What I have learned, What we should be thankful for, What remains to be done: Part 2, What we should be thankful for

by Geoffrey Chia (pdf here)

Part 3 of this series is here: What remains to be done

Each individual who reads this will have different aspects of their life they treasure. You should write down your own personal list. I will not discuss the obvious topic of love (or “lurve”) which has been endlessly covered by countless novels, songs and poems much better than I ever could. Suffice to say that those who have found one or more soulmate confidantes in life and have a strong supportive social network can consider themselves extremely lucky. You are a wealthy person indeed. On the other hand, if your social network is tightly bound to a rigid delusional mindset which prevents reflection and adaptation, and if you are unable to escape their grip, you could be in trouble.

I cannot speculate on everyone’s individual circumstances but will focus on those things I believe the potential readers of this piece will probably have in common, aspects of our lives today for which we should all be thankful.

We have been the beneficiaries of a relatively long continuous period of peace and prosperity since World War II from our (Western Industrial) perspective. We should be thankful for this. However we do not comprise the majority of the world’s population, ours is a minority perspective. Most of our (Western Industrial) wealth has been obtained by plunder (from native indigenous people or from other countries), particularly oil.


We need to put our good “fortune” in perspective. Much of Africa has remained a basketcase, especially those locations with the oil we covet such as Nigeria and Angola. Libya has now transitioned from a Gaddafi dictatorship to a foreign corporate dictatorship and remains unstable. Let’s not even mention Iraq. The victims of Imperialistic legacies in Vietnam, Afganistan and many former colonies such as Rwanda will beg to differ they have enjoyed much peace since 1945. Latin American politics and policy have been severely corrupted to their detriment by the US in order to serve US corporate interests (read John Perkins’ “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”).

Other countries have experienced internal strife. Stalin and Mao killed millions of their own people after WW II and life had been miserable for many in those countries till fairly recently. The Indian subcontinent has experienced civil war (Sri Lanka), cross border conflicts and has been rife with poverty and power struggles which are ongoing even now — with the Naxalites who are fighting against corporate exploitation — which could erupt into civil war.

The situation in developed countries such as ours at present is that of low infant and low maternal mortality, low incidence of infectious diseases and the longest average healthy lifespans ever –- more than 80 years in Japan and Australia. Compare that with the average lifespan of 28 years during the Roman empire (a statistic which included their high infant mortality). These advances were largely due to public health measures such as clean water, sanitation, vaccination and good nutrition. We have also seen marked reductions in cardiovascular mortality and remarkable advances in cancer therapy. All made possible by the discoveries of science.



Ordinary Australians enjoy a material quality of life far superior to even the kings and
emperors of old, thanks to our fossil fuel powered slaves — technology once again derived from scientific discovery. For example, Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Caliph, loved sherbet desserts and commissioned regular deliveries of snow from Mount Olympus, carried by donkey and boat to his palace — which would have mostly melted by the time it reached him. Nowadays we think nothing of grabbing an ice cream from our home freezer, purchased from among the dizzying array of consumer items in the supermarket.

Food Restaurants Food Restaurants

Ancient Kings were just as susceptible to death from pneumonia or appendicitis as their lowliest subjects. However ordinary people these days have access to lifesaving antibiotics and emergency surgery. And Suleiman could never have imagined flying in comfort at jet speed between cities. Then there are computers, smart phones and the Internet which when used wisely can be a tremendous boon, but are also creating a generation of time-wasting fantasist thinkers who cannot tell the difference between cyberspace and reality. We need to reflect on these remarkable privileges and thank our simple dumb luck that we were born in these modern times in our particular location, into a tremendously fortunate situation never before enjoyed by previous generations.

Unfortunately it is the very science and technology delivering the benefits above, which have now led us to climate chaos, ecosystem destruction and our likely extinction. Are science and technology the culprits then? Was the only other alternative a repudiation of scientific advances and to remain with lives that were nasty, brutish and short? Is this a Faustian pact we have entered into, that we could briefly sample all these enticing luxuries, however the price to pay would be the collapse of global civilisation and human extinction?

As a matter of fact, science is neutral. Science is utterly indifferent, it just tells us how the Universe works. It is we who determine whether we use such knowledge for good or ill.

Unfortunately most of the decision making in society as to how we apply our scientific knowledge has been hijacked by the rapacious psychopaths and fools:

foolishness + impulsive greed + clever science and technology = self inflicted extinction

wisdom + judicious restraint + clever science and technology = paradise on earth

It goes back to the principles of medical decision making. The wise practitioner looks at the various treatment options and chooses the one with the greatest benefits and least disadvantages, taking into account the short, medium and long term consequences to the patient. “Free market” decisions in our freakonomy however just thoughtlessly grab the quickest short term profits to benefit a privileged few, leaving the toxic legacy of harm to those in the exploited areas and to future generations. Externalities which the bean counters simply ignore in their balance sheets. A greedy and dishonest system, established by the greedy and dishonest to serve the greedy and dishonest.

The material benefits described above are obvious to all of you. However living a gormless unquestioning life for 80 or 100 years before dropping dead is, I would argue, a completely meaningless existence, a waste of space. You would be just one blob of pointless protoplasm among many other billions whose existence (or not) simply did not matter one way or another. You may as well be a cow being fattened for the kill before being led to the slaughterhouse. The unexamined life not being worth living and all that. Dmitry Orlov calls the teeming mindless debt slaves of our GIMME establishment “office plankton.”



In my view perhaps the greatest gift we have, being born into this modern era, is the gift of true awareness, of genuine enlightenment regarding the situation we find ourselves in. What a gift it is to be truly oriented in person, time and place for the first time ever in the vastly ignorant history of humankind. To know we are a semi evolved species of ape, descended from earlier mammals and ultimately from microorganisms. To know that all other creatures utilise the same DNA instructional codes, demonstrating our common evolutionary origin. To know we live on a planet 4.5 billion years old in a universe 13 billion years old which exploded into existence from a singularity. To know that this planet is one of eight in our solar system and our sun is one of billions in our galaxy which is one of billions in the known universe (Queue Monty Python‘s Galaxy song). All these realities have been determined definitively beyond any shadow of a doubt by the scientific method.

To have gained such profound insights into the nature of Nature is an achievement to be celebrated. We also know this: our mind, our consciousness, our personalities, our cognitive processes, our very sense of self are emergent properties which arise from the complex firing of neurons.

When that neuronal activity eventually ceases, we as an entity will cease to be. We know that when we die we will merely return to the same situation as before we were born (nothingness) which is true for all animals, and yes, we are animals. This realisation is not nihilistic at all because it means we no longer have to fear Death! To be liberated from the fear of Death is no small thing. We know that Hell is just an imaginary threat made up by cult leaders to keep their simple minded flock in line for not following their edicts. We have been freed from the shackles of scary superstition by scientific discoveries and must be exceedingly thankful for that.


Unfortunately the saddest fact is that so many idiots in the modern world (particularly
America) choose to remain in willful ignorance despite our indisputably validated scientific understandings, to the detriment of us all.


The questions of what we are, where we are and how we came to be could only be wildly
guessed at by the Ancients, who fabricated all sorts of fanciful legends: harmless and entertaining if taken as metaphor, but dangerous and deadly if taken literally and co-opted by power mad clerics to be used as brain viruses to instigate holy wars or suicide bombings. One of the most corrosive lies is this: that a cosmic Jewish zombie, who was his own father, was born by parthenogenesis 2000 years ago and was subsequently tortured to death so that humans could be forgiven the sin of the first woman, who ate a magical apple at the behest of a talking snake. The Father of this zombie, so we are told, has instructed us to go forth and multiply and exercise dominion over everything and smite
our enemies.



Politicians cannot be elected to office in America without publicly proclaiming their deep adherence to such blithering insanity. And in Australia we have the mad Abbott (a former wannabe Catholic priest) and his lunatic sidekick Bishop dismantling the science ministry and railroading us all into hell. Global warming is NOT crap Mr Abbott, it is your brain that is full of crap.


Unfortunately scientific enlightenment is also a double edged sword. Those of us who have a reasonable understanding of the science of our situation now realise how dire it is, as we peer into the abyss of despair. On the other hand, this very angst itself forces us to appreciate how precious our remaining life may be, on this, the eve of our destruction.


Next to reflect on are the artistic accomplishments of humanity. We have all experienced the joys of uplifting music, entrancing dance, exhilarating art and inspiring literature. Whereas it is true the Universe is a meaningless place, indifferent to humanity, it is also true that humans create their own meaning. I hereby declare the achievements of the creative geniuses of humanity to be substantial, worthwhile and meaningful and we should be tremendously thankful for having had the opportunity to enjoy them. With such gratitude also comes the sad mourning of their passing, of the
demise of all human achievement.

Should we, as humans, regard such scientific and artistic legacies as worthy of preservation?

I now put this to you: if there was a mere 0.1% or 0.001% chance that just a few sapient humans, along with a concentrated archive of our best achievements, could survive and muddle through the next 500 years until the climate stabilised, should we not take that chance? Not to try at all, to assume we will fail, will become its own self-fulfilling prophecy. Hence my view is that we should try, even if the outlook seems hopeless. More about that in part 3 of this series.

Here is a sideways take on why we should be thankful for our new perspective of probable
NTHE. A basic Buddhist tenet is this: suffering is caused by unfulfilled desires. Hence the way to avoid suffering is to abandon all desires. If you want nothing, you won’t be unhappy if you get nothing. Simple in theory but difficult in practice. Put another way, disappointment arises from unfulfilled expectations. Our expectations in the past were those of limitless future wealth, lives of unimaginable luxury facilitated by whizbang technology and ultimately travel to the stars and colonisation of other planets. Having since learned the evidence-based reality of our situation, our new expectation is that of near term human extinction. NTHE is the rock bottom of low expectations, humans cannot have expectations any worse than that. Accordingly no matter what the future holds, we will not be disappointed. We can be thankful for this new Buddhist perspective.



Being born into this particular time at the twilight of human existence we have the
unprecedented opportunity to witness the most collosal events which will ever take place in the sad story of our species. That alone in a perverse sort of way is a unique privilege some might be thankful for. The problem is, if you have a front row seat to this carnival of carnage, you yourself will be rapidly caught up in the mayhem and perish quickly and thus will not be able to discover the next exciting installment of the unfolding saga. Morbid curiosity may be one motive for some of us to linger on for as long as possible. What bizarre, unusual and unexpected event will happen next?

