McPherson Shares Pulmonary Embolism Experience with Reese Jones

by Reese Jones

Firstly, apologies for the sound distortions in the first part of the first video. Things do get better in the latter portions, thank you for bearing with us on that.

In these first two videos, Dr. McPherson shares the personal details of his recent experience with a pulmonary embolism that occurred during his flight across country.

It is always a bit of a wake-up call when one is confronted with a personal health crisis. When our bodies act up, we want to believe it is probably nothing, that it will simply pass, that all will be fine. Like a trusted, venerable, perpetual motion machine with endless warranty, we so take our bodies for granted.

But it is said that our health is our wealth; and for most of us, this most precious of capital never seems more ephemeral as when its vessel seems to shatter, its vital contents cast to the winds of chance.

It is times like these that we most begin to appreciate empire … and thank our lucky stars that we have the means to avail ourselves of said empire’s privileges. How ironic that empire creates the state of our decline, yet provides the means of our ascendance back to health. We deplore it; yet it saves us, that we may deplore it further.

We are like beset-upon nessie nimbies who feast upon a tempest-tossed sea of incongruities and contradictions.

Thusly, Dr. McPherson and I delve into this most difficult of states, these most visceral of states, the emotional and physical realms of when and how the body tells you, unremittingly, that all is not well. So what does one of our most ardent proselytizers of near-term human extinction do, say and think during such a personal confrontation with the possibility of his own, singular extinction?

It is with humor, acceptance, humility and grace that he forges through, maintaining peace, quietude, and rollicking good spirits. That we could all do the same, as so many of us may sooner than later confront circumstances beyond our control that may pierce the sanctity of our peace, safety, and very existence upon this most precious and glowing, blue-emerald gemstone of a planet.

That said, to all please be well, take good care, love generously, be kind, smile and laugh often.

And I must say in closing how much I love this verdant jewel careening through the Universe, that I had the opportunity to touch its face and embrace its heart, and would ask that we all be kind to every facet of it, loving and protecting EVERY blessed living being that feasts upon its surface, for as long as we shall live.

Ironically, the safety net mentioned toward the end of the first clip has vanished. McPherson’s wife was downsized out of her position at the university effective 30 June 2015.


Catch McPherson on the premiere episode of Extinction Radio. It will air on Sunday, 29 March 2015 at 10:00 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time

Catch Nature Bats Last on the radio with Mike Sliwa and Guy McPherson. Tune in every Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, or catch up in the archives here. If you prefer the iTunes version, including the option to subscribe, you can click here.


Please visit the DONATIONS tab. I’m open to non-monetary donations, subject only to your creativity. For example, I would appreciate your generosity with respect to frequent-flyer miles.


6-30 April 2015, western Europe (additional details forthcoming, and follow the tour at and also on Facebook)



11-26 June 2015, Pacific Northwest, tentatively including the following:

12 June, Vancouver, British Columbia
13 June, Victoria, British Columbia
14 June, Port Townsend, Washington
15 June, Bremerton, Washington
16-18 June, Seattle, Washington
19-20 June, Tacoma, Washington
21-22 June, Olympia, Washington
24 June 24, Eugene, Oregon
25-26 June, Portland, Oregon


McPherson’s latest book is co-authored by Carolyn Baker. Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind is available. Electronic copy is available here from Amazon.


Tech note, courtesy of mo flow: Random issues have been appearing with posting comments. Sometimes a “Submit Comment” click will return a 404 Page Not Found, or another error, for no apparent reason. To ensure you don’t lose a longer comment, you can right-click select all, and right-click copy, in the comment box before clicking “Submit.” If that hasn’t been done, the comment text will likely still be in the comment box when clicking the back button, or the forward button — depending on the error — on your browser.

Comments 55

  • Glad you’re still with us Guy. Make sure you get up often and stretch when you take your flight to Europe. And drink lots of water, too!

  • All right ed!

    Positive Thinking

    Extinction’s upsides from grief
    Include one among them that’s chief:
    Sure, it ends all we knew
    Along with us too,
    But we finally get some relief.

  • AHEM, In the “spirit” of unfettered scientific inquiry.

    A report published this month by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, a collaborative research center associated with the University of East Anglia in the U.K., points out this hypocrisy: If climate scientists want to protect the climate, they shouldn’t be organizing conferences that torch it.

    Nudging Climate Scientists To Follow Their Own Advice On Flying

  • The USA is noted for having the most expensive ‘healthcare’ in the world whilst generating the worst ‘healthcare’ outcomes in the world and the highest level of profit for corporations in the world.

    I understand that Cuba has the best healthcare in the world, which largely resulted from it being ostracised and isolated by the USA after it successfully resisted takeover by the American corporate empire.


    Causes of pulmonary embolism

    A pulmonary embolism occurs when the artery that carries blood to the lungs (pulmonary artery) becomes blocked.

    The blockage is usually a blood clot, although it can be a fat droplet, an air bubble or amniotic fluid (fluid that surrounds unborn babies).

    If the blockage is caused by a blood clot, it probably will have come from one of the deep veins in your legs and is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

    Three of the main reasons why blood clots develop are described below.


    If you are inactive, blood tends to collect in the lower parts of your body, particularly in your lower legs. This is not usually a problem because when you start to move, your blood flow increases and blood begins to move evenly around your body.

    However, if you are immobile for a long period of time, the flow of blood around your body can slow down considerably. You are likely to be immobile:
    •after a debilitating illness, such as a stroke
    •after an injury or operation
    •when travelling on a long journey by plane, train or car

    If your blood flow slows down because of a prolonged period of inactivity, your risk of a blood clot forming increases.

    Blood vessel damage

    If a blood vessel is damaged, the inside of the blood vessel can become narrowed or blocked. This can result in a blood clot forming.

    Blood vessels can be damaged by injuries such as broken bones or severe muscle damage. If a blood vessel is damaged during surgery, a blood clot may develop, particularly in operations that are carried out on the lower half of your body.

    Conditions such as vasculitis (inflammation of the wall of a blood vessel) and some types of medication, such as chemotherapy medication, can also lead to blood vessel damage.

    Blood that clots too easily

    Your risk of developing a pulmonary embolism is increased if you have a condition that causes your blood to clot more easily than normal.

    Conditions that increase the likelihood of your blood clotting include:
    •cancer – cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can also make your blood clot more easily
    •heart failure
    •thrombophilia – an inherited condition that makes your blood more prone to clotting
    •Hughes syndrome – a condition where the blood becomes abnormally sticky, increasing its tendency to clot

    Other factors

    Other factors that increase your risk of developing a pulmonary embolism include:
    •your age – people aged 60 or over have an increased risk
    •having a previous blood clot
    •having a family member who has had a blood clot
    •being overweight or obese
    •being pregnant – your risk is also higher for up to six weeks after giving birth
    •taking the combined oral contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy (HRT)


    I understand that the neo-fascist government of David Cameron is in the process of demolishing the UK National Health Service.

  • Extinction Sutra

    The Buddha, in days of yore,
    Counseled what’s now ancient lore:
    “Life is suffering,” he said—
    But since soon we’ll be dead,
    We won’t have to suffer much more.

  • Why me?
    Why my consciousness?

    Who am I?
    What makes me who I am?

    Am I alone?
    How do I fit in?

    Am I a mistake?
    Was I meant to be here?

    Do I help the universe maintain balance?
    Do I help the universe oscillate?


    1)Hypercoagubility (dehydration, polycythaemy)
    2)Change of bloodflow (stasis, turbulence)
    3)Endothelial injury (trauma, ruptured athelosclerotic plaque)

    Drink a lot of water and wear compression stockings on a long flight.
    Quick recovery!

  • Satish Musunuru,

    March 27th, 2015 at 4:09 am you wrote “We should look into the history of Science a bit, don’t you think? Before adopting it as a de-facto standard for all areas of inquiry? Before relying on it as the sole source of knowledge?”

    No doubt exists that historically and today the world’s power elite have provided the greatest support, by far, for scientific research in order, far more often than not, to give them power advantages in business and warfare, and certainly driving ecocide. Does this fact invalidate the benefits, for example, of medical science, which most recently probably saved Guy’s life? Based on this fact, you reason that we presumably cannot, and should not, use natural science to learn about subtle and complex things like human emotions and love, but we supposedly CAN use it to learn about such subtle and complex things as global heating, abrupt climate change, evolution, and ecology? Does the fact that the world’s power elite have provided the greatest support for science invalidate the fields of biology and ecology, for example? I think not, but you remain entitled to your opinions about these things.

