Extinction Ethics

by Robin Datta

The universal motive force is energy flow. These flows are from high concentrations to low concentrations, where the energy is dissipated and has high disorder. Disorder is referred to as entropy.

Biological organisation starts with that assemblage of molecules. Those configurations that enhance energy flows, persist. Separation from the milieu is attained through self assembling molecular membranes. Such discrete configurations of molecules constituted the earliest life forms.

Two characteristics had to be selected from the beginning for the persistence of these life forms. First, maintenance of the identity: survival. Second, replication or reproduction. Both are biological imperatives throughout the evolutionary tree to this day.

With the evolution of multicellularIty, replication was restricted to the germ-cell line. The context for survival became that of the entire organism, and with the evolution of sociality the context extended to the entire group.

With human groups this was workable as long as there was personal connection amongst all members of the group. It is believed that the group size would have to be limited to Dunbar’s number. This is estimated to be about 150 individuals.

Our hominin ancestors on transitioning from an arboreal to bipedal lifestyle were at first hunter gatherers, as a very few of us still are. Control of fire allowed an extension of the dietary range to include items that were previously indigestible such as cereal grains and starchy tubers. Toolmaking extended our physical capabilities.

Once excess production could be stored through agriculture and animal husbandry it was possible to have hierarchical societies to manage and distribute the surplus. With this came the domestication of animals and of humans and the shrinkage of their brains including human brains. Fealty to unseen or unknown agents became a most important characteristic change in human and animal behaviour. When carried to an extreme with skills at surviving the hierarchy and disregard for the individual this becomes psychopathy.

Extrasomatic energy as from wind, water, draft animals and fossil fuels allowed increasing levels of productivity.

Increasingly expansive hierarchical structures resulted in sophisticated systems to control human behaviour.

Human behaviour is mediated by biological drives, soceital influences and intellection. Biology and society work through emotion and values which are nonrational and non-verbal. They are associated with the older parts of the brain, the reptilian brain. Rationality and language are associated with the intellect which is mistakenly assumed to be in control, but emotion and values guide the intellect to do their bidding.

Hence successful leaders aim simple messages to the emotions and values. If repeated enough times even false messages may be accepted. Once accepted, people will seek out their own rationalisation.

The purveyors of messages are also susceptible to the same influences. They also come to believe in the messages they promote. Also, the very attitudes criticised in others tend to taint one’s own character: one’s own templates most used to describe others are recruited to shape one’s own behaviour.

Attempts at persuasion and behaviour modification may have to take into consideration all of these influences and even more. Ultimately the actions of individuals and groups will depend on their attitudes towards future outcomes.

Such attitudes can broadly be divided into two categories: those who believe that some persons will survive the bottleneck and those who do not.

If there are to be survivor after the bottleneck the obvious questions are who would and who should survive. Some may consider it their own survival or that of their lineage. This could be described as Last Man Standing attitude. Others may altruistically seek the survival of better suited individuals and groups. in both cases efforts and resources will be prioritised towards the preferred goals. They are to be considered efforts towards cure.

Under other circumstances a cure is considered to be well nigh impossible. Such a situation may obtain if extinction is considered the only likely outcome for the human species. In such a case the appropriate action is to seek minimisation of human suffering. Both resources and efforts are to be prioritised towards palliation.

1. Palliation involves approaches that diverge widely from cure.

2. To the extent that the prospect of the cure is entertained, the palliative approach is not considered a priority.

3. Increasing the suffering to effect a cure may be quite ethical.

4. In the absence of any prospect of a cure, increased suffering imposed to prolong life has to be considered against the prospect of decreased quality of the prolonged life. This applies both to the individual and the group.

One may take into consideration the possibility that intelligent life unique to humans is not necessarily a feature of this universe.

A comment on NBL a while back expressed conviction that there is no intelligent life anywhere else in the universe.

From the Wikipedia article on the Drake equation:

“In November 2013, astronomers reported, based on Kepler space mission data, that there could be as many as 40 billion Earth-sized planets orbiting in the habitable zones of sun-like stars and red dwarf stars within the Milky Way Galaxy. 11 billion of these estimated planets may be orbiting sun-like stars. Since there are about 100 billion stars in the galaxy, this implies fp*ne is roughly 0.4. The nearest planet in the habitable zone may be as little as 12 light-years away, according to the scientists.”

fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets

ne = the average number of planets (satellites may perhaps sometimes be just as good candidates) that can potentially support life per star that has planets

From the Wikipedia article on the Observable Universe:

“There is currently no way to know exactly the number of stars, but from current literature, the range of 10^22 to 10^24 is normally quoted.

Thus, a reasonable option is to assume 100 billion average galaxies and 100 billion stars per average galaxy. This results in 10^22 stars.”

10^22 x 0.4 = 4 x 10^21

4,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in habitable zones around stars in the observable universe.

So, many scientists now think that the probability that there is intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe is extremely close to 1.

And if the alien life forms use nucleotides to carry genetic information, it does not have to be DNA:

From the Wikipedia article on Nucleic Acid Analogues:

“Nucleic acid analogues are compounds which are analogous (structurally similar) to naturally occurring RNA and DNA, used in medicine and in molecular biology research. Nucleic acids are chains of nucleotides, which are composed of three parts: a phosphate backbone, a pucker-shaped pentose sugar, either ribose or deoxyribose, and one of four nucleobases. An analogue may have any of these altered. Typically the analogue nucleobases confer, among other things, different base pairing and base stacking properties. Examples include universal bases, which can pair with all four canon bases, and phosphate-sugar backbone analogues such as PNA, which affect the properties of the chain (PNA can even form a triple helix).[1] Nucleic acid analogues are also called Xeno Nucleic Acid and represent one of the main pillars of xenobiology, the design of new-to-nature forms of life based on alternative biochemistries.

Artificial nucleic acids include peptide nucleic acid (PNA), Morpholino and locked nucleic acid (LNA), as well as glycol nucleic acid (GNA) and threose nucleic acid (TNA). Each of these is distinguished from naturally occurring DNA or RNA by changes to the backbone of the molecule.”

There may be non-standard amino acids forming non-standard proteins.

From the Wikipedia article on Xenobiology:

“It also focuses on an expanded genetic code and the incorporation of non-proteinogenic amino acids into proteins.”

Even the alien chirality may be different:

From the Wikipedia article on Chirality (chemistry):

“A chiral molecule /ˈkaɪərəl/ is a type of molecule that has a non-superposable mirror image. The presence of an asymmetric carbon atom is often the feature that causes chirality in molecules.”

“Many biologically active molecules are chiral, including the naturally occurring amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and sugars. In biological systems, most of these compounds are of the same chirality: most amino acids are l and sugars are d. Typical naturally occurring proteins, made of l amino acids, are known as left-handed proteins, whereas d amino acids produce right-handed proteins.

The origin of this homochirality in biology is the subject of much debate. Most scientists believe that Earth life’s “choice” of chirality was purely random, and that if carbon-based life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, their chemistry could theoretically have opposite chirality. However, there is some suggestion that early amino acids could have formed in comet dust. In this case, circularly polarised radiation (which makes up 17% of stellar radiation) could have caused the selective destruction of one chirality of amino acids, leading to a selection bias which ultimately resulted in all life on Earth being homochiral.”

Something as strange might be under (or in) our noses. Wikipedia article on Biological Dark Matter:

“Biological dark matter is uncategorized genetic material found in humans and throughout Earth that does not fall under the three existing domains of life: bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes. Its presence suggests that a possible fourth domain of life may yet to be discovered.

According to research by US virologist Nathan Wolfe, 20% of the genetic material in a typical human nasal swab is biological dark matter that cannot be attributed to any of the existing categories of living organisms on Earth. Biological dark matter accounts for up to 40% to 50% of the genetic material in the human gut and between 1% and 2% of genetic material in the relatively sterile human blood.”

Finding a living organism with a different triplet code (three nucleotide bases in sequence specifying each amino acid) or with a different chirality would be as much of a paradigm shift as receiving an intelligent signal from, or evidence of a Dyson sphere at, another star.

Just don’t expect to get there anytime soon.

If we shrink the universe:

Sun to a grain of sand:(1,391,684 km)

0.2 mm in diameter

Earth: (499 light-seconds, 149,600,000 km)

53.75 mm from the sand-grain

Nearest star

Proxima Centauri (4.22 l.y)

570,357.72 km away from the sand-grain

Galaxy size (100,000 l.y.) =

13,515,585,714.3 km in diameter

Therefore, human intelligence should not be considered something quite unique in this universe.

Also, humans, vertebrates and indeed all life have only a finite time remaining in the biosphere of the earth:

Causes and timing of future biosphere extinction


There are varying levels of acceptance of finitude, both individual and of the group. Firstly, there is a distinction between intellectual and emotional acceptance. The intellect is associated with the mammalian brain, particularly the cortex and more so the frontal cortex. It is both rational and verbal and to all intents and purposes appears to be in the driver’s seat. Yet it is the chauffeur to the older, reptilian brain. This is concerned with emotions (short-term) and values (long-term). It is associated with a number of structures called the limbic system. It is nonrational and non-verbal.

For those who have emotionally accepted their own finitude, a vicarious continuation through their descendants is often a workaround. Events such as the end of the sun and the associated incineration of the earth are too far in the future to be of concern. But near-term extinction upsets the applecart and therefore is not accommodated in that world-view.

For those who do not resort to a vicarious extension to their own existence, near-term extinction is not different from ultimate extinction.

Such persons can base their actions on rational anticipation rather than on expectations. In the absence of both elation and dejection there is true hopelessness which has nothing to do with thwarted expectations. It includes kindness and compassion to all, which in its perfection includes no others, since then there are no “others”.

Some may manifest such characteristics even in a Mad Max scenario. Let’s hope that each of us is one of them.

Biographical note

Born In Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan in (then West) Pakistan a year and a half after the end of the British Raj in the Indian subcontinent. Both parents were commissioned officers in the Royal Indian Army. Father spoke Bengali and mother spoke Telegu. TheIr common language was English and as a consequence my native language also. Father was then (one of three Hindu officers) in the Pakistan Army and was stationed in Quetta at that time. Also, natively speak Urdu, the lingua franca of the region. Also acquired Bengali as a secondary language in medical school perforce to take a medical history from patients in Dacca (now Dhaka), East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

Worked as an emergency physician for 26 years in the United States, having retired in 2009. Now converting aliments to ordure, but open to suggestions.


McPherson was interview 20 June 2014 via Skype. The result is here.


The opening minutes of a presentation I delivered at the University of Rhode Island are embedded below. The event occurred 12 April 2014.

Comments 86

  • Some mornings I wake up and I don’t care to move
    I don’t want to breath
    I don’t want to hear
    I lay there and stare at a well-framed wall
    Places I’ve been
    People I know
    I rise to a thunder
    I walk to the door
    I open it wide
    This is no more

    What can be imagined
    Does not come close
    Just keeping it “real”
    Avoiding verbose

  • Thoughtful piece. Completely agree with your conclusion.

    Thanks for posting.

  • Hello to all and special thanks to our professor for his kind attention. Technical issues have prevented me from posting. I’ve had this post ready awhile. If it’s way off topic, I hope the reader will forgive me.

