Utah: The Next Energy Colony

by Max Wilbert

The first Tar Sands mine in the United States is an open wound on the landscape: a three acre pit, the bottom puddled with water and streaked with black tar. Berms of broken earth a hundred feet tall stand on all sides. To the north and south, Seep Ridge Road — a narrow, rutted, dirt affair — is in the midst of a state-funded transfiguration into a 4-lane paved highway that may soon be clogged with afternoon traffic jams of oil tankers and construction equipment. Clearcuts and churned soil stretch to either side of the road, marking the steady march of progress.

PR Springs Tar Sands Mine

This is the Uintah Basin of eastern Utah — a rural county known for providing the best remaining habitat in the state for Rocky Mountain Elk, White Tailed Deer, Black Bear, and Cougar. In the last decade, it’s become the biggest oil-extraction region on the state, and in the last five years fracking has exploded. There are over 10,000 well pads in the region. And now, the Tar Sands are coming.

Thirty-two thousand acres of state lands situated on the southern rim of the basin — some 50 square miles — have been leased for Tar Sands extraction. If all goes according to plan, the mine at PR Springs that I’m looking at would produce 2,000 barrels of oil per day by late this year, with planned increases to 50,000 barrels per day in the future.

Dozens of similar mines are planned across the whole region. Along with their friends in state and local governments, energy corporations are collaborating to turn this region into an energy colony — a sacrifice zone to the gods of progress, growth, and desecration.

Twelve to 19 billion barrels of recoverable tar sands oil is estimated to be located under the rocky bluffs of eastern Utah, mostly in the southern portion of Uintah County. It’s a drop in the bucket for global production, but it means total biotic cleansing for this land.

Crude oil, tar sands, oil shale, and fracking: these are the wages of a dying way of life, and the ozone pollution that is already reaching record levels in this remote, sparsely-populated region is evidence of the moral bankruptcy of this path. There is no claim to morality in this path. It leads only to death, for us and for all life.

Alongside the test pit and scattered throughout the landscape, drill pads for seismologic assessment and roads to the pads have already been cut through the forests and shrubs, leaving behind a patchwork of shattered sagebrush and mangled juniper — testament to the Earth-crushing consequences of this “development.”

Situated at 8,000 feet of elevation, this wild region is called the Tavaputs Plateau. Unmarked, often muddy dirt roads make travel dangerous, and deep valleys plunge thousands of feet to the rivers that drain the region — the White River to the north, and the Green to the west. Both flow into the Colorado River, which provides drinking water for more than 11 million people downstream.

Resistance to tar sands and oil shale projects in Utah dates at least back to the 1980’s, when David Brower and other alienated conservationists fought off the first round of energy projects in this region. Thirty years later, the fight is on again.

It is likely that the PR Springs mine will be the bellwether of Tar Sands mining in the United States. If the project is stopped, it will be a major blow to the hopes of the Tar Sands industry in this country, while if it goes ahead smoothly, it may open the floodgates for more projects in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming.

That is why resistance to this project is so important. That resistance is building. Strong organizations based in Moab (Before it Starts and Living Rivers) and Salt Lake City (Utah Tar Sands Resistance and Peaceful Uprising) are working together to organize against the project, and individuals and allies have been scouting the site and preparing to take action this summer.

Campouts at PR Springs will take place in May and June with more gatherings likely throughout the summer. An action camp will take place the fourth week of July, with activists and concerned people from across the country gathering to support one another, prepare for action, and make plans. All are welcome.

Time is short. There is no time to waste, and we are few. If we are to succeed, we will need your help, your solidarity.

Looking out across a landscape that might soon be a wasteland, my gaze wanders across the juniper, scrub oak, and sagebrush that wrap gently over the hillsides and drop into the valleys. The setting sun casts waning light on the treetops, and a small herd of Elk climbs a ridge in the distance and disappears into the brush. Overhead, the few clouds in the broad sky fade from red to deep purple, then to darkness.

The last birds of the day sing their goodnight songs, and the stars begin to appear, thousands of them, lighting up the night sky and casting a dull glow across the countryside. I take a deep breath, tasting the cool night air spiced with the scents of the land.

The bats are out, flitting about snatching tasty morsels out of midair. I can hear their voices. They are calling to me. Tiny voices carrying across miles to whisper in your ear like the tickle of a warm breeze. “Fight back,” they say. “Please, fight back. This is our home. We need you to do what it takes to stop this. Whatever it takes to stop this. Whatever it takes.”

Whatever it takes.


Max Wilbert is a writer and community organizer living in occupied Goshute territory, otherwise known as Salt Lake City, Utah. He originally hails for occupied Duwamish territory, also known as Seattle, and organizes primarily with the Great Basin Chapter of Deep Green Resistance to fight injustice and promote strategies towards the dismantling of industrial civilization.

Contact Max Wilbert via email at dgrgreatbasin@riseup.net.


Companies involved in Tar Sands projects in the Utah include Red Leaf Resources (which also works in the Oil Shale business and is based in Salt Lake City), MCW Energy Group, Crown Asphalt Ridge LLC, and U.S. Oil Sands, a Calgary, Alberta-based company.

Red Leaf Resources is currently working on a shale oil operation in the same region as the PR Springs mine, which could eventually produce 10,000 barrels of oil per day. Other large oil shale operations are planned for region by the Estonian company Enefit.

You can learn more about the resistance to Utah Tar Sands projects at the following websites:





McPherson’s latest essay for the Good Men Project was published Friday, 10 May 2013. It’s here.

Comments 133

  • We Shall Be Released

    They say we’re no smarter than yeast,
    They say we’ll all soon be deceased;
    But we’ll find, in the rubble,
    The end of the trouble:
    Any day now, we shall be released.

  • What I found amazing is that all they can muster from this land (32,000 acres) is 50,000 barrels/day, or 1.5 barrels/day/acre?

    Surely the ERoEI must be NEGATIVE at such insane rates. We have gone mad…..

  • I need help with this story that dairymandave posted in the last link. If there were trees in the arctic at 8C warmer temps than now, how do we get from where we are now to no life when we hit 4C in twenty years? That funny feeling keeps creeping into my mind that if there are trees somewhere, then the .001% will be there with their mini nuke plants growing food in greenhouses and breathing in the oxygen they give off. The idea that we’re all doomed or all in the same boat isn’t working for me if any life survives. Because if any life survives, the .001% will take it for themselves and use it to survive and eventually rebuild. Please help!


  • Ripley.

    You need to distinguish between the increase in the average temperature of the Earth and an increase in temperature at a particular location.

    The freezing of water and the melting of ice take huge amounts of energy and tend to stabilise temperatures.

    All the evidence indicates that, when CO2 climate forcing takes place, temperatures near the poles rise much more than temperatures near the equator.

    The other important factor to consider is the rate at which humanity is extracting sequestered carbon [that nature put safely underground tens or hundreds of millions of years ago] and putting that carbon into the atmosphere and oceans in the form of CO2. The 400ppm we have at the moment will likely be 403 or 404ppm this time next year and 406 or 407ppm two years from now.

  • Ripley the world has warmed this much before, it has never warmed this rapidly before. Don’t worry, since we are pretty much agreed that the top percent of humans are psychopaths, if they do survive in some sheltered place they would end up having to wait a long time to get out and will end up killing each other :)
    from wiki on the end Permian extinction – humans would not have survived that extinction
    The Permian–Triassic (P–Tr) extinction event, informally known as the Great Dying,[2] was an extinction event that occurred 252.28 Ma (million years) ago,[3] forming the boundary between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods, as well as the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras. It is the Earth’s most severe known extinction event, with up to 96% of all marine species[4] and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species becoming extinct.[5] It is the only known mass extinction of insects.[6][7] Some 57% of all families and 83% of all genera became extinct. Because so much biodiversity was lost, the recovery of life on Earth took significantly longer than after any other extinction event,[4] possibly up to 10 million years.[8]

    Arctic News announces a new group 1250now dot org to address methane https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/2013/05/1250-new-group-calls-for-action-on-methane.html
    A new group, named 1250, calls for governments around the world to take action on methane.

    Just like 350 parts per million has become a popular target for carbon dioxide, the group similarly advocates a target for methane, aiming for a reduction of methane to 1250 parts per billion.

    “Methane is far more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, making it important to reduce levels of methane in the atmosphere,” explains founder Nathan Currier; “1250 is not just an advocacy group for methane cuts, however. Rather, it is a group focusing on near-term climate as a whole, and on practical pathways to constructing a ‘climate bridge’ towards a stable and sustainable future.”

    The launch of the group is accompanied by the release of the chart below showing the very high methane levels that have been recorded over Antarctica recently. The chart was prepared by Sam Carana, who also is a founding member of 1250.
    These very high methane emissions occur on the heights of East Antarctica. Antarctica is covered in a thick layer of ice. It appears that these very high emissions are caused by methane from hydrates that is escaping in the form of free gas bubbling up through the ice sheet.

    The danger is that such emissions will escalate, not only over Antarctica, but also on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and in the Arctic. For more on this, see the methane-hydrates blog.

    The group has a website at http://1250now.org/ and encourages people to join its mailing list.

    Well they are going to recommend that the first thing we need to do is save the Arctic, before trying to stop further emissions. There is a logic to that if you believe that complete melt of Arctic ice will do us in. I am not in favor of geo engineering, but at least these folks see that stopping the Keystone, stopping the tar sands in Utah, stopping fracking are all irrelevant if the ice goes in the Arctic, and far to late to stop the ice from going in the Arctic. Geo-engineering would probably just make things worse, but it seems to be the only thing that has any promise of saving humanity and most life on earth. So as I say while I am not in favor of geo engineering, I understand why some folks are pushing for it.

  • Posted without comment:

    From A4R at neven’s forum:

    I have updated the METOP 2 IASI CH4 through April 26 2013 pm. There was an anomaly on April 26, 2013 am that resulted in CH4 concentrations above 2400 ppbv at a number of layers. I have included 4 on the site. I’ll update more later.

    http://sites.google.com/site/a4r2013me … 970-600-mb

  • Max

    I have never been to an environmental crisis zone and attempted to stop some development. I can’t imagine what it must be like to try to stop such a big process at the back end.

    Surely there are some smart environmentalists with experience that know how to disrupt-get attention-use public opinion-halt the damage ?

    It was always going to come down to this wasn’t it. Each life-zone at a time, one by one.
    What does Derrick Jensen say to do ? According to his logic, most are not perceiving their livelihood comes from these places, and directly they would be correct. The vast majority are correctly perceiving their livelihood comes from Oil and Mining and now Gas, which it does in the direct sense.

