computer if I go to full screen but sound fine if I keep it small, same with democracy now. However netflix instant play and dvd’s don’t have a problem with large screen viewing. Sound is just sort of jerky in large screen mode. Don’t know if that relates in any way to your problem but it might be indicative of some sort of youtube problem rather than one with your computer. I tested muting one youtube video and then opening up another. The mute on one video doesn’t mute the next one so I doubt that Morocco’s mute suggestion is the problem.

  75. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Don’t know if that relates in any way to your problem but it might be indicative of some sort of youtube problem rather than one with your computer.

    How could it be a Youtube problem if it works for us, but not for him? Perhaps if you’re logged into youtube, and you mute a video, youtube recognizes this as your preferred setting and mutes all videos, until you either log out, or change the muted feature. Just thinking out loud. Of course, it could be that you need to report to the DoD for further instructions and retraining.

    I know I had this issue once before, and I did what I said, and it worked. It turned out that my daughter had created a youtube account and had us continually logged in, and she had muted a video before leaving the computer. When I used the computer several hours later, I couldn’t get sound on any youtube videos, and eventually I determined it was because of what she had done.

    .

  76. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Yep, it’s what I just said. I tested it by logging into my daughter’s youtube account, pulling up a video (Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb), and muting the audio. I then shut down that video and pulled up Pink Floyd’s Time, and no audio, so, tvt, that means you are logged into youtube, whether you knew that or not. If you raise the volume per my initial instructions, it should default back to that so long as you remain logged in. If you’re not logged in to youtube, youtube is not muted as its default setting, so you get Kathy’s result, where you can mute a one video, close it down, fetch another and it won’t be muted.

    .

  77. the virgin terry Says:

    morocco, u solved my problem. i hadn’t muted youtube, but i have a kitten that walks on the keyboard sometimes, must have done it. thanks for the suggestion.

    also, thanks curtis for your supportive replies, recently and going back.

  78. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    so, tvt, that means you are logged into youtube, whether you knew that or not. If you raise the volume per my initial instructions, it should default back to that so long as you remain logged in. If you’re not logged in to youtube, youtube is not muted as its default setting, so you get Kathy’s result, where you can mute a one video, close it down, fetch another and it won’t be muted.

    Ah, the complexities of the industrial society. Compare to pre-industrial society: if the scroll flips shut, unroll it again and pickup where you left off. :-)

    Have a happy weekend everyone!

  79. Kathy C Says:

    Ah Morocco you are right. I was logged in but I used the feature of clicking on the microphone icon to mute it, instead of pulling the volume down with the slider. There are two ways to mute and the one holds as long as you are logged in (moving the sound bar) and the other (clicking on the microphone) doesn’t. Still have scratchy sound when I enlarge my youtube videos to full screen size – any thoughts on that?

  80. Librarian Says:

    By the way, John Michael Greer’s recently released a book, Apocalypse Not, in which he takes a potshot at everyone who’s predicted that we’re all going to die.

    And recently in his July 18th blog post, he took a small potshot at McPherson directly:

    “Unknown, I wrote a book on the kind of pronouncements you’ll hear from Guy McPherson; you’ll find it here. Yelling that we’re all going to die sometime soon is a reliable way of getting attention, and there will always be people putting it to use.”

    I bring this up, Guy McPherson, because you may want a “backup plan” on what to tell people in case the apocalypse doesn’t come to pass, as Greer seems to think it won’t.

  81. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Librarian, my reading of Guy is that he has that covered, as do I, so who gives a flip what Greer has to say about it. One of the things that I respect about Guy is that he walks the talk. He hasn’t attacked Greer, but Greer has attacked him, That says everything. This is not a competition, and it’s not about ego.

    .

  82. Guy McPherson Says:

    Librarian, the apocalypse is well under way. We drive about 200 species to extinction each and every day. We proceed further into human-population overshoot by more than 200,000 people each and every day on an overcrowded planet. We ratchet up climate chaos on our only, overheated home so that it threatens our species — and, according to some scientists, every species on Earth — with near-term extinction. We destroy clean water, clean air, and healthy soil at an insane and accelerating rate. We oppress people throughout the world. We have made protest illegal. And people, including many who do not care about the basis for human survival, are wondering when the apocalypse will arrive.

