Mutually Assured Incineration

by Ray Jason

It was halfway between midnight and dawn, and the moon had summoned me. As an ocean sailor who has navigated my lovely boat across the Wide Waters using just the stars and my sextant, I pay more attention to the sky than city-folk. And I also pay more attention to the Earth than sailor-folk.

At this very instant there are at least 150 blue water sailboats within 10 miles of me.  Their crews sleep peacefully.  They are not wondering, like I am, whether this lunar oddity will be the final one that humanity witnesses.  For tonight’s full moon will be the last one that falls on a Friday the 13th until 2049.  The question that troubles me is this: “Will the human project still exist in 35 years?”  My concern is not just delusional pessimism.  It is mushroom cloud terror.

I recently learned of potentially apocalyptic policy changes that the U.S. government has made to its nuclear war strategic planning.  These radical and malevolent alterations were never debated by the people’s representatives in Congress.  Nor were they revealed to the citizens themselves for community discussion.  And op-ed columns did not appear in the mainstream press critiquing such lunatic fantasies.  Instead, these Dr. Strangelove plans were made in secrecy – and for good reason – since any decent human being, who is not metastasized by their own lust for power, would never even consider such hideous war-planning.




During the Cold War, the government mindset was that nuclear weapons would only be used in retaliation should another party use them first.  The operative phrase that defined this policy was Mutually Assured Destruction.  The rationale was that since both the U.S. and the Soviet Union each possessed enough nukes to destroy each other many times over, neither nation would attempt a “first strike.”  The aggressor in such a situation understood that the missiles they launched would result in a counter-attack that would vaporize their cities and convert their continent into a toxic moonscape.

During the 1980s, Ronald Reagan jeopardized this delicate and vital balance by promoting what he called the Star Wars missile defense system.  This was an attempt to create a nuclear shield whereby sophisticated missiles could intercept any Soviet rockets headed for the USA.  The consequences of such a project were obvious to the Russian military.  It meant that the U.S. could launch a first strike and feel confident that most of the Soviet counter-attack would be destroyed by the Star Wars protective dome.

Fortunately, this ABM – or Anti-Ballistic Missile – system failed miserably, while still in its early test stage.  The contractors behind the scheme had essentially conned Reagan with radioactive pie-in-the-sky deceptions.  This failure meant that the Russian citizens could rest easier.  The whole world should have been able to rest easier a few years later in 1989 when the entire Soviet Union collapsed.  This was the PERFECT opportunity to dismantle and destroy every nuclear weapon on the planet.

But the arms makers were not about to let that happen.  No matter how many million signatures soccer moms accumulated on disarmament petitions, the war profiteers would not surrender.  Just because they were already grotesquely rich should not deter them from becoming obscenely rich.



A turning point in the attitude of the U.S. decision makers towards nuclear weapons was quietly marked in the Spring of 2006 when Foreign Affairs magazine published a crucial article entitled “The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy.”  This publication, which most Americans have never even heard of, is extremely influential in the halls of power – although in this case I might more appropriately term them “the bunkers of power.”  The authors argued persuasively that both the Russians and Chinese had fallen far behind the U.S. in their ability to go mano-a-mano or missile-to-missile in a nuclear exchange.

In the eight years since that article appeared, the superiority gap has widened even more dramatically.  To further jeopardize the fragile stalemate that had existed for decades, the Neo-conservatives, who designed the Bush II foreign policy and who are also prominent in the Obama White House, have bundled almost all of the former Soviet countries under the NATO banner.  They lied and said that they did this to “spread democracy” when their true purpose was to position military installations in these countries, which are so geographically close to Russia.  This further weakens the Kremlin’s ability to retaliate should a first-strike nuke attack be unleashed against them.

Amongst the complexities of the present crisis in the Ukraine, the American mainstream media never even mentions that Putin understands the extreme danger of having advanced ABM launchers in an adjoining country.  Reverse the situation and imagine how the U.S. would react if Russia positioned such weapons in Vancouver and Toronto and Halifax.

To aggravate a dangerous situation even worse, the U.S. government is no longer even claiming that our nuclear armaments are for deterrence only.  In the latest official statement on this, which is called the 2013 Nuclear Employment Strategy it clearly states:


“The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review established the Administration’s goal to set conditions that would allow the United States to safely adopt a policy of making deterrence of nuclear attack the sole purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons.  Although we cannot adopt such a policy today, the new guidance reiterates the intention to work towards that goal over time.”

But if we already have a significant advantage over the other nuclear powers, and if we have so many emergencies crying out for attention at home such as massive unemployment, decaying infrastructure and a decrepit electrical grid, certainly we would not waste money on more nuclear firepower.  But in fact on Jan 8, 2014, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced what Reuters termed, “ambitious plans to upgrade U.S. nuclear weapons systems by modernizing weapons and building new submarines, missiles and bombers to deliver them.”  Apparently our 7,700 nuclear weapons are not sufficient, but this additional hardware at a price tag of anywhere between 355 billion and one TRILLION dollars, will finally do the trick of keeping us secure.




Which brings me to an obvious question: What is this REALLY all about?  When the Berlin Wall came down and the Cold War ended, I can understand keeping NATO in existence for a few years to make sure that Russia did not have some secret aggressive strategy planned.  But it has been 25 years now.  Why does NATO even still exist?

I believe that it lingers because it is a more subtle way to impose American hegemony on the rest of the planet.  And to save anyone the trouble of racing to the dictionary to look up the H word, let me phrase it more simply – the U.S. wants to rule the World.  The average American does not want to do so, but those in power seem to salivate for that sort of control.  They use the phrases “American Exceptionalism” and the “Indispensible People” and “Spreading Democracy” as camouflage for the most blatant and vicious acts of aggression.  The last 50 years of world history have been dominated by the U.S. corporate and military interests imposing their will on the rest of the planet.  Check out William Blum’s book, ROGUE STATE, for a shockingly detailed inventory of this cavalcade of evil.  If sacks of money wouldn’t do the trick, then in would come the assassins and then the bombers and now the drones.

But let me return to the question I asked two paragraphs ago.  “What is this REALLY all about?”  Any honest observer, who pays attention to American deeds rather than to its rhetoric, can clearly see that the U.S. is essentially an out-of-control imperialist bully.  As hideous as that is, it is not shocking.  That’s because the history of “civilization” is a record of one vicious tyrant after another ascending to power and conquering other lands and populations.  As disgusting as that is, at least there was a motive, since it involved the theft of land or resources or slaves.  But to launch an all out nuclear attack where there would be no “spoils of war” is what I refer to as EBC Syndrome.  Those initials stand for Evil Beyond Comprehension.   Let me delve into this malignant pathology more deeply:


  • Show me the enemy!  Neither Russia nor China has declared war against the U.S. – nor have they indicated an aggressive posture towards America.  On the contrary, they both have shown a total willingness to peacefully co-exist with the West.  This is the perfect historical opportunity to ELIMINATE the threat of nuclear annihilation from the planet.  But by increasing and upgrading its already obese stockpile of these weapons, Washington is forcing these other countries to do the same.  They are practically demanding a new Arms Race.  As an example of this, look around the web and you will discover that hypersonic delivery systems that travel at 10 times the speed of sound are now being developed.
  • Describe a nuclear “victory.”  Perhaps our “leaders,” or what I prefer to call The Malignant Overlords, are trapped in some time bubble where they imagine that modern nuclear war will resemble Hiroshima.  They seem to think that a few weeks after the attack it will be safe to return to the incinerated areas.  It’s as if they have visions of Halliburton and KBR and Bechtel trucks caravanning East to build a new Eurasian-America.  Ah, yes – Disney Siberia!   But the current nuclear warheads are so much stronger and more devastating.  Any scientist, who has studied their impacts, concludes that with the poisoned water and radioactive soil, human life will be impossible there for a VERY long time.
  • Let’s destroy ourselves.  Given the insanity of attacking “non-enemies” and killing them all and rendering their lands uninhabitable, what is the possible motivation?  All I can come up with is that maybe these monsters are willing to convert half the planet’s land mass into a lifeless lava field because it will eliminate any threats to their power.   But if they are Machiavellian enough to plot such diabolical lunacy, how can their think tanks not anticipate the wider consequences?  Spend an hour reading the research that Steven Starr summarizes at his website,, and it will be obvious that only the cockroaches are winners in a nuclear war.  Firestorms would become so immense that a blanket of smoke would enshroud the planet in darkness, thus eliminating any food growing since freezing temperatures would occur every day for years.  Everyone who didn’t have their skin peeled off their body or who didn’t die of radiation poisoning would die of starvation.
  • The core reality.  In my opinion what is really driving this aberrant suicidal behavior is this:  A relatively small group of men, who already have too much wealth and too much power, are insatiably lusting after even more wealth and greater power.  Their behavior is psychotic and pathological and genocidal.  We must stop electing and appointing them.  We must start institutionalizing them.