    Late, but I’d like to express my dismay at the slander that was perpetrated against Frank Kling. He is a good man with a big heart who has given labor and fortune to help life on this planet. Few deserve honor for similar action.

    Communication breakdown. Silenced… Cassandra’s most frustrating nightmare. Lurking in the shadows has felt like preparation… for the darkness to come. Maybe entering death is a bit like being an ex-comunicado ghost… in fantasy death sometimes we think we’ll be able to observe the world even if we cannot communicate with it. Cold enough. But actual death, it seems to me, is of frigid stuff, and neither observer nor participant shall we be. Perhaps this human life is simply a container for delusions of immortality… and Lucid Dreaming.

    This article appeared a few weeks ago but it may still hold some interest, some transitory amusement:

    Seeking Roots of Consciousness, Scientists Make Dreamers Self-Aware

    Method to create lucid dreaming may help researchers learn more about the brain.

    Virginia Hughes for National Geographic

    Researchers have figured out how to make people aware of themselves during a dream: by zapping their sleeping brains with a weak electric current.

    The sensation of “Hey, this is a dream!” is known as lucid dreaming. Those who naturally become lucid while dreaming, probably a small segment of the population, also report adventures that are impossible in the real world, such as flying, that feel completely real.

    “We can really quite easily change conscious awareness in dreams,” said lead investigator Ursula Voss, a clinical psychologist at Frankfurt University in Germany. She does this, she said, by delivering mild electrical stimulation to the sleeping person’s brain. (Related: “Electric Jolt to Brain Boosts Math Skills.”)

    The sweet spot was 40 Hertz. Zapping sleeping volunteers at this frequency, part of the so-called gamma wave band, led their brains to produce brain waves of the same frequency, the researchers found, which triggered lucidity 77 percent of the time, as determined by self-reports from the dreamers after they were awoken. (Related: “Dreams Make You Smarter, More Creative, Studies Suggest.”)

    Voss had previously identified the 40-Hertz currents as the possible key to lucidity. In a 2009 study, she and her colleagues studied six individuals who were trained lucid dreamers, and found that during episodes of lucidity they produced brain waves in the brain’s frontal area of around 30 to 40 Hertz—much higher than is found in typical REM sleep. But the scientists did not know if the gamma waves were a cause of the lucidity or a consequence of it. The new study suggests the former.

    Nielsen also envisions a coming bonanza of brain-stimulation gizmos that allow people to become lucid-dreaming adventurers. “People are going to be scrambling to put together home lucid dreaming induction devices based on this 40-Hertz stimulation procedure,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we see products fairly quickly.”

    Whether or not DIY lucidity becomes a reality, Voss said what’s great about lucid dreams is that they help illuminate the human condition. “Being able to reflect upon yourself, to think about your past and plan your future—this is something that only we humans can do.”


    Yup… The Dream Biz…
    …because dreams sure beat reality!
    Check out our fantastic Lucid Sexy Dream© (templates, sims, valium’s and vitamins included). Lay yourself down for an internally guided tour. Feel completely real. You’ll probably never want to wake up! Why bother? Try our encapsulated Lucid Sexy Dream and you too will be eager to give all your stuff to us, and sleep happily, forever. Plan your future!

    Don’t worry, be dreamy. Give us your mind, and we guarantee impossible dreams. We will control the horizontal for you, we will control the vertical for you, we will control you for you. We “help illuminate the human condition.”

    Remember George Carlin on the American Dream… you have to be completely asleep to believe it. Now you can. Yes! You too will be able to completely ignore war, famine, radiation, poverty, corruption, glyphosate, private prisons, ecological collapse, extinction, sour grapes, and even boring drab lives of exploitation and abuse! This is better than Fox Spews. Dream all that you can’t be. We know you want it. So lay down, sleep.

    Sandman Industries Inc. All Rights (and wrongs) Reserved.
    Disclaimer: Sandman Industries is irresponsible for causing predictable reactions such as irreversible psychosis and/or total apathy. But, by using our covert proprietary system, you are agreeing to never sue us… if you ever wake up. Sweet dreams!

    There is a place where dreams are born … and Time is never planned. And here’s the SNL transcript: Peter Pan, the Later Years

    “Buffy, dear, this looks like an excellent investment!”

  • A long time since Dr Datta posted an essay here. Not much to say about it, really, except that the reptilian brain stuff is, afaik, not supported by modern neuroscience, and I’m somewhat dubious about some of the other statements. But nevermind…

    Perhaps this will be of interest to Dr Datta. I’m sure logspirit will find the vegetarian reference fascinating.

    Last month, I travelled to Bahrain with FiND in search of Ancient Arabia. More specifically I was looking for the Carmathians. Promisingly referred to as ‘those who took small steps’ or ‘those who write in small letters,’ they were a radical messianic Ismaili group who ruled in southern Iraq and the historic Al Ahsa, which covers Eastern Saudi Arabia and modern-day Bahrain. They weren’t quite ancient, living some two centuries after the Hijra, but their dissident history is just as marginalised as that of the pre-Islamic Jahiliyya period.
    Today, they’re grudgingly remembered for their revolts against the Abbasid Caliphate, in which they sacked Mecca, stole the Black Stone of the Kaaba, and desecrated the Well of Zamzam with corpses. The preference seems to be to dismiss them as loutish pirates, if they must be mentioned at all. Nominally egalitarian despite owning slaves, they also attempted to establish a theocratic utopian republic there in 899 CE—a contradiction which intrigues me. They were also, seemingly impossibly for the time, vegetarian.


  • Robin: thanks for the great essay! Nicely done.

    logspirit: your comment was worth the wait. Amazing, yet sad – not unlike a drug addict’s condition.

    Guy: thanks for sharing the presentation and interview. Clear truth, whether they like it or not, is the only way. At least they won’t be able to say they didn’t know they were doing anything wrong.

  • Robin,

    I hope you don’t mind me being so curious but I’m intrigued by the bit in your bio about both your parents being commissioned officers in the British (Royal) Indian Army.

    I can only imagine that your mother was an officer in the Nursing Corps or something similar.

    Or am I totally wrong? I tried to google this but on found a record of what might even be your father: a Major R C Datta (looking very smart).

  • Sabine: Correct.
    However, my father’s name was S. B. Datta.
    Datta is a very common name throughout the Indian subcontinent. The name is from Sanskrit, but local pronunciations and the English spelling vary: Dutta, Dutt, Ditta. It is also a very old name: the Buddha had cousins named Datta.

    As an aside, there was a Britisches Freikorps, and also an Indische Legion.

  • Robin Datta,
    An interesting essay.Let’s hope the other life forms have real intelligence,not the pseudo -intelligence of our species.

  • “Don’t take it personally.” (man)
    “We all get to go.” (woman)
    Like a ride to the country where cool breezes blow
    Where holding your breath
    While crossing that steel
    With your brother and sister, then a stop for a meal
    The shade of that carport, a canopied slot
    The girl on skates with the tray, man she is hot

    A circular drive
    Just killing a day
    Burning cheap gas
    Getting away

    “Are we there yet?” (girl)
    “Are we there yet” (boy)
    “Are we there yet?” (very young boy)
    “Sit back and be quiet“. (man)
    “We are just riding.” (woman)

    The ride home in blue darkness
    Stars dance in the sky
    A wreck up ahead
    My mother’s deep sigh

    Lights flash out a warning
    Beckon for help
    The sound of a siren draws closer
    Like a dog’s frightened yelp

    As we pull in our driveway
    I whisper, tho clear
    “Mom, everyone died?”
    “I’m sorry, my dear.” (woman)

  • @ Ronin Datta

    Seems to me, remains very much an open question.

    ….no region demonstrated functional specificity for the emotions of fear, disgust, happiness, sadness or anger.


  • Been thinking about Guy’s ‘debates’ and have come to the conclusion that one cannot debate science if the other (or audience) is ignorant of the scientific method.

    Seems simple enough, but Guy and the Zealot were using terms that meant nothing to the other. For example, Guy would rebut a point the Zealot made by saying he had no references (citations).

    What this means to a science oriented person is that there was a demonstrated body of professionals (or amateurs) who would publicly support the claim with a data set. On the other hand, to a non-science type it meant — nothing!

    When the Zealot made an anecdotal point based on his veracity, the science oriented person would roll their eyes while the non-science type would accept the point as fact, based on their emotional assessment of the Zealot’s trustworthiness.

    Understanding this, the Zealot spent a lot of words presenting himself as a warm, caring, and sympathetic individual. Also, he would make unsupported ‘scientific’ claims that only a non-scientist would accept.

    Meanwhile, Guy is rattling off facts and citations while the non-science type is looking for trustworthiness and thinking Guy only cares about the data when, based on other presentations, he cares orders of magnitudes more than the Zealot.

  • “For those who have emotionally accepted their own finitude, a vicarious continuation through their descendants is often a workaround. Events such as the end of the sun and the associated incineration of the earth are too far in the future to be of concern. But near-term extinction upsets the applecart and therefore is not accommodated in that world-view.
    For those who do not resort to a vicarious extension to their own existence, near-term extinction is not different from ultimate extinction.”

    A workaround?

    How about we just feel bad because it didn’t have to be exactly this way? It’s a natural thing to die. It can be a natural thing for a species to die out. But there is nothing very natural about a so-called sentient species bringing themselves down through sheer arrogance and stupidity, when they could have easily created a sustainable culture that might have persisted for millennia.

    That’s the part I have trouble with, Robin. It’s not that I don’t believe it can happen, nor is it that I can’t emotionally accept it. It’s a travesty, that’s all. A tragedy. My own living children will be…are already…affected by this. It isn’t some real or imagined future generation. It’s people who are alive right now. People whom I love, people I fully expected to live a long and productive life after I’ve taken the dirt nap.

  • akropolis_sale3

    While speculation on the medium to long term outcomes here is very worthwhile, occassionally I think it is also worthwhile to look at how things are playing out in real time, as we pound the keyboards on NBL, the Diner and elsewhere in the Collapse Blogosphere.

    For today, some observations on Privatization of Public Assets, the absorption of the Commons into the Capitalist schema.

    New RANT now UP on the Diner!

    Privatization: ACROPOLIS FOR SALE!



  • NOAA Global Analysis – May 2014

    “The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for May 2014 was record highest for this month, at 0.74°C (1.33°F) above the 20th century average of 14.8°C (58.6°F).”

  • I wish the chemical companies (and farmers) would have listened to Rachel Carson. It ain’t just bees we’re killing.


    Pesticides threaten birds and bees alike: study

    Paris (AFP) – Neurotoxic pesticides blamed for the world’s bee collapse are also harming butterflies, worms, fish and birds, said a scientific review that called Tuesday for tighter regulation to curb their use.

    Analysing two decades of reports on the topic, an international panel of 29 scientists found there was “clear evidence of harm” from use of two pesticide types, neonicotinoids and fipronil.

    And the evidence was “sufficient to trigger regulatory action”.

    “We are witnessing a threat to the productivity of our natural and farmed environment,” said Jean-Marc Bonmatin of France’s National Centre for Scientific Research, co-author of the report entitled the Worldwide Integrated Assessment.

    Far from protecting food production, these nerve-targeting insecticides known as neonics were “imperilling the pollinators, habitat engineers and natural pest controllers at the heart of a functioning ecosystem.”

