Bits from Reese Jones and Bud Nye, and an Idea from Daniel Drumright

In the End, What REALLY Matters

by Reese Jones

This is my new favourite video of Dr. McPherson. But then, all the new videos are my favourite. Each brings with it new clarity and insight. But this one is especially thought-provoking as it can show us how to release fear, uncertainty and dread whilst helping us to find recovery, rebirth and redemption as we all face a seemingly dangerous and precarious future.

It begins with the rather provocative revelation that recycling doesn’t MATTER. It NEVER mattered, says Dr. McPherson. And then, he moves on to discuss what really DOES matter. It isn’t recycling.

For the time we have left which may be longer (or shorter) than we think, we can have a road-map to fulfillment no matter our age or family status despite our ominous future. It is our choice; we CAN reject the pain and embrace the gain, or we can wallow in desperation and despair and collapse to the wayside.

As for the discussion on $10 per hour … ten dollars is an honest wage. But in the United States, it’s barely enough to meet basic needs and is often supplemented by governmental services such as food stamps and medical assistance. Many companies spend little as possible on their employees and as MUCH as possible on senior dividends and bonuses. This contributes to the ongoing controversy of a living wage. In no way do we disparage anyone’s wages or profession. In my humble estimation, we and our labours are all, pretty much priceless. Whenever one gives me the fruit of his labours, he gives me a part of himself.

A new video will be up soon. Thank you for watching, and your comments are very much appreciated.

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What “Purpose” Do I Have?

by Bud Nye

This essay lays a foundation for another one to follow titled “How do I respond to inevitable collapse?” By “purpose” in the title of this essay, I do not refer to any kind of supposed theistic or human directedness. My concerns lie with life here on this known Earth, in this known existence, not with an alleged afterlife of a supposed “soul” that can, presumably, escape death if I live according to some religious group’s favorite set of rules allegedly dictated by a directing God somewhere “out there”. When I use the word “purpose”, here, I mean for it to refer to functioning in nature that produces a common end result for all living and non-living processes. The title asks the question, “What end result does my life have on Earth, and what does it have in common with all other living and non-living processes on Earth?”

Here I tell a story that most readers will probably find strange and unfamiliar. Unfortunately, in telling this story I immediately confront a major problem. As Einstein suggested, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”. Making this as simple as possible, but not simpler, seems an especially difficult task, here, because of the abstract nature of  some of the concepts I will discuss, plus the lack of background knowledge that most readers will bring to the subject. Despite these difficulties, I have decided to do my best to meet Einstein’s test. I hope that most readers will not feel overwhelmed with too many new ideas and words.

System

In much natural science the concept of a “system” proves vital. This word generally refers to some group of interrelated elements comprising a larger whole. How one defines or draws a boundary line around the interrelated elements under discussion has massive influence on the nature of any discussion and the outcome of any study. For example, suppose that we want to study a frog. In doing this, we might define the frog system as only the frog within the boundaries of its skin, we might include its surroundings up to and including the glass walls of its terrarium, we might include the pond it lives in, or we might consider the frog system as including the entire forest it lives in as defined by several highways several miles apart. Clearly, the nature of our discussion about the frog, the results of any study we do, and the conclusions we draw, will differ significantly depending the system boundaries we draw!

Notice this as well: the boundaries we draw—the system we define—remains entirely arbitrary! Consider the implications of this: what holds true for the frog in a system defined one way may not hold true for it in a system defined another way. For example, if we start with a living frog system defined exclusively by its skin as the system boundary, we will very soon find that we have a dead frog. (Certainly in studying dead frogs we can learn much about many things, but, clearly, dead frogs differ significantly from living frogs.) So, especially concerning life, the system we focus our attention on matters!

One of the tactics scientists sometimes use involves setting up and studying “closed” systems. For example, classical thermodynamics studies the world under highly specific conditions. They construct isolated systems that have no contact with events outside their walls and that often have a reversibility characteristic. This simplifying idealization does allow for solving many problems that would otherwise remain intractable. Meanwhile all systems in the real world—not temporarily constructed by some people—work as open, irreversible systems. All living and non-living processes, including living organisms and all known, functioning ecosystems, trade both matter and energy across their boundaries. A few examples include cities, automobiles, stars, nuclear power plants, trees, mice, bacteria, and all humans.

All of this points to a serious limitation and problem found in much of natural science: its arbitrary, over-simplifying nature: its reductionism. In the real world outside of our heads, everything appears to connect with everything else in complex ways, but in using the science of Bacon, Descartes, and Newton we arbitrarily draw boundaries in order to simplify this interconnected complexity of the universe. Scientists love to construct and work with systems that give repeatable results, and they tend to discard systems that seem too complex or that have too many variables. Then, to add insult to injury, we often generalize from what we have learned about the parts we disconnected to the infinitely more complex and interconnected whole. We often erroneously assume that the same principles that apply to a closed or partially closed system also apply to open systems. In some cases universal principles do generalize, but in many cases the principles do not prove so universal after all. Given all of this, it seems to me that the system concept does have much value and much power—and we need to use it with great caution, always remaining aware of its many weaknesses and limitations. But with vast wishful thinking and arrogance, far too often we do not exercise the needed caution, certainly not concerning the biosphere that produced and supports us and all other life: Earth.

Some people may disagree with me, but I conclude from this that, even though it appears to in the short term and in many limited situations, natural science cannot and does not give us the knowledge and power over nature that so many people who love the science, philosophy, and values of Bacon, Descartes, Newton so strongly wish. It definitely does not confer that knowledge and power concerning the longer-term, broader processes on Earth. Meanwhile, by far the most important reason that so many people support and work in natural science involves the power and control that it appears to confer to individuals and to groups of people. Herein, I think, lies much of the resistance that many people have to more holistic science: holistic science often threatens the sense of personal control that many people wish to believe they have in life as well as the control that they wish to believe humans, in general, have in life.

Energy

Question: In the most fundamental sense from a natural scientific perspective, how do we best describe humans and life in general? What “purpose” do we have? To the best of our present knowledge, the short, way-too-simple answer to this question appears to look something like this: Life, including human life, works as an energy-based, dissipative, gradient-reducing, metastable process. But what does this twelve-word, anticlimactic answer mean? To begin to answer this question, the reader must construct some basic energy and thermodynamics concepts.

What does the word “energy” point to in the universe and as we use it in natural science? Actually, no one really knows, but here I will use energy to refer to a measurable, massless, fluid-like quantity inherent in all change processes. This quantity, energy,interchanges with mass through Einstein’s famous equation, E = Mc2, but it differs from mass and does not have any mass. We know of only ONE energy, and it has different storage and transfer mechanisms. Because we know of only one energy, I do not write in terms of different “forms” of energy, or different “energies”, in the plural, as so many authors so often do, which produces great conceptual confusion for many people.

Energy occurs on Earth stored in many ways, many modes. The same, one energy gets passed to different kinds of storage. The storage modes most important for most people most of the time include: mechanically (through kinetic movement, including mechanical waves such as sound), chemically (as in food and gasoline), heating (very small particle motion: conduction), in gravity fields (for example, lifting an object from the floor and placing it on a high shelf), and in electromagnetic fields (radiation such as light, radio, and so on, when electrically charged particles move).

A problem we and the rest of nature have with energy involves getting it into a useful storage mode—in the right place, at the right time—for whatever we or other nature processes might do with it. We and the rest of nature change energy storage modes using various kinds of converters. These converters change energy from one storage mode into another, thus making it easier to store, transport, or use it for doing various kinds of work (applying a force over a distance). Herein lies a critical, fundamental principle in all of nature: each storage conversion always includes a large amount of energy “loss” in the sense that a large proportion of the pre-conversion energy dissipates, largely in heating the environment: producing random motion in atoms and molecules. These dissipated storage modes make the energy impossible to capture or use to do work. We call this universal conversion dissipation principle the second law of thermodynamics. We call the dissipated energy “entropy”. Importantly, energy does not get “lost”; it just moves into dissipated storage modes such that it cannot do any work any longer.

As a measure of this conversion dissipation, we give various converters efficiency ratings. For example, human beings have about 18 percent efficiency. This means that for every 100 calories of chemically stored energy we eat as food, only 18 will do useful work and the rest gets dissipated uselessly into the environment. Horses have an efficiency of about 10 percent, and diesel engines about 40 percent, significantly more efficient than most automobile engines.

Life

Life, including human life, works as an energy-based, dissipative, metastable process. “Metastable” means continuing in its present state of equilibrium unless sufficiently disturbed to pass to a more stable state of equilibrium. For example, a pot of soup simmering on a gas stove exists in a metastable way. If we disturb the process by turning off the gas, the higher energy stored in the soup will quickly and spontaneously dissipate such that the soup will soon cool to the temperature of the surroundings.

Although stable (in the metastable sense), and often mistaken as a “thing”, life works as a process. Living matter always occurs in a continuous flux, kept from reaching a final, dissipated equilibrium state by energy provided ultimately from the sun (plus some Earth-core radioactive decay energy). Life works as an interconnected network of bioenergetic and biophysical open thermodynamic communities. “Open”, here, means that they require a continuing energy flow from somewhere else, an energy gradient, in order to continue. Many non-biological energy-based, dissipative, metastable processes also occur, for example hurricanes, tornadoes, water vortexes, Hadley cells, and so on. Indeed, many global-scale thermodynamic equilibrium-seeking systems help maintain Earth’s climate in which life thrives.

These interconnected, near-equilibrium living and non-living systems may appear unchanging, but in fact they exist as flowing, steady states “feeding” off of gradients, most fundamentally energy gradients. Any flow of diffuse matter, heat, electricity, or chemical reactants can create a steady, unchanging state and maintain it in a metastable way at some distance from equilibrium. For a simple example of such a metastable process, consider a Ping-Pong ball suspended by a column of air blowing vertically from a vacuum cleaner exhaust below it. Living organisms work similarly. Because new energy adds continuously to the Ping-Pong ball/Earth gravity relationship, as well as at the cell level of living things, they do not fall to a dissipated energy equilibrium. On the other hand, if the energy stops flowing they rapidly reach dissipated energy equilibrium, a state of maximum entropy. The Ping-Pong ball falls to the floor. When this happens to an animal, including a person, their body temperature quickly reaches equilibrium with the temperature of the surroundings and we say that they have died: the many energy flow gradients involved with their living have disappeared.

When gradients occur in nature and persist, various kinds of organization spontaneously occur that will most efficiently dissipate the energy. People sometimes refer to these spontaneously occurring metastable states as “self-organizing” systems. This works as something of a misnomer because these systems feed on energy available from somewhere else in order to maintain their organization. In biological situations, populations grow to take advantage of energy sources, enlarging the flow regimes. All natural processes occur as energetically open processes and the gradients they reduce organize the systems, so we would better describe them not as self-organizing, but as gradient-organized systems with self-referential characteristics. A hurricane or tornado exists as a gradient-organized, energy dissipating system. I, my cat, the fly on the wall and the tree outside of my window all exist as interconnected, gradient-organized, energy dissipating, biological systems.

Civilization and life

When one begins to grasp these fundamental second law and gradient reduction principles, they may correctly see that our 10,000 year-old, agriculture-based civilization rests entirely on these energy dissipation and gradient reduction principles. Recognizing this, one might easily jump to the conclusion that because of these fundamental underlying principles “Fighting against our 10,000 year-old, patriarchal civilization makes about as much sense as fighting against gravity, so we were and remain doomed from the start.” An element of truth exists in this idea, but in thinking this way, one misses a critically important characteristic of life: in general and over the long term, life makes maximum use of the available energy. This has the effect of slowing or delaying the energy dissipation processes to the greatest extent possible. Over the long term, life minimizes “wasted” energy, energy that dissipates without doing work useful to life. More dense energy “wasted” through second law dissipation processes by one plant or animal in the food-energy network gets captured and used by another one within the living network through many, chained together, energy dissipating steps.

Consider the implications of this as it relates to human civilizational history, especially its climax in capitalist industrial civilization. In speeding up the energy dissipation processes while making maximum use of the available energy (mainly stored in fossil fuels)—for the most part without capture of the dissipated energy by other organisms, mainly just heating the surroundings—the civilizational exploit/ expand/ exploit/ expand cycle works exactly opposite the larger, longer-term life characteristic of capturing the greatest amount possible of wasted energy and thus delaying its dissipation! As just one of many thousands of possible examples, this 1892 quote by Chicago businessman W.P. Rend about coal smoke pollution nicely illustrates the human supremacist thinking regarding this: “Smoke is the incense of burning on the alters of industry. It is beautiful to me. It shows that men are changing the merely potential forces of nature into articles of comfort for humanity….” This attitude remains especially common today, now on a global scale.

So, working or fighting against the insanely wasteful civilizational exploit/expand cycle makes very good sense, after all, if one values life: actual living, breathing organisms, which includes all humans and non-human life. Thus, in a deep sense, life energetically “values” long-term gratification, or long-term hedonism (delaying energy dissipation), while most humans, most of the time, energetically value immediate gratification, short-term hedonism (producing rapid, wasted energy dissipation). Herein lies our fatal flaw as a species, fatal not only for us but, obviously, for many other—perhaps most other—species as well: we have a nervous system significantly more strongly hard-wired for immediate gratification, short-term hedonism, than for long-term hedonism.

