Words to give by

I’m fussy about the words I use. Words matter, after all. For example, anarchy is not chaos, though you’d never be able to distinguish the two based on anything presented by the mainstream media. As a further example, I’m averse to any form of the word “sustain” because we don’t and we can’t. I’ve distinguished between sustainability and durability in this space in essay form and also in a recent presentation. If the Suggestions Laws of Thermodynamics aren’t compelling enough for you, consider this: Wal-Mart allegedly has poured more money into “sustainability” than any other institution on Earth.

In this brief essay, I’d like to take issue with a couple other terms. As I’ve pointed out recently, I’m a fan of the gift economy (which is not based on barter). I explain below. In addition, I differentiate between building social capital and contributing to a decent human community.

My customary gifts include hosting visitors at the mud hut, delivery of presentations for no charge, and copies of my latest book at my cost (or, to those interested in an electronic version of the page proofs, no cost at all). Here at the mud hut, I strive to promote and expand the extant gift economy. This approach makes perfect sense, considering how we began this relationship more than four years ago, when my partners on these 2.7 acres offered my partner and me the gift of an acre (we declined, and we now share the property and the attendant responsibilities). In the name of comfort for our friends and neighbors, we barter, too, and sometimes work within the customary system of fiat currency. But I prefer an economy of gifts, which has been the prevailing model for most of our existence as human animals. Gifting removes the pressure associated with placing monetary value on the exchange of goods and services in a barter system. And, to me at least, it seems more compassionate and personal than other alternatives.

Many people believe they are doing themselves a favor by building social capital. I hear this phrase often, and I bristle every time. Employing the root word of a heinous system that developed as the industrial revolution began is hardly a sure-fire strategy for winning friends and (positively) influencing people. The process of “building social capital” equates connivance with decency. Analogous to use of a barter system, the act of building social capital suggests a deposit is being made, and will be drawn upon later, perhaps with interest (i.e., usury).

In contrast to developing social capital, I believe we should work to contribute to a decent human community. As an aside, I’m often asked why I use the phrase, “human community” instead of “community.” This is exactly the type of question I have come to expect from individuals who wrongly believe we are the most important species on Earth. We’re destroying virtually every aspect of the living planet, and yet we believe we’re the foundation on which robust ecosystems depend. Viewing your place in a human community, and your contribution to that human community, is analogous to development of a gift economy. By striving to contribute, instead of invest, I can focus on developing life-affirming ties instead of dreaming about the return on my investment. By serving my neighbors, rather than determining how my neighbors can serve me, I become an integral part of a valuable system. As such, the whole, holistic system becomes increasingly durable.

Sharing gifts to develop a durable set of living arrangements within a decent human community: If you can imagine a better goal, please let me know.

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This essay is permalinked at Island Breath.
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Comments 199

  • Well the financial sector seems bent on collapsing industrial civilization, perhaps in the time frame of the article you link to Victor – ie immediately

    The Crazy Things That One Whistleblower Says Are Happening At JP Morgan Will Blow Your Mind
    http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-crazy-things-that-one-whistleblower-says-are-happening-at-jp-morgan-will-blow-your-mind
    article concludes
    “Over the past six months, more than 350 prominent executives have resigned from major banks and financial institutions all over the globe.

    Is this a sign that the rats are fleeing a sinking ship?

    Do they know something that we don’t?

    What we do know is that the financial crisis in Greece is far from over and the European financial system is getting closer to a complete meltdown with each passing day.

    Very few of the things that caused the financial crisis of 2008 were ever corrected and our financial system is even more vulnerable today than it was back then.

    In the end, this entire pyramid of debt, leverage and corruption is going to come crashing down really hard, and the consequences are going to be absolutely catastrophic.”

  • couldnt agree more Guy,

    selfishly it does feel good
    to give and help people freely

    after a long meditation – one comes
    to the deep belief/realisation, that the
    purpose in life is to make the lives
    of the people around you a little bit easier

    that is all there is, nothing more

  • Resa.

    The scientific basis for global warming was worked out by the physicist Tyndall around 1859, when he observed that carbon dioxide absorbed and re-radiated radiation. Around 1896 the Swedish chemist Arrhenius noted that the presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere maintained the Earth at a temperature suitable for habitabtion and that continued burning of coal would cause significant warming of the Earth. However, the time scale he suggested for significant warming was considerably too long because he underestimated the growth in combustion of coal and he did not foresee the rapid adoption of oil as an an energy source, with its additional impact on CO2 levels.

    The role of variations in the Earth’s orbit was poorly understood until long after Tyndall and Arrhenuis did their work on the topic, and the roles heat sinks and of positive feedbacks was poorly understood until very recently.

    However, at this stage our understanding of the role of positive feedbacks is a lot clearer than just a few years ago. That understanding does not make firm predictions possible because economic and social factors impact significantly on climate models. And there are always totally unpredictable occurences, such as volcanic eruptions, which significantly affect outcomes.

    What distiguishes global warming from other physical/chemical phenomena is that much of it is directly attributable to the activities of the largest corporations in the world, and those corporations have a massive vested interest in keeping the general populace misinformed and confused.

    Yes, global warming is debatable, just as continental drift is debatable. We can debate how quickly continents are likely to move and in which direction, but debating such movement does not alter the fact that continents are moving. We can debate evolution but debating evolution does not alter the fact that species are evolving. We can debate how quickly the Earth is likely to overheat.

    As it happens, I was asked this afternoon when the Earth was likely to become too ‘hot for humans’. My answer was: “All the evidence indicates some time between 2035 and the end of this century.” I cannot say, and neither can anyone else exactly when. But we do know that the CO2 level of the atmosphere is now around 394ppm, up from a historical norm of around 280ppm, and that the CO2 level is increasing at around 2ppm per annum effectively out of control. We also know that the incidence of extreme weather events is showing a disturbing correlation with rising CO2 levels.

    And we should note the the pH of the oceans is falling, as a consequence of CO2 emissions; that has dire implications.

    What more evidence do you require?

    The entire jigsaw (development of mechanisation, use of coal, use of oil, the chemistry of industrial and domestic processes, politics, economic and environment) is explained in this book

    http://www.publishme.co.nz/shop/theeasyway-p-708.html

    In my experience the problem is not with the evidence but with getting people to actually look at it. Some people search for the truth. Most people run from it. That is especially when the truth is not what they want to hear.

  • Our anarchists will appreciate this one… :-)

  • Victor, thanks for the youtube clip – I should be crying because it is so true, but instead I am laughing because it is so true.

  • Posted Victor’s link to Facebook.

  • Thanks Guy for writing again, it’s great to hear your words.

    As always it’s good to read comments of others debating issues. We choose to plan for the worse that way we won’t be surprised.

  • This article is germane to our global warming discussion (tangentially) and of special interest to me as I work with a lot of obese patients . . .

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/16/study-blames-obesity-epidemic-on-rising-co2-levels/

    Study blames obesity epidemic on rising CO2 levels
    . . . But now there is a new charge against carbon dioxide that may strike more deeply at the heart of American public opinion: The claim that it promotes obesity.

  • I should add to the previous post that I’m not too worried about CO2 causing obesity. That problem will be working itself out shortly.

  • Big Brother Goes Live September 2013

    Sitting in a restaurant not far from NSA headquarters, the place where he spent nearly 40 years of his life, Binney held his thumb and forefinger close together. “We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state,” he says.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/%E2%80%9Cwe-are-far-turnkey-totalitarian-state-big-brother-goes-live-september-2013

    So who really should care? After all, most ordinary citizens would never attract the attention of the federal government anyway.

    But what the article does not say, but is a likely scenario as I thought about it, is this: Since 9/11, the feds have been working with local and state police forces to largely integrate local police and military operations at a local level. I could well see this system being opened, in the name of the War on Terror, to local police, who will then have the capability of listening in on everything ……you……do or say or purchase – virtually everything, even if you use highly encrypted messages. And the closer such power gets to home (your home), the more it is likely to be abused in the most treacherous of ways by local police authorities and local governments – political revenge, blackmail, intimidation, extortion, getting rid of enemies (or perceived enemies), you name it. Say the wrong thing in the wrong context, even if it is misunderstood, and a person could find themselves dragged out of their home at 2am, sent to a DHS detention centre and left there to rot for the rest of their lives. All that is now legal.

    “We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state,” – Indeed.

  • TRDH

    I personally would not want to be the person that could live to a thousand given where we are headed….

  • From ZeroHedge, yet another reason to cheer for completion of the ongoing collapse: “In its April cover story, Wired has an exclusive report on the NSA’s Utah Data Center, which is a must read for anyone who believes any privacy is still a possibility in the United States: ‘A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks…. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.”… The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013.'”

    Sadly, I doubt most Americans will see a problem here. In this Orwellian world, the good citizens think the government is protecting them.

  • …then Skynet became self aware..

  • Guy:

    RE: “I no longer make predictions about climate change.”

    Smart move. I don’t make climate change predictions either. Hot or cold, I adapt.