    The four-year assessment was carried out by The Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, which advises the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the world’s watchdog on species loss.

    [further along]

    The latest study says these pesticides, absorbed by plants, are also harming other insect pollinators, fish and birds as they leach into soil and water.

    The most affected species were terrestrial invertebrates such as earthworms, which are crucial soil-enrichers, said a press statement.

    Bees and butterflies were next, followed by aquatic invertebrates like freshwater snails and water fleas, then birds, and finally fish, amphibians and certain microbes.

    “The combination of their widescale use and inherent properties, has resulted in widespread contamination of agricultural soils, freshwater resources, wetlands, non-target vegetation, estuarine and coastal marine systems,” the authors wrote.


    Neonics can persist in soil for more than 1,000 days, and in woody plants for over a year, and the compounds into which they break down can be more toxic than the original, active ingredients.


    The authors suggested that regulatory agencies consider “to further tighten regulations on neonicotinoids and fipronil, and consider formulating plans for a substantial reduction of the global scale of use.”

    [and here’s why it won’t end anytime soon]

    Together, the two classes are the most widely used insecticides with a global market share of about 40 percent, said the authors, and global sales of more than $2.63 billion (1.9 billion euros) in 2011.

  • A comment on NBL a while back expressed conviction that there is no intelligent life anywhere else in the universe.” – Robin Datta

    I know of that having being said by one of the more respected evolutionists, Ernst Mayr.

    Noam Chomsky tells it like this: “I’LL BEGIN with an interesting debate that took place some years ago between Carl Sagan, the well-known astrophysicist, and Ernst Mayr, the grand old man of American biology. They were debating the possibility of finding intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. And Sagan, speaking from the point of view of an astrophysicist, pointed out that there are innumerable planets just like ours. There is no reason they shouldn’t have developed intelligent life. Mayr, from the point of view of a biologist, argued that it’s very unlikely that we’ll find any. And his reason was, he said, we have exactly one example: Earth. So let’s take a look at Earth. And what he basically argued is that intelligence is a kind of lethal mutation … you’re just not going to find intelligent life elsewhere, and you probably won’t find it here for very long either because it’s just a lethal mutation … With the environmental crisis, we’re now in a situation where we can decide whether Mayr was right or not. If nothing significant is done about it, and pretty quickly, then he will have been correct: human intelligence is indeed a lethal mutation. Maybe some humans will survive, but it will be scattered and nothing like a decent existence, and we’ll take a lot of the rest of the living world along with us.” (What Kind of Intelligence Is A Lethal Mutation?,formatting removed). Human evolution is the tiniest portion of the almost 14bn years of evolution, while abiotic evolution takes up by far the largest portion.

  • I think with regards to evolution, it really pays to pay close attention to what Darwin actually wrote in The Origin of Species. This is actually an easy read and I find it profoundly accurate even though Darwin did not know about genes or DNA (or perhaps because of it). Evolution has always acted on populations (though not necessarily exclusively). Thus the title of Darwin’s book, and he talked only about variation and selection as the process of evolution, and spent most of his words on the latter. It is variation and selection that appears to be essential at the level of species. There are species where some members will forego their genetic line in order to ensure propagation of the rest of the species (and this is before human social structures evolved). Some humans themselves seem capable of this. But if all members did this, the species would not survive.

    But I feel with intelligence that I should ask whether or not mere survival of the body or the intellect is enough? I personally feel that what matters is how I live, not whether I do.

  • Eddie: The prospect of imminent suffering for those near and dear is most distressing. Yes, your distress is real, and is shared by all those who understand that there are similarly bleak prospects for their kith and kin. The price each one has to individually pay the piper for our collective folly.

  • May I suggest Herman Daly’s definitive book, BEYOND GROWTH; most especially for his emphasis on the second law of thermodynamics

    It is available online in pdf; https://www.scribd.com/doc/98478810/Herman-E-Daly-Beyond-Growth-the-Economics-of-Sustainable-Development-Beacon-Press-1997

    Chapter 12 is on the prescient economic thought of Nobel laureate, Fredrick Soddy the discover of isotopes with Rutherford.
    Soddy abandoned his beloved chemistry for the greater problem of the continually expanding economy driven by compound interest.
    How such genuine scientific wisdom applied to economic theory escaped the economic establishment will make you cringe.

    Chapter 13 is about Georgescu-Rogen & his brilliant, “The Entropy Law & the Economic Process.”

    Three wonderful scientists, including economist Daly because he applies science to political economy, are evidence that there is intelligent life on planet earth, no doubt about it.

    A few clicks & some joyous reading could change your contaminated “world view.”

  • Modern Money Mechanics, that PRECISELY summarizes my frustration whenever the topic of science is brought up, especially the part about the people who reject science usually not being able to define what it is.

    Thanks, I’m not alone. That’s made my day!

  • Librarian, Ditto, we are NOT alone, but sometimes it can get very lonely.

  • To add to Tom’s comment

    Pregnant women who live near agricultural land where pesticides are applied have a 60 percent higher risk of giving birth to children with autism or other developmental delays, a new study from the University of California Davis found.


  • Pregnant women who live near agricultural land won’t buy food with worm holes in it.

  • @ dmd

    So, how did humans survive for the last, um, let’s say million years, or so, before synthetic pesticides were invented ?

    It’s got nothing to do with what people will buy, and everything to do with profits for corporations, who have captured the regulators, who lie to the consumers and the farmers and say that their products are safe.

    We all know you are a Monsanto fan, and you insist it’s the only way you can make a profit and feed people. Which is obviously untrue, when there’s 800 million people in Europe with farmers feeding them without fucking Monsanto.

    That’s America’s problem. A vile insane death culture where money comes first. Kill the insects, the bees, the Monarch butterflies, the birds, poison every damn thing, kill the whole planet, destroy whole countries and ethnic groups, nothing matters, so long as you make some filthy, blood-soaked dollars. And so we all go extinct.

  • Things just keep ramping up on the climate change front (while it’s absolutely beautiful where I am right now):

    add to the above, this from Robert Scribbler:


    It rained for 40 days and 40 nights? In the case of China, it’s 41 days and 41 nights and counting. A litany of previously abnormal storm events that, for too many parts of the world, have now become all too common.

    Tempest after tempest wracks the atmosphere over China as moisture flooding off a super-heated Pacific Ocean keeps becoming entrained in a south-to-north flow that collides with an intense and unstable upper level storm track running a thousands-mile gauntlet between sprawling heat domes. To the southwest, one of these high pressure domes continues to establish over India and Bangladesh, squeezing monsoonal moisture into its periphery over southern China. These three storm generating and moisture injection patterns have combined and persisted since May 12th. With the result being episode-after-episode of catastrophic rainfall for China.

    In the middle of May, a massive rain event emerging from this destructive weather pattern capsized 25,000 homes and forced more than half a million to flee. Over the past four days, a re-intensification of these brutish storms over six provinces once again resulted in nearly half a million evacuated and, this time, destroyed nearly 9,000 homes while damaging more than 60,000 others.

    Already saturated grounds gave way to the recent bout of heavy rains triggering numerous landslides. In Jiangxi, inundation set off a school building collapse. In total, these events resulted in the loss of more than 26 souls. Heavy rains and hail also caused widespread damage to crops. In Hunan province alone, more than 127,000 hectares were destroyed.

    [read the rest, see the pics, links provided]

  • NASA is about to launch a satellite that will be soley dedicated to studying carbon in our atmosphere (origins of emissions as well as carbon sinks). I have a feeling that we’re going to learn an enormous amount of information in the coming months from what is discovered…and it will probably be another “worse than we thought” situation. Here’s the article


  • I am not 100 % positive, but it seems to me that global climate change, plus peak oil,gas and water are showing up more and more in the media these past few months. I think many people are changing there minds about it. From denier to accepting that it just really might be happening. Even some leaders of countries and high flying CEO’s are starting to see that the earth is acting a lot different than it did 10 years ago. I wonder is there any chance if 80-905 of the people , plus world leaders took this totally seriously and started changing policies and harmful practices to our environment that an extinction could be averted or at least minimized to a great degree?

  • @ Knarf

    no, it can’t be averted or minimized. pack your bags.

  • Pat, we won’t need any bags.
    We are already in the bag.

  • We’re at least half in the bag…but at least it’s new & green…

  • Robin Datta

    Nice essay, and a work that provide a basis for an interesting discussion.
    The point I have is the lack of questions.
    To me, it seems that we have been doing for the past ages is quite wrong, we stopped making the clue questions long time ago.
    It seems to me that the acceptance of religious explanations, or some scientific explanation about the origin of everything is the explanation. The over valued status of science is another reason.
    What missing question is most relevant to me?
    Why things are the way they are?
    Not how it works.
    I believe in Intelligent Design, and in creationism, and from that point of view, there is a reason for everything. And in my view, that reason is a logic reason. Somebody, or something, or several different kinds of them, created the universe, or different parts of it.
    Just like we do.
    The creating process follows a very basic law, it is done with something in mind. Everything had/has a function. There must be a reason for humans to exist too.

    For example, you mention identity: survival, and replication as “biological imperatives”. Well, I wonder why they are biological imperatives. Are they really biological imperatives?
    My answer is depends. Depends on who, when and where. For most living creatures in the biosphere, what you say is true, and that is because, the system was created to operate that way. It was though to be that way. And why? Because the creators thought in a wise way, and created and automatic system, almost maintenance free (something I would try to do, we all hate the maintenance need for our systems). It would be much nicer to have a system that runs smoothly, without any attention. There are other reasons, but this one is quite relevant as an explanation for the why?.
    In the case of humans, the situation may be different, because, we were not created as part of the system biosphere. We do not fit there. We are in a special status. We are affected to the biological imperative for the same reasons that other creatures do, to be an automatic sub-system. But meant to be part of an experiment, a prototype of an intelligent creature. Just to see how far can we go, and expose the flaws in the design. As we do with our innovative designs, or the new technological developments. They have to be tested. With our technology we are very far from what we see in nature. But it is a matter of time only.

    It seems to me that, before understanding the mechanisms of the brain, we should understand why it works the way it does. Why we have feelings for example, what is their purpose?. If we take a car for example, instead of trying to understand the piston, we should try to understand first what is a car, and why it exists. Why it was created the way it was. That may make the understanding of the rest of the system much easier, and something better, we can devise a way to make it better, or develop a new mean of transportation, instead of just trying to replicate the parts. Each part of a car has a very specific reason to be there. Nothing there is hazard.
    In the universe, logic indicates that should be the same thing.

    We as humans have tried to understand the piston, why it is the way it is, why the materials, everything about the piston, leaving aside the purpose of the car. That would also allow us to understand the rest of the components too.

    Our tragedy is mainly related with our lack of understanding of why we are here, our purpose, and at the same time, the purpose and the way the biosphere works.
    About energy, we also have not been smart enough to be able to live with the energy from the sun. Another part of our tragedy.

    I agree with you, we have been acting in a non rational way, even though, we can act in a rational way. We don’t, I guess mainly because we are still too primitive. We need emotions, but they can be handled, something we do not do, yet.

    We are still mostly cogs, as Ulv says. I agree with him in that point. But we also have the capacity to leave that stage of intellectual development.

