BREXIT! The FUN Begins!

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on June 24, 2016

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Unbelievably, INCREDIBLY, the Brits Voted for BREXIT, aka divorcing from the European Union.

As this campaign went on over the last few months, the Brexit Champions seemed to be gaining the upper hand, and as of about a week ago I thought Brexit would win over Bremain.

But then, by SHEER COINCIDENCE, something happened.  A Brit MP, Jo Cox was ASSASSINATED, with the Assassin reportedly crying BRITAIN FIRST or something like that anyhow before he shot and stabbed her to death.  Not quite ALLAHU AKBAR! but similar enough to turn off people to voting for Brexit if this reminded them of Terrorist Tactics.

Campaigns were suspended for 3 days on both sides, and although there was some variation in the Polling, the tactic appeared to have WORKED, and the major Polling companies began reporting that Bremain would win.

Global Markets breathed a sigh of RELIEF, and after being hammered for a few weeks the Pound Sterling began to recover.  The markets calmes, all would be well, BAU would continue onward.

However, in the driving rain and flooding in […] Continue Reading…

War. What is it good for?

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on June 19, 2016

 

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A while back I wrote a 5 part series analyzing the relationship between Money, Energy, Waste and Thermodynamics I titled "The Money Valve".  The effort there was to show that the way the monetary system works is to regulate the downhill flow of an energy stock as it is dissipated and turned into waste of various kinds.  The physical waste that stacks up in landfills, the CO2 that collects in the atmosphere, the pollution that works its way into the groundwater, rivers, lakes and finally into the biggest toilet of them all, the world oceans, etc.

I looked at the major players in this game, Goobermints, Banks, Industry, the Military and Consumers, but I missed a very important connection.  How the War Machine itself directly produces Waste!  In fucking COPIOUS QUANTITY AND FAST!

This came to me in another epiphany when I was considering how Mother Russia has recently been upgrading and increasing it's Military power in a number of areas, due to the constant and increasing threat from NATO on its borders.  NATO is […] Continue Reading…

The Renewable Energy Survey: RESULTS

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on June 12, 2016

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Take the Renewable Energy Survey HERE (still open!)

Survey Discussion & Analysis with Ugo Bardi & Gail Tverberg

The RES has accumulated an enormous amount of data, so now is a good time to take a Snapshot of what the current attitudes are about its potential for maintaining the techno-industrial lifestyle.

Before we look at the numbers though, a few important points about the sample.  By no means is this a random sample of attitudes of the world at large.  If you were to drop this survey on USA Today, I am quite sure you would get completely different results.  This sample comes from 6 main websites:

Cassandra's Legacy

Our Finite World

The Archdruid Report

Economic Undertow

Reddit r/collapse & r/globalcollapse

The Doomstead Diner

There are a few contributions from other sites like Global Economic Intersection and Reddit r/solar, but by far the majority come from the sites listed above.  If you were on the list to receive the full data set, you can see how many results came from each site, most respondents did list their referral […] Continue Reading…

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Hot off Brexit, Vladimir Putin goes to China

From the keyboard of Pepe Escobar
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Originally published in RT on June 24, 2016

 

As the whole planet attempts to digest the implications of Brexit, the real heart of 21st century action once again shifts to Beijing, where President Vladimir Putin on Saturday pays a visit to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Business will include clinching a $6.2 billion high-speed rail deal; increased supply of Russian wheat to China – by building a Trans-Baikal grain terminal; and steps towards deeper military cooperation. They are already cooperating on an engine that will power the new Russia-China airliner.

Everything connected to the Russia-China partnership spells out Eurasia integration. It starts with the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. One Belt, One Road (OBOR), which will progressively interplay with the Eurasia Economic Union (EEU), as Putin emphasized at the St. Petersburg forum. It involves the expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); the immediate future of BRICS, including the New Development Bank (NDB); projects to be financed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); and Russia-China coordination inside the G20.

OBOR and the EEU naturally merge as Eurasia will be slowly but surely fashioned into a massive emporium – an interlocking trade and infrastructure network stretching from Russia’s Far […] Continue Reading…

Book Review: The Oracle of Oil

Off the keyboard of Allan Stromfeldt Christensen

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Published on From Filmers to Farmers on June 21, 2016

 

 

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Living in highly technological civilizations that generally place the greatest importance and value upon the material gadgetry and inventiveness of our societies, it should come as little surprise that the luminaries and household names that we can readily conjure and associate with are those related to the technological aspects of our lives. For example, when one mentions the telephone, the light bulb, the automobile, the airplane, or nuclear bombs, it's likely that many a grade-schooler can rhyme off the names Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, the Wright brothers, and, perhaps, Albert Einstein.