    RE: “But I agree with the abundant and increasing evidence, all of which points in one direction.”

    Agreed, there’s a SMALL increase in global temperature at this point, however, nowhere close to being catastrophic. But then 2012 (or 2013 or 2014) could be the year climate change gets with the program and concurs with IPCC assessments. At the end of the year, we’ll know one way or the other.

    In the meanwhile, from my place in the world we’re going into our fifth yucky Spring. We’re currently running -4 degrees below average on a monthly basis. So if some of you would kindly ship your excess heat my direction, it would be welcome.

    Victor:

    RE: “From a risk management standpoint, this should be a clear warning to us to take some kind of mitigating action as quickly as possible – economy be damned.”

    It’s working. As I pointed out in my previous post, if it’s “green” or “renewable” or “sustainable,” it’s big business. I put in a $41,000 solar array last year for next to nothing. (Thank you, IPCC assessments.) This year I’ll check out wind. Wind has always intrigued me more anyway; solar was just easier to buy into. Plus there’s a ton of other things anyone can do if they take the time to research and pursue it.

    Kevin:

    RE: “That understanding does not make firm predictions possible because economic and social factors impact significantly on climate models. And there are always totally unpredictable occurrences, such as volcanic eruptions, which significantly affect outcomes.”

    I concur. Which is why I don’t make predictions. Too many variables.

    RE: “We also know that the incidence of extreme weather events is showing a disturbing correlation with rising CO2 levels.”

    Inclusive.

    BTW: There’s now much speculation that rising CO2 concentration levels are a trailing rather than leading indicator of rising temperatures. In other words, it’s flipped. Rising temperatures first then rising CO2 levels follow. Now, CO2 also plays a feedback role in that it can encourage further temperature increase, but other factors, such as the Milankovitch cycle, have a powerful temperature influence as well and can negate some of what rising CO2 levels are attempting to do. Again, this is speculation because no one knows for sure. And who knows, perhaps that’s what we’re experiencing. If it wasn’t for the influence of rising CO2 levels we’d actually be cooling instead of slightly warming.

    I don’t know. I just know that based on current data, our average global temperatures (both on land and at sea) are not supporting IPCC assessment projections.

    Take from that what you want.

    Again, hot or cold, I adapt.

  • “Three hundred thousand people are already dying every year as a result of global warming, according to the most comprehensive report ever on the human impact of climate change,” it was reported last week. The claim was made by a think tank called the Global Humanitarian Forum set up by the extravagantly-besuited ex-UN chief Kofi Annan.
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/9946378/Kofi_Annan_300000_people_die_every_year_from_climate_change_Nonsense/

    His alarming testimony, given at a conference on global warming and native communities held in the Alaskan capital, Anchorage, last week, is just one story of the many changes happening across the globe. Climate change threatens the survival of thousands of species – a threat unparalleled since the last ice age, which ended some 10,000 years ago.

    The vast majority, scientists will warn this week, are migratory animals – sperm whales, polar bears, gazelles, garden birds and turtles – whose survival depends on the intricate web of habitats, food supplies and weather conditions which, for some species, can stretch for 6,500 miles. Every link of that chain is slowly but perceptibly altering.

    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/1002-04.htm

  • Resa.

    There is evidence that in the past (say between 50 million years ago and the year 1800) CO2 followed temperature rises because it was largely orbital factors that determined the amount of energy received per sqaure metre. (The positions of the continents also infulenced matters considerably, i.e. no large land mass at the South Pole has a huge effect. Orbital factors in combination with positive feedback systems raised and lowered temperatures, resulting in warming oceans that released CO2 or cooling oceans that absorbed CO2 etc.

    What global warming denialists always conveniently ignore is that since around 1800 humans have been removing increasing quantities of sequestered carbon from underground and have been putting it into the atmosphere. Not only that, they but they have also removed much of the natural CO2 recycling system, i.e. trees, and have converted them into CO2.

    It does not take much logical thinking to realise that comparisons between what is happening now and anything that happened before before 1800 are largely irrelevant. At no other time in the history of this planet has there been a plague of organisms which have been converting sequestered carbon into carbon dioxide.

    As anyone who has studied energy knows, over the past few decades the amount of fossil fuel energy required to acquire fossil fuel energy has increased, and with that decline in EROEI has come a commenserate increase in emissions.

    The other really big factor that most denialists ignore are thermal mass and latent heat factors. The Earth is still responding the carbon dioxide that was put into the atmosphere decades ago.

    As other commenters have noted, facts do not matter in discussions with denialists. People believe what they want to believe, and the more the facts disprove their belifs, the more stubbornly they hang on to them.

    Bearing in mind that this planet is run by corporations and money-lneders for the short term benefit of corporations and money-lenders, and bearing in mind that they control the propaganda systems that churned out the daily misinformation that keeps the masses deluded, there is very little hope for the next generation unless there is sone kind of spectacular event which demolishes the entire industrial system fairly immediately.

  • “Again, hot or cold, I adapt.” Its not about you Resa.

  • Resa,

    You’ve been pretty “in your face” about the validity of the information you are basing your statements on and yet have not been forthcoming on the sources of that information.

    RE: “There’s now much speculation that rising CO2 concentration levels are a trailing rather than leading indicator of rising temperatures. In other words, it’s flipped. Rising temperatures first then rising CO2 levels follow.“

    Care to share the source?

    Perhaps some of that speculation may come from an article titled “Increase of the Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentration due to Ocean Warming” by Dr. Jarl Ahlbeck of Abo Akademi University
    (http://www.john-daly.com/oceanco2/oceanco2.htm)

    (I found that on John L. Daly”s (1943-2004) website, “Still waiting for Greenhouse” (Note: Daly’s information may be dated or incomplete since he’s been dead for 8 years).

    In the article, Ahlbeck is discussing warming ocean water causing a rise in CO2 via diffusion from the ocean into the adjacent atmosphere as expressed in data from ice core measurements. He also states that his calculations show “that natural temperature increase cannot be the whole reason for the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration of about 80 ppm during this century.”

    Hmmm? Now what could be causing that increase in CO2 and what effect might it be having on the earth’s atmosphere? Is it possible that Ahlbeck is actually indicating that there might be one of those dreaded feedback loops at work? For example: humans burn fossil fuels…producing increasing atmospheric CO2…causing the atmosphere to warm…which in turn warms the ocean…causing the ocean to seek a balance with the atmosphere by releasing CO2 into the atmosphere…causing the atmosphere to warm…

    Now I know nothing about quadratic interpolation so I might be jumping to an unwarranted conclusion. Perhaps you could explain it to me.

    Michael Irving

  • Arctic ice continues its irrepressible shrinkage over the last few decades, and indeed has been accelerating in the last few years. When Arctic ice melts, do you suppose it is because it is getting warmer? Or is it too complicated or too early to tell? Perhaps we should wait a few more years. When it finally disappears every September, then perhaps we can make a decision on what to do about it…..oh….too late then, you say?…..damn.

    Well, we can always rely on the engineers of the world, however. The latest thing is to ‘whiten the clouds’ in the Arctic, or perhaps we could pump massive amounts of seawater sprays into the air, cooling the planet…or….whatever.

    Some scientists and engineers consider the present situation a ‘planetary emergency’. I wonder why, since there remains much evidence that it might not be – after all, look at the period 1998 to the present…we are already cooling! Why do anything now?

    Anyway, back to the ‘planetary emergency’ – see the BBC article below.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17400804

    Of course, at one time, a possible solution might have been to reduce carbon emissions…you know how that discussion turned out. People kept waiting for incontrovertible evidence to appear supporting one view or the other, even though the preponderance of evidence showed that the earth was warming and that humans were a significant part of the problem.

  • Arctic ice continues its irrepressible shrinkage over the last few decades, and indeed has been accelerating in the last few years. When Arctic ice melts, do you suppose it is because it is getting warmer? Or is it too complicated or too early to tell? Perhaps we should wait a few more years. When it finally disappears every September, then perhaps we can make a decision on what to do about it…..oh….too late then, you say?…..damn.

    Well, we can always rely on the engineers of the world, however. The latest thing is to ‘whiten the clouds’ in the Arctic, or perhaps we could pump massive amounts of seawater sprays into the air, cooling the planet…or….whatever.

    Some scientists and engineers consider the present situation a ‘planetary emergency’. I wonder why, since there remains much evidence that it might not be – after all, look at the period 1998 to the present…we are already cooling! Why do anything now?

    Anyway, back to the ‘planetary emergency’ – see the BBC article below.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17400804

    Of course, at one time, a possible solution might have been to reduce carbon emissions…you know how that discussion turned out…it never did – vested interests prevented it.

  • Here is one for TurboGuy! if he is still in the neighbourhood…

    NY Times today:
    U.S. Faces a Tricky Task in Assessment of Data on Iran

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/world/middleeast/iran-intelligence-crisis-showed-difficulty-of-assessing-nuclear-data.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120318

    Conclusions of the article?