    But the kicker is that this planet is the BIG indirect livelihood generator.

    WTF do we do? Will it have to be bodies in sacrifice, and will those bodies, like the suffragettes, be to some greater good ? Or will there be many sacrifices all for nothing because the Machine still rolls on ?

    Public protest seems the only way to wake people up !

    It seems the Big Asses lawyered up decades ago…

    My greatest wishes go with your fight there.

    I will check out the sites recommended above, but please tell me, short of sending any cash, what can I do to help from here in Australia ? (Not rhetorical)

  • Tar sands, shale oil, fracked natural gas, deepwater drilling: all signs of the desperation. Against backdrop of the dozen or so positive feedback loops for climate forcing: the choir of fat ladies have begun to sing. Of course for the diehards (optimists, idealists, activists &c.) “‘Tain’t over ’till it’s over”.

    Even past the cliff, ’tain’t over for them ’till they’ve hit the bottom. Drill baby, drill; frack baby, frack; keep on truckin’.

  • The frackers are pushing the collapse of civilization with their pollution and extraction of natural gas and oil. Besides causing earthquakes (minor as yet, but still) the end result of their production is even more carbon in the atmosphere and ocean, causing more heat and further imbalance to the climate system. Besides the degradation of animal, bird and plant habitat, no one needs to do anything because as it is right now none of it will be around in 30 yrs or so anyway (my own projection is that no one alive today will be around after the 2020’s).

    We’ve already done enough damage to kill ourselves off in the near future. Anything we do from here on out will only hasten that date, whether it’s driving to work, having children, or fracking, mining, war, and nuclear plant or dam building. What part of “it’s over” don’t people get? WE are the problem! It doesn’t matter what we do, so long as we continue to use energy we cause the entire cycle to keep repeating – until it can’t.

    Even scientifically studying the problems is a problem! Giant research ships, aerial mapping by satellites – it all takes massive amounts of energy. Civilization isn’t going to stop slowly and in an orderly fashion. It’s going to collapse like a sinkhole – out of the blue and into the black (credit to Neil Young).

    No one can plan or prep or relocate to avoid it because it will effect everything all at once, especially once the electrical grid fails. Nobody is going to get out of this situation, no matter how clever we think we are.

    i’ve been following some fringe sites that talk about how the global unrest is all planned to instigate WW III and cause the biblical prophesy of the anti-christ rising to “save the day” (3 yr tribulation period) and it’s all based on UFO’s being revealed by the world governments as true (thereby causing a schism in every religion). No one seems worried like we here are about the nuke problem that will happen (in fact IS HAPPENING) while all this drama is going on. Unless all the pollution and radiation can suddenly be reversed, we’re gone no matter what the religious folk believe. Even if it could be reversed it would take millenia for the earth to rebalance from the change in chemistry.

    i’ll be in the garden and will check back later. This site is like an oasis for me and i thank you all for being around to commiserate, bounce ideas off each other, and post things you notice. Thank you all.

  • Global consumption is about 85m barrels/day, so 1b barrels is good for around 12 days. A 20b barrel field then is sufficient for 240 days or so – not even 1 year of supply.

    As Robin and many others have observed, tar sands, fracking & oil shale are simply waypoint markers, milestones to be observed that indicate it’s time. Time for what? Glad you asked – how about, time to enjoy the here & now?

    Imagine a world where money is conjured from thin air, dispensed throughout the economy, and people actually accept & trade real assets (food, oil, etc) in exchange. That, my friends, is some trick; one we should all appreciate as truly unique in all of history, since we are the direct beneficiaries.

    Are people who are actually aware of our real situation really ready to bring this on now? (Bring it on, bitch!) Why not tomorrow, or the next day, or even a little further out?

    It’s a waste of time attempting to cut-off essential life-giving nutrients to a dying man – he will kill you out of desperation. Oil may be killing the earth, but it’s also what gives rise to our very real, personal lives today.

    Maybe that will be the final step of acceptance – that the future is here today. As the last fossil fuels are dug up/out & processed, global population may increase another 1b. We are getting ready for our proverbial swan dive.

  • “Whatever it takes” becomes the stumbling block because other than posting anger notes on blogs or maybe working up the ability to stand in a protest with a sign reading HEY! THIS IS BAD! we’re not actually doing anything. Occasionally someone will chain themselves to an earth mover and halt construction for an hour or two before being hauled off to jail and we’ll cheer this heroic act of environmentalism.

    But “whatever it takes” requires actually stopping the construction. It requires avoiding jail and public protests and sabotage of the earth machines so work is delayed for weeks, not hours. And “whatever it takes” requires the possibility of assassinations, a line almost no one is going to cross.

    Playing safe in the face of global extinction is akin to doing nothing. It is easy to condemn the acts that will most certainly kill us all. Actually trying to stop them requires risking all.

  • Grant just suppose someone has a bad cut on one hand that might gangrene and cost the loss of the whole hand. You would of course want to stop the infection before it went any further. But if they were also having a heart attack would you treat the hand or leave it for a bit and give CPR. In other words if humans and most life go extinct in 17 years if nothing is done about the melting Arctic ice will it matter if you stop tar sands in Utah.

    this has been posted many times here https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/p/global-extinction-within-one-human.html The folks at the Arctic New blog, the folks at the Arctic Methane Emergency Group and now the folks at 1250now dot org as well as of course Guy, are all telling us that when the Arctic goes ice free its all over.

    So if you are hot to do something join them, get gov’ts to do geo-engineering, hope for the best and if the Arctic ice is save and the geo-engineering doesn’t have its own negative results, you can then go save Utah, protest Keystone, try make a truly fossil fuel free alternative energy etc. But if the patient dies, who cares that you treated the hand. If we are extinct who cares whether or not Keystone was built.

    Your choice, but if you really want to save the planet I suggest you spend time reading at the sites I have listed to see what part of the problem needs to be addressed first.

    Tom – “Even scientifically studying the problems is a problem! Giant research ships, aerial mapping by satellites – it all takes massive amounts of energy.” I hadn’t actually thought of that. Very good point. We no longer can solve our problems without adding to them. This state of affairs is documented in Joseph Tainter’s Collapse of Complex Societies. This is gonna be one hell of a collapse. The anaerobic bacteria and heat loving bacteria would be cheering it on, if they could cheer.

  • Kathy: So it’s okay to rape the land because we’re all screwed anyway?!? I want these swine hurt. The best attack is on their money since they feel and think with their wallets. If we’re all set to die, I want them to die first. I want them to die before they can continue to brutalize the planet for their own selfish reasons. I want millionaires and billionaires to retreat in terror into their hideaway mansions and dare not be seen in public ever again. I want wild mobs roaming the streets keeping the elite in terrified isolation.

    But don’t worry. We’ll sit at home online, safe and smug and die hoping beyond all reason our bank accounts reflect nicely upon us. Some of the smarter people will with I Told You So t-shirts on. That should really have an impact.

  • Grant, I think it’s a stretch to take what KathyC said about the necessity for, essentially, triage, and connect it to an endorsement of raping the land. A big leap, actually.

    I’m all for shaming the worst offenders but I imagine that, to someone who is a subsistance farmer on an atoll with brackish water from rising seas already, you and I and anyone who can read this on a laptop are in their number. And I wouldn’t even exclude subsistence farmers either, since by many accounts, they are over-fishing and burning forests and killing endangered wildlife to survive. It would appear that humans have few if much hesitation in exploiting, polluting, and destroying the natural world in order to procreate and consume without any limits.

    Today I read the partial transcript of McKibben’s sermon which seems relevant because he, too, has taken the position of blaming the corporations and the 1%:


    my comment was:

    the fallacy:

    “…It’s not that Americans are addicted to fossil fuel; most of us would be just as happy if our power came from the sun and the wind, if our cars ran on electricity.”

    Sure, they would be just as happy! But you really can’t fool the people. They know there is no form of energy on earth, other than fossil fuels, that will provide enough renewable, clean fuel for personal automobiles and the other trappings of industrial civilization to which they have become accustomed.

    Sure, the big corporations are evil, and the 1% is greedy. But there’s no point preaching againt them if you aren’t going to be realistic and point out that a drastic reduction in overall consumption and human population is required, in addition to “cleaner” energy, especially in the developed countries.

    That is the only social justice and the only solution. Pandering to the wishes of Americans by pretending it would be possible to continue their orgy of consumption will get us no closer to sustainable harmony with nature.

  • Hey Grant, any number of us are wishing for the day when it’s open season on the rich, believe me, and the rage and animosity isn’t envy driven. i hear you and felt that way once. Just thinking about it gets me in stealth sniper mode, but i breathe through it and let it go for the fantasy that it is. Let me explain with a recent personal anecdote.

    i was at a growers’ market this overcast/drizzly weekend petitioning for Food and Water Watch (to stop fracking in PA). Stood on my feet with a smile on my face and kindness in my heart as i engaged people through their (many)children, dogs (wonderful young pups to kind old ones), clothing (e.g. a girl walking by with a motorcycle helmet on her backpack – “hey what kinda bike you ridin’?”) or whatever and they’d stop and talk. Many signed on. Two different men came up and chided me for being against fracking – one a chemical engineer and the other a guy who worked at a refinery. i listened to them and acknowledged their position, made a reasonable environmental rebuttal and wished them well. One guy with an Irish accent came by and said “this is really important. You gotta stop EVERYONE that walks by and MAKE them sign it.” i laughed, imagining holding some grandma in an arm lock: “sign it!” while pointing out that it has to be voluntarary. He replied – “That’s why evil always wins!” smiled, wished me good luck and thanked me for what i was doing and left. And there’s the point you’re making.

    In the end ya gotta do whatever it takes. If you feel that way, i’m not going to dissuade you and i wish you luck. Just remember that the whole Homeland Security apparatus is set up to basically protect them, so if you’re going to be effective you must work alone and tell no one anything at all (oops, too late).

    In the end, four hours of talking to people netted me 52 signatures. i thanked every one of them, KNOWING it isn’t going to do any good.

    i pointed out the thinned out trees all around us to people who were on the fence about signing. It’s a very convincing argument since it speaks for itself. (thanks Gail for the ammunition – the knowledge you’ve researched and document on your blog)

    So two days ago it was 80 degrees here (first time it’s been truly warm for a good while). Today it’s maybe 60 and windy. We’ve had lots of rain. My lettuce didn’t come up. The kale looks like it’s taking, my cucumbers just popped out of the ground, the beans are coming up and the spinach, so i’m doing 3 tomato plants today. Tonight and tomorrow night, believe it or not, it’s supposed to be in the mid to upper 30’s (then go back to the low to mid 50’s again at night after Tuesday), so i’ll have to bring the pots in and out for a couple days.