But segue into more ecological matters and the fathers and mothers of these vocations are certainly not household names the way the aforementioned are. For what comes to mind when we think of organic farming, climate change, the environmental movement, or limits to growth? For most of those who flick light switches on and off as much as they eat food and depend on stable planetary ecological balances, the answers are probably little more than a shrug. While […] Continue Reading…

China: Is peak coal part of its problem?

Off the keyboard of Gail Tverberg

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Published on the Our Finite World on June 20, 2016A coal train once supplied the city of Holland, Michigan with fuel for its electric generating plant. They converted the plant to natural gas. Their costs are down, their emissions are down, and coal is down for the count. (Photo by wsilver/Flickr)

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The world’s coal resources are clearly huge. How could China, or the world in total, reach peak coal in a timeframe that makes a difference?

If we look at China’s coal production and consumption in BP’s 2016 Statistical Review of World Energy (SRWE), this is what we see:

 

 

 

Figure 1. China’s production and consumption of coal based on BP 2016 SRWE.

Figure 2 shows that the quantities of other fuels are increasing in a pattern similar to past patterns. None of them is large enough to make a real difference in offsetting the loss of coal consumption. Renewables (really “other renewables”) include wind, solar, geothermal, and wood burned to produce electricity. This category is still tiny in comparison to coal.

 

 

 

Figure 2. China’s energy consumption by fuel, based on BP 2016 SRWE.

Why would a country selectively decide […] Continue Reading…

Burnt Toast

From the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
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Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  June 20, 2016

 

At a most troubled moment in history, both major political parties appear set to nominate time-bomb candidates for president with a fair percentage chance of blowing up their own campaigns and the parties themselves.

We’ve been living in the era of anything goes and nothing matters — that is, the era of no consequences — but at some point between now and November 8 someone surely will press FBI chief James Comey as to why his agency issued neither a criminal referral nor an explanatory memorandum in the matter of Hillary Clinton’s private email server and its role in the money-gathering activities of the Clinton Foundation while she was Secretary of State.

Hapless Bernie Sanders blew his chance to call her on that months ago — “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!” — but it’s absolutely certain that Trump will jump up and down and shout woo-woo-woo about it during the general election campaign, if he manages to not get dumped at the GOP convention. Or his as-yet-hypothetical replacement will.

The email issue won’t go away because it entails […] Continue Reading…

The United States of Anxiety

From the keyboard of Thomas Lewis

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Published on The Daily Impact on June 10, 2015

Any minute, in any place, the terrorists could strike. We’re the only ones who can save you. Vote for us.

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In this the fifteenth successful year of the War on Terror, it is fitting that the leaders of a crumbling empire report to their terrified citizens on the hard-won battles that have been prosecuted in their names. Yesterday, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, did just that, with a forthright report to the oxymoronic Senate Intelligence Committee. Allow me to set the stage:

For 15 years, the military power of the largest, richest, most advanced armed forces in the world, in the history of the world, have been deployed against a force of musket-wielding, Toyota-truck-driving desperadoes whose aggregate numbers have probably never exceeded the population of Winchester, Virginia.

The United States has spent approximately $14 million per hour on this war, for 15 years — nearly two trillion dollars and counting — on an enemy that has no air force, no navy, no heavy missiles, no armor, no artillery, and not much money.

On 9/11/2001, […] Continue Reading…

Beijing goes mobile in the South China Sea

From the keyboard of Pepe Escobar
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Martin Petty/Reuters

Originally published in RT on June 16, 2016

 

Not a day goes by without some sort of turmoil in the South China Sea. Let’s cut to the chase: war is not about to break out.

In a nutshell, the non-stop drama, as ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) diplomats told me, is all about“escalation-management protocols.” Translation: how to prevent any unilateral outburst that could be interpreted as warlike.

Compounding the problem is that ASEAN can’t seem to manage its own internal protocols. This past Tuesday offered a graphic illustration, after a special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Yuxi. First ASEAN issued a communiqué. Then it retracted it. As much as that reflects internal dissent among the 10 nation group, it also happens to puncture the Pentagon myth of China’s “isolation”.

