Peak Patriarchy?

Allan Savory has been receiving a lot of attention based on his recent TED talk. I hate to dignify his ludicrous ideas with a response, even in this this little-read space, but I can’t seem to help myself. Savory’s general ideas are utter nonsense, as I will illustrate in this brief essay. Further, as you can see in his TED talk, he practices an approach steeped in the command-and-control patriarchal hubris for which civilized humans have become infamous and which led directly to the disaster in which we find ourselves firmly ensconced. Not surprisingly, many of my white male colleagues fail to see the ongoing disasters for what they are.

Admitting he participated in the murder of 40,000 elephants, Savory belatedly discovered the strategy failed to accomplish the stated objective. Rather that admit failure, he proposes an exponential increase in omnicide, specifically by using livestock to destroy the remaining life in the world’s grasslands.

If you’re looking for a more extreme example of command-and-control management underlain by patriarchal hubris, you might be looking a long time.

Savory repeatedly uses the phrase, “mimicking nature” as if speaking the words makes it so. Instead of mimicking abusing nature with implements of destruction, perhaps we could instead rely upon native species and natural processes (e.g., fire allowed to spread at the scale, frequency, and season coincident with the evolutionary history of organisms in an area). Grazing is not the same as blazing, disturbance advocates aside.

Livestock represent the single most destructive force in the history of western North America, as I explained about 15 months ago. Cattle wreak havoc on soil via several avenues, most notably by compacting soil, removing organic matter, increasing runoff, and decreasing infiltration and percolation of precipitation. The wreaking of havoc is not restricted to soil, but instead extends to other organisms. Exactly nada zilch none zip bupkiss zero species native to North America evolved in the presence of cattle. Don’t even get me started on the completely irrelevant comparison between bison and cattle, two species with disparate behavior, diet, and morphology.

Next up, Savory offers cattle as a cure for global warming. Never mind that methane generated in the stomachs of Savory’s beloved ruminant animals contributes significantly to climate chaos, perhaps surpassing the damage done by automobiles. If you’re looking for logic, look elsewhere.

In other words, Savory proposes using cattle to heal the land (damaged primarily by cattle) while also reversing global warming (by ratcheting up methane production). And yes, people are taking him seriously. Desperate times call for desperate measures, but this is the same old bombing-the-village-to-save-it routine with which we’re all well-acquainted by now.

And, on the topic of logic, what are livestock supposed to do? That’s right, convert plant biomass to animal biomass. Along the way, the animals remove biomass from the land. That’s the whole point of the enterprise, after all: convert biomass into a form suitable for human consumption, and stripping the landbase is collateral damage.

Because this entire notion is nearly too absurd to believe, I insist upon providing a recap. Savory proposes using the single most destructive force in the history of western North America to heal western North America. Were he alive, even George Orwell would be embarrassed. Stunningly, that’s not all. Savory also claims that a primary contributor to climate chaos will be used to reverse climate chaos. And, just to clarify, people are taking seriously Savory and his ideas.

As if logic were not sufficient to put a stop to Savory’s stupidity, we have data. Droves of data. And all those data point in the opposite direction Savory would have us you believe. Consider, as starting points for debunking Savory’s ideas, the following print publication and the online references linked here, here, and here, as well as this essay at Real Climate. Contrary to Savory’s crop-the-photograph approach to presentation of information, these publications are rooted in the process of science.

Briske, D.D., J.D. Derner, J.R. Brown, S.D. Fuhlendorf, W.R. Teague, K.M. Havstad, R.L. Gillen, A.J. Ash, and W.D. Wilms. 2008. Rotational grazing on rangelands: reconciliation of perception and experimental evidence. Rangeland Ecology & Management 61:3–17.

John Carter, Allison Jones, Mary O’Brien, Jonathan Ratner, and George Wuerthner. 2014. Holistic Management: Misinformation on the Science of Grazed Ecosystems. International Journal of Biodiversity,

I am not suggesting these papers mention Savory by name, although they point out that his ideas are deleterious to soil productivity and biological diversity of native species. When acting within their profession, most scientists criticize ideas, not people. More science is described here and here.

Nor am I suggesting science as a panacea. Science as a process and a way of knowing relies upon models, concepts, predictions, and data to generate reliable knowledge. However, science is not capable of addressing some questions, particularly as they apply to the personal lives of individuals. These and a few other caveats notwithstanding, I prefer data-driven science over anecdote-driven marketing for most matters.

Comments 237

  • YOU’RE COMING TO PA!!! i can’t wait! Where will the talk occur? Is it the Artemis PA site, referenced in the video?

    Academia Is Eating Its Young
    It’s a difficult time for anyone in Academia. From teaching, to funding, to publishing, to translating research, to intellectual property, to collaboration, to reproducibility, to jobs, to cheating, to culture: the entire science stack today is a miserable process.

    In the past, you could get away with avoiding this reality and still manage to be a productive scientist. It was simply a well-known secret that certain parts of a scientific career were expected to be inefficient. Today however, there is an entire generation of young scientists who are taught to believe that this is just how science works, and it’s doing incredible harm to us all.

    The result is that academia is eating its young.

    Over the past year, I’ve met countless brilliant inventors, passionate teachers, and genuinely curious people. But because of the politics, inefficiency, and in-bred hostility towards change, these incredible people have been driven out of academia.

    Had I not left the path of grad school to pursue a startup, these people would have been the ones I would’ve looked up to. On so many occasions, I’ll meet some brilliant mind working at a startup or in administration, and will want to blurt out, “Of all the people in the world, you, YOU deserve to be a professor teaching and doing research. And it’s such a god damn shame that you can’t be.”

    If those still within academia with enough foresight cannot recognize this problem, then the best and brightest of our generation will be forced to give up their potential unless an alternative route opens up.

    Thankfully, Microryza is able to solve just one problem for scientists in this position. It’s providing value for a handful of our early adopters: independent scientists, students, and people who don’t give a shit about politics. But more importantly, it’s proving that there is a new batch of younger scientists who care deeply enough about fixing academia.

    For example, I stumbled upon the website of 22 year-old bioengineering student who taught himself how to code. It’s a humble project that he has (link), aimed at improving communication among scientists. But it reaffirms what I’ve long wondered.

    Science and academia are entirely broken today, but we can no longer afford to wait for the dinosaurs to die. There are too many important questions needing to be answered. The next generation of academics, scientists, and researchers are not going to be living in the same world we live in today. So who’s going to build it?

    If it’s 22 year-olds building the next big tools and social networks for scientists (I was 22 when I started Microryza), then I don’t mind.

  • Guy

    This and other talks by Allan Savory kind of proves how easy it is to pass off thorough understanding of a topic, (range and ecosystem managment) when you are pushing a barrow, for some unknown reason.

    I was enthused by the man’s presentation, and thought briefly at the end, ‘Wow ! This could be possible’.

    But I was aware I didn’t really know if cattle could actualy mimic Bison or Buffalo etc. Your knowledge of the actual details of this type of area is critical because in your opinion, it is far less certain than Mr Savory would project, or present.