After watching that Friday the 13th full moon descend behind the mountain to the west of me, I remained on AVENTURA’s deck, searching for an insight that I sensed was lurking just beneath the surface of my reason.  And then it gently eased up into my consciousness.  Here is that message:

I believe that there are only two ways in which humanity can actually destroy itself.  One is Nuclear Annihilation and the other is through Catastrophic Climate Change.  But if governments could sincerely embrace the One Human Family concept, and eradicate all nuclear weapons from Earth, we could then dedicate the immense financial resources spent on them, to a global crusade to minimize the onrushing climate change tsunami.  Such a worldwide campaign to change the human paradigm in an overwhelmingly positive manner might ripple out and create a much wider renaissance.

People might start valuing co-operation more than competition.  Neighbors might cherish diversity instead of fearing it.  Friendship and family and community might become more desired than “stuff.”  And to make such a movement a little less abstract and a little more tangible, allow me to suggest a name for it.  Let’s call it THE REVERSING COURSE INITIATIVE.


McPherson’s next book will be co-authored by Carolyn Baker. Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind is scheduled for release before 1 October 2014. It is described here.


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Comments 73

  • It must be absolutely clear, without a shred of doubt that corporations exists solely for the creation of wealth and no nation is safe. Witness the keystone pipeline which will plow through the middle of the US or “fly over country” as it is so charmingly called by the people in power. As with fracking wells, suddenly white Americans get to experience the thrills of being treated like a native American. Oddly enough, many don’t like it one bit.

    Look closely at the most recent wars the US is engaged in. Victory is never mentioned because victory is a military and political objective. The goal of the wars is to enrich a couple of corporations. We’re in Afghanistan and Iraq forever because the government wants to control those mineral rights — which are owned by corporations.

    Nuclear build up is the same shell game. The ‘Star Wars’ defense system didn’t even make any sense on paper, but it was pushed through with fat government contracts to various defense corporations. Currently, it is to the corporate advantage to have America rule the world. But if economic fate shifts sides, make no mistake that corporate control will just easily favor Chinese rule, or Russian rule or Brazilian rule. It doesn’t matter to them. The only thing that matters is money. And having money cuts any nationalistic ties, beliefs in democracy or communism, or providing care for anyone. Money is the end goal. Given the right set of circumstances, Luxemburg could be the world empire. It doesn’t matter one whit to the corporations.

    Is is possible that nuclear weapons will slip out of control and some president who thinks he has power pushes the button to destroy the evil Russian Bear? Unlikely. It’s a scam. It is doubtful that any of the trillion dollars spent on NUCLEAR SUPERIORITY will produce a single rocket that works. Having a system that is incredibly expensive to maintain but can NEVER BE USED is the ideal money maker for any corporation.

    Do you recall the that US government was caught completely off guard when the Soviet Union rolled over and fell apart? All those years of “intelligence’ reports on the lethal forces of Soviet weapons and the whole thing was lie. Most CIA reports were them getting info from the New York Times. The whole thing was a huge scam and as usual, absolutely no one was punished. Certainly not former CIA head and then vice president George H.W. Bush who didn’t have to answer a single question on why the CIA missed the fragility of the Evil Empire.

    It’s all about the money. That this is still lethal to the planet is not questioned, but don’t expect any mushroom clouds spreading any time soon.

  • As abrupt climate change become more and more apparent, going nuclear will be an expedient way to remove vast numbers of people while settling old scores.

  • Excellent essay, Ray.

    To reinforce Grant’s point – although I’d argue that the situation is a lot more complex than ‘just money’ – here’s an article where Rex Tillerson states the obvious, re the US and EU sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. Exxon simply ignores them, BAU.

    “We don’t find them to be effective unless they are very well implemented,” Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson said today during a shareholders meeting in Dallas.

  • I would like to suggest this as a possible, general response to the language people sometimes write here that often seems intended for a particular target, or all readers, to consider themselves insulted and get angry. How about when we notice this kind of language, several of us quite loudly draw attention to these people as probable government or business representatives consciously and purposely attempting to produce horizontal hostility here at NBL? Several of us, including Guy, can fairly consistently respond to this kind of strongly UNhelpful behavior by writing something to the effect of: “X, when you write Y, I assume that the government or some corporation pays you to attempt to cause trouble among us here at NBL. Will you kindly either stop writing that kind of language or stop commenting here?”, or other words to that effect. This might help, especially if it happened fairly consistently over a long period of time. Meanwhile, I don’t see how it could hurt.

  • That is about the size of it.

    Well said Ray.

    Nevertheless, I am of the viewpoint at this time that madness will prevail once again.

    Peace is so yesterday in our culture.

  • Ray, thanks for the essay. I recently came across an article by Steven Starr back on May 30th which was titled, “The Lethality of Nuclear War” and part of what he said in it is as follows and I quote,

    “Yet top political leaders and policymakers of both the US and Russia seem to be unaware that their launch-ready nuclear weapons represent a self-destruct mechanism for the human race. For example, in 2010, I was able to publicly question the chief negotiators of the New START treaty, Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov and (then) US Assistant Secretary of State, Rose Gottemoeller, during their joint briefing at the UN (during the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference). I asked them if they were familiar with the recent peer-reviewed studies that predicted the detonation of less than 1% of the explosive power contained in the operational and deployed U.S. and Russian nuclear forces would cause catastrophic changes in the global climate, and that a nuclear war fought with their strategic nuclear weapons would kill most people on Earth. They both answered “no.”

    More recently, on April 20, 2014, I asked the same question and received the same answer from the US officials sent to brief representatives of the NGOS at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee meeting at the UN. None of the US officials at the briefing were aware of the studies. Those present included top officials of the National Security Council”

    Perhaps this answers your question,
    But if they are Machiavellian enough to plot such diabolical lunacy, how can their think tanks not anticipate the wider consequences?

    We continue to have madmen running the show. I would like to think that Grant S. has it correct when he says that it’s all about the money, but sometimes I wonder if the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

  • “Show me the enemy! Neither Russia nor China has declared war against the U.S. – nor have they indicated an aggressive posture towards America. On the contrary, they both have shown a total willingness to peacefully co-exist with the West. This is the perfect historical opportunity to ELIMINATE the threat of nuclear annihilation from the planet. But by increasing and upgrading its already obese stockpile of these weapons, Washington is forcing these other countries to do the same. They are practically demanding a new Arms Race. As an example of this, look around the web and you will discover that hypersonic delivery systems that travel at 10 times the speed of sound are now being developed.”

    Naive in the extreme. Russia, China and the US are capitalist powers, as are the EU, as a unit as well as its constituent nation states, Japan and India. They are like corporations functioning within a competitive global market. Capitalists entities are as likely to “just get along” as are sharks, especially large sharks in a lagoon whose fish population is diving, as per shrinking global resources, a growing ecological crisis, and global capitalist structural crisis. Peaceful coexistence is an illusion of the worst sort as long as the dominant social/economic system remains intact.

  • Bud is right. Our thinking is a perceived threat to the NSA and their corporate masters. With that being said, I really enjoy and look forward to ULVFUGL’s napalm and grant’s mocking.

  • NZ is not well placed to assist in promotion of nuclear annihilation (other than via the idiotic posturing and ranting of John Key) but the National government will do its best to bring forward the death of everything and everyone via carbon dioxide poisoning. NZ cannot compete with China in that area -they’ve got the numbers- but NZ can still hold its own in per capita emissions and is working hard to raise them:

    ‘National will campaign hard in the regions on the back of the government’s $212 million roading commitment.

    The 14 projects are spread from Northland to Otago and Prime Minister John Key says without the funding he announced on Sunday they would have been 20 years away.

    “Of course we’ll be campaigning on these as we go around the country,” he told reporters.’

    Offering above average-interest rates is keeping the corporation that is NZ buoyant for the moment (NZ 0.88 US).

    ‘Ponzi schemes forever’ -that’s definitely a vote-winner.

  • With Ray Jason’s essay looking provocatively interesting, and likely to take up the rest of the day, I’ll drop in this link here, since I don’t want to post anymore on the previous Chia thread, and I want to find myself time to finish reading it later.

    Paul Beckwith responding from a year ago to the Skeptical Science critique of methane release theory, that I somehow missed seeing (how Time flies!), this link picked up from Guy’s Update thread.

    Interesting, in that the critic does acknowledge most of the science involved in Shakovha’s (et al) observations, but does tend to stray into some unwarranted assumptions/conclusions, which Paul deflates. At least they responded honestly, and that type of discussion ongoing among honest scientists will be the story of our demise or partial survival.

    Where Paul may, to me, seem weak is in only those areas where data is just not available or complete. And so we await more about the evolving science of Arctic melting, and the Methane Clathrate Bomb, with conclusions unlikely to be pretty.

    I need to read/learn more, and after the introduction to AMEG two years back, I realize that I am still partially in that initial state of shock/denial. I just can’t gulp it all down in one dose.

    Again, IMO, Methane IS the near-term Extinction Engine, and if it does not operate, we fall back into the many sub-loops of Mass Die-Off, but it certainly looks mostly on-track at this point to bring us to habitat loss, so discussions like Paul’s are most relevant, if painful to peruse.