    Human suffering? Is that a relevant issue?
    That is ego only, and that is exporting our personal incapacity to tolerate some harsh situation, to the rest. But for others the same situation may not be even an issue.
    If I believe that we have a purpose, that I accept and understand, and that is way beyond my life, that is the relevant issue. Then, I am not important, the purpose is what matters.
    In that case, the efforts should point to achieve the survival of some, even knowing that it will a harsh way.
    Then, what is suffering? It is mostly a relative perception, that lead many to believe that If they will suffer in some condition, others will do so, and that is not true.

    Our problem has no cure, I mean, it is not something simple to solve, there is no treatment. Cure is not the right parallel. It will take generations to understand how humans should live, and what for. In that sense, we just have to provide the opportunity. The cure is not an issue on itself. The cure is within us already.

    Your points about cure, and the survival issue are not an issue. You are making a problem out of something that in reality is not.

    Questions like if there are other planets with life are irrelevant at this time, since we do not have the technology to reach other possible worlds. Not even to communicate. Just like a person in old Easter Island, sending a message in a bottle.
    Just like the person in ancient Easter Island, we should worry more about the island and how to live there without destroying it. Messages in a bottle will not solve our problems.

    I agree that there “must” be life on other parts of the universe. It is a logic issue. If we were created, the same creators should be able to create life in other planets. But probably it will another type of life, based in another conditions. I guess we (and the biosphere) are within what can be done with the available conditions (materials, energy, etc..). DNA is probably the result of the same situation. Good for what it is needed, and able to be made with the available materials. Seems quite logic to me. A very interesting point about DNA is that it can be done, and then why it is the way it is?
    In other planets, life could have been made out of other materials. Just like so many things we make, with different materials. But, is that relevant?

    The dark matter is an interesting issue, because it can be explained as traces of another structure, that serve as a basis for our DNA. The creators took it from other previous solutions, developed for another conditions, and was adapted to our conditions. It is much easier to use something already developed, and adapt it to a new purpose, rather that developing from scratch something new. It is logical, we do it commonly.

    It has been a surprise to me to see that the finitude is such an issue to accept by many people. I guess is our badly handled, but necessary ego once again.
    I will not try to convince anyone about my view, but, within that view, finitude is part of the rules, and if we truly accept that life continues in the next generations, and that our task to become wise will take many generations, to do as much as you can towards that goal is enough reason to live and die. One life will never be enough.

    It seems, from what can be seen on NBL, knowing more about many things may lead to opposite views, one that life has no purpose at all but enjoy, and the other that each life has something important to be done, mainly to give our experience and knowledge to our descendents, and they will continue whatever was unfinished, in the way of becoming a wise species.

    Well, after questioning everything to the root, came to the conclusion that no available model is useful to explain everything in a logic way. So I made up my own model, where everything fits pretty well. Of course being philosophy, nothing can be proven, but is the same for almost everything that really seeks for deep explanations.

    To Ulvfugl

    Emotions may have a reason, a logical one, they are a requirement for our main purpose, to create things, I believe we are mainly creators, and to carry out that task properly, the emotions are a need.
    Fear is related with our basic requirement of survival, but also, about the limits of what we can create. I we can feel fear about our creations, we will be cautious about it.
    Disgust is also a need, because, there is no way you can design something better that what you have done, if you cannot feel disgust about it. It is a basis for a self reinforcing loop, that enable us to pursuit something better.
    Happiness, is also a needed emotion, that allows us to be happy with something we create. It is a mechanism that allow us to pursue to repeat the experience. Creating something that make us happy.
    Sadness can be explained just as a capacity to share the failure, from others, and others about mine. It is an emotion related with the team work. Required to develop complex systems.
    Anger is also a mechanism that is a request to be able to be unhappy with our fails. You cannot try to develop a new solution, if you are not able to feel anger with something that is not working as expected.

    All the known emotions can be related with our proposed purpose of being creators.
    Some are basic, and are mainly related with our survival.
    Probably, the emotions are a complex process, that cannot be limited. Probably there is no way to combine limited emotions with the required capacity to create. It is either one or another. I mean, or we use instinct, with a limited and predictable mechanism to react, or limitless capacity to feel emotions, with a risk.
    Probably in non intelligent beings, some limited emotions can be allowed, for more basic reasons.
    Probably, if we get to be in the position of creating a super computer like Hal 9000 for example, we will discover that unless we can provide some capacity to feel emotions, it will keep on being just a computer, with a limited capacity, and totally unable to create.

    As we are intelligent, we should be able to learn how to handle emotions properly, something we already do quite well. Certainly we have failed on how to handle some.
    We know too little about emotions yet, we know only what situations may create a certain reaction, but not why we can feel them. Why we are able to feel them.
    To fit emotions into a model, this is what seemed to be a logical explanation.
    As I am a modest creator (just a ship designer), I have felt emotions the way I suggest, and that is why it makes a lot of sense to me.

  • As Tom points out above, the adverse effects of climate change are ramping up and about to go hyperbolic. It won’t be much longer before the clueless masses get a clue and widespread panic ensues.

  • I wonder is there any chance if 80-905 of the people , plus world leaders took this totally seriously and started changing policies and harmful practices to our environment that an extinction could be averted or at least minimized to a great degree?

    The bow of our boat is already past the edge of the waterfall.

    Herman Daly has great stature as a insightful thinker. Sustainable development, however, would be “sustainable” only in reference to specific timeframes. Given enough time, could we progress to a Kardeshev Level 5 and beyond?

    The only things I know about marine engineering are Archimedes’ Principle and Plimsoll lines.

  • This is from a recent Norm Chomsky interview…..

    The noted linguist said some sectors of the global population – such as the First Nations in Canada, aboriginals in Australia, and tribal people in India – had tried to slow the march to catastrophe, while others were actively courting disaster.

    “Who is accelerating it?” Chomsky said. “The most privileged, so-called advanced, educated populations of the world.”

    He compared this phenomenon to a theory by Ernst Mayr, a 20th-century evolutionary biologist who speculated humans would never encounter intelligent extraterrestrials because higher life forms quickly force themselves into extinction.

    “Mayr argued that the adaptive value of what is called ‘higher intelligence’ is very low,” Chomsky said. “Beetles and bacteria are much more adaptive than humans. We will find out if it is better to be smart than stupid. We may be a biological error, using the 100,000 years which Mayr gives [as] the life expectancy of a species to destroy ourselves and many other life forms on the planet.”

    at: http://enjeuxenergies.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/noam-chomsky-on-human-extinction-the-corporate-elite-are-actively-courting-disaster/

  • To Robin Datta

    Level 5

    The issue here is why we would need more energy.
    Kardashev, like many others, is building a possible future based on what seems to be the logical path of development, based on our experience so far.
    We measure development grossly related to energy.
    Then the question would be, is our progress real progress, or the right progress?
    If not, then the scale based on energy use may be wrong.
    Of course, the capacity of handling energy must be related in some way to a higher level of knowledge, but is that the best way to reflect a higher state of knowledge?.
    Probably not, a much better scale would be the capacity of a civilization to create complex systems.
    I would use the following scale:
    Level 1: A civilization able to create non animated systems. Like us today.
    Level 2: A civilization able to create some kind of living systems. This not being a matter of energy, but mainly knowledge and experience.
    Level 3: A civilization able to create stellar systems like stars, or planets.
    Level 4: A civilization able to create universes? Or matter? This possible level falls totally out of scale.
    Probably, this scale could be subdivided in levels, depending on how complex are the systems that can be created within each level.
    On each case (except level 4), the capacity is not limitless, it is limited to the available materials.
    The use of energy probably would operate in a different way, that means, not using energy for “our” needs, but to handle the available energy, to get some result. Like life on earth. Or, how the gravity of a star can be used to create a solar system for example. In simple words, to use the available energy as it is.

    I believe that we are the most complex creature that can be made on earth, given the available materials and energy. To make us, there is no need for more energy that the available.
    It seems quite logic that any civilization, in some moment will understand the real need for more individuals, and then, limit the number of them. And so, the need for more energy. We are still thinking in our past of agriculture, when more people were desirable in many respects. So then, there is no real need to colony other planets. They would better be proving grounds, labs, for the civilization able to create living creatures.
    There are so many things we do not know yet, that all our thoughts may be pointing in the wrong way. The only way to discover and understand the relevant forces behind the universe, is to continue learning. Climate change is a two fold opportunity. It will allow to reduce the excessive number of human individuals, and it will also provide valuable lessons about how far things can go. That is why I believe that some people must survive. They will not start all over again, they will start from a higher level of knowledge, and it can be expected that they will be able to handle the experience properly. In that case, a new ethos keeps on being a need (to my view).
    I understand that my perception of the universe is totally non orthodox, but as we are here to use our grey matter, this is what came to my mind as a way to explain things around.

  • “humans would never encounter intelligent extraterrestrials because higher life forms quickly force themselves into extinction”

    Fermi’s Paradox, Explaining the paradox hypothetically”>

    “It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself

    It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy others”

  • @ Godofredo

    I understand that my perception of the universe is totally non orthodox..

    Seems to me, more like completely out of touch with the reality of our situation.

  • “I believe that we are the most complex creature that can be made on earth, given the available materials and energy.”

    From Wikipedia, on Polychaos dubium:

    “Polychaos dubium has one of the largest genomes known for any organism, consisting of 670 billion base pairs of DNA,[7] which is over 200 times larger than the human genome.”

    From Wikipedia on the marbled lungfish, Protopterus aethiopicus:
    “At 133 billion base pairs it has the largest known genome of any vertebrate and one of the largest of any organism on Earth, along with Polychaos dubium and Paris japonica at 670 billion and 150 billion, respectively.”

    And the article on the Genome:
    “Homo sapiens estimated genome size 3.2 billion bp”

    Wikipedia, again:
    2R hypothesis

    “the genomes of the early vertebrate lineage underwent two complete genome duplications, and thus modern vertebrate genomes reflect paleopolyploidy. The name derives from the 2 rounds of duplication”

    It is believed that there were two rounds of whole genome duplication in the common ancestor of the vertebrates, which permitted mutations in extra copies of essential genes, permitting the essential function to continue, while allowing for novel but related functions by the new variants. Among the possibilities actualised are haemoglobin and myoglobin from cytoglobin, and tetrads of neurotransmitters and their receptors.

    Two Rounds of Whole Genome Duplication in the Ancestral Vertebrate

  • To Robin Datta

    Fermi´s Paradox.
    When I get to find this kind of expressions, all I can say is that, they are probably correct, given the moment in time they were said.
    The basis to this expression, just like many Sartre´s perceptions of life, is based in what you see around today (XX century).
    What Fermi concludes is quite logical, given the basis of his analysis. But I guess the basis may be wrong, because the key point here is the need to colony. The need to colony is an extension of our current way of doing things. Essentially, to consume, with no other purpose. That means more people, more resources, more planets.
    If we change the paradigm, there is no need to colony other planets.