    I think it is a worthy topic to draw attention to, because it is all coming down to those who have expertise and commitment to as close to the data-truth as we can get.

    Thanks for going there.

  • Thanks for the reference. The data said:

    “The experimental evidence indicates that rotational grazing is
    a viable grazing strategy on rangelands”

    And if a few individuals succeeds with amazing results while others don’t. Then it just proves that it is a behavioral problem. That some people do it right and others do it wrong. And if it’s a behavioral/knowledge problem then this discussion can increase knowledge in the subject.

  • I’m the guy who emailed you the other day with the question about holistic management. I was skeptical about Savory because he claims to be putting thousands of grazing animals on land that has no vegetation to feed them and somehow without any feed being brought in they’re still shitting enough to fertilize the ground and grass starts growing again without anyone planting anything. It definitely sounds counterintuitive. I actually found another video where someone asked him about that and his answer made no sense to me at all. It felt like he just sort of dodged the question.

    But is it not true that intensive rotational grazing, at least on good farmland, is a system that takes carbon from the air and puts it back in the soil? And doesn’t an acre of healthy grassland sequester more carbon than an acre of rainforest? I agree with your concern for replacing indigenous ruminants with cows and I’d much rather that humans not be so controlling of the natural world but if something like this works wouldn’t it be irresponsible not to support it? Couldn’t we use native animals that produce less methane or something? I’m just not totally convinced that it’s as ridiculous as you claim it is. Are you saying that the before and after photos he uses are complete bullshit? There doesn’t exactly seem to be a hidden corporate agenda behind this so I don’t get what the point would be, unless you’re suggesting that he’s just an idiot or an attention whore. I guess I wouldn’t have too much trouble believing that if it turns out to be the case.

  • Peter Sinclair posted that TED talk and there are a number of excellent comments at his blog, with links for further reading:

    Although I think that alternate ways of managing farming have merit, I think his claim that his method and his alone is absolutely necessary to save us from climate catastrophe reveals profound ignorance of all the other influences leading us inexorably towards mass extinction.

    I registered for the Four Quarters Weekend!!!! What an all-star line-up of presenters with Guy…and I love camping in the woods. I’m really looking forward to this!

  • bombing-the-village-to-save-it

  • People cannot stand the idea that there is no solution to our problem. Just listened to a talk with Arnie Gundersen and Mark Pendergrast Mark states the Japan has turned to nuclear because they have no fossil fuels on their island. Last I heard they have no uranium either. He said they were making progress on solar technology but and looking at tidal power. “Today, every Prius hybrid car on the road carries with it about 10 pounds of lanthanum.” Not something mined in Japan as far as I can tell. And the tide is doing nothing and appropriating the energy of the tide would have no consequences.

    The vast majority of humans HAVE to believe that the problem can be solved, that humans will go on existing, that we will fix it and get it right. The belief in continued existence of life on the planet, especially human life is all that keeps them from insanity. So they chose another insanity, believing in solutions that won’t work.

  • BTD to continue from the last discussion
    The saying is used to expose
    How circularity goes,
    But it doesn’t disclose
    (As if anyone knows)
    How sexed reproduction arose.


  • Kathy, haha, thanks, I’d just had the same argument with my sister so I was all prepped, but damn, you are fast!

    And Wikipedia starts off:
    “To ancient philosophers, the question about the first chicken or egg also evoked the questions of how life and the universe in general began.”


  • By definition, grazing livestock removes biomass from the land. That’s the point: to convert plant biomass to animal biomass and remove it (for humans to ingest). If it added carbon, nitrogen, and other nutrients to the land base, it’d be an example of beginning life at death and ending at birth.

  • Kathy C Says: The belief in continued existence of life on the planet, especially human life is all that keeps them from insanity. So they chose another insanity, believing in solutions that won’t work.

    First, your mind must unzip
    From what’s real on the sinking ship;
    Breaking through with a guide
    To the other side
    Can help, ‘cause it’s really a trip.

  • Paul Beckwith ~ Methane emissions in the Arctic have set records
    For the record; I do not think that any sea ice will survive this summer. An event unprecedented in human history is today, this very moment, transpiring in the Arctic Ocean. The cracks in the sea ice that I reported on my Sierra Club Canada blog and elsewhere over the last several days have spread and at this moment the entire sea ice sheet (or about 99% of it) covering the Arctic Ocean is on the move. Clockwise. The ice is thin, and slushy, and breaking apart. This is abrupt climate change in real-time. Humans have benefited greatly from a stable climate for the last 11,000 years or roughly 400 generations. Not any more. We now face an angry climate. One that we have poked in the eye with our fossil fuel stick and awakened. And now we must deal with the consequences. We must set aside our differences and prepare for what we can no longer avoid. And that is massive disruption to our civilizations.

  • This TED presentation goes to show how desperate people are for a solution that only produces ++++++++ and no ————. i think Guy labels this as, “hopium.” Money for nothing and the sex is free………

  • At sea on a sinking ship
    We soon feel our sanity slip
    So we plan and we plot
    To change things we cannot
    Until the whole thing starts to flip

    March weather has turned crazy here – can’t get much done in the garden not knowing from day to day what the weather will be – nothing like a little limerick composition to pass the time :)

  • I haven’t heard Alan Savory’s TED talk, but I learned the principles of rotational grazing from his 1988 book Holistic Resource Management, and have used it (and continue to use it) very successfully with laying hens. The birds will eat pretty much any size pasture down to bare soil if unrestrained, but rotated through much smaller pens for a short time with a rest period in between, their grazing result is lush growth, far superior to ground cover before they started. The practice was particulary valuable in our orchards. Joel Salatin’s widely reported experience with rotations including cattle followed by chickens followed by rest are a model for a great many farmers now raising grass fed livestock, also with great success while improving the land they use. I don’t know about the elephants and I don’t think rotational grazing will reverse climate change, but as a farmer, I value what I’ve learned from Alan Savory.

  • Kathy C Says:
    At sea on a sinking ship
    We soon feel our sanity slip
    So we plan and we plot
    To change things we cannot
    Until the whole thing starts to flip

    We fear that we’re losing our brain
    Upon boarding the doomer train,
    But reducing delusion
    Means less confusion
    And seeing past views as insane.

    (Sorry, posted on previous thread in error.)

  • @Guy: By definition, grazing livestock removes biomass from the land. That’s the point: to convert plant biomass to animal biomass and remove it (for humans to ingest). If it added carbon, nitrogen, and other nutrients to the land base, it’d be an example of beginning life at death and ending at birth.

    Isn’t this the case only if the animals are shipped offsite and the consuming human does not return his own waste and body to the soil (which, it’s true, Americans do not do, in many cases because they are not allowed to)?

    Mightn’t the carbon-sequestration question regard less the biomass of the animals themselves, but whether their presence also increases microbial populations in the soil, because aren’t microbes are the lion’s share of animal biomass, anyway? It seems to me they could have a virtuous presence (managed correctly, of course), increasing both plant and small-animal biomass. I don’t have a particular need or desire to defend Savory, but isn’t an animal-free field just as unnatural as a CAFO?