  • “During the Cold War, the government mindset was that nuclear weapons would only be used in retaliation should another party use them first.”

    That is manifestly incorrect. There was one and only one country that foreswore initiating the use of nuclear weapons: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR, also referred to as “you is is are” and subsequently as “they was was ain’t”).

    “This publication, which most Americans have never even heard of,”

    One reason is that the damn thing has forever been behind a paywall. Just checked: it still is.

    ““What is this REALLY all about?””

    A rabid animal, soon to die.

    “We must stop electing and appointing them. We must start institutionalizing them.”

    Enroute to NTE, there ain’t gonna be too many institutions.

    “dedicate the immense financial resources spent on them, to a global crusade to minimize the onrushing climate change tsunami.”

    The first order of business would be to build a time machine, and go back not just forty years, but for good measure, a whole century. What we’re seeing now is the effects of the GHGs emitted in 1974. By paleoclimate observations (not models!) today’s 400+ ppm corresponds to a 4°C rise in temperature, already baked into the cake.

    “People might start valuing co-operation more than competition. Neighbors might cherish diversity instead of fearing it. Friendship and family and community might become more desired than “stuff.””

    And they could learn some useful skills for the road to NTE, such as how to dress and cook a long pig.

  • Pondering that word ‘incineration’…. look, the kind of individuals we are dealing with don’t really need nuclear weapons, conventional will work just fine. They’ve got so much crap of every possible kind that they can use, and the arms manufacturers like Raytheon, Bechtel, Lockheed can always churn out piles more just as fast as it can be used up. They’ve got lasers in orbit and bioweapons and chemical weapons, they can lay waste to the whole planet a dozen different ways and still have shit left over. a discussion of a report into high abort rates in bomber missions during World War II:

    One of the commanders was Curtis LeMay—Colonel in command of a B-24 [sic] group. He was the finest combat commander of any service I came across in war. But he was extraordinarily belligerent, many thought brutal. He got the report. He issued an order.

    He said, ‘I will be in the lead plane on every mission. Any plane that takes off will go over the target, or the crew will be court-martialed.’ The abort rate dropped overnight.

    LeMay commanded subsequent B-29 Superfortress combat operations against Japan, including massive incendiary attacks on 67 Japanese cities.

    This included the firebombing of Tokyo on the night of March 9–10, 1945, the most destructive bombing raid of the war.[12]

    For this first attack, LeMay ordered the defensive guns removed from 325 B-29s, loaded each plane with Model M-47 incendiary clusters, magnesium bombs, white phosphorus bombs, and napalm, and ordered the bombers to fly in streams at 5,000 to 9,000 feet (1,500 to 2,700 m) over Tokyo.[8][9]

    The first pathfinder airplanes arrived over Tokyo just after midnight on March 10 and marked the target area with a flaming “X.”

    In a three-hour period, the main bombing force dropped 1,665 tons of incendiary bombs, killing 100,000 civilians, destroying 250,000 buildings, and incinerating 16 square miles (41 km2) of the city.

    Aircrews at the tail end of the bomber stream reported that the stench of burned human flesh permeated the aircraft over the target.

  • Following Henry’s comment, for those who don’t know, and want to catch up, here’s stuff re Arctic sea ice and methane from a year ago, see the comments

  • Fascism as it IS in Ukraine.


  • Hi infanttyrone and thank you for reaching out.

    Tomorrow I leave for Colombia to conclude a strategic land acquisition in the northern most boundary region of the Amazon. This habitat purchase will preserve a large area and, as importantly, serve as a blocking action to prevent infiltration into this region by agents of wealthy cattle barons and multi-national Palm oil plantation corporations.

    Per your offer, I will request your email address from Guy upon my return.

    Take care.

  • I’d just like to remind everyone that, although we may speculate whether the psychotic sociopaths at the top of the pyramid are mad enough to trigger a nuclear war, we already know that they are mad enough to orchestrate continued extraction of sequestered carbon and to orchestrate its rapid conversion into deadly carbon dioxide gas which is in the process of destabilising climate systems and ocean chemistry, and is in the process of destabilising semi-sequestered methane.

    I once again raise the matter of the potency of methane to cause warming. The commonly believed relative warming factor is around 23 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide despite several official ‘upgrades’.

    ‘For example, the 20 year GWP of methane is 86, which means that if the same mass of methane and carbon dioxide were introduced into the atmosphere, that methane will trap 86 times more heat than the carbon dioxide over the next 20 years.[1]’

    I am still of the opinion that the official stance on methane is a bit of a red herring because, although molecules of methane are gradually oxidised in the atmosphere to carbon dioxide, the overall quantity does not decline because oxidised methane is being replaced by newly-released methane, or more than being replaced so there is a gradual increase in the atmospheric concentration.

    (I have yet to see any confirmation or refutation of this point.)

    Until someone can demonstrate why this is no so, I maintain that what is really important is the instantaneous forcing due to methane in the atmosphere, which is related to its instantaneous absorbance-re-radiation capacity compared to other gases and notably with carbon dioxide. I am still of the opinion that when considering the 2ppb methane currently in the atmosphere we should be thinking in terms of that methane having an effect similar to 500 to 600ppm, i.e. a relative forcing approaching 300 compared to carbon dioxide. Regrettably Paul Beckwith, one of the people best able to come up with an answer, is still silent on the matter, other than his comment to me some months ago that he had seen a figure of 250 x CO2.

    I raise this because people like Robert Scribbler continue to talk in terms of the current CO2e being 478 or 481ppm CO2e when in fact it is arguably close to 1100ppm CO2e.

    It would be good if all the people who make inane comments on NBL (and elsewhere) about the future would devote some time to becoming informed about methane and its potential to change the game very quickly.

    There is a some good news: the ‘bumpy plateau’ of atmospheric CO2 seems to have ended and the summertime decline has commenced, soon to take the level consistently below 400ppm for the first time in 3 months. Presumably we can look forward to atmospheric CO2 in the 404 to 405ppm range next May.

    The political wrangling, warmongering, money-printing, drilling for water in drought-affected regions, clean-ups from torrential rains and winds will continue through the summer. One aspect I wonder about is how Ukraine will get through the coming winter without a gas supply.

  • Good essay Ray. As to:

    I believe that there are only two ways in which humanity can actually destroy itself. One is Nuclear Annihilation and the other is through Catastrophic Climate Change.

    I think we’re doing both – we CAUSED climate change and now it’s out of our control AND we developed nuclear weaponry and the so-called “peaceful atom” uses – but they all generate toxic radioactive pollution that won’t go away, can’t be stored safely (as we’ve seen) and is now in runaway mode in Fukushima just like climate change.

    There’s no way out now even if we all cooperated (which is statistically unlikely, given the number of demented world leaders that don’t “get it”). The task is impossible – we can’t put either of these evil genies back in their bottles – and it’s going to make life unbearable and destroy our habitat (and that for all life imho) in short order. In fact climate change looks to be ramping up every year now and that pace is about to increase to even shorter time-spans. The nuclear problems of both WIPP (and many more like Hanford) and Fukushima are only going to get worse as time goes on.

    There is no fixing them and we can’t live with the consequences of either, let alone both. Just enjoy the time you have. It’s all going to end badly no matter what.

  • Would certainly be of interest and importance to expose this psychotic genocidal pathology to psychiatric evaluation. To make it to this pinnacle of power in the American system one probably requires this degree of pathology.

  • Robin Datta

    The ‘time machine’ scenario..? Robin, this has been tried so many, many times, and we still end up HERE…!

    I tried it by going back to Tycho Brahe’s time, and altering the perception of the Universe in the Western European time stream, and you know what?, we still arrive HERE. So the only solution I see viable, instead of attempting to perfect this world,( or keep it habitabl, for life, which is not available now) is to perfect and self-realise yourself, thereby outgrowing the need for an Earth-based habitat, and vehicle(Body-Mind). I only discovered late in the piece this has ever been the Way !

    Grany S and all

    I saw this movie the other day, a friend payed for me on speck, I knew nothing about it, and I felt it has something to say.
    I kind of sequel to the dynamics that let to the making of ‘Mad Max’, eg, energy depletion, peak oil, and ecological consequence of Ind. Civ. denial, but a very artistic minimalist rendition of life on the Australian fringe landscape.

    ‘ROVER – Official Full Trailer HD’

    It is a post collapse scenario, but one where ‘culture’ if it exists at all serves the resource extraction process, rather than the reverse, which most moderns have thought was the case.


  • Apologies for the reterded spelling, seems ‘letting go’ has this consequence, in the vein of how HAL loses It’s linguistic capacity as the memory blocks are redacted, in ‘2001, A Space Oddessy”
    Dave? ….You don’t have to do that Dave….I’m feeling much beffer Fave… Zeaelly, I’n all Getter Row..!