Complex or merely complicated systems?

Unpredictable, complex, chaotic processes, such as ecological collapse, climate change, and nuclear collapse, differ significantly from merely simple, or even complicated, situations. In his article, “Systems Thinking and Complexity 101” (http://howtosavetheworld.ca/2014/06/14/systems-thinking-and-complexity-101/), Dave Pollard describes some of the characteristics of complex situations in this way:

  • it’s hard to know where to start
  • we can’t define them
  • everything seems to connect to everything else and depends on something else having been done first
  • we get in a muddle thinking about them
  • we often try to ignore some aspect/s of them
  • when we finally do something about them, they usually get worse
  • they’re so entangled that our first mistake is usually to try and fix them as we would fix a “simple” problem

Examples of messy situations might include: the healthcare system in your country, dealing with a family break-up, exploring change and making it happen in your organization, and worrying about how to look after your elderly parents.

Other examples of messy, complex situations include coping with poverty, addiction, inequality, and economic systems, as well as ecological collapse, climate change, and nuclear power collapse. It seems important to me to know how to discriminate between complicated and complex systems. How do we do this? Pollard suggests that, with study, we can fully know complicated systems, we can thoroughly understand the causality relationships between the variables, which occur in finite number, and we can use that understanding to predict the outcome of interventions in the system with some practical degree of reliability. On the other hand, we cannot fully know complex systems, which include the human body, organizations, cultures, and ecosystems among many other processes. We cannot understand complex systems with sufficient accuracy and precision to assess causality with any certainty or predict outcomes of interventions with reliability.

In studying complex systems and issues, we can come to appreciate them, see why they work in the ways that they do, how they probably got that way, and what keeps them going, but we can never fully understand them. Pollard states his “Law of Complexity” like this: Things are the way they are for a reason. If you want to change something, it helps to know that reason. If that reason is complex, success in changing it is unlikely, and adapting to it is probably a better strategy.

“Fixing” the ecological collapse and climate change “problems”

As the horrific consequences of our fatally wasteful, short-term hedonism continue to mount and become ever more apparent to even the most devout deniers, many people have started to talk about “fixing” the ecological collapse and climate change “problems”. This talk now includes adding purposeful geoengineering of Earth’s climate to the many geoengineering projects that we have already unintentionally done. Meanwhile, we do not have a simple or complicated linear, Newtonian/Cartesian “problem” to “solve”, but, instead, a complex predicament to live and die with, as suggested by Pollard’s Law of Complexity. Only human-made and temporarily closed systems possess the characteristic of reversibility, while all natural systems remain open, highly unpredictable, and irreversible.

Much of the argumentation that occurs related to climate change, ecological, and nuclear collapse issues contains a fatal flaw: it rests on a false premise. What false premise? The naive idea that the biosphere, including Earth’s climate, nuclear power systems, and human society in general, function according to the linear physics of Bacon, Descartes, and Newton. But, they do not. Instead, they work as unpredictable, irreversible, complex, chaotic processes. As such, it makes no more sense to reason about the ecological collapse and climate change processes based on Newtonian physics than it does to reason about high speed systems (close to the speed of light), or atomic and molecular processes, using the science of Bacon, Descartes, and Newton. The universe works based on linear, Cartesian/Newtonian mechanics only as a small sub-set of Einstein’s relativity theory, Schrodinger’s quantum mechanics, and Prigogine’s complexity theory.

A person who thinks in Cartesian/Newtonian terms might reasonably ask, “How can you predict near term human extinction or near extinction based on scientific evidence while emphasizing the weaknesses of science in making climate change and related predictions? How and why, do you consider near term human extinction or near extinction predictable based on science?” A too short answer to this question (per Einstein’s not too simple test) looks something like these two paragraphs:

When trying to understand high speed processes viewed from a Cartesian/Newtonian perspective, unresolvable paradoxes occur, which Einstein’s relativity theory resolves. Similarly, viewing the global warming, ecological and nuclear collapse self-annihilation trap through the Cartesian/Newtonian lens produces the paradox inherent in the questions above related to prediction. Just as Relativity Theory resolves many Cartesian/Newtonian paradoxes, so also, it seems to me, complexity theory and non-equilibrium thermodynamics resolve the Cartesian/Newtonian science prediction paradox while also pointing to the near certainty of a fatal outcome for us soon. The prediction paradox occurs because of the limited nature of the Cartesian/Newtonian science concepts. Just as Einstein’s relativity theory explained many weaknesses inherent in Cartesian/Newtonian science, so also considering complexity theory and non-equilibrium thermodynamics resolves the prediction paradox.

As described above, life takes maximum advantage of the energy that gets dissipated in all energy conversion processes (entropy). On the other hand, civilization—especially fossil fuel-based capitalist industrial civilization—violates this most fundamental life principle, instead maximizing wasted energy for immediate gratification “payoff” by taking the shortest routes to gradient reduction. Just as evolution made the emergence of multi-drug-resistant (MDR) bacteria inevitable, so also civilization’s anti-life agenda, paired with complexity theory and non-equilibrium thermodynamics, makes global warming, ecological, and nuclear collapse with human extinction or near extinction coming soon an extremely high probability. As complexity theory makes clear, unpredictable and irreversible tipping points, accompanied by very rapid change, occur in complex systems.

In order to understand this in any depth, one really needs to have some background knowledge of complexity theory and non-equilibrium thermodynamics, as discussed, for example, in the books I recommend at the end of this essay. Yet, many otherwise intelligent and well educated people avoid these topics. This makes about as much sense to me as a person’s avoiding relativity theory and quantum mechanics because they feel more comfortable with, and prefer, the world as interpreted by Descartes and Newton.

Unfortunately, as I discussed in my earlier essay “McPherson’s wrong about global warming!?” (https://guymcpherson.com/2014/06/mcphersons-wrong-about-global-warming-thoughts-on-some-possible-psychological-and-emotional-motivations-for-the-attacks-on-guy-mcpherson/), these ideas clash severely with our human supremacist beliefs, our strong cultural tendency pathologically to deny death, and our popular delusions of dominance and control over nature. For many people, especially in this country, these new ideas suggest some dramatically painful realizations that clash severely with, and produce great cognitive dissonance with, some of our most popular and strongly held human-centered, fantasies and wishful thinking.

If one understands these principles, the idea that we can replace fossil fuel use with so-called “alternatives”—while continuing to ignore the general ecological collapse also occurring—amounts to little more than wishful, magical thinking. Most of the proposed energy “alternatives” directly extract vastly more energy than we already do from, and thus further kill, Earth’s living biosphere, which makes full use of that energy. So, for this reason alone, but along with many others, despite so much human supremacist thinking no magical way exists for maintaining anywhere near the present human population and consumption. Only a massive reduction in human population to a small percentage of the present 7.1 billion, with an accompanying reduction in consumption, might conceivably restore balance to Earth’s biosphere. Meanwhile, best evidence suggests that even if such a new balance eventually occurs, Earth’s biological and physical restoration processes will require many tens or hundreds of thousands of years—if Earth does not soon become another dead, hot Venus, which remains a distinct possibility given its location within one percent of the inner edge of the solar system habitability zone. If we do not proactively make those population and consumption reductions as soon as possible while minimizing the pain for all in the process, nature certainly will do it for us with maximum pain for all. Meanwhile, even if we made the needed reductions immediately, and even though it would probably help many other species, given the complex, chaotic, non-linear nature of the situation, it most likely would not have the wished for beneficial effects, for humans.

I will end this essay with this quote, significantly and ironically more fitting today, it seems to me, than when written in 1513:

It happens then as it does to physicians in the treatment of consumption, which in the commencement is easy to cure and difficult to understand; but when it has neither been discovered in time nor treated upon a proper principle, it becomes easy to understand and difficult to cure. The same thing happens in state affairs; by foreseeing them at a distance, which is only done by men of talents, the evils which might arise from them are soon cured; but when, from want of foresight, they are suffered to increase to such a height that they are perceptible to everyone, there is no longer any remedy.

—Machiavelli, The Prince (1513)

I think that what Machiavelli said of affairs of state holds doubly true related to global ecology, climate, and nuclear power plants. Especially given the complex, chaotic, irreversible nature Earth’s ecological and climate processes, it proves impossible to see what we have happening until it has become inconveniently too late to do anything about it (other than changing our thinking and feeling about it). It seems clear to me that, contrary to much human supremacist belief and grandiose, wishful thinking today, much of it based on simplistic, linear, Newtonian/Cartesian thinking, no remedy exists for the global warming, ecological, and nuclear collapse self-annihilation trap that we humans have constructed for ourselves and most other species.

Summary

Someone recently wrote to me: “I’m also sorry that you see no redeeming features in civilization, and that it’s no great loss—in fact, a good thing—that we’re all fated to go bye-bye. Well, I’m sure that you have good reasons that aren’t grounded in linear, mechanistic, Cartesian, feedback-insensitive, hideously stunted Western thought. But I’m curious about something. If we’re going to hell, and in fact are already there, why bother to make a fuss about any of this?” I responded in this way:

I have never thought nor written that I think dying, collapsing human civilizations, including our present one, “is no great loss”, nor that I consider such a collapse “a good thing”. On the contrary: I judge such processes incredibly tragic, unfortunate, sad, and usually horrifically painful for the humans and other life involved. I have only described our lack of choice in the unfolding processes. Neither do I think anyone “is going to hell”. My concerns lie with life here on this known Earth, in this known existence, not with some alleged “heaven” or “hell” that our souls supposedly will experience after we have died and left this “merely worldly” existence, depending on whether we live according to some religious set of human-written rules attributed to God. I also have not thought, nor written, that Western thought qualifies as “hideously stunted”. I have just pointed to some of its many weaknesses, in particular some of the now extremely well known weaknesses inherent in the popular Baconian, Cartesian, Newtonian scientific thinking.

“Why make a fuss about any of this?” I think that this exists as another question that comes directly out of narcissistic, human-centered, human supremacist thinking and values, based on the belief that if humans do not reign at the top of an alleged Great Chain of Being hierarchy, living next to God and the angels, that if humans soon become extinct, then, presumably, no point exists to any life. I strongly disagree. It seems to me that all life wants to live, all life has every “right” to live, and it does its best to live fully—with or without humans. Why make a fuss about any of this? Because, to me at least, life matters in the universe and on Earth, whether it has any humans around or not. Meanwhile, human civilization—especially this very short-lived, capitalist, high-energy, industrial civilization—does its best to kill as much life as possible just as quickly and efficiently as possible. I make a fuss about this because I love life and the planet that has produced and maintains life here.

I have decided to make my purpose the same as that of life in general: to delay the gradient reduction processes as much as I can by making maximum use of the available energy, not recklessly wasting it with the highest possible rate of energy dissipation as so many of us now do on a daily basis. Born and raised in this insane society, which remains profoundly and pathologically out-of-touch with physical, biological reality, this means swimming upstream against the current of our high energy, immediate gratification culture, a difficult, often painful process indeed. Why so difficult? Among other reasons, because, for example, it proves much easier to flip an electric heater switch than to gather firewood and build a fire, or to drive to a store and buy food instead of growing it. It proves much easier for me burn fossil fuels as “energy slaves” than to do needed work using my own body, much easier to drive than to walk.

Given my limited power as a fallible human with many weaknesses, I do not fantasize that I will have any significant impact on civilization’s 10,000 year-old self-annihilation processes, nor that I will survive while most, if not all, others die. Now that I understand and accept our complex predicament, and I know my purpose, how will I respond? What will I do?

To help develop a more emotional sense of the universal, interconnected nature of the themes developed here—the physical and biological gradient-reducing processes that have produced and maintain all life—I highly recommend seeing the audiovisually stunning, 96-minute Earth-video: “Baraka”. Every image and sound one sees and hears in this video illustrates energy gradient reduction. I found it well worth experiencing twice.

For much more detail concerning the concepts I have only briefly outlined here, as well as many more importantly related concepts, I highly recommend four books and an article, in alphabetic order:

Chaos, Making A New Science by James Gleick, 2008.

Environment, Power, And Society For The Twenty-First Century by Howard Odum, 2007.

*Into The Cool, Energy Flow Thermodynamics and Life by Eric Schneider and Dorion Sagan, 2005.

Order Out Of Chaos, Man’s New Dialog With Nature by Ilya Prigogine, 1984.

“Systems Thinking and Complexity 101”, by Dave Pollard, http://howtosavetheworld.ca/2014/06/14/systems-thinking-and-complexity-101/

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I’ll soon implement this brilliant idea from Daniel Drumright: If you could ask a single question concerning near-term human extinction, knowing that everyone at NBL would ponder and then offer their opinion, what form would that question take? If you’re willing, please send your question to guy.r.mcpherson@gmail.com. It will be posted anonymously for commentary in place of an essay.
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I was interviewed by filmmaker Pauline Schneider during my April 2014 trip to New York and Ontario. One result is embedded below, and you can support the creation of Pauline’s documentary film by following this link.