    Just as in 2010, new evidence about the Iranian nuclear program delayed the National Intelligence Estimate in 2007, the last previous assessment. Current and former American officials say that a draft version of the assessment had been completed when the United States began to collect surprising intelligence suggesting that Iran had suspended its weapons program and disbanded its weapons team four years earlier.

    The draft version had concluded that the Iranians were still trying to build a bomb, the same finding of a 2005 assessment. But as they scrutinized the new intelligence from several sources, including intercepted communications in which Iranian officials were heard complaining to one another about stopping the program, the American intelligence officials decided they had to change course, officials said. While enrichment activities continued, the evidence that Iran had halted its weapons program in 2003 at the direction of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was too strong to ignore, they said.

    One former senior official characterized the information as very persuasive. “I had high confidence in it,” he said. “There was tremendous evidence that the program had been halted.”

    And today, despite criticism of that assessment from some outside observers and hawkish politicians, American intelligence analysts still believe that the Iranians have not gotten the go-ahead from Ayatollah Khamenei to revive the program.

    “That assessment,” said one American official, “holds up really well.”

    And yet the US/UK/Israeli/French axis of evil is willing to destroy a country’s entire economic stability, their physical infrastructure sending them back to the Stone AGe, their military defences to protect them from aggressive states, and starve their people through intense international sanctions. Even though their intelligence services say no nuclear programme is evident? Even though their senior politicians admit no nuclear program is imminent? Why would we allow a country to be destroyed on falsified evidence? Perhaps because the real reason is hidden by the nuclear red herring?

  • Victor, Victor, Victor, didn’t you know that when Al Gore and his UN co-conspirators get done blow torching the glaciers they head over and work on the arctic ice. No warming here. Just a conspiracy by the New World Order to create one world government under the UN by using the false global warming scare to get the US to give up our sovereignty.

    Just in case anyone would be dense enough to think I am serious, I am not. However except for the Al Gore blow torch part I have heard the rest from a variety of deniers. One person even thought Al Gore, who couldn’t secure the election he won, was actually using global warming to become the dictator of the world. Since the ice is definitely melting on the glaciers and the Arctic, if warming is not to be acknowledged then one has to come up with another theory. If not Al Gore and the blowtorch team, what then????? One denier linked to a site that said one glacier was actually growing. I checked it out and per the site that happened to be the one that was. The site that was supposedly proof the glaciers weren’t melting, fully documented all the other glaciers that were retreating at phenomenal rates.

  • If faith in the goodness of science — a great gift to humankind from God — is ever lost, then the future of children everywhere, life as we know it, and Earth as a fit place for habitation by coming generations, that we think we are preserving and protecting on our watch, will probably be ruined utterly. Somehow science must come to prevail over the pernicious silence of too many of ‘the brightest and the best’ on one hand and the specious, intellectually dishonest, willfully deceitful, cascading ideological chatter by clever ‘talking heads’, overly educated sycophants or other minions in the mainstream media who serve the selfish interests of the self-proclaimed masters of the universe among us on the other.

    It appears that we have a lot work to do…..fast. Endless growth of the immense ‘artificial reality’ will end either as a function of intelligent human thought, the best available science and morally courageous action or else the colossal artificial reality(aka economic colossus, aka global political economy) will somehow expand until it implodes because an endlessly growing, gigantic global economy in a finite world like the one we inhabit cannot be sustained much longer on a planet of the size, composition and frangible ecology of Earth. To put this situation in another way, if we keep up our reckless overconsuming, relentless overproducing and unbridled overpopulation activities, then there can be no functional global economy, no life as we know it, no future human well being, no planet as a fit place of human habitation because the human species is polluting Earth’s fragile environs and plundering its limited resources faster than the planet can restore itself for human benefit. Allow me to deploy words from A. Schweitzer. We need a new ethics based upon “reverence for life”. To revere an ethical system based upon idea that ‘greed is good’, the one we see dominating human activity on our watch, needs to be appropriately criminalized rather than ubiquitously legitimized, socially sanctioned and made lawful.

    Always,

    Steve

  • Completely agree with this post. Short and sweet, you covered issues that are so often overlooked. Anarchy is constantly demonized by the media, the status quo, and the mainstream in general. And of course sustainability is a farce, and capital is an injurious scam. These are just some of the myriad terms of doublespeak we’re swamped with when trying to interact with a pathological and terminally ill society.

  • Victor,
    Regarding the “global emergency” article:

    Resa’s embrace of a “wait and see, the science isn’t settled” attitude is being helped by some parts of the scientific community where there has been, according to the article, “suppression and non-discussion of issues that are difficult, and one of those is in fact methane”. But it’s not whether or not there will be a methane release, that’s happening now. And it’s not whether or not a methane release is a bad thing, methane’s much worse than CO2. The questions are how much and how quickly! Will we have some really warm summers or a Permian extinction redux?

    If the concepts are too scary for some of the scientists how is a layperson going to deal with them? Denial is one option.

    Michael Irving

  • Peak Medicine????

    WHO Chief: The End of Modern Medicine Is Coming
    by Julie Rodriguez
    March 16, 2012
    According to Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization, this could soon be reality. At a meeting with infection disease experts in Copenhagen, she stated simply that every antibiotic in the arsenal of modern medicine may soon become useless due to the rise of antibiotic resistant diseases. The Independent quoted her explaining the ramifications:
    “A post-antibiotic era means, in effect, an end to modern medicine as we know it. Things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill.”
    She continued: “Antimicrobial resistance is on the rise in Europe, and elsewhere in the world. We are losing our first-line antimicrobials.
    “Replacement treatments are more costly, more toxic, need much longer durations of treatment, and may require treatment in intensive care units.
    “For patients infected with some drug-resistant pathogens, mortality has been shown to increase by around 50 per cent.
    “Some sophisticated interventions, like hip replacements, organ transplants, cancer chemotherapy, and care of preterm infants, would become far more difficult or even too dangerous to undertake.”
    Around the world, more and more pathogens are spreading which don’t respond to any known antibiotic drugs. In India, there has been a recent outbreak of drug-resistant TB. And in the US, the CDC warns that a new strain of gonorrhea is on the rise – and it is resistant to most forms of antibiotics. The agency warns that it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing outbreaks of untreatable STIs. (And the fact thatsex education in the US rarely warns teens how to adequately protect themselves from STIs probably won’t help.)
    So why is this happening? There are a couple of troubling reasons – the first that Chan points to is the heavy use of antibiotics in livestock. In the US, a full 80% of the country’s antibiotics go to farm animals, not human beings. And the FDA has done little to discourage this. The only solution here is to go vegetarian/vegan, or start paying more for organic (not “natural”) meat, eggs, and dairy that have never been exposed to antibiotics.
    The other reason is just depressing: there’s no money to be made, apparently, in developing new antibiotics. Chan says:
    “In terms of new replacement antibiotics, the pipeline is virtually dry. The cupboard is nearly bare.
    “From an industry perspective, why invest considerable sums of money to develop a new antimicrobial when irrational use will accelerate its ineffectiveness before the investment can be recouped?”
    She called for measures to tackle the threat by doctors prescribing antibiotics appropriately, patients following their treatment and restrictions on the use of antibiotics in animals.
    But she said attention was “still sporadic” and actions “inadequate”.
    “At a time of multiple calamities in the world, we cannot allow the loss of essential antimicrobials, essential cures for many millions of people, to become the next global crisis,” she said.
    Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/who-chief-the-end-of-modern-medicine-is-coming.html#ixzz1pUl3GN3Q

  • Will have to make this short and sweet because skies have cleared (at least for a bit) and I need to finish other tasks.

    Victor:

    Re: “Arctic ice continues its irrepressible shrinkage over the last few decades, and indeed has been accelerating in the last few years. When Arctic ice melts, do you suppose it is because it is getting warmer? Or is it too complicated or too early to tell?”

    Actually current speculation is centering upon soot rather than temperature, and yes, undoubtedly you can tie the increase in soot back to human activity. China for one is (I believe … please don’t quote me on this) opening a new coal-fired power plant every 2-4 weeks.

    I just checked the latest sea ice extent report from the NSIDC (National Snow and Ice Data Center, nsidc.org – data is freely available for public browsing). After being low for most of the ’11-’12 winter, Arctic sea ice extent has now moved into near normal territory. Late February into March is considered peak. Current ice extent is unusually high on the Pacific side, less so on the Atlantic side.

    Antarctic sea ice extent is at slightly above normal levels at this time.

    Be advised that an ice extent in maximum territory is not a direct 1:1 correlation with summer meltdown. Other variables come into play.

    Out of curiosity, I checked the average monthly temperature for Anchorage. It’s currently running (minus) -10 degrees F below normal. Looks like it may stay that way for the next couple of weeks. They’ve had an interesting winter. February was +5 degrees above average; January -14 degrees below average; December +4 degrees above average; November -8 degrees below average.