    I tried my search engine, but maybe you have a more targeted idea of where I could investigate what previous levels of animal biomass have been on the earth? I have a feeling that the levels have been much higher even just a few generations ago (stories of pigeons blackening the sky, millions of bison… in particular a very poignant magazine story I read a couple of years back talked about the once-rich animal populations of Russia and the former Soviet Union.

  • Yes to your question, Lidia. But I don’t know why a rancher would pummel the land with livestock to add nutrients. It would be much easier and less expensive to add smaller animals and let them die on-site than to add livestock to let them die on-site.

  • Allan Savory’s concepts are sound. What’s missing is putting the humanure back on the ground after borrowing the nutrients from the ruminants. And that is a social/educational issue, not an energetic or ecological issue, and is equally applicable to organic vegetable gardening.

  • In NZ we use the word fuckwit to describe someone who is mentally impaired but thinks he/she is clever.

    To suggest that climate change can be REVERSED is a clear example of fuckwitism. Climate change cannot even be HALTED (let alone reversed)until some time long after humanity stops burning fossil fuels and stops making steel, and stops making concrete and stops chopping down jungles…….

    The chance of ANY of those happening in the next five years is so close to zero we can call it zero. And I see the annual meltdown of the Arctic has commenced, with slightly less ice than this time in 2012. With the US drought continuing it’s surely going to be an ‘interesting’ [northern] summer.

    To be a popular speaker one does need to tell the audience what they want to hear, i.e. ‘we can extricate ourselves out of this predicament….. in fact it’s not a predicament at all’.

    FYI. The entire North Island has been a drought zone for -more or less unprecedented- and the west coast of the South Island has been declared a drought zone -utterly unheard of (normally very cool and wet. Climate systems are well on the way to being completely buggered, methinks.

    There are no real deserts in NZ yet, but the dairy industry is working on it, along with the bulk of the populace.

    Fortunately for us living here, in the ‘race to the bottom’ (or is it the race to the furnace?) other nations are well ahead of NZ.

  • First of all, Guy has argued convincingly that we are done, so the debate about Savory has at best a spiritual point. No matter what we do we are finished, the only question is how we go. And of course we can’t think about how we want to be remembered,for there will be no one here to remember us.

    Secondly, our desire to live any longer is purely selfish. If we are interested in life of some form continuing after we are gone it is clear that it is best for human beings to leave the planet as soon as possible. We are anti-life. It would not be a stretch to call us death’s henchmen. So there is no moral justification for our wanting to continue human existence if preserving life on the planet is our primary motive.

    Ignoring this, from a human perspective, it seems to me that we might want to go with dignity rather than die miserably in our own crap and poisons, starving, roasting, and gasping for air while we die of thirst.We might also want to cause as little human suffering as possible. To achieve this it were best if the human population were to die off naturally, from old age and sickness, rather than through the grisly deaths we have devised for ourselves.

    People should organize into city states large enough to feed their populations. Everybody would have to be fed and housed, for any war for resources will inevitably lead to wholesale butchery and continue the ecocide. Although all the details would have to be worked out locally the basic principle is simple: everything must be this Jan 1 as it was last Jan 1. That obviously, is the only sustainable system, though it won’t really be sustainable if sustainable means capable of supporting human life indefinitely. That we now do what we should have done has only spiritual value. For if we are to act with our eyes open rather than upon “hopium” and illusions we must never forget: we are finished, and all courses of action must be taken with this in mind rather than with some hope of saving the situation for human beings.

    If this is not worth doing then nothing is, and there is really no difference between the people who write on this blog and global warming deniers who party on. For both course of action lead to the same result.

  • I was away yesterday so am behind on my reading. As a keeper of cattle, I don’t get away much and as a keeper of cattle, I have some thoughts on this subject. Comments here are all over the place. I don’t know which is more twisted and confusing, this grazing subject or Cyprus. I will express my opinion when I have time to sort it out.


    Phone calls have been flooding into City Hall with reports of sick or dead raccoons being found in neighborhoods. East Hudson Avenue is where the most calls have come from and people are definitely worried.

    Carol Linville President of Pet Helpers said, “We have had over 38 calls, I’ve taken some for the city or citizens calling me directly. 99 percent of what we are dealing with is a distemper virus.”

    Linville said the disease is definitely an outbreak. It attacks the nervous system, sometimes causing seizures and unnatural behavior in animals, often mistaken for rabies.

    “Droopy eyes, weaving, rocking, slow moving acting like kind of out of it, I often say it’s like you’ve had too much to drink,” said Linville.

    Outbreaks usually happen on Folly about every 10 years. In 2008, nearly 90 raccoons died. The most reported cases then and now were from the east end of the island, but Linville said its 5 years early this time.

    “The animals don’t have anywhere to go their food source is reduced and this all leads to stress and then you break with virus and with raccoons, distemper virus is fatal,” said Linville.

  • @ Michael Dollner

    …Although all the details would have to be worked out locally the basic principle is simple: everything must be this Jan 1 as it was last Jan 1. That obviously, is the only sustainable system, though it won’t really be sustainable if sustainable means capable of supporting human life indefinitely.

    I agree with what you say, but would point out that the hypothetical city state, is itself only a cell, a sub-system, within the larger overall global system, and if it does not play it’s part in sustaining the stability ofthat larger containing system, the biosphere, as the great forests, rivers, wetlands, glaciers, etc, have been doing, then it’s still not sustainable, even if it remains unchanged year to year internally.

    But as you said, this is all academic.


    State of Emergency Declared in Chelyabinsk Over Rabies Outbreak

    A state of emergency has been declared in the Chelyabinsk region due to an outbreak of rabies among animals, the regional administration said in a statement.

    In a decree posted on the administration’s website, Ivan Feklin, the deputy governor of the region and head of the emergency response team for coordinating preventative measures for rabies, is tasked with confirming a complex set of measures to stabilize the region’s rabies outbreak for the duration of the emergency regime.

    The regional budget has allocated 2.44 million rubles ($78,000) for the purpose.

    According to the regional administration of the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Monitoring Service, the region has been hit by a complicated epizootic situation with rabies in animals, Interfax reported.

    Currently, there have been 106 instances of rabies recorded in 93 towns and villages throughout 17 municipal districts and in 9 cities of the Chelyabinsk region, including 4 in the city of Chelyabinsk.

    The regional branch of the veterinary watchdog has sent 30 samples of biological material for rabies testing since the beginning of the year. In 85 percent of cases, the tests have confirmed the presence of rabies.

    There’s a large outbreak of rabies in Texas too.

  • Rabies has broken out in China and Indonesia too.

    Just five whales are rescued as 14 die after school beaches on Cape Town beach

    Just five whales have survived after a pod of 19 became stranded on a beach in Cape Town.

    Nine whales were humanely euthanized and another five died naturally in devastating scenes in South Africa.

    The 19 whales were first discovered beached on Noordhoek Beach this morning.