    Have a great day everyone.

  • Thank you Mr. Schreiber.

  • These ice core and lake sediment studies showing that life survived at much higher temps merely confirms what they have probably suspected all along that they, the super rich class of billionaires, who own everything and make all the decisions as to what will be done about climate change, will be able to survive. They will never be convinced that they won’t survive, therefore, there will never be a reason for them to even consider slowing down, let alone stopping, the destruction that has made them so rich. So if climate change kills some life, most life, or even nearly all life, for them climate change is still a win-win-win situation.

    Try to remember, we’re talking about people who think they can go to Mars and the Moon and live where there’s plenty of radiation and no breathable air. Permian extinction doesn’t scare these people. If there is any, ANY, air, water, or life left, they know they will be able to grab it for themselves. They’ve now got portable mini-nuke plants so they can set themselves up in the best places and grow food in greenhouses and even make more of the golf courses they love so much. They’ve got warehouses full of lead-linen clothing to protect them against the old melting nuke plants. Sorry, but I remain unconvinced that everyone dies. We die. They continue to live.

  • Guy

    You still have a link on the ‘End of Empire’ site:


    It has been dormant since the last posting of :

    ‘Breaking News Fri. Sept. 21, 2012’

    There is an explanation on the site, (from the new relatively new ‘owner/operator’0 saying family matters have meant some deferment for a while.

    Do you know anything about it?

    Just askin’

  • Even Joe Bageant read your work, Guy:


    I miss Joe, I really really do. I give away copies of his books all the time.

  • A lot of action (almost all) is motivated by the reptilian brain, not only in reptiles, but also in us. Vengeance. Anger. Hate. No amount of intellecttion to the chauffeur is going to change that: explanations such as those about triage will prompt the chauffeur to seek for itself some intellectual rationalisation to carry out the commands of its reptilian master; those rationalisations will be proffered as a rebuttal to explanations.

    Those in thrall to such motivations, insusceptible to logic and reason, will obtain their satisfaction from pursuing action to satisfy those motivations, and in view of the brevity of the remaining time, should be allowed to continue on that course, with the proviso that ineffective extra suffering is not imposed on anyone.

    Expectation and hope are operative at the level of the reptilian brain, and are difficult to abandon. Yet it is not impossible, thereafter tailoring action to anticipation (rational) rather than to the expectation (emotional). Absent expectation, its handmaiden, hope, absconds. Absent these, both acceptance and non-acceptance fall out of the paradigm: there is no longer any room for them when dealing with adverse outcomes. And hopelessness from the absence of expectation is mutually exclusive with the despair of thwarted expectations.

  • OzMan, I’ve corresponded with the operator of the End of Empire New website, but it’s been a long time. I don’t know the story.

  • Ripley, unless THEY are immortal reptilians, they die. Hitler is dead. Prescott Bush is dead. Old Joe Kennedy is dead. Every Pope but the last two are dead. Nixon is dead. If some hold out longer in shelters with mini nuke plants so what. If the create off spring so what. They will all die and their lives will mean nothing. They feed on power and fear. If we all die early in collapse and they stay alive, they will turn their power and fear games on each other. Poor sad humans, in fact they are barely alive. They are like zombies, the living dead.

    Oh and by the way you do remember that Biosphere2 was a failure. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosphere_2

  • This is a few months old, but fascinating:


    Stem Cell Malfunction A Quantum Toxin Source?

    (a long quote from the article)
    So now the time is ripe to talk about a scientific paper that is less than a year old, and a paper which links microbe viruses and stem cells in the most surprising discoveries yet discussed.

    So, you decide if it was worth waiting for.

    There is some controversy about whether DNA is alive or not, as there is with various viruses, but there is growing evidence for a virus first evolutionary narrative.

    I think this is indicated by the role viruses play during stem cell morph into a myriad of different types of cells:

    We all started out as a fertilized egg: a solitary cell about as wide as a shaft of hair. That primordial sphere produced the ten trillion cells that make up each of our bodies. We are not merely sacs of identical cells, of course. A couple hundred types of cells arise as we develop. We’re encased in skin, inside of which bone cells form a skeleton; inside the skull are neurons woven into a brain.

    What made this alchemy possible? The answer, in part, is viruses.

    One way cells can switch genes on and off is producing proteins that latch onto nearby stretches of DNA called promoters. The match between the protein and the promoter has to be precise; otherwise, genes will be flipping on at all the wrong times, and failing to make proteins when they’re needed. Pfaff and his colleagues found that all the two-cell genes had identical promoters–which would explain how they all managed to become active at the same time.

    What was really remarkable about their discovery was the origin of those promoters. They came from viruses.

    During the earliest stage of the embryo’s development, these virus-controlled genes are active. Then the cells clamp down on them, just as they would clamp down on viruses. Once those genes are silenced, the totipotent cells become pluripotent.

    Pfaff and his colleagues also discovered something suprising when they looked at the pluripotent ball of cells. From time to time, the pluripotent cells let the virus-controlled genes switch on again, and then shut them back down. All of the cells, it turns out, cycle in and out of what the scientists call a “magic state,” in which they become temporarily totipotent again.

    Cells in the magic state can give rise to any part of the embryo, as well as the placenta and other tissue outside the embryo. Once the virus-controlled genes get shut down again, they lose that power. This discovery demonstrated that these virus-controlled genes really are crucial for making cells totipotent.

    Pfaff and his colleagues propose that the domestication of these virus promoters was a key step in the evolution of mammals with placentas. The idea that viruses made us who were are today may sound bizarre, except that Pfaff is hardly the first person to find evidence for it. Last year, for example, I wrote about how placental mammals stole a virus protein to build the placenta.

    A discovery this strange inevitably raises questions that its discoverers cannot answer. What are the virus-controlled genes doing in those first two cells? Nobody knows. How did the domestication of this viral DNA help give rise to placental mammals 100 million years ago? Who knows? Why are viruses so intimately involved in so many parts of pregnancy? Awesome question. A very, very good question. Um, do we have any other questions?
    (We Are Viral From the Beginning, Discover, emphasis added). So, a lot of back and forth, a lot of switching on and off, of genetic “buttons” takes place with the assistance of viral elements (or during stem cell body repair episodes).

    This increases the risk of mutation if we factor in some of the details of a paper written by a physicist, of all disciplines.

    He explains that at the quantum level, deep down in DNA, “proton tunneling” can cause DNA mutation:

    “The analysis of the original proton wave packet involves an interesting phase problem, and, since the energy distribution is temperature dependent, the whole phenomenon is also temperature dependent.”

    “The tunneling times will depend essentially on the height and the form of the barrier. In DNA, the form of the double-well potentials regulating the hydrogen bonds depend not only on the base pair involved but also on neighboring pairs, their net charges, and the entire electric environment. The tunneling time is hence not only characteristic for a certain biological specimen but is also a function of the position in the DNA molecule involved. The tunneling time is very likely also temperature dependent, even if the protons are well shielded in the double helix. The main problem is whether the tunneling time is very short in comparison to the replication time, or whether there exist organisms where the penetration of the barrier is slow in comparison to the replication.”

    “It should always be remembered that, in Born’s interpretation of quantum mechanics, the quantity |¥|² represents the probability density for finding the proton in a specific position. The tunneling of the wave packet is hence a time-dependent process which is going to influence the properties of the genetic code.”

    “In this connection, it should be observed that the tunneling probabilities depend not only on the base pair involved but also on the electrostatic environment, the neighboring base pairs, etc., which may explain the occurrence of “hot spots.”

    At a DNA replication, the protons have to “choose sides,” and the proton code immediately after a DNA replication represents actually a nonstationary state from the quantum-mechanical point of view. The time evolution of the system and particularly the penetration of the potential barrier in the double-well potential represents a loss of the genetic code which should perhaps be considered as the primary cause of aging. The aging is thus a process which goes on continuously in the DNA molecule but gets “manifested” at the replications.

    Proton tunneling may finally be of importance in connection with the occurrence of spontaneous tumors. The growth of an individual is a highly refined balance between factors which enhance the cell duplication and other factors which limit this duplication so that the organism takes a specific shape. The entire process is stimulated and controlled by various enzymes, and there is a feedback from the environment about which we know, at present, very little. If there is a somatic mutation, i.e., a change of the genetic code in a DNA molecule in the body of an organism, the change may influence the protein synthesis and the balance between the enhancing and controlling enzyme actions in the growth cycle. Actually, the new genetic code may lead to the development of a “new individual” within the individual, i.e., a tumor.”

    “In this paper we have pointed out that, since the protons are not classical particles but “wave packets” obeying the laws of modern quantum theory, the genetic code cannot –in spite of all precautions– be 100% stable. Due to the quantum-mechanical “tunnel effect,” there is always a small but finite probability that the protons will change place, alter the genetic code, and give rise to mutations. This implies also that this transfer of protons over a distance of about 10-^8 cm may be one of the driving forces in the evolution of living organisms on the earth.”
    (Proton Tunneling in DNA and its Biological Implications, by Per-Olov Löwdin; Journal: Review of Modern Physics, Vol 35, No. 3, July 1963, emphasis added). This quantum level proton tunneling behavior is said to be more likely to occur under some conditions than under others.

    The likelihood of it happening statistically increases when stem cells are transitioning from one potency phase to another, or back again.

    Could this be another suspect place where the mysterious toxins of power emerge as a mutation enhanced by the torque caused by having power over others (“power corrupts … absolute power corrupts absolutely”)?

    We can reflect on what Dr. Roger Penrose said about the source of human intelligence, and what Dr. Ernst Mayr said about it, then conclude for ourselves.

  • speakin’ of viruses, looks like the H7N9 isn’t the only potential plague source:


    WHO warns that deadly novel coronavirus could be passed from person to person
    The virus is known to cause pneumonia and sometimes kidney failure

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that it appears likely the novel coronavirus can be passed between people in close contact.

    This comes after France confirmed a second case of a deadly new respiratory virus related to Sars, as they increased efforts to inform the public about how to avoid the illness and watch for its signs.

    (there’s more)

  • @ Tom

    I believe that video re quantum biology thoroughly vindicates my position, re my various somewhat acrimonious arguments with various individuals here.

    More generally, imo, the virus stuff supports Margulis’ conception of life as co-operative co-evolution, rather than Dawkins and neo-darwinist selfish gene ideological crap.

  • Instead of viewing tar sands, shale oil, fracked natural gas and deep water drilling as signs of desperation – Hail Mary passes in the last minute of play – perhaps we should see them instead as signs of success.