    There’s lots of glacier data available on the NSIDC site as well. I haven’t had a chance to go through it all, but it appears that the Antarctica ones have increased in size, most of the European ones have decreased, and ironically, the US ones are split 2:3 between increasing and decreasing.

    Michael:

    Re: “Resa’s embrace of a “wait and see, the science isn’t settled” attitude …”

    Not sure where you’re picking up “my embrace of wait and see,” although I do concur with your “science isn’t settled.” I’ve definitely stated the later several times.

    I’ve said from the beginning that a final determination of whether we’re warming (or cooling) can’t be made at this time. Global temps peaked in 1998. They’ve been flat to down (depending upon year) since. Twelve years is too short a stretch to base a conclusion. That’s neither acceptance nor denial. It’s simply basic science 101.

    Again, current average global surface temp is slightly warm, just not warm enough to substantiate IPCC assessment projections.

    Anyway, folks, cheerio!

    Keep cool (or warm) (depending upon your location).

  • A few weeks ago Mount Taraaaki was blanketed in a light covering of snow. This was unseasonally early. Sadly, an uninformed opinion-piece writer for the local give-away newspaper interpreted this as ‘so much for global warming’. (Last August snow fell in New Plymouth for the first time in living memory and settlements inland were nearly brought to a standstill by snow.)

    Of course, anyone who has more than a very superficial understanding of science knows that warmer oceans result in greater vater vapour pressure and more evaporation, and that more energy in the atmosphere is likely to lead to greater movement of air masses and mixing of warm and cold air, resulting in greater precipitation is all forms. Needless to say, the majority of people have close to zero understanding of science. They interpret more snow as an indicator of cooling. In the extreme, greater build up of ice in the higher regions of Antartica is interpreted as ‘a new ice age coming’ (ignoring the fact that ice at the preiphery is meltaing at a specatular rate and that the West Antartice icesheet is on track for collapse.)e

    This past weekend was spectacularly sunny and warm (all the snow on the mountian has gone.)

    I have more or less given up attempting to correct the misunderstnading and misinterpetation of phenomena because, as we have discussed many times, people so not want to know. (I begin to wonder whether they even hear when I speak the truth. Little of what i write is read.)

    The prime concerns around here are:

    1. Extracting oil and gas from both inland and offshore wells.

    2. Producing large quantities of dairy products for export.

    3. Attracting visitors, who will hopefully spend a lot of money on accommodation, food and entertainment.

    4. Selling as much stuff as possible (most of it imported) in the retail sector.

    5. Building or replacing infrastructure which facilitates any, or all, of the above.

    6. Providing services which keep the general populace believing in and participating in the industrial economy.

    Central government is primarily concerned with perpetuating all of the above, plus maintianing the bankers’ Ponzi scheme, as is local government. And, needless to say, the bulk of the media is concerned with keeping the populace in the industrial ‘cage’; that is not a difficult task when so many of them want to be in the cage (or don’t even know they are in a cage).

    We can keep telling the truth to the few who will listen, and to official bodies, such as the district council, who won’t listen, so that we maintian our integrity and sanity.

    And when the tipping point comes (clearly economic rather than emnvironmental for most people) we will be able to say: “We tried to warn you.”

    In the meantime, society will continue its unstoppable race off the cliff.

  • Resa.

    I see your misinformation stream is flowing freely, pouring out a continuous flow of rubbish: you should be able to get a highly-paid position with a corpoate ‘newspaper’, or become a spokesperson for Monsanto, Exxon, BP, Shell etc.

    1. ‘Global temps peaked in 1998.

    No so at all. There has been considerable discussion about that so-called peak, and it is now generally acknowledged that it was an artifact of incomplete measurement. Most organisations I know of list 2005 tied equal with 2010 as the hottest years. Besides which, if we consider the average temperature in the first decade of the 2000s, it is considerably higher than in the 1990s.

    2. Although the ice cover in the Arctic is not as low as in some recent years, it is well down from the historical norm. What is much more important is the thickness and density if the ice (both of which are down). We will not have good data for another two or three years (new satellite launched recently to take measurements)

    3. Soot? I suggest you do some study on Global Dimming. The evidence is quite compelling that the Earth is being kept cool by industrial pollution in the atmosphere disturbing normal cloud formation (excellent BBC documentary available on the subject). The implication is that when Peak Oil begins to really demolish the industrial economy and the skies clear there will be a surge in warming.

    4. ‘Twelve years is too short a stretch to base a conclusion.’ ??? Actual temperature records are available going back to the early 1900s in most locations and as far back as the 1600s in some locations.

    I notice you completely ignored all the points I raised previously with respect to CO2 and humanity converting sequestered carbon into carbon dioxide. Too hard to refute?

  • Kevin the BBC video can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8RyNSzQDaU at about 32 minutes is the part about what happened to temps when the planes were all grounded on 911.

  • Resa you wrote “…it appears that the Antarctica ones have increased in size, most of the European ones have decreased, and ironically, the US ones are split 2:3 between increasing and decreasing.”

    So easy to make assertions when you don’t bother to prove them in any way at all
    “GENEVA — Glaciers in Antarctica are melting faster and across a much wider area than previously thought, a development that threatens to raise sea levels worldwide and force millions of people to flee low-lying areas, scientists said Wednesday.”
    http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/globalwarming/2009-02-25-warming_N.htm

  • ” virtually all the glaciers of North America are in a state of retreat.”

    “Over the five-year period from 2000–2005, 115 of 115 glaciers examined in Switzerland retreated, 115 of 115 glaciers in Austria retreated. In Italy during 50 glaciers were retreating and 3 stationary, and all 7 glaciers observed in France were in retreat.”

    “Other researchers have found that glaciers across the Alps appear to be retreating at a faster rate than a few decades ago. In 2008, the Swiss Glacier survey of 85 glaciers found 78 retreating, 2 stationary and 5 advancing.”

    “The Himalayas and other mountain chains of central Asia support large regions that are glaciated. These glaciers provide critical water supplies to arid countries such as Mongolia, western China, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. As is true with other glaciers worldwide, the glaciers of Asia are experiencing a rapid decline in mass. The loss of these glaciers would have a tremendous impact on the ecosystem of the region.”
    ETC.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retreat_of_glaciers_since_1850

  • And Resa since you mentioned the NDISC

    “With few exceptions, glaciers around the world have retreated at unprecedented rates over the last century. Some ice caps, glaciers, and even an ice shelf have disappeared altogether. Many more are retreating so rapidly that they may vanish within decades. Some scientists attribute this retreat to the Industrial Revolution; burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and affects our environment in ways we did not understand before.”
    https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/sotc/glacier_balance.html

    If you were right in your undocumented assertions, it would seem that Kevin and Guy and the others here who have worked so hard in speeches and books and essays to alert others to Peak Oil and Climate Change, have wasted their time. I admire their hard work against the strong denialism so rife in the general public. The industries and think tanks that have created the impressions that you assert so strongly have done a evil work.

  • Guy. Not necessairy sunk. The E-Cat can live on amongst the scientifically illiterate as an example of a technology that was suppressed/sabotaged by oil companies, coal companies, electic companies etc. because it was ‘too successful’.

    If people can believe it’s cooling when it’s warming, if people can believe in investing in share markets and derivatives markets after Enron, WorldCom, Lehman etc…….

  • Let’s not bury the e-Cat yet. There are reasons why I am withholding judgement as yet…. ;-) Low Energy Nuclear Reaction is a technology that has been proven in the laboratory over the last few years, and Rossi claims to have one implementation of that that is supposedly commercially viable. It does have very low gamma ray emissions that are easily shielded. Rossi’s point is that his device neither requires radioactive inputs, nor does it produce radioactive products. He produces no units yet in the USA, though he is building a factory with partners. He is currently working with Underwriters’ Labs to certify his product for use. Only after that will he produce the home versions.

    There is a lot of intentional misinformation produced both by sceptics of the technology and by Rossi himself at this point. There are reasons for both. This has become quite a religious thing over the last year with many people on both sides of the argument.

    However, we should all know within a few months – certainly by the end of the year – whether this bird will fly.

    The link by Guy points to a sceptic site. It’s natural that they put that spin on it. Nothing has been proven yet, and until it is, I am exercising my right not to form a final opinion.

  • The cat got dead?

  • Victor, it’s interesting that you equate the feelings about the e-cat with religion. After reading Rossi’s biography recently, it reminded me of a man I encountered some years ago in a South Florida church.

    One day, as our church was bursting at the seams with people, a man announced that he was giving $10,000,000 to the church for the building of a new facility. What tremendous news! It was an answer to prayer! Everyone got caught up in the excitement as we all began to dream about what we were going to include in our new building. The plans were drawn up and arrangements were made to buy a larger piece of property. The news was covered by the local media with full page stories in the paper and long pieces on TV. To say that this guy was the star of the moment was an understatement. At least until it came time for him to write the check. Then, in a burst of tears, he admitted that he had no money and that he struggled even to pay his rent.