    I do not adopt natural science as “a de facto standard for all areas of inquiry”, nor do I consider it “the sole source of knowledge”, as you suggest. I DO consider natural science an extremely important, powerful, and unusually reliable collection of methods for constructing knowledge of the universe—including ourselves biologically, which includes neurologically, psychologically, emotionally, and behaviorally.

    You refer to the “equation for happiness” as “absurd”. Given that it makes quite reliable predictions, will you kindly help me to understand what presumably makes it “absurd”? You obviously must also consider the entire field of mathematical biology (for example, see J.D. Murray’s two volume text Mathematical Biology) and John Gottman and colleague’s dynamic, nonlinear differential equations of love relationships “absurd” as well. (See Principia Amoris, The New Science of Love, and The Mathematics of Marriage, Dynamic Nonlinear Models.) Ram Samudrala might have some things to say about the alleged “absurdity” of these issues. Please help me to understand how these qualify as “absurd” when they produce highly reliable predictions, deeper understandings that lead to highly productive questions, and they produce highly effective interventions? I would call them not “absurd”, but “absurdly wonderful” knowledge constructions, the human supremacist, power-tainted history of natural science notwithstanding. If you are married and have children, I can’t help but wonder how many babies you threw out with your bath water. 😉

    Regarding human supremacism, on one hand you point to the power-tainted history of natural science while on the other hand you ignore the equally power-tainted and destructive history of philosophical and religious reasoning, and their extremely long-term (much older than natural science!) and powerful influences in producing our self-annihilation trap. Natural science has often severely challenged these blatantly human supremacist philosophical and religious belief structures. Perhaps this serves as one of your motivations for not wanting natural science to “mess with” love or economics? Because you wish to leave your philosophical, human supremacist reasoning and valuing concerning emotions, love, and economics unchallenged?

    You wrote “When it comes to Science’s application to the humanities, and especially to such hard-to-describe ideas as emotion and love, it’s a non-starter.” I feel curious to know how you come by this certain knowledge.

    You wrote “I have some commentary on F.A. Hayek’s warning about exactly this issue here. I agree with him not because he won the Nobel prize but because he makes sense.”

    Unless I have badly misunderstood you, you reject the validity of the entire field of behavioral economics, and you deny the validity of using natural scientific methods in many fields of inquiry mainly for political reasons (the power elite have supported most of it). While you agree with classically liberal economist F.A. Hayek (Nobel prize 1974), and whose philosophies provide much of the foundation for today’s industrial capitalism, as does Ludwig von Mises, I agree with Nobel prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman (in economics, 2002, see, for example, his book Thinking, Fast and Slow) and colleagues—because they make such good sense AND they base their good sense reasoning on a firm foundation of scientific evidence, contrary to Hayek’s purely philosophical reasoning.

    I think that if you read Hayek’s and von Mises’ economic hypothesizing, you will find no concerns, whatever, expressed related to any ecological issues or limits to growth, and certainly nothing concerning emotional issues, as we find in behavioral economics. Given their great popularity among the most powerful economic movers and shakers in this country over recent decades, this has surely contributed significantly, it seems to me, to the important role this country has played in creating our self-annihilation trap. Again, along with Ayn Rand, Hyak, von Mises, and many others, it seems to me that you insist on cramming the thinking, emotional, and behavioral complexity of humans into a way too small and limited, purely rational, cognitive box. (Given that our knowledge has doubled about every five years since 1974, we have experienced about eight doublings over the past 40 years since Hayek wrote. This means that we now know about 256 times as much as we did then.) No, the processes and content of natural science certainly do not serve as “the sole source of knowledge”—but I think that we find ourselves quite unwise, if not downright foolish, to ignore its application in some field because we do not like some aspects of science, because we fear what we might learn, or because what we might learn might cause us some painful cognitive dissonance by suggesting that we may need to change our conceptual maps of the world.


    Thanks for your concerns about my past depression. Happily, I have not had any problems with that for many years despite experiencing periods of great stress and disappointment during that time. From your description, you probably fall into the “securely attached” category. Yes, “This sort of upbringing gives you the confidence to use your intuition, which helps making the ‘right’ choices or, better said, keeps you from making really bad choices, thus getting hurt, damaged.” Susan Johnson could have written that sentence. As you suggest, as long as you continue to have your secure relationship, you probably do not need to learn anything more about love. Indeed, even if you lost your husband, because of your secure attachment history, you would probably cope well in a resilient way. On the other hand, especially if that loss occurred in a particularly traumatic way, you might find yourself wanting and needing to learn much more. (Emotionally Focused Therapy usually helps people with PTSD significantly.) While you probably fall under the heading securely attached, as I have learned more about it and consider my history, I think I probably fall under the heading “avoidantly attached”. Most people probably fit under “anxiously attached”.

    Regarding your point that “Maybe I’m assuming too much but you probably think that it is quite ignorant and opinionated not to want all the information you can get from studies and books, and that you don’t like being ignorant” no, I do not consider that quite ignorant at all. We all live in a world of vastly more knowledge than any of us can begin to assimilate, and so, because of limited time and energy, we must pick and choose. I just see you as picking and choosing, not necessarily showing some kind of ignorance. (Having written that, of course we ALL remain massively ignorant, and that certainly includes me!) I do not see you advocating for ignorance, which I suggested with my earlier statement in another comment to someone else that “I see you arguing in favor of ignorance over knowledge gained in the most reliable ways possible.”


    Thanks for the comments and the song. Yes, I have danced to Seminole Wind many times. It works especially well as a Polka or One-Step, but also as a Two-Step or Schottiche.

  • Glad you’re making a good recovery and that blood thinners plus an aisle seat and movement will protect you going to Europe. My advice take it easy, get plenty of rest and beware of getting overtired: you’re in hospice now ’till you’ve fully recovered. try having a holiday, visit some attractions and dine out and have a good time. Don’t burn out and crash like Mike Ruppert, don’t sacrifice your well being it’s not worth it, the World will still go down its path whether or not you’re there to clarify things.Once we’re all dead we are for the most part quickly forgotten, nurture your life.

  • Minuteman III missile test launch

    War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.” – George Orwell

    Excerpt from “War is a Racket” by United States Marine Corps Major General Smedley D. Butler

    “In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

    How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

    Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few — the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

    And what is this bill?

    This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

    For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.”

  • More than 1,200 children were put in prison under false pretence and false conviction.

    In a nation in the West.

    It was done so they could be sent to a private prison to be screwed after being screwed.

    Is there any guilt or blame in the case?

    (Once Upon A Time In The West).

    What about destroying the human species … any guilt or blame there?

  • @ Bud Nye Says:
    March 27th, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    (bold text for emphasis by me)…

    No, the processes and content of natural science certainly do not serve as ‘the sole source of knowledge’—but I think that we find ourselves quite unwise, if not downright foolish, to ignore its application in some field because we do not like some aspects of science, because we fear what we might learn, or because what we might learn might cause us some painful cognitive dissonance by suggesting that we may need to change our conceptual maps of the world.

    Out-stuckin’-fanding, sir! What a different world it would be if the preponderance of the dominant species were so well reasoned, instead of relying on intuition/personal visions, belief or even science as their solely guiding principle. Alas, there is all the evidence necessary to illustrate the absurdity of “our” species taxonomic classification.

  • Guy is among speakers on a LINK TV program tonight at 7:30 Mountain Time. LINK TV: Chanel 375.

  • Bud: “Principia Amoris, The New Science of Love, and The Mathematics of Marriage, Dynamic Nonlinear Models.”

    You can’t figure out why this sort of thing might put people off?

    @Guy, that is fascinating: the part about how this is the safest time for you to fly, given all your blood-thinners. Please Watch Your Head! Perhaps a turban like the Sikhs?

    Just saw Paul Beckwith’s recent video about exponential changes in the Arctic. Exponential never bodes well.

  • Lidia,

    I have no trouble at all understanding why “this sort of thing might put some people off”. I only need to read and understand what they write, and they make it quite clear that they do not believe we can either appropriately or successfully use natural science in any useful way to understand emotions in general or love in particular. I, having now read a number of books that John Gottman and colleagues have written, taken a weekend workshop that he and his wife have given many times, read a significant amount of what Susan Johnson has written, and viewed a 12-hour video externship that she and her colleagues produced, disagree whole-heartedly with these people. In my opinion, they have got this not just wrong, but dramatically wrong, pretty much like the Flat Earthers ( Meanwhile, if previous trends continue to hold, and I expect that they probably do, they know little or nothing about this work other than the titles of a few books, two of which you pointed to. (I wonder why you didn’t include Murray’s Mathematical Biology?) This seems pretty irrational to me, especially for extreme rationalists. It also seems a little humorous to read rationalists arguing against the rationalism of natural science—but it does make perfectly good sense when one considers the emotions involved. No surprise here at all, actually. It amounts to completely typical human behavior that illustrates how our emotions for the most part determine our thinking and beliefs.