    Our monomaniacal lust to drill out and burn up these last, marginal stores of ancient carbon even as the world disintegrates around us is a sure sign that we are very close to discharging our thermodynamic obligation to the universe. We came into being, along with our brains the size of planets and our consciences the size of mustard seeds, in order to dissipate all the energy gradients we could; to fling the universe headlong toward its final date with equilibrium. I, for one, am enormously proud of my species for doing such an exemplary job in just a few thousand short years. After all, the rest of the biosphere didn’t accomplish a tenth as much in over three billion years! Humans are the most successful species the planet has ever seen, so why all the long faces?

  • Re: This notion that some will survive no matter how hot is gets, that life has survived hot times before, and that all will just be a big party on the warm northern latitudes…needs some disclaimers. For one, we are also talking about serious oxygen depletion. For two, we are talking about increase of toxins, loss of food sources, nuclear power plant radiation problems, and a whole host of other problems unprecedented on the planet prior due to the sudden anthropocene.

  • Just when I think we’re gonna do the planet in our own selves, Mother Earth gives a little wink***check out this ice tsunami on Lake Mille Lacs in Minnesota this past Saturday. Poor girl is advertising why we are doomed as a species. I would say to keep the volume low so as not to feel embarrassed for her, but you have to hear the sound of the ice. https://youtu.be/fX3PkXiYO4k

  • @ ulvfugl says: “The virus stuff supports Margulis’ conception of life as co-operative co-evolution, rather than Dawkins and neo-darwinist selfish gene ideological crap.”

    And yet, others read an explanation that validates their opinion(s), hence resulting in confirmation bias. However, some can reach a differing opinion without the need to throw in a disparaging “crap”. Why is that?

    While on the topic of why, why does it matter what form of organization various life forms take, whether it is a combination of genes, viruses, bacteria, et al, if the primary imperative is to grow, survive & replicate?

    And isn’t the core essence of the universe, even at a quantum level, the basic laws of thermodynamics? And isn’t the most important (from our perspective) being #2, which is, in the absence of (energy) driven order, things collapse (including cells themselves) ie tend towards entropy?

    It seems a very few like Erin, Paul, Kathy and a few others really “get it”. It isn’t corporations (who indeed exploit a set of given conditions), it isn’t culture (which indeed strengthens or negates these directives), it’s ourselves. Duh.

    We were put on this earth to do exactly what we are doing. So is every other life form. Stop looking for a culprit and deal with the here & now of the reality of where we are on this long arc of history. We’re near the end point – there’s nothing anyone can do about it. But to try and stop our date with destiny is short-term stupidity.

    This isn’t your father’s USA – imagine trying to block the coal-to-oil projects in 1944 Germany. What do you think would happen to you if you were caught? Rule of law? Surely you jest. Be smart and play the game like a master while this baby cycles down.

  • Gail, thanks for sharing Tim Murray’s “Meet the Percapitas”; he said it ALL so well! When he wrote, “And by adopting rather than conceiving, we would not have added to the 350,000 children who are born every day to a planet now burdened with 7 billion humans and braced for more,” he touched upon a taboo subject that many do not want to acknowledge. He carried it further by adding, “But we thought that it was vitally necessary that the world have our genes and that our children have the same pair of eyes or ears that we have…Oh, and by the way, our procreative choices are NOYB. Pushing other people and other species off the plate is our sacred, personal right.” Human egocentricity has no bounds; that’s why the planet is taking the reins now.

    Tom, speaking of viruses with legs, Kurt Vonnegut was a scientific genius and didn’t know it. In an interview with Bill Maher in 2005, he said, “I think the earth’s immune system is trying to get rid of us, and it’s high time it did. My goodness, we are a disease on the face of this planet. You know, after two world wars and the Holocaust, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and well, the Roman games and the Spanish Inquisition, and the burning of women in public squares, it’s time we got out of here… And I think we ought to become ‘syphilis with a conscience’ and stop reproducing.”

    Also, Tom, we’re gearing up for a battle with the frackers and will be trying to at least keep the destruction out of the city limits. We’re trying to have it put up for a vote by the citizens and taken out of the City Council’s hands. Like you, I know the world is crashing and burning, but we have to live with our conscience no matter what. I respect your taking the time to collect signatures and to connect with people.

    Kathy C, I always appreciate your thoughts about the unborn. An antinatalist friend gave me a poster that says, “Hypothetical people have rights too.” They certainly have the right to avoid needless suffering.

  • The very, very few who even have a marginal awareness of NTE seem to vacillate between denialist fantasies (an awakening will occur and even the pigs at the top will do something to stop it, or the pigs at the top will stop it to save their own hides, or after the collapse we will all become blissful subsistance farmers) and secular eschatological fantasies (we’re a bad, greedy species and deserve to die off). As a misanthrope, I naturally tend to gravitate towards the latter. Unlike others, however, I don’t believe that our extinction was predetermined by the laws of thermodynamics. Unfortunately, egalitarian values (which are secularized Christian values) precluded us from (among other things) placing controls on human reproduction. The big ugly fact that most people avoid (even on this blog) is that 7 billion people is about 6.5 billion too many. 7 billion “useless eaters,” as they say, will ruin most earth like planets. But since too many people think that human life is sacred and that Jesus’s dad will save us in the end (or at least send us to a paradise where all good Christians will be able to shop at celestial Targets and Wal-Marts and live in MacMansions forever), we failed to make hard choices – evil choices – which were necessary for the preservation of the planet and our species. So now, Mother Nature (i.e. Medea) will have to eat her children for lunch.

  • @ B9K9:

    You know, I can see your point, I do “get it.” The fact that there are starving children in forced labor camps (and I grew up on hot dogs, ice cream and cracker jacks) notwithstanding, there is no apology necessary for the twist of fate that makes me privileged. I should consume all I can and greedily scream for more. More! Drill baby Drill!

    Two realities make this possible:

    1) It doesn’t matter, it’s all going to collapse – IT IS COLLAPSING – and it’s going to be economic collapse, environmental collapse, and social collapse all together until NTE. There will be no mercy and it’s going to be very very horrible.

    2) There is no heaven and there is no hell. There is no salvation, there is no “40 virgins,” there is no nirvanna. This is it.

    So, I guess I will stop feeling guilty and start taking advantage! I am simply doing what I was born to do, consume, consume, consume.

  • @ B9K9

    And yet, others read an explanation that validates their opinion(s), hence resulting in confirmation bias. However, some can reach a differing opinion without the need to throw in a disparaging “crap”. Why is that?

    Because it’s been shown repeatedly to be crap. Biology, not confirmation bias.

    While on the topic of why, why does it matter what form of organization various life forms take, whether it is a combination of genes, viruses, bacteria, et al, if the primary imperative is to grow, survive & replicate?

    From the perspective of NTE, it doesn’t matter. From the perspective of science, the details matter.

    And isn’t the core essence of the universe, even at a quantum level, the basic laws of thermodynamics? And isn’t the most important (from our perspective) being #2, which is, in the absence of (energy) driven order, things collapse (including cells themselves) ie tend towards entropy?

    I now think there is considerable doubt about that. I don’t think the laws of thermodynamics are relevant at the deepest quantum level. The whole thing has to be rethunk. It needs a new paradigm. Afaik the only person attempting this is Lee Smolin, although there may be others. Again, from the perspective of NTE, it really doesn’t matter at all. For something to occupy my mind, as I amble around upon the Beach of Doom, it’s just as valid as anyone else’s way of passing time.


  • my Second and Last post of the day:

    it is just as valid a waste of time as any…

    Check the phone book for Navel-Gazers Anonymous, they might be able to help.

    @ Ozman:

    “But then I’d rather be a killer than a victim.”

  • depressive lucidity says: “I don’t believe that our extinction was predetermined by the laws of thermodynamics. Egalitarian values precluded us from placing controls on human reproduction. Too many people think that human life is sacred and that Jesus’ dad will save us in the end.”

    DL, you reveal much about your bias; do you think it could possibly cloud your judgment?

    By some estimates, a barrel of oil contains the equivalent energy of approximately 200 human slaves. Would there not then be sufficient motivation to cultivate vast herds of slaves in order to concentrate the resulting collective energy towards the very top? Indeed, isn’t this the very history of our species; and no, not just the last 10-15k years, but all the way back 7-10m years ago?

    Christianity, like all other religions, is a ruse developed as a control mechanism. The key is to understand the underlying, driving mechanism(s), and no, it’s not *us* failing to place controls on human reproduction. (Speaking of which, what is this mythical *us* anyway?)

    Consider Hitler’s plans for Germany’s 1,000 year reich – ever see the architectural drawings he commissioned? Vast, out of scale capital buildings where the entire globe would pay both homage & tribute.

    We should all look forward to NTE, because with the reality of peak oil & population overshoot, the PTB are certainly busily studying ancient playbooks. Biometric ID systems necessary to get a job, travel, access healthcare, acquire food/water, etc are the technological frosting that will enable plans to come to fruition with maximum return.

    I do have to chuckle now & then at the naivete commonly exhibited here. For a lot of pretty intelligent people, many seem to have missed the reality boat. It’s not about you feeling good about yourself speaking “truth to power”, getting together for a group hug/protest, or collecting signatures and feeling like you’re ‘doing something to gain positive change’.

    LOL – seriously. Go back and read Alinsky. He even admits his tactics would only work in the USA (anywhere else, and out come the machine guns) – and that was back in the 60s. As the chess pieces are being moved oh so slowly & deliberately, you might have one chance to intuit that we’re moving towards a whole new kind of “lifestyle”.

    If you don’t figure it out, then your own personal extinction event, with perhaps some extra measures of pain & suffering, are probably in the offing much closer than necessary.

  • pat

    Don’t recognise the quote, or what you are getting at…

    What if we are both ?

    What about the worms ?
    ….after Hamlet with Yorick.

  • Max, thanks for the essay. Time is very short and it ain’t lookin’ good. I mailed a check to the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance anyway.

    If the tar sand resisters decide to use other means to protest, besides the peaceful ones that don’t work, I will support those as well. By any means necessary.

    Grant and Wester and Ripley, oh yes, I want the suffering to extend to the perps. As Utah Phillips said, “The earth is not dying – it is being killed. And the people who are killing it have names and addresses.” Now, finding those addresses takes some work, but I found Rex Tillerson’s…..CEO of ExxonMobil. If this is correct, it is: 624 Dove Creek Dr Bartonville TX 76226. He also owns a vacation home at 122 Applehead Island Dr Horseshoe Bay, TX 78657. Maybe someone who lives in Mayflower AR would like to return some dilbit to him. I know I would.