    I could be completely wrong, of course, but after reading his biography and the trouble with fraud that he’s had in the past, he seems to be acting the same way as my fellow churchgoer. With no actual mal-intent, he wants to help solve the problem so bad that he deludes everyone – himself included. Time will tell – in fact, I think it already is.

  • TRDH

    Time will tell indeed. But unless you have some inside knowledge that no one else has, I really don’t think you can say with authority that ‘it already has’. I can find you lots of sceptic sites that have blasted away at this for many months…all of them convinced without a doubt that Rossi is a fruitcake and a fraudster. And he might just be! Or he might just be a hero. We shall see soon enough.

    If it turns out he is a fraud, you fellows will look like gold!

    Of course, if he is not a fraud, well….. :-)

  • The home version of the eCat will be about the size of a desktop computer and will sell for $500. Small enough to be installed in a car: would put the automobile engine manufacturing and gasoline refining and distribution out of business. If it does not pan out, we still have the technology to switch from “horseless” carriages back to regular carriages.

  • Horses are good….well-fed horses anyway…. ;-)

  • Victor, you are correct that I have no inside information, just using the ol’ noggin, which I freely admit doesn’t always work correctly. :-)

    And, if the e-cat turns out actually to work, I will gladly eat crow. And then, I’ll mourn the continued frenzied destruction of the planet as we continue to pave over the wilderness so we can build more malls and drive more cars and . . . you get the idea.

    However, I’m confident it’s going to be quite a while before I have to discover what that particular crow tastes like. :-)

  • I’ll mourn the continued frenzied destruction of the planet as we continue to pave over the wilderness so we can build more malls and drive more cars and . . . you get the idea.

    The picture you paint is my biggest fear…..what if Rossi (or someone else) is successful? Electricity and heating would be cheap and plentiful. Transport would be re-invented with LENR drives. Water could be produced cheaply from the sea.

    And the human race would grow out of all control. Massive destruction of forests, sea-life, biodiversity….and all the other ills of modern civilisation.

  • Here’s an article, with data from what might be considered a valid source, discussing USA weather/climate and informing us that the ratio of high over low temperature records set so far this year is running 14-1. For the first half of March it was almost 19-1 according to the National Weather Service. The accompanying three-month projection map shows that while the Pacific Northwest can expect continuing cool temperatures (Resa and me) most of the rest of USns are likely to be sweating over the next three months. Now someone noted, “one month doesn’t indicate a trend”, but I’m just saying…

    http://capitalclimate.blogspot.com/2012/03/preliminary-data-lift-march-heat.html

    Michael Irving

  • Update for world temperature data

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17432194

    Researchers have updated HadCRUT – one of the main global temperate records, which dates back to 1850.

    One of the main changes is the inclusion of more data from the Arctic region, which has experienced one of the greatest levels of warming.

    The amendments do not change the long-term trend, but the data now lists 2010, rather than 1998, as the warmest year on record.

    So now perhaps we can get off this 1998 kick… :-)

  • Victor,

    LENR drives. I don’t know what you mean.

  • The weather here has been unusual all winter but now it is plum weird. My Maypops came up in mid April a two years back – they are already starting to sprout now. Before that they usually sprouted in May. I am planting my squash now even though our usual last frost date in mid April.

    I have begun looking regularly at this site which changes each day and it gives quite a good visual of the above or below normal state of the US
    https://weather.com/maps/maptype/currentweatherusnational/usdeparturefromnormalhighs_large.html?clip=undefined&region=undefined&collection=localwxforecast&presname=undefined

  • A collection of articles on the latest Presidental Executive Order
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30852.htm

    Snippet from one
    “President Obama signs Executive Order allowing for control over all US resources

    By Kenneth Schortgen Jr
    On March 16th, President Obama signed a new Executive Order which expands upon a prior order issued in 1950 for Disaster Preparedness, and gives the office of the President complete control over all the resources in the United States in times of war or emergency.

    The National Defense Resources Preparedness order gives the Executive Branch the power to control and allocate energy, production, transportation, food, and even water resources by decree under the auspices of national defense and national security. The order is not limited to wartime implementation, as one of the order’s functions includes the command and control of resources in peacetime determinations.”

    And from another
    “Obama Executive Order would seize US infrastructure, citizens for nat’l defense

    By Joe Newby

    The order would also allow for a civilian draft – the conscription of “persons of outstanding experience or ability” without compensation.

    A post at Current.com adds:

    The EO also states that the President and his Secretaries have the authority to seize all transportation, energy, and infrastructure inside the United States as well as forcibly induct/draft American citizens into the military. The EO also contains a vague reference in regards to harnessing American citizens to fulfill “labor requirements” for the purposes of national defense.

    Not only that, but the authority claimed inside the EO does not only apply to National Emergencies and times of war. It also applies in peacetime.”

  • Jaron – I meant that transport vehicles would be converted to LENR driven motors. This technology is small and compact. There are many, many uses for it – it can scale up and can scale down. The internal combustion engine would become a museum piece.

  • Kathy

    And this as well – HR 347 – Make Protesting a Felony

    http://www.inquisitr.com/206017/president-obama-signs-anti-protest-bill-h-r-347/

    You know where this is headed, right? And it is not speculation. This stuff is happening around us almost daily now, as all the fascist machinery comes together after many years. Won’t be long now, I fear.

  • Strangely, no one seems to be actually fighting this stuff. We are all mumbling under our beards, but no court seems to have been called upon to take a look at all these new and unconstitutional laws and presidential executive orders that have come out since 9/11. Or am I wrong on that?

  • If they call me up, I still know how to snap to attention, click my heels and salute. And say “Yes, SIR!” (or “MA’AM!”, as the case may be). It is to be remembered that one salutes the rank, not the bag of flesh and bones inside the uniform.

  • TRDH

    In response to your comments

    But, the fact is, the only solution to virtually all of the problems we discuss here on this site is the reduction of human population by at least 5 billion, and most likely 6.5 billion. For those 6.5 billion, that is no solution at all. It’s the end.

    So, we’ll just keep going fighting over the scraps remaining until we crash – violently.

    This really is the elephant in the room isn’t it? Even if it weren’t, I find all the dialogue around the energy issue is based on the unquestioned assumption that we should continue the lifestyle and culture we have created. This aspect ignores alternative living arrangements and results in carrying on with our destructive ways, simply fueled by a different energy source, while perhaps cleaner, does nothing to address destruction of natural environments through human activity. On this note I came across the following article today which makes a case for behavioural modification instead of strictly tackling the issue from a technological standpoint. It also touches on the vicious circle principle found at the root of our exponential function problem. Demand creates supply, but supply also creates demand. The only ‘out’ I can see is to live in a very low energy world which prevents humans from consuming ourselves to death.

    Focus On Technology Overlooks Human Behavior When Addressing Climate Change

    Between the population issue and vicious circle principle, I agree the only eventual outcome is violent collapse. This begs the question, are humans fundamentally wired in a way that condemns us to extinction? Are we witness to an evolutionary cul de sac? Or are we just lacking in vision and creativity? Is it even possible for a species to attain consciousness without the damning baggage that comes with it?

  • Refinery Shutdowns:

    Does anyone have any idea on why a lot of refineries are shutting down?

    Just announced Valero in Aruba. Earlier Hovensa in USVI.

    Can’t the get the grade of oil that they need?

  • Michael Mann: The Hockey Stick Under Oath

  • Ed I found this – don’t know if it is the real reason but…

    Refining Capacity Continues to Shrink as Valero Shuts Down Aruba
    by Allen Good | 19 Mar 12

    Advertisement

    Valero VLO announced Monday that it will suspend refining operations at its 235 thousand barrel per day Aruba refinery by the end of the month because of unfavorable refinery economics. Valero expects those unfavorable economics to continue and is considering operating the facility as a terminal or storage site as a result. The firm previously suspended operations at the facility in mid-2009 then resumed production in late 2010 as conditions improved. However, it was never able to generate positive cash flow consistently, given the challenging margin environment. Also, island refineries typically face higher costs, leaving them at a disadvantage against U.S. refineries that have access to low-cost natural gas. Hess HES shut in its HOVENSA refinery in St. Croix earlier this year for similar reasons. As a result, it is unlikely Aruba will resume refining operations again. We plan to adjust our forecasts for Valero to incorporate the closure of the refinery, but do not anticipate a change in our fair value estimate. However, the shutdown of Aruba will probably result in a tighter East Coast market, which has experienced the bulk of refining rationalization in the past yea,
    http://torontostar.morningstar.ca/globalhome/industry/news.asp?articleid=541093
    Its going to be an interesting summer….

  • Ed I posted the question about refineries on another discussion site and got this response from someone who lives in Germany

    In the UK and in mainland Europe too.

    The following article says that,

    “”Coryton [in the UK] supplies 20% of the fuel for the south-east [of the UK] but has buckled under the pressure of tight margins and competition from “super-refineries” in Asia and the Middle East. Its owner Petroplus collapsed into administration in January, putting 900 jobs at the Essex site at risk, although a last-ditch reprieve this month will keep it open until at least May.