    Besides emotions, I expect that the (emotion-based) human supremacist thinking our society has deeply taught us to believe gets in the way too, foundational ideas within much of our philosophical, religious, and economic thinking automatically taken for granted. Based on this reasoning, people can accept using science and mathematics for studying pretty much anything OTHER THAN us, but WE, so the thinking goes, supposedly have “special” God-like and/or “spiritual” characteristics that make us “inappropriate” for study using natural scientific methods and mathematics, especially processes like emotions, consciousness, and love. We, supposedly, remain “above” and different from all of the other forms of life on Earth, not really mere animals just like all the others. Reading Sue Johnson’s 2013 book Love Sense, The Revolutionary Science of Romantic Relationships would go a very long way toward changing this kind of thinking for many people, I think. She presents page, after page, after page of fascinating, easy-to-read and understand research evidence related to emotion, brain function, our bodies including sexuality, and bonding, but I expect that few will read it.

  • Bud,

    “Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”

  • Dear Bud,

    Thanks for your insightful reply,

    I’m so pleased that we’re resolving our “misunderstanding”. Had we been able to meet face to face, I doubt that this would have happened. This virtual medium has great disadvantages. It somehow forces us all to assume too much, thinking we know. But now, that I can “flesh you out”, I can imagine a real human being there across the ocean from me. Just by writing about yourself, you’ve made it possible for me and others to “see” you better, to emphasize. Thanks for leaving yourself open. It takes a bit of courage but also builds confidence through trust.

    But virtual communication’s real advantage is that we know about each other at all, spread across the globe as we are. I for one would have never had the chance to meet such a diverse bunch of interesting people. People who share and feel the urgent concerns that I have, no matter how they express them.
    Let’s enjoy this exceptional way of communicating while we can.

    Enjoy your weekend.

  • @Sabine – Thanks for your kind words. I am happy for you that you had such a childhood filled with love. My own case was not so fortunate, and much of my adult life has involved recovery from the abuse I endured early in life. My search for love has been rewarded however, and life is manageable now. Sorry I can’t say that for our global culture, which shows all the signs of a terminal lack of love.

    @Mo Flow – Thanks for your understanding response – I can go off half-cocked sometimes, and need to get to know folks better before I pop off at them. It’s been a while since I posted here, but I now remember you as one of the more reasoned and insightful commentators.

    @Guy M. – You are probably on some heavy duty anticoagulants now, but you might look into nattokinase which is a natural product made from fermented soy beans. One of the studies done involved people on a long plane flight. Six people on board tested positive for embolisms. In the natto using group there were none. For a professional plug for this stuff search Dr. Stephen Sinatra. I use it since my heart attack two years ago, and a friend prone to pulmonary embolisms has been on it six years now with no problems.

  • Many doomers, especially beginners, like to focus on Arctic methane and global warming as the ultimate uber-boogeyman for humanity, yet global warming is only 1 out of 6 direct drivers leading to runaway, irreversible, unstoppable mass extinction within one or two generations. We are just 5 to 10 years away from uncontrolled genocide over food and water shortages. And, this will be just the beginning!

    All of today’s renewable energy products have 30-year life-cycles, and will all become useless toxic waste, just when energy and mineral shortages get real intense. Recycling them won’t work because recycling many of their component alloys uses more energy than mining for them does. It is a cascading confluence of crises that will overwhelm our renewable energy dreams. America has already killed 20 million civilians since WW2, and that was during times of plenty, just imagine what that country will do when actual real life shortages kick in.

    Millions of black people were killed in the Congo early in the 20th century for control of rubber trees to produce car tires. Just as millions of black people were killed in the Congo early in the 21st century for control of exotic minerals for our kids to lose their fucking minds on smartphones. In between those two times, we filled the world’s poor countries with millions of tons of guns and ammunition. Soon, it won’t be so long that you won’t give a fuck about global warming, when the world’s hungry-angry dark people come a gunning for you. Try skipping four meals, and you’ll begin to understand what’s coming. Peace, love and a renewable green paradise will be the last thing on your mind.

    Because of population pressures, we have to grow more food in the next 50 years, than we ever grew in all of the last 500 years. Yet, in 2006, we already passed world peak production of wheat, soy, corn, fish and wood.

    Right now, 1 billion humans have to walk over a mile each and every day just to get fresh water, yet in 10 years, 66% of humanity will be short of fresh water. Sure, you can skip four meals, you’re tough right? Try skipping a couple of days without water.

    Now, let’s pretend that you agree with me that mass extinction is forever. That may be tough enough for some of you, but imagine if, in order to avoid mass extinction, we had to take little Johnny and Suzie’s smartphones away from them. You know what they’ll say! They’ll say, “Go fuck mass extinction!”

    It’s the same as asking a 50 year old to give up his car to save life on earth or Americans to give up their guns. Out of my cold dead hands. LOL!!! Goodbye life on earth, we hardly knew you.

    I relented, and flew to Cuba to celebrate 20 years of marriage, when one morning, I could smell an all-pervasive smell of burning garbage. In Cuba, working the tourist trade is practically the highest paying job you can get, so, when I asked the staff if they knew what that horrible smell was, they answered blankly, “What smell?” LOL.

    How did our extremis-enhanced, denialist-fantasy world come about?
    My guess is that when our brains developed enough to the point where we could actively contemplate our own mortality, we needed an emotional defence mechanism that would allow us to focus on day-to-day survival unhindered by morose thoughts. Thus, we invented the life-after-death fantasy to facilitate our denial of mortality. This is why religion is a world-wide phenomena. We are high-functioning crazy. This is why renewable energy boosters deny reality.

    This innate “Deny-Ability” is what kept us strong in the harsh daylight of hunter/gatherer reality, it will also be our downfall. How else do you think that Naomi Klein can justify her child’s birth, or, how Deep Green Resistance can preach revolt but not practice it? Do not rage at the hypocrisy, this deniability is only very human and natural for our species.

  • Post-Acceptance Thinking

    To view just how badly we’re sinking,
    Simply look, and see without blinking:
    Knead and alter your mind
    Till it gets redesigned
    Into post-acceptance thinking.

  • RIP John Renbourn (Pentangle)

    [though he didn’t play on this one, it’s a keeper]

    Willy o Winsbury

  • The end of this Kerry Emanuel video bewilders me.

    I watched & watched & watched … trying to absorb his simple message – so bizarre to my lights.

    Emanuel is well known for enthusiastically endorsing nuclear power along with James Hansen in 2013.

    Emanuel’s delivery is captivating & downright scientifically terrific even with his ongoing emphasis on mystifying “uncertainties,” – until 1:22 when he blithely states;

    “We don’t think that it (methane release) is very important any more.”

    AND, “We don’t think that it (methane release, including Arctic sea bed clathrates) is going to be accessed by global warming.”

    So much for observational empirical scientists; Semiletov & Shakhova.

    So much for Charles Miller/NASA/Carve, Wadhams, Wasdell, McPherson, Nick Breeze, Carana, etc.

    So much for the methane gas videoed bubbling to the surface in the Arctic & elsewhere.

    So much for quantified methane gas in the Arctic atmosphere at an astronomical average of 2300 ppb.

    So much for 90 mile diameter methane plumes observed by CARVE in 2013.

    So much for science, empiricism, evidence, induction, inference, & prediction.

    IT IS getting crazier & crazier – some modelers like Emanuel appear glued to their computer models as the pot boils.

    Morris Kline said; “Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence.”

    Emanuel’s lecture/video was sponsored by PARC; the ultimate MIT type techno-fixers, who say they are in “the business of breakthroughs.”

  • Get well Guy,

    What are the therapies Dr. Weil recommends for pulmonary embolism?
    High blood pressure is known to be a risk factor for a pulmonary embolism. With regard to treating high blood pressure, Dr. Weil suggests:

    Limit your caffeine intake. The caffeine in coffee, tea and sodas can contribute to high blood pressure.
    Limit alcohol intake. Blood pressure increases as your body metabolizes alcohol.
    Avoid processed foods. These are the biggest sources of sodium in today’s diet.
    Maintain optimal weight. Even small amounts of weight loss can improve blood pressure.
    Relax. Meditation, yoga, breathing exercises and biofeedback are all relaxation techniques that can help lower blood pressure.
    Don’t smoke. Smoking contributes to all cardiovascular diseases – and many other life-threatening conditions as well.
    Exercise. As little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, like walking, can lower blood pressure.
    Check your meds. Discuss your current medications and their risks of increasing blood pressure with your doctor.
    Follow the DASH diet.
    Developed by researchers at the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is based on a large-scale research study that identified the foods that affect blood pressure (see the National Institutes of Health’s Web site for more information). The most important parts of the DASH are generous amounts of fruits and vegetables and low-fat or fat-free dairy products that provide adequate calcium. The diet is also relatively low in fat and sodium. DASH researchers have shown that diets rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium, and low in sodium (2,400 mg or less), play an important role in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. People with high blood pressure should incorporate the components of the DASH diet into their daily routine.