    Hey, Ozman, I picked my handle just because I like the wild and I’m female. It’s very appropriate to my personality as well.

    B9K9, I really do tire of the tone of your posts, sort of sneering and ohso superior. If you inherit the earth, along with your brethern, hahahahhahahaha and good luck to you. I’m quite certain that many of the people on this blog have read Alinsky.

    Erin, loved the Bageant link. Wish I had discovered him while he was still alive.

    Pym, didn’t Vonnegut have a bunch of children? I know he adopted some, when one of his siblings died, but I thought he had like 6 of them.

  • haven’t posted in a while, been slumming while perfecting my plans to become 100% a “ward of the state.”

    I don’t think B9K9 is offensive at all – I can see how his approach would bother those here that have a different defined morality! But, the end will be the same for the prince and the pauper and the righteous and the evil – and, since I can’t be a prince, I will be a pauper, and, since I can’t be righteous, I will be evil.

    I don’t care one hoot about idealogy or navel gazing – the end is the end, there is no legacy to groom. I can see the point of those who want to go out with their heads held high, either by resisting TPTB or helping the less fortunate or “walking away from empire.” However, since it doesn’t matter anyway, why not go down sipping champagne and eating caviar? No one should worry anymore about JUDGEMENT! Unless, of course, you believe there is more to life than just this physical existence, which I don’t.

  • we are very close to discharging our thermodynamic obligation to the universe.

    Hence their desperation to keep Business as Usual going.

    However, some can reach a differing opinion without the need to throw in a disparaging “crap”. Why is that?

    The conceit of certitude. Instead ofthe humility of certitude. A consequence of maverick meditation. Warned about since time immemorial. More helpful & dangerous than psychopaths, having through strenuous effort developed faculties that are off-track. With nary a tinge of awareness about it.

    A great person once said words to the effect: if I am right, there is no need for anger; if I am wrong, there is no room for anger.

    We were put on this earth to do exactly what we are doing. So is every other life form.

    Suchness. Overlooked in the standard Sunday sermon.

    7 billion “useless eaters,” as they say,

    I have heard it said “turdmakers”, but that was by those unschooled in the biological value of humanure.

    There is no heaven and there is no hell. …… I am simply doing what I was born to do,

    As is every creature.
    Carpe diem or crappy diem, both are averted by The Great Suicide. More difficult than a little suicide as The Great Death is more difficult than a little death.

  • Pym, thanks for the quote – yes all the hypothetical people have to right to not be born into a life that is likely to be most difficult. Since all life is going to be most difficult and shortened in the near future, the case for not having children is strong.

    As for the success of a small group of humans after the death of most humans I suggest reading Kalki by Gore Vidal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalki_(novel)

  • All I can tell you is there will be a lot of people wandering around with “WTF?” tattooed on their foreheads and they are going to be very angry and very hungry and most likely well-armed.

    We won’t be able to shoot them all much less bury the ones we can shoot. This Winter is going to be cold and dark with no food and no money. The chaos will escalate rapidly when the grid goes down and, just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, 400 + nuclear plants go Fukushima across the globe.

    Now then, let’s see, Hmmmm, what is the proper response to this scenario? I’m not 100% sure, but I’m pretty sure blogging on NBL rates pretty low on the “to do” list.

    @ OzMan and pat:

    From “Blade Runner:”

    Tyrell: What..? What seems to be the problem?
    Roy: Death.
    Tyrell: Death. Well, I’m afraid that’s a little out of my jurisdiction, you…
    Roy: I want more life, f#cker.

  • In tandem with the widespread, rapid and willful slaughter of the earth and its creature, there are small poignant losses happening all around us every waking day. The birch trees in our area (central Ontario) are being hit hard, burned to death by an atmosphere that has ceased to be fostering and protective.

    A poem, an elegy, an ode to one such tree:

    Along the road I daily walk
    a birch, a maple grew entwined –
    limbs laced, they occupied
    the space of one.

    Some time ago, two seeds had died,
    then side-by-side revived
    as seedlings, saplings
    young trees, fully grown.

    And as they reached
    all trusting
    to the sun
    their un-twinned bodies
    pressed so close
    that flesh had fused
    in places here and there
    along the lusty trunks,
    joined branch on branch,
    entwined by fate
    the peeling black and white
    the marbled grey

    Every day
    along the walking way
    I saw them
    in all lights and seasons
    a companionship of limbs and leaves
    – serrated birch, the maple leaf we know –
    two trees as one
    wrapped in each other’s arms.

    ‘Til summer heat began to sear
    and leaves so finely tuned
    to distant fire
    to shrink from sun
    they once had sought
    as life itself,

    pale birch leaves first to burn
    to rust and fall
    before the frost could even slice
    with silver knife –
    one glistening night
    then weeks of flame and glory.
    Not now, instead, an ugly August autumn.

    Belittled leaves exposed
    the birch tree’s tender tips
    that drying in the now fierce heat
    began to snap
    to break
    to fall to bits
    at first unnoticed
    then – crack – a larger limb came down
    and then another jagged break.

    Until today I saw in passing
    that the birch (not old by any means)
    had died
    its brittle sun-scorched trunk
    once wet with sap
    had snapped – Who heard? –
    the charred and shattered top
    hanging there
    caught and held
    in friendly grieving arms.

    How long the maple has to live
    I cannot say,
    but will daily pass this way,
    a sad and silent witness
    to what end?

  • to what end?

    The End.

  • Well, at least I’m doing my part to suck whatever I can out of the life of the living.

  • @Grant Schreiber: have you read the book “Deep Green Resistance”? You might enjoy it.

    @wildwoman: thank you!

    @Ozman: I organize with a group called Deep Green Resistance to promote strategies that have a material chance of stopping the destruction of the planet. We do have a DGR chapter in Australia, and I’m sure they’d be thrilled to hear from a potential ally or new member. You can contact them here: https://www.facebook.com/dgraustralia?fref=ts

  • @ pat

    Check the phone book for Navel-Gazers Anonymous, they might be able to help.
    Attention seeking again?

    You’ll have to explain to me what navel gazers are, and what the connection is to quantum biology and The universe as a process of unique events.

    @ Max Wilbert

    Best wishes.

    @ wildwoman

    Very well said. I would add a proviso and suggest that one must be prudent with one’s public words in these perilous days, unless one can afford access to a very good attorney for what may be an extended period of time ;-)

    @ rob

    No one should worry anymore about JUDGEMENT! Unless, of course, you believe there is more to life than just this physical existence, which I don’t.

    It’s one’s own judgement of one’s self that matters. I wouldn’t want to be you, or B9K9, or several other people who regularly post here. I like to be proud of who I am.

    @ Robin Datta

    The conceit of certitude. Instead ofthe humility of certitude. A consequence of maverick meditation….

    Rubbish. My knowledge of biology and evolutionary theory comes from a study of the subject and has nothing to do with meditation, and I don’t think I’m about to take any lessons from you in anything, Robin.

    Perhaps you’d like to take your own advice with regard to your own conceit and dogmatic statements regarding the soul, consciousness, and a host of other subjects ?
    I don’t recall any sign or evidence that you have any personal direct insight of your own. All I hear from you are somewhat garbled recycled second hand platitudes posing as wisdom. I asked you more than once about the details of your spiritual experience and you didn’t reply, which I assume means you have none, so you are in no position to speak to me about mine, are you, although you presume to do so in most threads.

    Let’s consider your previous comment. You posture as a purveyor of wisdom, but look what comes out ! Opaque nonsense which I think would receive a scornful rejection by both scientists and holymen or anyone of any critical intellect of any persuasion, as vacuous meaningless pretentious obscurantist bullshit. Were you drunk or did you consult the postmodernist random text generator ?

    Yet it is not impossible, thereafter tailoring action to anticipation (rational) rather than to the expectation (emotional). Absent expectation, its handmaiden, hope, absconds. Absent these, both acceptance and non-acceptance fall out of the paradigm: there is no longer any room for them when dealing with adverse outcomes. And hopelessness from the absence of expectation is mutually exclusive with the despair of thwarted expectations.

    They should put you in charge of the Federal Reserve, Robin, you’d get a round of applause for exemplifying advanced incomprehensibility.

    March against Monsanto


  • Well… if I can’t post on the newest blog, I’ll post HERE!!! Just ordered the DVD and can’t wait to watch it. Thanks, Guy!

  • Paul Chefurka Says-

    Humans are the most successful species the planet has ever seen, so why all the long faces?

    You’re looking in the wrong places.

    See–no long faces here among the world’s owners!


    Nor are they getting their tubes tied like Kathy C recommends. Why not?

    Because trillions of dollars, and energy from mini nuclear power plants will give them all the resources they need to survive the worst.

    No NTE for them, therefore, no long faces.

  • Max Wilbert

    Thanks for the contact link, but I don’t do Facebook. If you have another way of reaching them I would be interested to know.

    Best Wishes.

  • Any of the explanations from me in the comments reflect my understandings in the context of the ongoing discussion, sometimes in specific response as quoted to a specific section of a preceding post or comment. While it is entirely possible for some, many, most or even all readers to find them opaque nonsense, vacuous meaningless pretentious obscurantist bullshit or advanced incomprehensibility, they are addressed to the ones who might perceive them otherwise. None are proffered as advice. Res ipsa loquitur.

  • @ Ozman

    Feigned helplessness.

    Where’s the courage ? Where’s the honesty ?

    @ Robin D.

    Fine parody of legalese bullshit. Proves my point though.

    Where’s the courage ? Where’s the honesty ?

  • Michael Mann on Democracy Now – being careful or in denial but at least he didn’t put the end of summer Arctic sea ice at the end of the century.
    “We saw Arctic sea ice diminish to the lowest level we’ve ever seen, and it’s on a trajectory where there will be no ice in the Arctic at the end of the summer in perhaps a matter of 10 years or so.”
    And still thinking “renewables” can save the day, and there is enough time left to save the day
    “We have to find a way to level the playing field so that the marketplace will allow renewable energy sources to compete with fossil fuel energy. “
    And this is the guy that the deniers think is radical.

    Ripley, GWB has 2 kids, Bill Gates 3, Obama 2, Henry Kissinger 2, I’ve not heard of any large families like Joe Kennedy had among the elite of late. So how do you know they haven’t had their tubes tied?