Certainly all the front and middle row and most likely all the back row seats will be consumed by the conflagration in the grand finale. If however you can retreat to the highest rear seat of the arena and wear a flameproof suit and somehow survive events while watching it all through a pair of long-range binoculars, it will be the most fascinating spectacle ever observed in the history of our species. We certainly live in interesting times.



As a reminder, Part 3 of this series is here: What remains to be done

Going Dark was reviewed by Carolyn Baker. Read the review here.


Thanks to ulvfugl for pointing out a technical fix to the problem of the disappearing comments: “I’m using Chrome browser. Go to top right corner, click three horizontal bars, says ‘new incognito window’, get NBL, and everything is immediately updated. Can’t advise for any other browsers, but I assume it’s something to do with cookies and being tracked, etc, because being anonymous fixes it.”

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Comments 74

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #74

    Great blue heron peers,
    beyond her own reflection,
    into the current.

  • Yes, indeed, “the twilight of existence”–a sequel to Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Gods. An expression of Jean Gebser’s “deficient rationality”. We could have done, as a culture, so much better. But, we didn’t. Let’s hope that our shared reflections, in this time of liminality, erode the ego that has driven this process. And, that, whatever remains may go forward from a different locus.

  • Fantastic essay Dr. Chia. I was in Australia this September when Abbot took office. And the first thing he did, as you know, was to repeal the carbon tax. What an idiot. I totally agree that we have painted ourselves into a corner. I was at the grocery store this morning and while I was waiting at the checkout (thinking of NTHE as it’s always on my mind), I noticed all of the plastic articles being scanned. Plastic bags, containers, milk jugs, detergents. Everything is in plastic. I, of course, am just as guilty though I don’t bag fresh produce and try to limit my plastic usage. It’s a losing battle. But I digress…. To think that this scene is playing itself out continuously in every store in every town, in every country, makes me sick to my stomach. Long after this “parasite” called Humanity is gone, we will leave toxic oceans full of plastic and landscapes marred by our presence. What a shame. I’m just bummed at all the other creatures we’re taking down with us. They never had a chance, and certainly didn’t deserve what we’re doing to them. That’s my rant for now.

  • “if there was a mere 0.1% or 0.001% chance that just a few sapient humans, along with a concentrated archive of our best achievements, could survive and muddle through the next 500 years until the climate stabilised, should we not take that chance?”

    Funny you mention what I hadn’t recalled for awhile; I often pick a backrow seat in a theater or crowd I’m not comfortable with, so I can make a quick getaway.

    Isn’t this something like Fahrenheit 451, where the forbidden works of a culture are preserved by individuals? Indeed, the “preservation” efforts Geoffrey mentions will be undertaken by individuals or small groups, not by governmental institutions. If he’s thinking it, others probably are too.

    I just started reading Annalee Newitz’ “Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Human Will Survive a Mass Extinction”. She’s a fine writer and science journalist, and I love delving into her examinations of what is known about previous Earth environments and the kinds of species shifts that have occurred.

    In the remaining 9/10ths of the book, I suspect I will critique her proportionalities of survival potential, considering time, temperatures, distance, and resources. (She starts out assuming many more can survive than I suspect could.) But I expect to find some original and stimulating ideas in the rest of the book.

    I can also re-recommend Alan Weisman’s “The World Without Us”, and I was sad to have to return the audio book before I had finished. Then my library got it in digital format which I have downloaded for a few weeks listening. Check with your library, and I think you will enjoy it.

    I expect that many fine minds will approach this subject, as Guy has inspired us to do, and they will present many creative takes on it, which in any other context — history, literature, art, psychology — would add to the stimulating intellectual world humans have created for one another.

    But I suspect that they will all come to bounce off the Iron Wall of Guy’s 20-something feedback loops, and have to fall to the ground where most of us here reside: It’s Over, enjoy what you can, while you can. (Just did a mid-livel deja vu while penning this paragraph. Every word fell in place, just as it had “the other time.” Should I go back in old threads and see if I’m just repeating myself here? i.e., just when do we go from Science to Senility?)

  • Here’s an excellent blueprint for what we can make of this NTE phenomenon. I say we open a restaurant or two and buy a couple of castles with the proceeds. We can name the restaurants Near Term Extinction and Nature Bats Last, or better yet, Twenty-Something Feedbacks and Fertile Resistance. I think we can come up with a more creative name for Guy than YaHoWha, don’t you?

  • “Should we, as humans, regard such scientific and artistic legacies as worthy of preservation?”

    I dunno… Humanity is going to leave plenty of enduring detritus behind as things stand, anyway. If putative survivors will not already be heartily cursing the memory of their progenitors, then leaving them with the additional burden of Tintorettos and Titians- along with detailed instructions on how to continue providing them with a light/temperature/humidity controlled environment- Well… that could be construed as taking the piss?

    NTHE is unprecedented. It’s dangerous as an idea, let alone a reality, which might explain why comments under these essays can encompass moral/ethical positions ranging from Gandhi to Gordon Gekko and beyond, and if (or as) it becomes a reality, even some of the most refined aesthetes might find their set of novels replaced by a novel set of priorities. From one angle, the prospect of NTE makes human cultural activity begin to look like nothing more than a wank. Lately a wank on steroids. I would’ve said “onanism on steroids”, but that would be like trying to make a symphony out of a folk-song… oh.. and a Stradivarius makes great kindling… Don’t feel bad, you won’t be able to get the strings anymore, anyway.

    I have the weird sensation that my whole comment is subconsciously plagiarised, or suggested, or something. No doubt somebody is thinking much the same thing..

    (and I wrote all that before I read Henry’s post)

  • (violating, I know, but just want to get this out)

    First, (think I may have mentioned before), E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops” (1909) — look it up!

    Does anyone remember Hal Draper’s “Ms Fnd in a Lbry”, from 1961? I’ve got the last guts of a paperback which contained this sort story.

    Prophesied so much of the Internet era; its downfall?, we shall see.


    But, in thinking of Science, I suppose as opposed to Technology, no one has to be science literate to buy and use a cell phone. If you had to take a quiz on the internal operating system, to be allowed to use one, well… (silence)

    So, Technology allows people to outrun any bit of knowledge they may possess personally, and probably contributes to a general disdain of Knowledge. (“I don’t have to know anything; I can just buy it!)

    And so, here we have landed today.

  • It is all very clear to me now.

    It seems that the only thing that will demolish the consume-to-death paradigm that grips Australian politics is massive loss of [human] life (tens of thousands in a matter of weeks) via extreme temperature (plus 5C above anything previously recorded), massive conflagrations (ten times worse than anything experienced so far), interspersed with flooding that washes away entire suburbs and wrecks commercial activity.

    Other nations caught up in the insanity of fossil fuel addiction, consumerism and economic growth will have to endure major calamities appropriate to their geography.

    One cannot reason with people who are insane, nor can one reason with people who are scientifically, financially and culturally illiterate. The mistake many of us [energetically and environmentally aware] made was to overestimate the proportion of sane people in society.

    Derrick Jensen pointed out several years ago that Industrial Civilisation is omnicidal, and those who subscribe to it are insane and unreachable. Most people have never heard of Derrick Jensen and never will.

  • This interview of Charles Eisenstein by Craig Barnes (just click on “listen”) came from a perspective–nonsensical or not–that I hadn’t heard before. It interested me to see how Eisenstein sees the future. His new book is called “The Ascent of Humanity,” available at ascentofhumanity.com.


  • I guess most of us agree that taking any action towards a mitigation of current trend will be stopped or at least delayed by politicians. Most of the elected.
    They are usually important part of the problem.
    Unfortunately, we do not have to forget that elected politicians are a reflex of the society that elects them.
    That makes the possibility of effective action on time distant, since most of the societey, as politicians, are not open to take the requiered action.

  • “NTHE is the rock bottom of low expectations, humans cannot have expectations any worse than that. Accordingly no matter what the future holds, we will not be disappointed. We can be thankful for this new Buddhist perspective.”

    We here are so privileged relative too the rest of the world. I don’t know why this is so, but I think that enjoying it to the full doesn’t mean overconsumption or disregard for those less favored. If we can’t do much to change the fate of the unfortunate, is it reprehensible for us to enjoy and be grateful for our own good fortune (temporary though it be)? If we can’t do anything for the world (even though we try and have tried), why should we be unhappy about that?

  • @ Henry

    Climate doesn’t stabilise in the next 500 years, maybe the next 80,000 to 100,000 years

    @ Father Yod


    @ 18000days

    Doesn’t matter what we value or cherish or think is important or what we believe we are entitled to, the laws of physics and biology will prevail and erase us, just as they did the dinosaurs.

    @ kevin moore

    Even that might not work. Who would have thought, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that the Japanese would have permitted the Americans to dump even more nuclear crap onto them, and yet they did. Quite possible they wrecked their entire nation as a result. Looks like they want to make it illegal to report anything about Fukushima, as if killing the messengers will stop the bad news.

    @ Godofredo

    Some philosophy and politics you might like ?


    @ Artleads

    Eisenstein should suit you and mike k and some others here well, he thinks if we all become nice and smile and be positive then everything will work out fine. Trouble is the Fukes are not going to go away, neither are the people who set up the NSA and all the rest of the nasty stuff out there, nor the people who are trafficking little children so they can murder them and sell their organs. None of Eisenstein’s ideas are any use for Guy’s feedback loops, it’s all ten years out of date.

  • Ammunition… if you are Canadian… brace yourself

  • There have been a numerous names posting here lately that have never appeared before that are blatant crude attempts to discredit Dr Mcpherson and cause discord and confusion.

    They are so obvious and childish they are pathetic and not worth wasting any time on at all, except for Fukumethane, who deserves kicking

    Symphony of Failure: Environmental Activism in Four Movements

    for accusing Tom of …nothing short of disinformational fearmongering. The focus on the potential massive release of the planet’s methane hydrates buried in the permafrost and seabeds is a canard with an immaterial probability, not to mention it’s unprecedented in the ice core records as affecting climate in the past if and when it ever occurred. For those who still have some objectivity left, there’s this:

    All of the objections raised by Schmidt, Archer, Colose, et al, were comprehensively demolished. The Emian ice cores would not have recorded the methane, because of the firn effect. The methane doesn’t stay long enough in the atmosphere ( c. 10 years ) to get trapped in the ice bubbles, which take 50 years to consolidate from soft snow. The more recent period, of warming, that area, ESAS, was not submerged, it was land, so the conditions were completely different.