    Eat 8 to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables per day
    Limit animal protein to 6 oz per day, emphasizing lean sources.
    Say no to salt. Those with salt sensitivity or a family history or hypertension may benefit from reducing salt to about one teaspoon a day (2,400 mg).
    Use garlic, which has a modest effect on lowering blood pressure and may help relax blood vessels.
    Consume 4 to 5 servings of nuts, seeds and dry beans per week (2 Tbsp nuts or seeds, or 1/2 cup cooked dried beans).
    Eat plenty of fish. Include at least three servings of fish a week, emphasizing cold-water fish like wild Alaskan salmon and sardines, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Take fish-oil supplements if you cannot get enough omega-3-rich foods.
    Take calcium and magnesium. Inadequate intake of both of these minerals has been associated with high blood pressure. Women should get between 1,000 and 1,200 mg of calcium a day from all sources, while men may want to get no more than 500-600 mg daily from all sources, and probably do not need to take supplements.
    Take vitamin C. A supplement of this antioxidant vitamin has been shown to help lower blood pressure in people with mild to moderate hypertension.
    Can pulmonary embolism be prevented?
    Blood clots can form when circulation is sluggish or when venous blood becomes pooled in a vein. Remaining seated during a long flight or drive increases your risk of developing blood clots in the veins of your legs. To help prevent a blood clot from developing, stay active:

    Take a walk.
    Exercise while you sit.
    Wear support stockings.
    Drink plenty of fluids before and during the trip. (Note that water is the optimal beverage of choice and avoiding alcohol is definitely recommended.)
    Talk to your doctor. If you have a heightened risk of blood clot development and plan to fly six hours or more, your doctor may suggest low-molecular-weight heparin two to four hours before your departure.

  • Emanuel’s lecture/video site didn’t post.
    Just search; Youtube, Kerry Emanuel PARC
    Why a good & decent man & a good careful scientist would make such an monumentally incorrect inference from data that demands the obverse, I can’t answer.
    Too careful – too scared?
    I’m plenty scared too; but ostrich-ism ain’t the answer.

  • @Robert Callaghan, you wrote:

    “imagine if, in order to avoid mass extinction, we had to take little Johnny and Suzie’s smartphones away from them. You know what they’ll say! They’ll say, “Go fuck mass extinction!”
    It’s the same as asking a 50 year old to give up his car to save life on earth or Americans to give up their guns. Out of my cold dead hands. LOL!!!”

    Robert, you are HILARIOUS! Dark humor yes, but spot on! Seriously, you bring new meaning and literal-ness to acronyms like LOL.
    I’ve followed and appreciated your posts for years (yikes, has it been years?). I’ve always gotten such a kick out of the brief descriptions of your life up there in . . . . Canada (I think it’s Canada). You share lists of all the bad news/stats yet juxtapose them (occasionally) with declarations of gratitude for life with your sweetheart. Happy Anniversay!!

    On another note: would you go back to Cuba?

  • Guy, since the clot episode, have you had any thoughts that just maybe it would have been nice to have not dodged that bullet? I know that I would ponder such thoughts. The only thing that encourages me to cling to life is wanting to be here to help comfort my loved ones and anyone I can, to cope somehow when the shit hits the fan. I’m praying for a viral pandemic to take mot of us out before total collapse arrives. I think a virus that takes one out quickly and painlessly would be a blessing. To me, that would certainty be preferable to being around when the food runs out and masses of starving people hit the streets.

    Bud, a peace offering. I grew up in Sarasota County. From the end of our street I could have probably walked all the way to Arcadia without crossing much that wasn’t virgin, undisturbed land. I loved Old Florida too, still do. My biggest regret is shooting all those birds with my BB gun. I was a pretty dumb kid, didn’t really get it. I learned to feel the sacredness later on and have taught it to my kids and grandson. I’m proud of that, at least.

    Here’s one of my all time favorite documentaries. It is a great story and shows a lot of Old Florida, up close. Lots of bugs.

    “Only love remains”! I like to believe that love is also the only thing we can ‘take with us’.

  • @Kirk, I feel as you do much of the time. Yes indeed. Nice to read of your peace offering and how you’ve grown to feel the sacredness of the nonhuman world. Why is it that some people NEVER get that?

    @Reese you say: “How ironic that empire creates the state of our decline, yet provides the means of our ascendance back to health. We deplore it; yet it saves us, that we may deplore it further”
    YES! Maddening! It can be crazy making. We can’t get out completely can we?
    Which is why I appreciate people like you and the messages you convey. Glad you are on this “verdant jewel of planet” at this place in time (Peter Mayer’s song, The Play is similar to your words of love for the planet/the universe)

    @BTD: Thanks for your recent stream of limericks! They’re showing up just as the spring ephemerals are poking up through the woodland floor here in the midwest. Between the 2 ( gallows humor limericks and spring wildflowers) there is joy to be found in spite of all the dire news that keeps pouring in.

    @Sabine, Once again you have summarized things succinctly yet beautifully and in such an accessible way when you speak of the pitfalls/benefits of computer mediated communication, life, love and resolution of conflicts.

    @digixplor (from previous post) Thanks sharing the voice and the passion of Jeff Buckley. Sad that he left this planet at such a young age. Your placement of that Leonard Cohen song in the midst such heartfelt, thought provoking comments was very fitting.

    @Satish: Gosh I hope you stick around here at NBL. I’ve been a lurker (can we think of another word that doesn’t sound so ominous?) here for years. Watched on the sidelines as people have come and gone. I do miss hearing from Badlands, wildwoman and many more. For years I hesitated to comment for fear of getting attacked (am I a masochist?) but people like you, Sabine, and others make this site feel more user friendly. On another note: you might want to check out Robin Wall Kimmerer and her book Braiding Sweetgrass. Based on some of your comments from the last thread, I think you might find her energizing and enlightening.

    May all you doomers find some joy this weekend while spring unfolds (in spite of extreme weather all over the planet)
    Here in the midwest: Sandhill cranes are courting, woodcocks are peenting, snipe winnowing, blackbirds/bluebirds/song sparrows are singing and skunk cabbages (or as ogardener sp? would call them, symplocarpus foetidus) are in bloom.
    If you are lucky enough to be near a wetland with skunk cabbages getting on your knees to take them in is highly recommended! Yes you will get wet but that adds to the experience. Skunk cabbages are known as “heaters for bees” because their gorgeous flower is tucked in a little shelter providing the bees with early pollen, shelter and warmth. Bees need all the help they can get these days. Grateful for the skunk cabbages.

    Amazing . . .
    And bittersweet . . . .

    Nothing Gold Can Stay

    Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;

    But only so an hour.

    Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,

    So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.

    So —– enjoy!

  • Big trouble & hot times in River City & planet earth;

    Robert Preston plays Guy McPherson

    Methane/Music Man sings;

    “Ya got trouble, trouble with a capital T & it rhymes with P …”

    And it stands for CO2 & methane pollution – not pool …

    Trouble, trouble, trouble … big trouble …

    The Music Man “Ya Got Trouble”
    at Youtube

  • Caroline,

    Satish has his own beautiful blog, have a look.

    It’s called Going Kuku. I’m sure you’ll love it.

    Here, the birds are already building their nests, and a male blackbird has learned to hover for up to 10 seconds at my feeders, picking out peanuts and seeds. The first time I didn’t trust my eyes, so I counted. More than 10 seconds! As part of the thrush family, he’s not exactly tiny and therefore relatively heavy. Today was the first time I’ve noticed such blackbird behaviour.
    The sparrows here learned that skill some years ago and have already passed it on to their young. All this I’ve noticed only in the last few years. It makes my heart sing, the way they learn. How truly intelligent all life is.

    Most people don’t notice and, of course, wouldn’t care if they did. They’d rather play (operate) the “magic” in their virtual games. Fools!
    Our European robins can also hover now, imitating hummingbirds, which they’ve never seen.

  • Bud, I don’t know where you got the impression that I have an attitude that is human-supremacist…quite the contrary. Neither did I say that emotions could not be written about scientifically or rationally, just that I have no interest in what you have presented and can see why others do not. And of course I judge the content of a book by its title… Otherwise, when I went to a bookstore, I would be compelled to read each book in its entirety.