  • Michael To achieve this it were best if the human population were to die off naturally, from old age and sickness, rather than through the grisly deaths we have devised for ourselves. I have done hours of nursing home volunteering and 10 years as a Hospice Volunteer. I can assure you that dying naturally from old age and sickness much of the time quite horrific. A bullet to the head, while more feared, would be a much easier death than the lingering death most people in our world now suffer.

  • Tom – the return of rabies….scary. Now there is one nasty way to die.
    per wiki
    The period between infection and the first flu-like symptoms is typically 2 to 12 weeks, but incubation periods as short as four days and longer than six years have been documented, depending on the location and severity of the inoculating wound and the amount of virus introduced. Soon after, the symptoms expand to slight or partial paralysis, anxiety, insomnia, confusion, agitation, abnormal behavior, paranoia, terror, and hallucinations, progressing to delirium.[2][9] Rabies has been called hydrophobia because victims, locally paralyzed and unable to swallow, have been known to become agitated at the sight of water.[10]
    Because of its potentially violent nature, rabies has been known since circa 2000 B.C.[65] The first written record of rabies is in the Mesopotamian Codex of Eshnunna (circa 1930 BC), which dictates that the owner of a dog showing symptoms of rabies should take preventive measure against bites. If another person were bitten by a rabid dog and later died, the owner was heavily fined.[66]


    U.S. Starts Massive Forest-Thinning Project

    FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The smell of wood-burning stoves seems to permeate this gateway to the Grand Canyon and pit stop on the legendary Route 66.

    In this corner of the state, trees, wood and fire have an ever-evolving relationship. Surrounded by the Coconino National Forest, this northern Arizona town sat at the edge of the 2010 Schultz fire, which burned 15,000 acres.

    While the Schultz fire visibly marked the landscape, the damage was relatively benign compared with the floods that came a month later. The fire had stripped the hills of trees and vegetation, and soil erosion left a smooth slope allowing the summer rains to push an avalanche of mud, rocks and other debris down into the community. A 12-year-old girl was killed. Millions of dollars in damage ensued. The vulnerability left by the fire was unearthed — literally.

    The fire, plus the floods that followed, had a net economic impact between $133 million and $147 million, according to a recent report. It was one in a series of megafires that have ignited Arizona over the past 25 years, including the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski fire and the 2011 Wallow fire, each around half a million acres. Since 1990, nearly 1.2 million acres of Arizona’s timber has burned.

    “A big fire used to be 1,000 acres,” Dick Fleishman said as he walked alongside the fire-scarred boundaries of the Schultz fire on a snow-covered mountain range. “Now, it’s in the tens of thousands.”

    Fleishman is the assistant team leader of the Four Forests Restoration Initiative, called 4FRI. It is the largest forest stewardship project in the country. The plan is to restore 1 million acres over 20 years, from the Grand Canyon to the New Mexico border, by thinning small ponderosa pines — the dominant species in the region — and making the forest less dense. 4FRI covers the Kaibab, Coconino, Apache, Sitgreaves and Tonto national forests.

    The Forest Service hired Pioneer Forest Products last May to cut and process the trees from the thinned forests. Pioneer will recycle the small-diameter timber into wood products — for cabinetry, for example — and wood laminate. Nearly 40 percent will be feedstock for a 30-million-gallon-per-year biodiesel plant run by Western Energy Solutions/Concord Blue USA. The processing plant in Winslow, Ariz., will employ about 500 people. The firm is still waiting to receive financing to begin operations in a budget-strained environment, said Marlin Johnson, a consultant for Pioneer.


    SEE IT: Bankrupt Harrisburg, Pa., can’t fix the 41 sinkholes plaguing its streets (PHOTOS)

    Dozens of sinkholes have opened up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capital city, including one locals cheekily dubbed ‘Super Sinkhole Walter’ and made a check-in site on Four Square.

    Pennsylvania’s state capital is suffering from a rash of monster sinkholes, but city officials are too broke to do anything about it.

    Loose soil and leaky, century-old underground water pipes are to blame for the municipal nightmare, which came to a head on the New Year’s Eve when a 50-foot sinkhole yawned open along Fourth Street, the Wall Street Journal reported.

    Does this adequately describe entropy – the failure to keep up with maintainance?

  • We over-rate masters and under-rate mastery.

  • Not news to anyone here, but noteworthy that it’s in the MSM

    Oceans on the brink of catastrophic collapse

  • Perhaps Thomas Moore’s splendidly bracing thoughts on pastured livestock from Utopia (1516) are appropriate for this post. The entire thing is well worth reading but here are a couple of sections:

    But yet this is not only the necessary cause of stealing. There is another, which, as I suppose, is proper and peculiar to you Englishmen alone. What is that, quoth the Cardinal ? forsooth my lord (quoth I), your sheep that were wont to be so meek and tame, and so small eaters, now, as I heard say, be become so great devourers and so wild, that they eat up, and swallow down the very men themselves. They consume, destroy, and devour whole fields, houses, and cities. For look in what parts of the realm doth grow the finest, and therefore dearest wool, there noble men, and gentlemen, yea and certain Abbots, holy men no doubt, not contenting themselves with the yearly revenues and profits, that were wont to grow to their forefathers and predecessors of their lands, nor being content that they live in rest and pleasure nothing profiting, yea much noying the weal public, leave no ground for tillage: they inclose all into pastures, they throw down houses, they pluck down towns, and leave nothing standing, but only the church to be made a sheephouse. And as though you lost no small quantity of ground by forests, chases, lawns, and parks, those good holy men turn all dwelling places and all glebeland into desolation and wilderness. Therefore that one covetous and unsatiable cormorant and very plague of his native country may compass about and inclose many thousand acres of ground together within one pale or hedge, the husbandmen be thrust out of their own, or else either by coveyne and fraud, or by violent oppression they be put besides it, or by wrongs and injuries they be so wearied, that they be compelled to sell all: by one means therefore or by other, either by hook or crook they must needs depart away, poor, silly, wretched souls, men, women, husbands, wives, fatherless children, widows, woful mothers, with their young babes, and their whole household small in substance and much in number, as husbandry requireth many hands.

    …….For one Shepherd or Herdman is enough to eat up that ground with cattle to the occupying whereof about husbandry many hands were requisite. And this is also the cause why victuals be now in many places dearer. Yea, besides this the price of wool is so risen, that poor folks, which were wont to work it, and make cloth thereof, be now able to buy none at all. And by this means very many be forced to forsake work, and to give themselves to idleness. For after that so much ground was inclosed for pasture, an infinite multitude of sheep died of the rot, such vengeance God took of their inordinate and unsatiable covetousness, sending among the sheep that pestiferous murrain, which much more justly should have fallen on the sheepmasters’ own heads. And though the number of sheep increase never so fast, yet the price falleth not one mite, because there be so few sellers. For they be almost all comen into a few rich men’s hands, whom no need forceth to sell before they lust, and they lust not before they may sell as dear as they lust.

  • Michael Doliner

    I feel it is too extended a point to speak of giving up human life for the sake of other species. Were it as before catastrophic climate change,and overpopulation, habitat destruction limits, when we competed with many other species to stay alive, it was a morality free existance when it comes to survival. You just survive. Why would you give in ?