    Schmidt and Archer and the others dismissed the work of Wadhams, who is at least as eminent and qualified as any of his critics, being a double professor at Cambridge, and a specialist in the Arctic and the oceans, and they dismissed the work of Shakhova and Semiletov, who are the world experts on the Laptev Sea and the ESAS and who have been going to the area every year for decades to study the direct evidence with their own eyes and take samples. And perhaps worse still, when Paul Beckwith answered all the points that had been raised, Skeptikal Science refused to publish his comments and just censored him completely.

    So we can see that this is not about the science at all. There is pressure coming from certain quarters to try to ensure that the broader public does not get to hear about news which it most certainly needs to hear about.

    Just as with Fukushima, it serves the interests of certain powerful organisations that we should all be kept in the dark about what is really happening, and that this very serious and troubling news be trivialised and suppressed.

    But whatever the dispute about the science way back in July, and earlier, Shakhova and Semiletov, and others, have explained in several papers which have been published in the scholarly literature, exactly what the geomorphology of the Laptev Sea and the ESAS is like, and why there is reason to be alarmed about the release of methane from that area, and from the satellite data, we can see that methane releases from that area are increasing, just as they said they would. Anybody with even an elementary understanding of climate science will not find this reassuring.


    Methane, over the ten year time scale that actually matters, is c. 105 times more powerful in warming effect than CO2, and it has a local warming effect.

    So, there’s a positive feedback going on. In fact, there are several positive feedbacks, all happening in that area, all pointing towards potential disaster.

    Apparently, that small area is responsible for more than half of all global marine methane emissions, and if just 1% of the methane there is released, that will double the atmospheric CO2 levels.

    What’s stopping it from coming out ? A few fucking feet of fucking frozen mud that is fucking thawing out because the fucking ice has gone and the fucking sea water is very fucking shallow and is now very fucking warm…

    AND we can see that it IS coming out…

    Nobody has to be a scientist to understand that, do they ? So fuck you, Fukumethane, and your ‘objectivity’.

  • Volcanic activity (and earthquakes) are WAY up over the past 5 – 7 yrs:


    (this is an old article, but the predictions are accurate)

    MISA Theory – Last Updated Dec 31 2010 (Mass-Induced Seismic Amplification, or MISA Theory

    (pasting the highpoints only – the article is well worth the read)

    POSTULATE ONE: The global mass redistribution that is occurring is the proximate (direct) cause of the increase in seismic activity being experienced across the world.

    POSTULATE TWO: All faults and volcanoes have tipping points. The more mass that is added to the oceans, the more of those tipping points we will reach, and the more seismic activity we will experience, particularly in the oceans and near coastal areas. This is happening now.


    In the above (dated) article, the author called for immediate action to avert catastrophe. Though i’m not sure what all we could have actually done, as per usual NOTHING changed (and as we’ve seen since then – it’s actually gotten far worse).

    In my next post (below) i’ll link to new data (from the Extinction Protocol site) to back up the above.

  • http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/doomsday-volcanoes-on-the-planet-are-awakening-in-record-numbers-is-a-new-supervolcano-forming-in-chile/

    November 2, 2013

    Doomsday volcanoes on the planet are awakening in record numbers: Is a new supervolcano forming in Chile?

    November 2, 2013 – GEOLOGY – One of these days, a field of volcanoes you have never heard of will wake up, and if it fulfills its geologic potential, the consequences will be heard around the world. Curiously, Laguna del Maule, situated along the spine of the Andes, doesn’t even look like a volcano. No towering peak, no plume of smoke or steam, no stench of sulfur. But 36 times in the past 20,000 years, volcanic vents surrounding the lake basin have created monster fields of lava — with huge deposits of volcanic glass, pumice and ash. Once, almost a million years ago, this volcano field had an eruption that, if repeated, could change history by affecting air travel, agriculture and climate. Tantalizing scraps of lava indicate enormous eruptions 1.5 million and 336,000 years ago. It’s a maxim of geology: What happened before can happen again. The volcanic field is 20 kilometers in diameter, and the recent surge in attention is largely due to a widespread, 1.5 meter rise since 2007. “That’s phenomenal,” says Brad Singer, a professor of Geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who began studying this part of the Andes 20 years ago. “There is no other volcano in the world that is going up at this rate.”

    Unrest growing among world’s supervolcanoes: Santorini in Greece, Uturuncu in Bolivia, the Yellowstone and Long Valley calderas in the U.S., Laguna del Maule in Chile, Campi Flegrei in Italy – almost all of the world’s active supervolcanic systems are now exhibiting some signs of inflation- a potential early indication that an eruption could be building in these volcanic systems for the near future. When they will erupt is anybody’s guess? In the meantime, unrest is also growing among the volcanoes of Central America, Kamchatka, Alaska, Indonesia, and Iceland- which is home to some of the most dangerous volcanoes on the planet. The clock is ticking. Their magma chambers are expanding. Tremors are increasing. If any one of these volcanic systems has a major eruption, we’re in deep trouble. If they erupt in cascading fashion; Earth will be reeling through a doomsday scenario. –TEP

  • The growth rate of methane in the atmosphere is actually declining and leveling off from its highs in the early eighties, despite these occasional spikes noted by alarmist websites like AMEG. As Alex Smith of Radio Ecoshock implied, Light is more than likely an industry shill and opportunist using fearmongering to either discredit or capitalize, or perhaps both. As Alex Smith underscored, Light used preliminary readings as factual support in one of his scare articles which is unethical and misleading. Light knows that the data he used was preliminary and would be corrected at a later date. He never should have used it unless he meant to deceive.

    And now Tom, who believes in throwing everything into the AGW-induced NTE hopper including the kitchen sink, is folding in volcanoes and earthquakes. Every day that passes, NTE inculcated by AGW increasingly resembles that infamous pristine JFK assassination bullet. Convenient. Make it fit, even though it doesn’t.


  • CH4: That’s because it’s all connected. The melting glaciers and ice caps is adding tons of mass to the oceans in unequal amounts, causing stresses that add to the global mass distribution and will impact fault lines and therefore earthquakes. It also puts stress on magma, forcing it upward into formerly dormant volcanoes – nature’s stress relief valves. Geez, is it that complicated for you? It’s all cumulative too!

    Some humans will survive in a hi-tech hell. Earth? No.
    – China plans to build 500 nuclear reactors before 2050.
    – China is building 1 new coal power plant per week.
    – China now imports more oil than the U.S.!
    – Half of all species may disappear before 2040.
    – 200 species per day are going extinct.
    – Land Animal populations down 28% since 1970.
    – Marine Bird populations down 30% since 1995.
    – Big Ocean Fish populations down 90% since 1950.
    – Fresh Water Fish populations down 50% since 1987,
    – All Marine Animal populations down 28% since 1970.
    – Plankton populations down 40% since 1950.
    – Bumblebee populations down 70% since 1970.
    – Species extinction is 1,000 times faster than normal.
    – Human sperm counts down 50% since 1950.
    – Human population up to 9 billion by 2050.
    – Ocean acidification to double by 2050.
    – World temperature rise may triple by 2050.
    An ECOLOGICAL TIPPING POINT may be by 2025.
    Nobody knows when we will pass this tipping point except in retrospect. Once passed, cascading extinction collapse becomes unstoppable and irreversible. This will result in the loss of basic planetary ecological services such as breathing and eating.



    The acidity of the oceans will more than double in the next 40 years. This rate is 10 times faster than 65 million years ago when when a mass extinction of marine life occurred. It is also faster than during 4 of earth’s biggest mass extinction events during the last 300 hundred million years — faster than even the great Permian mass extinction event where 95% of life on earth vanished 250 million years ago. The oceans are now 30% more acidic than in pre-industrial times.


    When ice ages come and go the planet can change temperature 5°C in as little as 5,000 years. 50 times slower than what we are doing to earth now. In the past, a 5°C change normally takes 20,000 years, we are going to do 5°C in 50-100 years, 200 times faster than historical norms.
    Climate change is happening 100 times faster than in the past.
    Only 1% of methane needs to be released to cause total disaster.
    Peter Wadhams interview

    Natalia Shakhova interview:

    Overstating The Obvious

  • Trolls have their uses. It is instructive to contrast the manner in which the troll called Alfred Nugent was treated for his ridicule of Christ’s disciples in the last thread to how the guest writer, Geoffrey Chia, has been treated for his denunciation of Christianity. Or, rather, not treated. Nugent was attacked for “insulting Christians,” an absurd and faintly hysterical charge, but Chia has not been even mildly reproved for his far more robust attack.

    Chirrup, chirrup, chirrup, chirrup …

  • @ CH4

    So what have those strawmen and red herrings got to do with anything ?

    They expose you as a troll.

    The argument was entirely focussed upon the methane from the ESAS.

    Everything I said was correct and because you cannot refute any of it you come up with irrelevant garbage about the Kennedy assassination in an attempt to smear the scientific case as if it was some junk conspiracy.

    I repeat, the recent scientific paper was published in Nature, by Wadhams et al, and similar supporting research has been published in highly reputable peer reviewed journals by Shakhova and Semiletov and others for years.

    Why are YOU trying to distract from and discredit the significance of that ?

    What’s your motive ? Why are you posting comments here ?

  • Since feedbacks are of such concern, here’s one feedback that doesn’t require any kind of modeling. It’s based on measured observations, and what can be concluded from this is that as CO2 levels continue to rise, water vapour as measured by relative humidity continues to drop. This explains why we haven’t witnessed the expected temperature spike from the bullshit IPCC models. The atmosphere is adjusting to maintain a constant flux of IR absorption and release. I suppose someone will now tell us this isn’t science, at which point we’ll have to ask, what exactly is science then, if not this?


  • @ CH4

    …at which point we’ll have to ask, what exactly is science then, if not this?

    And you’ll get the unequivocal answer that ‘friends of science’ is NOT science, it’s oil industry propaganda, designed to prevent any action being taken that might interfere with profits.

    So now we know why you are here and where you are coming from, don’t we.

    So that’s cleared that up.


  • Amazing how ‘concern trolls’ like CH4 don’t address the ESAS.

    They can’t, they got nothing but a limp wanker to offer.