    Personally I don’t care if they survive the collapse and re-populate the planet, won’t be a planet I would want my offspring on anyway. But I think the devastation will last much much longer than their mini nukes

  • Max thank you for your report. This is not something the average American is ever going to know anything about. Or care, until it directly affects their lives in some concrete obvious way. 10 years ago we successfully fought off a “plasma torch” which was sold as a jobs provider (18 jobs! wow) while covering our county which is 60% national forest and wildlife refuge with burned up medical waste. I typed up flyers and handed them out to businesses that make a living on tourism – the gist being how do you think your customers are going to like breathing “disease aerosol” while fishing, kayaking, hiking and camping? There is always something to protest right where we all are -and though what is happening in Utah is especially egregious, my efforts will always be specific to this community.

    Over the weekend, my husband came up here and repaired the satellite dish. I watched the news for the first time in months. They had the footage of the ice flowing into someone’s house, and treated it like an LOLz cat meme. It was followed by a report on the jet stream bringing cold temps to the south east while the west was sweltering. It was all “isn’t this weird?” and not the golden opportunity to report on climate change, much less the melting ice, and the resulting feedback loops. I am genuinely shocked at the infantile tone of the news, and the treasonous failure of media to provide any information of substance or usefulness. The real story is what is never discussed.

    I am truly blessed in that my daily work is in the garden. My hens are out doing pest control and my dogs act as sentries on the perimeter. I am literally living for the moment I look up and see a honey bee on a blueberry bloom. Yesterday was cool with a perfect blue sky and light wind. My garden is brimming with spinach and lettuces, all manner of herbs and root vegetables. But there is a kind of melancholy that underscores every beautiful moment I experience; as I watched an indigo bunting and grosbeak share the feeder in the field, I couldnt help but consider that we are destroying their home, and all they ever did was be a gift to us.

    I never think about if TPTB get to live or not, it doesnt matter to me. If the creatures have died off and the land is poisoned I wouldnt want to survive.

    Don’t pospone joy. There isnt a someday anymore. For this reason I do still try and discuss NTE with people. But honestly, I have, so far, failed miserably.

  • Derrick Jensen and Aric McBay, authors of Deep Green Resistance at Earth At Risk Conference, just republished by Unwelcome Guests

    [audio src="http://www.unwelcomeguests.net/archive/651/Derrick%20Jensen%20-%20Earth%20At%20Risk,%202011.mp3" /]

    [audio src="http://www.unwelcomeguests.net/archive/651/Aric%20McBay%20-%20Earth%20At%20Risk,%202011.mp3" /]

    “how to effectively organize resistance movements and how these should relate to above-ground movements…to bring “bu$ine$$ as usual” to as fast an end as possible.”

    Of course none of what is said here will fly with the cops and wanabe-cops on this board or the sonderkommandos who are more than ready to send the works into the void…

  • i forgot this part:

    @ Grant Schreiber: during the Plasma Torch crisis, I was talking to the guy that comes over to bush hog my field about it. He said ” don’t worry, Red Eft, that thing will be blown back to the stone age. Trust me on that”

    I sure do like him. That said, Uivfugls warnings about writing down what acts of resistance you are considering are wise. Take it to the grave.

  • I’m not proud of what I am. I’ve said plenty of times that I was born into upper middle class society, received a great education and lots of opportunities – and, until recently, I thought I was rather successful. Now, I realize, I was only successful at being a part of the destruction of the planet. I used a lot of plastic bags, drank a lot of bottled water, and bought a lot of shoes made in China. The only good thing I ever did was not have children, my small effort to not make matters worse – albeit that was not my motive.

    Then, when I first became “Collapse Aware,” I began the whole prepping thing – and, then I found NBL.

    I’ve never been religious and my morality has been shaped by the world around me – I vacillate between doing whatever I can get away with because everyone else does and trying to do the right thing which nobody else seems to do.

    Now, mostly due to my understanding of the situation largley through the resources made available via NBL, I realize that nothing I do or don’t do will matter one bit. If I could, I’d be happy to finish out my days in some wilderness – building no cities, planting no crops – just getting by as simply as possible and, in the end, leaving a pile of bones behind.

    But, that’s not going to happen. I’m stuck here in the USA and I’m going to finish it here. I have MANY REGRETS. I have decided, for now, to do what I can to hang around long enough to see the Collapse first hand – to see the food riots, the resource wars, the great cities burn, the collapse of everything. When the time comes, I will simply pull my own plug and go to sleep forever.

    I’m not an enemy of those here that have great spiritual groundings.

    I’m not an enemy of those here that have great ideological groundings.

    I’m pretty sure I’ll be long gone before people start eating people, so nobody here needs to worry about me knocking on their door with a knife and fork in hand and a bib around my neck. Like I’ve said before, I’m as good as dead already.

    This is the sound of a wasted life.

  • pat: that’s how i feel about things when i’m in my depressed state. i never wanted children, but now that they’re here i love them (i have a few grandchildren too and feel obligated to fight for a future for them, even though i know it isn’t going to happen, and have said as much). It just keeps changing all the time, the trajectory of the whole is tending toward zero for life as we know it, and, like you, i wish to stay and be part of it until my end arrives.

    To “keep it real” i’m linking to a 1/2 hr radio talk show on dutchsinse’s site pointing out the similarities and differences between the BP Macondo Blowout and Fukushima that’s informative and worth the listen. Brings us right up to date on the state of things regarding these two events and others in the news lately.


  • pat,

    Been there. Know exactly how you feel. Your plan is also my plan.

    I know I can’t be a no impact person as long as I live. I am trying to mitigate and there is more to be done here. I hope to live the rest of my days giving whatever I can back to the earth (including my own decomposition). It ain’t much, but it’s what I can do.

    I also use my middle class background to write checks. I send money to anyone putting their bodies on the line. It’s not much, but I do it as sending a prayer into the universe. Selling jewelry and what not to fund this activity.

    Derrick Jensen asks all the time, “what are your gifts? We need it all.” Check writing is one of mine. Blogging is another. Weakass shit, no doubt, but it’s what I can do. I use FB all the time to scream into the void.

    U – point taken. I was just suggesting that the dilbit be returned to it’s rightful owner. I’m oh so respectful of property rights, don’t you know.

    I’m betting there might be a few new radicals to be found in Mayflower.

  • I’m not an enemy of those here that have great spiritual groundings.

    How about spiritual bottlings, the only valid spirituality? Anyone who claims a different spirituality has sliced up reality into spiritual and non-spiritual: both pieces are to be discarded.

    bought a lot of shoes made in China.

    Just shoes? Wow!

    This is the sound of a wasted life.

    What if the Divine Playwright had included several roles for “wasted lives” in the Play?And what if the actors in the Divine Play had played those roles well, with full awareness that they were actors in the Play?

    Per some traditions, they would be categorised as “enlightened”.

  • Patrick Lima, a very beautiful poem, thank you. I am always amazed and impressed when I see trees that grow into each other, or over rocks and out of cliffs. They are for the most part an underappreciated life form.

  • just checked out the website for the film.

    from the film’s website:

    Documents the rise of transition movements in response to the collapse of industrial civilization

    The wholesale destruction of the living world by industrial societies is a result of com-modification of not only human life but the living earth as well. This is a story that covers groups and individuals that are rising up spontaneously in response to what they perceive as a collapse of the industrial pattern that has created a cycle of hopeless dependence on the corporate state. How do we stop the machine? Here are some courageous people who are trying.

    Excuse me, but “Transition Movements?” “Stop the Machine?”

    I guess a movie about pigs flying will be next. I have not seen the film so I don’t know if it makes the point that the situation is PAST doing anything about, there is NOTHING THAT CAN BE DONE, scorched earth will be the only thing left NEAR TERM (that means SOON!).

    If I was told I have terminal pancreatic cancer and that I only have a few years left to live, I wouldn’t be making plans to learn about organic gardening… seriously? And, I wouldn’t be joining some resistance movement that might land me in jail – and that means the leftist environmental resistance movements AND the right-wing militia movements!

    The only “Transition Movement” I endorse is one laced with Oxycontin and Jack Daniels.

  • I kind of agree with Roger, sadly. Still, solidarity with the folks trying to do something about this. Time is short.

  • right, the WWOOFing couple says they don’t believe in NTE. Hmmmmm…

    So, they don’t believe in 400ppm, they don’t believe in 4C and 6C? They don’t believe in feedback loops? They don’t believe in ice-free Artic? The don’t believe in sea-level rise?

    And, they actually lived with Guy for 3 months. How is that possible?

    I’m stunned at the spectrum of opinions and I wonder if there is ANYTHING we actually ALL agree on and where is the actual point that opinions begin to diverge?

    At what point are you unwilling to stipulate the case that Guy is making?

    If one believes in NTE, then we are back to B9K9’s 4 choices:

    1. resist – fight the good fight
    2. accept – grieve and/or debate telling others
    3. accept – party aka live for the moment
    4. defend – shield & protect

    Does the film talk about that? Does the film talk about Daniel’s suicide prescription or Carolyn’s hospice paradigm?

  • The film screenings were superb and well-attended. There were many intelligent, informed questions. And yes, the film covers near-term human extinction, even though filming was nearly complete before I reached that conclusion myself. Many of the scenes in the trailers didn’t make the final cut. Mike and Karen — the wwoof’rs who appear very briefly in the final version of the film — now accept near-term human extinction, unlike when they were filmed in 2011.

    Obviously, though, the film does not detail the thoughts of Daniel or Carolyn. Those thoughts appeared after the film was complete.

  • ulvfugl Says:
    May 13th, 2013 at 4:59 am
    “@ Tom

    I believe that video re quantum biology thoroughly vindicates my position, re my various somewhat acrimonious arguments with various individuals here.

    More generally, imo, the virus stuff supports Margulis’ conception of life as co-operative co-evolution, rather than Dawkins and neo-darwinist selfish gene ideological crap.”

    Many more people should become aware of Margulis and her work, IMO. By the way, towards the end of her life she also came out strongly for 9/11 truth, see “Two Buildings Hit, Three Down.”

  • I’m visualizing the end of the movie and the Q&A is proceeding, there is a constant buzz in the background of people, heads together in the poorly lit theater, murmuring as the Q&A continues…

    suddenly, there is the screech of fingernails slowly grating across the chalkboard in the back of the room, everyone quickly goes silent and turns to look at the salty old sea captain in the back of the room:

    Y’all know me. Know how I earn a livin’. I’ll catch this bird for you, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Bad fish. Not like going down the pond chasin’ bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow you whole. Little shakin’, little tenderizin’, an’ down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that’ll bring back your tourists, put all your businesses on a payin’ basis. But it’s not gonna be pleasant. I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I’ll find him for three, but I’ll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you’ve gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don’t want no volunteers, I don’t want no mates, there’s just too many captains on this island. $10,000 for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing.