  • @ kevin moore

    According to a graphic posted recently by Sam Carana, the methane veil is not yet evenly distributed across the globe. From what I’ve read, CO2 supposedly is pretty uniform. That might well make calculating a ‘Global’ WP a pretty difficult endeavor. What we can observe is that where it is thickest, over the Arctic, the heat is on. It is also getting pretty damn warm and dry here in Northern California. While the eastern half of the US is serially pummeled by the progenitors of James Hanson’s famous Storms of our Grandchildren. I gather that most of humankind is not enjoying its weather.

    Regarding “incineration”, I think the question is overshadowed by an inadequately examined, IMHO, question of the consequences of the transition of USA to a self-proclaimed Plutocracy. We have a laboratory experiment before us in the Plutocratic Evildom of Ukraine. Where it is alleged that a plutocrat without portfolio named Kolomoisky has greater control over the punitive expedition to Donetsk and Lugansk than the plutocratic president, aptly named ‘Petro’ Poroshenko. Isn’t it always about the oil?

    So, the question in my mind is, who or how many people might have enough of the right stuff to actually get some nukes launched? My suspicion is that when the weather gets really bad, the Global Order of Plutocrats might say, what the hell, we’ve always wanted to use these things and nuclear winter can’t be any worse than this god awful heat. Can it? I think it will be a hard point to argue.

  • OzMan
    The most recent episode of an ongoing series of “sermons”. Helluva lot different from traditional theistic sermons. You may find it useful. This episode is one of many addressing consciousness. (Quite unnecessary and most assuredly quite useless for those who claim certain levels of attainment).

    Bhagavad Gita 13:22-25

    Downloading and then playing may work better than streaming and playing, particularly with iffy internet connections.

  • I have tried to access the forum twice without success, so continue here.

    ‘For example, about 11,500 years ago, averaged annual temperatures on the Greenland ice sheet warmed by around 8 °C over 40 years, in three steps of five years (see,[3] Stewart, chapter 13), where a 5 °C change over 30–40 years is more common.’

    The atmospheric CO2 concentration at the time of the 11,500-year-ago event was about 260ppm (65% of current) and atmospheric methane was well below 1ppm (about 1/3 of current).

    @Weir Bohnd

    ‘My suspicion is that when the weather gets really bad, the Global Order of Plutocrats might say, what the hell, we’ve always wanted to use these things and nuclear winter can’t be any worse than this god awful heat. Can it?’

    You could be onto something. On the other hand, it’s only a game:

  • Weir Bohnd notes “My suspicion is that when the weather gets really bad, the Global Order of Plutocrats might say, what the hell, we’ve always wanted to use these things and nuclear winter can’t be any worse than this god awful heat. Can it? I think it will be a hard point to argue.”

    This would have to follow an orderly collapse though. By the nature of collapse, it will not be orderly. It is possible some nukes will get dropped here and there, but an all out nuclear war requires a rigid system of rules and everything working. In other words, the US could start one right now, but most likely will be completely helpless to do much of anything once the economy tanks.

    It’s sort of a moot point really. The chance of nuclear war is in the hands of political hacks. The chance of runaway global warming is out of our hands and is happening now. If given the choice, I would rather be vaporized in a nuclear blast, completely unaware of what happened than starve to death in a heat wave knowing what’s coming but I don’t have that kind of luck.

  • Kevin,

    I like reading your posts. One thing that puzzles me is what you say about the black stationary that is mushrooming all about. In art school, I was taught that black and white are colors, despite their technical characteristics of having no color and comprising all colors. Artists were expected to see colors for how they affected the eye. Yet, you equate black with the apocalypse. Why?

    I’m with Grant in having a preference for sudden nuclear incineration, although I, too, tend to luck out on such things.

    I don’t see a way out of this mess. The power elite shouldn’t have let things get so far. Now they’re riding a tiger. They can’t stop doing what they’re doing, lest one of their protégées stick it to them in a weak moment. The elite have created a system of such interconnection and complexity that they can’t modify any section of it. Take out one card, and everything collapses.

    Awareness by the many, which doesn’t involve physical material or space, might be as good a first step as any.

  • Grant Schreiber said – “The goal of the wars is to enrich a couple of corporations……”

    A corporation has recently put a computer algorithm on it’s Board of Directors, with voting power. A trend in the making perhaps. Since corporations (in the USA anyway) have legal “personhood” I can see the path to giving machines legal personhood someday soon. One might wonder whether a nuclear war might be more or less likely if computers got to choose.

  • Are you looking at me?

  • @artleads

    This is taken from what I presented to NPDC in April:

    ‘Scientifically, black is the absence of colour, the ‘colour’ that absorbs light and heat and reflects very little. Black ‘takes’ and ‘gives back’ very little.

    Psychologically, culturally and existentially, black is the colour associated with (in no particular order):

    Night: danger, fear of the unseen and that which cannot be seen
    Death: black hearses used for transport of corpses
    Mourning: the traditional colour of clothing worn by widows
    Plague: The Black Death
    Spread of disease: black rats
    Gangrene: appendages turn black
    Cruelty: black torture chambers and dungeons
    Air raids: blackout curtails
    Pneumoconiosis: miners’ black lung disease
    Disease of fruit: black spot
    Decay: organic matter turns dark brown or black
    Injury and assault: being beaten black and blue
    Being punched in the face: a black eye
    Depression and suicide: being in a black mood
    Blocked skin pores: black heads
    Dampness: black mould
    Anxiety: a black cloud on the horizon
    Cheapness: bright dyes and pigments are more expensive
    Mass production: ‘any colour as long as it’s black’.
    Rogues and villains: dressed in black to avoid detection at night
    Scoundrel: a blackguard (bla-gard)
    Undisciplined mercenaries: Blackwater
    Grime and filth: Britain’s black cities
    Pollution: black smoke
    Oil spills: ‘Black death devastation: more oil soaks beaches’ (SMH)
    Evil: demons, witches, satanic rites etc.
    Piracy: skull and crossbones on a black background.
    Ignorance: being in the dark, unenlightened
    Danger: many venomous species have black/red/yellow markings.
    Fascism: The Black-shirts, the SS, the Gestapo
    Fetishes: black rubber/PVC suits, black knee-high boots
    Loss of freedom: taken away in a Black Maria
    Loss of consciousness: blackouts
    Loss of electric power: blackouts
    Impurity: the opposite of virgin white
    Transgression: a black mark against one’s name
    Superstition: black cats
    Tarnishing: silver turns black in polluted air
    Inedibility: overcooked food burnt black
    Aggression: teams dressed in black play more aggressively
    Menace: large black objects frighten humans
    Violence: Blackhawk attack helicopter, black weapons
    Subjugation: Black and tan constabulary, SWAT teams
    Market crashes: Black Tuesday, 29th October 1929
    Black Monday, 19th October 1987
    Humiliation: Black Wednesday, 16th September 1992 (UK Pound)
    Bushfires: Black Friday, Victoria, 13th January 1939
    Black Saturday, 7th February 2009
    Drowning: Black Sunday, Bondi, 5th February 1938
    Massacre: Black Friday Iran, 8th September 1978
    High radiation: black objects warm and cool quickly

    We note that the negative associations with black far outnumber the positive, arguably by at least 20 to 1. And psychologically the ramifications of blackness are difficult to measure but are clearly enormous. Indeed, very few positive associations can be made with black, Black Beauty and Black Pearl a couple of the few that are well recognised.

    For reasons that are very obscure but probably associated with cheapness and availability, a collection of rugby players who wore rather dingy clothes and played as though they were all backs became known as the All Blacks. As with most things cultural the choice of the team ‘colour’ was almost entirely arbitrary.

    Throughout most of New Zealand’s history this had little effect on the nation’s psyche, and New Zealand underwent the explosion of colour that characterised the late 1960s and 1970s.

    In recent decades however, following the corporatisation of sport, and sport being seen as a major source of profit for corporations, there has been a continuous campaign of dumbing-down the general populace and persuading them to buy any piece of crap as long as it had some spurious connection with the All Blacks. Sadly, a large portion of the populace is so uninformed and so dim-witted they fall for the ploy every time, making choices about what to eat or drink or wear on the basis of phony connections with an internationalised confidence trick and money-making scam

    In more recent times a very disturbing trend has emerged in New Plymouth: the wearing of black clothing whatever the weather or the occasion, the adoption of black as the predominant corporate colour to be worn by staff, the purchase of large numbers of black vehicles, the construction of black or dark grey buildings and the painting of existing buildings grey or black.

    The effect on the city is to deaden it and destroy any vibrancy it ever had, exacerbating the mood of gloom and despondency that prevails as the global economic system collapses and the populace comes under increasing stress.

    Additionally, visitors to the district are presented with an ever more depressing, ever more monochromatic urban setting, particularly in the CBD.

    This sinister ramming of blackness down the throat of the general populous is beginning to create a creepiness amongst the awake and the aware (admittedly only perhaps 5%, at best 10%, of the population who question what is going on).’