    Now this idea is somewhat different because it is us vs all of the other life forms, or close enogh to it.

    Clearly Guy and others have made the point we have forgotten it is still a web of life, and we do not get to be exclusive inhabitants, we need all the others.

    But to say we should just go out without a struggle is a bit simplistic, and counter to the very force of life that preserves its vessil untill it is undone.

    As I have said here before, all life is essentially the same – the forms have slowwly been modified- think of a huntsman spifer and hunpback whale – but the life is all really wild and marvelous, and the same.

    I am ok with personal sacrifice, for whatever the person does with their own vehicle, to save a child in a swolen river you have to give up your own, for example, but how can you speak on this for anyone but yourself..?

  • Hey, the DOW is at 14,540 and on the way up. Happy Monday all you gloomy doom sayers – we’re all gonna be rich ;-)

  • Zero hedge, what a Black Swan looks like in real media time

    Russia to freeze German financial assets over Cyprus ??

  • That should have read:

    “- think of a huntsman spider and humpback whale – ”



    “Perhaps the most important result of this paper is the confirmation that while many people wrongly believe global warming has stalled over the past 10–15 years, in reality that period is “the most sustained warming trend” in the past half century. Global warming has not paused, it has accelerated.”

  • In some cases, mitigating or decreasing harmful livestock grazing are possible by changing season of use, reducing numbers and/or herding and other management techniques. However, the benefits are very marginal ecologically and the costs are far from marginal economically. Since livestock are water-loving relatives of the water buffalo, merely reducing the number or duration of livestock in an allotment does not result in comparable streamside improvement. Fencing livestock away from streams helps riparian areas, but increases the abuse on uplands. Fencing can cost up to $20,000 per stream mile. In almost every case, spending taxpayer funds to retire the allotment is the better payoff. In all cases, removing livestock from public lands results in maximum ecological benefit.
    Some ranchers, range technicians and grazing theorists believe, based on studies from Africa, that North American deserts and grasslands must be grazed to be healthy. Known as Holistic Resource Management or the “Savory grazing method” (after its chief proponent, Allan Savory), this theory has been roundly criticized for presupposing that the vegetation, soils, and wildlife that live on western grasslands and deserts are fundamentally the same as the African Serengheti(!)

  • In NZ we use the word fuckwit to describe someone who is mentally impaired but thinks he/she is clever.

    Others use the longer term Dunning–Kruger effect.

    It has been recognised from ancient times in many traditions. Yet it continues to surface/manifest in myriad forms, and on many scales. Coping with it can be a useful skill, perhaps the most important of life’s lessons. While not formally taught, it is an important aspect of one’s training in the Army when one finds oneself in such a situation with one’s superior.

    On today’s global scale, those who realise that they are in the herd of Homo saps is in full stampede towards the extinction cliff have to learn to make the best of it – a Faustian bargain or a Pyrrhic victory temporising until the global catastrophe.

  • U Russia to freeze German financial assets over Cyprus ??

    Oooooh looks like war!!!! Let the unraveling begin…

  • Kathy C says
    “I have done hours of nursing home volunteering and 10 years as a Hospice Volunteer. I can assure you that dying naturally from old age and sickness much of the time quite horrific. A bullet to the head, while more feared, would be a much easier death than the lingering death most people in our world now suffer.”
    So is this your suggestion? I think this would be up to each person.Don’t you.

    Ozman says:
    “I feel it is too extended a point to speak of giving up human life for the sake of other species.”
    But we are not doing this. Human life is already lost. I suggest only that we try to do less damage.
    And if this is up to a everyone to decide for himself what is wrong with denial and partying on?


    ‘Abode of Chaos’ sparks legal battle, vexes neighbors in French village
    Tacky lawn decor is one thing … try living next to the Abode of Chaos, a 17th century home-turned-art installation where giant skulls and portraits of Kim Jong-un have left neighbors wading knee-deep in irk.

    (pictures and video with the article – it’s worth the look) ends with:

    A beleaguered Revel, who took up the inherited legal battle when Dumont retired, explains that she has fielded numerous complaints from village parents who are worried about the the effect Ehrmann’s outré artistic output may have on their children. According to the Journal, “parents cite the nude man, the general appearance of the house, the skulls and apocalyptic messages on the walls in explaining their concern.” That would do it.

    And then there’s an issue of property values. Neighbors such as Boris Perrodon have attempted to move away but found themselves in a sticky situation as Ehrmann’s property has (allegedly) caused the worth of their homes to drop. Perrodon claims that he didn’t encounter a single offer when he attempted to sell. Says local real estate agent Pascal Paysant: “Perhaps we lack artistic flair, but the fact is this house depreciates real estate value in the town.”

    Ehrmann, a practicing Freemason, denies that the Abode of Chaos has negatively affected property values in the village and claims that, with the exception of a few neighbors, the residents of St.-Romain-au-Mont-d’Or have not gone out of their way to give him a hard time about the museum and the art contained within in. I’m guessing it’s because because they’re too busy sharpening their pitchforks.

  • @ Kathy C.

    Oooooh looks like war!!!! Let the unraveling begin…

    Way to go yet. Seems not true, just a rumour, possibly deliberate, to show they could if they want, crank up the pressure a notch, sabre rattling, but they have the gas pipelines, that’s a trump card, well, I suppose the nukes are the real aces, but I don’t think Russia wants war, except by proxies at a distance. They like making lots of money, and they are doing quite well. The German, London, Wall St. Israeli bankers, the CIA, manage to create ongoing disaster everywhere, without the Russians needing to do anything much. But Italy and Spain might implode like Cyprus, though, phew !

  • The problem with Savory’s ideas and those rebutting his ideas are both the same. It starts with the premise that there is some kind of desperate problem when it is all a bunch of drama and hysterics to begin with.

  • I saw Savory’s TED Talk a couple weeks ago, and as is often the case, knew that I couldn’t evaluate his claims with the benefit of personal expertise. Yet I was skeptical, as always. Glad you have weighed in to demonstrate that even if his methods produce results (pics of those lush landscapes are hard to dispel), the end result is still destructive.

    My real takeaway from his talk, though, was his admission of culpability in the slaughter (murder) of 40,000 elephants in Africa, abetting by the best scientific consensus then available. Savory didn’t exactly gloss over that horror, but he moved on pretty quickly. Makes me wonder if deer culls are any different.

    So without scientific training, though disposed to believe what science observes (though not necessarily what we think it instructs us to do), I’m often as a loss to bridge between the rational/instrumental approach to knowledge and the spiritual, do-no-more-harm-than-necessary approach. Insert here something about the wisdom of knowing the difference and relieving ourselves of our hubris.

  • Higher states of consciousness in which the human mind can transcend the boundaries of logic and reason are envisioned as natural to the experience and potential growth of every human being. So far they have been mostly monitored by electrophysiological methods. In this study we were particularly interested in discovering the molecular transcriptional basis of higher states of consciousness. In addition to phenomenological reports of meditators who participated in this study the generated higher states of consciousness were also EEG recorded. We assessed the whole genome gene expression analysis of long-term meditators in four separate trials and detected significant differential gene expression in association with higher states of consciousness. The number of differently expressed genes as well as high proportion of genes themselves differed between meditators. Despite this, gene ontology enrichment analysis found significant biological and molecular processes shared among meditators’ higher state of consciousness.