    Let’s go fishing!

  • China is so polluted it isn’t even reasonable. i don’t know what their life expectancy is, but the smog, toxic particulates etc. aren’t helping anything. And they have nuke plants (and lots of coal fired power plants too). They’ve been looking at their neighbors India and Japan, eyeing up more land (probably for growing food, but it could be military thinking too).


    May 14, 2013 – CHINA – Something very strange started oozing out of the streets in the Chinese city of Nanjing on Saturday night. Generally, when weird things start erupting from the ground in Asian countries it’s in the form of a giant b-movie monster, but this invasion was a whole lot realer, and a whole lot smellier. At around 9PM, pedestrians began to notice the pavement at the Wende Baiyun Lane cross intersection started to crack and split open, and before long, a foamy white substance was spewing from the cracks, brimming with it a foul-smelling stench. Within a short time, the foam had spread to a 50 meter radius and stood a foot high. According to the Chinese news outlet Longhoo, firefighters and police rushed to rope off the scene, evacuating civilians and helping redirect the flow of traffic from the flow of ooze. A short time later, the strange substance stopped leaking and the remnants that weren’t quickly washed into the sewers retreated back into the one centimeter wide cracks in the road, leaving authorities baffled as to what the stinking foam could have been. An investigation has been started into the case of the smelly ooze, but so far, the only rational explanation that officials can come to is that the ‘Godzilla barf’ might be related to nearby subway construction, though even that theory hasn’t answered many questions.

  • Tom

    You wrote:

    “They’ve (China) been looking at their neighbors India and Japan, eyeing up more land (probably for growing food, but it could be military thinking too).”

    There is a lot of political pressure on the Australian federal government of the day, (election soon on September 4th) to establish what is called a “Northern Region Special Economic Zone”. This pushed by the Mining industry to bring in mass migrant work visas which will strip wages for resident Australians, and dramatically lower costs for industry in employing tradies and workers there. I suspect it is also a push to establish a nice cheap area for China to start growing its food.

    See if the rain comes there.


    Getting a copy of the DVD today.

    Yippee !

  • I just ran through and payed for the Pay Pal, and funny- was hit repeatedly by some malware.

    Mike S.

    are you sure that the anonymous benefactor who made the film possible to finish was legit?

    Beware or be un-malware !!

  • ‘I am genuinely shocked at the infantile tone of the news, and the treasonous failure of media to provide any information of substance or usefulness. The real story is what is never discussed.’

    nowadays whenever i watch corporate tv ‘news’, especially the local yokels, i’m struck by how obviously scripted and artificial (phony) the ‘news anchors’ are. ‘reporters’ who get hired and advance in the ranks i’m sure are those who successfully pass psychological testing and interviews to ensure their compliance to ‘authority’, and near total disinclination to challenge it or think independently. they are mere mouthpieces with artificially pliant personality, insincere charm, establishment propagandists. kind of painful to watch.

    ‘I’m as good as dead already.

    This is the sound of a wasted life.’

    i too have many huge regrets, and mourn for a life not very well or fully lived. but pat, there’s still time to salvage something, isn’t there? still time for joy, pleasure, learning, loving, grieving. leaving.

    pat lima, i too loved your poem.

    tom, i owe u an apology for disparaging your claim that 400 ppm was just days away. onward and upward, gaining speed. maybe 440 is less than 10 years from now. like watching the titanic take on water, in slow motion, as a passenger.

    congrats mike and guy on your film’s successful opening.

  • “Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now, take what’s left and live it properly.”
    ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

  • Re: The insanity of China, who once being a very modest and traditional society, has now been totally infected with the capitalist industrial techno virus. It just goes to Paul C’s point as to how there are laws/principles in effect which drive us to consume every last once of energy and substance till the death of us all (and most every creature). Ain’t it a great cosmic plot!

  • For me certain NTE has just been taken off the table, at least with regards to the psychopathic .001% who reign over our planet. I now need to see studies that show that all the water on Earth will boil away in twenty years. Because if they’ve got water and energy they can make anything they need, and they will have energy in the form of mini-nuclear power plants. OK, it’s true they may not be able to waste resources on four hundred foot long yachts during the hard times, because most of the energy will have to be used for the basics.

    So no more moping, you now have a new option number five to add to B9K9′s 4 choices, though it’s really a timeworn one-suck up to the rich and powerful. Join me as a founding member of The Baby Mila Fan Club and Jenna Bush just may let us into one of their drone protected compounds ten years from now. A warehouse full of these means they can go on for centuries, at least.


  • tvt.

    I guess you were not around when I said last July that we would hit 400ppm April or May of 2013. It will be 403 or 404ppm this time next year and, yes, 440ppm could well be broken through by 2023.

    Regarding mainstream media, you really should not subject yourself to the inanity of it all. MSM is bad for your health and wastes what remains of your life.


    I don’t know where you get the idea that ‘if they’ve got water and energy they can make anything they need’.

    Humans cannot survive without frequent ingestion of vitamin C (we are one of the few species that do not make it in our bodies). No amount of energy and water will ever generate vitamin C molecules.

    Or maybe you were just being facetious.(It’s been a long day.)

  • kevin moore Says:


    I don’t know where you get the idea that ‘if they’ve got water and energy they can make anything they need’.

    Humans cannot survive without frequent ingestion of vitamin C (we are one of the few species that do not make it in our bodies). No amount of energy and water will ever generate vitamin C molecules.

    Or maybe you were just being facetious.(It’s been a long day.)

    What part of endless warehouses full of stuff (like every seed in the seed vault) don’t you understand? With water, energy, and greenhouses, I see lots of orange trees. Sheesh! Did imagination suddenly die on this blog, do I really have to explain the obvious?

  • Guy,

    In that Good Men Project article, you mention that we’re driving 200 species a day to extinction, and you’ve mentioned this many times in your talks and interviews. I don’t recall your mentioning a source for that figure; is there one (or several)? I ask this because earlier this year, I heard of some research which suggests that extinction rates may be a lot lower. In trying to research this a little more, I see that there was also a paper published a couple of years ago that showed extinction rates have been overestimated.

    Whilst neither of these papers says that there is no problem, I’m not sure it’s quite as bad as 200 species per day. Maybe less than half that.

  • @ Tony Weddle

    To be able to answer the question, it would be necessary to know how many species there are, and nobody knows. There are many millions of species of bacteria in any teaspoon of soil, or pond water, thousands of unknown insects found in rain forests every time a sample is taken, etc, etc. so the total on Earth is always a guesstimate, and we are causing their extinction faster than we are recording them, so we are never going to know what we have lost.

    My own belief is that the figure should be higher.

    1. Edward Wilson estimates 27,000 species are currently lost per year. By 2022, 22% of all species will be extinct if no action is taken.
    2. Niles Eldridge estimates 30,000 per year currently.
    3. Georgina M. Mace using a different methodology based on extrapolations from the current lists of endangered species arrives at a figure of 14-22% loss of species and subspecies over the next 100 years.
    4. Paul Ehrlich, using another approach based on total energy use estimates extinction rates at 7,000 to 13,000 times the background rate, (70,000 to 130,000 species per year) which he says is higher than figures based on data for higher orders of animal indicates, but we have little data on insects and micro flora and fauna.


  • Ripley: man, you’re really obsessed with this, eh? Are these people nuclear experts? Where are they going to get parts? The ones we have NOW aren’t working, so how are these mini-nukes going to do any better?
    Warehouses of supplies will have to include armies to protect them, as well as maintenance. Fresh water isn’t the only thing they’ll need. Are these people doctors and dentists that can work on themselves with no supplies – or will they have supplies for every possible thing that can go wrong with either themselves or their abodes and power sources? Communication infrastructure won’t last long without people to maintain them, and in an environment of unbridled weather anomalies i foresee the destruction of most if not all of the existing apparatus, including the over 400 nuke plants. How are they going to make the chemistry of the atmosphere fit for breathing, since that too will change as all the accumulated toxic gases we’re dealing with now take over the dwindling oxygen supply and increased depletion of it (since there won’t be any trees or phytoplankton to “make more” on a constant basis)? Oh, they’ll have “scrubbers” like on the space shuttle. Well, then they have to have parts (like filters) and people who know how to fix them when they break down (as everything does eventually). It goes on and on. Every single “labor saving device” or gadget we have now depends on a huge unseen and under appreciated infrastructure and maintenance.

    Even if they could pull it off, which is highly doubtful to me, they’ll effectively be imprisoned in their own tomb since they won’t want to risk walking about in the degraded and over-radiated environment that remains after most of us are gone. Their “life” will be basically running around from one problem to the next while waiting for their own death in lonely isolation. Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to me and i think you’re giving these people more credit than they deserve. They may be clever and rich, but that’s all going to come to an end when the neo-Stone Age that will result after civilization is gone comes to pass. Their supposed wealth will be shown to be a fantasy as banks and money and supplies all evaporate as the global grid fails. It’s a dead end road, even if it works for them for a while because their supplies will run out and there will be nothing with which to replace them.

    Well, anyway.

    Here’s a mention of Guy and others:


    Reading the Tea Leaves (or Mega Billboards for the More Acutely Aware)

  • Ripley, to pass the time while waiting for extinction I will respond to your idea once again.

    Okay the rich sequester themselves in compounds using mini nukes for energy. Presumably they will be in domed compounds or underground, as they need enclosure to fend off the heat of a seriously warmed planet and to protect them from the radiation from the 439 nuclear plants that have blown up. What else do they need. Well since they are not trained to do anything useful at all they need nuclear technicians to keep their mini nuke running. They need technicians to run water purification. They need farmers. Presumably they can at least learn to dress themselves and do their own hair so we can leave the butlers and maids out. Well lots of people working to sustain these few that don’t know how to do any useful work. So they are going to need a police force. They will need medical personnel as well. Usually the 1 percent aren’t seen sitting on their butts all day by the 99 percent. But we are going to have close quarters here and it will become obvious that whatever skills the 1 percent had are now totally useless. How long do you think it will be before the farmers and the technicians and the police will figure out they are feeding a few too many people???? The protection of a large government will be gone. If all the workers agree that all the useless must go, no one will come from outside to punish them.

    And then there is also the problem of where to go to get replacement parts for your mini nuke…. Nuclear power is hard on components which is why nuclear plants that are older than their expected years (about 40) are breaking down.

    Well and then there is the food. As I noted biosphere2 failed. we don’t know enough about how to create a mini enclosed environment that works, despite all the sci fi books that imagine it working on the Moon or Mars.