    CH4 stinks, so does ‘CH4’, they have that much in common.

    Come on old fart, talk to us about the ESAS.

  • If you believe that all you relate has been determined by science as fact beyond doubt you need to step back and have another go at awareness. Mind is being found to NOT be an emergent quality of brain. The “Big Bang” theory is in worse trouble than at any time since it was first propounded. Darwinism is under heavier attack from empirical findings than ever before. Let’s at least base our awareness on reality instead of bias and hypothesis. Now, start over.

  • Wow, a concern troll two-fer, buz painter, lay off smelling the lacquer thinner, it’s damaged your modest collection of brain cells.

  • Perhaps water vapour as a countervailing negative feedback in maintaining a relatively constant IR absorption/release flux combined with the logarithmically diminishing forcing effect of CO2 with ever greater concentrations of it helps explain the plateau. Nobody wants to admit it though, when it aptly describes the anomalous plateau. Because, to do so would reveal that the plateau is not anomalous, but expected. It would undermine the credibility of the IPCC models and the conclusions drawn from them.


    What to Make of a Warming Plateau

    As unlikely as this may sound, we have lucked out in recent years when it comes to global warming.

    The rise in the surface temperature of earth has been markedly slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that. And that lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace.

    The slowdown is a bit of a mystery to climate scientists. True, the basic theory that predicts a warming of the planet in response to human emissions does not suggest that warming should be smooth and continuous. To the contrary, in a climate system still dominated by natural variability, there is every reason to think the warming will proceed in fits and starts.

    But given how much is riding on the scientific forecast, the practitioners of climate science would like to understand exactly what is going on. They admit that they do not, even though some potential mechanisms of the slowdown have been suggested. The situation highlights important gaps in our knowledge of the climate system, some of which cannot be closed until we get better measurements from high in space and from deep in the ocean.

    As you might imagine, those dismissive of climate-change concerns have made much of this warming plateau. They typically argue that “global warming stopped 15 years ago” or some similar statement, and then assert that this disproves the whole notion that greenhouse gases are causing warming……

    So the real question is where all that heat is going, if not to warm the surface. And a prime suspect is the deep ocean. Our measurements there are not good enough to confirm it absolutely, but a growing body of research suggests this may be an important part of the answer.

    You have to love it. They allow their conclusion to dictate their direction. Meaning, they’re not interested in understanding how it all works, because they know there is no way possible to do that given our current limited intellectual capacity, so they hold to the conclusion that increased CO2 will raise global temperatures per their models and now will find reasons to help explain away this contradiction. I suspect they’ll find an explanation like the deep blue sea, but what if the contradictions keep piling up? What a burden it will be to keep finding explanations. It will eventually be tantamount to chasing one’s tail. One would think, at some point most if not all advocates will throw in the towel and say “we were wrong in our misunderstanding, there is much more to this, the atmosphere is incredibly complex and dynamic and it will be many more centuries if not millenia before we could ever hope to fully grasp how it works let alone make a prediction as we’ve prematurely done.”

  • @ Barbara Grant

    You seem very poorly informed. The global climate system is understood to a much greater extent than you seem to appreciate.

    The surface temperature is not the important thing, the overall total temperature is what matters, and it’s not easy to work out how much heat has gone into melting all that Arctic and Antarctic and glacial ice and what effect the industrial pollution has, and what the El Nino and La Nina does, and all of the other very complicated stuff that is going on, but what matters is, that the overall global temperature has been going up for 150 years and is still going up and 15 years is just a wobble, under 30 years is WEATHER, not climate, and they have found out where the heat has been going.


    @ buzz painter

    Let’s at least base our awareness on reality instead of bias and hypothesis.

    Wtf is ‘reality’ ?

    You made several claims, all of which are highly controversial and contested, without providing any citations or support. This is supposed to be a science based blog. Do you actually know what the word ‘hypothesis’ means ?

  • I am no longer at the public library in Denver, me and some comrades are moving South, may not post again… and, sadly, I may not get to get on-line to see what’s new…

    Goodbye everyone, thank you for everything.

    Best to you, Guy, you have made a huge positive difference in my life.

  • Anyone else noticing a higher count of drive-by trolling lately? I suppose that means that Guy’s message is leaking out to a larger audience. These things typically come in waves. I wonder what set this one off?

    Five days until TEPCO starts removing assemblies from SFP 4.

    Obama has signed an executive order convening a panel of government officials to talk about responses to climate change. We’re saved!

  • Goodbye, pat.

    I was wondering when you would “kill” off the Rob@thepubliclibrary character.

  • If Tony Abbott is full of crap, what does that say about Australians generally?

  • The blame game continues. When will people realise that it is ‘people’ as a species that destroy the planet. Humans are basically evil, that is why nothing has ever changed since the dawn of time.

    It is easy for the author to sit back in his comfortable fossil fuel powered home and accuse christianity and politics for the earth’s problems but take him into the wilderness where he has to fight for his very life to survive and he will soon be cutting down trees for shelter and murdering endagered species if that is the only food available.

    So he says the earth be destroyed by global warming and the bible says it will be destroyed by fire. Either way it is doomed so take your pick.

  • Barbara Grant’s BS regarding the warming plateau is countered at

    It’s number 9 in a list of over 170 “skeptic” anti-warming arguments which are shredded well. Number 35 is about water vapor.

    Funny how suddenly there’s a whole parade of new posters who are all seeking to prove that there is no warming or that it’s no big deal. I guess troll school must have graduated a new class.

  • James Hansen knows an awful lot about climate science and a view of that science that shows the world going down the tubes. However, he still thinks it’s just technically possible to avoid catastrophic climate change. I can’t quite get that from his book, so I’m reading it again and have emailed him a couple of questions about it. Although he says time is short, it may be possible to actually reduce CO2 concentration to 350ppm. The only negative forcing I can think of, which does this, is weathering. But that won’t be nearly quick enough, surely?

    Of course, he doesn’t factor in any kind of civilisational collapse and seems to think its possible to extract and use all known reserves of fossil fuels. That doesn’t seem remotely likely to me, even without a collapse of civilisation.

  • Furthermore, Hansen is in favor of increasing the use of nuclear power, never mind Fukushima. See http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/03/world/nuclear-energy-climate-change-scientists/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

  • I don’t think Hansen has factored in societal collapse (or, at least, instability), regarding nuclear build out.

  • If we could return to a level of civilization we could live with, what about 50 years ago? There was civil rights legislation. The Hippies and the Earth movement were just starting. Global population was less than half of today’s. There was far more of a real economy then. Arctic ice, aboriginal culture and rainforests were still relatively intact…

    Yet, all the comforts one could humanly ask for were available to First World society. And there was no requirement, other than greed, to stir up all the sleeping non-Western societies that neither knew nor cared what they might be missing.

    If we could isolate everything that has transpired since 1963 and push it to the side, wouldn’t that be wonderful! 🙂 Of course, the younger posters on NBL would still be here, having merely replaced and not increased their parents’ generation.

  • @ Jeff S.’s link says:

    Climate Myth…

    It hasn’t warmed since 1998
    For the years 1998-2005, temperature did not increase. This period coincides with society’s continued pumping of more CO2 into the atmosphere. (Bob Carter)

    No, it hasn’t been cooling since 1998.

    Already, a strawman has been erected and will now be attacked as a rebuttal to the so-called myth which is really just an observation, or stated fact. The statement that global average temperatures did not statistically increase in the specified time period does not equate to “it’s been cooling since 1998.” The author burns a strawman of his/her own making (meaning the author shreds their own effigy), but does nothing to address the fact that the models predicted significant warming for that time period and there was no statistical warming, or very little. It’s not the first time the models have been wrong. In fact, they’re pretty much wrong so much, they’re useless except in spreading unnecessary alarmist fear and loathing. If a particular idiot claims that no increase in temperature in the specified period, or a marginal increase compared to the predicted value, is evidence of cooling, then they’re either idiotic or duplicitous. That argument, that it’s cooling, is foolhardy just as is the argument that any noticeable and measured warming is the result of anthropogenic CO2 radiative forcing. It’s not settled. Science isn’t about consensus. We’re still learning and there’s a long way too go. To hasten the process of understanding via the scientific method is to undermine that method and throw any coerced conclusions hastily drawn into the realm of politics, not science. And who knows, perhaps that’s all science is and can be these days, or at least any science that sees the malcolm light of day, meaning it gets some kind of audience. If so, science is dead, just like God died not too long ago. Politics (manipulation, duplicity and deception of any and all meassages) is the victor once again. There are no viable challengers.

  • @ venus is my name

    That comment is so garbled as to be almost incomprehensible, but having taken up the challenge, I attempt to decipher whatever the author may be struggling to convey.

    ALL models are ‘wrong’ because they are not the ‘thing itself’, they are ‘maps not territories’ so It’s not the first time the models have been wrong. is just another stupid straw man added to the pile.

    That does not mean that models are not useful, or that they don’t aid understanding, because when you use them to try and make a prediction, and it turns out that they are incorrect, you can then try and puzzle out WHY they were incorrect, and then you get a deeper insight.


    This process has actually been very successful !

    You know, it’s like trial and error. People have been doing it since year dot. No doubt, that’s how the Australian Aborigines discovered the boomerang. A piece of wood that will fly through the air and return to your hand. Amazing. Who would have guessed that was possible ? How many experiments did it take until they found the perfect form that worked ? And they have many varieties too.

    It’s been the same trying to understand how the human physiological system works, how the blood circulates, how nerves work, how hormones work, etc, etc.

    The model is the hypothesis. When a system is so complicated, like global climate or the human immune system or the brain, the chances that the model is perfect are small, but if it gives you something close, that’s fantastic, because it shows you’re on the right track.
    It gives clues where to look to find out what needs to be studied in greater detail.

    The piece of wood that does something weird and interesting when you throw it, hey, that’s cool, let’s make some adjustments, see what happens…

    The problem is, that in the quest to understand the human metabolism, it didn’t matter too much how any subjects died, because there was always another one to study. But we only have the one Earth, and we only run this experiment ONCE, and we are out of time….

    That’s what I find is so frustrating about a certain sector of the scientific community who are so focussed on getting the science correct that they have forgotten that nobody is going to be around to care whether they got it correct or not…

    Politics (manipulation, duplicity and deception of any and all meassages) is the victor once again. There are no viable challengers.