  • Hmmm. I ‘oogled Savory and the 40,000 elephants. Lots of hits all raving about his ‘new miracle cure’… this was the first sceptical voice.

    What? TED vectoring pseudoscience? Unpossible! In one recent particular instance, though, a TED talk firmly grounded in bullshit — literal and figurative — is gaining a mortifying amount of traction with people who really should know better.
    The lecturer is Allan Savory, who for the last couple decades has been pushing his own brand of Maverick Science despite hidebound opposition from “scientists” with their “peer review” and their “evidence” and their “reproducible results.”
    Savory’s thesis: every desert in the world is caused by insufficient grazing. We know this because of reasons. All those desertified former grasslands in Africa and the Middle East that have been turned to dusty parking lots by cattle and sheep and goats just didn’t have enough livestock on them to churn up the soil, shit everywhere, and then move on to the next patch of land in a rotational grazing approach.
    Savory’s approach can work in theory, on marginal grassland with very close monitoring and if your management goals do not include protecting species that are intolerant of cattle. Can work. Doesn’t necessarily. And that’s irrelevant to actual deserts, yet Savory wants to push his approach onto ancient desert landscapes anyway.
    The biggest problem for me, as I point out this morning at KCET, is that Savory doesn’t distinguish between actual deserts — stable, diverse yet fragile habitats — and ruined grasslands. He conflates “desertification” — a term that needs to be abandoned — with actual deserts, then misrepresents the basic science of desert ecology, for instance calling cryptobiotic crusts a “cancer.”
    None of this is a surprise to anyone who has followed Savory over the last few decades. Same shit, different day. But TED has helped him go viral, and there are people who are taking him at his word to an embarrassing degree. Even though he says stuff in the talk like “There is no other option” but to follow his program, a phrase that should cause any sane person to back away slowly with her hand firmly protecting her wallet.
    But environmentally concerned people, even here in California, show a disturbing willingness to believe any negative shit they hear about the desert. The TED audience laps Savory’s crap up to a disheartening degree.
    Anyway, I debunk what I can of Savory’s crap here at KCET. What I can given time and space, that is. It’s only a 13-minute video and one could write a book about the wrongness.

  • Nuked: 2 yrs of Fukushima w/ Leuren Moret part 5

  • In response to a comment in the preceding post:

    “Always a danger to use the word conscious because it means so many different things to people – I use it in the sense that Antonio Damasio uses it – we don’t just know things, we know that we know.”

    “Knowing that we know” is a somewhat higher function of the meat robot. It is discussed in detail the Pancadasi over half a millennium ago.

    The most basic level is the sensory inputs and their collation and organisation (manas). The next level is the integration with prior experience (chitta): this is the level of “I see/hear …”etc. The next level is the intellect (buddhi), the level of “I know that I know” and “I know that I see/hear” etc. The next level is the “I” (ahankara). None of these are conscious of themselves. They are illuminated by the
    consciousness filtering down through the various levels. That illumination is ambient and universal, but is without characteristics or content, and cannot therefore be perceived as an object: in the objective sense, it does not exist, and cannot and will not be found. It is the universal substratum of the conditioned experience of limited being. It cannot be “experienced” or “known” by the “I”. Its awareness is manifest only when the “I” is dropped. It is the Witnessing bird in the Parable of the Two Birds.

  • BC Nurse from that article on conspiracy theorists “Conspiratorial thinking, also known as conspiracist ideation, has been repeatedly implicated in the rejection of scientific propositions” Funny because certain “conspiracy theories” don’t reject science but rather embrace it, just as the theory based on the fact that pancaking can’t take place at next to free fall speed, or bullets can’t magically change trajectory several times going through two bodies in pristine condition.

    The lumping of conspiracy theories (and the ignoring of official conspiracy theories) is something that could use some investigation as well. Why would certain scientific facts (free fall speed) be ignored while others are sacrosanct? What mindset is behind that?

  • Conspiracy theories have a long history of mischief. The theory of gravity is a conspiracy to convince the public that the twin towers of 9/11 did not fall as a consequence of an air-hydrocarbon fire. The theory of evolution is a conspiracy to lead the flock astray from the Divine Word.

  • @ Kathy C.

    Why would certain scientific facts (free fall speed) be ignored while others are sacrosanct? What mindset is behind that?

    I think the world is very complicated, many things are not what they seem, appearances are often deceptive, just as mimicry in nature, a harmless beetle copies the colours of a dangerous wasp, to deter attack, after the Tuskegee syphilis experiments and countless other proven horrendous projects and false flags by CIA and Nazi agencies, why wouldn’t ordinary people suspect AIDS/HIV of being a Gvt. experiment or global warming to be a hoax ? Trust has been lost.

    Some scientists have been involved in the most unethical work imaginable and at the other end of the scale, tv adverts have guys in white coats exploiting the image of the scientist and the lab that makes science totally ridiculous.

    Btw, I want to take this opportunity to offer you a public apology. I should I have been more considerate of your feelings in my response to you, in the previous thread. Your contributions here are tremendous and you deserve greater respect than I showed you.
    I had a vision of these threads as like fierce husky dogs, pulling Dr McP’s sledge along, as fast as we can go, and if you nip me, I bite you back, and dogs are snarling and growling and getting tangled up all over the place, until it all starts running again…

    Here’s a record from 1956 which complains about how rock and roll is ruining civilisation, and guess what, it’s a great classic rock and roll record, in its way, the world is complicated, paradoxical, full of contradictions, deception, craziness.

    Fire In My Bones

  • ulvfugl

    “I had a vision…..”

    Was that aspontaeneous thing that just came to you…overcame yur waking awareness?

  • Re conspiracy theories, see Patterns of High Crime in American Gvt and other docs.

  • @ Ozman

    Hahahaha, oh, just on that muzzy borderland as I was waking up, you know, those dogs that are so happy when they are pulling and running, burning up energy, and if they hit a snag, one pulls left, one pulls right, they get angry that they are held back, the traces get all tangled up, they’re all biting each other in one big melee, until it’s sorted, and off they go again for the next lap… it’s possibly not an appropriate metaphor at all, just what crossed my imagination… I do bite, sometimes I should not. But you see, under other circumstances… sigh… I have a genealogy written down going back to the Battle of Hastings, and then into the mists, back to the Norsemen, and one relative was once the most wanted man in England, with a price on his head, the King, Commons, Church, all wanted him hanged, for being so much trouble, took three years to catch him, and then he talked his way out of it… and survived, so kind of in the blood, you might say, blame genetic determinism, ;-)

  • Toad licking. I’m not against people taking drugs. I’m in favour of people being educated about the differences between drugs. Imo, it’s immoral to send someone to prison for smoking cannabis. But cruelty to animals is unforgivable. I’d send someone to prison for selling toads for this, that should be a crime, imo.