    Let´s change the paradigm in another way, going a little bit farther.
    Let´s suppose aliens (our creators) already are here. Would they want to be seen?
    The logical conclusion would be NO. Because that means to interfere with our development. This is what our scientist do when they want to study communities. Try to be invisible.
    So probably, aliens want to learn by watching how we behave. The only way to know if something is wrong with us, would be to watch us, without being noticed.
    Given the time it has taken for us to be created in this planet, with this conditions, It would be logical to think that in other planets would take also a long time. Considering that the conditions probably would be different. Today, we can barely go to the moon, other civilizations, of the same level we have today, would be in an equal level (probably), at most. So no possibilities of contact.

    Probably, the numbers are right, there are more intelligent beings in the Universe. The point is that our incapacity to see them, is not a reason to think that they do not exist. Technology is a barrier for the low level knowledge civilizations, and for those above that level, they do not want to be seen. Makes a lot of sense certainly.

    It seems to me that we have too many flaws in the paradigms. If they change, many things make a lot of sense, and many others are clearly foolish. Too much anthropocentricity. This is like when the sun was supposed to be the center of the Universe. We were quite wrong at that time, can be wrong that much today? I would say yes. The situation is very much the same.

    The self destruction risk is part of the game. But as implies knowledge, it can be faced, and solved. So some civilizations may fail, others not. Playing with the same rules. Just like we see everyday, some people achieve some goals others cannot. But seems too rude, to assume that all civilizations will fail.

    About intelligent life to destroy others, that is a highly questionable point. Because, any civilization that can create complex systems, and probably able to travel in space, would know that creating is much better that destroying. In that sense, we are still barbarians, and so it is logical, with our abused perception of us being the center of the Universe, to think that all creatures in the Universe will act as we do. But we are learning that destruction is in the end, the wrong thing to do. We are definitely still too barbarians, and we have still a long way to go, learning, if we can survive climate change, something I believe it is possible, but just a few. No more are needed.

    In the event we disappear, I would think that it is more logical, that new humans would be created on earth, with some “adjustments”, if possible. If not, I would intervene more strongly. The technology, and the knowledge is available already, after 3500 million years of effort. I would do that, If I have the capacity.
    Makes sense.

    About genome
    Probably, understanding the genome is the very basic stage of understanding life. But, there is still a long way to go in that area. We have to understand how it is related with the capacity to think, and feel emotions. The thinking process on itself is an enormous challenge. We are still very far from the level of knowledge (and ethics) required to create intelligent life. The key point here is “it is believed”.
    By the way, we being the result of a creation process is not in conflict with apparent evolution. Because, the creators learn along the way, they make mistakes, they use already proven solutions. Just as we do daily. The evolution theory of Darwin can be seen perfectly as evolution, with a lot of unsolved issues, or as the result of the learning process of the creators, that to my view, makes more sense than Darwin´s Theory. I leave it to you. But creation explains more things than evolution. It is more holistic, and more logic.


    The thing here is that I am pointing in another direction.
    We live in different worlds, we see different worlds. We see different futures.
    I do not try to save ourselves, or try to find a real possible way to save people. I do not care about the detail of what is happening, we are falling from the cliff certainly. We are probably fucked up, very little to be done, how much in either case, it does not matter. If something can be done to save somebody, that is a problem to be faced at the right moment. But I guess, some people will survive, against all odds. Who, where, when? It does not matter for the moment.
    I am focused on thinking about what is wrong with us. What mistakes we are making. Looking for the wrong paradigms. My perception may help, who knows? If there is a doubt about doing something or not, in this case I prefer to do it.
    It seems to me that you are more focused in our current situation, but not thinking in the next generations, to you, seems to me, there is totally no future. You are focused only in the present. You are free to believe in what you want certainly, I do not pretend to change you. You are too adult to change by the way.
    And my view totally out of frame.
    What I say, and think, may help some younger generations, that is what matters to me.

  • Got milk?


    Genetically modified grass for dairy cows sparks concern

    A plan to feed Australian dairy cows genetically modified rye grass designed to boost milk production has sparked concerns from both organic and non-organic farmers.

    Opponents of the scheme fear that GM grasses could contaminate neighbouring properties and that existing labelling requirements would not allow consumers to identify products made from cows fed on the modified rye.

    Greg Paynter, of the Organic Federation of Australia, said the role of GM grasses in the food chain was “a sleeping giant”.

    “We’ll have humans consuming milk from cows that have been consuming genetically modified material. We just don’t know what effects we might have to deal with in the future.

    “They’re talking about scientific testing but the natural processes and ecosystems have been tested over 3 billion years.”

    Ben Copeman, general manager of the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia, said while organic producers had to follow strict labelling requirements, the same rules did not apply to products with GM crops in their food chain, potentially leaving consumers unaware. Mr Copeman also said many of Australia’s important grain customers, such as Japan, China and Korea, did not want GM in their food chains and had zero tolerance to GM contamination.

    While GM rye is unlikely to be available until 2020, a long-term research project into the potential benefits of the grass has moved to its next stage, including looking at regulatory requirements, after more than six years spent developing new varieties of pasture.

    News of the work at the Dairy Futures Co-operative Research Centre follows controversy over a landmark WA Supreme Court ruling in May, that dismissed an organic farmer’s claim that his land had been contaminated by GM canola grown by his neighbour, a conventional farmer.

    Kojonup organic farmer Steve Marsh this week announced he would appeal against the court’s ruling. The original case centred on Mr Marsh’s bid to sue neighbour Michael Baxter, alleging he had lost organic certification for more than half his farm after GM canola drifted onto his land from Mr Baxter’s property.

    NASAA, which withdrew Mr Marsh’s organic certification, welcomed the appeal, saying both conventional and organic farmers had the right to grow crops without contamination from GM materials. [there’s more]

    Meanwhile, stay away from airports:


    6/25/2014 — Weather Modification using frequency — Tornado forms over Indianapolis NEXRAD RADAR / Airport

    How many times is too many times before people wake up to the fact that high power microwaves are influencing the weather?

    A tornado formed directly over the NEXRAD RADAR station in Indianapolis Indiana, causing damage across the area.

    We’ve seen NEXRAD after NEXRAD, and Airport after Airport be hit with tornadoes directly —- literally, one can watch the storms form at the 100nm and 50nm points, then begin rotation , and finally move towards the center of the RADAR station.

    It has happened MULTIPLE TIMES at multiple locations in just a few years time.

    Leading the professionals to make note, asking the question:

    “Are airports tornado magnets?”

    Answer = No ….. airports are not tornado magnets.

    Instead, something at the airport is the “magnet”.

    Microwave RADARs are confirmed tornado magnets. Microwaves are proved to be tornadic vortex generators.

    [read it all, including documenting links]

    and here we are thinking of moving to CA from PA in a yr or two to be with my youngest son and his wife and “retire”:


    Human-Caused Climate Change and Desperately Drilling For Water: The Deepening Dust Bowlification of California

    There is no relief for poor California.

    [read this article, which ends with]

    California is one such region. Its economy, even outside the greater US, is the 8th richest in the world. It is also the US’s largest producer of vegetables, most fruits, and nuts. Other major agricultural production for the state includes meat, fish, and dairy.

    Though much of the current drought’s impacts have been mitigated through unsustainable drilling for ground water, US meat and produce prices are expected to rise by another 3-6% due to impacts from the ongoing and intensifying California drought. But so far, major impacts due to large-scale reductions in total acres planted have been avoided. Without the drilling, overall repercussions would have been devastating, as planted areas rapidly dwindled in size. But with wells running dry, time appears to be running out.

    [there’s more]

    which leads to this:


    Wednesday, 25 June 2014
    United States: Water wars

    Water war bubbling up between California and Arizona

    LA Times

    Once upon a time, California and Arizona went to war over water.

    The year was 1934, and Arizona was convinced that the construction of Parker Dam on the lower Colorado River was merely a plot to enable California to steal its water rights. Its governor, Benjamin Moeur, dispatched a squad of National Guardsmen up the river to secure the eastern bank from the decks of the ferryboat Julia B. — derisively dubbed “Arizona’s navy” by a Times war correspondent assigned to cover the skirmish. After the federal government imposed a truce, the guardsmen returned home as “conquering heroes.”

    The next water war between California and Arizona won’t be such an amusing little affair. And it’s coming soon.

    Nineteenth-century water law is meeting 20th-century infrastructure and 21st century climate change, and it leads to a nonsensical outcome. [read the rest]

    all the while the oceans are dying and we’re still polluting them:


    Report: World’s Oceans on Brink of Collapse

    Global Ocean Commission says rescue needed within five years

    The world’s oceans face irreparable damage from climate change and overfishing, with a five-year window for intervention, an environmental panel said Tuesday.

    Neglecting the health of the oceans could have devastating effects on the world’s food supply, clean air, and climate stability, among other factors.

    The Global Oceans Commission, an environmental group formed by the Pew Charitable Trust, released a report (PDF) addressing the declining marine ecosystems around the world and outlining an eight-step “rescue package” to restore growth and prevent future damage to the seas. The 18-month study proposes increased governance of the oceans, including limiting oil and gas exploration, capping subsidies for commercial fishing, and creating marine protected areas (MPAs) to guard against pollution, particularly from plastics.

    “A healthy ocean is a key to our well-being,” said Jose Maria Figueres, co-chair and former president of Costa Rica. “Unless we turn the tide on ocean decline within five years, the international community should consider turning the high seas into an off-limits regeneration zone until its condition is restored.” [there’s more]

  • Tom: I have zero control over this blog. I can only function as a censor-mad tyrant on the forum. That things sometimes take a while to appear here has been long known.

  • The calamities to come… Oh! The calamities to come. Grief, in advance. Grief purring against my leg, breaking my social osmosis induced indifference to my own heart. I pick her up and pet her. She obligingly rips me open to the deepest sadness, horrors, aversions. I’m inverted like a popped corn, my former hard-shelled smug density exploded into soft puffy vulnerability. I feel the world aching within me. She purrs, reminding me that I’m of the world, so of course I feel its ache. She shows me that it is not just my own dark mood, despite all the social pressure designed to isolate and direct my seeking gaze inward for grief’s incubator. I am not the master of this rain. No, this grief is externally born then stabbed into my heart. Indeed, some of us only arrived here yesterday, in pure innocence.

    Once we trusted without question that the world would continue to function normally. Now that humans have sickened it with many poisons, it suffers… we are it, so we suffer.

    Robert Hunter wrote and the Grateful Dead sang…

    Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world…

    And the seeds that were silent all burst into bloom, and decay,
    And night comes so quiet, it’s close on the heels of the day.

    Night is coming for all of us. We’re falling away, into never.

    Never again for the soon gone forever lemurs and tamarins.

    Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world…
    The vision is unspeakable. She purrs.

    “There must be some kind of way out of here, said the joker to the thief…” There’s no way out, we’re just some eyes the world grew. Oh, for sure, in derangement and despair we will tear them out, but the world will still cry… it will convulse in agony.


    Note: To those who have kindly acknowledged my recent reentry… and those who may reply henceforth… Due to the nature of the method I have to use to post comments now, they will be less frequent and I cannot respond in as timely a manner as I might wish. Please don’t take it personally.