    If the lights are not out by the end of this year, I’ll have plenty of company, including the following individuals: Niall Ferguson, Michael Ruppert, “Rice Farmer,” Karl Denninger, Rob Viglione, Gerald Celente, Jeff Rubin, Matt Savinar, Catherine Austin Fitts, Max Keiser , Jim Willie, Graham Summers, Charles Munger, Gonzalo Lira, Peter Schiff, John P. Hussman, Doug Casey, Jan Lundberg, Chris Hedges, Michael Snyder, Kenneth Deffeyes, Matt Simmons (deceased), Bill Bonner, Paul Craig Roberts, Marc Faber, James Wesley Rawles, Tony Robbins, Nouriel Roubini, “Tyler Durden,” James Kwak, Simon Johnson, Chris Clugston, John Taylor, Bob Janjuah, Samsam Bakhtiari, Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy, James Howard Kunstler, Bob Chapman, George Ure, Anthony Fry, Igor Panarin, Mac Slavo, G. Edward Griffin, Joseph Meyer, Harry Dent, Lindsey Williams, Richard Russell, Harley Bassman, Niño Becerra, Martin Weiss, Stephanie Jasky, Eric deCarbonnel, Richard Mogey, Robin Landry, Robert Prechter, Pamela and Mary Anne Aden, Paul Farrell, Nassim Taleb, Gilbert Mercier, Chris Duane, John Williams, Hugh Hendry, Arthur Laffer, Daryll Robert Schoon, Jeff Gundlach, Byron King, Simon Black, Albert Bates, Gordon T. Long, Clyde Prestowitz, Bill Deagle, John Lohman, Alessio Rastani, Mark Grant, Ann Barnhardt, George Soros, and Willem Buiter. Greer is not on this list. Apparently he believes we can continue destroying the planet on which we depend for our survival with no untoward consequences. I hesitate to call names, but there is a word for people who believe things that cannot possibly be true.

  83. Librarian Says:

    Dang, Guy, that’s quite an impressive citation list!

    ^_^

    Quick note, better leave out George Soros if you’re speaking to Republicans; Soros is their version of “the Koch brothers.”

    ^_^

  84. Yorchichan Says:

    He hasn’t attacked Greer, but Greer has attacked him,

    In fact, in this blog Guy did once mock John Michael Greer’s credentials as a forecaster of the future due to JMG’s pagan beliefs. Maybe JMG has a long memory.

  85. Librarian Says:

    No he didn’t, he mocked JMG because he thought JMG was self-contradictory about how fast collapse was going to happen. He used Sharon Astyk’s “take-down” piece as back-up.

    No, I don’t think it’s JMG’s memory; it’s just that he’s a devotee of Edmund Burke, and Burke thought all revolutionary ideas (except “organic, natural” ones like the American Revolution) were suspect because they might result in perversions of the natural order like the French Revolution and its accompanying Reign of Terror.

  86. Kathy C Says:

    Guy’s list of books is quite respectable. Not so with John Michael Greer. On Amazon he still sells “Art and Practice of Geomancy, The: Divination, Magic, and Earth Wisdom of the Renaissance ”
    Book Description
    Publication Date: March 1, 2009
    Have you ever lost an important object? Are you taking on a new job? Looking for buried treasure? The Art and Practice of Geomancy teaches readers how to divine the answers to life’s everyday questions about health, luck, new jobs, and love, as well as those less mundane tasks such as finding buried treasure, predicting the weather, being released from prison, and identifying secret enemies. Greer delivers to readers an ancient system of divination in an easy-to-use form requiring little more than a pen and a piece of paper. Using a system of counting odd and even numbers–from a deck of cards, a roll of the dice, or even by hitting sand or dirt with a stick to generate patterns–readers learn how to cast their own geomantic chart. And for those who wish to delve further, he offers exercises for geomantic meditation and ritual magic. The Art and Practice of Geomancy will appeal to pagans, followers of the Western Mystery tradition, scholars of folk magic and divination, and anyone who wants to take their past, present, and future into their own hands.

    Need I say more. This doesn’t mean he is wrong about slow collapse vs. fast collapse it just means that he will write any sort of crap to make money.