GuyInterview from Pauline Schneider on Vimeo.

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Nature Bats Last premieres on the radio Tuesday, 5 August 2014. It will broadcast every Tuesday thereafter at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time on prn.fm. Hosts Guy McPherson and Mike Sliwa get to the root of relevant issues facing society. Catch the latest on Facebook on this page and in this group.

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McPherson’s next book is co-authored by Carolyn Baker. Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind has been submitted to the publisher and is scheduled for release by 1 October 2014.

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Find and join the Near-Term Human Extinction Support Group on Facebook here

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If you have registered, or you intend to register, please send an email message to guy.r.mcpherson@gmail.com. Include the online moniker you’d like to use in this space. I’ll approve your registration as quickly as possible. Thanks for your patience.

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Going Dark is available from the publisher here, from Amazon here, from Amazon on Kindle here, from Barnes & Noble on Nook here, and as a Google e-book here. Going Dark was reviewed by Carolyn Baker at Speaking Truth to Power, Anne Pyterek at Blue Bus Books, and by more than three dozen readers at Amazon.

Comments 89

  • Reese, I concur that the embedded GM interview being perhaps his best to date! It must be later in the series than what I’ve watched so far, will have to get back to the rest.

    From the interview…
    Is it OK to punch someone in the face if you apologize afterward?

    Exemplary of our culture’s predominant and ubiquitous operational philosophy, i.e. It’s better to seek forgiveness than ask permission. Perhaps a “shoe” company said it most succinctly, “Just do it.” The connotation being, damn the consequences. Thus, we are all “damned if we do and damned if we don’t.”

    Bud, I’ll have to get to your section later but, judging by your suggested reading list (at the end), I’m sure your above thoughts will be as insightful and fascinating as your comments.

  • Yes Colin, exactly! Just DO it, indeed. Let’s just FORGE ahead with wild, reckless and careless abandon and let the chips fall where they may. All the world are belong to us. If things don’t work out, we’ll try, try again.

    We’ve likely we’ve run out of tries now, haven’t we? 🙁

    I don’t think there will even be any apologies; like pugnacious, recalcitrant little bullies, the wrong-doers will merely shrug, shake their heads with supercilious disdain and say, it’s YOUR fault. ALL your fault. If you all hadn’t clamored so raucously for our our fuel, our luxuries, our junky, terrible food, our jewels and baubles, we wouldn’t have scarified the Earth on YOUR behalf, you STUPID bunch of useless eaters. Who needs you? Go to blazes, all of you.

    And that’s about what we’re doing, isn’t it? 🙁

  • The unstemmed tide of overpopulation exasperated everything – and who controls the birth rate?

    Thou shalt not procreate.

  • When famine struck in 1985 the population of Ethiopia was 36m. That famine eventually ended and their current population is now almost 100m.

    In 1960, there were only 11m in the entire country.

    The highest population growth currently occurs in nations with the greatest poverty. In peasant societies, large families are seen as a form of wealth and an insurance against poverty and starvation in old age.

    Interestingly, the nations with high standards of living have in general, low or zero rates of population growth.

    We send money to poor nations to help sink wells and buy livestock but do little or nothing about helping them control their rate of reproduction, which in turn creates further famines.

    Assistance and education in introducing birth control would surely provide a more lasting solution.

  • http://a4rglobalmethanetracking.blogspot.com/

    yesterday:

    Major Arctic Methane Research Underway – SWERUS-C3 and more

    today:

    Major Methane Releases at Laptev Megaflare Spot

    What is being found is surprising and sobering. As Ulf Hedman, Science Coordinator, Swedish Polar Research Secretariat reported yesterday, they have found at least one “megaflare” of methane release from the Laptev Sea floor into the armosphere [sic].

    In his words, “We are “sniffing” methane. We see the bubbles on video from the camera mounted on the CTD or the Multicorer. All analysis tells the signs. We are in a Mega flare. We see it in the water column we read it above the surface an we follow it up high into the sky with radars and lasers. We see it mixed in the air and carried away with the winds. Methane in the air.”
    [source provided]

    Örjan Gustafsson, Stockholm University, commented, “The discovery was made while the icebreaker Oden crosscut the Laptev Sea along a depth gradient from 1000m to just 100m following the continental slope upward to reach the shallow waters of the outer Laptev Sea Shelf. By use of acoustic techniques and geochemical analyses of water samples, the scientists found vast methane plumes escaping from the seafloor at depths between 500 m and 150 m. At several places, the methane “bubbles“ even rose to the ocean surface.”
    [source provided]

    The methane saturation levels were the big surprise, “results of preliminary analyses of seawater samples pointed towards levels of dissolved methane 10-50 times higher than background levels.”

    Bud, thanks for the essay and good links. It’ll take some time to go through it all.

    Reese: thanks for your series of video interviews with Guy. Well done!

  • What’s very interesting is that, when properly tended (or sometimes, unattended), the Earth can produce voluminous amounts of food, enough for untold numbers of people. Properly tended can mean gentle administrative, forest-type gardening – letting trees, Earth, water, sun, air, and God’s little creatures tend to their own with our gentle, guiding and loving hand to assist. Have you seen John Liu’s videos?

    Here’s one of many that explains much –

    I currently live in arid, drought-ridden Southern California quite close to the sea. It’s a desert region. The earth is sandy and parched. But, with just a bit of ramial wood chips, a careless leaving of old chopped grass and weeds and the addition of a mere sprinkling of water, things grow as if to feed a herd of starving buffalo. Especially my precious weeds and grasses. The edible dandelions, mallow and chickweed will create an overflowing carpet of green within days and continue on through the summer unabated. And in fact, the less I do, the more there is.

    There’s more to this story. But, with wise administration, all the current peoples of the Earth could likely live quite well.

    For instance… a European visitor to India in the early 1800s or so remarked on the “comeliness” of the Indian people. They were so strong, healthy, well-formed, and to his additional surprise, had not a beggar in the streets. Not a one. Food abounded. The mood was light, free, warm and welcoming, people smiling, vibrant, alive.

    Another visitor to Africa during another early time period noted the same of the African people. “In the distance appeared a man, more beautifully formed and of such noble stature as to give me great pause,” he said. It was a man of the Masai tribe.

    In other words, when left to their own, things were much better than we might want to believe.

    Now I’m not saying that we should all have gobs of children come hither and thither and what may. But rather, we’ve done things very wrong, and had we done things “righter,” all the world’s peoples might very well have had enough to eat.

    Much of the world’s current starvation and decimation has been caused by the West’s insatiable desire to mine and drill for oil, fuel, gems and metals as well as grow the spices, coffee, opium, cocaine, palm oil, and other foodstuffs. We have pillaged the oceans’ fisheries and forest’s wildlife. We can’t help ourselves; progress takes raw materials, and the more we have, the more we can see the luxurious possibilities of new and exciting things to have.

    We are addicted, like an overgrowing cancer careening madly through virgin meat. And, we do what we have to, to fill our rapacious appetites. Puppet dictators are installed, native insurgents eliminated, water and lands purchased, wily contracts put into place.

    Now of course native peoples may have likely decimated their own ecosystems as well. Ah, the hand of man, no doubt.

    But… if Nature is given the accord and respect she deserves, magic can seem to happen. And, if we went forth to fill the Earth, she would have, could have fed us as if she were a veritable Garden of Eden. Which, by golly, she once was. We had our opportunity.

    Is it lost forever? As they say, we shall see… we shall see. Well, I for one, REALLY hopium not.

  • The dilemma for me is that pursuing a life of excellence requires the acquisition of advanced technology equipment and other things that are expensive. Maintaining an online presence and having the discretionary time and resources to pursue the goal of informing the community, as everyone knows, requires resources.

    Looking at the video, I see an expensive microphone, and Pauline and Guy undoubtedly have made a big investment in other equipment, software, services, personal needs and overhead, in order to make these online videos possible. Where does all of that come from? Most of it probably was paid for with money gained from previous employment and/or business profits.

    I look around my neighborhood and see a great deal of poverty and homelessness, and I wish I could do something for these people but I don’t have any resources. Those who have far more than they need continue to amass more for themselves and are typically loathe to help others. I need to help myself first, in order to help others.

    It seems to me the only way an individual can get those resources is to become a cog in the machine, supporting the structures that are causing so much misery. I don’t see how anyone can withdraw from the system without great personal sacrifice, including abandoning one’s higher goals and purpose in life.

    The fight for some kind of political change to redirect civilization and redistribute wealth has become an exercise in self destruction, given the security state we live under. I admire those who try to do this, but I doubt that the net result will be any less disastrous.

    As far as “the culture” is concerned, there are many levels that can be evaluated for their significance and/or detriment to society. An artist working in the U.S. may be entirely dependent on patronage from the elite. His/her life of excellence may necessitate subordinating idealist practice for the opportunity to pursue that life. The NY City Ballet, for example, is supported by the Koch Foundation. Do they have a choice? Does that invalidate the beauty they bring to the community?

    So, while I appreciate the call for kindness and good deeds, and living for the moment and caring for others — and I endeavor to act that way within my tiny sphere of influence — for me there’s an inherent contradiction between withdrawing from industrial civilization and pursuing a life of excellence. I don’t see how this can be resolved either by individuals or by society at large. It comes down to a kind of fatalistic resignation that not much can be done, as we are like the band playing on while the Titanic is sinking.

  • Note: My previous post was @PAT

    @TOM

    Thank you so much. : )

    That methane information sounds ominous… quite worrisome. I do believe the 100th monkey has been reached. The world is going to start taking greater notice, and the world’s leaders will be required to respond.

    Furthermore, I do also believe that Dr. McPherson’s fearless publicity had, and will continue to have a great influence in this. He forges ahead where others fear to tread, willing to be the whipping boy.

  • @ Reese Jones

    Thanks for the interview with Guy, I enjoyed listening to it, and thought you asked some good intelligent questions, probing Guy to get the best out of him.

    [i]”That methane information sounds ominous… quite worrisome. I do believe the 100th monkey has been reached. The world is going to start taking greater notice, and the world’s leaders will be required to respond.

    Furthermore, I do also believe that Dr. McPherson’s fearless publicity had, and will continue to have a great influence in this. He forges ahead where others fear to tread, willing to be the whipping boy.”[/i]

    Don’t mean to be negative, but looking to the worlds leaders for solutions to our global and climatic problems is a little naive don’t you think? Just take a look at their track record. They are the ones causing the problems. They don’t care, about you or me or the planet, they will not be trying to save anyone but themselves and their families, imo.

    Yes, the 100th monkey as been reached, the only problem is their are 7.2 billion more monkeys to go. And yes, I know all about the 100th monkey principle. I don’t think it applies to this situation, I hope I am wrong though.

    Guy’s videos on YouTube don’t get many views, not many people are paying attention to any of this, most people don’t want to know, they remain wilfully ignorant. The most idiotic videos on YouTube get 10’s of millions of hit’s, that tells you all you need to know about the general population. Meaningless trivia is all that occupies their minds. And the leaders of the world, they act like bullies in the school playground.

    The world is like a madhouse, and the inmates have taken over the asylum. They don’t know how to fix things, they only know how to destroy things. If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
    ― Winston Churchill

    Best Regards
    Alex D

  • Terence McKenna: Culture is not your friend: https://youtu.be/iYB0VW5x8fI

  • Excellent interview Reese; one of Guy’s best I feel. Keep up the good work and thank you for yours and Guy’s efforts.

  • It’s all very interesting but what is missing from the analysis is the fact that western societies are dominated by (run by) bankers, and bankers operate a Ponzi scheme based on creating money out of thin air and charging interest on it. Also, corporations determine the policies of governments to a large extent.

    All the major factors that led to the present set of predicaments were identified by the late 1960s, and for a short time there was hope. Then the bankers and corporations sabotaged all attempts to halt the madness, and ensured the madness would continue to the present day.

    Mike Ruppert said it many time: until you change the money system you change nothing. And we know those with vested interests in the present system will not allow it to be changed.

  • ‘If you could ask a single question concerning near-term human extinction, knowing that everyone at NBL would ponder and then offer their opinion, what form would that question take?’

    I keep asking the same question and still get no answer: What is the instantaneous absorption-reradiation factor for methane compared to carbon dioxide? (The latest over-20-year factor has been increased to 86xCO2, I believe).

  • @ Gaylord Says:
    July 23rd, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Perhaps the following two quotes will augment your astute perceptions…

    Yossarian: Ok, let me see if I’ve got this straight. In order to be grounded, I’ve got to be crazy. And I must be crazy to keep flying. But if I ask to be grounded, that means I’m not crazy anymore, and I have to keep flying.
    Dr. ‘Doc’ Daneeka: You got it, that’s Catch-22.
    Yossarian: Whoo… That’s some catch, that Catch-22.
    Dr. ‘Doc’ Daneeka: It’s the best there is
    [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065528/quotes?ref_=tt_ql_3]

    Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
    Neo: What truth?
    Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.
    [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133093/quotes?ref_=tt_ql_3]

    @ Alex D Says:
    July 23rd, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Guy’s videos on YouTube don’t get many views, not many people are paying attention to any of this, most people don’t want to know, they remain willfully ignorant. The most idiotic videos on YouTube get 10′s of millions of hit’s, that tells you all you need to know about the general population.