    All violence is abhorrent. The term ‘vegetarian’ is undefined. Some who call themselves ‘vegetarian’ seem to think that chickens and/or their eggs are actually vegetables. Yes, amazing but true. Some seem to believe that mammalian cheese is a sub-genus of vegetable. Or that fish are really just some scaly vegetables that happen to be covered with slime. They’re a bit confused. Meanwhile, while eschewing dead beings and the whole predatory death culture is certainly beneficial and enlightening in so many ways and points in the right direction, it does not guarantee saintliness. And why should it have to? Eating meat doesn’t elevate to high holiness, though a shortcut to the grave. Perfection is an impossible standard. If that’s your quest, you’re chasing disappointment. Perfection should never be used as an enemy of the good. It’s a bad excuse.

    Thank you. And thank you for your great posts… they augment my ability to stay informed… and my efforts to awaken from languid slumber imposed by getting by. But there’s no relief, nightmares at night are followed by days of gore, stark but obscure in the glare. ‘Unpleasant’ incarnates into novel meanings. In the last desperate aria, the human voice has failed. Who among us rests easy now as the curtain drops and naked apes are booed off the stage, savagely pulling all our relations down with us? Only idiots telling tales to idiots. And there lays the critic, trampled and bleeding. He lacked a positive mental attitude. The mob has already forgotten him.


    “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

    From Edward Fitzgerald’s translation of the poem
    The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam, 1859

  • “There are so many things we do not know yet, that all our thoughts may be pointing in the wrong way. The only way to discover and understand the relevant forces behind the universe, is to continue learning. Climate change is a two fold opportunity. It will allow to reduce the excessive number of human individuals, and it will also provide valuable lessons about how far things can go. That is why I believe that some people must survive. They will not start all over again, they will start from a higher level of knowledge, and it can be expected that they will be able to handle the experience properly. In that case, a new ethos keeps on being a need (to my view).
    I understand that my perception of the universe is totally non orthodox, but as we are here to use our grey matter, this is what came to my mind as a way to explain things around.”

    I wouldn’t say you’re unorthodox.It just looks like a very spiritual way of understanding, something most people have forgotten or never learned to do.

    I am not convinced any humans will survive the bottleneck, but I can see the necessity for that to occur in order to “fit” in an intelligent universe. Or maybe the humans will give way to a more adaptable species, like maybe cockroaches. (I’m trying to be less ego driven. :))

    I am closer to your belief system than I am the conventional one. I just also believe that it is important to plan for how to alleviate as much suffering as we can, knowing full well that we can’t do enough, or even do much. But I believe part of what we need to learn is empathy, and I also believe that the highest form of living is service.

  • @ logspirit

    Your statement seems to be hopelessly confused

    All violence is abhorrent.

    To whom ? Or to what ? Violence is inherent in nature. Ever since the first free living single celled organism devoured another similar organism. Just look into a pond and watch a beetle or dragon fly larva grab a tadpole in its jaws. From there on up to lions seizing zebras.

    The whole biosphere works by everything eating everything else. This involves a considerable degree of violence. Human beings are a product of this system, and, to exist, have no choice or option, but to be involved with the foodchain, in one way or another.

    Humans have also been involved with violence towards other humans, as far as is knowable, since they first evolved, and up until the present.

    You, of course, may find violence abhorrent, personally, and attempt to avoid it.

    The problem is, that this is the reality that we find. Violence exists, whether we abhor it or not.

    The term ‘vegetarian’ is undefined. Some who call themselves ‘vegetarian’ seem to think that chickens and/or their eggs are actually vegetables. Yes, amazing but true. Some seem to believe that mammalian cheese is a sub-genus of vegetable. Or that fish are really just some scaly vegetables that happen to be covered with slime. They’re a bit confused.

    Some people may indeed be that muddled, but I am not. I recognise that plants are living beings every bit as much as fish and fungi.

    Meanwhile, while eschewing dead beings and the whole predatory death culture is certainly beneficial and enlightening in so many ways and points in the right direction, it does not guarantee saintliness.

    I doubt that anything guarantees saintliness, and I doubt that anyone can agree even on a definition as to what constitutes saintliness, other than in the most general and vague terms.

    And why should it have to? Eating meat doesn’t elevate to high holiness, though a shortcut to the grave. Perfection is an impossible standard. If that’s your quest, you’re chasing disappointment. Perfection should never be used as an enemy of the good. It’s a bad excuse.

    You seem to have plucked some bizarre strawmen from somewhere. Who are you addressing here, logspirit ? I am ulvfugl. Nowhere have I ever mentioned being on any quest to find holiness via eating meat, or by not eating meat, or any such thing.

  • Godolfredo,

    I left you a message on the Money Valve thread.

    Thanks to NBL, I’ve come to appreciate the need to put saving other creatures (as far as possible) first. It’s also a potentially good strategy for saving some humans. But there is the conflicting position (e.g. Henry’s?) that affirms the need to get rid of HS first, and as a condition for saving other species.

  • Eddie

    As I have said before, I believe that all our emotions and feelings exist to enable us to create.
    In that context, empathy comes natural, as long as you accept your own limits, and try to do things.
    There is no way to feel empathy, if you do nothing, specially creating things. Because by doing things, you understand that you cannot do everything, and need others. At the same time, while doing things you will probably face failure. By experiencing your own failures, you can be connected with others, and share that feeling.
    It is interesting to note that in nature, empathy does not exist. And honestly, there is no other way the system could work. Humans are different, we have a specific purpose, and for that we need emotions, and feelings. But they have to be controlled. Or we end in disaster.
    We are free, so free that we can destroy ourselves. Ergo, we have limits, that we have to discover if we want to survive in the long term as society.
    I guess we have not been able to understand the purpose of feelings and emotions, so we have “used” them in a wrong way, everything only for our own benefit. And bending them, when needed. For example, by being empathic, nobody could go to a war, not even think in that. But we do, we practice war, we suffer wars, over and over.
    We are quite well prepared to work as a team, in a social way. Probably we are meant to work and live like that. But leaving our egos aside a bit. Ego is important, but we have built an entire system around “God Ego”, and that is wrong.
    We should be living to create things, and become wise. The endless way of searching for the knowledge required to create ever more complex systems. Just for the pleasure of doing it. I am an engineer, a designer of fairly complex systems, and at the same time an artist (both things go hand and hand), and from my experience, living to create things is something you never get bored. It is a pleasure living the whole process. And also forces you to think. We were created for doing this.
    The artists, the designers, the thinkers, they are the logic core of humanity. The rest is not needed. But, we all have the capacity of being an artist, a designer or a thinker. Our society forces most to become something else, leaving aside our natural capacities to create or think, mainly looking at a very short term future, and just looking in consumption. We should think in long term, but we do not.
    Yes, we are doing everything wrong.
    But, we can change. Through our children. Each of us has the capacity of giving two cents.
    There is a lot to say, our problems are quite complex, and we have been doing almost everything wrong. Probably you agree with me.
    Everything can be connected in a logic manner, for that, many of our concepts and ethics must change. There is no other way to become a stable society, in peace with the biosphere.

  • The view from ‘green business’

    On the climate change front the report confirmed that following a modest slowdown caused by the financial crisis annual increases in energy use and emissions are almost back up to their 10 year average.

    Meanwhile, the rapid and disruptive expansion in clean energy globally is barely putting a dent in the continued dominance of fossil fuels, which was further aided by a three per cent jump in coal use last year.

    Clean energy may be making impressive strides, but there is no reason as yet to update BP’s similarly under-reported admission earlier this year that it expects greenhouse gas emissions to rise 29 per cent by 2035, essentially condemning the world to temperature increases well in excess of 2C.


  • dialog with a crazy cat

    after cleaning a fresh pile of
    mouse guts from the porch
    I looked at the cat
    and said “this is abhorrent”

    he looked back at me
    and said “that’s what the mice tell me.”
    he said he told them
    they should have a protest rally
    on the porch and he
    would be sure to be there

    so the mice had their rally
    the next evening I looked out
    to see a fat field mouse
    dead and upside down

    I told the cat “you clean up
    your mess this time.”
    the next morning I was
    left with only a decapitated
    mouse head.

  • A fine thread! Thank you Robin. I had no idea that Robin Datta was your real name. I thought that possibly, Robin Datta was a pseudonym based on a play of the words, ‘robbing data’! So much for assumptions.

    I returned yesterday from a two week trip to San Francisco, including a drive to Seattle and back. I can report one major weather anomaly with confidence: I was shocked that I saw not one drop of rain for the entire two weeks! From Frisco to Seattle, the skies clear and blue as far as the eyes could see. Also, saw none of the fog the area is noted for. This is an area of the world most noted for frequent and often continual rainfall! I talked with several locals all along the way. They were all dumbfounded! The common refrain was that summer wasn’t supposed to start until July 1st, and even then the rain and fog should be frequent.

    Up in the mountains of Washington state we got to see rushing streams and falls of snowmelt. In the higher altitudes we saw enough snow to build a snowman and experience a furious snowball fight. Me against my 13 year old grandson. I’m proud to say that superior tactics can still trump youthful vigor!

  • @mo flow. Your cat isn’t hungry enough. A truly hungry cat starts at the head, and the tail goes down like a piece of spaghetti! No muss no fuss! Just a greasy spot, that’s all that’s left.

    In the future, we’ll find human heads cheaper than cow or hog heads and much more common. You’ll be able to acquire an entire carcass for free, if you’re crass enough. If so, you can trade the head for a round of antibiotics are a few .22 rounds, whatever…you need the most…at the time.

  • Hot times ahead…


    Incidentally, while this article details wet-bulb temps and the like, this past week in Chicago we keep getting fog rolling off the lake.
    Last night, while walking home it air was so heavy I was soaked in sweat and water vapor. All the papers on my desk have that slight damp feel to them too. I haven’t seen any reports, but I’m guessing mold counts are going to skyrocket soon. Welcome to the future!

  • Kirk Hamilton:
    During the ancient times of dial up message boards with typed UNIX commands through a command line interface (no web, no browser, no mouse, and screen colours adjustable by writing a startup *.bat file) I was kicked off message boards because of my name.

    The real story of my name is that my father saw the bird sitting in a tree after I was born on the same day, and decided that it would be my name. It’s a man’s name in Britain, and the British Raj was over less than two years before I was born.

    They had a project to make a class of natives who would be at least bilingual and fluent in English, with a loyalty to English values, the “brown Englishmen”. These folks would act as middle management for the colonies.

    19th Century India and Britain:
    “It was in the mid 19th century that the idea of creating “Brown Englishmen” emerged. Thomas Macaulay (Minister of Education in India and creator of the British/Indian law system) and others (the Anglicists) set up a system of education and rewards to create a class of Indians “…who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern, a class of persons Indian in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, words and intellect.” — Thomas Macaulay 1837”

    They were exported to many other colonies to serve as middle managers, including Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, West Indies, etc. and hence the substantial Indian populations in those areas. Their raison d’êre disappeared with the British Empire. This brown Englishman moved to ‘mericuh.

    Later I told the story to folks at a place where I worked. They told me of the Native American brave who asks the chief about how they got their names. The chief explained that when a child was born in the tribe, the chief was informed, and the next time he stepped out of his tepee, the first thing he saw was the name given to the child. Brave: “You saw a running deer when my cousin Running Deer was born?” “Yes, I did!”. “You saw a floating cloud when my cousin Floating Cloud was born?” “Yes, indeed! Why do you ask, Two dogs f#%^*+g?”

    And thenceforth, the folks at that place called me “Dr. Two Dogs”.