    In hunter-gatherer times black would have been associated with fires that killed and incinerated practically everything, fire being one of the fastest bringers-of-death for large groups of our ancestors.

    I grew up in the tail end of the age of coal: Southampton was far less filthy than most other industrial cities because it lacked heavy industry. Nevertheless, the central district was quite filthy because ‘everyone’ burned coal to keep warm, trains ran on coal, electricity was [locally] generated by burning coal and gas was [locally] made from coal.

    Humans are naturally attracted to the colours of ripe fruits, and very few plants produce truly black fruits. The excitement triggered by red almost certainly relates to the hunting and butchering aspects of hunter-gatherer existence, with meat-eating being common practice for at least 3 million years (much to the dismay of vegetarians, I suppose).

    Since adolescence I have had a great interest in human history, having grown up in a region littered with ancient remains and constructions (Danebury Hill, Stonehenge, Woodhenge, Avebury, Silbury Hill, Porchester, Fishbourne etc.). And two hours travel away was the British Museum.

    The following video confirmed much of what I believed to be true but nevertheless challenged me in a few areas. Three years ago I was thinking in terms of agriculture being ‘invented’ 12,000 years ago and civilisation emerging 8,000 years ago. Well push both of those at least 10,000 years further back into history. Ineed, when one considers that ancient people had considerable understand if thing like this:

    one can appreciate that scientific study goes back 100,000 years and civilisation, in the form of settlement and domestication, probably goes back 50,000 years.

    We might just get to the bottom of it all before we render the Earth uninhabitable, though that does depend on complex systems continuing to function for another couple of decades, which seems very unlikely.

  • Corporations exist for one purpose, to shield the owners from downside risk. If the corporation makes a profit, that profit accrues to the shareholders in proportion to their ownership in the corporation. If the corporation goes into debt, the shareholders’ liability is limited to the value of their shares. If the debt of the corporation exceeds the total value of the shares outstanding, the loss to the shareholders is the entire value of their shares; the liabilities in excess of that accrue to the corporation’s creditors: the shareholders cannot be held liable for it.

    Governments are fully complicit in the existence of corporations. Corporations exist only because they are issued charters of incorporation by governments. These charters are in effect shields under the law protecting the shareholders. No government, no charter, no corporation, no shareholders. Only partners. Each individually and personally liable. If there is any problem with corporations, the responsibility rests with the government.

  • I know guys like Ray are out there, and the earth is a better place for having them on it. Ray, I am with you in spirit, even though my little boat would have to be trailered to the coast make a get-away.

    Unfortunately, there are people in charge who are too stupid to know that the term “limited thermonuclear war” is an oxymoron. If only Bohr had stood up against the whole idea, we might be living in a different world…but I only guess that. I don’t know for sure.

    I worry about climate change more than nukes. Climate change is certain, while nukes are just another existential threat that’s been around my whole lifetime now. Of course, there are those nasty depleted uranium shells that blow up and create radioactivity even without fission. I wonder why those haven’t been outlawed by international law…oh wait, it’s because only the good guys (US and UK) use them, so it must be okay.

    So many black swans now I can’t keep count. It only takes one.

  • Not in the least surprisingly, Scott Johnson has asked me not to initiate comments that draw attention to essays or comments made at Nature Bats Last any more at Fractal Planet, and others there have agreed. Indirectly related to this, but more generally, I have tentatively concluded that for the most part the people who comment at Fractal Planet want nothing to do with any natural science that may lead them away from the older, more comfortable, linear, Newtonian, Cartesian/Baconian, patriarchal, human supremacist ways of thinking that they love so much and that has contributed so strongly over the past few hundred years to creating the irreversible self-annihilation trap we now find ourselves in. Scott has made it clear that in his opinion only that older mode of scientific thinking has sufficient worth for discussion there. Clearly, and sadly to me, the newer science, which they insist on avoiding, creates too much discomfort for them, too much cognitive dissonance, so they need to protect themselves from it. Or so it presently seems to me. Not having any interest in trying to force my views onto anyone, and realizing that we all always construct our knowledge–no one “pours it” into our heads–I will, of course, respect the request.

  • “So many black swans now I can’t keep count.”

    If it’s countable, it ain’t a “swan”, black or white – at least as defined by Taleb. Perspicacity and “swans” are mutually exclusive.

    “not to initiate comments that draw attention to essays or comments made at Nature Bats Last any more at Fractal Planet”

    “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

    – George Bernard Shaw

    Repeatedly clambering into wallows to wrestle the denizens thereof suggests affinity or kinship.

  • Both Ray & Grant make excellent points. On the whole though, I think Grant’s thinking may be on a more correct track. To put the change in nuclear policy into context, perhaps it’s nothing more than posturing in a last ditch effort to milk the last resources from the US/West. That is, it’s a show of affected blustering intended to both intimidate the opposition and rally the home crowd that is, in many ways, just the nuclear version of the ISIS crucifying ‘moderate’ rebels.

    If you view the world from a neo-con/corporatist stand-point, the name of the game is winning, regardless of the particular human livestock that may form your domestic arsenal. A recent DoD study reported that around 70% of potential inductees are unfit for military service, due mainly to physical & educational shortfalls. In other words, the tattooed, fat freaks captured in ‘people of Walmart’ are not the material anyone wants to work with in an attempt form a “winning” team.

    If that’s the case, why would neo-cons/international corporations destroy a practically virgin environment in Russia (relative to the rest of the developed world, and certainly in Siberia), if that is the one area that will provide fresh new working stock in which to control and run the world?

    It should be pretty clear to most that there is absolutely no allegiance to any political principles, cultural history, or societal convention. The MIC are currently in business in the West because the Fed can print the money to pay the bills. But if US dollar reserve status is ever significantly challenged, why wouldn’t the defense companies set up shop in Moscow if Russia begins to earn sufficient hard money in which to pay the bills.

    I for one would not be surprised if we woke up one day to discover .01% absconded with the loot and landed in Moscow & Beijing. In fact, the day the Fed lets the dollar crash will probably be the signal for anyone with means to get out of Dodge pronto.

  • Even before we get to the final inning, Nature is hittin’em pretty good.

    If these storms don’t stop soon, next year’s menu may bear little resemblance to our customary fare.

  • Kevin,

    I don’t know if you looked up “the color ‘black'” in Wikipedia. I just did and copied the introduction here. The page is full of fairly complex and respectfully considered issues around the color black, including those of race, outer space, and 20th century high fashion (the latter having largely guided my appreciation for the color). “Dark matter” is also something I associate with awesomeness.

    “Black is the color of coal, ebony, and of outer space. It is the darkest color, the result of the absence of or complete absorption of light. It is the opposite of white and often represents darkness in contrast with light.[1]

    Black was one of the first colors used by artists in neolithic cave paintings. In the 14th century, it began to be worn by royalty, the clergy, judges and government officials in much of Europe. It became the color worn by English romantic poets, businessmen and statesmen in the 19th century, and a high fashion color in the 20th century.

    In the Roman Empire, it became the color of mourning, and over the centuries it was frequently associated with death, evil, witches and magic. As in the Western World today, it is also the color most commonly associated with mourning, evil, magic, the end, violence, power, secrets, and elegance.[2]”

    I find your posts very clear and usually charming. But the way you see black is still a puzzle even after I read much of your long (appreciated) response. I suspect it would puzzle others in your community as well and detract from your important message. But you know best. I’m lousy at arguments, so won’t go into the subject again, since I gather that you are strongly convinced of your case. Thanks for sharing, Kevin. Best wishes to you.

  • If you really think about it, the entire history of the human race consists of ” I’m going to kill you and take your stuff. “

  • @ Kurt

    Yes, the whole story is soaked in blood. But there have been bright periods, when some people have risen above that level and in Europe, we did have a majority of decent, honourable people who wanted no more of this killing and horror.

    I watched that ghastly video of the fascists in Ukraine. There was no need for any of that to have occurred. That was instigated deliberately by the State Department in Washington and by the CIA. It could just as easily have been prevented as provoked. But they wanted it to happen and made certain that it did happen, and have been pushing hard to force more violence and brutality ever since.

    The fact that European Governments and most media are silent and complicit is sickening and a crime and will have terrible consequences for all of us, because the small achievement, that rising above the norm, is being lost. We all get dragged back into the nightmare, by a few evil people.