    In other words…

    Edwards: Why the big secret? People are smart. They can handle it.
    Kay: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.
    Edwards: What’s the catch?
    [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119654/quotes?ref_=tt_ql_3]

    The “catch” is, learning requires effort while believing does not, leaving more time for the mundane and imbecilic distractions with which “humanity” is beset. The catch is, it is not too many people, it’s too many stupid people! Not necessarily a pejorative, I use the term stupid as a substitute for “ignorant, irrational and unmindful.” Yet, as a comic once said, “You can’t cure stupid.”

    Mr. Nye, that is a superb essay, I look forward to the next. Alas, a preponderance of the people I’ve known, met or interacted with at some level would not even take the time to read it let alone invest any mental energy trying to understand it. Otherwise, what you allude and part of what GM says in the clip embedded by Reese may be augmented succinctly by…

    Dr. Ian Malcolm: If I may… Um, I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now
    [bangs on the table]
    Dr. Ian Malcolm: you’re selling it, you wanna sell it. Well…
    John Hammond: I don’t think you’re giving us our due credit. Our scientists have done things which nobody’s ever done before…
    Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.
    [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107290/quotes?ref_=tt_ql_3]

    Life on this rock, as those of us in OECD countries have been indoctrinated, is all about the motherfuckin’ money!

    Meanwhile, for a few giggles, if you are able to see it I recommend a new(?) series on the NatGeo channel called “The Science of Stupid.” The host is kinda’ lame but it’s funny watching the laws of physics put a smack-down on some bipeds.

  • @GAYLORD

    By golly, your comment absolutely incited me. I just had an impassioned conversation with someone on the very subjects you raise. I want to share some things with, but will have to gather them in a bit if that’s all right with you, and if you would care to listen. Thank you so much, you’ve inspired such additional thought in me.

    @KEVIN MOORE

    I believe Dr. McPherson has some commentary in some videos on the banking industry. Ah, the moneychangers… And I do hope you get your methane question answered.

    @REDFOX

    Bless you, thank you so much. It really lifts the heart to hear your kind words.

    @ALEX

    Haha, perhaps VERY naive. But I do think the world’s leaders may likely be required to speak on these issues, and of course they may simply continue to hide the dismal truths, but at least having done a mention here and there. : )

    The 100th monkey… yes! We will see, shan’t we? It seems that there’s a shift in awareness mho. You see, I watch some of the most inane seeming Youtube videos. OF course they’re not inane to me, as they can be such a pleasure; Charles with brain cancer playing in his band and vlogging his funny little life, KDB stuffing himself full of poutine and hamming it up to the camera… delightful.

    But what’s of pertinent interest are the comments. On occasion, more often than one might presume, one can see many millenials seeming to have an awareness and acknowledgement of the uncertainty of the times, tucked within innuendoes, jibes and wisecracks.

    With hundreds of thousands of views in total and growing, Dr. McPherson seems to be getting heard… With that, more and more everyday people may be better emotionally prepared to find a way to still have a magnificent life irregardless of the time left. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment!

  • @Colin

    Excellent quotes, summed up by: most people are ignorant, stupid and stubborn. It took me a while to fully appreciate that.

    I had a short debate this morning and pointed out to a ‘newcomer’ why there is no hope because all systems are Orwellian and geared to destruction of the future, and most people don’t know and don’t want to know, or are ‘too busy’ looking for the next deal, the next sale, the next tree to cut down, the next piece of land to ravage.

  • kevin moore Says:”most people are ignorant, stupid and stubborn. It took me a while to fully appreciate that.”

    I had to study hard & sign-up and pay a fee but I think that everyone is automatically a member of the club at birth today.

    pat Says:
    The unstemmed tide of overpopulation exasperated everything – and who controls the birth rate?

    Thou shalt not procreate.
    …..

    Instead of overpopulation I prefer,Too damn many of us.

    I’ve been trying to remember the first time I heard :
    The best argument for abortion ,look in a mirror.

    Once again my mind wandered & I can’t locate it.

    I’m sorry that I’m not sad about the coming FUBAR.

  • First, apologies for this, my 3rd post today.

    @ kevin moore, 4:46pm

    Thank you, they are some of my favorites, especially the ones stated by Goldblum and Fishburn. It, too, took me a while to fully realize the insanity into which I’d been born and chagrined that my parents had not understood it. Yet, they’re “lucky” having “passed on” (does anyone else find that a lame phrase?) more than a few years ago.

    I “began” to “wake up” when I returned to college in the mid-to-late-80s in my mid-30s and was astounded by the ignorance and dogmatic “thinking” exhibited by too many, though not all, of my “professors.” However, 15 prior years in the “school of hard knocks,” in more than a few industries/trades and more than a few states, was equally illuminating and dismaying. As a result, I’ve come to the conclusion that feudalism never went away and descendents from 500+ year old monarchies are still monarchs with politicians, corporate tycoons and Wall St. wizards merely their sock-puppets.

    I do not know, beyond any doubt, that extinction of our species is certain, but it will be mighty close and those that MAY “make it through” will certainly NOT be feeling “lucky.”

    Regarding the “one question” question, here’s mine (actually 2)…

    Given a choice to be the only sane person on a world where everyone else is insane or to be the only insane person on a sane world, which do you choose? How could you tell the difference?

  • Ask yourself one question:

    What would you give up in order to make certain every human, (infant to aged) was well fed, hydrated, sheltered(as distinct from ‘housed’), and involved in a benign form of human culture?

    Start giving it up today, now, with honour and it may just happen.

    How would you know if you didn’t try.
    🙂

  • Reece Jones

    Thanks for the Liu video. I was particularly struck by what Geoff Lawton had to say at or soon after 45:00. I’m humbled by this information. Much reevaluation needed here.

  • @Bud Nye

    Wow, where to even start, another superb essay. Hard to top your last one but you sure did here. Can’t wait for the follow up!

    Extremely well explained, the conclusions and explanations are absolutely 100% critical and need to be understood by everyone facing NTE et al. I really could not emphasize that strongly enough.

    I’ve seen your posts on complexity theory and non-linear thermodynamics before but hadn’t yet sought out more detail or connections to NTE, brilliantly laid out and succinctly written. I’ve already adds your books and Pollards site to my reading list.

    I did smile looking at Pollards complex systems model chart as I filled in the names here at NBL on each side.

    Great point about human supremacist thinking in your response to “Why make a fuss?” I see that perfectly echoed in re’s comments on the inevitability of extinction in the “three interviews” thread.

    Lots of stream on consciousness after reading your essay.

    A side thought in reference to maximum energy dissipation. A favorite whipping boy for most “first worlders” are the large population increases in “third world” countries. Yet another example of maximum energy dissipation. As “first world” countries export primarily fossil fuel grown grain undermining local farmers, making populations dependent on aid, specifically large amounts of food (energy) and thus leading directly to population explosions in those countries.

    That led me to think about exponentials.

    Speaking of maximum energy dissipation, you can’t get a steeper energy gradient than an exponential one.

    IC is driven by continual growth (exponential) of fossil fuel inputs and as a result also other “resources” (metals, water, plants, animals) leading to exponential outputs: pollution and population.

    Lots of things for me to think about and consider here, thank you for that essay.

  • @ kevin moore

    I share your interest in the real warming potential of methane. There do not seem to be a vast army of people who share that interest. Aside from AMEG, Sam Carana and Drew Shindell at NASA, I haven’t discovered hardly any at all. My web searches haven’t yielded much, but apparently I finally posed a meaningful question to DuckDuckGo and found this blog post containing some suitably horrifying data. The emphasis is not on GWP, but rather on Local Warming Potential (LWP). An estimate they come up with for LWP of an Arctic methane pulse is 929 times CO2 over 10 years. It is also pointed out that each pulse should be expected to induce subsequent pulses with additive effect.

    https://methane-hydrates.blogspot.ca/2013/04/methane-hydrates.html

    We’re cookin with gas now!

  • Bud Nye, Reese Jones, and Daniel Drumright

    Thanks to each of you!

    Clearly, the nature of our discussion about the frog, the results of any study we do, and the conclusions we draw, will differ significantly depending the system boundaries we draw!

    “Life, including human life, works as an energy-based, dissipative, gradient-reducing, metastable process”.

    “in gravity fields (for example, lifting an object from the floor and placing it on a high shelf)”

    It would seem that when matter aggregates into planets, stars, galaxies, and galaxy clusters, the aggregants as a whole move to a lower energy state by the coalescence of their gravity wells, each of which bends the spacetime around them. This coalescence is carried to the extreme in black holes.

    LoTs
    Zeroth: Given a chance, it will even out.
    First: Can’t be destroyed.
    Second: It turns to trash at every opportunity.
    Third: The trash can’t be recycled.
    Fourth: it turns to trash as fast as possible.

    Metastability

    At a sufficiently small scale, space is a boiling, roiling turmoil of activity, of coming into existence and disappearing, that evens out to nothing – or whatever something happens to be in it – at larger scales.

    “the many energy flow gradients involved with their living have disappeared”

    Checked out from Hotel California, perhaps?

    “great cognitive dissonance with, some of our most popular and strongly held human-centered, fantasies and wishful thinking.”

    Maybe Carolina pig farmers would do well to stay away from Manhattan bar mitzvahs?

    “Only a massive reduction in human population to a small percentage of the present 7.1 billion, with an accompanying reduction in consumption, might conceivably restore balance to Earth’s biosphere.”

    Shall we start with the browns, blacks, yellows and reds?

    “there’s an inherent contradiction between withdrawing from industrial civilization and pursuing a life of excellence”

    The story is told of a poor man who heard that a sage who lived as a hermit in a tiny hut on a riverbank in a forest had the magic stone that would convert any metal it touched into gold. He travelled to meet the sage hoping to get to borrow or use the stone.

    When he got to meet the sage, he asked the sage about the stone and expressed a wish to use it. The sage acknowledged that he had the stone, and looked for it about his hut and then offered it to the visitor to take away.

    The visitor tested the stone and asked the sage how the sage would manage without the stone. The sage replied that he had never used the stone and had no use for it. Thereupon the visitor flung the stone into the river and asked the sage for that which the sage had that made the stone unnecessary.

    “The world is going to start taking greater notice, and the world’s leaders will be required to respond.”

    As long as the shifting baselines shift slowly enough to permit normalcy bias, few will be the wiser. It is only when the change comes “thick and fast” that questions demanding immediate answers will be asked.

    The Matrix – from quarks to galaxy clusters and beyond in both directions, this is a matrix. The confusion arises when insentient mind is confused with illuminating conscious awareness. The meat-robot is misperceived to have awareness.

    Re: Methane

    It should not be too difficult for someone with the appropriate mathematical skills to construct a graph of methane’s decay in potency as a greenhouse gas over time and its simultaneous physical decay. Extrapolated to the origin, it should give an accurate value for the instantaneous GHG effect vis-a-vis CO2.

    “Given a choice to be the only sane person on a world where everyone else is insane or to be the only insane person on a sane world, which do you choose? How could you tell the difference?”

    It is first a presumption that the 7.1 billion are not meat-robots: I have not experienced any awareness other than my own and do not know firsthand that anyone is not a meat-robot. So it is moot whether I am the only sane or insane person until “someone” can make me directly experience their awareness. Not words of wisdom, not sticks and stones, but the direct experience of another’s awareness.

  • Moderator (M): We will allow one question from each participant in regards to NTE…

    From the back of the room (BR): Um, err, I have a question about NTE.

    M: Yes, what is your question.

    BR: If the the tipping point to NTE appears to revolve around the release of methane, how much methane is there?

    M: A lot. There appears to be a minimum of one and two times more methane than all of the fossil fuel carbon in sequestered the Earth’s mantel.
    http://www.geoexpro.com/articles/2009/02/gas-hydrates-not-so-unconventional

    BR: How can that be? I mean if fossil fuel came from biomass, then where did all of the methane come from?

    M: Mantle methane seems to be formed from the reduction of oceanic carbonates by water in the presence of iron oxides buried to depths of 100 km to 300 km in the Asthenosphere and at temperatures above 1200°C. This, of course, is vast, non-organic or geologic methane, formed near the earth’s mantel under a massive pressure and has been there for millennia. Thus, methane hydrates can be found all around the Earth, even off the continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico.

    But the Arctic is a focal point for the collision of tectonic plates. The sub-sea mantel looks like a jig-saw puzzle of subduction and obduction as tectonic plates have migrated. Plate migration creates methane routes through new fractures in the earth’s mantel, but the fractures have been sealed over by Arctic ice. For the first time in human history, the ice-sealed fractures are thawing. Methane is rising through the fractures and into the atmo­sphere.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tectonic_plate_interactions
    http://www.sersc.org/journals/IJEIC/vol4_Is4/3.pdf

    BR: If this were true, why has it not happen before?