    Oh and did I mention recyling wastes. I would love to see the rich and powerful have to use a humanure toilet and eat food grown on humanure. And then well, you do know how easily germs pass where people are confined. And then if they take in domestic animals…ah wouldn’t the flu just love that.

    So their mini nuke lasts 60 years say…then what – the planet is still too hot for human life.

    I actually hope some of them try it, that would be sweet revenge for their ignorance.

  • I read two pieces yesterday that spoke directly to the reason we are in this situation.

    The first was David Foster Wallace’s 2005 commencement address to Kenyon College, entitled “What is Water?” It’s a remarkable piece of writing, in which he uses the analogy of fish not understanding the nature of water to hint that humans do not (and largely cannot) understand the true nature of the civilization though which we swim. It brings to mind William Edwards Deming’s famous quote “A system cannot understand itself.” It’s a brilliantly insightful piece of work, and it’s no wonder that it went viral on the net.

    The second was a scientific paper published just over a year ago by Timothy Garrett of the University of Utah, entitled “No way out? The double-bind in seeking global prosperity alongside mitigated climate change.” I first read it about three months ago, and thought it was interesting. After learning a lot more about thermodynamics recently, on second reading it was like a thunderclap of understanding. He takes a global-scale thermodynamic view of civilization, and concludes mathematically what the rest of us understand intuitively: we have no hope whatsoever of mitigating CO2 emissions short of a global economic collapse. Along the way, he validates the idea that the fundamental shaping force of civilization is the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    Garrett doesn’t go into the more arcane aspect of 2LoT, the one that tells us that the creation of ever-more structure and organization in the open system of civilization is a positive feedback response to increasing energy flows. However, the gap from his position to that one has now been reduced to a very small step.

    Transcript of Wallace’s address: http://moreintelligentlife.com/story/david-foster-wallace-in-his-own-words
    Garrett’s paper: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1010.0428v3

  • There is no 5th option.

    The whole idea of any “bunker” is to last long enough for the situation to settle down, and, sorry to say, that will be a long long time, many many generations.

    Before I came to NBL and realized NTE, I was a prepper. There are so many options: from bunkers in Montana to plastic sheathing and duct tape. None of these will get you through the LONG TERM nightmare we face.

    Most of the prepper plans are a total waste of time in the case of 439 nukes going Fukushima. The people in underground bunkers with supplies will eventually need to come out! And when they do, there will be nothing but wasteland. I think it’s an interesting pursuit, and if I was invited in, I would certainly be willing to join in the attempt!

    So, let the preppers dig their holes and bury there 40′ shipping containers, that’s fine. IMO, all pursuits are a total waste of time, none less worthy than another.

    I bought a lottery ticket because the jackpot is $350,000,000 and I figure I can buy a seat on the space station for that!

  • Tony, Ulf is correct that there are so many species we don’t even know exist. A long time ago I asked the director of Mongabay why nobody was worked up about the tree die-off so plainly visible in Europe and the US, and he answered that we already have so little biodiversity compared to tropical rainforests that from a conservationist point of view, it’s negligible.

    A nice way to visualize it is a photographic project by David Liittschwager which is linked here (scroll down to the end for the pictures): https://witsendnj.blogspot.ca/2012/12/no-one-knows-where-this-will-lead_19.html

    He set up cubic yard boxes and collected and photographed everything that passed through in a 24-hour period, in different habitats around the world (including a cornfield in the US, which is scary). Some of the species were unique to a tiny range, and don’t exist anywhere else. That’s the kind of complexity and diversity that is unaccounted for which is being lost, and he wasn’t even collecting the teeming microscopic life that wouldn’t show up in his camera.

    If you have time to watch a movie about it, oh wait, next post to avoid moderation!

  • Towards the end of this post is a blue link to watch the entire documentary Call of Life: Facing the Mass Extinction – the trailer is embedded at the end. It’s well worth seeing and interviews a number of biologists as well as has some great cinematography.


    It was produced by David Ulansey who has been studying the 6th mass extinction for many years, and has amassed information at mysterium dot com slash extinction dot html

  • Tony Weddle, this link indicates an approximate extinction rate of 560 species per day in the Amazon alone. The figure was derived in 1999. I’ve no doubt the current figure is higher.

    Post-premiere Q&A is embedded within the latest post.

  • I agree with the premise that there’s no way out for anyone – and that includes the PTB. However, I think it’s important to note that the PTB don’t really give a shit either way; it’s all about the game and winning *today*.

    Winning means not having material wants – playing the game to your advantage in order to accumulate surplus resources (eg housing, toys, pussy, etc). Extra bonus points accrue to those who are so beyond need that they resort to fucking with people out of sheer boredom.

    OK, so how does one go about “winning”? Well, first of all it’s critical to understand how the world really operates in terms of individual & group motivation. And that means energy – absence/lack of energy results in entropy squared were things really begin to go to shit: personal health & environment [food, air, water, sewage, etc]. (Ironic, huh, that energy consumption, while destroying ecosystems in the long-term actually provide short-term individual benefits.)

    An obvious conclusion then would be that as net energy consumption cycles down, the range of individual mobility & range will decline. This of course will give rise to traditional control mechanisms based on fear, uncertainty & doubt (FUD). Next, since we are moving ever more to a complete surveillance state, including bio ID, it will be imperative to leverage knowledge gained from these systems to one’s personal benefit.

    That’s where we’re going – you can literally put it in the bank. The great mass of people will look forward to NTE simply as a means of getting off the boat.

  • Not to be political, but I think the recent uproar about the IRS isn’t so much about potential violations of civil liberties, but a premature tip-off of how the smart money is positioning itself for future benefit. If you were constructing a pretty fool-proof method for further enrichment, you’d be pissed too if some low-level flunkies inadvertently exposed how the shake-down was going to play out.

    For anyone who has dealt with the IRS, either professionally (myself) or individually, the beauty of the health mandate being managed by the Service is the complete absence of any rule-of-law. Whereas traditional civil/criminal courts (used to) follow due process, the IRS, before any tax court directive, can move unilaterally to seize assets without any kind of resolution previously being reached.

    What this means in terms of health care is really kind of cool: let’s say Guy is out chopping wood, the axe ricochets off a knot and the head skins his skin. No biggie, maybe a few stitches. But in the absence of any market pricing, the emergency room bill is $1 million bucks.

    Now, play this out (I can already see a few light bulbs going on); what does the IRS do with an outstanding bill? Why, they immediately seize all liquid assets (bank account balances, 401(K), etc or garnish future earnings (pension receipts), or place a lien real assets (ie housing, property).

    So, in fairly sort order, Guy has been stripped of all his accumulated wealth. But wait, there’s more; remember, you’re supposed to have insurance coverage. Well, since no one will be able to afford it, it will have to be financed. Now we’re getting to the really good part, and what the bankers have been searching for for quite some time: a new financialization instrument.

    Imagine a world where health care will be denied without proof of insurance. The insurance policy will be worth $1m of services, but will have to be financed. As health care costs are arbitrarily manipulated, that $1m policy will soon be worth $2m of care. Viola, $1m appreciation, just like the good ‘ole days of tulips, South sea shares, ‘net stocks, and housing. All financed by E-Z loans, no money down, just pay the nut.

    And how does the nut get paid? Glad you asked – there’s over 400 nuke plants that have to be de-commissioned. Default on the IRS? That’s what tax courts are for – a felony conviction results in the loss of 1A (voting) and 2A rights, along with the 4th (no need for probable cause with paroles).

    I hope some are getting where this is going. Oh, go cry for Gaia, but soon enough, you’ll begin to realize the real trap you’re in. At some point, perhaps you too will come to appreciate just how deliciously evil the entire construct is, and how many moves ahead the PTB are beyond even supposedly bright individuals.

  • I’m not the only person to conclude Bill McKibben is a charlatan. Check out Lorna Salzman’s take here.

  • Ms. Salzman exaggerates when she says world population will double in 35 years. It’s more like 55-60 years. Of course, we’ll be extinct within 35 years, so it’s a harmless error ;)

  • It’s a Cookbook!

    Bone up for our next human stage:
    You’ll find on each “To Serve Man” page,
    From well-done to rare,
    Different ways to prepare
    For the “Anthropophagocene Age.”

  • Ms. Salzman seems to couch everything in terms of the inherent criminality of the ruling class, a position I find to be less tenable or useful the more I learn about the way the world works. Or perhaps I’m suffering from Outrage Deficit Disorder … maybe I’m just ODD.

  • Ah Benjamin great one.
    For those who might not be familiar with it, To Serve Man per wiki -“”To Serve Man” is a 1962 episode of the television series The Twilight Zone.[1][2][3] The story is based on the 1950 short story “To Serve Man”, written by Damon Knight.[4] The title is a play on the verb serve, which has a dual meaning of “to assist” and “to provide as a meal.” ”

    Plot summary at the wiki leak
    Watch the Twilight Zone show https://vimeo.com/37778819

    It is perhaps not as far out a story as one might think. If in fact there are aliens it is a scenario that might make sense…..

    ODD – yeah Paul I think I have succumbed to that disorder as well. But I still indulge in a bit of outrage as well when I read things like this. Google ST. Louis is Burning STEVEN HSIEH for a rolling stone article about a “subsurface smoldering event” ie a fire at Bridgeton Landfill 1200 feet from West Lake Landfill, an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site that’s home to some of the oldest radioactive wastes in the world.

  • Here’s a 3-minute rendition of why the aliens decided to prepare us for dinner:


  • Ozman,

    The Deep Green Resistance “Action Groups” page has some contact info for Kim Hill in Australia, and a link to a website, but the website doesn’t work for me: http://www.deepgreenresistance.org/action/joindgractiongroup/

    I highly recommend checking out Deep Green Resistance (the book, and the organization) to anyone who wants to try to stop the culture killing this planet.

  • Regarding McKibben, it leaves me stupified how anyone who considers himself to be concerned about the environment can dismiss the population issue like that. George Monbiot is another. I know, I know, it’s consumption that matters not raw numbers and if we all lived like hunter-gathers… blah, blah, blah. But really, how many hunter-gatherers could Earth sustainably support? I’ve heard anywhere from 500 million to 2 billion.

  • to hunt and gather, there’s got to be something left (and not irradiated) to hunt and gather. there already is not much, and soon there will be nothing.

  • “How” is that McKibben is a Christian, so you will never get him to admit that human procreation is a negative issue, nor to entertain the idea that the Biblical god character will not, ultimately, provide.

    He’s written for a bunch of Xtian mags, one of which sports the oxymoronic motto: “Thinking critically; living faithfully.” (!)