    Yesterday I suddenly realized that this is not the first time that this question is dividing the Russian society. During the European invasion of Russia under Napoleon (of the almost 700’000 soldiers which invaded Russia in 1812 only about half were French: the rest were from almost all the other European nations, mostly Germans and Poles) the very same issue divided Russian society. At the time both Field Marshal Barclay de Tolly and later Field Marshal Mihail Kutuzov were fiercely criticized for their policy of retreating before Napoleon’s armies. Unlike what happened during WWII where the Soviet retreat was not planned but forced by a stunningly successful German attack, the Russian retreat in the War of 1812 was completely deliberate and, I would argue, logical. Things got so ugly that Barclay de Tolly (who was an ethnic Scotsman) was accused of being a coward and a secret agent for Napoleon. When the “ethnically correct” Russian Kutuzov (who had served with distinction under the most famous Russian general of all times, Alexander Suvorov, and whose patriotism and courage could not be put in doubt) was appointed to replace Barclay de Tolly, he decided to follow exactly the same strategy. In fact, Kutuzov ordered the Russian army to retreat as far as the small town of Borodino, roughly 120km west Moscow, before engaging the armies of Napoleon in a huge battle. The outcome of the battle was arguably a mutual bloodbath and a draw (I would call it a tactical victory for the French and an operational-strategic victory for the Russians), Kutuzov further pulled back his forces and gave up Moscow without firing a single shot! Pushed by his hubris and ego, Napoleon took the bait and entered Moscow waiting for the Russian side to hand him the keys of the city. The Russians never showed up and, after waiting (and using the Kremlin’s churches as stables for his horses!), the “Grande Armée” began a hideous retreat. From the 690,000 men that comprised the initial invasion force, only 93,000 survived (barely, at the Berezina the European army was almost surrounded!) By March of 1814 the Russian army was camping in Paris and Talleyrant had to give the keys of Paris to the Russian Czar Alexander I.

    @ Robin Datta

    Thanks for posting that Peter Wadhams video.

    Seems to me, the ‘pessimists’, many here, who envisage 4 deg C plus, and NTE, very soon, are only separated from the ‘optimists’, who expect 4 deg C plus by the end of the century, or perhaps earlier, by what amounts to around half a person’s expected life span. Approximately.

    So, worst case versus best case, whichever it is, it’s down to just one generation, now, to cope with this.

    The whole burden of it is on them. Most of them do not even know it is happening.

  • @artleads

    Thanks for your thoughts. If I said I see things other people do not see, would that sounded elitist? Sadly, it often seems to be the case. However, there is a lot more to this than I copied and pasted in my previous explanation.

    No, I didn’t look at the Wikipedia black page but it is in line with what I wrote (phew!).

    Black was obviously one of the first colours used in art because charcoal is readily obtained by burning wood. Charcoal, chalk, iron ore, clay.

    ‘In the 14th century, it began to be worn by royalty, the clergy, judges and government officials in much of Europe.’

    I believe the wearing of black was part of a strategy to intimidate and control the masses in the very hierarchical societies of those times. Even in modern times the wearing of black uniforms is geared to intimidation and aggression, as detailed in the Frank and Gilovich, Cornell, study of 1988.

    What I did not emphasise previously is the cult of the All Blacks, which has a very unhealthy influence in NZ society. Anyone prepared to allow themselves, is constantly bombarded with commercialised sport, mostly centred around the All Blacks. And John Key, psychotic sociopath and saboteur that he is, has been promoting a change of the national flag to a black flag for NZ. I am no fan of the present flag, but it is far preferable to that suggested by Key.

    I see an unrelenting attack on anything that is good or wholesome being led by John Key in the name of opportunism, short term speculative profits and social control but disguised as national unity blah, blah, blah. And we know where we have seen that before.

    I hardly ever watch television these days but when I did there was a nearly endless stream of drivel about the All Blacks. And for those caught up in yachting, even that was all black. Air NZ colours used to be white green and blue. Guess what: all black. One does not need television to be bombarded by blackness: bookshop displays; clothing shop displays, supermarket displays; council offices…… It’s everywhere people think there’s a buck to be made. And vehicles, buildings, and clothing. Six months ago (at the height of summer) young men and women dressed head-to-foot in black. Truly bizarre.

  • @ kevin, artleads

    In art school, I was taught that black and white are colors..

    I have also been to art college where I was taught several different colour theories, all of which stated that black and white are not colours and that no painter who was educated would ever use pure black or pure white, from a tube, except under very unusual circumstances for a specific purpose.

    I always find myself wincing inwardly when see pure black or white in a picture. It says to me that the artist is an amateur and visually illiterate.

    Painters who are fluent with colour know that the weight, tone, temperature, whatever – just as with words in language – of colours, is dependent on the context. This is to do with how our eyes work. It’s easily demonstrated. Colours can be completely changed by changing an adjacent colour.

    I tend to agree with kevin, that, symbolically, in ‘western’ culture black is associated primarily with formality and with death. Funerals, formal concerts, etc.

  • Kurt

    You wrote,
    “”I’m going to kill you and take your stuff. “”

    There must have been quite a long time inside the watershed with homonids saying(grunt translator):
    “Hey buddy, How yer doinn’? What do you need?”

    There’s been sooooo much cooperation, just doesn’t get seen in the archaeology and artifacts, perhaps.

  • Vegas doesn’t have to worry about Incineration. They are about to dry up and blow away.

    Bye, Bye, Vegas!

    Talk about good timing on the Waterbearers article!

    Sadly, I have been banned from ZH for too much PLUGGING. 🙁 LOL.

    What kind of DIMWIT would buy property in this neighborhood?

    Answer: CELINE DION!

    For those of you who do not recall, Celine sang the theme song to the film TITANIC.

    Chalk this one up as one of the ultimate ironies of all time.


  • “For those of you who do not recall”

    For those who do not watch the stuff, it is impossible to recall.

    The only time one might watch the stuff is if its makers want one to see it. If that were the case, those makers would not only offer to pay one for seeing their product, but invite by personal letter those they want to see that product.

  • Josef Albers, one of the Bauhaus leaders who came to the US and set up the art programs at Black Mountain College and Yale, emphasized the relative nature of color too, how what color you see depends on its context. Something that is black in one context could be gray in the next. True for all color. Some of the “black” work in the link.

    Ad Reinhardt, a famous Albers student went on to do all black and all white paintings. Not to say that he’s one of my favorite painters, however. 🙂

    I believe that TPTB to which Kevin refers are thoroughly wicked people, and that they’ve latched on to black as a result of how (and how limitedly) they interpret the color. But I wouldn’t make their limitations influence me too much. One could just as well say that red was an evil, bloody color, not to be sanctioned. The Ethiopian flag has red, yellow and green horizontal bands. In times of war, the red went on top. Otherwise, it went at the bottom. There’s is/was an ancient and cohesive culture compared with NZ. So something is happening in NZ with the color black that I don’t understand in cultural terms. But I’m clearer now why Kevin is taking on the issue.

  • kevin: your mention of a black flag for NZ caused me to remember a band by the name of Black Flag who played on an album with a bunch of other bands to make the soundtrack for the movie Repo-man. One of the bands was Fear who put out this song:

    Let’s Have A War

    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many

    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many

    Let’s have a war
    So you can go and die
    Let’s have a war
    We could all use the money

    Let’s have a war
    We need the space
    Let’s have a war
    Clean out this place

    It already started in the city
    Suburbia will be just as easy

    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many

    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many

    Let’s have a war
    Jack up the Dow Jones
    Let’s have a war
    It can start in New Jersey

    Let’s have a war
    Blame it on the middle-class
    Let’s have a war
    We’re like rats in a cage

    It already started in the city
    Suburbia will be just as easy

    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many

    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many

    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many

    Let’s have a war
    Sell the rights to the networks
    Let’s have a war
    Let our wallets get fat like last time

    Let’s have a war
    Give guns to the queers
    Let’s have a war
    The enemy’s within

    It already started in the city
    Suburbia will be just as easy

    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many

    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many

    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many

    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many

  • @Tom.


    I needed an antidote after that.

  • Except for the first article which concerns Texas asking the EPA for permission to use a restricted herbicide to kill so-called superweeds (they never learn), the next two full pages of articles on seemorerocks site are devoted to the Ukraine situation and a mention of the Israeli response to finding three of their teens dead – bomb the shit out of the Gaza strip. War, war and more war. There is one article noting Japan’s huge turn-out opposing the war rhetoric and expansion of Abe’s nationalism and provocation of China.

    If you want an update on the political situation:

  • “If it’s countable, it ain’t a “swan”, black or white – at least as defined by Taleb. Perspicacity and “swans” are mutually exclusive.”

    Excuse me, they’re closer now and I can see that they’re vultures.

  • The Value of a Barrel of Oil

    For 4-5 thousand years, civilizations have relied upon slave labor to increase productivity of government or the slave owner.

    Since oil plays the role of ‘slave’ in today’s economy, how much is that slave worth in human labor?

    In an article posted on The Oil Drum, September 20, 2013, Nate Hagens does a technical analysis of the ‘value’ of oil and notes that in a simplistic energy expenditure equation, a barrel of oil is worth ~$200,000 in human labor.

    This is the essence of our dilemma. In exchange for $105 barrel of oil we get $200,000 in human labor output. It is irresistible. It has been too irresistible!

    If we were to rely on solar, electrical consumption would have to reduced by factor of five or so, which is possible, but it does not matter any more.


    Twenty (Important) Concepts I Wasn’t Taught in Business School – Part I
    (Part II does not appear to have been published.)

    How Fossil Fuels Subsidize Us

    Got Storage? How Hard Can It Be?