    M: It most likely has happened in the distant past. Approximately 65 million years ago the Earth went through a similar heating process. Of course, there were no humans at that time, so the most plausible explanation is the release of geologic methane.

    BR: You mean to say that what we are experiencing is just ‘nature’?

    M: Yes, it is just a natural processes. However, your abuse of the one question rule can no longer be tolerated? Next question.

  • @Bud –

    Inadevertantly, you make a strong case for interventionists who want to do something (geo-engineering, or whatever), rather than nothing.

    Here’s the simple logic:

    Assume you’re right, and we’re dealing with a complex system, rather than a merely complicated one. That’s pretty obvious – anyone with the least familiarity with chaos theory knows that climate is a prime example of a chaos system, with all that implies.

    Next, assume (as so many NBL folks do) that we are doomed, doomed, DOOMED if we just let things unfold into the future based on past choices (or the absence of choices). Said numerically, the assumption is that our chance of survival is a big, fat ZERO.

    Now – if we pursue some sort of interventionist action(s), because this is a complex system rather than a merely complicated one, by your own saying we cannot know for certain what the outcome(s) will be based on the chaotic nature of system interactions in complex systems.

    But it is certainly reasonable to assume that the possibility of having some positive effect (ie something besides 100% certain doom, doom, DOOM) is greater than zero. It might not be much greater than zero – perhaps .00001% (add as many zeros as you like after the decimal point).

    So, Bud Nye, the choice you present us with is A)do nothing and face certain doom or B)do something, however futile and foolish it might seem, and perhaps have a different outcome than certain doom.

    Now obviously that’s not the case you’re intending to make here. So tell me where I’m missing the point, because if I’m not, then it seems to me that everyone here should be cheering on the Steward Brand’s of the world.

    The bottom line: If you start with the a priori assumption that you’re dealing with a complex system rather than a merely complicated one, you can really never say never, logically speaking. And perhaps – just perhaps – you never should.

    Now the emotional (not logical) response to that little thought experiment is to say that we HAVE totally fucked up and we ARE totally fucked up – and therefore we both need and deserve to be punished for our sins – and the best way to punish us is by making us go extinct as quickly as possible.

    That’s the kind of thing I’ve heard from Guy before, as well as Derrick Jensen who he admires – although he’s been soft pedaling that message in recent days, it seems to me.

    It’s certainly OK with me if people want to believe that – and even advocate for it. I just think it’s good to put all the underlying memes on the table, so everyone can examine them carefully and pick their positions consciously.

  • @Weir Bohnd

    Thanks for that link. I explored the matter several months ago and hit a dead-end, so got on with other things in the hope that someone somewhere was doing something (that rather clichéd response when one hits the wall).

    I postulated a warming potential of around 300xCO2 a few months ago. And now people are talking about 1000x CO2! locally and in the short term, which is what really matters.

    @Robin Datta.

    ‘It should not be too difficult for someone with the appropriate mathematical skills to construct a graph of methane’s decay in potency as a greenhouse gas over time and its simultaneous physical decay. Extrapolated to the origin, it should give an accurate value for the instantaneous GHG effect vis-a-vis CO2.’

    Or put some methane in a gas tube and measure it.

    One starts to wonder whether there is a ‘conspiracy of silence’ because the result is too unmentionable to mention.

  • @ Robin Datta

    I have not experienced any awareness other than my own and do not know firsthand that anyone is not a meat-robot. So it is moot whether I am the only sane or insane person until “someone” can make me directly experience their awareness. Not words of wisdom, not sticks and stones, but the direct experience of another’s awareness.

    Siddhis. Follow the teachings of the Buddha with due rigour, as laid out, and then you will know, and will not need to keep repeating this ugly nonsense about meat robots which I find so annoying and which is quite wrong and leads to all kinds of very bad results, because it demeans us all.

  • Bud,

    Having said that Cartesian/Newtonian science can’t show that extinction is a near certainty, you then go on to claim “civilization’s anti-life agenda, paired with complexity theory and non-equilibrium thermodynamics, makes global warming, ecological, and nuclear collapse with human extinction or near extinction coming soon an extremely high probability.” Yet you have left the explanation of why this is so, to a future essay, and the hope that your readers will study complexity theory and nonequilibrium thermodynamics so that they can grasp what you’re saying. Well, good luck with that one. If the only system that is worth exploring is the entire universe then we’ll never be able to conclude anything on this tiny speck.

    Interestingly, you accept without question what Cartesian/Newtonian science has come up with, in regard to our planet’s location in the habitability zone of the solar system, as a kind of evidence that extinction is a high probability. If you want to show that we need more than Cartesian/Newtonian science to understand our fate, then you can’t invoke just that science to reach your conclusions. But maybe your next essay will shed more light.

  • @ Tony

    Your all round ignorance and scientific illiteracy always impresses me.

  • http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/mers-may-have-mutated-to-airborne-agent/

    MERS may have mutated to airborne agent

    July 2014 – SAUDI ARABIA – Genetic fragments of the deadly MERS virus were detected in the air of a barn where an infected camel was kept, a new study says. The findings show the need for further studies to determine if Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) can be transmitted through the air, the researchers said. Researchers collected air samples over three consecutive days from a camel barn owned by a 43-year-old male MERS patient who lived south of the town of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The man later died. One of the camels in the barn was later confirmed to have MERS. The air samples contained genetic fragments of MERS that were identical to those detected in the infected camel and its owner, according to the study in the July 22 issue of the journal mBio.

    The findings show the need for “further investigations and measures to prevent possible airborne transmission of this deadly virus,” lead author Esam Azhar, said in a news release from the American Society for Microbiology. Azhar is the head of the Special Infectious Agents Unit at King Fahd Medical Research Center and associate professor of medical virology at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, according to the news release. “This study also underscores the importance of obtaining a detailed clinical history with particular emphasis on any animal exposure for any [MERS] case, especially because recent reports suggest higher risk of [MERS] infections among people working with camels,” he added. According to the latest update released by the World Health Organization on June 16, there were 701 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS reported globally, including at least 249 deaths. –US News

  • @ Ed:

    A critical weakness I see with the “simple logic” of your thought experiment involves its unstated assumption that complex systems have a reversibility characteristic. Why would anyone “…pursue some sort of interventionist action(s)…” without that assumption? But, as natural, open systems, not human-simplified, artificially closed systems, contrary to the extremely popular, way over-simplistic Cartesian-Newtonian thinking that forms the framework of your thought experiment, they do not. Herein, I think, lies the (literally) fatal flaw in so much thinking and “fact checking” related to the now inevitable global warming, ecological, and nuclear self-annihilation trap that we have constructed for ourselves and so much other life on Earth: Cartesian-Newtonian faith not only in predictability, but also in reversibility, while Earth’s complex systems simply do not possess either characteristic.

  • Just figured out the best way to commit suicide. Walk around in a hoodie. U will never know what hit you!

    BTW, why all the scientific discussion that most cannot comprehend, including me.

    The length of comments too.

    Also, I thought there was a two post rule. It must be if you are chastised, the rule doesn’t count.

    I go here to listen to Guy, who has revealed all we need to know.

  • Another plane disappears from radar soon after take-off:

    Contact lost with Air Algerie plane carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso

    [concludes]

    Whatever is the fate of the flight, the loss of contact is likely to add the to jitters in the airline industry after a Malaysia Airlines plane was downed over Ukraine last week, a TransAsia Airways crashed off Taiwan during a thunderstorm on Wednesday and airlines canceled flights into Tel Aviv due to the conflict in Gaza.

    [That ban on flights to Israel has been lifted today.]

  • Ed writes: “Now the emotional (not logical) response to that little thought experiment is to say that we HAVE totally fucked up and we ARE totally fucked up – and therefore we both need and deserve to be punished for our sins – and the best way to punish us is by making us go extinct as quickly as possible.

    That’s the kind of thing I’ve heard from Guy before …”

    If you’ve seen this from me before, please demonstrate as much. Otherwise, you’re misinterpreting — or, more likely, lying about what I’m saying.

  • @ Tony:

    Most (all?) of your comment on at 2:27 am on the 24th demonstrates a misunderstanding and misrepresentation of much that I have written. Perhaps most importantly, you appear to fail to understand that Cartesian-Newtonian thinking and physics exist as a sub-set within the much larger, more inclusive physics of relativity theory, quantum mechanics, complexity theory, and nonequilibrium thermodynamics. As such, I have NOT tossed out Cartesian-Newtonian thinking and theory as you suggest. Indeed, I have pointed to their many strengths within the limited, simple and complicated system definitions wherein they apply, AND I have pointed to their many, well known weaknesses as related to relativistic high speed systems, atomic and molecular scale systems, and for complex systems at all scales. You have not yet made the paradigm shift needed to see that Cartesian-Newtonian thinking and theory do NOT work as universal tools. To continue the Cartesian mechanistic analogy, which you clearly feel most comfortable with (and which, as Derrick Jensen stresses, does NOT appropriately apply to Earth’s biosphere!), for some things a hammer works well; for other things a wrench works much better—and they BOTH remain wonderful tools, AND we need to use them “appropriately”, always keeping their many strengths and weaknesses in mind in various situations.

    No, I do not plan to discuss this further in another essay. People with an interest can construct more knowledge of complexity theory and nonequilibrium thermodynamics by reading some of the much more detailed, relevant books, if they wish. I presented only an introductory outline of some of the most important concepts, hopefully understandable for a broad range of readers (though still difficult concepts and reading, especially for those with little background knowledge). Like so many people, I find myself focusing on how I might best respond to the NTHE or NTNHE self-annihilation trap that we have made, and it seemed best for me first to clarify my purpose in life. I now feel comfortable that I have done that.

  • I just read the “Killing Us Softly” pdf by Kevin Mugur Alalae.

    Most recently, Kevin has exposed the pivotal component of the New World Order, the depopulation agenda and the chemical and biological means by which governments are waging low-intensity sub-lethal warfare on their people in order to fulfill demographic objectives that favour the elites and damn the rest of mankind to intellectual and physical degradation and ultimately to genetic extinction. Kevin has founded the People’s Protection Court and the People’s Protection Force and has drafted the OM Principles in order to provide the instruments and ethos necessary to bring down the New World Order, reinstate the rule of law, and enable the 99% to gain control of their lives and destinies. He is the author of the book “Water, Salt, Milk: Killing Our Unborn Children” and of numerous articles published by The Sleuth Journal, Cryptome, Wikispooks, The Oslo Times and other media outlets.

  • I look forward to the show, Guy.

  • If you want scientific—NBL has that.
    If you want anecdotal—NBL has that.
    If you want philosophical—NBL has that.
    If you want sheerly fantastical—NBL has that, too.
    All point to the same thing here.
    I just want to say, I love it all–THANKS FOLKS!

  • I’m not sure giddy platitudes will be well received here, but I admire your courage for giving it a shot.

    I don’t think society can be reformed. In part because of the human tendency, for most people, there are exceptions, to take the path of least resistance. They’ll take the easy way out, and giving up your car, your television set, your electricity, is not the path of least resistance for most people. As I see it, I don’t think there is any controlled or planned way in which we can dismantle the industrial system. I think that the only way we will get rid of it is if it breaks down and collapses … The big problem is that people don’t believe a revolution is possible, and it is not possible precisely because they do not believe it is possible. To a large extent I think the eco-anarchist movement is accomplishing a great deal, but I think they could do it better… The real revolutionaries should separate themselves from the reformers… And I think that it would be good if a conscious effort was being made to get as many people as possible introduced to the wilderness.

  • The thing about this whole thing with patriarchal humans, which all here exhibit the symptoms of, being products of the very same, is that so many assumptions, lacking verifiable truth, must be made utilizing the knowledge base of the patriarchal industrial reality that supposedly dooms us.

    The cake and frosting, magical thinking, the candles, science. We eat the cake, not the candles. But the candles sanctify the cake we eat as ‘truth.’

    Still, here, the trap of that kind of thinking is maintained and even made more powerful than ever. ‘His is magical thinking, but mine is not’.

    This is the only place on the internet where the claim is that the idustrial mind and way of life it creates is doomed, and that this dooms all life, yet at the same time it (patriarchal industrial mind) is unconciously reinforced and utilized with extreme zest.

    Why men? Because you tried to out do Nature for millenia and now you are stuck with that and she is batting last. Would you like to know your last act here was to, at the very least, no longer be a participant in the Omnicidal machinations?

    Then stop using the tools of blame, judgement, fear, hate, and above all stop thinking you can be right with the limits of this stage knowledge we are at. Stop resourcing the omnicidal patriarchal thinking to prove there is a better way to think. There is a next stage and none of the rules from this one will necessarily apply.

    Will anyone here or anywhere be able to appreciate what I am saying? No, because the decision to go down in patriarchal glory seems to be set and sealed here more than anywhere.

    Doomed to extinction?

    Yes.