    EVERYTHING is political. Even to withdraw from politics and to remain silent is a political act. A blank sheet of paper is a statement.

    The arguments that some scientists use that they are ‘neutral’ or that they don’t engage in ‘advocacy’ or that ‘science is not political’ are grossly disingenuous and irresponsible.

    These people work in very expensive establishments, run by very sophisticated bureaucracies, with highly developed public relations departments, funded by all kinds of powerful interests, from governments, to foundations, to trusts and charities, to rich individuals, corporations, the military, secret clandestine subversive spying organisations, all sorts, you want to pretend none of this is political ? Fucking Yale and Skull and Bones ?

    What’s more the whole PHILOSOPHY of science is political. It’s chockfull of political assumptions, assumptions about class, about the place of animals, about the roles we have and are assigned by soceity… I could write a fucking BOOK about this…

    It is IMPOSSIBLE to separate science from politics. Impossible. Any more than you can separate science from money.

    Politics is about power and science and technology are about power and money is about power and the military is about power and all these things are tangled up and woven together, and have been ever since science first began with the Freemasons and the Royal Soceity in England.

    There are a few scientists, the very best, who rise above all the crap and strive to take an objective overview of what’s really going on. I think it is very difficult, but that’s what they should all aim for, imho.

  • @ Rob@thepubliclibrarynomore
    May fair winds fill your sails. And may you get to watch it burn 😀
    There is no redemption! The children suffer!


    @ Denise
    Lovely as usual. I don’t quite understand how you can do these so well, so consistently.


    @ ulvfugl
    In response to a link sent long back about two wise fiddlers, wow it was beautiful. I have a guitar actually, I just like to call it fiddling because that’s what I do, fiddle and fret 😉


    @ All ~ Any and all inputs are welcome and solicited.

    I recently, fell in love with this wonderful person. I can’t bring myself to voice my feelings and I can’t quite not bring up NTE if I decide to do. I am fairly certain that she is not aware of NTE. It is a really stupid conundrum to find oneself in, at the end of the world!

    Currently , I am just kind of wallowing in the myriad emotions that a human mind is capable of under the given circumstances. I had all but forgotten how heady it can be.

    And now… to the fiddle 🙂

  • In all of the years that I have read and participated in various web venues I have never been accused of being a “Troll”. This is a milestone for me. Thank you all. Now I know how it feels. (Actually not that bad.)

    Now I realize that I too have thought after reading some comment (with which I naturally disagreed): There is a troll. It gives one some perspective to slip on the shoes of someone else for a change.

    Perhaps this just means that in all these years I haven’t been trying hard enough, or perhaps (which is more likely)I have had my normal Asperger’s fear of not fitting in. So in that sense I would, instead of being a troll, be more of a chameleon – all things to all people. What a way to live… Don’t make any waves, toe the party line. All you potential trolls out there probably know what I mean. Anyway…

    Since I was quite young I have read anything I could get my hands on. In my senior year in high school I ditched classes in order to spend time in the library. It was around that time that I realized that the school system had been lying to me. I wasn’t being educated. I had to do it myself. In the beginning I was somewhat omnivorous in my reading. My parents were not what one would call intellectual in their thinking. They were simple farm people.

    The only home “library” to which I had access was the Reader’s Digest Condensed Books which came one a month for years. Consequently I read Andersonville when I was nine. It was not meant for children. At the age of ten I read Last of the Curlews. When I think of it today it still tears at my heart. It was my first introduction to real extinction events.

    In my late teens and early thirties I read and assimilated most of the mainstream scientific theories then current. The Universe began with a gigantic explosion/implosion? creating matter, time and space all at the same instant. It made some sense in that it didn’t seem too different than the creation stories I was told as a child out of the bible. This was just more “scientific”.

    Darwinist evolution by natural selection and change over time by mutation had a wealth of evidence to back it up. We are the result of many mutations and adaptations over an immense stretch of time (3.8 billion years) from a simple one celled organism. OK. But how did it start? That always stuck in the back of my mind.

    The mind is an immergiant quality of brain. Daniel Dennett said so. That was good enough for me.

    It has only been in later life (I will be seventy in March. It can’t be true.) that I began to come across some anomalous material which made me begin to question my own belief system… and the evidence mounts. How could I have been so wrong? It happens.

    To sum this up – in a way, I am just computer literate enough to pound on my keyboard – just. I don’t supply pretty graphics and sources because I don’t know how and never really had enough motivation to learn. What I mostly do is read and talk to my trees (all seven hundred of them). And by the way, all I effectively said was: the scientific theories on which we base most of our reality are NOT undisputed fact. That statement should not be controversial.

    The main reason that I am writing this post is that it represents a very large milestone for me, one which I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would achieve- Trolldom! Let this be an inspiration to all of you wannabes out there. Live long enough and the experiences come.

    What the hell, we all have an appointment with extinction in twenty or thirty years. Guy is correct in this I believe. Damn him. However, always remember people in your arrogant hubris (me included), no one is right about everything.

  • By the way, science + ideology can be a dangerous and sometimes fatal mix.

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #75

    Yellow leaves endure,
    lifting white trunk and branches
    into sky blue fall.


  • @KK: This small stream of creativity has emerged as I try to make sense of the profound loss and grief that I feel while bearing witness on the Beach of Doom. I dispatch the little poems like messages in bottles…while I’m flailing in the waters of my soul. The Beach and its inhabitants are my refuge – thanks, y’all.

  • buz painter: not impressed. You are waving your lack of knowledge as if it was some sort of a badge of honor. And you sure demonstrate ignorance about climate science.

    venus is my name: very disingenuous. In fact, the rest of the post i linked to demonstrates that the earth has indeed been WARMING. You are trying to same old web troll and oil-industry-sponsored disinformation meme of passing off air temperatures as if they were general earth temperatures. The earth has continued to warm, though the oceans have absorbed the bulk of the warming so far, with all indications being that this won’t last. More info, including actual temp data, at

  • Hey!, I’m still here!

    I read Guy, John Michael Greer, and X-Ray Mike everyday almost, but, not posting much anymore – just staring out the window on this runaway train.

    The Voluntary Extinction Movement
    though shalt not procreate

    The Church of Euthanasia
    Save the Planet, Kill Yourself

  • Geoffrey: “In my view perhaps the greatest gift we have…” — What an eloguent summary in a single, short paragraph of the almost-miraculous collection of scientific knowledge (and advanced speculation) we have access to!

    For us to know the significance of Eurkaryotes in surviving one extinction, and of Lystrosaurus (our direct ancestor) in surviving another is the time-stretching perspective we need to bandage our current anxieties, even as we take our place among the 95% of species who did not make it through the Permian Extinction.

    The scientists whose labs both Alan Weisman and Annalee Newitz take us to visit in their books are working largely in obscurity to the billions of humans who are going to share the fate of the species these researchers study the bones and shells and sedimentary layers of.

    I am newly amazed at how many pieces have been put together in the field of paleobiology, and wonder that I had never stumbled upon it before. Anyway, they’ve saved all the past decades’ rich rewards for me to savor now.

    And yet we have 35% or more of USAmericans championing their wishful ignorance of a science which has attained such a beautiful scope, as Leonardo and Galileo and Einstein could have only wished to have stuck around to see.

    IF, and only if, we were to have a unified populace aware of the climate dangers, we would then have a societal engineering feat ahead of us worthy of the WWII Fascism-rollback times TEN, indeed. And that with only a 30% chance of stopping the feedback loops already triggered, with the hope only to slow down their onset.

    But instead, we have active OPPOSITION toward any such efforts. It’s as if the Nazi Bund organizations within the USA of the 1930s (look it up — frightening Youtube vids) had elected the entire Congressional delegations of NY, NJ, and Pennsylvania, taken over Wall Street, and were actively stonewalling help to Churchill’s England in resisting the Blitzkriegs in Europe. Sieg Heil, y’all.

    The integration mandates of the 1970s sent “Christians” off to their private non-integrated academies throughout the South, from which the slime of Medieval ignorance festered anew in its American petri dish.

    For the past 40 years, large slices of US “Christianity” have been the veneer for White Supremacism of the early 60s viciousness, having learned to speak in Code, and carry out its Dominionist agenda with just enough skullduggery to slip past most of us.

    (Have you watched their politicians on display this past week, lovingly skewered by Jon Stewart?)

    When you have one-third of your populace actually chanting “Destruction? Bring it on!” you might as well go and devote the rest of your days to good literature, fine wines, and beautiful women and skip the miseries of poking these hornet nests.

    These are humans at their most degraded, smart enough to function in IndCiv, but devoid of any actual humane values. (They’ll help you, but only long enough to convert you to their cult/church.) They will not stop or change, short of flood waters sweeping through their front doors. Even then, nahhhhh! It’s God’s swill…

    There! Did I out-slander Geoffrey’s rant? Hope so. P.S. It’s not because they’re “Christians”. Anyone can call themselves that, especially if you’re a POLITICAL movement, masquerading as religious. What was that old saying about “the Devil can quote scripture…”


    ulvfugl — It was Geoffrey (who seems to be keeping up with all of our awareness here at NBL) who mentions the 500 years, not me. I guess there could be “unknown unknowns” happening 400 years after humans have departed, perhaps an ice age cycle arriving too late for our benefit, solar radiation cycles, or such. I’m assuming carbon at 1000ppm plus, for 1000 years, plus. Several times overkill, in our case.

    Ted Patzek’s video — great addition. You know, in spending the hours reading about paleo-history, you get how the Earth’s atmosphere was METHANE-based, before it was oxygen-based.

    In fact, it was the METHANE-breathing, oxygen-excreting creatures who killed everybody else off, while creating the new atmosphere! Total changeover, like we’re doing now, with releasing the Methane that got stored up from that time. Big Picture atmospheric dynamics, in which we’re but the tiny trigger.

    I’m watching people in “Third World” countries, with improving economies, growing middle classes — teenage boys and girls who WANT CARS! that status symbol that was the staple of USA 50’s & 60s teenage-hood. Ask them to give it all up, for a bus riding future with their poorer neighbors? Not bloody likely! They’re just arriving on the stage of material consumerism, and the first taste of that candy is the sweetest they’ll ever have, however brief.

    Only a skyrocketing petroleum price is going to “legislate” restraint on all the world’s peoples trying to squeeze their little carbon emitters through crowded ancient streets, and empty those streets.