  87. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Well, I will say this, I don’t need the implied authority of Guy’s list to validate what I have concluded from my research, which includes experience and observation. I don’t know if it’s the end of this year, or the end of this decade, but if I had to wager, and I’m not a “betting man”, I’d say it’s lights out by 2050, most likely sooner, but probably not this year or the next. If I’m wrong, fine, who gives a shit? So what if I’m/you’re wrong, it’s a Shit Sandwich either way, and what’s the point on claiming to be an authority with status and influence on all things that are “End Times”? What’s the point in trying to continue to uphold a “reputation”? That’s the Shit of the former world that I’m am slowly, but surely, letting go of, so if this is what this about, maybe I’m at the wrong place, but I’m sorry, when we get right down to it, Chris Hedges is the same pile of dust I am in the end, and that’s what we’re talking about here, The End, so how about we quit clinging to the notions of Empire. There are many people outside of Guy’s list who feel the same way who are, from a conventional perspective, nobodies, including myself. I have as much respect for OzMan, if not more respect, than I do for Chris Hedges. Why? Because I know OxMan is not trying to capitalize on, and exploit, people’s fears and emotions, and I know Chris Hedges makes his living off of just that. Chris make speak the truth on many things, but the fact that I read him every now and then allows him to consume another day and further feed this Beast. The same cannot be said when I read OzMan. OzMan doesn’t use me to consume another another day. He shares his thoughts freely and in earnest. That’s a true Gift Society.

    .

  88. Rita Says:

    Yes, indeed. Money changes everything. However, it is possible thatJMG is not in it for the money. Is there any actual money in writing this stuff? Everyone needs some money, or most everyone. It is the high-pitched fear-mongering for money that shuts down my brain. Guy’s list of writers seems to be using fear to get people to wake up. It is scarey. I’m scared.

    Oddly, fear is not enough.

  89. Guy McPherson Says:

    U.S. banks told to make plans for preventing collapse (headline from Reuters). Without the assistance of the money printers and politicians. Good luck with that.

  90. Morocco Bama Says:

    .

    Guy’s list of writers seems to be using fear to get people to wake up.

    Since when is Soros a writer? He’s a piece of garbage, every bit as much as the Koch Bros. are garbage. The irony is, I don’t throw Guy in with that list of Who’s Who. That’s a compliment to Guy, because when the end does come, there’s number of them on that list that don’t need to survive. They’re full of seeds, like that Green Papaya.

    Is there any actual money in writing this stuff?

    Is that a joke? There’s money in everything, this included. Take a look at that list, and tell me there’s not money to be made off of this. How many books has Kunstler written on this topic? Does he give those books away for free? Did you notice Tony Robbins on that list? You don’t think he hustles people for their insecurities and fears? Come on!

    .

  91. Yorchichan Says:

    My comment:

    In fact, in this blog Guy did once mock John Michael Greer’s credentials as a forecaster of the future due to JMG’s pagan beliefs. Maybe JMG has a long memory.

    I may have been wrong about this. If so, I apologise to Guy. However, there is a long history of criticism of JMG on this blog (including his belief system) so any criticism of Guy by JMG does not exist in isolation. Who cast the first stone, I’ve no idea.

    Not that I object to the view that belief in pagan gods, divination, numerology or whatever detracts from someone’s credibility, as long as there is consistency and this is applied to believers of other religions too.

    Reading here about “Guy” v “Greer” kind of reminds me of a BBC war infomercial where the enemy’s leader is denigrated by not being
    afforded his full title, e.g. Saddam rather than President Hussein or Milosevic rather than President Milosevic. I’m probably reading something out of nothing.

  92. the virgin terry Says:

    ‘If the lights are not out by the end of this year, I’ll have plenty of company, including the following individuals’

    guy, i think all most of them are saying is they expect a full scale economic meltdown very soon, and u equate this as meaning a full scale and permanent industrial stoppage. not at all the same thing, imo.

    ‘I don’t know if it’s the end of this year, or the end of this decade, but if I had to wager, and I’m not a “betting man”, I’d say it’s lights out by 2050, most likely sooner, but probably not this year or the next. If I’m wrong, fine, who gives a shit? So what if I’m/you’re wrong, it’s a Shit Sandwich either way…’

    very true, bama. it won’t make a wit of difference in 50 years who’s right and who’s wrong. still, for fun or folly, the olympic games going on now bring up a hypothetical question for making a prediction: how many more summer olympic games will there be, do u think? my guess is 2. civilization won’t go terminal until after 2020. but a big war could speed up the process.

    speaking of the olympics, isn’t it weird how a tiny country like jamaica, with less than 1% of the population of the usa, can be so dominant in having the world’s fastest sprinters, both male and female? it isn’t just jamaica, other small nations from the caribbean sea area have far more than their share of sprinter genes. it’s one of many inexplicable anomalies in this world. all soon to be buried in the dust of collapse and forgotten in the wake of mass extinctions. for whatever it’s worth, one thing won’t change: reality will remain surreal.