    You seem to think that everyone must find these works and practices as important as you do. But I agree with a comment made by Sabine in an earlier thread, to the effect that more often than not I have had good relationships in my life which have supported me, so I may not be out looking to fix what ain’t broke. Working on “increasing attachment” just sounds grasping to me.. you know? Trying TOO hard. And by the way, contrary to your scientific “findings”, the “hottest” sex has never happened for me inside a secure relationship. (Makes me wonder how they scientifically measure “hotness” during sex, though.)

    I am also skeptical of the evangelism that your “Love Sense” campaign borders upon: if everyone were to read this book or take this course or employ this or that “technique” or “method” the world would be transformed.. That’s truly a very human pattern, to think we can solve our problems in this way. But our problem is not really a lack of love, is it? … rather too much of it!

    My negative reactions come too, I think, from already being so irritated by everything being manipulated and mediated by third parties and analyzed and fluoridated and sanitized for your protection… all with our best interests at heart, of course.. that when it comes to intimacies I’d rather leave those unprocessed. Of course, if something isn’t working for you in a personal relationship, then I can see why some sort of “method” might be attractive. But I’m just not personally convinced that most people need to subject themselves to these ministrations.

    Many things were better before humans “improved” them with their analytics, and I think that case could also be made here. If I *were* to wax rational about love, I would admit my belief that we establish “loving” relationships most basically to obtain an advantage, ultimately a survival advantage, and that most people with difficulty in relationships (that I can see) are in fact *overly* attached to people who are not contributing to the sufferer’s life in advantageous ways, for which the remedy would seem to be a reduction in attachment.

  • Sabine, I have been enjoying your recent comments. You have a very pleasant writing style and I appreciate your sharing your observations of the blackbirds. I do miss the ones we had in our garden in Italy. One had a really crazy song: boop de doop de doop WhIEEEEEEEW!

    Here there is still much snow on the ground. I did see a cardinal fly past. The crows hang around pretty much all year.. I don’t put out a feeder because I would rather they all fly south when they need to. The cold here is terribly bitter, -30C for the lows some nights in winter.

  • Like magnetic pole flip flops humans will play both sides of a coin called life on earth. Open networks to an e-eco-carbon-world currency economy or die, we can’t kill elephants, orangutans and jungle life to grow palm oil burnt in German diesel cars, or we are too dishonestly stupid to live. The Germans are dismantling nuclear waste and moving ancient villages so they can burn more dirty brown coal while James Hansen pleads for sanity. The Silk Road only goes one way. We are rushing to kill all life on earth while we can’t even burn what we got. We do this by staring at unreality for 8-12 hours per day, and people think i’m crazy. Well, I probably am, but that has nothing to do with of the price of tea in China.

  • donkey bleat’s not getting older
    he’s getting better
    still love Nantucket lyrics

  • Robert Callaghan,

    Great brief summary! One additional point: Regarding so-called “renewable” energy (energy extracted/stolen more directly from the biosphere than that stored in fossil fuels thus still killing the biosphere), you failed to emphasize the fossil fuel embodied energy required to manufacture and maintain those so-called “renewable” energy structures and how each day the energy return on energy invested in those fuels gets smaller. (The energy does NOT get “renewed” any more than we “produce” oil, coal, or gas; we extract it in various ways, and it always dissipates, always requiring much more low-density, dispersed energy than ever gets concentrated in a dense, high quality storage mode.) No fossil fuels = no “alternative energy”, certainly including nuclear. We will have very little in the way of “alternative energy” when the EROEI of fossil fuels gets a little closer to one.

    Satish Musunuru,

    Regarding “Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” happily, I, for one, do not claim any degree of wisdom. I remain far too ignorant and inexperienced for that. Meanwhile, I feel grateful every day still to have a tomato. I think that, as Robert Callaghan described so well, we will soon find those tomatoes extremely expensive and hard to come by, and we will love to eat them any way we can—certainly including in a fruit salad, which sounds delicious to me!


    Yes, all of its advantages notwithstanding, this virtual medium has great disadvantages. Every communication mode has many advantages and disadvantages. In any mode that does not occur in a direct, physically face-to-face way we lose about 70% of the meaning of the message, which occurs through subtle body language cues including facial expressions, tone of voice, movements, and so on. Video chat reduces the amount of this lost, critical percentage somewhat, but it does NOT eliminate it; not by a long shot. I agree: Had we met face to face, I doubt that this would have happened, and I expect that that holds true for about 95% of the other negative interactions that occur among commenters here as well. We all suffer from the massive loss of critical, interpersonal, emotional information and dynamic feedback, and subsequently construct highly inaccurate images of and stories about each other. (As Susan Johnson describes so well in Love Sense, our mirror neurons, essential for bonding and attachment, do not get activated.)

    Kirk Hamilton,

    Regarding “… a virus that takes one out quickly and painlessly would be a blessing”, yes, I agree. Unfortunately most viral and bacterial diseases that kill—by far!—occur with GREAT pain and suffering, usually over a period of days and weeks if not months and years. I will probably opt for my quick, painless, sure suicide method over that kind of suffering when the time comes. It helps me greatly in managing my fears and anxieties regarding the horrors coming soon to all of us to know that I know about and have that option in almost any situation I might find myself in.

    Thanks so much for the documentary! I felt overwhelmed by memories (oak trees, moss, snakes and other reptiles, insects, and so on, that I lived so closely with and ate), sadness, and loss. I cried several times.

    Robin Datta,

    Thanks for the Peak Oil Barrel link. I found the half-hour Hunt and Lipo Easter Island video ( extremely interesting and compelling. I have begun to consider this more likely a more accurate story than the one Jared Diamond tells about this.


    If my human supremacist thinking comment does not fit for you, by all means do not wear it. I did not mean to suggest that you necessarily think in that way; I only meant it as a general comment to many people for whom it does fit. I apologize for not making that clear and so for creating that misunderstanding.

    Regarding judging books by their titles, this makes a good bit less sense to me than judging them by their covers, which usually contain much more information than the title, and it makes about as much sense as judging people by their name, their religion, their nationality, “race”, sexual orientation, or even a five-minute interaction with them. A major problem with your book store analogy involves the excluded middle, all-or-none thinking that you argue with here. Contrary to what you suggest with your analogy, obviously a wide range of options exists between reading a book’s title, at one extreme, and reading the entire book at the other extreme. But go ahead and judge things by such extremely brief, superficial exposures as you may wish. You certainly do have plenty of company in that respect.

    No, I do not have so much narcissism as to think, for one second, that “everyone must find these works and practices as important as you do.” On the other hand, I do think that those who read and comprehend what I write sometimes may have an interest in the things that I write about, just as I often appreciate the descriptions, examples, and leads that others give me.

    Regarding the rest of your March 28th, 2015 at 12:14 pm comment you express many extremely popular and strongly held beliefs about love, relationships and attachment—ideas that science related to love, relationships, and bonding contradicts. As I have suggested so often here in the past, people MIGHT consider actually reading papers and books before commenting passionately about them, whether pro or con. (I find it fascinating that, often, what seems so obvious to me, such as actually reading something before commenting significantly about it, others find a strange, foreign, surprising, perhaps even a ridiculous idea.)

  • Robert Callaghan,

    Clarification. After I posted my last comment, I noticed a point of possible misunderstanding. I wrote “The energy does NOT get ‘renewed’ any more than we ‘produce’ oil, coal, or gas; we extract it in various ways, and it always dissipates, always requiring much more low-density, dispersed energy than ever gets concentrated in a dense, high quality storage mode.” Some people might misunderstand this point about renewal. One might reasonably say that the energy we extract does get “renewed” in the sense that solar energy continuously enters Earth’s atmosphere thus “renewing” that extracted. But the word “renewable” produces an unwarranted, euphemistic bias in people’s thinking about energy. Much more accurately, extracted energy gets replaced by incoming solar energy, but this does NOT mean that we can extract significant amounts of energy from the biosphere without damaging it as suggested by the “renewable energy” term and crowd, because all of Earth’s life processes run on solar energy. IF we could extract significant amounts of energy from that “wasted” by Earth’s biosphere, reflected and re-radiated back into space and not used by the biosphere, THEN we might have a relatively undamaging energy source. But that reflected and re-radiated energy source exists in even less dense, more dispersed storage and transmission modes than the entering sunlight. This means significantly more difficulty in capturing and concentrating it in ways that we could find useful. No way exists out of the self-annihilation trap we have created by becoming physically dependent upon energy in local, regional, and global biosphere-damaging ways fundamentally related to the population and consumption growth of our species.

    mo flow,

    I decided to provide the make-up lesson that you referred to March 26th, 2015 at 4:04 pm in your comment to mike k. No “magic” morphing that you refer to has occurred; only a failure on some people’s part actually to read Keeley, LeBlanc, Tattersall, Kelly, Diamond, and others, and subsequently to understand what they wrote. The alleged magical morphing comes from a failure to read and understand what they have written. To the best of my understanding, none of these authors have argued to the effect of the “… totally unarguable, fact that humanity was actually endlessly violent, murderous, greedy, warring and genocidal (on every other Tuesday) – from the very beginning of our species” as you have suggested. Neither have I. Indeed, they all either explicitly state, or suggest, that we have a strong preference for peace. In an attempt to show how no magical morphing has occurred, other than in your apparent new understanding, I will quote just a little from Keeley and LeBlanc here (perhaps too long for most people to tolerate):

    Keeley, two paragraphs:

    “According to the most extreme views, war is an inherent feature of human existence, a constant curse to all social life, or (in the guise of a real war) a perversion of human sociability created by the centralized political structure of states and civilizations. In fact, cross-cultural research on warfare has established that although some societies that did not engage in war or did so extremely rarely, the overwhelming majority of known societies (90 to 95 percent) have been involved in this activity.”