    Only a somehow-accomplished ban on new automobiles — for once purchased, the typical auto is going to emit 5 tons (EPA) a year (average American total output per capita is 19 tons a year), or 50 tons over the car’s lifetime — 30 billion tons (gigatonnes) annual worldwide emission from all sources, so 800 million vehicles worldwide will emit 4 billion tons of carbon, and 84 million vehicles produced annually will guarantee 4 billion tons of future emissions. (I’ve been wanting to ballpark these numbers for awhile; someone somewhere has probably done a better job.)

    Fossil fuel burning has emitted 350 gt since 1901 (Wikipedia) and so we are pushing past the capacities of natural carbon sinks to save us from the “spillover” effect of ALL of our output one day hitting the atmosphere in full quantity.


    “So we can see that this is not about the science at all.” — ulvfugl.

    Right, it’s only business, so just get in the car, Tessio. (Delivered with the gruff impersonal Mafiosi NY accent.) Nothing personal. Our territories were divided up long ago, and you don’t cross our business, capisce?

    Mario Puzo gave us the roadmap of our times 40 years ago, and we just haven’t been listening?

    And, just for CH4 (good name!), the “magic bullet” was created to bolster the official populace-sedating story, whereas Malcolm Light’s extrapolations were, if premature, meant to lean against the Official Story that we should all stay very, verrrryyyy sleeeeeepy….nothing to see here, move along, you!

    A small percentage of the clathrates released makes Light the instant genius. (Scientists bash foreheads: “Why didn’t I see that coming?”


    Shizel — great summary post! I copied into email to myself, and to forward on to others.


    Barbara & ulvfugl — If they really were waiting on “measurements from the deep ocean” as the verification of climate concerns, you would think that they would be preparing us a Plan B, just in case those “measurements” (yeah, right!) prove our concerns true. Given the immense consequence of those concerns, it would be the only responsible course for “leaders” to take, n’est-ce pas?

    The fact that they are preparing NO such course of action belies the idea that such further “scientific” research is necessary, in their eyes, and proves they are only trying to run out the clock and profit as much as possible before the entire game collapses on us all.

    No “leaders” thereabouts, flaks and shills only.


    Frank J: WHoaaaaa! Good boy! You’ve detected some HYPOCRISY! (So when concern trolls ferret out their smidgeon of hypocrisy, you know what they’re really telling us to do? SHUT UP! “YOU don’t get to talk!” And the oil magnates and Murdochs and Kochs still do, and will.

    (So why bother to step on us tiny little voices? Uh, because the Truth has a subversive potential beyond its immediate volume? The power to expand exponentially? Gotta kill it before it multiplies.)

    But Frank’s point is based on a reality, that 9/10s of us humans should not actually be here at this point, and we should be drawing straws, to jump off some nearby cliffs.

    Or, if you get the economics right, it would be 9/10s of the folks consuming the most IndCiv products, and maybe leave 50% of the poorest (dark-skinned) peoples — UNTHINKABLE! it claws at our racist cores, that — so we must have a rationale, an ethic for keeping ourselves around.

    Is that what you were getting at, Frank? Somehow, I think not.

    But, I’ll propose one. If you are an “advanced” First-worlder, one validation for sticking around might be: Trying to slow the apocalypse for the truly innocent who’ve consumed next to nothing in their lifetimes, trying to be a voice against IndCiv, and trying to provide a level of human solace in a chaotic time to come.

    Short of one of those, hmmmmm…bye-bye? And aside from ethics, I’ll mea culpa myself with the desire for self-preservation, of me and a kid o’ mine or two, and a community of like-spirited folks, somewhere, somehow, as we watch our natural lifespans pass, not worrying too much about the “elsewhere” and its demise.

    But you were right, Frank, to mention the Wilderness, in all its permutations, for that’s much of what we’ll be surviving in, if we do, and our self-educating belongs in that direction, more and more, so thanks for the timely reminder!

    (In Geoffrey’s case, he should make friends with the most traditional of the aborigines; it would be a wonderful education to a new worldview, I’m supposing.)


    buz — stick around. Sincerity will out. (As will a lifetime’s wisdom.) Many views don’t synch at first. Trolldom is a tentative appellation. You have more trees than I do! Instant envy.


  • buz painter, if I may interject, I’m getting really sick of the whole “NO YOU!!!” tactic, and every time I see this tactic used I want to start screaming at the top of my lungs.

    “How dare you criticize my beliefs, you’re the one with beliefs!”

    “How dare you call me arrogant, you’re arrogant!”

    “If I was previously wrong, solely in my own personal life, about one particular scientific tenet, then I don’t have to listen to the rest of you when you talk about science, and I can declare ‘by fiat’ that anything you say in science’s defense must mean you have a personality defect or a character flaw! LA LA LA LA LA, I CAN’T HEAR YOU, I’M NOT LISTENING, I’M NOT LISTENING, LA LA LA LA LA!”

    I hate this. I really do. There seems to be no way to actually apply intellectual standards (clarity, precision, accuracy, breadth, depth, significance, relevance, logicalness, and fair-mindedness) to anything anymore.

    Nor do we use words according to the dictionary. Words mean what we say they mean, and in the modern language, “arrogant” means “someone has a confident opinion I don’t like.” (And thus, we can safely ignore them, rather than “weighing and considering” what they say before we pass judgment.)

    So now it’s impossible to “hold anyone to account” for committing a bad deed or an intellectual error, because they can always respond with the following refrain:

    NO YOU!!! NO YOU!!! NO YOU!!! NO YOU!!! NO YOU!!! NO YOU!!! NO YOU!!!

    Honestly, that sort of attitude always makes me want to crush something.

    Why did I even bother studying how to research the facts, when as Isaac Asimov quipped, democracy now means “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge?”

    You know, sometimes I think suicide’s starting to look like an attractive option. At least among the dead, nobody’s willing to make me eat shit, then call me arrogant if I say it isn’t caviar.

  • An observation: having grown up with a father who was a small town undertaker, I learned a lot about death pretty early on– and was certainly struck by how very often the pain of the experience is heightened by how lonely it is– fearsome, unattractive, and one’s loved ones despite their best efforts tend to shrink away. Everybody gets to do it, and always did, but at this moment in history there’s cause for a certain kind of grim joy in knowing that very likely we’ll all get to do it together.

  • This is what we’re up against the day after tomorrow when TEPCO attempts to remove the 1331 spent fuel rods at Fukushima. Obviously, the Lame Stream Media is not reporting this. This is an excellent article. God help us all!


  • @ Robleavingthepubliclibrary


    @ KK

    I have a guitar actually, I just like to call it fiddling because that’s what I do, fiddle and fret I recently, fell in love…

    Aaah, romance. Hope it goes well for you. Here’s a couple of versions of my Beach of Doom fingerpicking.

    @ buzz painter

    Apologies, I don’t think you are a troll, just that tossing a bundle of off-topic highly controversial issues into a conversation is standard trollish behaviour to cause disruption.

    @ Denise

    Nice. As ever. 🙂

    @ Henry

    Yes. The Big Picture. What IS this thing we are part of ? Mind boggle.

    @ Librarian

    Hahaha. But then you must NEVER read comments on the internet, because there only a few sane places where civilised discourse takes place… everywhere it’s always this craziness… one just hopes that sometimes there will be a patch of blue sky and the sun will break through… 🙂

    What can be done ? Nothing. Get a thick skin. Accept. Never give up.

    My comment brought from the other thread :

    The dominant mainstream capitalist culture, run by the bankers and the corporations, is not going to stop, emissions are not going to stop, and warming is not going to stop. This is the ultimate tragedy, and the ultimate horror, but people who refuse to accept and face it are deluding themselves.

    “There is nothing that can be agreed in 2015 that would be consistent with the 2 degrees,” said Yvo de Boer, who was UNFCCC executive secretary in 2009, when attempts to reach a deal at a summit in Copenhagen crumbled with a rift between industrialized and developing nations. “The only way that a 2015 agreement can achieve a 2-degree goal is to shut down the whole global economy.”


    I hope everyone, everywhere, all around the world, will begin to understand what that means for them.

    It’s effectively a death sentence.

    For humans, for children and grandchildren and all future generations, for animals and plants, for the wildlife, for the forests, for the rivers, lakes and the oceans.

    The 2 deg.C limit was never agreed by scientists, biologists, ecologists, or agriculturalists, as being a safe limit. It was conjured out of the air by an economist, to satisfy the demands of industry and corporations and bankers and politicians.

    We have been lied to constantly for twenty years, that 2 deg C was the target that would not be exceeded, when, as Kevin Anderson has explained, the politicians have known all the while that it could never be kept, and they never intended to keep to it.

    Why people like Bill McKibben and all the other NGOs went along with this insane charade and duplicity who knows, except that they all like their power and their funding so they like to please their sponsors.

    It’s not like this has been a secret amongst those who attended Copenhagen and paid attention to what has been going on.

    Everybody lies, everybody denies, everybody spews out bullshit.

    But nature, the laws of physics and biology don’t care about any of that crap. We’ll get the heating that is already in the pipeline, which will soar past 2 deg C, and then we’ll get 3 and 4 and on upwards, as people here have been explaining for a very long time. Which will make the whole planet, progressively, uninhabitable for humans, and most other living things.

    How do we respond to this ?

    That is what we discuss here, upon the Beach of Doom…

  • As we move into the the first full week of November, the leaves are just starting to change color. It’s a late fall. The entire fall season, like the spring, is being abbreviated as we shift from summer to winter almost overnight.

    One of the things that had me fall in love with Chicago 30 years ago was having that pale sun hidden by cloud cover from October 2nd until Thanksgiving. Just over a solid month of bleak, drizzling sky that moved my poet’s heart. But I turned out not to be much of poet and the sky is uncooperative in fitting my moods. Partially cloudy I remain.

    Over on the poor South side of Chicago near the Calumet river, petcoke, a by-product of tar sand production is being dumped in great heaps. This first happened in Detroit, but at this point one figures all manner of misery is visited upon Detroit. To have it happen in Chicago no doubt reflects Mayor Emmanuel need for campaign money. Heaps of lethal shit mean money to someone. And heaps of lethal greed remain our biggest threat. Excessive CO2 might kill us all, but greed is what helped put in the atmosphere.