  93. Kathy C Says:

    Excuse me but did anyone full read the book info I posted – he teaches people how to use divination to identify among other things “secret enemies”. Now what do you think some crazy might do with that. The description sounds mildly harmless until you read that. So some schmuck falls for geomancy and uses it to find lost keys or determine his luck, no problem, but he goes further and under Greer’s tutelage finds out that his next door neighbor is his secret enemy. At the least he stops being friendly, and at works he stands his ground against this person he now knows is his enemy and takes him out.

    If the description matches the book then this is totally irresponsible writing. Don’t give him a pass because this falls in the category of religion. Don’t give any religious writings a pass because they are personal religions. People do stuff, evil stuff, based on religion. Invent ideas about the world, say they are so, and create a system that vulnerable people follow thoughtlessly. I will stick with science, for all its faults, it is about coming up with ideas and testing them by a standard called the scientific method.

    Here is an old test for finding out who is a witch – throw her in a pond. If she sinks and drowns she is not a witch, if she rises she is and you kill her. But hey that’s OK because that was part of someone’s religion.

  94. ulvfugl Says:

    C’mon, people. This G McPherson v. JMG nonsense is shameful and juvenile. I’ve been reading both blogs for years. Please stop behaving like spiteful children. If you want to attack someone, attack someone reallybad, there are plenty of ‘em. We have enough problems to cope with without stirring up pathetic egotistical rivalries between folks who are basically on the same side, it’s negative and demeaning.

  95. Kathy C Says:

    In case anyone has forgotten, a slow collapse means that we continue to pour CO2 into the atmosphere, a quick collapse means we don’t burn every damn dirty fuel we can lay our hands on. IF we have not reached the tipping point for an extinction event that extincts even humans, we need to have collapse happen NOW to avoid that fate. Greer and others who predict a slow collapse are predicting total disaster for living creatures on the planet. They are hoping we can keep on putting more CO2 into the air to buy the current round of humans on the planet more time and in so hoping are also hoping that humans go extinct.

    If Guy’s prediction is right, total collapse of the industrial economy might just be in time to save us from runaway global warming.

    But of course no one wants total collapse of the industrial economy tomorrow so the ideas of Greer and others are quickly picked up on without thinking through the consequences of a slow collapse. Offering salvation to desperate people…it always sells in both the financial and belief system meanings of the word. Heaven is just a belief away.

  96. ulvfugl Says:

    Oh, fer sure, Kathy C., but if you think it makes the slightest difference, what Guy McPherson predicts, or what the Archdruid predicts, I suggest you’re deluding yourself.

    Neither of them, nor you, nor I, have the power to change the course of events, whether it’s fast or slow. No more than all the names on Guy’s list, or Dmitry Orlov, or Ran Prieur, or Vinay Gupta, or Paul Kingsnorth, or Derrick Jensen, or John Zerzan, etc, etc.

    All we are doing is running commentary on events as they unfold, and speculating about the direction they point to.

    There’s 7 billion out there, all doing what they are doing, hardly effected, if at all, in any way, by the few thousands, – or even if it is tens, hundreds, of thousands – who are familiar with the ideas of these names, or understand, or are influenced by those ideas.

    We’re leaves in the river, sharing our angers and distress, little more than that….

    The history of the planet and our species will play itself out, fast crash, slow crash, long slow stair-stepped crash, who knows ? It’ll probably take a century before the planet is entirely uninhabitable, but we might get massive shocks any day, you know, like the Berlin Wall or 9/11, collapse of the global banking system, or a supervolcano, a nuclear exchange…

    I’m familiar with the ideas of most of those names. Does anyone seriously believe that all this jabber on the internet will significantly change the course of events ? I don’t.

    I’ve read your views on this blog for a long time. You have a fervent conviction that your own belief system is correct. The trouble is, so do all the others. And to claim a monopoly on ‘the truth’ is immensely arrogant, IMO, just as crazy as blind faith in biblical scripture.

    What the hell is the point of attacking JMG and his book ? So it’s a stupid book, in your opinion. The world is full of stupid books, and stupid people. He’s doing his best to follow his own path as he sees it, just as Guy McPherson is. If you’ve get spare energy to rubbish people and their work, why not direct it towards the really disgusting people, the liars, the con men, the bastards who profit from the destruction and devastation, it’d be a more worthwhile use of your rhetorical skills.

  97. Librarian Says:

    I think I caused a firestorm. Sorry about that, I just thought McPherson should know.

    Back to the topic of the article post. The author has a good point. Goodness knows I’ve gotten upset over the years at the debates surroudning gay rights, sexuality, what libraries are allowed to have in their collections (shameless librarian plug, I know), etc.

    Thanks for putting that all in perspective, Michael Thoams. You’re right, if the environment goes down, none of the above will matter.


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