Meanwhile, a D-Day is approaching; the ruling, by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, on a territorial dispute brought by the Philippines in 2013. The ruling should come by late July or early August. Even if – as expected – it goes against Beijing that still should not be reason to install an insurmountable ASEAN-China divide. 
Connie Rahakundini, president of the Indonesian Institute for Maritime Studies (IIMS), framed the question […] Continue Reading…

Consumerism, Collective Psychopathology, Waste

Off the keyboard of Brian Davey

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Published on FEASTA on May 29, 2016

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This chapter about the power elite on display and the economics of Thorsten Veblen covers topics like conspicuous consumption and the consumer society, branding and the manufacture of wants. The role of advertisers is explored as well as the way that attention grabbing has become an economic sector that affects the quality of life radically and for the worse.

The Power Elite on Display – the economics of Thorsten Veblen

In 1899 the maverick economist Thorsten Veblen portrayed the power elite of his day in The Theory of the Leisure Class. What he described were extrinsic motivations at work. Success for the business elite was demonstrated through conspicuous consumption, by which he meant display to achieve social status, power and authority:

This growth of punctilious discrimination as to qualitative excellence in eating, drinking, etc. presently affects not only the manner of life, but also the training and intellectual activity of the gentleman of leisure. He is no longer simply the successful, aggressive male — the man of strength, resource, and intrepidity. In order to avoid stultification he […] Continue Reading…

Hot Brain, Cool Brain

Off the keyboard of Albert Bates

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Published on Peak Surfer on June 12, 2016

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"Voting these days is like choosing between the hot faucet and the cold faucet, but only the hot faucet works."

 

 

  Lion and wolf cubs, when they learn to stalk prey, learn fairly quickly that they must delay the urge for immediate gratification if they are to be successful. They have to cultivate patience.

 

 

Babies who are taken to their mother's breast whenever they cry do not learn this as early. Those allowed milk only after they stop crying, and maybe even then not right away, learn patience.

 

Last month Walter Mischel gave a Long Now talk that eventually found its way to our earbuds as we bicycled through Amish country in Southern Tennessee.

 

It is wheat harvest time here and Amish men are out scything the sheaves, tying bundles, and forming them into shocks to field dry in the sun. When the wheat has cured, the shocks will be collected by horse wagon and carried back to the barn for threshing. The Amish abide in the Long Now.

 

Walter Mischel’s psychology experiment at Stanford in the 1960s […] Continue Reading…

The SNAP of Doom

From the keyboard of Thomas Lewis

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Famine, as visualized by sculptor Rowan Gillespie on Custom House Quay in Dublin, Ireland. Famine is what the food stamp program prevents. And the food stamp program is showing signs of breaking down. (Photo by William Murphy/Flickr)

Published on The Daily Impact on June 10, 2015

 

There are stories that confirm our worries that the whole industrial system is about to come apart; and then there are stories that scare the crap out of us because they indicate that the collapse is ongoing and accelerating. This is one of those latter stories, one of those pre-apocalyptic cracks of doom that, like thunder, tell you it’s time to get ready. A Google search this morning finds no mention of this story in the industrial media, but it rages in the alternative sources (many of whom are weaving it into their previously established conspiracy theories as a deliberate act, not another triumph of  ineptitude).

The story? All over the country, especially since June 1, the SNAP card system, which is how we get food stamps to people now, is failing. Curiously, the failures seem to be selective, not blacking out areas-or states or regions, but cherry-picking individuals all over […] Continue Reading…

All the Answers are Wrong

Off the keyboard of Steve Ludlum

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Published on the Economic Undertow on June 8, 2016

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Unknown photographer (Bundesarchiv): The central powerhouse of the IG Auschwitz ‘Buna’ chemical complex at Monowice, Poland, in 1944. This giant factory was built by the chemical firm IG Farben to produce synthetic rubber, motor fuels, styrene and other compounds for the Third Reich, using raw materials mined nearby. The plant was a monument to brutality, built largely by tens of thousands of Jews and other slaves press-ganged across Europe by the German SS and ‘rented’ to Farben. Unlike much of wartime German manufacturing, toiling under the lash of Allied bombing; set up in flimsy sheds, in caves or even out in the open, the Buna facility was built of permanent materials to the highest standard. The intention was to produce wartime supplies for the German military during the years of conquest, then commercial plastics after the war was won. It was also meant to put the German stamp on defeated Poland, a permanent landmark for a thousand-year empire.