  • That’s raison d’être. Sorry about the auto spell.

  • Robin, I like wide-angle and God’s-eye views of our predicament as things wind down, and the contents of your post survey a wide field, yet there are so many unsupported statements that I struggle to contain myself. Considering the title, I don’t see how all the scientific references and appeals to authority add up to enlightened ethics. Activities in the world beyond discussions in blog comments and fora certainly don’t evidence much of what might be called ethical behavior.

    Further, available responses to dawning awareness of the high likelihood (some say foregone conclusion) of NTE range all over the map, as discussions here and elsewhere attest. So I don’t accept that short- and long-term approaches or self/other categorization collapse into sameness. These are tricks of language that flummox credulous thinkers into believing some wisdom obtains therein, but facts on the ground belie such over-subtle mental formations.

  • @ Brutus …… I am not answering for Robin, she can do that herself, but i am interested in your complaints about how the article was written. Unless you have learned to think on your own, anything one reads or listens or sees, is half believed on an emotional basis involving the validation that comes from one’s peers. So most people here are thinking for themselves, and have no need to be cautious about leaning a little far to the NTE range, or speaking as the person did about their belief in creationism. It seems the complaints about the article are a personal matter, not one of taking sides, or sloppy communicating.

  • ooops, very sorry for JUMPING to conclusions….geeez!

  • No sweat.

  • @ Godo

    First you unsurprisingly state:

    “I believe in Intelligent Design, and in creationism….”

    Then you follow with:

    “What I say, and think, may help some younger generations…..”

    And yet, you say all your ridiculous nonsense on a blog that is solely centered around climate science and primarily serves as a forum for those at or near retirement age.

    Ahhh…the curse of the open forum strikes again.

  • I have been following but not commenting. The following may be of interest, since if sums up the state of local government (an extension of central government).

    On 27th May I spoke to the NPDC Monitoring Committee about the 96% downgrade of California shale deposits, leading to national reserves being downgraded to just 39% of the previously accepted figure, I spoke about the test drilling of the Weald resulting in no gas and very little recoverable oil, demolishing the UK government’s plans for ‘energy independence’. I spoke about society falling off the EROEI curve and the anticipated rapid decline in liquid fuel availability, which will occur over the period 2015 to 2020. I also highlighted the extraordinarily high temperatures currently experienced across the Pacific, and abrupt climate change, and the prospect of that leading to extinction of practically all vertebrate life by mid-century.

    On 4th June I spoke to the NPDC full council and pointed out that humanity is in overshoot, standing on a series of planks nailed together to build a rickety platform that hangs over an abyss, supported initially by coal, then coal and oil, and then by coal, oil and natural gas. The last plank is being nailed into position but there is nothing to support it. This crazy platform, which is already bending downward, is being constructed to get from a sustainable set of living arrangements we should have been content with to an impossible future of skyscrapers, planes, helicopters and consumerism.

    Using graphics, I described how, at the battle of Cambrai in 1917, the British used fascines of brushwood to get tanks across trenches the Germans had specifically constructed to stop tank attacks, but that, having got across the trenches, the tanks that did not break down were halted by German guns capable of firing armour-piercing shells. I then went on to make the analogy (again using graphics) of how NPDC uses ‘fascines of children and babies’ to fill the ‘trench’ that comprises the obstacle to ‘progress’. Having succeeded in crushing coming generations in order to move their ‘tank’ forward, NPDC does not face German guns but does face peak oil, abrupt climate change and unravelling of fiat monetary systems, and therefore their ‘tank’ will be blown up and be halted, just as the tanks of World War One were.

    The first minute of the Australian Coal Policy, of sacrificing the next generation in order to maintain short-term profits was played. I demonstrated, using a nail and a candle, that burning hydrocarbons does not generate a sufficiently high temperature to soften steel, and that steel is a relatively poor conductor, so the official narrative of 9/11 (of building collapsing at free-fall speed and aircraft engines ‘evaporating’) was a pack of lies. Bush lied. Blair lied. Clark lied. Key lies.

    I pointed out a series of official lies;

    Infinite growth is possible on a finite planet.
    Debts and deficits do not matter.
    Money-printing is good.
    GDP growth improves welfare.
    Peak Oil will not occur for decades.
    Fracking is safe and sustainable.
    Population growth is sustainable.
    Tourism is a sustainable growth industry.
    The industrialised dairy industry is sustainable.
    Shopping and consumption are good.
    Corporatized sport is good.
    Greenhouse gas emissions are under control
    Pollution has little effect in the short term.
    Ocean acidification is of no consequence.
    Planetary meltdown will not occur for centuries.
    Technology will save us.
    Industrial civilisation has a future.
    We are headed for a ‘better, brighter future’.

    I then highlighted the culture of death, represented by increasing numbers of black buildings, black vehicles, black clothing, black flags, black displays, black signage, black brochures, black food packaging etc.,which is being foisted on the district (and the country, from what I hear). And that I did not submit to the sickness that was being promoted by the council, which is why I wore a blue suit on that occasion (I usually wear cycle gear).

    I did not get the opportunity to discuss the true nature of society due to the unrealistic time restriction of 15 minutes, but notes to all councillors included reference to the fact that we live in society which is founded on (and maintained by) AVOIDANCE OF DICSUSSION OF ALL FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH.

    On 24th June I had a meeting with the newly-appointed Advisor to the Mayer, and pointed out that, whereas normally the atmospheric CO2 level peaks and falls, this year there is an indication of a ‘bumpy plateau, which may well be indicative of accelerating planetary meltdown.

    I discussed with Greg Stephens the fact that we live in a covertly fascistic police state, and that we are caught in a no-win situation. If we do nothing, we are acquiescing to complete take-over by corporations; if we stand up for truth we are ignored, and the monster just carries on destroying everything that matters anyway.

    I pointed out that I had been presenting crucial facts for over 15 years (7 years to NPDC) and that everything is ignored. I pointed out that NPDC has been in continuous breach of the Local Government Acts, and that there are no mechanisms for rectifying this situation because the judicial system is captured/corrupt. There has been no preparation whatsoever for the calamitous future we are rapidly moving into because all so-called planning is on the basis of business-as-usual. I pointed out that business-as-usual was what was destroying the planet, and that California may soon be major victim of the disturbance of the jet stream flow that excessive CO2 emissions have caused. Even as massive bubbles that are about to pop have formed, even as chaos in Iraq and Ukraine ensue from American destabilisation interventions, even as oil hovers around $114 a barrel, even as the evidence of abrupt climate change becomes ever more apparent, all so-called planning is for increased energy use and increase emissions, in line with 1990s thinking. Indeed, I described the general level of thinking as approaching that of a 12-year-old.

    There is probably nothing more to do. The mayor, Andrew Judd, proved himself to be duplicitous, and has experienced the fasted decline in support among the informed I have ever witnessed. The council’s so-called Perpetual Investment Fund is cratering. The council is under water and sinking by the day, as is the district. However, a new hotel is under construction, along with a new art centre, and John Key looks set to win the next election via his ‘smile and wave and don’t discuss anything except his close relationship with Obama’ policies. One reason for Key’s continuing success is that none of the other parties have any credibility.

    As far as I can tell, the fuse has been burning for a long time and is very close to setting off the explosion (impolosion0. As I said to Greg Stephens in an email, it will be much clearer by September. We will know whether California is ‘finished as a functioning entity’ as a consequence of lack of water; we will know how bad the Artic Sea meltdown is. And we may even have a better idea about the timing of financial meltdown.

    Following some heavy rain, it’s 16oC and sunny (10c overnight). Can’t be bad for the early winter season.

  • Kevin. Have you ever considered that most people just don’t give a shit or are incapable of understanding? You should take more time for yourself. I’m not being sarcastic, I really mean it. Some things we enjoy will soon be gone….forever.

  • D

    On internet, we are all free to read or not.
    The message is the message, take it or not.
    Or take parts of it, serve yourself.
    Personally do not pretend to convince somebody here.
    Nobody here pretends to convince the others, but as we know so little about things, hearing different positions is always better than not doing it.
    The liberty of this blog is a very valuable quality.

    I do not see the connection between retirement age, and the capacity to read or think.
    Besides, those at near retirement age have daughters and sons, and probably grandchildren.

    Seems to me that this blog is centered mainly in NTE, and for extension related with climate change. And then to human nature as a possible cause, but then there are other areas like radiation fallout, economics, peak oil, peak everything, as they are also related with NTE in some way, or are issues that may play a relevant role in the process.

    I would like to read a post from you questioning my views and position, with a sustainable argument. Can you? By your language, I guess not.

  • Kevin Moore, you should listen to Apneaman – but then maybe some may enjoy howling at the moon. To each h(is/er) own!

  • Seems like the denial is getting even more fierce? How reputable is this source, does anyone know?


  • Kevin

    Thanks for the information.
    Your efforts are not valueless, although, they may not achieve what you want.
    I personally value what you tell us about your experiences, and failures. Because they give a first hand perception on how bad the situation is regarding authorities.

    By the end of last year it was created in my country a commission of university professors (from several universities), to study the climate change issue in Chile, and propose politics to deal with it.
    As some of them live in my city, I went to talk with one of them. Just to have an idea on how seriously it was being carried out the work.
    My perception is that the issue is not being seriously addressed.
    No team work, each one dealing with a small area. No one dealing with the issue as a system.
    But the worst is that to most of them this is just a job, and climate change something that will come, there´s nothing to do. Besides they are thinking in the 2100. And a variation of sea level of a few cms. The Academy average is as lost as most.
    I sent an e-mail to each one of them, stating that things may be a lot worse than what it seems, but not a comment, nothing. Not even an answer.

    At the same time, the project of building five dams in the South part of Chile, was finally not approved by the government, knowing that we would need more coal generation.
    Again, insane.

    You have tried, I have tried, others have tried. At least we are doing what is in our hands. . With similar results.
    But we have to keep on.


  • Maybe we need a *little* bit of Solar Radiation Management with reflective particles in the atmosphere just to break even with the by-products of these Citizen Scientists.


  • The cancer grows larger every day. Some imagine us as a fortunate species that has happened upon a holy grail of delicious black carbon energy that has resulted in an explosion of growth. This is only partially true. To find the grail in the first place there had to be rapid evolution in the human species, a coordinated change in our organ systems that enabled our escape from the ecosystem. Balance is lost, a disease state emerges. It knows not what it does, it just evolves and competes for growth within a population of malignancies. The new operator welcomes comfort and dopamine while ignoring the carnage created. Only relatively free humans, unchained by the technological process can see what it is that grows through the tissues of the body. Maximum rates of growth are rewarded as less competitive tissues wither. The new operator instilled by evolution with greed, deception and violence calls out for more jobs, more money, more consumption……more blood. The high priests of business incant the holy creed as the disciples of death deploy their machines to conduct war upon life on earth. Cheers can be heard from the stadiums as the mother is raped. Hell’s doors, unlocked by the folly of man, deliver a special invitation to the special species that revels in its own wickedness.

  • To those who say I am wasting my time talking to people who do not want to hear, I can say that not all the people I communicate with are psychotic sociopaths. Indeed, there are several NPDC staff who do get a lot of it, and those staff have helped immensely in ensuring that the message gets distributed.