    “There is some sort of structural change in the refining industry globally,” said Nayyar. “Refineries that were small-sized or low-complexity are being replaced by large, complex refineries mostly built in the Asia-Pacific region … Those refineries that are not economically sustainable or of low complexity will find it much harder to survive in this market.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/feb/27/oil-refineries-close-uk-europe-essar-energy

    One problem is that as the refineries need renovating the owners look at the immenses costs involved and then check out how long they expect to be able to carry on the business and realise that they are never going to get their investment back. If the refineries all relocate to Asia then one can guess what is going to happen to our fuel prices. And of course the refineries don’t only process fuel. We get our raw materials for plastics, agri-products, pharmaceuticals and so on from the refinery. One might say that in the future Asia will have us over a barrel – pun intended.

  • This report kinda says it all:

    Unprecedented, “Eye-Popping” Temperatures Soar, Highs Continue

    Climate scientist: “This is to me the most unusual weather event I’ve witnessed in my lifetime.”

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/03/20-5

  • The couch surfing community has a great sense of gifting.

  • Victor, in the words of my neighbor who is 82 and farmed here all his life – “I ain’t seen nothing like it in my life”.

  • Thanks Kathy on the refineries.

  • After a warm, sunny, still weekend we have just experienced the most destructive wind for decades …. not tornadoes, just a ferocious wind up to 100-120kph that kept blowing for three days, knocking down trees, ripping off roofs, pushing in windows etc. I lost a 6-year-old macadamia tree -the trunk snapped.

    Such events are coming with increasing frequency. (Unprecendented drought 18 months ago, unprecendented snow 8 months ago).

    It’s not looking promising for permculture.

    And we’re ‘only’ at 394ppm.

    I see that Spain is heading into summer with some districts having had the least winter rain for 70 years. And SE Britain is headed for water shortages.

    The northern summer looks as though it will be very ‘interesting’.

  • Kevin

    In the SE of UK, we are experiencing the least rainfall we have had for ages. Water reservoirs are extremely low, almost exceeding the record set in 1976, if not actually already exceeding it. We have a hosepipe restriction going into effect 5 April. Not certain what will be next. In 1976, they ended up shutting off the mains, trucking water into some areas, and providing centrally-located neighbourhood taps for locals to go fill up containers. I hope we don’t get to that point….

  • Executive order – National defense resources preparedness
    by President Barack Obama
    Submitted by EB contributor George Brown who writes:
    “A number of bloggers picked up on this item over the weekend. ”

    “Last Friday, with little publicity, President Obama signed a national preparedness executive order that gives USG cabinet agencies the ability to exercise total control over what are essentially all the resources of the USA. Most attributed this order to preparations with possible conflict with Iran, or creeping dictatorship — the order specifies wartime “or other emergency”.

    “In my humble opinion, though, this could also be the USG’s way of telling us that it knows Peak Oil has arrived, and that the age of energy and resource scarcity has officially begun. It would be great to have some commentary by one of your community of writers put something up on the Energy Bulletin about this.”
    http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2012-03-21/executive-order-national-defense-resources-preparedness

    I wish it was just an announcement of Peak Oil, but probably it is an acknowledgement that we are going to be dragged into a war with Iran.

  • re. the extreme warmth most of the usa is experiencing this month, it’s as if gaia is sending a pointed message to the world’s biggest agw offenders. thanks for the link, victor.

    wouldn’t be surprised, kathy, if war with iran comes soon.

    sorry about your tree, kevin. that was some wind.

  • Sitting here in Queensland, Australia with a wicked storm coming down as I type. High winds, non-stop rain for well over an hour, water creeping ever closer to my backyard door. This after days of intermittent rain and the ground already oversaturated. While the summer growing season is over, given the relatively warm temperatures during fall and winter, one can grow some fruit and vegetables year round, but with all this rain they’re just going to rot.

  • Laugh of the day:

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/22/worst-is-over-in-eurozone-debt-crisis-says-ecb-chief/

    ‘Worst is over’ in eurozone debt crisis says ECB chief

    The worst is over in the eurozone debt crisis, but risks remain and it is up to governments to resolve them, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said in a newspaper interview Thursday.

    “The worst is over, but risks remain,” Draghi told the daily Bild, Germany’s most widely-read newspaper.

    “Key indicators such as inflation, the current account balance and above all budget deficits are all better than, say, in the United States,” the Italian central banker said.

    “Investor confidence is returning and for weeks now the ECB has not needed to take supportive action by buying bonds. The ball is now in the governments’ court. They have to make the eurozone permanently immune to crisis,” Draghi said.

  • http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/03/soviet-leader-chernobyl-nuclear-accident-caused-the-collapse-of-the-ussr.html

    Soviet Leader: Chernobyl Nuclear Accident Caused the Collapse of the USSR
    Posted on March 21, 2012 by WashingtonsBlog
    Gorbachev Says Chernobyl – Not Perestroika or Reagan’s Arms Race – Caused the Break Up of the Soviet Union

    Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of open politics – called perestroika – is largely blamed for the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    However, according to Gorbachev’s 1996 memoirs, it was the Chernobyl nuclear accident, rather than perestroika (or Ronald Reagan’s increased arms spending), which destroyed the Soviet Union.

    As Gorbachev wrote in 2006:

    The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl 20 years ago this month, even more than my launch of perestroika, was perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union five years later. Indeed, the Chernobyl catastrophe was an historic turning point: there was the era before the disaster, and there is the very different era that has followed.

    ***

    The Chernobyl disaster, more than anything else, opened the possibility of much greater freedom of expression, to the point that the system as we knew it could no longer continue. It made absolutely clear how important it was to continue the policy of glasnost, and I must say that I started to think about time in terms of pre-Chernobyl and post-Chernobyl.

    The price of the Chernobyl catastrophe was overwhelming, not only in human terms, but also economically. Even today, the legacy of Chernobyl affects the economies of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

    As we’ve previously noted, “the risk of a nuclear catastrophe … could total trillions of dollars and even bankrupt a country”. Indeed, Fukushima may yet bankrupt Japan.

    And any country foolish enough to build unsafe nuclear reactors – based upon their ability to produce plutonium for nuclear warheads and to power nuclear submarines – may go the way of the Soviet Union.

    Especially if it is foolish enough to let the same companies which built and run Fukushima build and run their new plants as well.

  • Kathy C,

    You may be right about war with Iran – they have lots of oil, after all. Whatever we can do to prolong the farce.

    I am certain that the U.S. government knows exactly what’s going on with peak oil. President Carter talked about it openly when he was still president – more than 30 years ago. President Obama has all but admitted to peak oil in recent weeks as he tries to reassure voters that his policies have nothing to do with expensive gas prices.

    TPTB are all keenly aware that as we go farther down the peak oil curve, that all hell is going to break loose and they are taking the only steps they can think of to maintain their control in the coming chaos: a totalitarian regime.

    The recent actions by the U.S. government confirm, in my mind, that the predictions that many have been making about imminent collapse are on target. The pace of such government actions will quicken over the next few months. Watch for even more outrageous affronts to our traditional freedoms. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see even Republicans support gun control, quietly of course – “to keep the guns out of the hands of the terrorists”.

    In the end, it doesn’t matter. I suspect most readers here agree that all the oppressive laws in the world aren’t going to change the outcome, it’s just all “our leaders” know to do.

  • TRDH Tyler Durden not only expects a war but lays out the timing possibilities – He has previously written about the possibility of a false flag attack on the USS Enterprise which is on its way to the Gulf. War with Iran has been predicted for a number of years but seems ever more imminent.

    Full article with charts at http://www.zerohedge.com/news/1001-moonless-kinetic-nights-presenting-windows-opportunity-iranian-attack
    1001 Moonless Kinetic Nights: Presenting The Windows Of Opportunity For An Iranian Attack
    Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/21/2012 21:53 -0400

    Following last Friday’s majority vote by the Israel Security Council authorizing Iranian “action” when required, answering the “if”, the only open question remains “when.” As it turns out, based on the following analysis by Rapidan Group, there are only 10 or so distinct 10 day New Moon windows for the remainder of 2012. If one removes the sandstorm prone months of April, July and September, there are 7 periods in which a military strike is realistic. Also CVN 65 is moving at a snail’s pace and is just now approaching the Straits of Gibraltar. Since any action will likely not take place unless 3 aircraft carriers are in the vicinity, and because the ICE yesterday instituted ultra-short term trading spike curbs in crude, starting April 1, one can likely eliminate the immediately proximal March 17-27 window. Which leaves six. Our advice would be to buy up OTM calls in Brent in the days just ahead of the start of any such window, as any “surprise” attack will have a uplifting impact on all combustible assets, doubly so for levered ones.