  • From the comments :

    Guy McPherson has a site that I don’t recommend visiting because it can only lead to mental health problems. The site is devoted to arguing that humans are going extinct in the next few decades, and the problem is that there is actual, hard to dismiss evidence for this.

  • @kevin moore

    Thanks for the YT show. Not sure how seriously to take it after seeing the lineup on his YT channel, but maybe he does a mix of serious and comedic clips. Here are a couple funny ones that caught my attention. I love the end of the second one where he’s talking about all of our old freedoms.

  • kevin moore

    No disrespect Kevin, but the issue of a colour having universal(human) meaning was tried in the early Modernist Art/Semiotics movement, and was bunk, in my view.
    Chinese use white to mark Death and Mourning rituals, so do Nepalese from memory.
    Black has a framing in the Abrahamic religious culture, not least the ones calling themselves Christians – after a historical man called Jesus – and they tend to co-mingle black with Evil, and white/light with purity and all things Divine.

    This Divine we write of probably doesn’t even care about colour!
    Blacked skinned Native peoples, – or- those who saw fit to stay close to their watershed, could probably also tell some tales about ‘others’ interpretation of what Black means, but I stress the arbitrary use of a colour imprint in the Human consciousness fadangly Body/Mind thingy is a little out there, IMHO.

    That’s not to say your asserted associations are not applicable to many people, but just that they are coming from cultural conditioning, and in a colony ship, somewhere in space, they would not arise any more frequently than the other permutations of what colour means what to whom.

    Just sayin.
    I still spell ‘colour’ with a ‘U’ like I wuz tort tu ‘n’ s-cool! not how I’m correctrd by a confuser lexicon from Merica

  • @ulvfugl

    Thanks for the link.

    I’m sure you noticed that those methane decay curves rather conveniently do not extend fully to the y axis and that the phase of highest absorbance-reradiation is conveniently missing.

    Let it not be commonly recognised that methane has the potential to bring life-as-we-know-it to a rather rapid end, or that carbon dioxide emissions are the major cause of releasing the methane bomb: that would be just too bad.

    Reading through those comments confirms that many people’s understanding of ecology is on a par with their understanding of chemistry -more or less zero.

    Mauna Loa CO2 400.69ppm (30th June). Panic postponed for 12 months.

  • Ozman

    Some time ago the women’s rest rooms in the New Plymouth CBD were painted black. That is the walls and the roof. I visited a church a while ago and discovered the outside of the building had been painted black, inside walls had been painted black, there was black carpet black furniture, black signage, and predominantly black literature. Electrical transformer boxes which have been green since the day they were installed (decades ago) have been painted black. Almost everyone on the staff of NPDC wears black.

    I witnessed the painting of a mural around the lift entrance in Puke Ariki; black on white, with numerous images of violence, death and destruction -kiwi bird being shot, fists coming together, sliced up animals, ‘Def through misadventure’ (which I pointed out to the artist does not refer to loss of hearing) etc. One friend (trained psychologist) described it as occult. Another described it as macabre. When I discussed it all with my brother (who still lives in England) he could not believe that people would paint buildings black. believe me; there is a deep sickness which is being foisted on NZ society.

    ‘Conspiracy theorists’ say that TPTB try things out in NZ (small, isolated population, easily controlled via the media) to see what the reaction of the population is, e.g. deregulation, selling off of state assets etc. that were done in the mid-80s.

    Whatever lies behind it all, I have never seen such blackness before, never in my entire life. It is quite creepy moving about the CBD these days seeing black buildings, black vehicles, most people dressed in black, eating food that comes in black packaging etc.

    And I was an adolescent when this was on telly in Britain:

  • Infant:

    Damn it bro, u are the best.

  • kevin moore,

    Though the decay curves shown do not show the peak, it is obviously much higher than the 10 year value, which Shindell showed to be 130. I have seen the number 1000 given, but it could have been a typo.

    IMHO, the IPCC numbers are meaningless in the real world. They would be appropriate only to a world where methane is released in short duration pulses occurring less frequently than the chosen time frames. On this planet at this time methane is streaming into the atmosphere at a rate at least equal or greater than the rate of decay. That would seem to be the equivalent of a zero rate of decay. If the undecayed value is 1000, it’s gonna be a hot time in the old town soon.

    Another curious thing I just found was a NOAA report in 2010 that stratospheric water vapor was declining since 2000. They posited that it must be failure of tropical storms to lift as much water into the stratosphere as they apparently had been doing. The alternate source of H20 at those heights is decay of methane. We know the methane is increasing. I am wondering if perhaps the hydroxyl molecules are in short supply thus slowing the decay rate and producing less H20.

  • @Weir Bohnd

    The lower stratospheric water vapour level you mentioned is almost certainly linked to increased absorption of energy in the lower atmosphere and its re-radiation downwards, thereby cooling the upper atmosphere relative to times when there was less absorption-re-radiation in the troposphere. Carbon dioxide, methane and numerous other greenhouse gases were at considerably higher concentrations in 2010 than in 2000. And, although CH4 (16) tends to diffuse fairly quickly towards the stratosphere, CO2 (44) tends to hang around in the lower part of the atmosphere even if it is belched out of a blast furnace at 500oC.

    ‘IMHO, the IPCC numbers are meaningless in the real world. They would be appropriate only to a world where methane is released in short duration pulses occurring less frequently than the chosen time frames. On this planet at this time methane is streaming into the atmosphere at a rate at least equal or greater than the rate of decay. That would seem to be the equivalent of a zero rate of decay. If the undecayed value is 1000, it’s gonna be a hot time in the old town soon.’

    I have to agree with practically all you have written since it corresponds with my thoughts, the only difference being that I estimate the relative factor for methane to be around 300 x CO2, as opposed to the 1,000 you conjecture. Either number is grim.

    It certainly is getting warm. I knew from my own observations (little snow on the mountain, cycling round town in t-shirt and shorts) and checking data that this was coming:

    ‘Hot off the press — or to be precise, Jim Salinger’s laptop: June 2014 was the warmest June in New Zealand since 1870, 2ºC above the 1971-2000 average, as measured by the long term “seven stations series” originally devised by Salinger and maintained by NIWA. On the larger 24 station series the month tied with 2003 at 2.1ºC above the 1971-2000 average. Many stations recorded warmest ever Junes, including Dunedin with 8.7ºC, +1.7°C above average, Invercargill with 7.8ºC (+2.2°C), Kaitaia (14.5, +1.7), Tauranga Aero (13.1, +2.4), Masterton Aero (9.8, +2.3), and Hokitika Aero (+10.4, +2.4). Jim points out that NZ warming is most clearly seen in the winter months (and expressed in the snow and ice record) but often escapes notice because a warm winter month is still “cool” compared with the seasons around it.

    As noted, people won’t really notice the warming trend until February.

    As for lack of H2O in the stratosphere being a consequence of low OH, I’m not with you on that aspect. Even surges of methane are only measured in ppb, and would have negligible effect on water vapour concentration.

    On the other hand, 2oC warmer, as we have just experienced in NZ, would have a profound effect on atmospheric water vapour, and hence promote additional warming.

    One aspect I find irritating is that continued use of ‘line of best fit’ (linked graph) when it is not a line but is a curve. And the curve is trending rapidly upward. Dare one extrapolate the points for the last three years?

  • Found part 3 published today.

    Climate Change & Human Extinction PART 3 Are we Smart, Clever or just Conceited?

    Climate Change & Human Extinction PART 2 – Guy Mc Pherson

    Climate Change and Human Extinction- PART 1

  • @ kevin.

    I think the quality of the article and the comments, rather low.

    Your understanding of the atmospheric chemistry of methane is ahead of mine, perhaps you could explain something about the significant difference, as I understand it, of the local effects of methane, which are very different to the generalised effect of CO2.
    As I understand it, methane can cause local, low level atmospheric warming in the Arctic, albeit temporary, before it decays. Is that correct ?
    And then at higher levels, can exhaust the supply of OH because the chemistry works differently, because of the low polar temperatures ? Something to that effect ? So the methane can last much longer before it decays.

  • @ulfugl

    I was about to turn off and go do something else when you comment arrived.

    ‘As I understand it, methane can cause local, low level atmospheric warming in the Arctic, albeit temporary, before it decays.’

    I believe that is very much the case.

    In the Arctic Sea, if a methane bubble erupts through the water surface, its concentration will be close to 1,000,000ppm. As the lighter-than -air methane molecules drift upwards they will absorb energy radiated (or reflected) by the surface corresponding to bond vibrations and re-emit that energy in all directions, causing some of it to be directed downwards, thereby causing local warming.

    The following day most of the methane molecules will still be methane molecules but will now be dispersed and higher in the atmosphere, and will still be absorbing-reradiating, still in the same region they were released from unless winds are exceptionally strong.

    A week later most of the methane molecules will still be methane molecules, and will be high in the atmosphere, though a few will have interacted with OH ions or radicals and been oxidised to CO2, which will than continue to absorb-reradiate, but much less than methane. The CO2 would be expected to descend though the atmosphere until it finds its gravitational-diffusion equilibrium.