  • To Bud Nye’s list of excellent books I would add Frijtof Capra’s latest work: “The Systems View of Life, a Unifying Vision”, published earlier this year. It’s a conceptual tour de force, and has succeeded in knocking me loose from the thermodynamic determinism that was destroying my spirit.

    In it I encountered Humberto Maturana’s concept of “structural determinism”. That idea has supplanted my previous strait-jacketed worldview and is giving me much food for thought these days.

  • I blame myself. I personally have contributed greatly to the suffering of innocent men, women, and children – as well as animals, fish, bugs, plants, etc.

    I support the Resistance-minded folks that want to speed-up the collapse of industrial civilization, however futile the effort may be.

    I support the run-and-hide folks that want to build bunkers, store food, and learn to use guns.

    I support the get-while-the-getting-is-good folks that continue on – buying bigger cars, bigger houses, and more, more, more.

    However, for me, I have no stomach for any of it, I just want to lay down and go to sleep and never wake up.

  • We can continue to speculate whether the ‘rather dry’ conditions in the southwest of the US will bring a fairly rapid end to present economic-political arrangements.

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

    Despite the apparently worsening situation, there is little reporting in the mainstream media. Bad for business-as-usual; keep pretending.

    Interestingly, July is notably cool and wet throughout most of NZ. I know it means nothing statistically but around here, after a few days of cold weather, is it has been sunny and warm, and people working outside have been down to one layer of clothing.

    @Tom. If people were meant to fly ‘God would have given us wings’.

    The following ‘oil prices could soar above $200 per barrel’ item on seemorerocks

    http://robinwestenra.blogspot.co.nz/2014/07/peak-oil-and-russian-sanctions.html

    had me slightly amused because we know that if the price of oil exceeds $140 per barrel the global economy collapses and most planes stop flying. Indeed, despite all the reasons for oil to be priced much higher than it is, the price is constrained (manipulated) in the $100 to $120 range.

  • TIAA,

    I always keep wishing you’d stay around. Glad to see you here now, whether for just a moment, or longer.

    “Then stop using the tools of blame, judgement, fear, hate, and above all stop thinking you can be right with the limits of this stage knowledge we are at.”

    The orthodoxy of the western mind. Buck it, and see what you get.

    Pat

    “…and the chemical and biological means by which governments are waging low-intensity sub-lethal warfare on their people in order to fulfill demographic objectives that favour the elites and damn the rest of mankind to intellectual and physical degradation and ultimately to genetic extinction.”

    Propaganda and lend theft might be added to your list.

  • @Bud Nye

    Wow, nice one. It is just a flow of energy…

    ~

    @Gaylord

    We might be the band playing on while the Titanic is sinking, but why the fatalistic resignation? If it is clear that the Titanic is sinking, might as well accept the facts and do what you enjoy doing, with a sense of urgency if possible.

    ~

    @Colin

    Beautiful quotes, The Men In Black one I hadn’t come across earlier. Once, written on a matchbox I came across…

    “Why do you press on the remote control harder when you know that the battery is dead?”

    🙂

    ~

    @PigglyWiggly

    Hang in there fellow beach bum 🙂

    ~

    @pat

    Thou shalt not procreate! Hell yeah!!

    ~

    @mt @all

    NBL pretty much rocks!

    ~

    @ulvfugl

    Quite enjoyed, Signs and Portents, it was somewhat experimental I felt but still enjoyed it. Throw some light on how you went about it, if possible (Software, equipment, etc.)

    Thanks anyway 🙂

    ~

    @Guy

    Thanks.

    ~

    Paging @Denise and @BTD wherever you guys are, be well.

    ~

    And now, back to the fiddling 😀

  • TIAA, I understand what you are getting at and have lived the truth of what you have stated as a humanity conscious being who became a lawyer and fell into the practice of corporate law despite being an ardent liberal at heart. That experience thrust me on a metaphysical journey when psychotherapy failed me. I went through all the topics that came to be clustered under the 2012 meme and when that date came and went but failed to take all of the associated physical world dilemmas with it, I ended up here after a solo journey that led me to the same conclusion as Guy McPherson, albeit by a different route. People are stuck on blame, judgment, fear and hate because we have failed, as many of us who hoped otherwise, to evolve, despite deep understanding by many that that was what was required of us to surmount the obstacles in our collective path. Now, here we are, and yes it sucks, and perhaps even more for the reasons that you speak of than because of NTE. What I mean by that is, it would be nice if we could all meet our maker believing something was somehow accomplished, if not salvation of our physical world, then of our collective soul as a species, somehow, at least. But, it does seem that, even in the face of NTE, there exists an attachment to the soullessness that has contributed to this result and that is the greatest sort of hopelessness in it of all.

  • Propaganda and lAnd theft might be added to your list.

  • From eyeballing a graph from this poster: http://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/2012/05/video-and-poster-methane-in-arctic.html
    according to Drew Shindell (2009), the instantaneous GWP of methane looks like it’s between 150 and 160. The 10-year GWP is 130.

  • Robertscribbler has a new post up concerning disastrous flooding of Canadian farmlands in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

    https://robertscribbler.com/2014/07/24/song-of-flood-and-fire-refrain-epic-canadian-floods-wreck-5-5-million-acres-of-canadian-cropland/

    It got me to thinking about how the article I linked yesterday ties in. It is temperature and pressure differentials that make the world go round, meteorologically speaking. For a grossly unequally distributed gas like methane, its LWP is of far greater consequence than its GWP. Try to imagine what kind of weather we might have if the Arctic Ocean were, for instance, 2C warmer than the Gulf of Mexico. My guess is there would be rather serious adverse gastronomic effects. But, it looks like we’re gonna get that even while it is still much cooler than the Gulf.

  • One of my 16 year old students was killed in a motorbike accident 6 days ago. All I got was – Was she wearing a helmet? F-ing BS. Who cares if she was accommodated to insane normalcy. She was 16 years old. She died in her school uniform, lying on the concrete with her blood running into the gutter and no one there to do jack all of anything about it. Ultimately her young life was just one more human sacrifice to the insatiable killer-gods of the machine. Fed into the maw of hell like a cheap treat for the benefit of corporate bullshit artists and serial rationalizers of a horrifying bloodthirsty killing machine.

    And yes – I think that if you are still ~driving that you are ~still complicit in a system which makes no bones at all about the demand for child sacrifice. I don’t care if you are living in a dam yurt or a little cottage in upstate New York ~just a few miles from the store, or if you ~have to, must, got to~ drive a car because XYZ dumbfk rationalization for living in the modern abattoir. You are still so much of the problem, and I still have ZERO sympathy for you or your pathetic miserable life.

  • Wester,

    I lost my brother to a crash. He was only 30. I do not know you and I empathize with your anger. Please accept my condolences. What a waste of life….

  • Murdercycles have a horrible cost. Seventeen times greater mortality than regular cars. For the number of motorcycle accidents that produce seventeen fatalities, the same number of car accidents will produce one fatality. With a car, there is fibreglass or plastic (sheet metal in the older models) and some space between the occupants and the outside. On motorcycles there are only clothes between the rider and the outside.

    Off-road four-wheelers are not much better than motorcycles, particularly so when used by inexperienced persons for entertainment. I have seen them brought in dead or brought in and die under my nose. Young ones, at that – some in their teens.

  • Some perspectives on the  Downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 from a former Air Traffic Controller and Vietnam War Aerial Intelligence Analyst, Diner Agelbert.

    http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/MH17-FlightSimulationSm.png

    MH17 Downing: Background Context & Cause Hypothesis

    RE

  • kevin: yeah I saw that but I don’t comment on his essays (I skipped that one). He can be somewhat of a sensationalist at times but overall I really enjoy his site.

    Paul C.: thanks for the book recommendation. You probably expound a bit on your own site about your new view, yes? i’d be interested to read your new thinking.

    Wester: i’m sorry for the loss of one of your students. When I taught in the reform school system, one of my female students (who was about the same age as your student) jumped from a near-by bridge onto the road below and was killed instantly by traffic going by. I was thoroughly shaken by that, so I empathize.

    Civilization itself, the way we practice it, is the killer. All that concrete and asphalt covering soil, all those pipes and wires – they’ll all be relics of a failed society soon enough. Our species went wrong so long ago and have now cumulatively damaged the biosphere beyond remediation. There’s no way out of this trap and even ceasing all fossil fuel activity won’t stop what we’ve set in motion.

    radiation readings (and lack thereof) all across the U.S. yesterday:

  • Well-programmed robots in blue and green
    beat the crowd until they bleed
    doing a job
    excuse you not
    quit the job
    join the mob
    change your course
    fight the force
    it’s ending soon
    expect the boom
    don’t fight for them
    the greed, the powers
    they’ve used you for 10,ooo hours
    to those fat and tailored, self-serving fools
    you are but some useful tools
    feed the children-quench the thirst
    untrain yourself, dispel their curse
    don’t beat the crowd
    You will find
    The better bet
    Just be kind

    (hey, I’m tryin’ to be positive as we end this treacherous month)

  • Maybe a little music will help
    [enjoy your moments while you can – it’s all downhill from here]

    A Man Wakes Up
    Eno & Hyde

    http://www.beatport.com/track/a-man-wakes-up-original-mix/5387533

  • @ Pat:

    You wrote: “The big problem is that people don’t believe a revolution is possible, and it is not possible precisely because they do not believe it is possible.”

    Like so many similar statements people make, I think that you base this statement on the false assumption that we have a choice. Supposedly, if we just sincerely believe, then we can do it, whatever “it” refers to. I disagree in that I think that the biosphere has deteriorated to such an extent that no matter WHAT we do, or do not do, NTHE, or near extinction, will soon occur. In my opinion, it probably became physically, biologically too late for us 30 or 40 years ago, but with our amazing, high-powered (and temporary!) fossil fuel driven technology extracting the last of the living and non-living riches available on Earth, we want to believe that we have much more power and control over the world and our lives than we actually do. Meanwhile, people can EASILY believe whatEVER they wish to believe, no matter what evidence may exist to the contrary.

    This kind of easy, comforting belief process, I think, lies at the heart of much of our self-defeating behavior throughout all of the approximate three million years of human history. An immediate, addictive charge of feel-good chemicals flush into our nervous systems when we think certain thoughts, whether those beliefs accurately reflect the physical, biological reality outside of our heads, or not. Very importantly, we learn based on such immediate consequences of our thinking and behaving more strongly than we learn from the longer-term consequences of our thinking and behaving. This immediate gratification, short-term hedonistic process may well serve as our most fundamental, fatal flaw as a species.

    In my opinion, the best we can do involves developing an awareness of our beliefs that cause trouble for us, other people, and other life, challenge those ideas, and then forcefully and persistently practice new, more adaptive thinking. Meanwhile, even if all of us quickly succeeded at doing this so that we transformed ourselves into rational animals instead of highly irrational ones within a few days or weeks, this would not change the extinction outcome for us. This would change only our emotional responses to collapse as it continues and consumes us. To me, at least, the difference in my emotional responses definitely matters.

    @ TIAA:

    I think that you raise and interesting, valid question: do men, compared with women, bear significantly more responsibility for the human and other life-killing trap that we find ourselves in? I think probably yes. Might you and all other women justifiably feel angry with men for having created this predicament that seems almost certain soon to end horrifically for us as it already does for about 200 other species every day? Again, I think probably yes.

    Related to this, another question comes to mind that seems important to me: would you best experience great rage and anger regarding this situation? To this question, I would say no. Why? For two main reasons: (1) Raging against the situation that men, for the most part, have produced makes about as much sense as it would make to rage against gravity if you fell and broke your arm, or against the laws of physics if you crashed into a tree while driving and the impact killed your son or daughter. I suggest that the world exists as it exists, and it SHOULD exist that way, whether we like it, or not, simply because it DOES exist that way. Life produced human men and women with their differences, and we simply do NOT live as human-supremacist Gods that can demand that the world “should” or “must” work differently than it does. (Note that with this I do NOT mean to suggest that one should not work or fight to make needed changes! I only suggest that one does not need, and would best not feel, chronic anger and rage in doing the needed work.) (2) With great sadness, I ask you this question: We have so little time left; do you really want to spend that time in this way, with such anger, such rage? I definitely do not, even though I agree completely with the reasons, the “justifications” for your anger, and I sometimes feel similarly angry with many of my fellow male humans, which includes some of the men in my own family.

    @ Paul Chefurka

    Thanks so much for the heads up on The Systems View of Life, a Unifying Vision. I will definitely read it.

  • I tell ya, I much rather talk to people who admit they don’t know something, than people who think they do.

  • Gaylord, I concur with you about the dilemma of “withdrawing from civilization ironicall meaning you can’t pursue the higher life.”

    Morris Berman mentioned something like this in his Why America Failed. Ancient Greece was partially based on slavery, but it also gave us Plato and Aristotle, who made “the life of the mind” possible and (ironically) taught us how to free our minds from snap conclusions.

    So how do we square that? The Greeks taught us how to free minds, but they had the “spare time” to debate all of that because slaves were doing their work for them.