    “Thus pacifistic societies seem to have existed at every level of social organization, but they are extremely rare and seem to require special circumstances. The examples of Sweden and the Semai demonstrate that societies can change from pacifistic to warlike, or vice versa, within a few generations or, (as with the Semai) within the lifetime of an individual. As these examples and the case of the Polar Eskimo establish, the idea that violent conflicts between groups is an inevitable consequence of being human or of social life itself is simply wrong. Still, the overwhelming majority of known societies have made war. Therefore, while it is not inevitable, war is universally common and usual.”

    Raymond C. Kelly in his book recommended by red fox, Warless Societies and the Origin of War, makes the same point.

    LeBlanc, five statements:

    “I suspect that there must have been selection among humans for aggressive behavior during the last million years or so. [Here, he refers to Parable of the Tribe dynamics.] I do NOT see a genetic selection for making war or for killing people.” Because some people seem to have great trouble reading, I will repeat that. Here and in other places, LeBlanc clearly states “I do NOT see a genetic selection for making war or for killing people.” I have never stated that either.

    “This powerful urge to help or save others must be as inherently human as aggressive behavior. Aggressive human tendencies are often mitigated by other human tendencies.”

    “Warfare, of all human aggressive behavior, is probably the LEAST likely to be driven by genetically induced behaviors unmodified or uncontrolled by cultural behaviors.”

    “Among chimps, as well as humans, warfare is the LEAST impetuous aggressive behavior, one act that is most moderated by group decision making and cold, hard calculation of risks involved.”

    “Among humans, animosities can linger for a long time, and it may indeed take generations for true peace to come to the Balkans or the Middle East or large portions of Africa. Just because humans cannot make peace does NOT mean they have genes that preclude being peaceful. [Nor that peace does not occur in some times and places.] A history of warfare is something that should be accepted as reality. A good portion of the world’s people go to bed hungry and many starve. As long as resource scarcities continue in many parts of the world, I expect conflict based on competition over resources to continue, even if it is sometimes disguised as ideological. This does not doom us to a future of war any more than our past dooms us to a future of heart attacks.”

  • One of the things that has made H sap so successful is the deoth of our toolkit. We have apparently always been equally capable of making love or war depending on what the circumstances require. War should be looked on just like cooperation – as a problem solving tool. Sometimes the tool you need is a paint brush, sometimes the problem requires an axe. We conquered the planet because we could use either, and switch from one to the other at the drop of an innuendo. A society that had only one of those tools available, or used the wrong one at the wrong time, wouldn’t last long. Nature isn’t terribly sympathetic to one-trick ponies.

    I have no clue why this seems to be such a difficult idea. Well actually I do, but it would be impolitic to say it out loud, and I don’t feel like getting into a war right now.

  • As many readers of this blog are aware, I’m a big fan of the theory that complex adaptive systems under an energy flow (like human civilization or life itself) organize in such a way as to to maximize entropy creation. It’s known in some scientific circles as the Maximum Entropy Production Principle or MEPP.

    That theory caught my attention very strongly a couple of years ago. It’s supported by a growing body of work, including that of Dorion Sagan, Eric Schneider, James J. Kay, Stanley N. Salthe, L. M. Martyushev, Jeremy England, Eric Chaisson and others.

    I was fixated on this theory for quite a while. I used it to support my intuition that human behavior with respect to energy use and growth – especially the tendency of human societies to outgrow their life support – is deterministic.

    While my position has softened a bit recently, I’m still convinced that non-equilibrium thermodynamics (NET) defines the “limits of the possible” for our behavior. That’s probably the reason that all species grow if possible, and rely on external circumstances to define their limits – NET provides the accelerator, while circumstances provide the brake.

    The reason my position has softened is that I now accept that physical and social environmental factors play key roles in how that underlying physical impulse is expressed. I realized this morning that a perfect analogy to this situation is the biological principles of genetics and epigenetics.

    For living beings, genetics defines the envelope of possibility, while epigenetics (loosely, the influence of the environment on gene expression) helps to determine which of those possibilities are manifested and how they are expressed. Organisms still can’t operate outside their genetic envelopes, but their environment plays a crucial role in how they develop within that envelope.

    In this analogy, life – even in all its miraculous profligacy – can’t operate outside the range of behaviors established by NET. But within those constraints, our environment and history permit a very wide range of expression. All the hallmarks of life, from eating and excreting to writing symphonies and creating complex political and economic systems are given their direction by NET and their form by the “epigeNETic” influences of our surroundings.

    As Dorion Sagan has pointed out, in living systems maximum entropy production often fatally disrupts continuous or viable future entropy production – on which all life depends – and has thus often been severely selected against over the course of evolution.

    I suspect the external factors that I’ve loosely analogized with epigenetics are what keep entropy from being maximized by a CAS to the point where it is destroyed. Such systems are networks, and their operation is controlled by feedback loops, as described in the field of cybernetics. As a result, the dissipation of any given subsystem will normally be limited by negative feedbacks involving other system elements before it disappears in a cloud of greasy orange smoke. Subsystems that aren’t limited and do “flame out” play no further role in the evolution of the larger system.

    Perhaps it might be more accurate to say that systems attempt to maximize entropy, but are stopped short by the limits imposed by intra-system feedbacks. The process of evolution probably selects for appropriate negative feedback loops as key fitness mechanisms, because without them the system that is evolving would eventually flame out. The systems consisting of and created by Homo sapiens seem to be in the grips of such an evolutionary failure.

    This line of thinking points directly to the massive danger posed by the human intellect. The primary role of our intelligence is to be a problem-solving mechanism. This extraordinary capability enables human systems to evade the limits that would otherwise be imposed on us naturally by negative feedbacks within the larger life-system of which we are a part. This leaves more of the growth-enhancing positive feedbacks in control of the system – at least until we encounter a negative feedback or two that we can’t evade. For example, climate change and resource depletion.

    At least, this is how I see it at the moment.

  • “You seem to think that everyone must find these works and practices as important as you do.”

    “Should” rather than must.

    “if everyone were to read this book or take this course or employ this or that “technique” or “method” the world would be transformed..”

    That is foundational for various solutions for recalcitrance through the ages. Including such giants as Stalin & Hitler in more recent times.

  • Robin, you have invoked Godwin’s law.
    Stalin & Hitler could NOT be more different.
    Here is a short & different look at Adolph Hitler that, almost surely, you have never seen.
    Most everything that I was taught in academic studies about Hitler & National Socialism was egregiously false.
    My undergrad B.A. degree from U. of Florida was in modern European history.
    Objective historical information is readily available, but one must seek it out.

  • Paul.

    The theoretical analysis you have presented is all very interesting but I believe it does not match reality.

    In the real world organisms tend to minimise their entropy production and their enthalpy ‘consumption;, whilst at the same time attempting to maximise their biological success by reproducing as much/as many as possible (at least until the modern concept of contraception emerged).

    Take a lioness, for instance. She does not attempt to chase gazelles all day in the hope of eventually catching one: she cooperates with other lionesses to form a ‘trap’ which minimises the expenditure of energy for all of them.

    Humans clearly adopted agriculture because the energy return on energy invested was generally far greater than other forms of existence most of the time (enthalpy and entropy both lower), and the greater availability of ‘calories’ facilitated faster reproduction and a higher biological success rate (the down side being poorer health over a lifetime; but that would be outweighed by larger numbers at the reproductive age -say 20 year-olds0. I am still a fan of ‘selfish gene theory’ (which most people seem not to understand: genes do whatever they can to maximise their numbers (though in practice it is all rather chaotic, since genes cannot forecast future circumstance or change to meet them).