  • Melting Norwegian glaciers, pre-Viking woollen garment and other items revealed by climate change.

  • Over an hour of music, designed to induce trances, possession states, and out-of-body experiences. Not a “record,” but a philosophical tool.

  • Just wanted to leave this here, it’s related to this whole “existential crisis” vibe-

    “Dinosauria, We”
    “A cinematic accompaniment to Bukowski’s vision of the apocalypse.”


    (Charles Bukowski wrote this poem in 1993, predicting/providing his own version of humanity’s catastrophic end.)

  • Ulvfugl wrote:

    “I have a genealogy written down going back to the Battle of Hastings”

    Haha! So do I. Eric the Forester.

    Not that it amounts to a hill of beans, but it is interesting to see how long ancestors have been mixed up in this shit.

  • U- I wasn’t looking for any apology. I took a break because I can bite pretty hard myself. Perhaps any one of us should take a break whenever we find ourselves attacking the person rather than the idea.

  • @ Anthony

    Ha, yes, all those mothers struggling and worrying to bring up those brats, generation after generation, all those changes, and now this.

  • @ Kathy C.

    I wasn’t looking for any apology.

    I know, I know. If you’d demanded one you’d probably not have got one, ;-) there was no pressure on me, I was unfair, didn’t appreciate that you didn’t already know the culture thing. B the D explained it better than I could have anyway. I thought you were just sabotaging my point. Incidentally, regarding the chicken and egg, which is essentially cause and effect. Afaik, nobody has ever been able to refute David Hume’s logic, even though everybody carries on as if he’d never pointed out the difficulty.

    Not that we have any choice, really. Bloody philosophers ;-)

    Hume argues that assumptions of cause and effect between two events are not necessarily real or true. It is possible to deny causal connections without contradiction because causal connections are assumptions not subject to reason.

  • And at the other end of Eurasia

    Yet there is no doubt that Japan will fight.
    “We simply cannot tolerate any challenge now, or in the future. No nation should underestimate the firmness of our resolve,” said Shinzo Abe, the hawkish premier bent on national revival.
    After talking to Japanese officials in Tokyo over the last few days, I have the strong impression not only that they are ready to fight, but also that they expect to win, and furthermore that conflict may come at any moment.

  • ulvfugl

    You wrote…

    “I have a genealogy written down going back to the Battle of Hastings, and then into the mists, back to the Norsemen, and one relative was once the most wanted man in England, with a price on his head, the King, Commons, Church, all wanted him hanged, for being so much trouble, took three years to catch him, and then he talked his way out of it… and survived, so kind of in the blood, you might say, blame genetic determinism”

    In a light hearted way I must point out that for every down and dirty scoundrel or rogue in your ancestry, there are so amny others doing the ordinary civil living type of thing. When you emphasise the vew scoundrels and briggands, there are so many others who were peacable, cooperative ,and well mannered to fellow men and women….No?

    They no doubt would be contributing to the genetic effect also..?

    Just running the logic by you.


  • U – I highly respect Benjamin the Donkey. He has a clear understanding of what is going on, and a very clear understanding of humans and how they operate. He chooses to express his views in limericks, and so distills the essence of an idea in far less words than the rest of us use, but with an element of humor. I very much respect him.

    But in the case of the chicken and the egg, couldn’t you tell? We weren’t arguing, we were having fun.

  • @ Ozman

    I don’t know much about most of them, they are just names, without much info attached, but of the ones I do know something about, none were brigands or scoundrels, they were adventurers, knights, they built castles, fought battles, that kind of stuff. That doesn’t mean they weren’t peaceable cooperative well mannered and everything else that human beings are, from time to time. I was kidding about genetic determinism, I think it is the lesser influence. But people want men to be docile and gentle when it suits the times, whilst at other times, men have been required to hack each other to death with axes with the utmost ferocity. In the past, if you could not defend what you had physically, someone would take it. A man has to contain these conflicting forces in harmony, yin and yang. I’ve learned to be rather good at it. In my younger days, I had much more trouble.

  • @ Kathy C.

    I know you weren’t arguing. He took the story back to hominids or hominins, I’m not clear which is correct or what the exact definitions are, and then right back to the origins of sex. Great.

  • Ozman: “They no doubt would be contributing to the genetic effect also..?”

    This guy? Naah… :-)

  • Reading this, about Russia, we’re only a whisker away from the sort of social chaos and collapse when we get back to that situation I just mentioned to Ozman, where, if you can’t defend what you have yourself, by physical violence, then you have to pay protection money to someone else to do it, and the biggest most brutal and ruthless protection racket gets to rule. In UK we still have some vestige of laws and some decent people, it’s not the worst place to be. But if the banks implode and London becomes a warzone, we’re back to mediaeval times again.

    Thinking about that pic I posted of Igor Sechin, I mean, the guy’s an Orc, he asks his wife to sprinkle a few more nails on his breakfast porridge to add flavour, it’s no good telling him about CO2 levels and permafrost melting and biodiversity and future generations, is it. It’s business. Anybody gets in the way of the money gets deleted.

  • Savory uses a bit of truth, half-truth, and no truth to tell his story. Probably has to do with his guilt over the elephants, too. Cattle have been around a long time and thus have been a successful species; they didn’t destroy their environment like we did. Savory as well as his audience are the unsuscessful species. Cattle evolved along with soils, soil microbes, beetles, worms, turkeys, flies, grass, and predators. Throw in trees, too. They all function together and too much of one will be slowed down by the others; they stay in balance. But, this must take place in the environment suited for them, the one where they evolved. That’s the catch. I don’t think deserts are the right place. Deserts have their own species. Man comes along and tries to concentrate the cattle part of the mix for his own benefit. That’s what messes things up. Cattle stay in herds and the herds move around and the predators follow, as well as the scavengers. If cattle are to be concentrated and kept in one spot, they must be on concrete, fed by man and the manure spread by man. Lots of machinery is used now that we have the energy. Otherwise, desertification takes place…anywhere, even in a humid climate like New York.

    Savory twists this all around to please his audience. The audience is stupid about this, wanting to hear a nice story. They would believe that “the lambs will lie down with the lions” kind of lie, too. They grew up on Disney and pixey dust or fundamentalism.

  • @Sorlaize

    Love Bukowski. Thanks for posting that.

  • @ Mari


    Gotta be fast to keep up with me, this guy’s just toooo sloooow, I can put a note between every one that he plays, he’s half asleep…

  • ulvfugl,

    “Anyway, yes, for me, everything is sorted. For you, it will never be sorted.” (big ol’ smiley face planted here)

    Thanks for the input, man! It’ll save me from all the effort.

  • @ Pym

    It’s the belief system that poses the question that requires the answer.

    Remove the belief system. Nothing to be sorted. Effortless.

    Raw reality. Very scary, but very sweet. ;-)

  • re: Savory-Personally, I can’t get past the murder of 40,000 elephants. Fuck that.