    Here, we can see through the illusions of our culture, but that’s because (unlike the people who work 16 hours in a factory) we have enough spare time to think historically, to challenge the meanings of words, etc.

    So if we were the ones being exploited, we get the same situation we already have with the blue-collor right-wing: exploited, but lacking the thinking skills or most importantly THE TIME to be able to point at any enemies other than the ones our masters would choose for us (the way Fox News watchers have their benefits cut, but instead of attacking their bosses they attack other people’s football teams because their bosses tell them to).

    So ironically, some of our freedom of mind ever since Greece has required some people to not have a lot of time.

    Wow, my head hurts writing that paradox. Thoughts, everyone?

  • @Tom –

    No expounding yet. I haven’t had time to explore the ideas in Capra’s book in any depth. In any event, I’m not expounding on anything much these days. I’ve pulled my head back into the turtle shell, and am spending more time in contemplative silence. I expect that an article or twelve will be forthcoming in due course, though.

    I don’t think that structural determinism will actually supplant thermodynamics as my explanatory framework. Instead, it seems to put it in more of a systems context that is obviously applicable to living organisms and societies. Thermodynamics of open systems is still the key foundation stone, but SD makes it clear how structure constrains the accessible behavior patterns in a way that thermo doesn’t.

  • @Librarian, absolutely! I was meaning to respond to @Wester in particular, but your comment is right along the same lines as what I planned to write to him:

    Wester, you have “ZERO sympathy for [those who use motor vehicles] or [a motor-vehicle user’s] pathetic miserable life”… except your precious student is apparently one of those awful nasty people who use(d) motor vehicles.

    Moreover, if there were no Industrial Civilization, not ONLY would your young lass most likely Not Be Alive (the population of Thailand having remained at some lower level due to disease and starvation) to have been able to ride motorbikes to take English courses, you YOuRSELF would not be there. So rage all you want, it has nothing to do with the price of a latte in Chiang Mai, does it?

    A main problem with Industrial Civilization is that it keeps too many people alive, not that it occasionally kills some of them prematurely.

  • @Reese

    I am a regular NBL follower. You have a very interesting interviewing style! Who are you?

  • Paul C.

    Glad to see you back!

  • @ Bud Nye Says:
    July 25th, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Meanwhile, people can EASILY believe whatEVER they wish to believe, no matter what evidence may exist to the contrary.

    This kind of easy, comforting belief process, I think, lies at the heart of much of our self-defeating behavior throughout all of the approximate three million years of human history.

    Precisely! There actually has never been any “Enlightenment,” generally speaking, as exemplified by far too many alleged “sentient” beings who believe in one supreme being or another (or several simultaneously) or put too much faith in ancient Sanskrit gibberish (or some other ‘dead’ language)! Too many minds inhabit such a narrow space, tantamount to a single grain of sand vis-à-vis the vastness of the universe, and can never even perceive (let alone admit) that ALL their “sacred” screeds were, in fact, written by men, equally flawed and delusional, for the SOLE purpose of control, transforming each “individual” into just another member of the herd/flock or another cog in the machine. The primary motive for such indoctrination into a herd mentality has always, perhaps exclusively, been to allow a few to live a life of luxury at the expense of the many.

    Bud continues…
    An immediate, addictive charge of feel-good chemicals flush into our nervous systems when we think certain thoughts, whether those beliefs accurately reflect the physical, biological reality outside of our heads, or not.

    Meanwhile, even if all of us quickly succeeded at doing this so that we transformed ourselves into rational animals instead of highly irrational ones within a few days or weeks, this would not change the extinction outcome for us
    .

    Again, spot on, sir! Nearly everyone believes he or she is “smart” regardless of their grades in school (any level) or their [in-]ability to perform in some job. How and why can someone believe that the barely passing grades they got provide them with equal “smarts” (insight and understanding) to someone that consistently received the highest grades? Moreover, why are so many of these half-wits perceived by others as being “competent,” e.g. Bachmann/Palin/Inhofe/Gomert/ad infinitum? (Note, it’s not just politicians, they’re just the easy targets.) However, I’d be remiss if I did not note that even some “high achievers” never actually acquire “understanding.” Again, belief is conflated with knowledge which, in turn, is conflated with understanding. Hence, not only is the transformation Bud notes in the last sentence (above) impossible, the ultimate outcome is written in stone and that boulder is hurtling at us all at an ever increasing velocity.

    @ mt Says:
    July 25th, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I’m with ya’ 100%. I’d rather have someone say “I don’t know” than spew some senseless rhetoric that only serves to confuse things further. However, I have to ask, with all due respect, how does one ascertain the difference? It seems it is ever more difficult to be one step ahead of the cornucopia of snake-oil salesmen, regardless of gender.

  • Colin
    good question
    I don’t know

  • Reese
    Good interview

    Bud
    Just finished your essay. I ponder as I read, takes a while, but you gave lots to think about.

    You wrote:
    “My concerns lie with life here on this known Earth, in this known existence, not with an alleged afterlife of a supposed “soul” that can, presumably, escape death if I live according to some religious group’s favorite set of rules allegedly dictated by a directing God somewhere “out there”. ”
    AND
    “Given my limited power as a fallible human with many weaknesses, I do not fantasize that I will have any significant impact on civilization’s 10,000 year-old self-annihilation processes, nor that I will survive while most, if not all, others die. Now that I understand and accept our complex predicament, and I know my purpose, how will I respond? What will I do?”

    I agreed with what you wrote on this “known earth”.
    GOOD STUFF

    (Sorry for the extra post, blame Bud, it’s all his fault)

  • Dear Artleads,

    I’m here. Observing. Quietly. But here. Thanks for your thoughts. 

    Dear yougotstahwonder,

    Thanks for inputting your understanding. That is what we can do to change and it might make a difference. It made a difference to me. 

    Dear Bud,

    You posit the question should I, or we, be angry at men mostly for and about this situation of collapse. Anger is a word that is by-product of the Patriarch, the Patriarch a by-product of the Matriarch and the Matriarch a product of millennia of human development. It is known by psychologists that the period of time we are in, and its by products like ‘anger’, are aberrant and temporary conditions to all of those other millions of years of evolution. And on that scale, the aberrations are an inconsequential blip.  Nothing normal or natural about it except that aberrations do occur in all of nature and through all time as far as we know. You accept how we are today, this blip of aberration that feeds its self on its self, to be a force equated with ‘gravity’ and posit that we should no more be ‘angry’ at how we are than that ‘gravity’ is. This shows how entrenched and deep the conditioning of the patriarch is, my point exactly. Ghandi was known to encourage differentiation of habit and nature. What we are habituated to by force and repetition in the patriarch, against our nature, with no current purpose, cannot be termed natural to us in the end. Nor should how we behave collectively right now be considered a force like gravity. Our aberrant behavior will end, one way or another, and gravity will go on as ever without that aberration.

    This discussion makes me think of the movie cloud atlas and a scene where one of the  antagonist states, with teeth gritted in a snarl, ‘there is a natural order to this universe’ , or something to that effect, as he tries to force his will on his victim. 

    The reason why nature bats last is precisely because any imbalance, any aberration is checked in time by the forces that are. 

    Now I do not claim to have the truth, but I do claim to be certain that what men and women believe in currently as truth is, as you call it, a lot of ‘magical thinking’ with a sprinkling of science against that horrific tide of aberrant habit that drags us ever down.

    My position on the surety of NTLE, near term life extinction, (I prefer to make this about all of life rather than humans exclusively), is that it is at 60 percent verifiability. Why only 60 percent? Because the current determination is being made through the lens of the Patriarch. Yes science tries to distance its self. But fails, as Guy repeatedly point out. 

    *My percentage of 60 percent likelihood of NTLE is very likely a reflection of how deeply I myself am yet entrenched in the patriarch and believing it still merits that level of value. I mean, bringing meaning to patriarchal determinism may  not be a question of truth, but patriarchal truth, which would then need self fulfilling justification. Guaranteeing an engineered extinction and collapse of human patriarchal life based on patriarchal predictions that must play out to verify the validity of and sanctity of the system. And that is the bizarre twist and reality of just how aberrant the patriarchal need for men to be masters of all and all truth is, and this should not be discounted for one second. 

    Though I am a champion of Guy’s attempt to escape patriarch’s clutches, he clearly has not. I would not expect him to. Nor have I, I do not expect my self to, though I try and never stop trying. Nor has anyone here based on what is expressed. Change is generational and incremental and he and we are the first of a generation that see extinction looking *scientifically real, fast and hard on our horizon. But what is this really all about? 

    Back to anger, guilt is what I believe you might need to talk about. Is man guilty of this? But this aberration was an expected outcome of our development. We cannot become rational and change our behavior until we see how everything happens for a reason. Another author posted here not long ago speaking of the metamorphosis process. It gets really chaotic as death of one form of being prepares the way for life in another form.  Everything  has a time and we are due to morph beyond this aberrant little death called patriarch.  But there are many who would stop that process, intentionally or unintentionally. And perhaps the pain felt is greatest when your purpose is to be in that process of chaotic harmony, to change, to adapt, to shed the patriarch but either your own conditioning or the will of another is holding you down and away from that truth and bliss. Guilt and blame and the emotions of hopelessness or hope they engender are all ways the patriarch keeps us chained down.  

    Bud, your  way, the entrenched patriarch, (in word), as expressed, is simply not the way we need now and I believe your way, on the whole is in the way of life continuing as it stands. Are you angry at me for thinking this? Can you bear to know I do not chose anger as a way to deal with this? I understand why you are of the Patriarch, why we are all stuck here, and knowing why does not bring anger as an end result, though real things that happen as a result of the the patriarch may make me very sad or angry or happy from time to time. In understanding why we are here, I am left with great compassion, but with that it is still true, like gravity is true, that I am certain we cannot survive through staying entrenched in the dominant patriarchal ways.

    We must now teach ourselves and prepare to a greater level of being that is natural to us. Cooperation, understanding, compassion, giving, sharing, and so on. This is a new way that is really just a return to the old way, before we got so lost in the dregs of the Patriarch, compliments the Matriarch, compliment conscious evolution and the growing pains of becoming aware. 

    I believe Guy calls this learning to live ‘a life of excellence’  

    While we are alive lets try to do that and see if we can die happy for it. 

  • Kevin Moore, Sir

    Re: CH4 radiative forcing power. I was going to ask you, in your capacity as Resident Beach Chemist, why all the controversy/confusion over this? Possibly you answered my question on your last post “they don’t want anyone to know.”

    Anyway, if anybody has more knowledge than the Sam Carana charts referenced by Paul Cherfuka, they might be found on the big expedition currently underway in the Arctic, with 80 scientists onboard. Apparently you can tweet them.

    http://www.swerus-c3.geo.su.se/index.php/78-swerus/71-swerus-c3-program

    Swedish –Russian – US Arctic Ocean Investigation of Climate-Cryosphere-Carbon Interactions – The SWERUS-C3 Program –
    SWERUS-C3 is a multi-disciplinary program with base funding supported from by the Swedish Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW) aiming to investigate the linkages between Climate, Cryosphere (here: sea ice and coastal permafrost) and Carbon release from the sediment, with addition of greenhouse gases (GHG) to the atmosphere. SWERUS-C3 includes principal investigators from Stockholm University, University of Gothenburg, Pacific Oceanological Institute, P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) at University of Alaska, Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at University of New Hampshire and Rice University.

    The SWERUS-C3 Program focuses on investigations of the present and historical functioning of the multi-process C3 system of the East Siberian Arctic Ocean (ESAO). The ESAO is the target area because it is experiencing the fastest rates of climate warming and because of its vast stores of vulnerable carbon. The ESAO is sparingly explored despite hosting 80% of the World’s subsea permafrost with large amounts of C-CH4 currently stored in the shelf and slope sediments and in its coastal Yedoma permafrost. This yields a likely potential for climate-induced mobilization of these carbon pools into the atmosphere as GHG; a positive feedback to climate warming.
    The objectives of the SWERUS-C3 research program are to quantitatively address processes central to Arctic Ocean Climate Change Feedbacks, specifically:

    (i) CH4 release from subsea permafrost and deep sea: What are the mechanisms and magnitudes of CH4 release to the atmosphere? What are the permafrost and gas hydrate stability fields of Arctic subsea CH4 pools and how will they respond to increased ocean warming?
    (ii) The fate of carbon in the shelf sea released from thawing subsea and coastal permafrost: Microbial degradation and CO2 fluxes to the atmosphere? Or re-sequestration through sediment burial and off-shelf export?
    (iii) The historical (recent/post-glacial/paleoclimate) sediment record of permafrost carbon releases: Is the present carbon release from thawing permafrost unprecedented since the last glacial period?
    (iv) History of Arctic sea ice and its impact on carbon fluxes: Has a perennial Arctic sea ice cover prevailed during the entire post-glacial period or have sea-ice free summers existed previously?

  • Around a decade ago I tackled the University of Auckland with respect to so-called professor of environment Chris de Freitus declaring that CO2 was innocuous and that burning coal was just dandy. The response was lock-down and closing of the ranks. The official response was that teaching students that CO2 was a harmless gas was not the concern of the Vice Chancellor’s Office and was a matter of
    academic freedom.