    I’ve stopped talking about NTE at home as it upsets my family too much. They would rather not think about starving to death in the near future and that’s a perfectly reasonable way to behave. I’d rather not think about it either, but I keep that slate gray sky with me.

    I have no more questions, or maybe I seek no more answers. Not sure if I’ve hit the right approach, but I have nonetheless arrived at that “Let Go or be dragged” moment. My period of grief has come to an end.
    Let the sun shine in.

  • A while back Guy wrote a critique of Savory’s claims, which attracted a lot of hostility here.

    Savory is now being criticised on Real Climate.


    Here’s another criticism

    I’ve often noticed that many environmentally inclined people dislike deserts. Sometimes it’s as benign as a matter of personal preference for where to spend time: there are mountain people and forest people and ocean people, and they sometimes ask us desert people what we could possibly see in our favorite arid haunts. Sometimes that disregard is stronger than just a vacation preference. Sometimes it’s an actual dismissal of the land’s value, as for instance saying that thousand-year-old yuccas and threatened tortoise habitat aren’t worth as much as a few megawatts of solar power or a convenient spot for trash. Allan Savory takes it further than that: He wants to eradicate deserts just because they exist.


  • Grant — thanks for the link — I never saw “Hair”, after all these years.

    Only problem with the White House protest scene at the end (Yes, Nixon had to surround it with buses, to “protect” himself) is that they left. If they had known we would end up here today, would they have “Occupied”? (Largest carbon-burning entity on Earth — US Military.)

    Normalcy Bias? They went back to school, and the colleges shut down anyway a few months later, after Kent State.

    I’ve seen two references the past two days about those “evil” Baby Boomers, who gave us this decrepit world, on the verge of something (Zero Hedge has turned into Fox News Annex — did you see the hosing they gave Dmitri Orlov’s fine post?) or other. (The Libertarians both do and don’t acknowledge Climate Chaos — they just want to make sure the “right” — read, “Left” — people somehow get blamed. The Repubs have several “limited hang-out” movements they work through. Anything to distract from the main sources.)

    Trouble is, within one generation, some people went home from college to Mississippi, and started “Christian” Capitalist Consumption Academies, core believers in climate Denialism.

    Other people went home to Oregon and started organic farms.

    Which one ya gonna blame? The hippies? because they didn’t follow that first bunch home, and torch their little KKK nests?

    Naw, people got launched on their particular cultural trajectories just lyin’ in the crib, listenin’ to their parents argue over stuff, and they ain’t been set right ever since.

    A few break out of the Matrix, but fail to achieve escape velocity. Sort of those early rocket launches, that just kinda tipped over. 1957, I think it was.

    Blame those who tried, but tried not enough, long enough? Or those who sabotaged the whole caboodle?

    Back when people looked to the USA for leadership, and the Youth Revolution rang out around the world — Paris, London, Mexico City, etc — coulda made a difference. But there woulda been blood, and lots more of it than comfortable White kids were ready to give, back then.

    Knowing what we know now? Monday morning quarterbacking? Is it permitted?

  • @ ulvfugi

    I did not call you an ignoramus (although that was how you describe me–“fucking ignoramus”–on the previous thread), and only said that you seem to be big on so designating many others of us. So as to who is insulting whom, the case is clear.

    It was my understanding that “cutting down” (include burning them too) trees, as in cutting down the rainforest for palm oil plantations and various and sundry other smart ideas will release into the atmosphere the carbon that live trees lock in place. Trees also take in CO2 while they are alive. You know all this much better than I, for you are very learned. You have nothing to disagree with me about on the score of trees.

    So, with your insults, you just insist on being an abject, cussed motherfucker for no good reason that I can discern.

  • @Artleads

    I cannot speak for you. Nor do I wish to get involved with your heated discussion with ulvfugi. But I guess I am by choice… 🙂 All I ask is the following; Can we just continue together in this community dialogue and not cut someone else down? If someone’s comments offends you, just “let it go.” I know… easier said than done. This is the first time I’m acting as a Referee between contributors. I’m sure I’ll learn my lesson by doing this… only to find out in the end to just “stay out of it.” All I’m saying is, please…. step back… take a deep breath… and LET IT GO. In twenty to thirty more years, NONE of what is said on this thread won’t matter. We’re all just a brief breeze of dialogue in Humanity’s very short history.

  • @pilot

    I have just one comment. You need to readdress your comment to the correct recipient.

  • @ Artleads

    You accused me believing that I know much better than everyone else, etc. when I tried to explain to you why your statement that ‘no tree should ever be cut down’ was completely ignorant.

    You went on and made further statements, as you have just now, which show that you do not understand the carbon cycle.

    You claim to be so concerned about our fate and the future but you have never taken the trouble to try and understand why we get global warming from CO2, why trees matter, what role they play, and so forth.

    You do not understand what the word ‘sequester’ means in this context.
    You do not understand what the species of tree matters. You do not understand that where the tree grows matters.

    When I curse people for being ignorant, it is because we all suffer and we all go extinct, along with all the superb creatures of the world, directly as a result of the crass arrogance and ignorance and stupidity of humans who THINK that they can do whatever they want, who THINK that they know what they are doing, but who have no real understanding at all.

    That includes you and your ecological illiterate statement about trees.
    You cannot discern why I tell you you are foolish because you paid no attention to what I wrote and told you. The fault lies entirely with you.

    The problem re global warming is too much CO2 in the atmosphere. Trees take up CO2 as they grow. When they die and rot or burn, it goes straight back into the atmosphere. So there is no net change !

    The excess CO2 in the atmosphere has come from oil and coal. If you want to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere permanently, it has to be taken right out of the system, SEQUESTERED, as it was before, when it was locked away, buried in the rocks, for millions of years.

    Biochar or terra preta may well work, because it will lock carbon into the soil for hundreds possibly thousands of years. But the chances of people doing it, and on a large enough scale, seem very small. But why not try it ? Better than the lunatic geo-engineering that some people are suggesting.

    Read Guy’s Climate Summary. Planting trees isn’t going to take enough CO2 out of the air to solve the problem, although destroying forests makes it much worse.

    You think that being a nice fellow with a pure heart and having God on your side and being full of good intentions, means that your ‘never cutting down a tree’ must be ‘a good thing’.
    I’m saying it’s utter stupidity and ignorance and can lead to the most appalling harm.

    There’s numerous issues concerning trees because they provide innumerable services and benefits, but just taking two, the CO2, I’ve mentioned, and biodiversity. Trees are not all the same !

    If you’ve got some incredibly rare species that you are desperately trying to preserve that relies on some specialised habitat, the last thing you want is for that habitat to be destroyed by some invasive alien tree species like eucalyptus. So that would be a very good case for removing trees.

    On the other hand, if there is some very rare tree that is the only habitat for rare species, then try and preserve that tree at all costs.
    But of course, to the uneducated such as yourself, they are both ‘just trees’ ! Which is totally ridiculous.

    Just because people are dead doesn’t mean they were stupid. The ancestors here in Britain relied upon wood for almost everything that they did and used. So they cut trees all the time, every day. And they knew they were precious.

    They found a way to harvest what they wanted WITHOUT killing the trees, by using coppice management. This meant that they made a system that INCREASED biodiversity, instead of reducing it, so that MORE species flourished, so that the trees benefited and the people benefited and so did everything else. This system lasted for thousands of years, until industrialisation and capitalism came along and destroyed it. The trees that are suited to coppicing and pollarding, can be a thousand years old, and can have been regularly cut every 12 or 20 years over that time.

    Same in Estonia and Latvia where they had a system of woodlands and haymeadows which had the richest biodiversity in the world, which is manmade, an artificial ecology, which lasted for thousands of years.

    All of that comes from knowing which tree to cut and why.

    @ FKling

    When are you going to reply to my questions re your management plans re the future of the forests that you are responsible for ?

    I assume that you do have plans ?

    You don’t just buy them and then expect them to look after themselves. As a responsible and respectable organisation you must have some people who take account of the expected impacts from climate change. I am interested in hearing your answers.

  • This is the beach of doom, it is the end of the fucking world as we know it. Get a grip fellow beach bums, all this anger is pretty much useless.

    Smile 🙂
    Or maybe not 😐
    Its upto you 😉


    @ Pilot

    On Fuku fuel rods removal, starting tomo.
    Damn! Run out of time, have we?

    Note to myself:
    Perhaps there is no point trying to quit smoking anymore eh 😀


    @ ulvfugl

    I am not professionally trained or anything, but to my untrained mind it sounded really good. Rock on dude _\m/


    @ Grant Schreiber

    Some time back, I had a similar realization too.

    My home folks were kinda beginning to go nuts, I realized the mistake as being mine, I had digested something that they were unable to and that their going nuts was a perfectly valid response. So no more talks, things are more peaceful now.

    My period of grief has come to an end. Let the sun shine in.

    Hear hear!


    Peace to all!

    To the fiddle 😀

  • oh boy, what is going on “down unda” with Sydney being engulfed in smoke yet they approve this:


    Largest coal mine in Australia approved, will use more than nine billion liters of water per year – ‘It’s bordering on hypocrisy, really’

    (the headline pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? – nod to tvt)

    meanwhile just below that article is this quip (note the name of the mine – I hope Kevin Moore, a NZ climate commenter here isn’t too offended):

    By Oliver Milman
    3 November 2013

    (theguardian.com) – Environmentalists have threatened legal action to halt what is set to be Australia’s largest coalmine, claiming the federal government has overturned long-standing conservation principles by approving it.

    The Kevin’s Corner mine has been approved by Greg Hunt, the federal environment minister, however, the approval is subject to more than 70 conditions.

    Some of these conditions are designed to protect threatened species such as the black-throated finch, red goshawk and yakka skink.

    Indian resources firm GVK, which will operate the mine, is also required to submit a water monitoring and management plan, which will help “establish baseline data for water quality”. This study will have to be peer reviewed and approved by Hunt.

    GVK said the mine, located near the Queensland town of Alpha, is expected to last for at least 30 years, producing up to 30m tonnes of thermal coal a year for export. Mining magnate Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting sold its stake in the project in 2011.

    Carbon emissions from coal mined at Kevin’s Corner are estimated at 58m tonnes a year – more than the entire annual emissions of Denmark. Construction is set to start in 2015, with the first coal mined in 2018.

    GVK said in a statement: “In a timely and considered decision, the minister finely balanced the protection of environment with the need for economic investment and job creation.”