    The real trouble started when humans discovered they could reduce their biological enthalpy ‘use’ by burning fossil fuels, not realising at the time the truly horrendous repercussions. A human with a fossil-fuel-powered machine increases enthalpy ‘use’ and entropy ‘production’, potentially by many orders of magnitude, and is also in a position to create mayhem where there was order, e.g. demolishing a rain forest.

    I am in the process if pointing out to NPDC officers that NPDC is the prime cause of ruination of the district I live in, that nothing they promote is sustainable, and that the best thing they can do is to do nothing at all; just leave things alone.

    They can’t do that, of course, because they are paid to provide opportunities for money-lend4ers, corporations and opportunists for ‘development’.

  • “I didn’t catch all of Chris Hedges’ talk tonight via livestream, but the man literally opened with, “I have walked through the remains of Babylon…” His sermon also included a long quote/paraphrase from Jared Diamond’s Collapse, setting up the downfall of the Indigenous society on Easter Island as an analogy for today’s ecological crisis. Hedges’ borrowed tale about self-inflicted ecocide is both cliche and historically dubious; he forgot to mention the role of colonialism and the 19th century slave raids by mining interests in Peru that contributed to decimating Easter Island. Like the sex workers of the DTES depicted in that drive-by article by Hedges, the Rapa Nui are decontextualized to suit his rhetorical purposes.

    Ultimately I think the problem w/ Chris Hedges is his vision of doom is a morality tale, not a systemic analysis. Hectoring and increasingly unoriginal in his thinking, he has at least recently even slipped into outright plagiarism. His politics are superficially radical but really more a kind of apocalyptic liberalism. His gloomy talk evokes not so much hope for and solidarity with the oppressed in their struggle for liberation, but fear that he and the upper and middle classes will be pulled down with them as punishment…”

    -Derrick O’Keefe 29/3/2015

    Best Wishes for speedy return to health – for everybody.

  • @Lidia re Bud: I am also skeptical of the evangelism that your “Love Sense” campaign borders upon: if everyone were to read this book or take this course or employ this or that “technique” or “method” the world would be transformed.


    Bud, has it ever occurred to you that you behave a whole lot like your father – at least insofar as you described him the other day?

    Of course, his fundamentalist Christian dogmas were different than your rationalist ones – but the behavior seems remarkably similar…the heavy handed evangelism that several have pointed out. It’s certainly how you behaved over on Scott Johnson’s blog, and it’s how you’re behaving here as well.

    It’s like that old joke where a woman first realizes that she’s turned into her mother.

    Now, unlike some (like non-attached Robin), I really don’t care if you are a pushy prostelytizer of your ideas or not. You’re a True Believer, and so are many. What I do like about you is that you think that having a civil discussion is a better option than firing verbal bullets. I agree with that, and your pushing the point has made NBL a somewhat less toxic environment for discussion that it has been historically.

    There’s really nothing wrong with being a Missionary Man (or Woman) as long as you don’t get hateful and/or resentful with those who reject your Gospel.

    That’s a lesson a lot of folks – including not a few here – have yet to learn.

    But as BtD says in his poetic fashion, it’ll all be over soon enough either way.

  • “To the best of my understanding, none of these authors have argued to the effect of the “… totally unarguable, fact that humanity was actually endlessly violent, murderous, greedy, warring and genocidal (on every other Tuesday) – from the very beginning of our species” as you have suggested. Neither have I.

    said the Budster, and some of his fave authors:

    “Then we have “Kill nothing. Eat only that which falls from the trees.” No reliable evidence anywhere suggests that any hominids ever evolved or lived based on that principle, certainly including Homo sapiens. Meanwhile, best evidence suggests that genocides and warfare have existed throughout all of Homo sapiens’ history, so that statement also amounts to a misleading oversimplification.”

    “Humans have committed warfare, including genocides, based on bigotry and racist thinking from our beginnings, long, long before any civilization arose.”

    A Conversation with Paul Ehrlich

    “Regarding your last point concerning genocide, if one group completely eliminates another group including all men, women, and children—as early groups of humans often did far more often than occurs in warfare today—then they committed genocide whether the number of individuals killed equaled 50, 5,000, 50,000, or 50 million. Genocide refers to the systematic killing of people on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political opinion, social status, etc. and we might also call it “race murder” or “race extermination”. If, to the best of one group’s knowledge, they have killed all of another ethnic, religious, political, or social status group, then they have committed genocide.

    A Conversation with Paul Ehrlich

    Yes, Kelly makes some interesting points in his 2005 “The Evolution of Lethal Intergroup Violence” PNAS article. You point to my alleged “continued black and white, ultra-simplistic, assertions”, “all of this complexity seems to repeatedly escape you, even though it has been pointed out to you again and again.”, “your personal conclusion that ‘war and genocide’ have been with humans from the beginning simply does not seem to be supported by the evidence.” Ahh, not so much my reasoning and evidence as that of Keely, LeBlanc, Tattersall, Diamond, and others whom I have referred to (assuming that I have understood and represented them correctly).

    Love’s Dimensions

    Regarding human expansion on Earth, I have copied below six paragraphs from the introduction to Part IV, titled “World conquerors” of Jared Diamond’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee, How Our Animal Heritage Affects The Way We Live:

    “Thus, xenophobic murder has innumerable animal precursors, but only we have developed it to the point of threatening to bring about our fall as a species. Threatening our own existence has now joined art and language as a human hallmark. Hence Chapter Sixteen will survey the history of human genocide, to make clear the ugly tradition from which Dachau’s ovens and modern nuclear warfare spring.”

    ARCHIVED: Panel Discussion at University of Rhode Island: Near-Term Human Extinction

    “Here, he also refers to complex civilizations destroying themselves. True indeed, but he seems unaware that many earlier, simpler human societies did as well through warfare, genocide… We were the most efficient killers on the planet long before industrial civilization, and long before we invented agriculture”

    The Keys

    just a sampling of the page one, out of seven pages, of results for the google search:

    genocide bud nye site:

    I have no particular interest in going further, but it could be entertaining.

    bold emphasis added for clarity.

  • Robin Datta,

    March 28th, 2015 at 5:50 pm you wrote “‘You seem to think that everyone must find these works and practices as important as you do.’ ‘Should’ rather than must. ‘if everyone were to read this book or take this course or employ this or that ‘technique’ or ‘method’ the world would be transformed..’ That is foundational for various solutions for recalcitrance through the ages. Including such giants as Stalin & Hitler in more recent times.”

    To whom you meant to direct this comment seems quite ambiguous to me, and I think it important to emphasize that all of these quotes and remarks relate to things that LIDIA wrote, not to anything I wrote. In a comment to her I had simply recommended that people read Love Sense by writing “Reading Sue Johnson’s 2013 book Love Sense, The Revolutionary Science of Romantic Relationships would go a very long way toward changing this kind of thinking for many people, I think.” (Thinking related to the alleged inaccessibility of emotions and love to natural scientific study.) Lidia then responded to this recommendation with comments that you quoted and responded to. If you meant your remarks for me (and you may not have; that seems very ambiguous), do you really mean to suggest that someone recommending a book here at NBL “…is foundational for various solutions for recalcitrance through the ages. Including such giants as Stalin & Hitler in more recent times.”? If so, I suppose the same must hold true for the many similar links to videos, music, articles, and so on, that many people post every day here at NBL in the way of recommendations. In that case, I guess most of us must qualify as Little Stalins and Little Hitlers. 😉 Please do not confuse what I write with what Lidia writes. Sometimes some overlap may occur; but likely more often it will not.

    Paul Chefurka,

    Regarding your March 28th, 2015 at 5:48 pm comment: Other than your brief reference to determinism (I do not see how one might conceive of a complex, chaotic, NET process as in some way deterministic), and the teleological nature of the next to the last paragraph (suggesting some end or purpose), it makes good sense to me!

    I would say that “The primary role of our intelligence” involves not problem-solving (for the sake of “solving problems”), but that it increases survival (leaving more viable offspring) by producing adaptive change much faster than occurs through genetic changes. (If by “problem-solving” you meant this, then please ignore this part of my comment.)