    As of last Friday, I have had it. I am so sick of how people treat each other, how we treat animals, how we treat the planet. I’ve reached my threshold, not for the first time, mind you, where I cannot look at the news. I take everything personally, and I know it’s pointless and even harmful, but I can’t help it. I hurt for every person and animal and forest and ocean I read about that is or has suffered at the hands of somebody.
    Read Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem, “Renascence” to understand the weight of my grief. Minus the spiritual awakening part. I’ve come to understand that enlightenment does not bring serenity, is not peaceful or kind. It’s more like being ripped apart from the inside, piece by piece, and then when you think you can’t handle the pain, a calm washes over, as long as one can accept that this is the way things are, and it just doesn’t matter. None of it.
    Yet I can’t read about an 8th grader who walks into the bathroom at school and commits suicide by gun, without hurting for that little boy, and wondering why nobody noticed his suffering. What is wrong with us?! People care too much about money, an imaginary construct, so much so, a teenage boy shot a baby in the head because his mom didn’t have any cash on her.
    In other bad news, as I predicted here at Christmas time (that one or both of the younger girls would likely develop asthma if we didn’t get snow), the dust has been so insidious, that my youngest, who will be two next month, is now being treated for asthma, along with my 5 year old and myself. And seasonal allergies for everyone! Of course, with no real seasons anymore, we get to suffer nearly year round.
    So, anyway, boohoo, poor me, it’s just NTE in slo-mo for us. Hope you all are fairing a little better.

  • BadlandsAK, I think you are a wonderful, beautiful, most spirited ‘human’ being. Just thought I’d tell you that :-)

  • @ Badlands

    I can’t get past the murder of 40,000 elephants.

    Yes. It seems almost beyond belief that he’d order the killing of so many before noticing that it wasn’t working. And after such a gross error of judgement, now launches into this with total confidence. The trouble is, so many people are looking for a miracle ‘fix’ that will let them keep up BAU, and so anything that sounds like one is going to be popular.

    @ dmd

    Cattle stay in herds

    Cattle are descended from aurochsen. As far as I can find out, the informed view is that the aurochs didn’t live in herds, or at least not large herds, like buffalo or wildebeeste or caribou.

    Concerning the habitat of the aurochs there is no consensus. While some authors think that the habitat selection of the aurochs was comparable to the African Forest Buffalo, others describe it as an inhabitant of open grassland helping maintaining open areas by grazing, together with other large herbivores. With its hypsodont jaw, the aurochs likely was a grazer and had a food selection very similar to domestic cattle. Therefore, it was no browser like deer or a semi-intermediary feeder like the wisent. Comparisons of the isotope levels of Mesolithic aurochs and domestic cattle bones showed that aurochs likely inhabited wetter areas than domestic cattle. The description of Schneeberger tells that during winter, along with grasses, twigs and acorns were an additional part of the aurochs’ diet.

    After the beginning of the Common Era, the habitat of aurochs became more and more fragmented because of the steadily growing human population. During the last centuries of its existence, the aurochs was limited to hideaway regions such as floodplain forests or marshes, where there were no competing domestic herbivores and less hunting pressure.

    Like many bovids, aurochs formed herds for at least one part of the year. They probably did not number much more than thirty individuals, which likely were composed of cows with their calves and some young bulls. Older bulls probably wandered solely or in small bull herds outside the mating season. Assuming that the social behaviour between aurochs and descended domestic cattle is roughly the same, social status was evaluated through gestures and fights, which can occur in cows as well as in bulls. Like in other ungulates which form unisexual herds, there was a considerable dimorphism, because bulls which wander around solely can feed them selves better than within a whole herd, which is why selection forced for especially large bulls. In ungulates which form herds containing animals of both sexes, like horses, sexual dimorphism is weakly developed.

  • Aww, thank you annie. Don’t get me wrong, things are not all bad. There is still a lot of beauty and kindness in my life, even quite a bit of fun. But if I don’t let some of the anger and confusion out once in a while, my depression can start taking over and gobbling up all that is good.
    There was discussion on the previous thread about antinatalism, and I wondered why the concept had never crossed my path. I think there are some people out there that are just more evolved than me, and now here I am with little babies, stuck in this big mess. There are so many things to worry about with children now, that it is overwhelming. I have to say though, that even without trying, they have already had a far better life than I did as a child.
    Again, thank you for your kind regard. Best to you.

  • BadlandsAK, I feel your pain. Here’s a clip from “Melancholia” right before this planet is destroyed:

    Earth Is Evil

  • Vinay Gupta interview

    Is it possible to abuse a shed to end Western civilisation? We’re about to find out.

  • BadlandsAK; Your rant reminds me of my wife. She is tormented by her feelings. It must be part of that nurturing trait. Sandy, my wife, raises our calves. In the past 38 years she lost 2 out of about 3000 born. The average farm loses 10 to 20% each year. Her extra care does bring results.

  • Badlands, I do feel for you because I can’t imagine facing this with young children. The calm I have worked out for myself, doesn’t work when I think of my grandchildren. But they are not close and probably will not come closer once the crash ensues so I am spared seeing their future but they of course are not spared living their future.

    But if you have to be a child when this all falls apart, how much better to be a child of someone who has already worked through the anticipation and fear, than the child of one who meets the future totally unaware. You, by facing the future with all the fears that encompasses, have done much more for your children than the mindless masses have done for theirs. In fact I suspect that the calm that you feel at times will come to you fully when you need it most. And you will be at the very least an emotional safe harbor for your kids.

    Thanks for sharing and thanks for the poem. :)

  • “I think there are some people out there that are just more evolved than me…” Nope, I think that some people ‘think’ they are more evolved than ‘you’ :-) Don’t let the fuckers get you down. Sure, it looks like the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but ‘be here now’ and enjoy that ‘beauty and kindness’ that so obviously comes across in your comments/posts. Jings, if I was a bairn and had to choose a mother to see me through all this shit, I’d hope for a mother like you – sincerely.

  • Hey Annie are you scottish?

  • New research shows that we have grossly underestimated both the scope and the scale of animal intelligence.

  • Hey AC, is the Pope a Catholic?

  • Not taking offence, as in not minding what others think or respond, requires respect for oneself and understanding of others, a high achievement. Conflating it with disregard for others comes from a delusion that a thin veneer of feigned understanding is that achievement . Amending that disregard does not necessarily dispel the delusion. Sages have warned since time immemorial that the more powerful the practice, the greater its hazards. The sharper the implement, the more dangerous when unfamiliar.

  • Hey AC, is the Pope a Catholic?


  • @ Robin D.

    So nice to have you sitting in the back seat telling me what you think about the hazards of the road. Remind me, when are you going to learn how to drive ?

  • “If one cannot state a matter clearly enough so that even an intelligent twelve-year-old can understand it, one should remain within the cloistered walls of the university and laboratory until one gets a better grasp of one’s subject matter” Margaret Mead

    Just sayin’…

  • Did you know this, that once there were giants, VERY big apes, contemporary with modern humans, as recently as 100,000 years ago… I did not know this, until now.

  • telling me what you think about the hazards of the road.

    Not telling you, that would be pointless. Warning others.