Farben was a cartel created in 1925 by combining the firms BASF, Hoechst, Cassella and […] Continue Reading…

Donald Trump, Anthony Bourdain, and the Plight of Their (Indentured) Mexicans

Off the keyboard of Allan Stromfeldt Christensen

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Published on From Filmers to Farmers on June 10th, 2016

(photo by Gage Skidmore)

 

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No doubt you've heard of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's infamous wall, the one ostensibly meant to keep out all those alleged Mexican "criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.," as well as to keep all those 8.1 million undocumented workers Trump intends to (somehow) deport from getting back in. On top of all that, while 3,200 km walls don't just pay for themselves, Trump had nonetheless promised to (again, somehow) make sure that the Mexican government ends up footing the bill for said wall.

After months of the now routine mockery and scorn laid upon Trump, Trump finally came clean with the method of how it was that he was supposedly going to force Mexico to cover the $8 billion tab for his pet wall – by halting money transfers from the nearly $25 billion that (underpaid, overworked) Mexican labourers send back home as remittances every year (a total that actually equates to about 2% of Mexico's GDP). As should go without saying, the vast majority of those 8.1 […] Continue Reading…

The Desperate and the Disparate

Off  the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
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Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  June 13, 2016

 

As you may know, kunstler.com was under a brutal Denial of Service (DoS) attack for several weeks. My web and server technicians have worked hard to get the website and blog back up. Fist-bump and salutes to them — JHK

As I was leaving Detroit very early Sunday morning to catch a plane, I saw the breaking story about a “shooting incident” in an Orlando nightclub, but the first reports did not detail any fatalities. Only after we landed was the shocking news of 50 dead and as many wounded revealed on the concourse TV screens.

Just in the past six months: December, 137 dead at the Paris Bataclan Theater (and two other sites); March, 35 dead at the Brussels airport; now the massacre at the Orlando Pulse Club. Before that, San Bernardino, The Madrid train bombing, the London Subway bombings… not to mention the videotaped beheadings of sundry Western journalists and other non-combatants… or the foundational outrage of 9/11.  It gets more difficult for the democracies of the West to evade the recognition that a state of war exists between us and Islamic theocracy.

No one knows […] Continue Reading…

Kill List: Smashing the ‘B’ in BRICS

From the keyboard of Pepe Escobar
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Originally published in Sputnik on June 7, 2016

 

The stakes could not be higher. Not only the future of the BRICS, but the future of a new multipolar world is in the balance. And it all hinges on what happens in Brazil in the next few months.

Let’s start with the Kafkaesque internal turmoil. The coup against President Dilma Rousseff remains an unrivalled media theatre/political tragicomedy gift that keeps on giving. It also doubles as a case of information war converted into a strategic tool of political control. 

© AP PHOTO/ IVAN SEKRETAREV

Brazil’s Dilma Faces Coup: ‘Say Goodbye to BRICS, Say Hello to Washington’

A succession of appalling audio leaks has revealed that key sectors of the Brazilian military as well as selected Supreme Court justices have legitimized the coup against aPresident that has always protected the two-year-old Car Wash corruption investigation. Even Western mainstream media was forced to admit that Dilma did not steal anything but is being impeached by a bunch of thieves. Their agenda; to stifle the Car Wash investigation, which may eventually throw many of them in jail.

The leaks also unveiled a nasty internecine carnage between Brazilian comprador elites — peripheral and mainstream. Essentially the peripherals were used as lowly paperboys in Congress for the dirty work. But now they may be about to become road […] Continue Reading…

Lies, Damned Lies, and News Reports

From the keyboard of Thomas Lewis

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An earlier, more temperate report on cell phones and cancer has supposedly been eclipsed by a newer, better one. But wait.

 

Published on The Daily Impact on June 1, 2015

 

“U.S. Leads Globe in Oil Production for Third Year.”

“Major New Study Reveals Cellphone Radiation Causes Cancer.”

These are just two examples of headlines that circled the world in the past week, subtracting from the sum total of human knowledge. Of course there were others: the “violent, chair-throwing riot” at the Nevada Democratic convention that turned out to have involved no violence, no chair-throwing and no riot; the long, dumbfounded pause when a group of pro-gun people were asked a hard question by Katie Couric, a pause that in reality was neither long nor dumbfounded. And on and on.