    Since slitting of H2O and splitting O2 require energy, and this is normally coming from sunlight the polar winter leads to low levels OH, O, O3 etc. By the same token, methane releases would normally be low in winter, unless triggered by other factors, e.g. Gulf Stream warmth.

    Eventually methane molecules released from a particular polar eruption would be fairly evenly distributed around the globe until completely oxidised to carbon dioxide, 8? 12? 20? 100? years later.

    The matter of swamping the natural oxidation system has been discussed before. Theoretically, if enough methane were released it would mop up a huge portion of the available OH in the atmosphere, and that would have the effect of prolonging the life of methane molecules, allowing them to act at 300 times the effect of carbon dioxide.

    One would hope that someone somewhere is doing research into all these aspects -the most appropriate value to use as a warming factor for CH4, its residence time, the effect of burps on residence time etc.

    It may be of no significance but we do know that a release of methane was detected off to the east of NZ and that ocean temperatures in that part of the Pacific were several degrees above normal.

    Everything is connected: the tilt of the Earth’s axis and the cycle of that tilt, the elliptical orbit and its cycle, bursts of solar radiation, the Earth’s magnetic field, how much crap humans discharge into the atmosphere, tourist flights to Antarctica, economic growth in China, chopping down jungles to make way for palm trees or soya bean plantations……..

  • ‘the day the Fed lets the dollar crash’ -b9k9

    i don’t think the ‘masters of the universe’, the ‘MIC’, are all that u have them cracked up to be. i think there’s more than a bit of a ‘wizard of oz’ element to them, basically they have same vulnerabilities/limitations/flaws we’re all intimately familiar with as humans. so i’m not assuming that the fed will be pulling the strings when the dollar crashes and burns. sometimes shit happens that even the fucking fed can’t predict or control, obviously. if this weren’t the case, those motherfuckers would hold on to power for eternity.

    kevin, that was some fascinating info. on the color black u presented. i didn’t know any of it previously. here in amerikkka, to the best of my knowledge, black hasn’t been dominating fashions recently. mmmm. that’s odd. i don’t know much of new zealand culture, but i wouldn’t have thought of it as being more aggressive than the usa (later i saw your post that speculates that little new zealand may serve as a guinea pig of cultural manipulation by tptb… interesting.)

  • kevin moore

    It seems like you are witnessing the beginning of the ‘Slide to Black’ there in NZ.
    Perhaps it is also as a result of the Earthquake morale shattering many. How do you fight earthquakes? You can’t so it looks grim.

    Or perhaps black paint is cheeper at the moment.
    it is also a very easy and non committee time using up decision by a poorly trained beurocrat to choose black, next to beige it is neutra,(but does definitly effect human mood). So I think it is likely a sign of the lack of money in general for all those decision meetings on the minutae of what stuf should get changed into, at least when public buildings are concerned. As for clothing, it may be people are just falling into line.
    You could try reverse psychology, and comment on everyones loverly colourful …somethingor other, and it may just appear!
    Watching carefully now here in Afraidia to see it the contageon passes the Straits.

  • That graph that everyone uses regarding the GWP of methane is not even about warming. It’s about decay of methane. If methane has decayed, it no longer IS methane. Is that so hard to understand? Apparently it is. The question is, as Kevin keeps trying to point out, is what is the warming potential of the existing methane relative to CO2, a very simple question. The graph doesn’t even show what the warming is AT THE PRESENT TIME, which is what really matters. Liars are everywhere. They are called humans.

  • @ kevin

    Thanks so much. That’s very helpful.

    So I imagine clouds of methane, rising from the sea water, all around the Arctic, and from the land, all around the N. hemisphere, where the peat is decaying as the permafrost melts, and this methane will be increasing local warming, and this is quite separate from overall global CO2 warming, and needs to be considered as a discrete problem, in its own right.

    And then we have Nitrous Oxide warming…another can of worms that does not get much publicity.

    Arctic Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

  • It is clear that some people in Washington believe that the US can win a nuclear war. In fact, there was an article published several years ago in Foreign Affairs, which is the principle journal of the Council on Foreign Relations – an influential collection of strategic analysts and former government officials. And they said the US is so far ahead of Russia in nuclear weaponry, that we can very easily attack Russia and suffer no retaliation. So, you have people that think that way.

    VOR: But that experiment could cost us a planet.

    That’s exactly it! But look at WW I. Look how many empires it cost. It cost the Tsar — Russia and its empire. It cost the Austrian-Hungarians, it destroyed them. It destroyed the German ruling family. The war left Great Britain dependent on US financial support.

    VOR: Yes, true. But there were no nuclear weapons at that time.

    There is big propaganda that you can actually use nuclear weapons. I’m trying to combat that. I had recently on my site articles by various scientists pointing out that nobody wins.

    VOR: I’m absolutely amazed at how the Department of State is handling its own propaganda, there is no real argumentation whatsoever. Why? Is it that they no longer care to look credible?

    It is just the power. American foreign policy, how does it work? It is always based on coercion or threats, bribes. If a bribe doesn’t work, you use a threat. I mean, one of the main purposes of the NSA spying on the world is to be able to blackmail all the government leaders. And they do that very effectively. Everybody has got something they don’t want known. So, they use bribes, bags full of money. First of all, Washington buys the foreign leaders. If there is any holdout, they topple them, like Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi. There have been several in South America that they’ve simply just assassinated, because they wouldn’t obey. So, the foreign policy of the US is a policy based on force. It is not based on diplomacy or persuasion. It is based on brutal force.

    What does the State Department tell people – do what we say or we will bomb you into the Stone Age. Remember? They told that to the Pakistani leader. Do what we say. Now!

    So, if you have that type of attitude, it doesn’t matter whether you tell the truth or tell lies, because you are the ruler, you are the one, you are the Caesar. And what you say goes, true or false. And so, it is not important to you that it is true, because you are not working on a diplomatic level.

  • At least most of the people here seem to be in agreement: the instantaneous warming factor for methane is an important number, yet nobody in a position to do anything about it seems at all bothered.

    I have now decided to take the pragmatic approach; wait till October and see how things stand them. There is much evidence that the sea ice melt graph is about to ‘go vertical’ but we’ve been fooled before.

    (That also applies to the unravelling of the banksters’ Ponzi global Ponzi scheme.)

  • Kevin Moore –

    I have been reading the back and forth about the color black with interest. When talking about things such as all of the different pamphlets and pieces of literature being produced in black, my feeling is that it is most definitely done with some purpose in mind. Any thing that is produced for public consumption that has a PR firm behind it will be made to try and make people feel and behave a certain way.

    As for individuals painting things black,I imagine there are a whole range of reasons for that.I have a friend that has a 250 acre property and an old farm house. He lives to protect and feed the animals that live there (Much to the chagrin of the locals in the area).There are families of Black Bears that come right up to the house daily – Moose,Turkeys,Bobcats,Ravens,Geese,Coyotes and a whole host of birds and small mammals.
    It truly is a sight to see.

    When I first visited his house I was extremely surprised to find the inside of the first floor of the house was entirely in black. Wall,ceilings,fridge,oven,carpets,curtains,etc.

    When he explained why, it was instantly obvious. With no competing color for stimulation,what was happening outside through the windows became the focus of every room,like a vibrant living mural.

  • “Everything is connected: the tilt of the Earth’s axis and the cycle of that tilt, the elliptical orbit and its cycle, bursts of solar radiation, the Earth’s magnetic field, how much crap humans discharge into the atmosphere, tourist flights to Antarctica, economic growth in China, chopping down jungles to make way for palm trees or soya bean plantations……..”

    Nicely put.


    Been thinking some of that about TPTB myself. If they’re human they’re vulnerable. I guess compassion must be applied to all.


    NICE point about reverse psychology! Why wait for someone else to help us? Maybe asking local art institutions to weigh in on the black trend could shed some light as well(pun intended).

  • I’ve posted a new essay, courtesy of RE, along with a few additional tidbits. Catch is all here.

  • artleads

    OK. This idea comes from some studies in the 60’s and 70’s on leadership and herd behaviour.
    A uni tutor was trying to show a class the power of positive reinforcment. She told them to look out the window and look at what colour the other students in the campus quadrangle were wearing. They noted a lot of colours.
    She asked them to go up to known aquaintences and friends for one month and positivly reinforce any aparel that they were wearing that was red. Mentioning the colour red was part of it. They were not to overdo it, say something complimentary and move on.
    At the end of the month, looking out the tutorial windo they witnessed a sea of red.
    That is what i heard. Could be a bit overdone, but we get the drift.

    I don’t think it is going to be so simple as saying to all and sundry that :
    “Yes Climate Change is reversing”

    What a pitty, but you never know it might be the only thing that could.

  • Oz Man,

    I didn’t mean it in the lab-experiment sense. I tell people what I genuinely like about their activities. There’s usually something. I want to make the things I like larger, and the reverse.

    But thanks for that study. It’s useful.