  • Why do political and economic leaders deny Peak Oil and Climate Change?
    Posted on February 10, 2012 by energyskeptic
    Since there’s nothing that can be done about climate change, because there’s no scalable alternative to fossil fuels, I’ve always wondered why politicians and other leaders, who clearly know better, feel compelled to deny it. I think it’s for exactly the same reasons you don’t hear them talking about preparing for Peak Oil.

    rest at:
    http://energyskeptic.com/2012/climate-change-deniers/

  • TRDH

    Thanks for the ‘the worst is over’ laugh of the day.

    Guardian today:

    The eurozone economy is weaker than thought, and heading into a full-blown recession.

    That’s the message from this morning’s purchasing managers’ indexes (PMIs), covering the manufacturing and services sectors in March. They show that activity in both sectors fell sharply this month

    The flash manufacturing PMI for the full eurozone came in at 47.7, below the forecast of 49.5. Any number below 50 would indicate that the sector contracted. The flash services PMI fell to 48.7, from 48.8 in February.

    This meant the ‘composite PMI’, a combined measure of the euro economy, fell to 48.7 from 49.3 in February, showing activity fell more sharply.

    As reported at 8.39am, the fall was driven by surprisingly poor performances in both France and Germany.

    Chris Williamson of Markit, which compiles the data, said the data showed that 2012 could be a very poor year for the eurozone. Having contracted in the last three months of 2011, it now looks very likely that GDP shrank in the current quarter too. Williamson said:

  • Yesterday we ended up with 384mm of rain from 9am until 11pm. There’s footage of main roads entirely flooded over with people forced to abandon their vehicles.

    Damages done by the prolonged storm season eclipse those of last year. See the article below for details and photos of the flash flooding.

    Damage bill more than ’11 Floods

    There’s been little mention of climate change in reference to the weather. Though I did find a comment at the bottom of the following article where someone is connecting the dots and advising moving to higher ground. Our local councils keep allowing housing developments in low-lying areas, which will have unfortunate economic fallout when the areas regularly flood.

    SES flooded with 600 coast calls

    The URL for the article above is ‘mother nature so cruel.’ No more cruel than we are to her I suppose. A quote from the article “There was 126mms of rain in one hour in Kawana – making it a one in 100 year event.” Apparently we haven’t seen the end of the wet season with more forecasted to come, so perhaps further records will be set.

  • Justin, wow that is quite a bit in a short time. I fear that most people and most news sources cannot deal with extended effects of climate change. Global warming – means it gets hot to them. Thus suddenly I have neighbors that pooh poohed global warming now talking about it because we are having a VERY hot spring. However delve a bit and there are plenty of scientists who understand that both drought and flooding can be caused by climate change – from a quick search on “global warming flooding” you can find articles like this https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/report-climate-change-means-more-frequent-droughts-floods-to-come/2011/11/15/gIQAfwqHXN_story.html
    Climate change means more frequent droughts and floods, U.N. panel says in report
    By Juliet Eilperin, Published: November 18
    Climate change will make drought and flooding events like those that have battered the United States and other countries in 2011 more frequent, forcing nations to rethink the way they cope with disasters, according to a new report the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued Friday.
    The report — the culmination of a two-year process involving 100 scientists and policy experts — suggests that researchers are far more confident about the prospect of more intense heat waves and heavy downpours than they are about how global warming is affecting hurricanes and tornadoes. But the new analysis also speaks to a broader trend: The world is facing a new reality of more extreme weather, and policymakers and business alike are beginning to adjust.

    So the info is out there, but it might actually take some thinking and reading for folks to GET this. Not something Fox news promotes.

  • Well, I’m a bit late to this discussion. But this matter of gifts and barter, in the original essay, gets my attention.

    A gift, something given that has no reciprocal expectations, implies independence. It says, I like you, but I don’t need or expect anything from you in return. If a gift actually has reciprocal expectations, it becomes a trade, a barter, doesn’t it?

    I’m not independent of other people. I give them things and have expectations of them in return. I’m not independent of nature, either. I have a similar relationship with nature, I can provide services and in return I have expectations. And on the negative side, if I provide destruction I can expect destruction in turn. Destroy something you depend on, whether human, plant, animal, or mineral, and it is no different from committing suicide. Turn your back on things you need and it can be slow suicide.

    In physics, actions involving two entities, always have reactions. Cause and effect. Looking at things in this very fundamental way, there is also no such thing as a gift that has no expectations attached to it. That would be a denial of cause and effect.

    Looking at things this way, as an non independent human being, as a creature of cause and effect, I don’t live in a gift economy. I don’t think people ever did. I do think a large number of people have turned their backs on taking care of obligations to each other and to nature, pretending to be independent of both. With predictable results.

    Arthur Noll

  • Arthur

    I agree with your assessment. One of the (many) problems with the monetary system we live in, described very well by Charles Eisenstein (look him up if you haven’t heard of him), removes any sense of responsibility to each other. If I can simply pay for my needs, then I don’t really need anyone do I? If I don’t like the person I’ve paid to do something for me, I’ll just pay someone else. There’s no lasting or meaningful relationship. In fact, most people don’t want to ‘owe anything’ to anybody and complete independence is a goal to strive for. That attitude is incredibly destructive to any sense of community.

    Moreover, goods an services are increasingly monetised, so where neighbours used to help each other out with building a fence, minding kids, etc, we pay for everything. Economists see this as progress, we’ve converted these things into money, thereby increasing GDP. So we measure GDP as increasing, when in fact we’re just seeing people pay for things they used to get for free or did for each other out of common decency.

    I think gifts should have an expectation of reciprocation, but it doesn’t have to be immediate if the receiver has nothing the gifter needs at the time. Instead it establishes a connection that might be called upon in times of real need. Given our uncertain future, this will be increasingly important.

  • More good news from the intelligence services – and more reasons for martial law as states start battling each other:

    https://rt.com/news/water-conflict-terrorism-rivers-239/

    Quote:
    And while the prospect of “water wars” has been touted for decades, it may start to become reality within a decade. The ODNI predicts that by 2040 water demand will outstrip current supply by 40 per cent.

  • A gift economy is not a barter economy – not even close. With a barter economy there is an expectation of immediate return – goods for goods, goods for explicit services rendered, etc. With a gift economy there is no expectation of immediate return and no real value placed on the service or goods offered. When one barters, there is a definite and agreed tit-for-tat. In a monetary system, there is an expectation of money in return.

    At least that is how I understand it.

    In Russia, there were all three systems at work simultaneously among the people. This is one of the reasons Russians were able to overcome the financial catastrophe – they already had a sense of ‘community’ – they were able to adjust to ‘barter’ or ‘gift’ quite readily as their personal networks redoubled in strength and they relied heavily upon each other. This will be much more difficult in the Western world when things start to collapse, as in the West we are highly dependent upon ‘independence’, not having a real talent for barter or gifts. Some might, but most won’t.

  • The biggest risk for the US in the next 5 years or so. Without the petrodollar the US dollar will be severely de-valued, pushing up import prices significantly. As the US has little of a manufacturing base left, many goods will be priced out of the normal person’ ability to pay. The economy will nosedive. The US will not be able to pay for its military any more since no one will buying US debt. Goodbye Empire.

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/saudi-arabia-and-china-team-up-to-build-a-gigantic-new-oil-refinery-is-this-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-the-petrodollar.html

  • A very disappointing interview of Tom Murphy posted on Energy Bulletin
    http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2012-03-22/tom-murphy-interview-resource-depletion-bigger-threat-climate-change

    Oilprice.com: A recent report stated that replacing all coal based power stations with renewable energy, would not affect climate change, and in fact after 100 years the only difference would be a change of 0.2 degrees Celsius. What are your views on climate change?

    Tom Murphy: I see climate change as a serious threat to natural services and species survival, perhaps ultimately having a very negative impact on humanity. But resource depletion trumps climate change for me, because I think this has the potential to effect far more people on a far shorter timescale with far greater certainty. Our economic model is based on growth, setting us on a collision course with nature. When it becomes clear that growth cannot continue, the ramifications can be sudden and severe. So my focus is more on averting the chaos of economic/resource/agriculture/distribution collapse, which stands to wipe out much of what we have accomplished in the fossil fuel age. To the extent that climate change and resource limits are both served by a deliberate and aggressive transition away from fossil fuels, I see a natural alliance. Will it be enough to avert disaster (in climate or human welfare)? Who can know – but I vote that we try real hard.

  • Mismatches of supply and needs are a problem when individuals deal with individuals. Individuals trading with other individuals, or giving and owing, is the monetary pattern of behavior. Individuals trading with a group do not have this problem of mismatches of supply and demand. The group can pool what the individuals in it need. This is how our ancestors lived- teamwork filling a common pot. Groups ate together or starved together. Money breaks up this kind of close teamwork, makes societies of strangers. Large numbers may easily trade with such a system, but there is no strength in the bonds between people. They are inclined to see themselves as individuals, not as a team.