How are we to fulfill our responsibilities as informed citizens  (I know, it’s a quaint concept) when the information we get is consistently wrong and/or incomplete? For starters, it helps to understand the nature of the problem — in this case the dumbness and dumberness of American journalism. First Rule: when something is happening either because of stupidity or a conspiracy, always assume stupidity. These people aren’t […] Continue Reading…

Renewable Energy Survey Analysis: Coming Attractions

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on June11, 2016

Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows.  The Greatest Live Show ever done, IMHO

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On Sunday at 4PM EDT, Ugo Bardi of Cassandra's Legacy, Gail Tverberg of Our Finite World and myself will be analyzing the results of the Renewable Energy Survey LIVE on the Collapse Cafe.  The video will be up after that as well, but we invite all regular Diners to join us live for this discussion.

The RES has drawn tremendous reponse, over 270 respondents at this point and more than 30 respondents with formal education Doctoral level or above.  The data is quite fascinating overall as a snapshot of the current attitudes within the collapse comunity of the future for Renewable Energy.

I can only hope that Sergei and the tech geeks at Google Hangouts hold up their end, and that the Cisco Routers don't garble up the audio too much.

RE

The Strange Idea of Negative Interest

Off the keyboard of Graham Barnes

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Published on FEASTA on April 13, 2016

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This article addresses the role of demurrage (negative interest) in the design of new currencies. But it takes a roundabout route with diversions around the zero and negative interest rates being currently applied to fiat money; and a detour via positive interest which is itself a stranger idea than we have been led to believe. It suggests that demurrage is worth a place in the designer’s kitbag, but not for the reason normally postulated.

The basic idea of interest is simple. It’s a special type of rent. If we loan out something we have no immediate need for ourselves, it seems reasonable that the borrower should pay us rent for its use. So interest is a rent on money.

A fundamental problem with the rent rationale in general occurs when the ‘property’ concerned is a public good – a commons which has been enclosed – or where it has been secured by violence or some other unfair means. In that case we might feel a little aggrieved at having property we feel we should have a […] Continue Reading…

The War on Hemp

From the keyboard of Thomas Lewis

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Published on The Daily Impact on June 7, 2015

 

It is one of the first crops cultivated by humans, and was a staple crop for the American colonies. It requires less water than  most crops, and no pesticides at all, to grow, and while growing it detoxifies soil and sequesters CO2. Its seeds are a superfood, yielding highly nutritious flour, bread, cereal, “milk”, oil and protein additives — as well as fuel, paint, ink and cosmetics. Its fast-growing stalk yields one of the strongest and most useful fibers known, used in superior paper, canvas, ropes, insulation, cardboard, clothing, shoes and plastic — plastic that is, by the way, biodegradable. This one plant can provide many of the products an industrial society needs, sustainably, while drastically reducing pollution, energy consumption, deforestation, fossil fuel use and providing income for millions of farmers (in places like West Virginia, where glum people sit around in fertile hollows mourning the death of coal).

So, of course, planting, harvesting, or even studying hemp is mostly illegal in the United States and has been for decades.

Ask anyone in American politics why this is so, and you get mumbles. “Mumble mumble mumble marijuana.” Yes, hemp […] Continue Reading…

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Dairy causes cancer, really? I will be sure to tell my father that next time he drives over. He drin [...]

The UK can now import gas from russia. The EU and McCain threatened Bulgaria to stop a pipeline proj [...]

Great Britain did at least dare to take a step out into the unknown. The collapse of Europe is comin [...]

No, your reasoning is flawed. You are making the wrong categories, and ignoring the logic of what I [...]

http://www.exposingtruth.com/new-un-report-finds-almost-no-industry-profitable-if-environmental-cost [...]

Brilliant post, Steve! The last paragraph took a few rereadings but it's perfect - just dense i [...]

Thanks for another well-written reflection, Steve An alternative vid that doesnt' 'hate on [...]

Ehhh ... YES! I don't think it was a false flag, not impossible, but the context remains, regar [...]

Thanks for the link, Ken. The last time I bought a LEED for Homes manual, the prerequisite for a thr [...]

RE Economics

Simplifying the Final Countdown

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

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Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

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SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

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Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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Welcome to the Hotel California Mushroom Farm

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Collapse Fiction

Useful Links

Technical Journals

Climate change will have large impacts on water resources and its predictions are fraught with uncer [...]

In recent years, biofuels have emerged as a suitable alternative to hydrocarbon fuel due to their fo [...]

This study aims to calibrate and validate the generic crop model (CROPGRO-Soybean) and estimate the [...]

Recent evidence suggests that urban forms and materials can help to mediate temporal variation of mi [...]

Tropical Cyclone (TC) systems affect global ocean heat transport due to mixing of the upper ocean an [...]