    But opponents of the mine claim Hunt’s approval fails to protect the region’s groundwater and may be challenged in the courts.

  • in related news:


    Hinton Coal Mine Leak: Alberta Pit Failure Dumps Plume Of Refuse Into Athabasca River

    The “major failure” of a pit at an Alberta coal mine has released one billion litres of contaminated water into the Athabasca River.

    The breach at the Obed Mountain Coal Mine has resulted in murky water entering two tributaries, which carried the refuse into the Athabasca and is now visible in the river in the form of a muddy plume, states the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER.)

    “Coal mines typically have a pit where the waste and water – coal dust and water – gather. And that pit, the open pit that contains that mixture, failed,” Darin Barter, a spokesperson with AER, told Global Edmonton.


    These kinds of incidents are rare, Barter told the Edmonton Journal, adding he was surprised it happened.


    bwahh-haaa-haaa, “rare” (choke, gasp), “surprised” – aahaaahaaa!

    Don’t the Aussie ministers read the news?

  • Henry: Go out of your way to see HAIR. It has a fair amount to offer and several memorable scenes.

    If the Vietnam war protests scared the government into dumping the draft that proved to be a bigger disservice to the country than the hippies becoming yuppies and hedge fund managers that bankrupted the system.

    While the “All Volunteer Military” is not only a huge hoax as poor people are given the military or poverty as their only options, it also engages the country into playing with endless war. Would the War on Terror be possible if everyone had a child that could be drafted? Would we still be dicking about in Afghanistan if the sons and daughters of Congressmen were being killed? I think not.

    What we have now is smart kids going for the air force, average kids getting into either the navy or army and the really stupid kids becoming marines. Their shared story is one of poverty. That needs to stop.

    As odd as it seems, to end war we need to re-instate the draft. Make it one year for military draft, two years for “objectors.” At any rate everyone, rich or poor, black, brown or white would have their army story to tell. It would be a shared experience and not something to be easily ignored by the well to do.

    KK — No matter how you slice it, even in a world of sunshine and happiness, life is depressingly short. Might as well enjoy it while you can. This is not the same as being a hedonistic douche bag, but realizing that moaning about the fate of the world doesn’t help one bit either. I will still fume and fuss because I’m prone to that –and pretty good at fuming and fussing too — but that can’t be my sole occupation. It is a perfectly dreary day outside. Think I’ll go for a walk.

  • I’m pretty much living as if there is no tomorrow – only problem with that is each new day that unexpectantly arrives I’m in more trouble and I have to deal with more crazy stuff.

  • I’ve posted a new guest essay, along with links to my recent writing. It’s all here.

  • @ jeff s. – I never mentioned Climate Science (with which I agree, by the way).

  • @ Librarian

    I can’t even defend myself adequately, so I am certainly not up to defending buzz painter. But your response to him symptomizes an impasse that concerns me too.

    ZACK U on Yahoo! Answers wrote this:

    “intuition is the ability to know something intrinsically. Intelligence is deducing it through extrinsic means.”

    If buzz painter is anything like me, he might be reliant more on intuition than on intelligence. Although I suspect he is more balanced than I between the two modes. I lean very heavily toward intuition. At age 76, I suspect this imbalance will have to do.

    It has never been science that propelled me over most of my life to oppose IC; it was aesthetics and intuition. About the time when cars started looking the same and devoid of character, when traditional urban cores were being razed, or native forests replaced with commercial ones–around the mid 1960’s–I began to have a great sense of dread about the direction of society and the environment. There were no scientists or social thinkers in my society that had any awareness (that I could glean)of this total, intertwined collapse. Certainly not where the environment was concerned.

    I had no facts, no relevant learning. Like buzz, I doubt that I’m going to “get educated on the facts.” But the facts are not everything. I know nothing about plants, and here I am in 24 degree temperature and my greens veggies are still growing. I take advice from everyone, and some visitors are even able to tell me what it is I’m growing. I know nothing, and yet my garden thrives. This has to do with passion. I have a passion for the soil, keeping it as rich as possible, and keeping moisture in the ground. The vegetables grow almost by themselves.

    I suspect that the average cashier or bus driver has intuitions, passions, insights that would effect many wonderful things if unleashed. Not only educated middle class first world people, especially of the Caucasian variety, have useful resources for our times.

    Being told that I don’t understand collapse (or much of anything else) due to deficiency in the amassing of facts is as screamingly frustrating for me as fact deficiency is for you. Realizing that we all have different strengths, I welcome facts and the people who gravitate to them. I have complementary strengths that I am also willing to share.

    I hope you will take a look at this article from In Context Magazine, vol. 27 about diversity in cognitive styles:


    I include a small quote from the interviewee (Jim):

    “Alan: What differences define cognitive style?

    Jim: The most commonly researched dimension by far is known as field independence and field dependence. Field independence is defined in terms of preference for detail, sometimes called “differentiation.” You might describe it in terms of the direction learning takes: field independent students prefer to start with the small and move to the general. We call that inductive learning, from the particular to the general.”

    I can’t speak for buzz, but I’m pretty sure my cognitive style is “field dependent.” I’m better at seeing the forest than the trees. I suggest also that we do better by including and value cognitive styles that are based on a variety of non-academic achievements, including common sense and experience.

  • Grant — how to take on a meme? Especially when voiced by someone I enjoy hearing from.

    “Would the War on Terror be possible if everyone had a child that could be drafted? Would we still be dicking about in Afghanistan if the sons and daughters of Congressmen were being killed? I think not.”

    I’ve heard it from such as Hartmann, and it’s become acceptable in liberal circles to say such things, without much serious thought as to what they’re saying. Comes from a lifetime of compromise after being told to just SHUT UP with your peacenik values. Little half-flailings at The System.

    I’ve just spent a half hour conversing with a twin of Kristen Stewart, so my mood is much improved, and so not to bring myself down I’ll only drop in this counterproposal, and not belabor the two memes I so detest:

    Should there be a “draft” of 14-year-old girls to be offered up to sex traffickers, so that when the daughters of the rich and famous are hustled off to bordellos somewhere in Bulgaria or Bombay there will finally be something DONE about the problem?

    Tell me the difference, please?

    There! My mood has evened out a bit (but not totally back down) — back to NBL!

  • Martin’s comment posted at 8:12 a.m. on November 3rd, 2013 elicited the attached response from Geoff Chia, which I agreed to post on his behalf. It’s an article from Dissent magazine.

    pdf here

  • @Henry- Thanks. All I was originally pointing out is that we need to be careful about throwing around words like: established fact; it is undeniable; everyone knows etc.

    I continue to read, listen and learn here on NBL as I have (with out commenting) for a couple of years. I agree with 90% of everything here or I wouldn’t keep reading all this time. And by the way, people, just because someone is new to you does not necessarily mean that they are new to the site.

    Peace all,

  • Henry: your leap in logic is hard to follow. If everyone — and I mean everyone — had to serve in some kind of capacity from the ages of 18 to 19 or 18 to 20 if they wanted to avoid any possible chance of going overseas to kill people, the US would be a hell of lot less likely to rush into war, even with drones. Part of the problem with the draft during Vietnam is that it was actually easy to dodge if you had any kind of money. It was the typical “Rich Man’s War, Poor Man’s Fight.” We need a draft in which there aren’t any deferments, including mental and physical handicaps. Everybody gets to have their army experience and as a result, invading other countries becomes less glamorous. Is that a meme? I don’t know because I think the word “meme” is a handy fiction invented by people who want to sound smarter than they actually are.

    But rest assured, with or without such a draft, the rape of 14 year old girls and 8 year boys overseas by billionaire sex fiends would go on as usual. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

  • Quotes from preceding post. First couple from the comments to the post preceding that.

    think just once in a while about the “unanswerable” questions of consciousness

    Questions are concepts/objects. One is “aware of” questions. Likewise one is “aware of” the concept/object called consciousness. Concepts have no awareness.

    The “of” in every instance of “awareness of” is wholly dependent on the “awareness”, not the other way around. The concept of independent durability of a construct from sensory inputs, such as a rock, is also dependent on “awareness of” that concept. Even the concept that others would be aware of the rock when oneself is no longer around, is dependent on “awareness”. “Awareness” without an “of” is extremely subtle. In comparison to any and all “of”s it is emptier than emptiness, the Void, Sunyata, Ein Sof. Hence its apparent inaccessibility, even its non-apparentness. Intellection is not effective, leading to infinite regress (awareness of awareness of awareness of …).

    Turning the awareness directly on itself requires a degree of purity of mind/heart that is reflected in the beatitude “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”. With sufficient purity, no effort whatsoever is needed: all efforts in this regard are ultimately towards that purity.

    feel a need to belong. It stems from a sense of loneliness and insecurity

    With the awareness of awareness there is no “other”: nothing to belong to, no space in which to be lonely, and nothing to be secure for or from.

    The wise practitioner looks at the various treatment options and chooses the one with the greatest benefits and least disadvantages, taking into account the short, medium and long term consequences to the patient.

    In a fee-for-service system, that is the less successful practitioner, who will get booted out of a group practice. The orthopedist will put in pins and screws where a cast would do, the cardiologist will do an angiography for an obvious left pectoralis minor strain, the emergency physician will initiate or continue ACLS instead of pronouncing or calling the code, etc.

    In my view perhaps the greatest gift we have, being born into this modern era, is the gift of true awareness, of genuine enlightenment regarding the situation we find ourselves in.

    Awareness is not a gift. It is the substratum of all and everything.

    All these realities have been determined definitively beyond any shadow of a doubt by the scientific method.

    Indeed. They are all “of”s in the “awareness of”.

    We also know this: our mind, our consciousness, our personalities, our cognitive processes, our very sense of self are emergent properties which arise from the complex firing of neurons.

    None of them have “awareness”. Even consciousness is a concept/object, and as such has no “awareness”. “Awareness” can and does appear manifest in certain configurations of matter-energy in time-space-causation. To the unaware, it appears to be an emergent property.

    the sin of the first woman, who ate a magical apple

    That is the Christian version. The biblical version has a grape rather than an apple. And the Quranic version has wheat.

    Put another way, disappointment arises from unfulfilled expectations.

    Hence the path of action: action in accordance with anticipated outcomes, but without expectations.

  • “Hence the path of action: action in accordance with anticipated outcomes, but without expectations.”

    Hear, hear!