    I also tackled the chemistry department on the matter: the silence was deafening, i.e. no response at all.

    I tackled the geology department with regard to peak oil. The response was that they did not teach any oil geology and the matter came under the engineering department.

    I tackled the engineering department and got a bullshit response, followed by ‘no comment’ and then total silence when I pressed the matter. Universities are businesses, and are dependent on keeping silent on everything that matters in order to get continued funding and a continuing stream of ‘victims’.

    We were swimming in a sea of corruption and lies, and now we are drowning in a sea of corruption and lies, with practically everything, from unemployment numbers and GDP to the price of oil and gold, manipulated.

    As those who have been following my dealings with the local council are aware, the entire top echelon of council officers is incompetent and corrupt. Box-tickers and propagandists abound, and are rewarded for box-ticking and churning out propaganda. And a new one was installed a couple of months ago. The vast majority of councillor are scientifically illiterate and financially illiterate, and not competent to decide ANYTHING. The same goes for the majority of MPs, the cabinet, and the vast majority of bureaucrats in Wellington. Anyone with a brain has no confidence whatsoever in central government, local government and local government, and little faith in universities.

    It would be good to know correct forcing value (local warming factor) for methane but really it’s rather academic now. I am seeing accelerating global environmental collapse and accelerating economic collapse, with numerous bubbles set to burst over the coming years, and the people in charge continue to pretend everything is rosy….. sorry, getting better.

    I have difficulty coping with the surreality of the world that surrounds me, and ignorance, stupidity and lack of urgency of even the best-intentioned people in local environmental groups.

    If ‘the system’ is still operating 5 years from now, which I rate with perhaps a 20% probability, it will be interesting to review the results and analysis that SWERUS team deliver.

  • “I suggest that the world exists as it exists, and it SHOULD exist that way, … simply because it DOES exist that way.”

    This has been understood as a corollary since time immemorial by those who probed the nature of mind and awareness; a little over two millennia ago it was described by words that are now interpreted as Suchness or Thusness.

    “An immediate, addictive charge of feel-good chemicals flush into our nervous systems when we think certain thoughts, whether those beliefs accurately reflect the physical, biological reality outside of our heads, or not.”

    Millennia ago warned of as the dangers of seeking the pleasant (vs. the good).

    Industrial civilisation offers a life of luxury through the employment of more slaves than ever before.

  • Right on, Robyn. And how could this world be any other way? What we have done is our very nature, all around us. What we see is who we are. Bask in truth, dwell in peace. In a hundred years, what will it matter.

  • I only recently became aware of this community, and wish to say how much I appreciate that you exist and flourish.

    In 2007 I told my (now ex) wife that global climate change is real and much worse than what was being said at the time. I told her that I thought that this thing would be fatal to our species in our lifetime because of positive feedbacks. Well. Here we are.

    I’ve been reading the posts and viewing the vids posted here for quite a while, and just want to thank Guy and all the contributors and commentators for helping me to understand a thing that I have believed was coming or a long time.

    I am in my mid 50s and have no hope of disembedding myself from this corrupt, evil system of survival in which I’m trapped.

    Nevertheless, I have found a peace with which I can live until I don’t. I thank you all for this.

    Your friend,
    Barry

  • With decreasing availability of bread and circuses…

    The Intercept:
    The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

    By Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux23 Jul 2014, 2:45 PM EDT

  • Some Like It Hot…

    June 2014: Earth’s 3rd Consecutive Warmest Month on Record

    By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:22 AM GMT on July 24, 2014

    “June 2014 was Earth’s warmest June since records began in 1880, said NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) this week. NASA rated June 2014 a bit cooler: the 3rd warmest June on record. According to NOAA, the planet has now had three consecutive warmest months on record–April (which was tied for the warmest April), and now May and June of 2014. This is the first time Earth has experienced three consecutive warmest months on record since a four-month stretch during March, April, June, and June 2010.”

  • @ST. ROY

    By interesting, hopefully worthy of your listen. : )

    According to Dr. McPherson, in defining who we are, we should share what we love. I plan to do such and a bit more in a brief personal write-up on a new website, not to bore anyone here with all of that. I welcome you to take a glimpse when it is ready.

    Meanwhile, thank you for asking, and I would like to ask the same of you, a regular NBL follower. Everyone here is so interesting with so many thoughtful, insightful and inciteful comments. It takes a ‘village,’ and this is a thought-provoking one at that, and it would indeed be lovely to know each and every one here.

  • Here’s a new piece to toss on the fire….’synchronization of climate variability’

    http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/8232/20140724/scientists-identify-possible-tipping-point-of-global-warming.htm

  • Bud,

    Sorry to read that you won’t be expanding on your explanation. I don’t see guy invoking complexity theory and nonequilibrium thermodynamics to reach his conclusion but you seem to think it is needed to reach your conclusion that near term human extinction is a highly probable event but you’re unable to explain why, instead preferring to believe that anyone who doesn’t see the world the way you do must be somehow deficient educationally or emotionally. That is a pretty weak position.

    I agree, however, that you think Cartestian/Newtonian physics has it’s place but, since you don’t think it’s possible to determine our future using only that route, you can’t just cite a conclusion drawn from such science, without explaining how your other favourite avenues add to the conclusion of Cartesian/Newtonian science that the earth is only just in the Goldilock’s zone, to justify your conclusion.

  • An important NEGATIVE feedback for Arctic warming has come to light.

    There has been considerable discussion about climate change causing increased precipitation and melting of permafrost in Siberia etc. One effect of that is to deliver large amounts of fresh water into the Arctic seas. Freshwater, being less dense than saltwater, tends to sit on top of the seawater.

    Low salinity waters freeze at higher temperatures than higher salinity waters, resulting in greater ice cover than might otherwise occur, leading to greater reflectance and less heat absorption.

    The downside to this is that low salinity waters tend to evaporate more readily than high salinity waters, and could result in higher water vapour levels in the air (contributing to greater warming) or greater cloud formation, which could contribute to warming of reduce it, depending on the time of day and type of cloud.

    Robert Scribbler suggests the influx of freshwater may be the reason (or at least partially responsible) for the somewhat slower meltdown of the Arctic Sea ice cover this year. There are many reasons to believe the freshwater influx would result in only a temporary respite from rapid meltdown.

    https://robertscribbler.com/2014/07/25/big-arctic-ocean-warm-up-predicted-for-this-week-melt-to-speed-up-or-sea-ice-to-show-resiliency-due-to-variability-strength-of-negative-feedbacks/

    It’s nice to think about such matters, if only as a distraction from the reports of various attempts to start World War Three.

  • good morning everyone

    http://www.declineoftheempire.com/2014/07/vanishing-fauna.html

    Vanishing Fauna
    More sharing…

    The journal Science has published a special issue called Vanishing Fauna (aka. The Sixth Extinction). You can read the introduction to the issue here. Let’s look at some of the abstracts. This first one gives a succinct statemate of the problem.

    An animal-rich future (Joshua Tewksbury and Haldre Rogers)

    The rate at which animals are vanishing from this planet is one of the signatures of this age, as sure a sign of human dominance as our impact on Earth’s nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon cycles. This disappearance of animals from the world’s ecosystems is generally a by-product of human activity, not an intentional act.

    Animals do matter to people, but on balance, they matter less than food, jobs, energy, money, and development.

    As long as we continue to view animals in ecosystems as irrelevant to these basic demands, animals will lose.

    Animals do matter, but not nearly as much as economic growth does.

    And what about extinctions being “generally a by-product of human activity, not an intentional act?”

    The empty forest (Eric Stokstad)

    Much of Asia, Africa, and Latin America suffers from overhunting. Lambir Hills National Park in western Borneo, one of the most diverse forests in the world, is a key case study in how the forest fares when it loses the herbivores that once thinned saplings and the fruit eaters that dispersed seeds. At Lambir, saplings became more crowded, raising the risk that the plants would get sick, and the number of species has fallen.

    Some officials and activists are trying to stop overhunting and illegal trade of wildlife. If hunting can be controlled in the parks, researchers hope, large animals may one day return.

    So, yeah, animals do matter to people in the sense that they can be killed for food or profit. Often the damage people do to other species is inadvertent, but often it is not.

    Here’s the Big Picture.

    Defaunation in the Anthropocene (Hillary Young, et.al.)

    We live amid a global wave of anthropogenically driven biodiversity loss: species and population extirpations and, critically, declines in local species abundance. Particularly, human impacts on animal biodiversity are an under-recognized form of global environmental change.

    Among terrestrial vertebrates, 322 species have become extinct since 1500, and populations of the remaining species show 25% average decline in abundance. Invertebrate patterns are equally dire: 67% of monitored populations show 45% mean abundance decline.

    Such animal declines will cascade onto ecosystem functioning and human well-being. Much remains unknown about this “Anthropocene defaunation”; these knowledge gaps hinder our capacity to predict and limit defaunation impacts. Clearly, however, defaunation is both a pervasive component of the planet’s sixth mass extinction and also a major driver of global ecological change.

  • The latest essay in this space comes from RE. But there’s good news, too, including the latest clip from Reese Jones and much more. It’s all here.

  • @ Tony

    Sorry to read that you won’t be expanding on your explanation. I don’t see guy invoking complexity theory and nonequilibrium thermodynamics to reach his conclusion but you seem to think it is needed to reach your conclusion that near term human extinction is a highly probable event but you’re unable to explain why, instead preferring to believe that anyone who doesn’t see the world the way you do must be somehow deficient educationally or emotionally. That is a pretty weak position.

    But you ARE educationally deficient, Weddle, only much too egotistical and conceited to see that, and neither Bud Nye nor anyone else is under any obligation to teach you, the burden is upon YOU to educate yourself, and your obsolete narrow blinkered outdated view of what science is and how the climate system and the Earth system is best understood is not just a WEAK position, it’s completely unsupportable and irresponsible and no self-respecting intellectual educated scientist familiar with the fields that Bud has mentioned would entertain it for two minutes.

    But that doesn’t matter to YOU does it, because you are not really interested in cutting edge scientific understanding, you are only interested in trolling and undermining Guy Mcpherson in any way you can, by introducing vague ‘doubtiness’ even though you have never been able to justify anything of any substance. It’s a malign and disreputable agenda we have come to understand.

  • TIAA- When I see your name I know what to expect – the word patriarchy!!
    Over and over.
    Sheesh.
    Coming at it from an evolutionary biological perspective, it’s like loving honeybees and hating the drones, those worthless lazy bastards lolling about all day – they are nothing but flying sperm producers!

    It’s like hating female mantises because they are so mean and eat the males.

    Same deal with humans. Both male and female sexes are equally to blame for the greedy aggressive behaviors that are devouring this planet. (Note that I do not include the non reproducing sexes… I do not blame them.)
    Females do their part in driving the evolution of the species by picking men with power, influence, and resources. How did these men get power, influence, and resources???

    Personally, my ‘issue’ is not with male humans, it’s more with humans of both genders who seem so evil, strange, and alien to me, that I am almost certain I am of a different species or perhaps subset of the species, (like many of us here).

    But oh well, now it really doesn’t matter does it?
    Because everything can never be the same ever again, we blew it.
    .

  • I like you Wren

  • ‘We were swimming in a sea of corruption and lies, and now we are drowning in a sea of corruption and lies, with practically everything, from unemployment numbers and GDP to the price of oil and gold, manipulated.’

    unfortunately very very very few have independently come to very similarly distressing conclusions. totally surreal, the rampant irrationality, ignorance, misinformation, and totally overwhelming, leading to devastating despair.

    i just wrote a brief essay i may submit to guy for prospective publication, on the topic of facing death with serenity, as mike ruppert so impressively did in the well documented hours leading up to his well planned and prepared suicide, marveling at it and expressing hope that i may unknowingly be treading a path to a similar conclusion.

    in the opening minutes of ruppert’s final documentary, APOCALYPSE, MAN ,he expresses with great poignancy the powerful conflict he felt in pondering suicide. on the one hand, he couldn’t escape the society/culture of ‘corruption and lies’ soon enough, but on the other, his heart broke at the prospect of leaving this at times most endearing/bewitching/awesome world. one can only hope that with the passage of time, the spiritual/physical cost of living amidst a painful, cruel, and tragic insanity will make embracing death as apparently easy as it was for mike. when all one has are lemons, make lemonade, minimize suffering.

  • Wren says, ” I am almost certain I am of a different species or subset of species (like many of us here)” – I can’t believe how you have stated the exact thought i have had so many times in these past several years!

  • Hmmm…

    …I am of a different species…

    Given the knowledge gleaned via genetics research and the evidence of how certain pharmaceuticals and other chemicals produce widely varying effects in certain individuals, as well as obvious behavioral differences in any given population regardless of internal or external stimuli, viewed in regard to evolutionary mechanisms, perhaps the concept isn’t as far-fetched as one might imagine. However, this may not be the proper venue for such discussion. The muggles may take offense! 🙂