    As I’ve also pointed out, it is a system of thought that forces long term unsustainable behavior. People who don’t conserve, can bring more with less effort to the market, and undersell anyone who conserves. Anyone who wanted to kill whales no faster than they reproduced, could not make a living as a whaler in the days of whaleoil. Whaleoil produced at a sustainable rate, could not compete with whaleoil produced at an unsustainable rate, and whaleoil produced at an unsustainable rate could not compete with fossil oil extracted at unsustainable rates. People got rich in money doing these things and many more, the population grew, and all of it left destruction in their wake. They have had faith in magic of many kinds that this behavior was and is ok.
    I don’t have faith in magic and believe this behavior ends up with serious, life and death consequences. The scarcity of resources this economic paradigm produces, demands far greater efficiency to survive it. Those capable of dropping inefficient economic systems of individuals trading, dropping expectations of magic, and replacing them with much more efficient, science based systems of social structure and values, will survive the inevitable crash, much better.

    Arthur

  • Arthur Noll sez:

    People who don’t conserve, can bring more with less effort to the market, and undersell anyone who conserves. Anyone who wanted to kill whales no faster than they reproduced, could not make a living as a whaler in the days of whaleoil. Whaleoil produced at a sustainable rate, could not compete with whaleoil produced at an unsustainable rate, and whaleoil produced at an unsustainable rate could not compete with fossil oil extracted at unsustainable rates. People got rich in money doing these things and many more, the population grew, and all of it left destruction in their wake.

    Nice observation on irrational economics, Arthur. I’ve never seen it put quite this way, though there are many tropes about long- and short-term thinking. Well done.

  • Justin Nigh,

    Living, as I do, in a benighted region that does not use the metric system it took me a little while to realize the gravity of the situation down there. Then the light went off and I realized that you were talking about an amount of rain in fourteen hours equal to half of our annual average. Holy smoke! My daughter writes to a woman in Cairns who has only this month received the check from the insurance company to fix the roof from last year’s storm.

    As you know, here in the States, denial of global warming is one of the prerequisites for becoming a Republican candidate for president. In other words, if you want to be what is arguably the most powerful person in the world you MUST agree to policies that will lead to human extinction.

    Michael Irving

  • Nice summary of politics here in the US Michael. Perhaps we should say to be the Republican Candidate you must deny global warming and to be the Democratic Candidate you must pretend to care about global warming. That way whoever is president will not do anything about global warming and the oil industry and the financiers will all keep the donations flowing. To bad for humans….

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/23/us/politics/in-oklahoma-obama-declares-pipeline-support.html?_r=1
    “RIPLEY, Okla. — President Obama stood in a red-dirt field before acres of stacked pipeline pieces on Thursday to illustrate his support for expedited construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But his public declaration for the project pleased neither the industry and its Republican allies nor environmentalists.”

  • Thanks for the words of agreement from Justin and Brutus.

    With regard to Justin’s reference to Charles Eisenstein, I thought I remembered the name, but checked to be sure, and it was who I thought it was. I skimmed through his book again. I would say we both have understood there were serious problems with the money game, but have widely diverged on solutions. He wants to try to reform it, I want to toss it out. I’m highly dubious about whether his reforms would work, and it is definitely not as an efficient a system as what I’m talking about doing. Simply creating money,and all the problems of putting it into circulation and taking it out, is a significant energy-resource cost I don’t have. That by itself is a significant flaw.

    He is looking at a world of abundance- I feel like we must be looking at different planets. We have very different perspectives on the potentials of agriculture, permaculture. I don’t think he has looked at these things in the same depth that I have.

    He mentions human interdependence, but he doesn’t make it the cornerstone of his social structure, as I do.

    So aside from seeing some problems with money in common, we are radically different. He seems to feel that as the current system fails, people will naturally be attracted to trying his economic ideas- quite possibly some will do that. That is what I see for my own ideas, as well, failure of the current system will lead to people looking at different ideas, trying different ideas. Quite a few might be attracted to trying his thinking, a lot of people, I’m sure, want to believe what he is saying. Wants do not make reality, though. As for my angle on things, I don’t see many being attracted to giving up money. Too many people love their money, love what is available with markets, love the idea of being richer than they are, love the idea that we haven’t begun to tap the possible abundance of this planet. That, plus dealing with firm beliefs in mysticism, tradition, and superstition, tells me I’m not going to get many willing to try living by scientific observations. I’m looking at a transition that involves a die off of people who have false expectations and poor efficiency at dealing with scarcity. If that leaves relatively tiny number, it is what it is.

  • A gift economy is a manifestation of a living sense of community. Each individual gift is a beat in the pulse of that life.

    That sense of community is felt, is non-verbal, and is not subject to computational quantification: it is rather insusceptie to scientific analysis. 

  • “Perhaps we should say to be the Republican Candidate you must deny global warming and to be the Democratic Candidate you must pretend to care about global warming.”

    Hear, hear, Kathy C.

  • A new essay is up, courtesy of the virgin terry. It’s here.

  • Robin Datta wrote:

    “A gift economy is a manifestation of a living sense of community. Each individual gift is a beat in the pulse of that life.

    That sense of community is felt, is non-verbal, and is not subject to computational quantification: it is rather insusceptie to scientific analysis. ”

    And I respond- Of course one will generally feel when things are ok. You are not in physical pain, not mentally depressed, confused, or feeling overwhelmed by too many problems to solve. You can see ahead that the way you are living should be possible to maintain in the coming days, months, years, centuries, even eons. However, all of this *is* possible to consider scientifically.
    People have gone with their *feelings* that things were ok, without looking at what they were doing objectively, and here we are, with far too many people, serious damage done to ecosystems, soil badly depleted, eroded, or salted, climate changing, pollution levels rising, on and on, people with half a brain getting a bit worried about the whole situation. But never fear, Robin tells us that all we have to do is continue as we have, just go on our feelings about whether things are right or not, well being is beyond scientific analysis. Well, you go ahead with that, Robin. But not with me. I wouldn’t trust you and your feelings as far as I can throw an elephant. Been there, done that, was very, very sorry. Quite measurable problems resulted.

    Arthur

  • Robin tells us that all we have to do is continue as we have, just go on our feelings about whether things are right or not, well being is beyond scientific analysis.

    That is what you choose to read into it.

    The belief that the limbic/intuitive aspects can be rationalized, quantified and enforced, have led to enormous mischief, as noted in a prior comment on this post. 

  • I would very much like to know the computational parameters (if any) by which the sense of community can be prospectively quantified on a scientific basis.

  • I recently sent a link to a friend to the video, which some of you may have seen, “Life at the end of Empire: What a Way to Go.” His response was the following:

    The hysteria, the plot, the assembly of footage to produce the given result; it looks like an International Socialist Globalist Elite piece with common themes feeding into the give up everything to save the world or revert to feudalism to save the world policy recommendation. Note, the elite won’t be giving up anything, see Al Gore for details.

    I’m curious to get the feedback of those here. My personal opinion is he is taking a very fanciful approach and gives too much credit to the ‘elite.’ To suggest they are engineering a power down in their interest, to me, seems over the top. Furthermore, if that was their goal why aren’t these topics more mainstream? More realistically, they see the writing on the wall, recognise the physical limits, and may be preparing to maintain as much control as they can. Would not ‘giving everything up’ destroy their industrial system which they’ve supposedly designed and created? Too many contradictions? I think human nature explains things a lot better than any grand conspiracy.

  • Justin, I showed What a Way to Go to classes during my last few years at the university. It’s the most important film I’ve ever seen. I reviewed it here.

  • Thanks Guy. I agree it is an important film, hence my reason for sharing it with my friend. In recent years they’ve had two children and I suspect this fact is a big obstacle to any acceptance of a collapse scenario, but also why I thought it important for them to see it. I didn’t realise the connection between the ideas presented and similar views put forward by the Club of Rome, whom he sees as the enemy due to the conspiracy theories of the organisation he subscribes to. He is also already a climate change skeptic and views promotion of the concept as a means to global control with a eugenics agenda.

    I’m wondering how this opposition can be countered? Does the association of the Club of Rome and limits to growth, climate change, overpopulation, species extinction, etc. damage our position? In my friends’ mind it certainly does. I’ve since dug deeper on the Club of Rome and statements made by it’s members that seem to strengthen his argument.

    My main counter argument has been that while he may not agree with the Club of Rome’s agenda of global control, the issues they’re using to forward their agenda are no less real concerns. However, should we be genuinely concerned that the Club of Rome is attempting to use these issues to their ends? What’s really going on here? Have they co-opted these issues to discredit them, or do they really see these issues as threats and are trying to avert disaster? What of the fact that the Club of Rome was founded by David Rockefeller, a well known industrialist and general ‘bad guy?’

    Here are some links that outline the argument made by my friend, who claims to have sincere concern about the environment but is also wary of those seeking to co-opt this concern to promote their own agendas of fear and control.

    The Green Agenda

    His counter-argument to climate change.

    Monckton’s Schenectady showdown

  • Follow popes and bigoted preachers, and the greediest among you, belittle and hate yourself and humanity, let us hate and destroy the natural world until it’s completely gone, the sooner the better. Because only then Jesus will come and reward you for your obedience. 2000 years of this, had enough?