    In recent times I have only done local council stuff over the so-called annual planning phase, i.e. over a period of 3 months once a year. After all, ‘they’ are utterly determined to ‘hang themselves’ so now I let them do it. However, as I said to Greg Stephens a couple of days ago, people used to say: “That’s just your opinion.” Now that ‘the implosion’ is clearly underway I don’t hear that anymore. (NZ = 87.6 US cents today, higher than it’s been in over 20 years)

    Apneaman. I well understand that many people do not understand anything and many don’t give a shit. However, when one has 16 hours to fill in most days, that does leave a lot of time for me to do other things.

    Robin. When I began this ‘great adventure’ I was unaware of the degree of ignorance, stupidity and corruption that characterises government, and naively thought it had something to do with the welfare of the people or at lest a little bit to do with the common good. 15 years later it is well documented that the system is corrupt to the core and will not only destroy the future of everyone in the district but will also destroy itself.

    The interesting aspect is, which comes first? Will the NZ government destroy itself before it destroys the populace, or will it destroy the populace before it destroys itself? Similarly, will the Federal Government of the US destroy itself before it destroys individual states, or will individual state ‘implode’ before the Federal Government does?

    I am part way through reading an odd book called ‘Systems of Survival’ by Jane Jacobs, which one might at first think relates to physical systems for getting through the bottlenecks but is in fact ‘A Dialogue on the Moral Foundation of Commons and Politics’.

    Today I met for the first time a young woman who is already half out of the Matrix and recognises the system is corrupt and terminal. There are not many like her so we have to work with those who are awake not to change anything at this stage, but perhaps for when the treason trials commence.

    I find it quite encouraging that Tony B Liar has been declared unfit to be Middle East Envoy by a large number of his peers.

    (Just had a little earthquake as I was writing; all fine.)

  • Clarification:

    ‘Following some heavy rain, it’s 16oC and sunny (10c overnight). Can’t be bad for the early winter season.’

    I was being sarcastic, of course. I walked to town today and got hot wearing two layers.

  • Kevin

    I did not say or intend to imply you were wasting your time. In fact, I bet you have planted many seeds over the years. I was suggesting balance for the sake of your sanity. It is a lesson I learned a long time ago when I was first getting clean.

  • knarf

    In my view higher inteligence is adapted to getting off this rock, having already adapted, in this human form, to its Biosphere parameters.
    we are at the level of adaptation so we can transcend the need to come back, and be released from conditional existence.
    We just need to realise it,(the difficult part, I admit).

    The usual framing of escape is by space ship, por colony ship, but this is not even possible. That is a materialist form and conception of the spiritual truth of realisation. The schizophrenic thruth is all separation is in what lays outside the one, or reality itself.
    We can go there, ‘the final frontier’, yjust not embodied nor into a void posited as ‘other’.

    Cryptic enough for you?

  • Regarding the possibility of “intelligent” life elsewhere in the Universe, this essay by Dave Cohen is an appropriate counterpoint to the meme that such a likelihood is virtually certain. It’s actually the second part of a pair of essays about intelligent life and ETI. The first part is here.

  • kevin: I so admire your “tilting at windmills” fighting for sanity in an insane world. It’s so like Guy’s presentations that probably wake some people up, while others just keep denying anything is wrong and still others have no idea what all those words mean (as far as action goes). Just don’t burn yourself out (as Apneaman, Robin, others and now I wish for you). These people, dragging the lot of us with them in their ignorance, most likely due to financial imperatives, CAN’T change course – the entire system is set up to protect the status quo from any kind of (at first rapid, now ANY) change. They probably rely on drugs and or alcohol to “keep them sane.” Once this ship of civilization starts creeping below the water line of a decent standard of living to starvation from the coming inability to grow enough food, all hell will break loose and these same leaders will not be permitted to say “No one told us about any of this?” or “Who could have seen this coming.” since you are barring that door. It will be pitchforks and accountability time then.

    infanttyrone: Just another example of Einstein’s quip

    “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

    or this remark by Martin Luther King, Jr. (for kevin to use next time)

    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

    also – thanks for the Weir/Dead song.

  • Just re-read Robin’s opening.

    The universal motive force is energy flow. These flows are from high concentrations to low concentrations, where the energy is dissipated and has high disorder. Disorder is referred to as entropy.

    I think that’s open to question. It’s just a story, based on 19th C physics, that’s held up so far, in the minds of those who take the physics text books as gospel. Like the Big Bang theory, it can crumble.
    There are half a dozen reasons why it may not be the fundamental truth that it is assumed to be. But nevermind. Here’s another story

    Everywhere in life, water flows downhill. In Texas, it flows to money.


  • We know so much, and know enough to recognize and understand that humankind is precipitating a planetary emergency on Earth. And what is our collective response? An inexcusable, unconscionable lack of urgency as well as a conscious and deliberate refusal to examine extant scientific research. Guy, Robin, ulvfugl and kevin, why not ask vital science questions to which we already have answers, but of which scientists will not speak? Why not ask about the ecological science of human population dynamics/overpopulation? If human beings are primary drivers of dissipating natural resources, dying oceans, degrading environs and destabilizing climate, then let us examine the scientific research that simply and persuasively explains why absolute global human population numbers continue to grow so rapidly (despite declining TFRs in many countries) and, by so doing, to ravage so radically the prospects for the future of life as we know it in our planetary home? http://www.panearth.org/

  • If you can handle it:

    FASCISM AS IT IS film by Andrey Karaulov

    then we have, on the methane front:

    Dr Natalia Shakhova Interview: Methane Hydrates & Stability of The East Siberian Arctic Shelf

    [and part 2]

  • The latest post includes an apology, an explanation, a free dystopian novel, a podcast, and much more. Catch it all here.

  • Over eight hundred golf courses in Texas sucking somewhere between 300,000 and 1 million gallons/ day EACH. Some of them use treated effluent, but it’s still a huge waste.

    The Clayton williams Sr. Story is an old one. The article didn’t mention that the water he stole was feeding one of the very few natural oases in West Texas, a precious jewel that today would no doubt be a protected park.

    Another story…check out the San Antonio catfish farm that tapped artesian springs for over a million gallons/day. Or the city of San Antonio itself, which pumps millions of gallons per week into the tourist trap known as the River Walk.

    Big Ag is as much responsible for the Matagorda Bay disaster as are the cities upstream. Perhaps more so, although the region is far overbuilt for the amount of water we get.

    That Carlos and Charlies should have never been built in the first place. In the same location, before them, was another bar that went out of business when their septic system contaminated their water supply.

    The thing is, with catchment and good management, we could live off the rainfall we get now, even though we’re in a record drought.

  • To Tony Weddle

    It is quite noticeable that what you see about something depends on your point of view.
    Dave Cohen for example is thinking in evolution as a basis to explain the origin of life.
    And then, alien life must be explained under the same logic.
    And his analysis is quite right, corresponding to the logical base of the concept.
    The paradigm is the clue, as in many things.
    Then the final discussion is how life can be explained on earth. Because depending on that, you can look for an explanation for alien life.
    Darwin, God, ID?
    Depending on which one you choose, you can explain and understand more or less things outside the original specific area (origin of life), depending on how many more answers you are looking for.
    Thanks for the links.

    To Steven Earl Salmony

    As long as we keep on believing that we have “rights”, things are not going to change. In the case you mention, we accept that we have the right to have children, as many as we want. The point, looking to what you note, is, do we have that a right?
    And then for extension, do we have the right to do whatever we want with nature?
    As long as we keep on accepting that we have so many rights, things are not going to change.
    We can resume the rights issue by saying that we have the quite stupid right to fuck up our own descendants.


    Thanks for the links related to methane.


  • @ OzMan

    Yep, that was cryptic enough for me! :) My view is that what we believe to be true is true for us. There are 8 billion humans on this rock, all having a slightly if not sometimes opposite view of what is going on around them. Like snowflakes, none of them are the same. So we have to start somewhere to find agreements, and the scientific method seems to work best, because it can be repeated and get almost the exact same results. So if a lot of science is telling us that we are in deep ^&*%, we better listen up. As far as becoming one with universe, and drifting off in to nowhereville, i guess that will happen one way or the other. But the assumption that we have adapted all we ( human specie ) can, so it is time to leave the planet is a little far flung for me.

  • Godofredo,

    I’m glad you found the essays interesting. Yes, our individual world views colour our thinking on many subjects. I think Dave Cohen, in particular, does try to see things as they really are, rather than how he’d “like” them to be. If there is no evidence, other than anecdotal, for something, despite many attempts to gather some, then a very real possibility is that the something doesn’t exist. Optimists will never accept that possibility, though.

  • Godofredo and Tony, I don’t even think that the argument is quite right based on evolution on this planet – there are still various assumptions made and our knowledge of evolution on this planet is very incomplete. In one of the comments in part 2 of the page linked to by Tony, a reader touches upon the point that initial competition of alternatives may have occurred and selected only one, giving the impression that there’s only a single path (based on what we see today) for some key event to happen. However observing microbial evolution in the lab we see this isn’t the case – it’s only much later after the fact that such a phenomenon is sometimes observed. My general point is that based on evolutionary history of life on this planet, the arguments can easily go both ways and still be well referenced and scholarly, but given that our knowledge is FAR from complete, we really don’t know what exactly happened in the past. We only see certain static “end” points in the fossil record (organisms that have survived to become fixed in the populations), not the dynamic process that led to these end points (all the intermediate steps that didn’t survive). Based on what we see in the lab and in the observation of certain highly evolving organisms (such as HIV populations within a single host as well as a population of hosts), it’s a fallacy to assume the fixed members (the successful ones) are completely (or near completely) representative of the evolutionary dynamics,

    What I think is this: People win the lottery, and we won the lottery to be sure for us to be able to ask the questions we do. But multiple lotteries are also won repeatedly many times. My view is that if there is life elsewhere it hasn’t progressed beyond the stage we ourselves have; it may well take the length of time since the creation of our universe to evolve the kind of life that has evolved here elsewhere. This doesn’t say anything about the frequency: Someone posted a link here about galactic habitable zones (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galactic_habitable_zone) and I think there’s more to evolution than just what has occurred on this planet.

  • knarf

    I hear you.
    Well, I guess you can stay if you like, but even though there is great beauty here, one just keeps getting to die and forget labelled personal ‘identity-contents’ as a something, then some of that contents get recombined, (I mean the subtle bits of archetypal stuff as well as the atoms(whatever they are?)) and given a new name, (local identity). Do that for a few infinities and you just register the suffering, above the noise, and the absolute futility of the Egoic ‘struggle’ with opposites, separation, disassociation, and madness. Bliss is the being of Is-ness, no-other and perfect subjective unconditionality, we name ‘Consciousness’ itself.
    Don’t need the rock anymore if identity is consciousness itself, it has done it’s job, (very well), as a transitory life vehicle.
    It just may not be able to do that job much longer, however.
    Sad to say.
    Cheers mate.

  • @OzMan If I didn’t no better, it seems you are referring to reincarnation. Now that is a trippy idea when it comes to NTE!!! :) No more planet to come back to, to perfect one’s mind and body. I wonder where in the universe we will go. But like you said, it all is forgetfulness each time we return. Maybe it is best to be a “one time returner”! Then off into the void we go……………………….:)