    Gerald Spezio,

    Though I do not see Robin Datta as drawing any kind of equivalency between Stalin and Hitler, I think that you make some good points. Regarding your reference to Godwin’s “Law”, a few thoughts—NOT meant as any kind of criticism regarding your points, but mainly as an attempt at some “humor with a serious element”. It strikes me that:

    Godwin’s so-called “Law” ( exists as nothing more than one clever man’s opinion. (An American lawyer.) It does not occur as any kind of natural or legal law in any way, and, contrary to an assertion some people make regarding it, comparing with Nazi’s does not necessarily indicate the loss of anyone’s credibility. Godwin constructed and used this “law” believing that the ubiquity of such comparisons trivializes the Holocaust.

    Related directly to this, I now formally offer “Nye’s Law of the Internet” here, a “law” in all probably significantly more valid than the frequently referenced “Godwin’s Law”:

    “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of introducing Godwin’s Law approaches one. An individual or group of individuals who fear losing their argument often distracts from the relevant issues and changes the subject by introducing the completely irrelevant, opinion-based “Godwin’s Law”. A Godwin’s Law reference often provides good evidence that one has no real argument left to make.”

    Anyone who reads this may feel free to pass “Nye’s Law of the Internet” along as they may wish. 😉

    kevin moore,

    Have you read Howard Odum’s book Environment, Power, and Society? If you have, I would like to know what you think about it. (Three reviews here:


    Whether it turns out that Jared Diamond (and many anthropologists) got it wrong about Easter Island, or not, I sure disagree with Derrick O’Keefe’s opinion about Chris Hedges! I wonder, What emotional axe does O’Keefe have to grind with his essentially personal attack on Chris Hedges, and you in passing it along? The fact that he quoted Diamond who passed along an Easter Island account that more recent evidence and reasoning appears not to support? Just as with Guy, I find that I strongly agree with almost everything Hedges says and writes, even though he inevitably occasionally makes mistakes and errors of various kinds, as we all do.

    As fallible human beings, we all get things wrong sometimes, including ALL of the most competent and careful scientists. I will go so far as to write, and emphasize, that frequently getting things wrong qualifies as one of those universal human characteristics that so many here wish to deny the existence of. In my opinion, often getting things wrong does not make us despicable, nor does it warrant personal attacks. In fact, as hard as I find this to believe, upon reflection I’ll bet that even you have sometimes made mistakes and gotten things wrong, Wester. Does that mean that you qualify as a despicable person and someone we should attack in the ways that O’Keefe attacks Hedges? I certainly don’t think so, but perhaps you disagree with me about this. If you do think that I and/or others should attack you because of your human fallibilities, after all, please let me know and I will see what I can come up with in the way of a personal attack appropriate for our present situation. 😉

    As I re-read and reflect on O’Keefe’s comments, O’Keefe’s emotional axe becomes clear to me: this serves as yet another example of good guy/bad guy, in-group/out-group anger, with Hedges, presumably, representing the “bad guys”. And, surely, if I do not agree with you, then that definitely must make me one of the bad guys as well. Do I follow your outrage and reasoning correctly here? Please correct me if I have got this wrong. I find myself trying to understand this harangue. It looks to me as though this serves as a verbal example of the attack-attack, feud mentality that goes back to the beginnings of our species: “That bad group over there hurt us, so now we’re going to hurt them back.” (They stole a pig, or a woman, or murdered a family member.) Such feuds could go on with people continuing to kill each other over a pig theft, for example, that occurred a hundred years before. Meanwhile, neither Chris Hedges, nor I, did any of the things that you and O’Keefe seem so angry about. But of course that does not matter. This remains about an alleged good GROUP verses an alleged bad group, and ONLY GROUP MEMBERSHIP MATTERS, not any actual, personal involvement. Because you see Hedges and me as members of your “bad-guy” group, we deserve, and have become targets for, your rage. Assuming that I have this right, does this kind of guilt-by-group-association reasoning that you so persistently use really make good sense to you? Again, please correct me if I have got any of this wrong. I have just made my best guess here based on your writing.


    PORTLAND, ME—In an effort to remain mentally sharp well into her golden years, local senior citizen Evelyn Gordon, 86, told reporters Thursday she keeps her mind active by regularly contemplating her rapidly approaching death. “For just a few minutes every day, I really try to focus in and challenge my brain by thinking about all the different ways I might die in the next few years,” said Gordon, who attempts to improve cognitive function by performing mental exercises whenever she has downtime, such as calculating the number of days she has left on earth or carefully visualizing friends and family paying their respects at her funeral. “Then, before bed, I like to give my memory a nice workout by recalling all of the close friends and loved ones who have already passed away, and how that could realistically happen to me any day now. Of course, mostly I keep my mind sharp by concentrating on what it means to vanish into nothingness and be utterly forgotten. It really helps keep me alert.” Gordon added that she has also taken to learning something new every day about the neurodegenerative diseases that will quite possibly claim her mind sometime soon.

  • The Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall

    ► We have to grow more food in the next 50 years than we grew in the last 500 years.

    ► We need 6 million hectares of new farmland every single year to do this.

    ► We lose 12 million hectares of farmland every single year.

    ► Earth has only 60 years of farming left at current world soil degradation rates.

    ► England has only 100 harvests left at current UK soil degradation rates.

    ► In 10 years, 2025, 66% of humanity will be short of fresh water.

    ► Humans and livestock eat 40% of earth’s annual land chlorophyll production.

    ► Humans and livestock are 97% of land vertebrate biomass.

    ► Crop and pasture lands caused 80% of all species extinctions.

    ► We already passed world peak production in 2006 for wheat, soy, corn and fish.

    ► We are running out of cheap, accessible potassium and phosphates.

    ► These irreplaceable fertilizers cannot be manufactured by humans.

    ► The nitrogen eco-system is badly corrupted it kills off river and ocean life.

    ► We face mounting crop losses due to drought, flood and extreme weather.

    ► There are 80,000 untested chemicals in our environment.

    ► We add thousands of chemicals to our food in a untrustworthy regulatory environment.

    ► We spray so much herbicide and pesticide our croplands are “Green Deserts”.

    ► GM foods destroy soil ecology and poisons us without our permission.

    ► GM crops destroyed 90% of Monarch Butterflies in 20 years.

    ► 3 neo-nic laced seeds will kill one bird and is water soluble.

    ► Monocultures cause bee malnutrition due to a lack of bio-diversity in pollen sources.

    ► Bee malnutrition weakens colonies against poisons, disease and extreme weather.

    ► We add nanoparticles to our foods without testing for long term safety.

    ► We add computer designed, synthetic DNA to our food.

    ► We kill elephants and orangutans to clear forests to grow palm oil.

    ► This palm oil is burnt as bio-fuels in Germany’s diesel cars in Europe.

    ► Rainforests are slashed and burned in South America to grow soy.

    ► Pigs in China eat half of all the soy grown in South America.

    ► Soy oil is burnt as bio-fuel in Northern Europe.

    ► Our food is killing off life on earth.

    ► Runaway mass extinction is unstoppable and irreversible once started.

    ► Ocean plankton declines of 1% per year means 100% gone in 70 years.

    ► When ocean plankton is 50% gone, you can save your breath.

    ► We then only have to wait 10 million years for recovery.

    ► You should notice I did not mention global warming even once.

    ► Global warming is only 1 out of 6 Direct Drivers of Mass Extinction.

    ► Therefore: Green Energy will not stop Mass Extinction.

    ► IPCC climate mitigation, carbon sequestration and adaptive strategies all assume more cropland availability.

  • The term “adapting to climate change” is a long-winded way of saying “triage” (The Agnotology of Sea Level Rise Via Ice Melt).

  • The latest post in this space includes two short video clips. Catch them here.

  • @kevin

    I’ve noticed that people tend to adopt worldviews that are consistent with their own nature, and are quite resistant to speculation that implies the world is different than they see it. In the end it doesn’t matter much whether enthalpy or entropy is the driving principle – we are where we are, regardless of what any of us believe is moving the planets in their orbits. My view supports a Taoistic quietism, but isn’t as accommodating to the psychological needs of people with an activist disposition.


    I have no problems with either mysticism or teleology. If there are whiffs of them in this framework, so be it. Feel free to ignore any parts that don’t agree with your own nature – it’s what people do anyway.

  • @ Paul Chefurka Says:
    March 29th, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    In the end it doesn’t matter much whether enthalpy or entropy is the driving principle – we are where we are, regardless of what any of us believe is moving the planets in their orbits

    Spot on and I regard you, along with Bud and Ram, among the sharper pins in this cushion. So, I am simultaneously perplexed why you would add “[m]y view supports a Taoistic quietism…” and “I have no problems with either mysticism or teleology,” which seems, at the very least, inconsistent and incongruent with your previously asserted perspective. Hell, it may even be an outright contradiction of concepts. How can you justify/rationalize such a diametrically opposed ideation?

  • @Colin,

    I answered you on the new thread. Thanks for the question.